Tuesday, October 13, 2015

ARC #Giveaway - Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson! (US)

Series: Mistborn (Book 5)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (October 6, 2015)

The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of Mistborn with his first novel in the series since The Alloy of Law.

With The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson surprised readers with a New York Times bestselling spinoff of his Mistborn books, set after the action of the trilogy, in a period corresponding to late 19th-century America.

The trilogy's heroes are now figures of myth and legend, even objects of religious veneration. They are succeeded by wonderful new characters, chief among them Waxillium Ladrian, known as Wax, hereditary Lord of House Ladrian but also, until recently, a lawman in the ungoverned frontier region known as the Roughs. There he worked with his eccentric but effective buddy, Wayne. They are "twinborn," meaning they are able to use both Allomantic and Feruchemical magic.

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn's society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial's progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they've been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 12, 2015

[Coffee Shop Talks] Have you ever wanted to visit a city/country from a book?

Have you ever wanted to visit (or actually have visited) a city/country from a book? Which one(s)?

I've always wanted to visit Louisiana, especially New Orleans. I've read several series that have been set in this state and the food, the bayous, the people, and the ongoing festivals all sound fascinating to me. I would love to experience it for myself. How about you? Have you ever wanted to visit (or actually have visited) a city/country from a book? 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review: Crossed (Soul Eaters #3) by Eliza Crewe

Release Date: August 17, 2015
Publisher: Create Space
Source: Purchased
Author links: Goodreads | Twitter | Website

War is here.
Full-scale war has erupted between the Crusaders and demons and even Chi has to admit isn’t going well. Like any sensible rat, Meda’s eager to abandon the sinking ship but, unfortunately, her friends aren't nearly as pragmatic. Instead, Meda’s forced to try to keep them all alive until the dust settles.
As the Crusaders take more and more drastic measures, the tables turn and Meda suddenly finds herself in the role of voice of sanity. No one is more horrified than she is. When old enemies reappear as new allies and old friends become new enemies Meda has to decide—again—whose side she’s really on.
And then the Crusaders decide that Meda should go to Hell. Literally.
Can’t a monster ever catch a break?

This is how you end a trilogy! 
Maybe this wasn't quite 5 star material, but I'm rounding up, because I think it deserves it for not being a huge letdown.
Like some other trilogies...

Alright, I'm really horrible at writing reviews for books that I loved, so this might not make any sense. It's just so hard to explain the feelings that come with realizing that the ending of a beloved series didn't suck! It didn't suck at all!

These characters didn't morph into weird parodies of themselves, there wasn't that odd moment of forced Happily Ever After, and no one died just to prove that the author had BALLS...or some such nonsense. It's always disappointing when an author loses sight of what made you love characters, or maybe just doesn't know how they want the story to end. Whatever the case, the end result is that they phone it in, or toss out a bunch of random insanity. Meanwhile, as a reader, you deflate like a balloon, because everything you initially loved is gone, and in its place is a bizarre version of what made it so special.

However, these guys always stayed true to their character...except when they didn't. But, in reality, that was precisely how they needed to act for the story to be delicious. Make sense?
Too bad. I'm trying not to give anything away here!
Thing is, Crewe didn't go anywhere I thought she was going to, and I don't want to ruin the story for those of you who haven't read this yet...
I can't help mention a few things that I really loved. Now, I'm not going to spoil how it all goes down, but if you don't want to know anything, then back away from this review. Fair warning, and all...

Ok, first off, I did NOT see the proposal thing coming!
Whaaaaat? Like, if I were going to make a guess about something that was going to happen in a Soul Eaters book, that marriage would never have crossed my mind. NEVER! But, now that I think about it, an unromantic wedding is exactly what the trilogy needed. And the tone of it solidified my feelings about Crewe not vomiting out garbage at the 11th hour. It sounds crazy, but I ended up loving it.

Next up...Evil Joe.
I can't even properly express how much fun I had reading about Joe giving in to her dark side.
Muahahahahahaha! It was fantabulous! I thought it was so awesome that she...no.
Must shut up...can't...spoil!

And that Big Reveal about God, the Crusaders, and the demons? Ack! So perfect!
I'm not religious, but even a heathen like myself could appreciate the Moral of the Story at the end of this sucker.

This was just... *fangirl squealing*
See? I just can't write a good review when I love a book. Sorry.
The best I can do is tell you that I gobbled it up, thought it ended the way it should, and wasn't in the least heartbroken or disappointed. There. Now go read it for yourself.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Release Day Review: Sing Down the Stars by Laura Hatton

Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads
When the aliens came, they didn’t attack—they just hung in the sky. After a year of human hysteria, they left and the rains began. Ever since, some girls have been born with unusual abilities. The fifth daughter of Magnus Roma, creator of the extraordinary circus called The Show, Penn was born a Celestine: she can call down the stars. Her newborn cries brought burning hail that killed her twin brother. For sixteen years Penn has hidden her power by assuming the life of her twin, just as her four older sisters (who can manipulate the elements) have hidden from the Wardens’ Commission in plain sight as circus performers.
Then, one explosive night, Penn loses everything. The wardens want to protect Earth from anything alien. Her sisters are taken, and The Show is destroyed. To save her family, Penn must do the unthinkable and use the power she’s been taught to suppress. She’ll travel to the very heart of her world’s darkness and discover the truth about her terrifying gift.

Well, this was a pleasant surprise!
Action packed, interesting, well-written, and fairly original to boot!
And to say I wasn't expecting much out of this one would be an understatement. I read the blurb on NetGalley and requested it pretty quickly. But once I got a good look at that cover, my insides froze up & my fingers refused to slide it open on my Kindle. I should know (better than most!) not to judge a book by its cover, but...

Yes, that sounds snobby and awful, but I wanna cry every time a good book gets lost in the Cover Wars. And this was a good book! It shouldn't be hidden behind a cover that makes readers squeamish.
Question: Does anyone else tend to pass on fantasy or sci-fi books with covers that are drawn?
Maybe it's just me, but I have this weird aversion to them. In my mind, they represent the b-movies of literature, and I can't quite move past my prejudice. So, if anyone out there knows of a good therapist...

Just me? Fine.
The only real problem I had with the writing was that I couldn't quite tell what was happening sometimes. Now, this didn't happen enough to really bother me, but, occasionally, the descriptions of what was going on were sort of hazy. Kind of like the author didn't know how to describe what was going through her mind, or maybe was so caught up in the story she was telling, she just assumed we could see the vibrant picture as well as she could. And that's honestly a compliment. I've never read a story that combined these elements in this way. Sure, aliens visit & some people get special powers has been done before, but this book mixed it up enough that I was pretty impressed. It had this sci-fi/steampunk/magical feel to it with the circus thrown in for good measure. It was just...creative.

As far as Penn's character goes, there were times I wanted to shake her for being stupidly stubborn. There's a time to be defiant, and there's a time to wait for your opportunity to be defiant. Apparently, she didn't know the difference between the two, and it annoyed me. If you're greatly overpowered, there's no shame in backing down for a bit, and maybe taking inventory of your options. If you don't, you'll just end up getting your ass kicked AND looking like an idiot.

However, it wasn't a deal-breaker, because the story itself was interesting enough on its own to hold my attention. Plus, after a while, I started to admire the kid's spunk. Sorta.
Ok, I'm botching this review, because it looks like I'm doing nothing but complaining about a book I gave 4 stars.
Let me try this again...
This was fun to read, at no point was I bored, and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!
Better, right?
Anyway, if you've been on the fence about Sing Down the Stars, I'd encourage you to give it a shot.

Monday, October 5, 2015

[Coffee Shop Talks] Favorite Fictional Families!


My favorite fictional family would definitely be Faythe's Pride in the Shifters series. I adored her father and brothers and became emotionally attached to all of them. Most UF characters I read about often come from broken families, have mommy/daddy issues, or don't know their parents at all, but Vincent made Faythe's family an important, positive part of her life. Which fictional families are your favorites? 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review: Never Never by Brianna Shrum

Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.
When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.
But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.
This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.
Except one.

Boy, this was just kinda bleak and depressing.
I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't this. I guess I was hoping for something different? To be honest, Peter Pan & his Co. are nowhere near my favorite characters. Even as a child, I thought he was obnoxious and stupid, and the Disney movie just depressed me. What was wrong with those people? Why the Hell did Wendy act like such an adult? Why wouldn't her parents let her stay with her brothers in the nursery? God! Those people were cruel! No wonder she wandered off with that creepy Pan kid. And then, why didn't he come back and live with her family at the end of the story?

The whole thing was just f-ed up. To me, anyway.
Point is, I don't even like this story when it's not being retold in some horribly gloomy way from Hook's perspective. But if you are one of the millions of readers who adore anything Pan-related, you may have an entirely different experience than I did.
Unfortunately, there was nothing about this one that I enjoyed. Sorry.

Was Hook supposed to be a villain by the end? If so, I thought the author did a poor job convincing me that he had done anything wrong. And Pan? I wanted him dead. Tiger Lilly, too! Someone please run both those bitches through with a sword!

Wendy? Shove that obnoxious little twat overboard, please. And her idiot brothers. And while you're at it, the rest of those spineless Lost Boys, as well. All of 'em.
I wanna hear a big SPLASH!

Well, Anne, if a book can make you feel this angry, then the author did a good job, right? 
Ok, maybe you have a point. If the author's point was to make me hate every single character in this story...job well done!
Thing is, I was also bored during this book. Like, reallyreallyreally bored. The writing wasn't bad, but the story just sort of drug on and on and on and on without anything exciting going down.
It was just one shitty thing after another happening to James Hook. And it felt like I was reading it in Real Time. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Admittedly, I'm not a fan of stories that don't give a reader hope. I don't enjoy reading defeatist stuff, and I don't enjoy watching someone self-destruct. Particularly when there was nothing they could have done to change the outcome. And I especially don't enjoy reading about it when there's no action.
Hook and Pan fight. Hook could kill him...but because {insert inexplicable reason here} doesn't. Pan does something childishly evil. Wash, rinse, repeat.
And then it ends.

When I closed the book last night, I was ready to give this one star for wasting my time. But I honestly think the author is a good writer, so maybe it's just that it wasn't my cuppa.

Recommended for hardcore fans of this story only.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Review: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Library
Author Links: Goodreads | Website
Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.
Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

If you weren't a fan of the first book (and some of my friends were not), then I don't think anything about this book is going to change your mind. Sorry.

If you've been chomping at the bit (because maybe you're a horse?) to find out what happened to Lia, Raffe, & Kaden once they got inside the walls of Venda? Then I think you'll be pretty happy with Pearson's book. Secrets, magic, prophesies, and (as the title suggests) betrayal! Good stuff.

Best part of the book for me? 
The Heart of Betrayal is exactly what I hoped it would be, in that the non-love-triangle-triangle didn't morph into a real Triangle. Sure, Kaden is still in love with Lia, but she doesn't return anything but friendship. There's none of that wishy-washy Who-Do-I-Really-Love shit happening here.
It's Raffe. Boom! End of discussion.
Kaden can just keep on pining...

And why should she have feelings for Kaden? I mean, Raffe is putting his ass on the line to save her, and, meanwhile, Kaden has turned her over to his evil boss! Sure, he's hoping he can protect her, but I'm not sure why he thinks that would make him her go-to guy for romance.
Psssht. Men.
However! After finding out more of his backstory, I'm definitely hoping he gets a HEA. Poor guy. That sob story got me right in the feels, and I can see why the fella might have a few issues.

Alrighty, I do have one complaint...
Pearson didn't do the bestest job recapping what happened in the last book. Some authors are better than others when it comes to this, and I'm afraid that Pearson isn't one of the good ones.
Now, I know a lot of you out there probably reread the previous books before you crack open the brand new ones. But I read a shitload of books each year, and simply don't have the time to do that. And while I may remember the general theme of most books, after a year or so, I just can't remember the details. I tend to rely on the authors to give my mind a hard shove gentle nudge when I'm reading books that are part of a series. And, honestly, that wasn't very well done here. I was still trying to play catch-up right till the end.

I said that to say this: if you don't have a stellar memory for details, then you may want to go ahead and do a reread before picking this one up. 
Oh, and watch out for that CLIFFHANGER at the end!
Dear God, Pearson! Are you trying to give me a heart attack, woman?!