Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reborn by Jennifer Rush

Series: Altered Saga (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Sci-fi Thriller/Romance

Subjects: genetic alteration, abilities, memory, runaways, identity, secret government organizations

Setting: Trademarr, Illinois (Not a real town as far as I know) in summertime

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense, rotating between Nick and Elizabeth

Age/Grade Level: Teen 15+

Length: 323 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.00

Publisher: Hachette: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “An action-packed, romantic, and suspenseful third book in the Altered series.

The Branch is in shambles, but Anna, Sam, Cas, and Nick can't rest easy. Remnants of the organization lurk unseen and the flashbacks to their old lives are only getting stronger--especially Nick's.

Following scattered memories and clues from his Branch file, Nick sets off alone in search of answers and in search of the girl who haunts his dreams. But the sleepy town where she lives in full of secrets and Nick soon learns that uncovering their shared past may have deadly consequences.”

My Review:  Reborn is the finale to the Altered Saga, with the exception of an upcoming e-novella. Instead of Anna’s perspective, we get Nick’s and a girl named Elizabeth. It’s definitely different and unexpected. The previous book Erased ended in a way that made me wonder if it was the final book, but maybe it’s because Anna’s story is complete. The author decided it was time to give another character a chance in the spotlight. Nick is very broody and had a rough life. His memories from his life before the Branch are returning. He’s also remembered something horrible he may have done: holding a young girl at gunpoint.

Nick goes to the small town of Trademarr, Illinois (not a real town, I looked it up.) to find this girl and make she’s alive. When they come face to face, Elizabeth sees that Nick looks pretty much the same as he did six years ago. Nick had actually saved her those years ago. As they get to know each other, Nick finds out that there was a lab near this town and wonders what the Branch may have done to Elizabeth back then. What’s the truth?

With mystery and shock factor, Reborn is an awesome finale. There’s action and romance. There’s some cool science fiction elements. There are characters from the previous book as well as new ones. I enjoyed everything once I got into it. I just missed Anna and Sam, but I really liked Nick even when he acted a bit mean. The romance between him and Elizabeth was more gentle. Nick also went to the bar a lot in the book, but he’s over 21, so it’s okay. This is not a book for younger teens. The book is more New-Adultish, minus the sex. 

Also, I liked the setting, which is Illinois, where I live. Not Michigan like the previous books. I love Michigan, though. Trademarr sounds like is has to be in Chicagoland, but they mention it being by a lake, but not Lake Michigan. Maybe McHenry or Lake county or even Kankakee. Not many cliffs in Illinois except by the Mississippi or Illinois rivers. Lot of corn fields here though. The author has that right at least.

I recommend this series to fans of: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Maximum Ride by James Patterson, False Memory by Dan Krokos, Unremembered by Jessica Brody, Revived by Cat Patrick. Pretty much, if you love books with genetically altered/engineered characters that are on the run from secret government organizations, then you should definitely read this. It’s still refreshingly unique.

Cover Art Review: Similar to previous cover. Maybe the blue is for Nick’s icy blue eyes.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Empire of Shadows by Miriam Foster

Series: Bhinian Empire (bk. 2) Prequel to City of a Thousand Dolls

Genera(s): High Fantasy

Subjects: Asian mythology, shape-shifters, supernatural, body guards

Setting: The Bhinian Empire, which is under a dome that cuts it off from the rest of the world.

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV, past tense rotating between Mara and Emil

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 489 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “Cast out of her family three years ago, Mara turned to the only place that would take her—a school where students train to protect others. But Mara is stunned when guarding a noble girl in the Empire’s capital turns out to be more dangerous than she could’ve imagined. More shocking still, she finds the boy she thought she had lost forever outside the gates of her new home.

Mara knew her life in the dizzying Imperial city would hold dangers. How could she have known that her heart, as well as her life, would be at stake?

Empire of Shadows will take readers on a spellbinding journey into the world Miriam Forster first introduced in City of a Thousand Dolls—a world with a divided society, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and deeply laid conspiracies.”

My Review:  Empire of Shadows is the prequel to City of a Thousand Dolls. It takes place years before the events in that book occur. I was hoping for a sequel that would involve the dome around the empire coming down and everyone discovering that the world outside was different, but this is not the case. That was the only this that disappointed me about this book. That, and it was almost 500 pages long. It was not quite as good as City of a Thousand Dolls was, but still pretty awesome, and I gave it four stars.

Mara is a tiger sune, but she has stayed in human form for years because she’s afraid of loosing control again. She trained with the Order of Khatar to become a bodyguard and regain her honor. She sets to find the one she will pledge to. The other main character, Emil, is part of the Kildi, a wind caste band of travelers descended from the old empire. They sell only what the make. They’re kind of like a gypsy bandwagon, but they trade rather than con. Emil has a fraternal twin brother named Stefan, and their father is the leader of their group. His father holds him up to high standard and his brother is always frowned upon for immaturity.

This is an amazing fantasy series. It’s completely different from the generic high fantasy books that are based off of medieval England and Europe, and other western cultures. The mythology and culture is Asian, non-western, mainly India with some Japanese and Chinese elements mixed in. The Sune, which are animal-spirit shape-shifters, come from Shintoism, a Japanese religion. The story is tale of culture, friendship, romance, adventure and discovery. Mara is trying to redeem herself, and Stefan is going after his brother. They both are searching for something and learning. There was fight and action with claws and weapon, humor and witty conversation, amazing world building. It’s a well-rounded, unique fantasy that also has paranormal and dystopian elements.

I recommend this book to those who enjoyed fantasy books such as: Soulbound by Heather Brewer, Shadows and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, Incarnate by Jodi Meadows, and Prophecy by Ellen Oh. Those who enjoyed paranormal books such as Vampire Acamdemy by Richelle Mead. Also those who enjoyed dystopian books such as Divergent by Veronica Roth (the castes are like factions, kind of), The Selection by Kiera Cass, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, and any dystopian book that takes place in a cut off society or under a dome.  

Cover Art Review: I love the colors and the text. The symbols still confuse me. I don’t know what caste they each represent. Colin Anderson is the cover designer and he did the Burning Sky covers too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Angel Fever by L.A. Weatherly

Series: Angel Burn (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Apocalyptic Dystopian Sci-fi/Paranormal Romance

Subjects: angels, supernatural, love, psychic ability

Setting: Various states, mostly Nevada, and also Mexico

POV/Tense: 1st person, past tense: Willow, 3rd person past tense: Alex, Seb and Raziel

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 489 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover and now in Paperback

List Price: $17.99/$9.99

Publisher: Candlewick

Summary/ product description: “As half-angel Willow strives to save the world from her parasitic otherworldly kin, romance and tension heat up to a climactic finale.

In the devastated remains of the world, millions of people live in "refugee" camps provided by the angels who have all but enslaved humanity. As this angelic stranglehold tightens, Willow and Alex are recruiting and training new Angel Killers while struggling to hold ground on the celestial battlefield. But Willow continues to have feelings for Seb, and her love and resolve are tested as a shattering revelation sends Alex on a separate journey. Now that the final battle versus the angels is about to begin-and the fate of the world hangs in the balance-each of them must face the consequences of their own choices. Will love endure? Will the human race survive?”

My Review:  Why did I wait over a year to read this? I put it off because I was afraid of how it would end. I loved the first two books despite their lengths. These books take a while to read, but I love the characters and the story. I just feel sad that it’s over.

It’s kind of sad that this series wasn’t more popular. It’s the craziest mix of sci-fi and paranormal ever. These angels are nothing like the angels you know other than having halos and wings. They feed on people. They’re inter-dimensional beings and their world’s ether is dying. Willow and Seb are the only half-angels alive and this gives them special abilities. They’re helping to train Angel Killers in aura work in the Nevada compound. Willow has Alex as her boyfriend, but Seb still pines after her. He tries to date a girl named Meghan.

Just when they think that they have a chance at defeating the angels, something happens to destroy their plans and they start feeling hopeless. They still train and kill angels because every dead angel could mean the life of a human is saved. Alex discovered another way to destroy the angels and sets out to find it. Something happens that breaks Willows heart.

Angel Fever was a very emotionally stunning read. I almost found myself crying in some parts. I just love the relationship between Willow and Alex. Seb is also a great guy, but he wasn’t there from the start. Alex is practically my dream guy and I felt like I was there, right along side Willow, feeling her pain and love for Alex.

There’s just some much action, adventure and romance packed into this book. It’s thick (but less thick than Angel Fire) with content. It didn’t drag on because it was boring, but because I just wanted to savor the story and not miss anything. I hate when I feel like I have to skim, but I didn’t do that here.

This is definitely in my top five angel series. It’s the most unique one. It reads like an alien-apocalypse story. I have a hard time finding the right comparison, but if you like Angelfall by Susan Ee or the series on SyFy called Dominion, then you should check out this series.

Cover Art Review: Consistent with previous covers. Love the fiery hair image.