Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Blitz: The Last Mission of the Living by Rhiannon Frater


Hi everyone!! Today I am taking part in the Book Blitz for Rhiannon Frater's book The Last Mission of the Living. I am so excited about this book! I have read part of it and let me tell you, it's awesome! I can't wait to buy it and read the whole thing. This blitz was organized by Xpresso Book Tours. Keep reading for an excerpt from the book and a great Blitz giveaway!


  • The Last Mission of the Living by Rhiannon Frater
  • Publication date: August 28th 2014
  • Genres: Adult, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies 
 Purchase: Amazon (link will work on release day)

Humanity teeters on the brink of extinction…

Vanguard Lindsay Rooney has faced the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge and lived to tell the tale, but she has also suffered horrible losses. Like millions of other civilians, she had hoped that The Bastion would recover after a team of modified soldiers eradicated the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge that infested their valley. Yet the city still crumbles around them, along with any chance of survival.

Lindsey’s growing friendship with Torran MacDonald, an officer with the Science Warfare division, is her only solace as the decline of the city continues. When food riots fill the streets, martial law is enacted, and the upper echelons of government battle for control of the city, Lindsey is conscripted by her superiors to embark on a dangerous mission into the dead world beyond The Bastion. To add even more complications, Torran and the SWD join the squad.

Soon, Lindsey realizes that her mission is more than what it seems, and there are secrets that could both destroy The Bastion and take her life. 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22535323-the-last-mission-of-the-living?ac=1


EXCERPT

“Sir!” Goodwin breathed.

“I see the readout.” It was impossible to conceive that the others were gone. Opening the

comm to the soldiers in the building, Torran said briskly, “Everyone report. Respond now!”

Strange guttural noises were his only answer.

Torran hit his wristlet, again switching the comm to contact Rosario’s group. “Smyth, report.”

As the other half of the squad was added to his helmet visual, he sucked in a deep breath.

They were also reported as Killed In Action. Stunned, he swallowed the hard lump forming in

his throat. What was going on?

“Sir?” Jonas queried his voice unsteady.

“Watch that door! Smyth, if you can hear me respond now!”

Through the static came the sound of someone choking.

The line hissed and buzzed for a long second, then a woman’s voice that was not Rosario’s

said, “Don’t worry. She’ll come for you.”

A wave of horror washed over Torran and plunged him into the blackest depths of despair.

They were all dead. Just like before outside the wall when the expanding perimeter fence had

failed and the Inferi Scourge had swarmed the soldiers.

“Sir?”

The sound of Goodwin’s voice tugged Torran’s attention back to the present. Staring at the

empty doorway shimmering in an ominous pale gray in the night vision filter, Torran gathered

his thoughts, and then switched the comm again. “Base, I have lost all communication with my

squad and they’re being reported as KIA. We are under attack from the abnormal Inferi Scourge.

We need immediate backup to this location.”

The popping and static echoing through his helmet sent a surge of adrenaline through his

system. For several seconds, he feared there wasn’t going to be a response, but then a voice said,

“Master Seeker, you’re to hold position until we can send a tiltrotor with reinforcements. All

units are all presently engaged.”

“We can’t hold this position,” Torran answered curtly. If the rest of the squad was dead,

then he had to save Goodwin and Jonas as well as himself. He’d been a sole survivor of a squad

before and the burden of that label still weighed on his soul.

“You have your orders to secure and hold that area,” came the reply.

“We’re dealing with a pocket of the Abscrags--”

“You have your--”

There were footsteps in the hallway.

“--and we are about to be overrun!”



About the Author

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels. In 2014, her newest horror novel, The Mesmerized, will be released by Permuted Press. Dead Spots will be published in 2015 by Tor. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets).  She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.

You can find her online at:Website: rhiannonfrater.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/astheworlddies
Twitter:  twitter.com/rhiannonfrater
Blog:  rhianonfrater.blogspot.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/rhiannonfrater/
Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com


You don't have to read the first book, The Last Bastion of the Living, to read this one, but I highly suggest it. You can purchase it at the following links.


Blitz Giveaway


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This post brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 9/2/2014
  • Series: Worldwalker Series , #1 
  • Source: ARC provided by the publisher for review
 Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20613491-trial-by-fire?ac=1

My Thoughts

This book was awesome! It had witchcraft, alternate universes, and a fantastic romance. Full of suspense and some great action, it was a really fun book to read. I really liked the characters and the way the story unfolded. I thought the descriptiveness was done well and could imagine things very clearly. It was really easy to fall into this story and get lost in the world. It was so cool seeing how different, but also the same Lily was in each of the worlds and the same with the other characters. The romance was awesome too. It was done really well with no insta-love going on.

Lily was a fabulous character. She is physically week in her world. She doesn't know about magic or any of that. She has been in love with Tristan forever and is finally getting a chance with him. That is until he cheats on her and she is broken. She then gets transported to another world that is similar to hers, but obviously not. She knows that she needs to find a way back home, and she finds help in the Tristan of that world, and Rowan who was not someone who was in her world. She learns that all the things she suffered in her world are preventable in this one. With help, she learns magic and discovers what she has to do in order to return to her life back in her world.

The romance was so good!! Rowan seems to despise her, but that is because the Lily in his world is evil and he has grown to hate her. He needs to learn that this Lily is not the same. She is not power hungry and controlling like the Lily he knows. He keeps himself at a distance, but you can feel the tension and the romance building. He is very caring and perceptive to her needs. Even though they have just met, he knows everything about her because she is Lily, just a different version of her. He can anticipate her needs before she even knows that she needs something. As he gets to know this Lily, he starts to fall for her and is afraid of it. It's all very slow and steady and I really loved that.

There was a whole lot going on in this with the magical elements and a large cast of characters, but I never felt like it was too much at once. The "bad guys" were really bad, but in a good way. I loved the whole good and evil thing and how the lines can be blurred. What is evil from one perspective, when looked at in a different way isn't all that awful. It just depends on what side you are on. I felt like I was on such a fun and dangerous adventure while reading this. The ending made me ache for more and I can't wait to continue this series. A fantastic start to what is sure to be an epic series!!!


*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekly Recap \ Stacking the Shelves (99)

*Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews

Hi loves!! Sorry I have been so absent. I have been super unmotivated lately and haven't been blogging much. My work schedule is going through changes, and I haven't been sleeping well so I've been really tired. It's been forever since I have done a StS post, so instead of putting everything I've gotten in the past month, I will just put the most recent. I want to spare you all from a ridiculously long post. Also, if you haven't noticed, I finally changed my blog name!! I need a new recap banner though because it still has my old blog name. Oops!! Also, I think that something is wrong with my laptop because it was being really weird trying to upload my video to YouTube. Anyways, moving on.




Books Mentioned

Review
 Bought
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman (I can't believe I haven't read this yet)
  • Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Loved this!)
  • The Midnight Spell by Rhiannon Frater and Kody Boye (signed copy)
Thank you to Macmillan, HarperCollins, and Edelweiss. And a big thank you to Rhiannon and Kody for signing The Midnight Spell and including some awesome signed bookmarks! :) 

Weekly Recap

I actually had quite a few posts go up this week. It's been a while since I have been consistent, and I am going to try to make sure I keep up on things for now on.

Reviews
I hope you have all had a fabulous week, and I am finally starting to be able to manage my time a little better so I should be posting more often again. Also, I am making sure I comment on blogs more since I have been slacking on that lately as well. I love all of you and I have missed being present in the blogging community.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais

  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • Source: eARC provided by the publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

The closest he will ever come to happiness is when he's hurting her. Will she let him? A beautiful and twisted story of first love and innocence lost--written when the author was just eighteen.

Sphinxie and Cadence. Promised to each other in childhood. Drawn together again as teens. Sphinxie is sweet, compassionate, and plain. Cadence is brilliant, charismatic. Damaged. And diseased. When they were kids, he scarred her with a knife. Now, as his illness progresses, he becomes increasingly demanding. She wants to be loyal--but fears for her life. Only the ultimate sacrifice will give this love an ending.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18523137-breaking-butterflies?ac=1

My Thoughts

Talk about a disturbing story. I wasn't really into this book, but the writing was just really great and had me needing to keep going. That, and as much as I didn't care for the characters, I really did want to know how it all would end. So now you're probably all thinking "If you couldn't put it down and the writing was great, why didn't you like it?". Well, the thing is, even though I kept reading, it was more that I was hoping that something would change. That the characters would grab me, that the story would somehow not be so wrong and disturbing to me. I didn't like the characters. Any of them. Sphinxie was just stupid, and Cadence is just a soulless monster. Then the parents just irritated me as well. The idea behind the story is great, but the way it all happened just didn't have the impact I think it was meant to.

Sphinxie starts off the story by telling us about how it all started. Her mom met her BFF and they planned out their whole lives. Everything that they planned has happened, staying friends, their careers, where they live, even the genders of the children they each have and what they name them. What they didn't account for was something going wrong. Sphinxie and Cadence are friends, but there is something dark in him, and he's very controlling and sometimes mean to her. After he cuts her, he and his mom move away and Sphinxie starts to move on with her life. When they find out that he is ill and dying, she knows that she needs to go be with him. Even though she is scared of him, even though she doesn't really want to. She just knows it's the right thing to do.

I never really liked her much. She was so stupid. She kept letting him push her around and do horrible things. She thought that she could bring out the good in him. She kept thinking that she saw some type of compassion or feeling that wasn't ever there. I get that she so badly wants the dream life that her mom and his planned to come true. She wants to see the plan through as much as possible, even though she knows the ending is impossible with Cadence literally counting his last days. She really does lose herself and I think that was supposed to make me feel for her, but it just wasn't there for me. I wanted so much to be emotionally attached to her and the story, I just never got to that point.

Cadence was someone I strongly disliked from the beginning. Yes, he's supposed to be charming, smart, pretty much perfect, but he was always a monster. It was obvious that something was wrong with him from the start. He thrives on other peoples pain and suffering. That is the only time he seems truly happy. If things aren't his way, he becomes impossible. He was just a horrible person that I never had any hope for and never thought that he would change, even in his last days of life.

What bothered me the most was the horrible parenting. Okay, maybe not horrible, but lack of sense from the parents. Cadence gets away with things first because his mother just kind of gives up on him changing, then when he is ill, because she feels bad punishing him or letting him know his behavior is wrong. Then Sphynxie's mom just lets her stay in another country, in the middle of a school year to be with this boy who she hadn't even talked to in years. I get that she is kind of fighting it, but she is the parent and she just thinks it's an okay idea. Even after she gets hurt at the hands of Cadence again. Her dad is not all about it, but apparently mom wins.

I am not really sure what the point of this story is. I mean, I know a lot of books don't really have a point, they just are, but this one was a bit disturbing and at the end I was thinking, "What did I just read?". I think that some people might get that emotional attachment that I was looking for and it might turn out to be a really great book for them. I think the lack of connection at all really was the thing that didn't make this book fantastic for me. The writing was really fabulous though, and that in itself gives it another star. I really enjoyed the writing and would definitely read more from this author. This book just didn't wow me like I wanted.


*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: The Swap by Megan Shull

  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • eARC provided by the publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

“YOU BE ME...AND I'LL BE YOU.”

ELLIE spent the summer before seventh grade getting dropped by her best friend since forever. JACK spent it training in “The Cage” with his tough-as-nails brothers and hard-to-please dad. By the time middle school starts, they’re both ready for a change. And just as Jack’s thinking girls have it so easy, Ellie’s wishing she could be anyone but herself.

Then, BAM! They swap lives—and bodies!

Now Jack’s fending off mean girls at sleepover parties while Ellie’s reigning as the Prince of Thatcher Middle School. As their crazy weekend races on—and their feelings for each other grow—Ellie and Jack begin to realize that maybe the best way to learn how to be yourself is to spend a little time being someone else.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19321449-the-swap?ac=1

My Thoughts

This book was so entertaining and cute. It was just the type of book I was looking for to just lose myself in and put a smile on my face. It wasn't just cute and fun though, it was very thoughtful and did cover some deeper issues. It had some of the harder things at it's core, but in the end it was really just a wonderful story about growing up and learning life things along the way.  

Ellie is a bit of a pushover. She has no confidence in herself and after being dumped by her BFF (who was really mean by the way) she goes into her first day of school feeling horrible. To make it worse, Sassy (said ex BFF) is being a total jerk. She is purposefully loud and mean saying things and laughing at Ellie. Of course Sassy is super pretty and popular. When Ellie and Jack end up in each others bodies, things get a whole lot more interesting... and awkward. Ellie really does an awesome job at playing him though. She never imagined that being a boy would be so hard. Or that she would learn so much from it. Not only about herself, but deeper life things as well. I really like who she grows to be by the end of the book.

Jack has had a tough life. Sure, from anyone else he looks like he's got a great life. He's super awesome at hockey, gorgeous, and popular. No one knows how hard his dad pushes him to be perfect, or that he is hurting from his mothers death. To him, it's like he can never be good enough or actually enjoy himself besides playing hockey. When he ends up as Ellie, he is in a whole new world. He is smothered by love by her mom, but also dealing with Sassy and her crew that are super mean girls. He won't take it though, and he won't let them treat him (Ellie) like that. He learns a lot about himself with the help of Summer, who is Ellie's mom. He also finds that Ellie is an amazing person and he has made a great friend.

Both Ellie and Jack have their own issues they are dealing with, and they are very different at handling situations. Without even knowing it, they are helping each other by letting the real them come through while being stuck as the other. This was an uplifting story that made me feel good. Though I was so irritated at Sassy and Aspen, it didn't ruin the book for me. I also love how it's so realistic to how kids that age talk and interact. It was very age appropriate and believable. If you are looking for a fun quick read that will give you all the happy feelings, this is the book for you.


*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: Amity by Micol Ostow

  • Publisher: EgmontUSA
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • Source: eARC Provided by the publisher for review
 Purchase: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

For fans of Stephen King and American Horror Story, a gruesome thriller suggested by the events of the Amityville Horror.

Connor's family moves to Amity to escape shady business deals. Ten years later, Gwen's family moves to Amity for a fresh start after she's recovered from a psychotic break.

But something is not right about this secluded house. Connor's nights are plagued with gore-filled dreams of demons and destruction. Dreams he kind of likes. Gwen has lurid visions of corpses that aren't there and bleeding blisters that disappear in the blink of an eye. She knows Amity is evil and she must get her family out, but who would ever believe her?

Amity isn't just a house. She is a living force, bent on manipulating her inhabitants to her twisted will. She will use Connor and Gwen to bring about a bloody end as she's done before. As she'll do again.

Alternating between parallel narratives, Amity is a tense and terrifying tale suggested by true-crime events that will satisfy even the most demanding horror fan.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19141361-amity?ac=1

My Thoughts

Being a fan of horror I was excited for this one. I really thought it would be kind of a retelling of Amityville horror, but unfortunately it wasn't. Yes, it has a lot of similarities, but it's a completely different story. This takes place in Massachusetts on the Concord River, where Amityville takes place in New York on the south shore of Long Island. I know that isn't a big deal, but it kept really bothering me. (Who knows, it could be about legal rights and all that jazz) It still has the similarities of the house, the boathouse, the time 3:15am holding significance, some of the events that happened, and the "red room" as it's called in this. I did like it, but I wanted more creepiness. The way it was told never really gave me the chills or made me want to hide under my blanket or turn on the lights. I liked that it was told in the "then" and "now" perspectives of different families living there. The "then" is 10 years previous and told by Connor, and the "now" is told by Gwen. Both have history of mental issues and have been seen by psychiatrists and such.

I will start off with Gwen. Her family has moved to Amity (which is what they call the house) with hopes that it will be good for Gwen. No one wants to say that she's crazy, but they all think it. They think she is fragile and that it's easy for her to get crazy ideas in her head. Her brother Luke has always been the one to stand by her. I wasn't sure if she was actually crazy or not. It was possible it was the house, and also possible that this was just a total mind f*&%. I liked that feeling of not really knowing, though I was convinced that it was totally the house.

Then we have Connor. He is possibly a sociopath. He's sweet and caring toward his sister, at least until Amity gets to him. I really liked his POV because it was entertaining to read. He is brutally honest and I loved the way he thought about things and explained things. I liked that he seems very detached from things, but is slowly being taken over by Amity. Or maybe not? Same as with Gwen, it's hard to tell whether the house is really at fault, or his mental issues.

Both stories follow the same pattern of the brother slowly getting taken over by the house. Having an obsession with the boathouse and the basement. Becoming someone else. The difference is that in Connors case, he is the one who is doing the bidding of Amity, and in Gwen's it is her brother Luke who begins acting weird and becoming mean. The two timelines are happening at the same time with it alternating back and forth as things happen. Both only being 28 days as the real Amityville was.

I was really hoping for creepy, but this just didn't do it for me. The story didn't come to life and jump off of the pages at me. It was just words on a page. I didn't feel the fear and emotion that I wanted. I was hoping for more violence and gore, but it just wasn't there. This was more psychological which isn't a bad thing, but you know how it is when you go in hoping for one thing and get another. I know that the real Amityville horror was psychological too, but it was scary where this one wasn't. This was a good solid story though. It just didn't wow me.


*An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Audiobook Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publication date: 5/27/2014
  • Series: Mortal Instruments Series , #6
  • Format: Audiobook
  • Read By: Jason Dohring and Sophie Turner
  • Length: 20 hours and 38 minutes
Purchase: Amazon | Audible | B&N | The Book Depository

*This is the final book of the series. While my review will be spoiler free for this installment, there will be spoilers from the previous books. Continue at your own risk.

Sophie Turner of Game of Thrones and Jason Dohring of Veronica Mars read the long-awaited conclusion to the Mortal Instruments series!

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian, but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance. Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change.

Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20523868-city-of-heavenly-fire

My Thoughts

This has been a series that I have really enjoyed, so I was excited to read this final installment. This was probably my least favorite of the series. I did enjoy it, but I felt like it was overly long, and could have been much more condensed. I listened to the audio of it and really enjoyed the narrators, but being that it's a very long book, the audiobook seemed to last forever. Good thing that the narrators did a great job because that's a lot of listening time. Things weren't as intense as I would have thought, but there was plenty of action and coming together of events to make it good. I have waited a long time to write this review, but it's because I am not really sure what to say. Being the 6th book in a series, it is hard to review.

I won't go into individual characters since by now we all know them well. Clary and Jace are all happy together with the exception of not being able to really embrace their relationship. With Jace having the Heavenly Fire burning inside of him, and not knowing how to control it, it makes things a little too hot when they do get a bit carried away. I love how strong their relationship is though, and they have definitely been through a lot. They know that things are going to get extremely tough with trying to take down Sebastian and knowing that it's probably nearly impossible. Especially with his Endarkened army protecting him, as well as killing off Shadowhunters. The only thing that Sebastian wants is Clary ruling by his side.

Of course I went through this book hoping for a Magnus and Alec reunion as well, and for Simon and Izzy to finally really get together. Whether either of those things happen I can't say, but there is a lot of mixed feelings and things going on. With everything else going on it's not really the first thing on their minds, but it's always there and it's done well with realistic emotional issues keeping things interesting.

There is death in this book as you would expect too. Some of it a bit heartbreaking, but not surprising since they are facing off against an incredible force known as Sebastian and his army. What makes Sebastian so scary is that he is smart. He knows how to go about things and get what he wants. The only thing he doesn't account for is not really knowing the true power of love. He thinks he can force it, make it happen. He doesn't know that love is more powerful than anything he could ever do.

The audio version of this is great. I loved both of the narrators. They both really brought the story to life. They put the emotion into the story that you don't always feel when you read it yourself. I felt like they each did the characters very well and they really made each their own. I really liked that there were two narrators for this too, even though it wasn't necessary since it's not a dual narration. It broke it up and that's a good thing with how long this is. Before things get all crazy, each has a certain set of people and scenes they are reading for. After a while I didn't notice it so much though. 

I have grown to love and hate the characters through this series and as much as a series coming to an end is sad sometimes, I was ready for this one to. I felt that the story has been told enough and it was time to wrap things up. I thought it ended well. We have a definite ending for the current things that are happening, but it's still left open to ponder what comes next. (Which I am assuming will be whatever events occur in The Dark Artifices) I was not moved to tears from this, but I did enjoy it and think that overall this was a great series and a great final installment.


*An audiobook copy of this was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation.