Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Memes: True Fire by Gary Meehan

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

This week I am spotlighting True Fire by Gary Meehan. I got this eARC for review from Edelweiss. Here is the description of this November 4 release:
Her sister stolen. Her grandfather murdered. Her home burned to the ground. At just 16, her life destroyed. Now, Megan wants revenge. But the men who took Megan's precious twin are no ordinary soldiers. The brutal witches, armor-clad and branded with the mark of the True, will stop at nothing to take back the power they once had. Desperate for a way to destroy them, Megan uncovers a terrifying lie. A lie that will cast doubt on everything she has ever known, and everyone she has ever trusted. A lie that will put Megan at the heart of the greatest war her world has ever seen.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty--her only asset--in peril. And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. Freida must fight for her future--even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known.

Beginning:
Megan had no trouble slipping away from the mill.
Friday 56:
"I failed Gwyneth once," she said. "I won't fail her again. I'm going to find her and rescue her and God help anyone who tries to stop me."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

ARC Review: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Killer Instinct
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: The Naturals (Book 2)
Publication: Disney-Hyperion (November 4, 2014)

Description: Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother's murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean's incarcerated father-a man he'd do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer's psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer's brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel.

My Thoughts: In this sequel to THE NATURALS, the five kids are still getting over the events of the first book when Agent Sterling moves in. She is a profiler like Dean and Cassie and she and Dean have a history. The kids get involved in a murder investigation when a crime is committed that looks like a copycat crime mimicking the crimes Dean's father committed.

Last book, the focus was on Cassie. This time the focus is on Dean though Cassie is the viewpoint character. Cassie, Lia, Sloane and Michael all want to protect Dean from getting swept up into his father's games. But Dean's father is a complex character who has set up some long range plans.

The kids all use their skills as they try to out-think Dean's father and save lives. Michael read emotions; Lia is a human lie detector; Sloane is great with facts and details. They all need to use all their abilities in this case.

Cassie also has to make some decisions about her relationships with both Michael and Dean. She really likes both boys who have a rivalry between them. Cassie doesn't want to hurt either but it is inevitable that she does.

The story is fast-paced, action-packed and still takes time to work on the relationships between the five kids. I enjoyed every page!

Favorite Quote:
"I can probably offend him without even trying to!" Sloane was sounding altogether to enthusiastic now. "If things get too intense, I'll tell him some statistics about domesticated ferrets."

"That's...errr...a very generous offer, Sloane, but I'd prefer you stay behind the scenes." The director's voice came out somewhat strangled.
I got this ARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ARC Review: Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

Waistcoats & Weaponry
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: Finishing School
Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (November 4, 2014)

Description: Class is back in session...

Sophronia continues her second year at finishing school in style--with a steel-bladed fan secreted in the folds of her ball gown, of course. Such a fashionable choice of weapon comes in handy when Sophronia, her best friend Dimity, sweet sootie Soap, and the charming Lord Felix Mersey stowaway on a train to return their classmate Sidheag to her werewolf pack in Scotland. No one suspected what--or who--they would find aboard that suspiciously empty train. Sophronia uncovers a plot that threatens to throw all of London into chaos and she must decide where her loyalties lie, once and for all.

Gather your poison, steel tipped quill, and the rest of your school supplies and join Mademoiselle Geraldine's proper young killing machines in the third rousing installment in the New York Times bestselling Finishing School Series by steampunk author, Gail Carriger.

My Thoughts: In this exciting third episode of the Finishing School series, Sophronia and her friends Sidheag, Soap, and Lord Felix have to make some life-altering decisions. They are all about sixteen and thoughts of their futures are intruding on their educations.

Sophronia is trying to decide where she should seek patronage after she leaves school. She is being wooed by Lord Akeldama and is also being encouraged by the one who set her on the course to this school to adopt the Queen as her patron. Sophronia is torn. She is trying to ease her young suitor Lord Felix away from his father's party - the Picklemen, who are opposed to the supernaturals in society.

She is also fighting her feelings for her old friend Soap but he doesn't fit into society at all. He is African and is a sootie who works in the bowels of her floating school. He knows that their social classes prohibit any relationship but it doesn't stop his longing for her. His solution is to become a werewolf which would be remove some of the barriers. But Sophronia is aware that trying to become a werewolf is a huge gamble and she's afraid for her friend.

Meanwhile, the story takes place on a train that the kids have hijacked in their quest to help Sidheagb get home to her pack in Scotland. It just so happens that the train is being run by some vampire drones who are tracking suspicious Pickleman activity.

Various actions in this story help Sophronia decide where her true loyalties lie and what her future should be. Look out, bad guys! Sophronia is an opponent to be reckoned with.

Favorite Quote:
Soap saw her looking at him, her green eyes grave and pleading. He tilted his head at her in query. But there was no privacy to ask him anything. An uninformed decision had to be made. Fortunately, uninformed decisions were Sophronia's specialty.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
"Agent Briggs is back," I said once I'd straightened.

"Thank God," Lia dropped the act and slumped back against the sofa. "Though if anyone tells him I said that, I'll be forced to take drastic measures."
This week my teaser comes from Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. This is the sequel to The Naturals which is about a group of young people who are part of an elite FBI experiment. The book will be released on November 4. Here is the description:
Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother's murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean's incarcerated father-a man he'd do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer's psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer's brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel.

Monday, October 27, 2014

State of the Stack (Oct. 27, 2014)

This is my monthly State of the Stack post. It is my way to keep track of my review books and to hopefully reduce the stack that I have waiting for me. I take a look at my review commitments on the last Monday of each month. Please feel free to join in and let me know the state of your stack.

Here is my Review Books Spreadsheet. Yellow highlighted books are ones past their publication date that I still haven't read and reviewed. I use pink highlights for reviews due in even numbered months so that I can see at a glance how many I have for each month. Ideally, this keeps me from over-committing to review books.  


I also do this post because sometimes (frequently) review books sit on my stack for a while before I read and review them. I try to read and review books within two weeks of publication date. Sometimes I can't, though, if too many books are releasing on the same date or if the book arrives too near its publication date and my calendar is already full. 

I am very grateful to the authors and publishers who support my reading habit. 

My Review Pile

November
Sleep with the Lights On by Maggie Shayne (Sept. 24, 2013)
Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne (Nov. 26, 2013)

December
Suspicion by Alexandra Monir (Dec. 9)
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay (Dec. 9)
For Real by Alison Cherry (Dec. 9)
Hour of Need by Melinda Leigh (Dec. 9)
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner (Dec. 23)
Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass (Dec. 31)

January
The Unicorn Hunter by Che Golden (January 6)
Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (January 6)
Save Me by Jenny Elliott (January 6)
Twisted Fate by Noran Olson (January 20)
Polaris by Mindee Arnett (January 20)
The Prey by Tom Isbell (January 20)
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff (January 27)
The Inquisitor's Mark by Dianne K. Salerni (January 27)
Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson (January 27)
Too Hot to Handle by Katie Rose (January 27)
The Stolen Moon by Rachel Searles (January 27)

February
The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark (February 3)
Beastkeeper by Cat Hellison (February 3)
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall (February 17)
Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor (February 17)
No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss (February 24)
The Secret Cipher by Whitaker Ringwald (February 24)
Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci (February 24)

March

How to Win at High School by Owen Matthews (March 3)
The Memory Key by Liana Liu (March 3)
Lost Boy by Tim Green (March 3)
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (March 3)
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (March 10)
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly (March 24)
Boys Don't Knit by T. S. Easton (March 24)
Solitaire by Alice Oseman (March 31)
The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer (March 31)

April
Lies I Told by Michelle Zink (April 7)
The Pretty App by Katie Sise (April 14)
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre (April 15)
Skandal by Linday Smith (April 15)
Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt (April 21)
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver (April 28)

July
Can Anybody Help Me? by Sinead Crowley (July 7)


I Read This Month

These are listed in the order I read them. Links go to my reviews for all that have been posted already. Otherwise, the date the review is scheduled for is listed.
  1. Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger (Oct. 29)
  2. The Red Book of Primrose House by Marty Wingate (Oct. 29)
  3. Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Oct. 30)
  4. True Fire by Gary Meehan (Nov. 1)
  5. Path of Needles by Alison Littlewood (Nov. 1)
  6. Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong (Nov. 6)
  7. The Book of Storms by Ruth Hatfield (Nov. 6)
  8. Deeper Than the Grave by Tina Whittle (Nov. 8)
  9. Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger (Nov. 15)
  10. On Her Father's Grave by Kendra Elliot (Nov. 12)
  11. Gone to Her Grave by Melinda Leigh (Nov. 19)
  12. On the Edge by Allison van Diepen (Nov. 20)
Read Previously, Reviews Posted This Month
  1. Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (Oct. 1)
  2. A Penny for the Hangman by Tom Savage (Oct. 1)
  3. Two of a Kind by Susan Mallery (Oct. 2)
  4. Night Sky by Melanie Brockmann and Suzanne Brockmann (Oct.2 )
  5. Pecan Pies and Deadly Lies by Nancy Naigle (Oct. 4)
  6. Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin (Oct. 4)
  7. Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George (Oct. 6)
  8. Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez (Oct. 8)
  9. Liesmith by Alis Franklin (Oct. 8)
  10. Stray by Elissa Sussman (Oct. 9)
  11. Even in Paradise by by Chelsey Philpot (Oct. 11)
  12. Clariel by Garth Nix (Oct. 13)
  13. Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis (Oct. 15)
  14. Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch (Oct. 16)
  15. Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen (Oct. 18)
  16. Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst (Oct. 20)
  17. Atlantia by Ally Condie (Oct. 22)
  18. Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews (Oct. 23)
  19. Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker (Oct. 23)
  20. The Gift of Darkness by V. M. Giambanco (Oct. 25)
I Added These Books

These are listed in the order I received them. Links go to Amazon. Date received and date published are listed in parentheses.
  1. The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre (April 7)
  2. Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (Jan. 6)
  3. Boys Don't Knit by T. S. Easton (March 24)
  4. Lost Boy by Tim Green (March 3)
  5. Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong (Oct. 28)
  6. Skandal by Lindsay Smith (April 15)
  7. The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark (Feb. 3)
  8. The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (March 3)
  9. The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver (April 28)
  10. The Pretty App by Katie Sise (April 14)
  11. Cut Me Free by J. R. Johannson (Jan. 27)
  12. Too Hot to Handle: The Boys of Summer by Katie Rose (Jan. 27)
  13. Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt (April 21)
  14. Beastkeeper by Cat Hellison (Feb. 3)
  15. The Stolen Moon by Rachel Searles (Jan. 27)
  16. On Her Father's Grave by Kendra Elliot (Oct. 7)
  17. Gone to Her Grave by Melinda Leigh (Oct. 21)
  18. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner (Dec. 23)
  19. Hour of Need by Melinda Leigh (Dec. 9)
  20. Save Me by Jenny Elliott (Jan. 6)
  21. Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci (Feb. 24)
  22. Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne (Nov. 26, 2013)
  23. Sleep with the Lights On by Maggue Shayne (Sept. 24, 2013)
Next Month's Plan

I was caught up on all of November's releases until I decided to visit Amazon Vine. Now I have a couple of really old books to read in the next month. I also want to get all my December releases finished before December 1.

I need to keep reminding myself that January and March are full. I should not accept any more books for review that are being released in those months.

As of today, I have all my reviews written and scheduled through Nov. 20.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stacking the YA Shelves (Oct. 26, 2014)

Tynga of  Team Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets

Review:
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner - I got this one at NetGalley. It will be released on Dec. 23.

Save Me by Jenny Elliott - I got this one from Macmillan. It will be released on January 6.

Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci - I got this one from Macmillan too. It will be released on February 24.

Bought:
Snake Bite by Andrew Lane - I had the earlier books in this series for review. I need to know what happens.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein - Another teacher at school recommended this title to me.

Scorched by Mari Mancusi - This was a Kindle Daily Deal.
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - This was a Kindle Daily Deal.

Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer - This was pitched as being like Heist Society which I had read and enjoyed.
Speaking of Heist Society by Ally Carter, I decided to buy a matching set and finally read the rest of the books. So I bought Uncommon Criminals and Perfect Scoundrels too. 

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

ARC Review: Get Happy by Mary Amato

Get Happy
Author: Mary Amato
Publication: EgmontUSA (October 28, 2014)

Description: In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.

Minerva has been raised by her single mother after her father left them both. On her 17th birthday, she is shocked to discover that he has been trying to keep in touch, but her mother has been sabotaging his attempts. Furious at her mom, she begins to investigate her dad, a famous marine biologist, only to discover that he has a new family, including a beloved, and perfect, stepdaughter--a girl Minerva already knows and despises. As she makes her way, trying to build her performing and songwriting career, her jealousy takes over and threatens to derail her life completely. It is only through the efforts of her best friend, Fin, and the introduction of Hayes, a new young man in her life, that she is able to see clearly who she is and who makes up her family.

My Thoughts: Minerva Watson gets a big surprise when she intercepts a package on her seventeenth birthday. The father that she believed abandoned her and her mother when she was small has sent a birthday present and the note indicates that this isn't his first attempt to keep in touch with her. Minerva has always believed her mother when she said her father abandoned them. But she and her mother aren't the kind that share secrets, Minerva doesn't know how to bring up her father.

Some quick research shows that her father has returned to work at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and has become an expert on starfish. Minerva hates him and hates him even more when she learns that he has remarried and has a stepdaughter - stepdaughter who happens to be a fellow employee at Get Happy.

Minerva feels both curiosity and rage when she thinks about her father. She also feels great anger at her mother for keeping them apart. Her mother is actually a real piece of work. She's jealous, controlling, and doesn't really know her daughter. Giving her an ugly sweater for her birthday instead of the ukulele she wants in just the first clue. The final straw is when she cleans her daughter's room and throws away all of the things that Min treasures and then expects Min to thank her.

Luckily, Min has a close friend in Finnegan and a new friend, and potential boyfriend, in Hayes who are there to support her. She is also a budding songwriter and her songs finish many of the chapters. You can really see what she is thinking and how she is feeling in her songs.

I like that the ending is realistic. Min, her mother, and her father have lots to work on to build a healthy relationship for all of them. But I feel confident that Hayes will be there to help her through it all.

Favorite Quote:
"Getting a job is on my list of things to do," he said.

Maybe it was the vim and vigor juice...maybe it was the fact that I didn't want to go home...maybe it was inspiring to see Hayes, who I had pegged as the quiet type, saying yes...I decided to go for it, too.
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Memes: Get Happy by Mary Amato

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


This week I am spotlighting Get Happy by Mary Amato. I got this eARC from Edelweiss to help further my goal of reading more contemporary YA. Here is the description of this Oct. 28 release:
In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.

Minerva has been raised by her single mother after her father left them both. On her 17th birthday, she is shocked to discover that he has been trying to keep in touch, but her mother has been sabotaging his attempts. Furious at her mom, she begins to investigate her dad, a famous marine biologist, only to discover that he has a new family, including a beloved, and perfect, stepdaughter--a girl Minerva already knows and despises. As she makes her way, trying to build her performing and songwriting career, her jealousy takes over and threatens to derail her life completely. It is only through the efforts of her best friend, Fin, and the introduction of Hayes, a new young man in her life, that she is able to see clearly who she is and who makes up her family.
Beginning:
It starts with the gift. Please don't judge me, but I could tell by the shape and size of the box that it wasn't a ukulele and I felt a little piece of my soul start to drown.
Friday 56:
The vice principal walked out, eyeballing us and the other vagrants who didn't want to go inside. "School is starting, people. You have thirty seconds."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ARC Review: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Beware the Wild
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Publication: HarperTeen (October 21, 2014)

Description: Southern Gothic gets a whole new twist in this debut novel, sure to appeal to fans of the New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series.

The swamp in Sterling's small Louisiana town proves to have a power over its inhabitants when her brother disappears and no one but Sterling even remembers that he existed. Now Sterling, with the help of brooding loner Heath, who's had his own creepy experience with the swamp, must fight back and reclaim what—and who—the swamp has taken.

Beware the Wild is a riveting and atmospheric page-turner readers won't want to miss.

My Thoughts: BEWARE THE WILD was a fascinating story about a girl who has to find her inner bravery to rescue her brother. Sterling Saucier has always been protected by her older brother Phineas. But now Phin is graduating from high school and moving on to Tulane University. Sterling is terrified about surviving without her brother and stops eating which terrifies her brother and her friends.

Adding to the atmosphere is the swamp that is outside of town. There have been years and years of scary stories told about people who went in and didn't come back out or who come out forever changed. After an argument, Phin runs into the swamp. Then weird things start to happen. Suddenly, no one but Sterling even remembers Phin. Then a girl named Lorena May comes out of the swamp and everyone recalls that she has always been Sterling's older sister.

Sterling is determined to go into the swamp and rescue her brother. She teams up with a boy she has had a crush on for a while. Heath is the only one who remembers that his best friend Nathan also disappeared into the swamp. Together, they keep those two in their memories.  But Heath couldn't force himself into the swamp to look for his lost friend.

This is a scary story about love and courage and how, sometimes, love goes wrong. It is also a story about sacrifice. I liked the story and really liked Sterling's determination to be strong and to rescue her brother.

Fans of spooky stories who like strong female characters will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
If I was afraid to live in a town without Phineas, I'm plain terrified of living in a world without him. With an unexpected combination of fear and guilt and recklessness, I set a foot on the bottom rung of the fence and rest my fingers on the top. Shine licks at them. I jump back, clenching my hands to fists and glaring at the sinister coils.

The swamp continues to beckon.

I can do this.

"Phinias Harlan Saucier,"I say to whatever might be listening. "I'm coming for my brother."
I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ARC Review: Atlantia by Ally Condie

Atlantia
Author: Ally Condie
Publication: Dutton Juvenile (October 28, 2014)

Description: Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamed of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all Rio’s hopes for the future are shattered when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected choice, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long silenced—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the corrupted system constructed to govern the Divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

My Thoughts: ATLANTIA was an entertaining post-apocalyptic story about a girl in an underwater city who longs for life on the surface. The city had been created many generations earlier when conditions on the surface became difficult. The world was divided in Aboves and Belows. The relationship between the two has become strained. Some of those living in Atlantia have become Sirens - able to sway people through the power of their voice. At first the sirens were considered a miracle but then some of them abused their powers and the government turned against them. Now, sirens are taken from their families and raised by the Council.

Our heroine Rio is a siren but her mother who was the religious leader of the city kept her talent hidden. Rio has grown up with her twin sister Bay and her mother both keeping her secret. Now, her mother is dead and the circumstances of her death are suspicious. Teens in the city are given a choice about at a ceremony about whether to choose live Above or life Below. Rio has always wanted to live life Above. She wants to see the sky. However, after their mother's death, Bay makes Rio promise to stay with her Below.

However, things take an unexpected turn when Bay chooses life Above and leaves her sister Rio behind. Rio is determined to find out why Bay chose as she did and also determined to join her Above. As Rio makes plans to join her sister, she learns that all is not as she thought in her city of Atlantia. The new leader of the city has plans and secrets that could be tragic.

Rio is alone except for her aunt Maire. She doesn't really know her aunt except to know that she is a siren who works for the Council. She thought that Maire and her mother were estranged. Her aunt comes to her and offers her help in her plans to escape and offers to teach her about the history of her city that has been hidden. But Rio isn't sure that she can trust her.

While she is making plans to leave Atlantia, Rio meets a boy named True who becomes her friend. He is content with his life Below and works as mechanic. He is also wondering why his best friend Fen chose to go Above. It seems that Bay and Fen had a relationship that Rio didn't know anything about.

I enjoyed this story which was filled with interesting characters and took place in a fascinating world.

Favorite Quote:
"The gods know everything," my mother used to say when I had a hard time hiding my voice. "They know how difficult this is. And they are pleased with you, Rio."

Are they pleased with me for being a siren—or for hiding it. I wanted to ask. But I never did.
I got this ARC from Penguin's First to Read Program. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
Now, finally my eyes burn and panic balloons in my throat. Of all the stories we keep in Sticks about the dangers of the swamp, there's not one in which someone who went inside it returns unchanged.
This week my teaser comes from Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker. I got this eARC from Edelweiss. Here is the description of this October 21 release debut novel:
Southern Gothic gets a whole new twist in this debut novel, sure to appeal to fans of the New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series.

The swamp in Sterling's small Louisiana town proves to have a power over its inhabitants when her brother disappears and no one but Sterling even remembers that he existed. Now Sterling, with the help of brooding loner Heath, who's had his own creepy experience with the swamp, must fight back and reclaim what—and who—the swamp has taken.

Beware the Wild is a riveting and atmospheric page-turner readers won't want to miss.

Monday, October 20, 2014

ARC Review: Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

Chasing Power
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (October 14, 2014)

Description: Sixteen-year-old Kayla was born with the ability to move things with her mind—things like credit cards and buttons on cash registers—and she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again . . . which would mean grave danger for them both.

When she’s caught stealing by a boy named Daniel—a boy with the ability to teleport—he needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel’s kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family—and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive . . . or survive.

My Thoughts: CHASING POWER was an excellent story with a wonderful main character. Kayla and her mother fled from her father when she was eight. After a time of flight, homelessness, and uncertainty, they found their way to Santa Barbara. Kayla's mother told her they ran because her father had killed her older sister Amanda and her mother was afraid that he would kill Kayla next. Kayla was born being able to use telekinesis and she has honed her skills by becoming a great shoplifter. She is eager to add some money to the family pot and to build up a hidden reserve in case they have to run again.

She is caught by a young man named David who has a power of his own. He's able to teleport to any place that he has seen a picture of. He blackmails Kayla to help him rescue his kidnapped mother. They visit a voodoo queen in New Orleans who tells them a story about three magical stones and a spell that can make the wielder invincible. She sets them on the path of finding those stones because that would help them find Daniel's mother.

Kayla and Daniel learn lots of secrets about their parents' pasts and both Kayla and Daniel suffer betrayals along the way. Kayla is strong and smart and not very trusting. Nonetheless, she and Daniel do become good friends and maybe even fall in love.

I liked Kayla's relationship with her mother and with her best friend Selena. I thought Kayla's psychic gift was cool. But, if I could have any psychic power, Daniel's teleportation is the one I would choose. He takes them to so many wonderful and exotic places as they search for the three stones. Of course they encounter lots of danger in their search too. From being trapped in a Mayan pyramid to being buried in bones in a crypt in Spain, the action is fast and furious.

This is a story that will appeal to adventure lovers and romance lovers. I can't wait to share it with my students.

Favorite Quote:
As he looked away toward the unseen ocean, his expression was as forlorn as a homeless cat's. But he didn't give her a chance to decide whether to punch him or comfort him. He vanished, leaving her wanting to scream.She shouldn't be wrapped up in this. It wasn't her problem!
I was approached by the author and got this book from NetGalley. You can get your copy here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stacking the YA Shelves (Oct. 19, 2014)

Tynga of  Team Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.

More 2015 review books arrived this week and I added a couple of books for an upcoming signing too.
I'll be attending a signing on October 26 at the Red Balloon. Brain Farrey will be signing his latest book. I thought I should get the first two books in the trilogy for my school library too. I got The Vengekeep Prophecies and The Shadowhand Covenant but I doubt I'll have time to read them before the event.
Friday I got an envelope from Macmillan containing these three books.

Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt (April 21)
Beastkeeper by Cat Hellison (Feb. 3)
The Stolen Moon by Rachel Searles (Jan. 27)
Earlier in the week I got Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson from Macmillan. It will be released on Jan. 27.

I got The Pretty App by Katie Sise at Edelweiss. It will be released on April 14.

What did you add to your stack this week?