Spotlight Friday (60)

Hey guys!  Look at me go!  Two Spotlights on back to back weeks!  I know I keep saying this, but I really hope I can get a review up this weekend.  My homework load is a little lighter this weekend, so I’m hoping I can squeeze it in.  Let’s see!

The Essence (The Pledge, #2) by Kimberly Derting

Release Date: January 1, 2013

*DEFINITE series spoilers ahead!  Proceed with caution!*

Summary (from Goodreads): At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.

Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.

What’s To Like: There’s something about this series (and really, all of Kimberly Derting’s works) that draws me in.  She could probably write the phone book and I would read it.  This series just has so much action and emotion poured into a couple hundred pages.  I love it.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in store for Charlie.

My review of The Essence.

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Release Date: January 1, 2013

Summary (from Goodreads): This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

What’s To Like: Ok, so I’m not the biggest fan of Alice In Wonderland, but I love the concept of it all, which is why I’m really excited for this.  Like seriously, you have no idea.  I love that it throws in the new twist of Alice Liddell and mental health.  I love that she’s supposed to fix Alice’s mistakes.  That’s pretty different.  And I really want to meet this Morpheus.  Really badly.

My review of Splintered.

The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2) by Maureen Johnson

Release Date: March 28, 2013

*Potential series spoilers ahead*

Summary (from Goodreads): After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades— the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

What’s To Like: As one of those weird people that likes to be creeped out by books, this series is fantastically up that dark and twisted alley.  I hope it’s something really creepy and grabbing.  I’m really intrigued by this new mystery and what it means for Rory.  Plus, I’m just excited to get back to London and see what’s new there.  It’s fun to see Rory’s perspective on what life’s like there.

My review of The Madness Underneath.

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Spotlight Friday (59)

Ok, folks, I’m back!  I’m posting when I can (which, really isn’t very often, I’m afraid).  You should see what my assignment book looks like right now.  It’s the kick-off of a long weekend for me and I have more homework written there than I would like.  Oh well.  I have a couple of reviews I’m hoping to get up this weekend (since I should have time for once!).  Enjoy!

Reached (Matched, #3) by Ally Condie

Release Date: November 13, 2012

*Be forewarned, this is the final book in the trilogy.  Series spoilers in the summary*

Summary (from Goodreads): After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising–and each other–Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again. 
In this gripping conclusion to the #1 “New York Times” bestselling Matched Trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

What’s To Like: Conclusions for series can go one of two ways: it can be amazing or it can be more along the lines of “That’s it?”  I’m really hoping this goes to the “amazing” side, because I haven’t felt like the last two books were as good as they could be.  So I’m really hoping for an improvement there.  Also, I’m just really excited to finish off another series.

My review of Reached.

Touched (Sense Thieves, #1) by Corrine Jackson

Release Date: November 27, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads): Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.

Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.

What’s To Like: Ok, so I am pretty much in love with this premise.  I mean, I love the idea of having someone heal others through touch.  It’s a power that gets a little attention every now and again in books, but it’s never been the main focus.  Now it is and I’m really excited about it.  And I really want to know about this Asher.  I’m a little confused so far on what it means to be a Protector and how this immortality thing works, but I’m sure the book will explain it.  I love the sense of danger I get from the last line.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Release Date: December 18, 2012

Summary (from Goodreads): When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, something about her has changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. 
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. 
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her–East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. 
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

What’s To Like: I am insanely curious to know what Ruby’s ability is!  Obviously, it’s dangerous.  Weapon-level dangerous.  I’m very intrigued by it and I’d really like to know what it is.  I really want to see how this world is set up (and what this disease is that kills so many kids).  I’m curious about this entire world being created.  What makes these kids threats?  Why is locking them up going to help?  Who is being helped by having them locked up?  We’ll have to see in two months’ time.

Madly (Madly, #1)

First Lines: I looked out the classroom window, wishing I was outdoors enjoying the ambient conditions of Slumber, conditions that I’d come to love in a relatively short amount of time.  If I closed my eyes, I could almost feel the humid sea breeze ruffling my hair, the hot sun shining down on my face.

In this crazy year that I’ve been having, it’s been very hard for me to finish books because I just don’t have the time.  I picked this novella off my Kindle because it was really short and I knew it wouldn’t take near as much time as a normal novel.  Admittedly, I forgot what it was about before I started it, so that was a shock.

Madly James is your average 18 year old princess.  Madly’s interning on land until a prison break in her home, Atlas, endangers everything and everyone she holds dear.  The prisoners, known as the Lore who are the spirits of fairy tales, are now on their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.  Madly is the only one who can stop them.  With the help of her two best friends and Sentinel Jackson Hamilton, Madly will do what she can.  But while Jackson is the best qualified for the job of protecting Madly, he is the last person she wants around her.  Because Madly loves Jackson, but she can never have him…

So, this, being a novella, meant that it was incredibly short.  Less than 100 pages, I believe.  It was really hard to find character development and good plot movement in this.  By the time you’re introduced to most of the characters, you’re 25% or more into the book.  There’s just no room for us to learn their character and then expand on that in the space available.  And the plot movement…that felt more like random info dumps.  Like, “Oh look, suddenly this previously unmentioned plot point is going to be incredibly important!”

The story itself isn’t bad.  Madly is an interesting character and the world being created is pretty different.  I wasn’t expecting it to go the way it did.  It was really hard to get into some of the story, considering it moved so fast and, as I mentioned, there wasn’t a lot of development.  I haven’t decided whether or not I want to read the next novel yet.