Friday, August 31, 2012

Prequels: Consecrated, Refuge and Renegade by Angie Lofthouse

Carly Emerson never imagined she would lose her two-year old son to faceless android soldiers, nor did she ever consider that keeping her temple covenants might break her heart. When aliens attack, Carly is asked to bear a child who will be hidden in an underground refuge—without her. The grief stricken mother must make a choice: keep her covenants and die or take a chance at survival on her own.

When Earth falls to alien invaders, young newlywed Vivi Thayer is called to serve as a group leader in a hidden, underground refuge. There she is charged with raising a generation chosen to carry on the work of God. Facing the criticism of the other, more experienced, women in the refuge, Vivi struggles with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. When a heartbreaking loss brings Vivi to her breaking point, she must learn to accept the role God has chosen for her or leave the refuge behind forever.

Seventeen year old Kwetoo'unuv Walker has nothing on his mind but hunting and girls. And how to avoid getting caught skipping school. But when Earth is attacked by alien invaders and Kwetoo'unuv watches his parents die to keep him alive, life becomes much more complicated. As the world falls before his eyes, he receives a vision from the Great Wolf, Toovuts, compelling him to put aside his fears and become the man God wants him to be. Because in the coming alien occupation, strength and wisdom will be Kwetoo'unuv's only chance to survive.

Three novellas are from the excellent writer, Angie Lofthouse. These prequels come before DEFENDERS OF THE COVENANT. All excellent stories with an LDS plot in a science fiction story.

I hope Angie never quits writing. She writes clean, intriguing stories. She's an excellent storyteller. If you like science fiction, Angie's stories will thrill you.

Here is a link to Angie's website.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it.

First line:
"There were three things that I knew for sure about Orcas Island:"

What would you do if you made a stupid decision that cost you your voice? That is what happened to Jake Hayes. 
This story is from Jake's point of view. He goes through hard times, makes life altering choices and learns that others can have a worse life than him.
Plus, service helps you think out side of yourself.
Jake has had a crush on Sam for years. He never got to tell her he loved her. Now that he's a mute, he won't get the chance. 
Jake went through the normal phases of hating himself, feeling sorry for himself, loving life, understanding more about himself, serving others, loving someone and getting hurt by that someone.
Some of the events were a little unrealistic to me but they worked to drive the tension up.
The focus of this story is very much on the teen romance and the effect decisions have on our lives.
Don't drink and drive!

V: No
L: A few words
S: kissing, making out,

Hard issues that shouldn't happen to teens
Jake's family

Kinda lost one of the characters

3 1/2 STARS

Thanks to Netgalley!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Endlessly by Kiersten White

Evie's paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.

The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie's hands.

So much for normal.

First line:
"So here's the thing about dragons: I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about them."

I bleeping loved this book. I enjoyed the sassiness, sarcasm and bravery of Evie.
I also enjoyed the clean read of the series. No swearing, innuendos, violence, crassness or potty humor.
Evie wants to be a normal teen girl. But the paranormal and human world are in danger. Evie pretends it doesn't affect her. As long as Lend, her boyfriend, is by her side, nothing affects her. So what happens when Lend is cursed? Evie must find a cure and to do that she has to set a few things straight in the cosmic world.
Some of Evie's chooses from the other two books are back as consequences. You can't upset the balance of the world without feeling/seeing/hearing the consequences. Evie mourns her choices and goes ahead with her plans and tries to make good decisions.
There are a few twists in this book! Enemies are allies, allies seem to have deserted the fight and the love comes from a different direction.
Good, clean, quick read! 

Rating: PG 13
S: No
L: No
V: No

Lend falling asleep every time Evie came in the room

Everything hinges on Evie

4 1/2 STARS

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Kill Order by James Dashner

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease.

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next. Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

First line:
"Theresa looked at her best friend and wondered what it would be like to forget him."

Busy, full, action-packed book. Seriously, these poor characters hardly every had down time. Mark mentioned a few times he couldn't remember when he slept last.
A group of people find themselves thrown together in survival mode after sun flares fried the earth and inhabitants. The story is told mostly from Mark and Alec's constant adventures with nightmares Mark has about his past life catching us up.
These characters aren't fully formed except maybe Mark. He's scared a lot but fights through and tries his best.
The story is from one drama to another to another, each one escalating higher. I found myself consciously loosening my grip on the reader as I read the PDF.
Everyone is crazy in the book and determined to hurt others.
There isn't much world building either. I couldn't picture the places well. But that may be my own fault.
My very favorite part? The prologue. I loved the voice and the storyline. I hoped the rest of the book was like the prologue but it wasn't. I wonder if James just didn't have time to put everything in KILL ORDER that he wanted to.
KILL ORDER help explain what happened with the crazies and those who were immune, etc. But the story of Thomas and Theresa wasn't. James gave a little tidbit about Thomas as a toddler and his mom.

Rating: PG 14

The Prologue

Constant action
Convenience of some tools to get out of trouble
The government in the book

3 1/2 STARS

Thanks Netgalley!

Friday, August 17, 2012

CaribbeanCrossroads by Connie Sokol

New college grad Megan McCormick just got dumped. Hard.

Swearing off men and relationships, Megan is coaxed into performing on a cruise ship where she meets the star performer, Bryant Johnson. Handsome and charismatic, he looks like trouble, but she can't deny the intense attraction between them.

Urged to find a wife and run the family lumber business, Bryant is torn between his family's expectations for his life and his own. However, when he meets spunky, but love-skittish Megan McCormick, settling down doesn't look so bad.

Just when Megan begins to trust again, and Bryant makes some big decisions regarding his future, her former fiance returns with a malicious surprise, taking Megan and Bryant to their own CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS

First line:
"The blind date was late."

Cute summer read! Love Connie's humor and wit.

Megan is disillusioned by love with good reason. She was part of a game of see-how-many-girls-you-can-get-engaged-to. Rude.
Megan's best friend talks her into taking a job on a cruise ship. She hesitates at first but gives in. There she meets Bryant. Shallow, surfer dude, or so she thinks.
They come to like each other but will it work once they reach port?
Want a good, summer, by-the-pool book? Pick up this book!

V: No
L: No
S: Kisses




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paige by Annette Lyon

After a bitter divorce from her unfaithful husband, Paige moves from Utah to California with her two little boys and vows to make a fresh start. She finds a job at a dental practice that helps her get back on her feet, but it's the friends she makes at her new book club who help her realize how strong she is and who give her support to carry on as she faces the challenges of being a single mom. She also meets Derryl, a wonderful, kind, attentive man who treats her right, something her ex never did. Yet Paige struggles to figure out who she is as a woman rather than a wife, how to help her boys adjust to a broken home, and whether she can ever trust a man or love again. As Paige leans on the book club ladies and Derryl's ever-present care, one thing becomes clear: healing from the past requires more than a change of address.

First line:
"I sat on a padded bench on one side of the chapel with my boys." 

I'm really enjoying the Newport Ladies Book Club series. This is the third book I've read and totally love reading the characters viewpoints from one book to the next.
 Paige is a newly divorced LDS mother of two. Her husband cheated on her, divorced her and married "the other woman." Punk. 
Paige is kind, insightful and service-oriented. She helps her new friends even when she's busy with her own problems and life. Like, a cute guy wanting to go out with her. :) But why is she going out with him, she wonders. What is her motivation?
The woman in the book club turn to her for help. Paige is stronger than she thinks. She's a good person who will do anything for her boys then her friends.
Paige finds happiness in her belief system, which I can relate to. I can't believe her first calling was to nursery! She's able to look inside herself and get over hurt and move on, even a little bit.
(I hope Ruby gets her own book!)

Rated: PG

The whole series
Annette Lyon
Good, clean, uplifting read

Waiting until November to read ATHENA

4 1/2 STARS

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale (Princess Academy #2)

Coming down from the mountain to a new life in the city seems a thrill beyond imagining. When Miri and her friends from Mount Eskel set off to help the future princess Britta prepare for her royal wedding, she is happy about her chance to attend school in the capital city. There, Miri befriends students who seem so sophisticated and exciting . . . until she learns that they have some frightening plans. They think that Miri will help them, that she "should "help them. Soon Miri finds herself torn between loyalty to the princess and her new friends' ideas, between an old love and a new crush, and between her small mountain home and the bustling city. Picking up where "Princess Academy "left off, this incredible stand-alone story celebrates the joys of friendship, the delight of romance, and the fate of a beloved fairy tale kingdom.

First line:
"Miri woke to the insistent bleat of a goat."

AH! Another book from Shannon Hale!
Smart, clever, classy, intriguing and I could go on.
Revolution! The hot word in Miri's new world. Miri gets caught up in her new life and loses sight of who she is and where she's come from. She feels the pressure of bettering herself so she can return home and better her village. In the meantime, she is being used to promote a revolution that could hurt the people she loves. How will Miri and her smarts get her out of trouble?
Peder and many other girls from Mount Eskel also went with Miri. Peder wants to learn to be a sculptor. Miri wonders if he will ever like her. Timon, a city boy, catches her eye and they are drawn to each other. Until he betrays her (like I knew he would! User!).
Miri has to rally those around her to make a change for the better before her village is sent into poverty again. Can she do it before more lives are lost?
And where does she really want to leave? Mount Eskel or the castle? Can she be both people?
Good, clean read. Loved this book! THANK YOU SHANNON HALE!

V: Fighting
L: No
S: A couple of kisses




Thanks, Netgalley!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Galen is the prince of the Syrena, sent to land to find a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. Emma is on vacation at the beach. When she runs into Galen — literally, ouch! — both teens sense a connection. But it will take several encounters, including a deadly one with a shark, for Galen to be convinced of Emma's gifts. Now, if he can only convince Emma that she holds the key to his kingdom . . .

Told from both Emma and Galen's points of view, here is a fish-out-of-water story that sparkles with intrigue, humor, and waves of romance.

First Line:
"I smack into him as if shoved from behind."

Mermaid, I mean, Syrena story. In this book they are not called mermaids, thankyouverymuch.
A lot of sass and funniness in this book as well as a different look at those who live underwater.
Emma is a clumsy human. Galen is a hot syrenian prince. They meet on the day Emma's best friend is killed.
Emma is independent, sassy, fun and in serious trouble of falling for a bossy guy named Galen.
Galen is strong, attractive, twin brother who is from the ocean. He feels a connection to Emma and finds clues to the fact she is one of them. But not because really, she might be his enemy.
Each character has his or her own voice. I sometimes got confused because there are a lot of names and history. 
Also, the change in point of view from chapter to chapter confused me a little until I got use to it.

V: No
L: No
S: kissing

New mermaid story
Emma's character arc



Friday, August 3, 2012

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

First line:
"I was born during the second holocaust." 

Another intriguing dystopia
Deuce lives in a time overrun by fear and zombies (did not know this story had zombies). Deuce has trained all her life to be a Huntress. Finally, at age 15, she earns her name and her right to protect her enclave. But being a huntress is not what she thought. Killing zombies or 'freaks' is one thing, but to kill other humans because they are weak and can't help the enclave is another. 
Deuce is paired with a loner called Fade and her whole world shifts as they fight together and break rules together.
Deuce learns the hard truth about her place in society, the lies and the what is real. Not until she goes 'topside' does she fully understand what is behind the elders lies. 
I enjoyed so many aspects of this book. I couldn't put it down even though in my head I thought, great, another dystopian. 
The naming ritual was unique. I also loved how Deuce described her world and I had to try and figure out what the objects were according to my world. 
I had no idea this was a trilogy. Ms. Aguirre doesn't leave us on a cliff at the end of the book. I can read the next one or not without feeling like I'm missing something. I will read the next one, I think.

Rating: PG 13
V: Yes but not Halo gory. Death, fighting
L: No
S: kissing

Naming ritual
Fade's story

Having to wait to read more!

41/2 STARS