23 June 2014

Exclusive sneak peak on The WishKeeper and the sequel The WishMaker in honor of International Fairy Day! (Including a deal)

Since June 24 is International Fairy Day, the author Maximilian Timm has chosen to share the first chapter of The WishKeeper (that's on sale for .99 right now) and the unreleased sequel called The WishMaker. I read the WishKeeper back in April I believe and I absolutely loved it, you can read my review here.

Series: The Paragonia Chroniclees #1
Publication date: November 12, 2013
Publisher: Lost King Entertainment Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 356
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Goggles, Goggled

Ten Years Ago

“Wings tucked, Private!” Shea’s mother playfully ordered.
The frozen sap of the evergreen clung to Shea’s bare feet as if the icy tree was trying to keep her in one place. It was Wishing Eve in the Makers’ world - The Other Side, as the WishKeepers called it. A night when all WishKeepers would leave their secret world of Paragonia and cross through the Gates to tend to their WishMakers in celebration of opportunity; the opportunity to collect millions of wishes and sustain the harmony between their world and the Makers’. It was the most important night of the year, but for Shea, it was a night that would define her.
It was the night a True Love Wish was destroyed. It was the night her wings were ripped from her delicate shoulders. It was the night her mother died. And the sap of the evergreen tugged at her toes, begging her not to move. She should have listened.
She played along with her mother’s orders as Elanor stood in front of her little fairy daughter, fists at her hips.
“Check! Yes, ma’am,” Shea replied, standing upright and tucking her wings straight behind her.
“Goggles goggled?” her mother asked, stern.
Shea adjusted oversized aviator goggles around her eyes, “Check!”
“Wishes made?”
“Wishes granted!” she said as she stiffened a salute at her forehead.
Shea eyed an identical smile that rimmed her mother’s lips as the setting sun of The Other Side silhouetted Elanor’s graceful wings.
“I have to go to work,” Elanor said with a deep breath. It was her daughter’s first time on The Other Side, and Shea could sense that her mom regretted not being able to stay with her all night.
Shea loved the feeling of the slow, gentle swipe of her mother’s fingers as they gently tickled her forehead, moving the thick red mane out of her eyes. Despite never wanting to admit it, there was an immeasurable eagerness within Shea’s little body to become her mother. Every ounce was desperately impatient to be just like her. Shea watched her mom buzz her wings and prep for a quick launch.
“Hey…Mom?” Shea stopped her. She felt compelled to say something, but the words dangled from her tongue.
Elanor waited for one last peep from her eager daughter.
“I…I mean. Never mind.” Shea smiled, bashful.
“I won’t be long,” she said, noticing the eagerness of adolescence pouring from her daughter’s eyes. “You are going to be a wonderful WishKeeper someday. But it’s not today, honey. Please…promise me you’ll stay here.”
Little Shea nodded as wishes darted through the park behind Elanor. The impulse to fly after each and every one of them was overwhelming as Shea watched her mother zoom out of the tree and into the sea of colorful wishes. Purple, blue, pink and green - the wishes danced and darted through the park. Their playfulness was intoxicating. The evergreen did its best to keep her little feet stuck to its branch, but as much as she wanted to be a good fairy and follow her mother’s orders, Shea couldn’t deny her innate impulse to explore.

Present Day

It was ten years ago, but the edges of her nightmares had only sharpened. There are signposts to every memory; checkpoints that Shea forced herself to remember so that the in-betweens of that particular night were never forgotten. The little goggles game. The bleeding red of her father’s tunic as he said goodbye to his wife just before she destroyed the True Love Wish. How the wind that swirled around her was black and wet, and the face that stretched out of it…the skull-grey color of their WishingKing’s face. How easily her beloved wings were torn from her back as the bright red explosion of the wish blinded her.
Bouncing between signposts allowed her to fill in the gaps of her memory and strengthen the anger, resentment and frustration as she lay in bed, fighting sleep. And though her thoughtful run from checkpoint to checkpoint always started with the relentless tug from the sap of the evergreen, the fire that fueled it all was not an image but an incessant reminder.
Had Shea known it was to be the last time she would have a conversation with her mom, she might have said it. She might have pushed through the little barrier in her heart that kept her safe - safe from expressing anything remotely vulnerable. She might have fought the urge to hold back the three words that, for years to come, she would grow accustomed to hating. Instead every night she would wonder if saying those three words would have made a difference.

It was impossible for Shea to release such imagery from her mind. It was impossible for her to forgive her parents for destroying a True Love Wish. And it was impossible to forget that she never told her mom she loved her.

Now to the exclusive sneak peak!
Chapter 1 - Family Secrets

To my Little “M” -

There are things in this world that are difficult to explain. Things that can be seen and things that cannot. I have seen plenty that I wish I hadn’t, but I have seen even more that I will always cherish. Your blossoming family is one thing I wish I could see more of, but not all wishes can come true.

Creating a will can be such a depressing process - to whom do I leave my most prized possessions? Do I even have possessions worthy of such a loving family as my own? Your grandmother always wished for you to be a mother. She and I knew that you would one day be a lovely one. Since that wish has already come true, I wonder what greater gift I can leave for you when I pass. There is one thing, and though it does not carry the worth of our little Ada, your young family will, I’m sure, find a good use for it.

Our family has held a one-acre plot of land in the city for three generations. It is needless to say that we have been offered sizable sums for the land, and yet I have not been able to part with it.

M, there is something special about the acre that I cannot share with you here. But since it now belongs to you, I am confident you will realize its importance soon enough.

I will see you on the other side.

With the truest of love,

Grandpa George

P.S. Ada will know

Miranda set the letter on the end table and sat back on the couch. She sighed, hiccupping through the aftermath of a good cry. Her grandfather George was 93 years-old. A World War 2 veteran, he stormed the beaches at Normandy, he survived the Battle of the Bulge, and he fell in love with his high school sweetheart. Grayson had called her earlier in the week to give her the news that Grandpa George had passed away and even though her grandpa’s health had been slowly failing, it was nevertheless a shock.
                      “Oh, God, I’ll miss him,” she sighed as Grayson joined her on the couch.
                      He placed his hand on her knee and joined her in a heavy breath. “I didn’t know your family owned an acre of land. In the city? I can’t believe they held on to it for so long,” he said. “And ‘Ada will know’? What’s that mean?”
                      “Grandpa George loved riddles, even though he was terrible at telling them,” she giggled. “He left an address. It’s actually not that far from our apartment. I can’t believe my mom never told me about it.”
                      “We’ll take a look over the weekend,” Grayson replied.
                      Miranda leaned her head on Grayson’s shoulder. They stared at George’s letter and Miranda’s portion of the will. It was strange that a man who had lived so fully was now just the simple contents of an envelope. It felt too organized and formal for a man who had done so much, but then again, funerals always do.

George Anderson, at 20 years of age, stood up from within his foxhole and aimed a frozen rifle at an incoming storm of bullets and shrapnel. He shivered and not only because of the frozen forest that surrounded him. Fellow soldiers cried out. His superior officers screamed orders. The wounded begged for help over muffled rifle blasts. It all needed to end. The nightmare needed to stop, but despite his weapon, despite his orders, and despite his military training, the only thing he could think of doing was to make a wish. So he did. He wished so deeply he could feel his heart pound in his chest every time he said the word. “I wish,” he repeated out loud. “I wish!”
                      And so George Anderson, on a war torn battlefield, made a True Love Wish. Never had a True Love Wish been made without the support of a second Maker, but as the beacon of red light beamed up from George and through the dying branches of the surrounding forest, his WishKeeper stood along a thick, broken branch watching. His eyes were an intense forest green, matching his long, high collared overcoat. Golden stars rimmed the overcoat’s collar and poured, one-by-one, down his chest as buttons tightly formed the coat to his muscular body. Long, wavy brown hair whipped in the blistering wind as he gripped tighter to a wooden staff wand that was almost as tall as he. Norderon of Greenway was unbending against the frigid wind. His wings, a bright fluorescent green, spread out behind him, massive for such a small creature.
                      The powerful WishKeeper effortlessly wrangled George’s wish, flew the charged red light up to George’s chest, and softly spoke, “Until the end of days, my Maker, you will have me by your side.”

After the war ended and George Anderson returned home to his young wife and a changed world, he never told a soul what he saw in the forest that day. He never told anyone that a fairy spoke to him.
He never shared what he saw…until, a few weeks before his death, at 93 years of age, he watched his great granddaughter hand him a gift. The gift shined in the little girl’s hands. It gleamed a bright blue light and an unmistakable smile radiated from the little ball of blue energy.
He watched his granddaughter hand him a wish.

14 June 2014

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Series: Adaptation #1
Publication date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: YA Sci-fi
Format: egalley
Source: I recieved a copy from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Pages: 400

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Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.

Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.

Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.

Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.

I have to admit that I pressed the "read now" button on netgalley by mistake - but I'm glad I did. I was interested in this book for multiple reasons; the main reason was probably the cover and when I found out that this was a science fiction novel I couldn't help myself and I started reading it almost immediately.

The summary doesn't really tell you that much about what you can expect - and I'm not going to spoil anything because I went into this book without knowing anything and I quite like that.

It took me a while to get into it, I read the first couple of pages a couple of times before I really got into it - the first couple of pages are pretty weird. But when you really start reading it and are about 10% in that's when you really start enjoying it - I think. This book is also pretty fast paced - I kept wanting to read on and find out what happens next and I read this in 2 days - which isn't that bad.

Let's talk about Amber Gray - the new friend Reese makes when she returns home - I liked her. She is so quirky and how can you not like a girl with pink hair who doesn't care about other people's thoughts, oh and by the way, Amber is a lesbian (a detail I love). So Amber and Reese become friends and SPOILERthey become lovers!SPOILER. I loved their relationship, Amber drives Reese crazy and out to the edge - she changes her in a positive way and I just enjoyed those two together.

I love how there is "different" relationships and not just boy-girl - there's actually a gay guy called Julian (who's Reese's best friend), Amber who's a lesbian and Reese who's a bisexual. Even though we live in 2014 there aren't that many books with "these kinds" of relationships - at least not in the popular and hyped up books. Even when it's side characters that are homosexual I seem to enjoy the book a bit more, I like when there's "different" relationships instead of just family, friends and boyfriend and girlfriend.

I gave this book a 4 heart rating - the last heart was probably because of the LGBT edge (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual).

13 June 2014

Paradigm by Ceri A. Lowe

Series: Paradigm #1
Publication date: June 13, 2014
Publisher: Bookotoure
Genres: YA Dystopia
Format: eArc
Source: received from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 382

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  What if the end of the world was just the beginning?

Alice Davenport awakens from a fever to find her mother gone and the city she lives in ravaged by storms – with few survivors.

When Alice is finally rescued, she is taken to a huge underground bunker owned by the mysterious Paradigm Industries. As the storms worsen, the hatches close.

87 years later, amidst the ruins of London, the survivors of the Storms have reinvented society. The Model maintains a perfect balance – with inhabitants routinely frozen until they are needed by the Industry.

Fifteen-year-old Carter Warren knows his time has come. Awoken from the catacombs as a contender for the role of Controller General, it is his destiny to succeed – where his parents failed.

But Carter soon discovers that the world has changed, in ways that make him begin to question everything that he believes in. As Carter is forced to fight for those he loves and even for his life, it seems that the key to the future lies in the secrets of the past...

I absolutely love dystopia but somehow this book fell a bit flat.. I have no idea whether I want to read the next book or not but maybe you can help me decide that!

Something that I had a hard time understanding in the beginning was the point of views. It is told from two different point of views and what I discovered was that the girl, Alice, is from BEFORE and the boy, Carter, is after - exactly 87 years after. So every other chapter is kind of the background story without really being a background story and the other chapters are set even farther in the future. So keep that in mind while reading it, especially since it took me quite a while to figure it out for sure.

Normally I don't read dystopians with global warming thrown in, so this was a first. I don't know if I actually enjoyed it but it was a nice change anyway. So what actually happens is that it starts raining, and it's not just normal rain. This rain is toxic and make people do weird things and then they die. The rain doesn't stop though, it keeps raining and soon everything is flooded - regular houses doesn't survive, Alice only survived because she lived on the 9th floor!
This company called Paradigm Industries has somehow built a bunker so people can survive, but people who are rescued and taken to this place aren't going to see the sun for years since the Storms only gets worse.. It's kind of depressing.

So 87 years in to the future people are frozen (don't ask me why) and they have to spend some time that way until "their time comes" and they wake up and can create a new life. Our main characters Carter is frozen and stays that way for 15 years, when he wakes his kids are 15 years old just like him (he got a girl pregnant the night before he was scheduled to be frozen) and he has to adapt to society once again.

Needless to say; things start happening and of course Carter doesn't know what to do - should he do what's expected of him or what he wants to do and may believe in?

So that was the general plot and story line, let's move on . I really liked Alice, she was so wise for such a young girl and she said so many things that are basically life lessons, and she somehow reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. I mean look at it this way; she is thrown into this bunker - the rabbit hole and when she gets to the surface years later everything has changed = Wonderland. I know it far fetched, but I think people that have read the book will know what I'm talking about.

I settled on a 3 berry rating for this book.. I was thinking about 4 but it just didn't do it for me. I was bored at some moments and there wasn't really anything I absolutely loved about this book...

7 June 2014

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Series: N/A Standalone
Publication date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Format: eArc
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 272

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In this #1 international bestseller, a young woman leaves everything behind to work as a librarian in a remote French village, where she finds her outlook on life and love challenged in every way.

When Miss Prim, an independent, accomplished young woman, reads an ad in the newspaper seeking a feminine spirit to work as a librarian in the lush countryside of France, she finds herself compelled to apply. Little does she know what kind of world she is about to step into.

Miss Prim dutifully accepts the job and begins organizing her employer's vast library. A knowledgeable, mysterious gentleman with very specific opinions about life, he challenges Miss Prim's seemingly unshakeable disposition. And as she becomes familiar with the other townspeople, she begins to realize that the surprising lifestyle of the town awakens amazement, perplexity, and even disdain in her. For in this tiny corner of the world, a flourishing colony of exiles have settled into a simple, rural existence, living around great literature, intellectual discussions, family, and sweet indulgences. Their peculiar and unconventional ways slowly test Miss Prim's most intimate ideas and fears as well as her most profound convictions. She quickly comes to realize that her advanced degrees did little to prepare her for the lessons she's being taught the least of which is a lesson in love.

Set against a backdrop of steaming cups of tea, freshly baked cakes, warm fires, and lovely company, The Awakening of Miss Prim is a delightful, thought-provoking, and sensitive novel that gives rise to theories about love and companionship, education, and the beauty of every passing moment.

I only requested this because it was listed as a new adult, it’s said in France and the story is all about books – or at least our main character is a librarian. Unfortunately I found out – while reading – that this is definitely not a new adult book, it’s an adult book and that’s not always my cup of tea. But I blame netgalley for not listing books properly!

I really enjoyed the story, I love France and it’s been a dream destination of mine for years so reading a book set in France is something I cherish. I liked the town of San Ireneo, a small town where everyone knows everyone and all the quirkiness that existed within the borders. I loved how people took upon themselves the jobs that where missing, for example if there was a bookstore missing someone would open a bookstore – they didn’t need to have any experience, they just did it because the town lacked that certain profession.

I don’t know if I like our main character Prudencia Prim, she’s quirky, clever and witty but she’s also quite annoying sometimes. Nonetheless I liked her knowledge of literature, I liked that she stood up for herself and I adored her for not thinking she needed a husband to depend on.
Even though there is several characters in this book, I didn’t really feel that I got to know them that well. Her employer is called  The Man in the Wingchair, and his mother is cleverly known as The Man in the Wingchair’s Mother, we also have all the people from town but I had a hard time figuring out who was who.

Something I loved in this book was when Jane Austen was the center of the conversation, she is talked about throughout the entire novel and I cherished every moment of it, I loved how they discussed whether or not Mr. Darcy was the perfect man – and how perfect men always exist in books, as readers we can relate to that.

I gave this book 3 hearts because I did enjoy it and it’s a great one time read but it’s probably not a book I will recommend to every person I stumble upon.