Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday - Book Review Roundup: The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

From Goodreads:
Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped--and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

This second novel by rising star Brenna Yovanff is a story of identity, discovery, and a troubled love between two people struggling to find their place both in our world and theirs.

My Review:
THE SPACE BETWEEN is probably my favorite book this year. First, just look at that cover. How beautiful is that?? It's stunning. Second, I will probably end up rambling on and on about this book because there is just too much to say. The writing is so real and raw. The emotions are heartbreaking. I cried, cursed, laughed, and cried some more. I struggled with Daphne and Truman like I was there living their problems.

I absolutely fell in love with Brenna's take on angels and demons. I'm not a huge fan of angel books, but Brenna's angels are brilliant. Demons aren't typically good. While most of the demons are tricksy, conniving, and hungry--Daphne and Obie are good. All they want is love. They want to prove to themselves and to their mother, Lilith, that they can resist their innate urges. How heartbreaking is it to have a good demon, like Daphne, fall in love with a troubled boy who is hell bent on destroying his life? It's EXTREMELY heartbreaking!

I highly encourage you to pre-order this book. It comes out November 15. I will be reading this book again very soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Signings

This month has been quite spectacular in terms of author visits to the Colorado area. I've had the pleasure of seeing Mary Pearson, Jessica Brody, Gabrielle Zevin, and Alyson Noel at the Pen Fatale tour.

Claudia Gray, Kiersten White, Amy Garvey, and Jocelyn Davies at the Dark Days event.

And the fabulous Laini Taylor.

This week Jay Asher will be visiting. I think it's such an inspiration to see these authors and hear them read from their books. I've had a great time!

What authors have you seen recently?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday - Book Review Roundup: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Summary from Goodreads:

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation:  He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead--keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside the ordinary:  track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rate, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958:  once white, now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and ever person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

My Review:

Ahhhh!! I loved this book. I read it in one sitting and now I want to read it again just writing about it. I've mentioned I'm a sucker for a male point of view, and Cas is awesome. He has a bad-boy attitude with a side of sweetness. His relationship with his mom shows how he is underneath the ghost-slaying lifestyle he lives. His goal is to kill enough ghosts until he feels he's ready to face the one that killed his father.

When he meets Anna Dressed in Blood, she's every bit as terrifying as the locals say she is. She rips apart anyone who comes into her house...except for Cas. Anna is the most powerful ghost Cas has ever met, and  knows he has to figure out what made her that way before he can kill her. With the help of two unexpected (but welcome) friendships, Cas and crew set out to solve the puzzle. Cas has to come to grips with his feelings for Anna so he can do the job he set out to do.

Again, I loved this book. It's funny, quirky, heart-breaking, and wonderfully written.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Review Roundup - Elemental Reality by Cesya MaRae Cuono

From Goodreads:

When Callie Pierce was ten, her mother disappeared without a trace. On the eve of her disappearance twelve years later, the earth seemingly comes alive. The elements speak to Callie, and that's only the beginning. Everything she has ever known was a twisted fabrication to protect her. Now the truth is set free. Callie and her sister are more powerful than any Faerie ever born. Now they have to use their powers to save their mother and family from the evil hands of fate that threaten to tear them apart. Welcome to her elemental reality.

My Review:

Odd things start to happen to Callie on her 22 birthday that she can't explain, she's sensitive to heat, electricity, the weather, all of the elements seem to be calling to her. When she goes out to celebrate, she meets Caden, a guy she can't seem to get enough of, but she's unsure why. Her best friends try to warn her that he's bad business, but she brushes it off. Soon after, Callie meets a hot Aussie named Oli. She's instantly attracted to him, but she's still unsure of her feelings for Caden. As things heat up between Oli and Callie, Caden makes an appearance. It turns out he's not such a good guy after all.

Callie is a likable character with an awesome sister named Lola. They are both snarky and have great personalities. I love their relationship; it was very believable and realistic. I think the relationships in this story are well developed and you desperately want Callie and Lola to find their mother. With evil at work, only time will tell if they succeed. Callie and Lola must learn how to use their powers if they stand a chance against the evil holding their mom.

Overall, I enjoyed Elemental Reality. If you're looking for an energetic read, Elemental Reality may provide you with the jolt you're looking for.

To learn more about Oli, check out this character interview I did with him.

Thanks to Revolution Publishing for allowing me to review this book.

Monday - Book Review Roundup: The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

Summary from Goodreads:

It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be babbling your secrets and chatting with strainers like they're old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn's community, the government quarantines her island--no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl's bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.

My Review:

What can I say? I majored in biology and journalism for my undergrad and have a masters in environmental science...viruses absolutely fascinate me. I think we all wonder, "What would happen in the face of a pandemic?" Megan Crewe gives us a glimpse into one possible scenario.

The Way We Fall started out a little slow, but it wasn't too long before I was pulled into the story. Kaelyn's dad is a doctor on a small island in Canada. When people start coming down with a new virus, the island is shutdown. Kaelyn's mom, dad, and brother do the best they can to survive, but hope starts dwindling pretty fast.

It's hard to give a spoiler-free review because this story constantly broke my heart, but I never cried. I felt Kaelyn's emotions, her self-loathing, and despair, but wanted to feel it a little more. There were times when I asked myself, "How can anyone survive this?" And I'm not talking about just the virus; Kaelyn loses so much.

The story is supposed to be written in a series of letters to her best friend, Leo, but besides the date and an occasional reference to him, it mostly followed novel prose. I know a lot of reviewers had a problem with this, but I was able to look past it.

Overall, I enjoyed The Way We Fall. I think the premise is believable and real. If you like viruses and tales of hope, you'll enjoy this book.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday - Book Review Roundup: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

Summary from Goodreads:

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a super volcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet. Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone super volcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.

My Review:

Ashfall is an entertaining dystopia/post-apocalyptic book. I'm a sucker for a male point of view and Alex doesn't disappoint as a narrator. He is real, gritty, 16, and has to go through so much in such a short amount of time. It was really interesting to watch his character transformation. Alex starts out as somewhat self-centered. He detaches from his family to play video games or just to be alone. When his parents leave to visit his uncle's farm, Alex finds himself alone in the ash wishing he was with them.

When Alex sets out to find his parents, he has to fight off desperate people, looters, criminals, etc. Alex doesn't get many breaks, but the ones he does get are life-saving. Dara and her mother take Alex in after they find him bleeding to death on their barn doorstep. They stitch him up, feed him, and let him rest there. A sweet romance forms between Dara and Alex, and they start relying on each other to survive.

Overall, Ashfall is a fast-paced, high-risk read. I've seen many documentaries on the super volcano under Yellowstone, so this book was quite terrifying in that it could actually happen.