Friday, January 23, 2015

Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole

Title: Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3)
Author: Kresley Cole
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Source: Bought

Overall: 5 Stars

Can Evie convince her rival loves to work together? Their survival depends on it in this third book of #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles, a nonstop action tale of rescue, redemption, and a revenge most wicked.

Heartbreaking decisions
Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory
Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on the Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned
There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first...?

My Thoughts: 
Evie has sure come a long way since Poison Princess. She was just so utterly weak and lacking in survival instincts in the first book, but after everything she's endured and overcome since the Flash, you wouldn't recognize this former cheerleader anymore. And I totally love it! As the tarot Empress, Evie possesses terrifying powers that include poison and regeneration, but she has still barely scratched the arsenal at her disposal and the range of her abilities continues to grow.

After struggling so hard to accept her role as one of the Major Arcana and the terrible acts she committed in her past lives, Evie is finally ready to embrace her destiny in Dead of Winter. In the months that Evie has been living in Death's isolated fortress, Jack has risen as a leader among the human survivors, founding Fort Arcana and building his own army to counter the Azey, led by the sadistic twins Violet and Vincent, known as the Lovers. Evie must convince Jack and Death to somehow work together and launch an attack against their cruel enemies before it's too late to stop them.

The unlikely trio must once again set off into the post-apocalyptic nightmare they live in, but their journey is further complicated by Evie's very torn personal feelings towards both men. Evie has fallen in love with both Jack and Death for very different reasons and can't imagine life without either of them. Death has seen the best and worst sides of Evie in the many reincarnated lives they've shared, but Jack's raw passion always makes her feel so very alive. Evie doesn't know how she could possibly make a decision.
I thought the Arcana Chronicles was a trilogy, I really did. Now imagine my surprise when Dead of Winter ended on a major cliffhanger! As I anxiously read those last 50 pages, I kept wondering how loose ends could possibly be tied up as the novel certainly didn't seem to be moving towards a finale. It didn't even occur to me that there could be another book after Dead of Winter. I can't believe Kresley Cole could stab a dagger into our hearts and then leave us hanging like that! I need the next book. Right. Now.

Kresley Cole's Dead of Winter is an explosive, heart-pounding continuation of the Arcana Chronicles. The progression of this series, from Evie's character growth to the complex world-building of an endless battle between the Major Arcana, is absolutely stunning. I loved every moment of Dead of Winter and will be waiting with breathless anticipation to learn what happens next.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cover Reveal: All Played Out by Cora Carmack

I'm thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Cora Carmack's All Played Out, the third novel in the Rusk University series! I loved reading All Lined Up and All Broke Down, and now I absolutely can't wait for Torres and Nell's story. From what we've seen in the previous novels, these two seem like complete opposites, so watching Torres and Nell fall in the love is sure going to be fun!

Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay... Scratch that. She knows she hasn't had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a "to do" list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it's impossible to get hurt... again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she's never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he's willing to take the chance when it's more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

About Cora Carmack:
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.   Image Map

Waiting on Wednesday - Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine spotlighting upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

Release Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Summary (from Penguin Random House Canada):
Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

My WoW pick this week is Rachel Hartman's Shadow Scale, the very much long-awaited, highly anticipated sequel to Seraphina. I absolutely loved reading Seraphina when it was first released in July 2012, and have been impatiently waiting for Shadow Scale since then. Seraphina was a richly-detailed, brilliantly written YA fantasy novel, and I loved Seraphina's journey to self-acceptance as she learned to reconcile with her dragon heritage. War is brewing in the kingdom of Goredd and Shadow Scale cannot come soon enough!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe

Title: Earth & Sky (Earth & Sky #1)
Author: Megan Crewe
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill Canada
Pages: 304
Source: ARC won on Goodreads thanks to Penguin Canada

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Skylar has always been haunted by fleeting yet powerful feelings that something around her has gone wrong. Those impressions have never seemed to reflect anything real, and have only earned her stares and whispers behind her back. But after she meets a mysterious boy named Win, she learns an unsettling truth: we are not alone on Earth. In fact, visitors from beyond the stars are manipulating our planet and the essential fabric of our world; life as we know it is starting to unravel. And Skylar—and her heightened awareness—just may be the key to our salvation. 
My Thoughts:  
Time travel! Aliens! I didn't expect Megan Crewe's Earth & Sky to be such a fun and adventurous read. The plot description is purposely vague and I hadn't read any reviews previously, so I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began reading it. Time traveling can be so complex and go right over my head, but I think Megan Crewe explains it in a way that isn't confusing and you'll be able to understand.

What if Earth and its inhabitants were part of some grand experiment? For thousands of years, aliens have observed Earth and manipulated time, testing how humans respond to different events and situations. Skylar has never been able to shake a certain feeling of wrongness, but when these inexplicable impressions come, she finds comfort in the stability of numbers and counts in her head to calm herself down. 

But everything changes when Skylar meets Win and learns that she's sensitive to shifts in time. Win is part of a small group of rebels trying to liberate Earth, and he needs Skylar's help to find the pieces to a weapon that will finally set Earth free from the aliens' machinations. Win's charismatic leader has left clues in the past on how to assemble the weapon, but Sky and Win will need to race through time to find the pieces before the Enforcers intercept them.

I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel, The Clouded Sky! To my immense relief, Earth & Sky didn't end in a cliffhanger, but there's still much to come for Sky and Win in the future. With such an intriguing concept, Earth & Sky is a thrilling, fast-paced introduction to the trilogy. If you like YA science fiction novels, you might want to give this one a try.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday - Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine spotlighting upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

 Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Mira

Summary (from Goodreads):
New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.

Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job and his life are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret—or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is—while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous… 

Whenever I'm asked for fantasy recommendations, I ALWAYS mention Maria V. Snyder because she writes the best kind of high fantasies. Her novels always feature intrigue and suspense, with elements of magic and romance, and dangerous missions with the fates of countries at stake. I could honestly gush about her fantasy novels all day! I've lost count how many times I've reread Poison Study and Touch of Power.

So when I heard that Maria V. Snyder had plans for more novels featuring Yelena and Valek, I was absolutely thrilled! Shadow Study marks the beginning of the Soulfinder trilogy and I can't wait to see what new dangers and adventures are in store for readers.

And if you haven't read a novel by Maria V. Snyder (gasp!), then add them to your TBR right away. You won't be disappointed!
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