Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunrise (Ashfall #3) by Mike Mullin

Series: Ashfall #3
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Published: 4/15/14
Source: From NetGalley and publisher for review
The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors' constant companions. 
When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish. 
This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.
My thoughts:
This is the final book in the Ashfall trilogy. I had the privilege to read the other two books and I was looking forward to this one. One thing I do want to mention... when I read the first two, I read them back to back. Don't read all these books one after another. It's not that they aren't good, but they were so dark, I needed a palate cleanser in-between the books and I know a lot of people who might need something fluffy for that cleanser.

This one is as dark as the first two. What I liked about these is that it pulls no punches. Yes, you could go into the book and tear down some parts saying that it isn't realistic for some characters to get out of predicaments or injuries that easily... but you can do that in any fictional book. Still, I haven't seen it where you aren't sure that even the main characters will make it out alive and certainly unscathed. All secondary characters are all redshirts (sorry, Star Trek reference, if you aren't a nerd like me, just ignore) so you won't know who survives until the end. The stakes are as high as they have been in the other books and the danger is as bleak. It also feels like an never ending bid for survival... which is realistic. Even so, in this book we do get small snippets of light and a few people who finally come around.

There were some aspects that bothered me at first like when Alex would leave the colony to go on scavenge hunts. This was addressed in the book so I was pleasantly surprised and it added another dimension of politics to the survival story. Also, like in the other books, my favorite part was Alex and Darla's relationship. There is little misunderstanding between them because they are more mature than most and discuss problems before they actually become a problem. Yes, they fight, but they fight fairly and with the want to understand the other. I wish more books had relationships like this in them.

I give this book 4 stars. The book isn't without it's faults. I didn't love the ending, but I certainly didn't hate it. It just felt incomplete to me. Still, I feel that this is a great addition to the series and would love to have a novella to know how the colony fares and what they learned about what happened in the world after this book.

Monday, April 14, 2014

House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Publisher: Harper Teen
Published: April 15, 14
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

My thoughts:
This was a cute witching story that I would consider for younger YA crowds would enjoy. The interactions between the characters were a bit younger than I would feel at the older YA level would enjoy. The storyline is an interesting one. Not as dark as you would have expected, but yet still mysterious enough to keep me reading.

I had ideas about parts of the mystery and I did like the way the ending happened, but most of it was predictable. I didn't mind since I got my complete HEA. There is a hint of a love triangle, but it doesn't come to fruition and Jo, our heroine, choses wisely and confidently. It's at least the conclusion to an almost triangle we often want in a book like this.

In the end, I give this book 3 stars. It isn't as dark as I thought it would be, but it is an enjoyable young witch coming into her powers kind of book. It also has some great friendships that endure separation and some heartache.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson #4) by Darynda Jones

Series: Charley Davidson #4
Narrator: Lorelei King
Length: 9 hrs. 28m
Publisher: Audible
Available Now
Source: win
Sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. The more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.
My thoughts:
 Another great installment in audio! This is a series I've enjoyed in audio and will continue to do so in this format. I'm so addicted!! :D

In this book we find our heroine with some PTSD with a side betrayal from her father. She ends up finding some interesting ways of coping with it. Having no other choice but to go out and find some way to feed herself and Cookie (or at least one good cuppa coffee!) and stay away from late night tv infomercials she stumbles upon a case that will at least bring her out of hiding. She also tracks down Reyes and finds more than she bargained. She also finds some answers to a few of her burning questions! Oh and let me just say, I LOVE the way Reyes helps Charley with her PTSD. What a great therapist.

I don't want to spend too much time on the review. I'm just afraid I'll give away too much. Let me just say that this one is as good as the others, Reyes is so *sigh* MINE *glares at everyone in the room* and Cookie even gave me a few tears toward the end. All I can say is if I can't be friends with Charley, then I want to be friends with Cookie! Love these characters and trust me... if you haven't yet... this is a series that is NOT to be missed. Also, be warned... you will want to start naming everything. I really should think of a name for my computer. Any suggestions?

I give this book 4 1/2 stars and can't wait to put on the next book in this series... on audio! :D

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Forever Song Blog Tour w/ review and giveaway!

The Forever Song
by Julie Kagawa
Blood of Eden #3
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: April 15, 14
Source: NetGalley and blog tour for review
Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? 
With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer. 
Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the path is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. 
The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost— the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.
My thoughts:
I wasn't sure what to expect with the last book in the series. I'm usually not a fan of last books, but I did enjoy this one. However, my impatience almost made me skim. I wanted to know what happened after that last horrible ending of the Eternity Cure and the author, Julie Kagawa, drew out our pain in increments. I knew I would regret any skipping so I was good although impatient. :)

Finally! I was rewarded with what I wanted to know. WHAT? That happened? I didn't expect that, but maybe I should have. But then again I am still surprised... hm... still enjoyed that twist but knew there was SO much more book to go. So I happily read on. :) (What? you thought I was going to tell you? Silly rabid... ) ;)

All I will finally say is that I give this ending 4 stars. It is a solid ending and it answers a lot of questions. There could be room for a novella or two and I hope it is with Jackal. I don't even care where it is placed in the series, just want one of him. Oh yea, he rocked in this book too. :D I recommend this series. It is fun. :D

Contest Info: 
Each tour stop is offering up the winner’s choice of either THE IMMORTAL RULES, THE ETERNITY CURE or THE FOREVER SONG - whichever book of the series you might be missing!

There are also 2 grand prizes:

• 1 winner will get a complete set of Julie Kagawa’s books, including The Iron Fey Saga and The Blood of Eden Saga!

• 1 winner will get a $100 gift card from either iTunes, Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open to US/Canada and ends May 2nd.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

AimeeKay Review: The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

Available Now
Publisher: William Marrow and Company
Source: From publisher for review
When Iris unexpectedly inherits her grandmother's house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that live there. 
Iris gives herself a one-week stay at the old house, after which she'll make a decision: keep it, or sell it. The choice is not so simple, though, for her grandmother's cottage is an enchanting place where currant jam tastes of tears, sparks fly from fingertips, love's embrace makes apple trees blossom, and the darkest family secrets never stay buried. 
As Iris moves in and out of the flicker between remembrance and forgetting, she chances upon a forgotten childhood friend who could become more. 
The Taste of Apple Seeds is a bittersweet story of heartbreak and hope passed down through the generations.
AimeeKay's Thoughts:

I really tried to get into Taste. I wanted to like it, I really did. The story itself was interesting, but there were certain factors that really made it hard to enjoy. It's hard to separate what I enjoyed from what I didn't because it seemed to go hand in hand.

I thought the story itself was interesting. Iris has been left her grandmother's home and she has to figure out whether she wants to keep it or not. As she tries to decide, she ends up finding out more about her family, and herself, then she ever realized. It also explores people's memories and how someone's memory of an event can seem to change the event itself . The problem I had with the story was that it just seemed to lack any point. Yes, there are mysteries and family secrets, but they either don't get solved, or there just doesn't seem to be a reason for them. Plus the way it jumped between different memories really wasn't as seamless as it could have been and it gave the narrative a very jerky sensation. At the end of the story it just left me with an empty and unresolved feeling.

I have to say I did love some of the authors descriptions. They really brought the house and characters to life. However, even while I was being pulled into the authors world, there were times that the descriptions seemed to trip over themselves. I'm not sure if this is the fault of the author, or a fault in the translation. I felt while I was reading that it probably was more something that was lost in translation, since I have had similar issues with other translated works as well.