Happy Book Birthday The Fox Inheritance!

The Fox Inheritance
by Mary E. Pearson

August 30th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.
More at:

From Goodreads:
Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other— Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.

Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.

Everyone except Jenna Fox.

As if any of us ever needed an actual reason to just run out to the bookstore but this release should make you wait outside before the store even opens!

If you haven't read The Adoration of Jenna Fox, you're missing something wonderful, I promise. It's a great story that you won't forget any time soon. This is its much anticipated and much loved sequel. Read them both!

My reviews:
The Adoration of Jenna Fox
The Fox Inheritance

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

by Ilsa J. Bick

From Goodreads:

It could happen tomorrow...

A cataclysmic event. An army of "The Changed."
Can one teen really survive on her own?

An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human...

Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the Changed, Alex meets up with Tom---a young army veteran---and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse.

This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to survive.

Published: September 6th 2011 by EgmontUSA

Let's start with my absolute gut reaction: This book scared the shit out of me. I read the first half of the book late at night and actually had some trouble falling asleep. I'm not big on scary stories, being a wuss and all, and I'm a bit too crazy with far too much imagination to be up alone, listening for things in the dark. All manner of nasties inhabit the dark that comes when you put down a scary book and turn off the light. It's the kind of dark that not even turning the light back on can scare off. The next morning I carried the book smack out into the noon day sun and read it where everything around me was well illuminated. So that's my advice to you: Read it outside, midday, in a big open space, and bring a shovel.

It's a fact universally acknowledged that nothing can protect you from a zombie attack like a really sharp shovel.

Now, why was this so scary? Well, think about all the dystopian you've been reading here lately...what have they all had in common? For the most part, they are all stories of drastic changes in the world and how society has changed because of them. They take place in the future and usually involve elements that wouldn't quit figure into our everyday lives as they are now. You can say "Oh dearie me, I do so hope the world doesn't end up like that!" and go about your day safe in the knowledge that no Capitol exists to throw you into an arena, no laws are in place forcing women to breed, people are still marginally human with only a few of us being Borg, water isn't overly rationed, and the ability to love hasn't been surgically removed from your brain. Yet...

But weapons of mass destruction, melting nuclear reactors, and the electromagnetic pulse that is generated by the explosion of a nuclear bomb are all very real and the apocalypse that they could bring, could happen at any time.

I was absolutely terrified both for and with Alex. After the explosion only the very young or the elderly appear to have been wholly spared from the effects of The Change, a condition that resulted from the explosion that left the majority of the world's population either dead or crazy, wild and hungry for animal flesh. Any animal flesh.

Alex falls smack dab in the midst of the age group that was most affected by The Change and yet she, and a few others like her were spared. Alex's brain doesn't function the way most do...Alex has a growing, inoperable brain tumor. Talk about insult to injury. When the event happens, Alex, who has decided that she doesn't want to go through another round of cancer treatments, has gone on an extended hike into the mountains to tie up a few loose ends. Alone, she carries with her one secret thing that she holds most dear, a task that needs to be completed, and her father's gun. You can almost argue that the explosion that ended the known world, and having to save a stranded eight year old girl from blood thirsty flesh eaters- saved her life.

So now we have a realistic, catastrophic event, a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world, and just when you think it can't get any worse, when one would like to believe in the strength of humanity, that our morals and beliefs and sense of justice would prevail when the very worst has happened- it turns out the only thing you can count on is man's instinct to survive at any cost and the lengths we would go to save ourselves.

I've never enjoyed being scared stupid so much in my life. Bick is a marvelous story teller- the action never once eases off and when you turn the last page you're absolutely exhausted both physically and emotionally. The details and the research put into this novel alone deserves major props. It's unlike any YA dystopian novel out there and your brain is going to be forced to work while you read it. And you want to read it.

Plus five points for Zombies. God I love zombies.

I said buh bye to a few book babies and hullo to a few more...

Some progress and some extra shelf space! Woot! Some of these books went at a garage sale (horrible experience) and all the YAs made it to a local high school library!

You've most likely noticed a change or two around these parts but I'm not ready to talk about them yet. :)

Here is the updated list:

The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman

The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
I Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles
Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir
Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracey Chevalier
The Virgin Blue by Tracey Chevalier
Falling Angels by Tracey Chevalier
Audrey Wait by Robin Benway
Inheritance by Lan Samantha Chang
My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent ARC
The King's Mistress by Emma Campion ARC
Breaking Dawn by Stephanie T. Meyer (makes a good door stop)
Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
Covet by J.R. Ward
As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev (I have two? How?)
Evermore by Alyson Noel
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner
The Guy Not Taken by Jennifer Weiner
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Confession of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (Again, two?)
Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon
Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese ARC
The Enemy by Charlie Higson ARC
Halo by Alexandria Adornetto ARC
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Girl Stolen by April Henry ARC
Wings by Aprillynne Pike
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Love Signs by Linda Goodman (astrology stuff)
The Saucy Sister's Guide to Wine Nowack & Wichman (I have no idea)
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer ARC
Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

Goodbye my darlings! I wish you well as you journey forth to new and exciting places!

As for what showed up this week? Well it was a wonderful combination of YA and historical smut! My favorite!

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Wicked Nights With a Lover by Sophie Jordan

Sins of A Wicked Duke by Sophie Jordan

Once Upon a Wedding Night by Sophie Jordan

Waiting on Wednesday (19) The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin
Date: October 25th 2011

From Goodreads:

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice

Pause a moment to bask in the blinding, nuclear, hell it-out-shines-the-sun awesome that is The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. Then take a deep breath, realize that this book is about Ash, fan girl scream your lungs out and collapse in a gooey pool of want. I feel exactly the same way. Must. Have. Book.

Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Second Grave on the Left
by Darynda Jones

Published August 16th 2011 by St. Martin's Press

"I scooted through the basement window on my stomach and dropped into a somersault landing on my feet on the cement slab of the basement.‘Cause that’s how I roll.
The times I’d tried that same maneuver only to land on my ass with dirt and cobwebs coating my hair didn’t count."

***Hi. This here is a review of a sequel, you know, the book after the first. If you read this before you've read the first book then you're doing things the wrong way. Duh.**

For private investigator Charley Davidson, solving crimes and finding missing persons is hard enough as it is, but when you're also The Grim Reaper (yes THAT Grim Reaper) tracking down missing persons of a less corporeal nature makes for a long work day.

Reyes has gone missing, deliberately, the jerk and he's done it just to annoy her. He has hidden his physical form and forbidden Charley to find him. He said something about it meaning the end of the world and giving evil a gateway into heaven, blah blah blah- as if a direct order from a general of the legions of hell is really anything to take seriously. It's a toss up really as to what she should do. On one hand, if she finds him, something really bad will happen and on the other hand, if she doesn't find him, something really bad will happen. It's a lose-lose situation so why not go for the option that she knows will piss him off the most? It's her way of flirting.

In the land of the living, Cookie's friend Mimi has also suddenly skipped town, her disappearance close on the heels of the untimely death of several of her old classmates. The one time buds shared a dark secret that no one wanted to come out, especially not when one of them is running for the senate. Charley isn't sure exactly what Mimi has herself mixed up in but several rather severe gentlemen in suits have suggested that she not try to find out- at gun point actually. But if she doesn't find her soon, Mimi's probably a goner. It's a lose-lose situation, so again, why not go for the option that will piss everybody off the most?

If you haven't read First Grave on the Right, then you've been missing out on one hell of a good time. Charley is a bad ass. She's smart, funny, good at her job and can rock a killer pair of high heeled boots- all the while ushering the souls of the departed through the portal into heaven (And what did YOU do today, huh?). Her relationship with Reyes is unbelievably steamy considering the fact that he's never physically there. He's always either in jail, or he's in a coma, or he's being held prisoner by demons- the guy keeps pretty busy. Plus, as an added bonus, she's a really good detective and I found myself getting into the whole mystery element as I watched Charley work a case- and I'm not big on mysteries.

Ya know, I never once worried that Miz Jones wouldn't be able to pull off a stellar sequel. First Grave was so wondrously entertaining and funny that I knew she had more in her and she did a great job with the second book. Very pleased, very happy, and apparently I have a crush on the Son of Satan. Think my mom will like him?

Oh and watch the blog, I'll post a giveaway of the audio book later this week!

Good Morning, Saturday! Camelot, Merlin and The Mists of Avalon

Saturday and Sunday mornings are very special to me, like I'm sure they are to a vast majority of you. On these days, I celebrate by drinking different coffee. Drastic and shocking I know, but that one little change helps me relax and get into the spirit of the weekend. So with coffee in mind, you might want to grab a cup because I intend to ramble on for a good errrrr...six minutes or so.

So my bloggy followers are no doubt aware of my Netflix addiction. I have in fact, turned off the cable because I haven't watched anything live in almost a year now. Thanks to Netflix I've discovered so many great shows and because of these great shows I've discovered even more.

Someone left a comment for me to try out the BBC's (have you noticed that everything the BBC does is made of win?) Merlin. I got completely hooked by episode three and I've watched the first two seasons. I haven't watched the third because it's not up on Netflix yet- a fact that makes me want to throw things at ponies. Regardless of the fact that it's a pretty tame family show, the production and sets are AWESOME and I'm madly in love with Merlin and his giant ears. The whole thing centers around Merlin, you know the famous wizard out of Authorian legend, who posing as Arthur's lackey and saves the young prince's arrogant ass from a wide variety of trouble. Magic is forbidden in Camelot, all of the sorcerers having been hunted down and killed by King Uther Pendragon, Arthur's father. Uther is a major asshat, with absolutely no redeeming qualities and I want so very much to be able to reach through the screen and throttle him.

So Merlin goes around doing GREAT FEATS OF MAGIC (imagine those letters all in flames) and saves the day. I love that on the surface he appears to be a bumbling idiot but when he performs magic he is ridiculously, baddassedly powerful (Badassedly is a LAJ word and not be used without my express permission).

So that's Merlin. While I wait for Season 3 to pop up in my Netflix instant queue, I'm watching season one (and maybe it's the only season. Hell if I know.) of Starz's Camelot, starring some long haired scrawny Orlando Bloom wannabe and.....*deep inhale in* Joseph I'veLovedYouSinceShakespeareinLoveandthinkyourbaldheadissexy Fiennes. Annnnnnd exhale.

I'm on episode 6 of 10 and I want Igraine and Merlin to do it :) I don't ask for a whole lot but Merlin is so dark and brooding and self-loathing that I feel he deserves to boink Uther's widow. I'm loving the show. Everything in it is very BIG. The sets are Big, the costumes are BIG, the plot is BIG and it's pretty graphic, violent and raunchy. I think it's suppose to be their answer to Showtime's The Tudors, which I haven't really gotten into but maybe I should.

So all these stories about King Arthur, blahblahblah, since I was what? Fifteen? Sixteen maybe? The only acceptable truth in Arthurian legend, for me, has been Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon. It's probably the first giant brick of a book I read and I've read it about four times now. It's focuses mainly on the women of Camelot (and there abouts) and paints the whole thing in a much darker light. I can't think of the story of King Arthur in any other way.

It follows Morgaine, who goes off to the island of Avalon to become a pagan priestess. Lots of goddess worship and magic that had me wanting to paint a blue crescent moon on my forehead long before the vampires of The House of Night did. Anyway, the point is, anytime I watch or read something else about King Arthur I throw my hands up and exclaim "THAT IS NOT HOW BRADLEY SAID IT HAPPENED!"

Pick it up if you have strong arms and can hold it for long lengths of time. You'll love it. It will make you want to read everything she's written. For instance, The Firebrand her version of the Trojan War has also become THE TRUTH for me and nothing will ever make me believe otherwise. Hmph.

Anyway. I tried to watch the series, Legend of the Seeker but after struggling through two very boring, poorly acted episodes I found I'd much rather stare dumbly at a blank wall and drool.

And that's it. Drink up!

Oh, and like Life After Jane on Facebook

In Scandal They Wed by Sophie Jordan

In Scandal They Wed by Sophie Jordan

Published April 1st 2010 by Avon

I've been reading a lot of gloom and doom here lately. About, you know, the thing we all fear the most- the zombie apocalypse. Good stuff that. Great even, and we'll talk about those books in the days to come but I wanted, needed, a break from it and I wanted the break to be trashy.

Tastefully trashy mind you- as only a historical romance novel can be. Ladies overly protective of their virtue. Dashing, overbearing, scoundrels turned heroes accosting said virtue- those of us in possession of ridiculously overly romantic sensibilities like to refer to it as love. So I tippy toed over to the bookshelf, with my skirts bunched in hand, and with pinky finger ever so delicately extended, selected In Scandal They Wed by one Miz Sophie Jordan and sat down to read.

Three hours later, four screams of "SHUT UP! I'M TRYING TO READ THIS", and no less than fifteen squeals of delight, I finished this little book and added Sophie Jordan to the list of romance authors that I must become better acquainted with.

Evie Cross, newly evicted from The Penwich School for Virtuous Girls, returns home to discover a case of the aforementioned compromised virtue. Not hers, mind you, but that of her well loved sister, Linnie who foolishly found herself in the bed of a man she thought she loved and subsequently got herself pregnant. Linnie was her parents last hope of weaseling their way into better society and if her condition is discovered, all of their nefarious scheming has been for nothing.

Having been out of the country for long enough not to rouse suspicious, Evie takes Linnie's child to raise as her own, masquerading as a widow to protect Linnie's reputation and more importantly, her child.

Years later, her sister having died and any potential scandal along with her, Evie has established a safe, quiet, albeit poverty stricken life for herself and her adopted son. Out of the blue, a man arrives asking after Nicholas. Spencer Lockhart, Lord Winters, is the cousin of Nick's father, who died on the battlefield but not before securing Spencer's promise to look after Nicholas and Linnie. For years Spencer has lived with the dream of Linnie, visions of her loveliness planted in his mind by his cousin's stories of her. Now he has returned and means to protect both Linnie and her son with his name by making the woman of his dreams his wife. Fearing that the truth could mean Spencer taking Nicholas from her, Evie plays along with his assumptions that she is her sister and agrees to marry him, hoping that he doesn't discover that his bride to be isn't exactly the woman of his dreams.

Loved this story. I had no idea what kind of man ol' Spence would ultimately turn out to be so I had no idea what would happen to Evie or her son. you don't go around duping influential members of the nobility and expect to get off light. He might turn out to be a real asshole. All in all, a great little story. No instant fairytale love, but some marvelous instant sexual tension. Evie, you go girl.

I've ordered five more of Miz Jordan's books. She has even written a YA novel that I'd love to get my greedy little hands on.

Waiting on Wednesday (18) Eve by Anna Carey

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, in which we share the books that we are anxiously waiting to be released.

Eve by Anna Carey

Publisher: HarperCollins
Date: October 4th 2011

From Goodreads:

Where do you go when nowhere is safe?

Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose—and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust . . . and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

In this epic new series, Anna Carey imagines a future that is both beautiful and terrifying. Readers will revel in Eve’s timeless story of forbidden love and extraordinary adventure.

I think I could read only dystopian YA and be happy for the rest of my life. Well, dystopian YA...... and regency era historical smut- if we're being honest.

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

     The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson

     August 30th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.

     More at:

     From Goodreads: Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other— Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries.

Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead.

Everyone except Jenna Fox.

I absolutely loved the battle between science and morality that was presented in The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Without giving too much away (in case you haven't read it YET), Jenna Fox and her friends were in a horrible accident. At that time, technology had advanced so much that an entire human body could be replicated- not just cloned, but regrown, with everything it had before. But, the catch was, you could only reproduce up to a certain amount. For Jenna to live, an illegal amount of replication was necessary which left her father, the scientist who invented the technology, the tough choice of breaking the law, or letting his child die. Jenna lived.

It's a remarkable story of self acceptance and adaptation and a damn fine dystopian novel. The Fox Inheritance is the sequel.

Jenna was not the only one involved in the accident. Her two best friends were involved as well but their bodies were so far gone that even the Biogel technology could not save them. Before their bodies expired, Jenna's father uploaded the data from Kara and Locke's brains. Whether he had hoped to replicate them at that time or not, he did it just in case. When Jenna discovered that the essence of her two best friends were trapped inside a holding device inevitably, she did the kindest thing she could think to do and had the boxes containing what was left of Kara and Locke destroyed.

But every good technician makes backups, and a rogue scientist at the Biogel lab made copies of Kara and Locke, and what remained of them, their brains, sat trapped in those boxes, forgotten for 260 years. And they can remember every excruciating, horrible day of it.

So it's not a stretch to believe that when they are given new bodies and a second chance at life, they harbor much resentment. They endured an unthinkable hell and they blamed Jenna, because she got to live. Irrational? Yes, but it was the only thing they had to hold on to. Jenna is still alive, 260 years later and they feel she needs to answer for abandoning them. I struggled with this concept perhaps the most throughout this story and tried to feel things from Locke and Kara's point of view. Jenna was blameless. She couldn't do anything about the situation and their 260 year old vendetta wasn't realistic to me. I would have thought they'd go after the lab, or the government that wouldn't let them be reproduced. Jenna's my girl, and if it came down to it, I'd want Kara and Locke eliminated to save her.

This is where I leave you on the story line. Kara and Locke are on the run from their creator, and hell bent of finding Jenna. You'll just have to read it to find out what they do to her.

The world created in The Adoration was already riddled with scientific discoveries that are unfathomable in this day and age, but 260 years later the world has evolved into the most brilliant sci-fi setting. Fierce security regulations, everything automated and computerized, robots replacing people, humanity's ever slipping hold on itself. Good stuff, and yet, outside of the system, a much more primitive normality can be found, where life goes on day to day just as it always has. I loved that. I like the fear that a good dystopian evokes in me, but I love love when even in the worst of imaginable conditions, there is enough hope to drive people to hold on to the simple things that matter. We see a lot of that when we get to visit with Jenna again.

I love Pearson's story telling. It's smooth and fast-paced. She gives you everything you want but layers it with enough emotion to make you work for it. And she gives you Officer Dot Jefferson- we should all be so lucky as to have a Dot.

"Customer Locke, I may not have everything you do, but I have more than you think and much more than I ever dreamed of. I told you, Bots dream. At least some of us do. Whether we are supposed to or not, whether it was ever planned or not, we dream. Some of us think beyond our cabs, we imagine where our customers go and what things they see. When they jump into our cabs, we imagine where they have been, and how it has changed them. Their worlds become our secret worlds, and sometimes we share those places with other likes us and sometimes we even dare to dream that those worlds could be ours one day. We don't know if that could ever be true for us, but we hear stories. And now...I am one of those stories. Escape is not about moving from one place to another. It's about becoming more.

*Quote taken from an ARC of The Fox Inheritance and may differ in the finished copy.

In My Mailbox (34)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren in which we share the books we received for the week.

So I agreed to go bowling with Beloved in exchange for a trip to Jackson to visit Lemuria Books. I haven't been able to get up that way for months and if you've ever been there you'll understand just what a treat getting to go is. They have this awesome Wall O' YA....it's two giant floor to ceiling bookcases CRAMMED with just about every YA title you can imagine. I really need to get a picture of it so you can bask in its awesome. It's one of those places where you climb up on ladders to play with the books. Not only is the selection awesome but the YA/Children's manager, Emily, knows just about everything there is to know about the titles because she's READ THEM.

Ilsa Bick, the author of the YA dystopian novel, Ashes will be at Lemuria on September 8th for a signing. I'll be there with bells on.

Chime by Franny Billingsley

From Goodreads: Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment.

Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

Kristin Cashore, the author of Graceling, one of my favorite books, recently blogged about how great this book was. She said it, so it is.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

From Goodreads: Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere’s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in fever camps. In a narrative crackling with the tension of an imminent storm, Finnikin, now on the cusp of manhood, is compelled to join forces with an arrogant and enigmatic young novice named Evanjalin, who claims that her dark dreams will lead the exiles to a surviving royal child and a way to pierce the cursed barrier and regain the land of Lumatere. But Evanjalin’s unpredictable behavior suggests that she is not what she seems — and the startling truth will test Finnikin’s faith not only in her, but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

Author of another one of my favorites, Jellicoe Road. I've heard wonderful things about this book.

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

From Goodreads: Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.

Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.

In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.

Dystopian. All I needed to know.

And then, from a very special book fairy:

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

From Goodreads: In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidentally poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family.

Ok, I could live without chocolate...but coffee? I can't even walk upright in the morning without it.

What lovelies found their way to you this week?

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Published July 26th 2011 by Penguin Young Readers Group

From Goodreads:

When Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she’s certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer—one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack—and the man—she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive..

I'll make this really quick and easy. I didn't like this book. While it didn't necessary qualify as something so awful it made bunnies cry, I could still hear the telltale whimper of a bunny who is on the verge of tears.

For starters, I was bored stupid for the first 2/3 of the book. Seriously, nothing happened other than Calla's rampant personality disorder, moping around the Searcher's hideout threatening to attack everybody one minute (not that she did by the way, she just threatened and glowered...ohhhhh you're so bad ass), loving Shay, loving Ren, being a shameless cock tease and then spending the rest of the time WHINING. OH DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN MAKE HER STOP. Poor thing she was just SO torn over EVERYTHING that she was virtually ineffective at anything.

OK, I know that was harsh, but I'm allowed. I loved Nightshade, mainly because of the strength of the main character. In the sequel she was just so very weak. And not the kind of weak from which one learns and ultimately becomes more confident and assertive, just the plain ol' wussy kind.

It got better towards the end, and by better I mean more action packed, a little bit of a twist and there was an unexpected turncoat in their midst. Oh and one perfectly well executed lurve scene.

Not happy at all but I'm still on board for the next book. I'll give my girl one more chance, for the sake of our budding friendship in Nightshade.

Hate the new covers btw.

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Published August 9th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

From Goodreads:

"These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."

—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

For never was a story of more woe
Than this of... Ariel and her... Ben?

The synopsis was probably all it took to get you hooked and aching for this book. A retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a wicked paranormal twist? I was sold. Ambassadors of light? OK. I can admit I anticipated a little bit of cheese there and honestly didn't know what to expect out of the story. I read the first sentence and knew instantly that Jay's writing wasn't going to be anything to smirk at. It took one sentence for me to be addicted and one chapter for me to abandon every thing else I had planned for the day and devour this book.

My inner fan-girl is OMGing at that first chapter. It's a beautiful, beautiful love scene between Romeo and Juliet that draws you right back into the classic story that so tugged at your heart, followed by Jay's unique twist that breaks it far more than the original death scene did.

Juliet hates Romeo. He traded his soul mate for immortality, became a sick, murderous agent of evil and spends the next 700 years trying to rip true love pairs apart.

The Dread Pirate Roberts said "Death can not stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while." No Wesley, death can give you a 700 year opportunity to kick the shit out of it.

Every so often, a true soul mate pairing will occur and with it, an agent of each faction. Juliet, of the Light, attempts to fully unite the pair, securing true love and win a point for the good side. Once her task is complete she fades away until the next pair appears. Romeo, an agent of the dark, also appears with each soul mate pair. His job is to convince one of the lovers to kill their lover in exchange for immortality. Accomplishing this wins a point for the bad guys and Romeo gets to stay on Earth, inhabiting a body until it's time for the next assignment. There's poor Juliet, pretty much dead until she's useful again, and Assholeo gets to play for Team Zombie (can I get a woot for anything Zombie!). Juliet enters the body of a girl named Ariel who has just deliberately crashed her date's (Dylan) car, almost killing him and leaving Ariel in limbo until Juliet leaves her body. It usually takes a day or two for Romeo to show up, giving Juliet time to settle into the life of the person she is inhabiting, but as Dylan begins to come to, there is something in his eyes that has Juliet instantly afraid.

     No. It can't be. We've never- He's never-
     "Did you miss me, love?" he kisses me on the cheek, a rough, playful kiss that leaves a bit of wet behind.
     Dylan has died after all. And Romeo has found a corpse. It's my last thought before his hands are around my throat.

Enter hero stage right: We meet a young man named Ben who, for reasons unknown, is startlingly familiar to Juliet. There's something reassuring about his presence- something that makes her feel safe with him. Something that makes her want him. It is not Juliet's place to feel an attraction to a mortal. She is not Juliet, she is Ariel and must preserve Ariel's life as best she can while fulfilling her duty to unite two destined lovers. It's been so very long since Juliet felt anything for anyone,other than the hate she has for Romeo, that this new emotion is something she craves more of. But she isn't really alive and she can never have him.

Are you squealing yet? Yes, it is over the top schmaltzy romance and I could smell a love triangle coming but I DIDN'T CARE. Jay's writing is gorgeous and the story is so wild and intense that I loved it, loved it! A highly imaginative twist on one of the most memorable and powerful love stories. It will have you running away screaming when you hear the name Romeo and yet, somehow it still manages to preserve the intense hope that true love can really exist.

*Quote taken from an ARC of Juliet Immortal and may differ in the finished copy.

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