Friday, December 29, 2017

Blackout (T.O.E. Trilogy Book 2) by Al Stone

Blackout is the second book in the YA fantasy T.O.E. trilogy. The author sent me this book to review. Charlie's life is not going well for him. Even though he has the Legion of light and the Talisman to protect him, trying to save mankind is harder than he thought. His visions of the future intrude, and soon he can barely tell the difference between reality and dreams.

He thinks his powers are just activating, but he is really showing signs of a deadly disease. Worse, his nemesis, Gaddis, plans on spreading the disease to all humans and ending mankind. In order to save humanity, Charlie must find the Stone of Raphael, the air diamond. It has healing powers. But Gaddis will stop at nothing to destroy Charlie's family and everyone he loves.

I absolutely loved Blackout, and I'd gladly read it again! Every page grabbed me into their world, and it was really hard to put down! The imagery and suspense in Blackout were even better than the previous book, The Talisman of El

Everybody's emotions were way more intense. Every character is highly stressed throughout the book and leads to lots of revelations about who they truly are. Readers explore Alex's varying emotion and the chaos in her family. Charlie loves Alex, and I loved watching him try to protect her and face his feelings about her. This book goes faster paced, and the battles with demons and evil angels explode into what felt like a live-action movie. 

The mystery aspect was highly internalized for Charlie. Again, he's trying to figure out who he is. He is constantly debating with who he once was as an angel and who he is as human. Not to mention the whole good-vs-evil thing. It is quite overwhelming for him to attempt to control destiny.

I highly recommend this book, and I look forward to reading the next book, Ground Zero

Read my review of the previous book, The Talisman of El!

Title: Blackout
Author: Al Stone
Publisher: Centrinian Publishing Ltd
Pages: 449
Series: Yes, Book 2/3
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten YA New Books in 2018

One of the most exciting things on any day of the year is reading a new book! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish blog. If you want to participate, click here. The theme for this week is Top Ten New Releases I'm Looking Forward to in 2018.

I really want to read all of these exciting new YA books! The following are in order by the expected release date, with the earliest listed first.

You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Release Date: January 2, 2018 (YA realistic fiction)
18-year-old twins Adina and Tovah both had bright futures ahead of them. Until one of them tests positive for Huntington's, a rare disease where the nerves in the brain are destroyed, and the emotions come between them.

Release Date: January 30, 2018 (YA historical fiction)
This is the conclusion to the Front Lines trilogy. Rio, Frangie, and Rainy are now on their way to the Omaha beach for D-Day. The goal is to end WWII- take down the Nazis once and for all.

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener
Release Date: February 27, 2018 (YA realistic fiction)
This book tells the story of Linden, a homeless teen who is secretly living in her high school.

Release Date: March 6, 2018 (YA dystopian) 
Turns out Shatter Me wasn't a trilogy after all! Juliette was named the Supreme Commander of Sector 45, but she can still kill with a touch. Now she must figure out how to utilize her powers without hurting anybody.

Ten After Closing by Jessica Bayliss
Release Date: June 5, 2018 (YA realistic fiction)
Ten minutes after closing time at Cafe Flores, Scott and Winny become hostages. They must face their past and their fears in order to make it out alive. 

Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky
Release Date: July 19, 2017 (YA realistic fiction)
Theo Mackey lit a match that burned down his home, ending the life of his mother. It was an accident. The rest of that night he can't remember. But when a history project is assigned at his school, the memories from that night flood back, and Theo must face who he truly is and the truth about his family.

Nine by Zach Hines 
Release Date: August 7, 2018 (YA science fiction/dystopian)
In this alternate reality, everyone has nine lives and they want to burn through them. Apparently when one loses a life and rebirths, it is considered a mental and emotional "upgrade."Julian is bewildered at the desire of society to die. When he finally burns a life, he uncovers a brutal conspiracy.

Villain (Gone Book 8) by Michael Grant
Release Date: September 1, 2018 (YA Dystopian)
After reading Monster, the seventh book in the Gone series, I am ecstatic to read Villain. I can't wait nine months to read it!

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
Release Date: September 4, 2018 (YA fantasy)
Nita's mother defeats monsters and sells them on the black market. When her mother brings home a creature that is alive, she decides to follow her heart and help him escape, but Nita ends up being sold in the black market in his place. 

The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo
Release Date: September 18, 2018 (YA fantasy)
In Cottonwood Hollow, Kansas, every girl possesses a special power. For teens Rome, Lux, and Mercy, these powers are a curse. But while experiencing difficult times, they realize that friendship is the strongest power of all. 

I cannot wait to read these books! I am most eager to read Where I Live and Not Even Bones. What YA new releases are you excited to read next year?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

My Lost Brothers: The Untold Story of the Yarnell Hill Fire's Lone Survivor by Brendan McDonough with Stephan Talty

After watching the movie Only the Brave, I was eager to read My Lost Brothers, the memoir that inspired the documentary. Brendan McDonough was on lookout duty when the rest of the Granite Mountain Hotshots were burned alive on June 30, 2013. The Yarnell Hill Fire turned 180 degrees, cutting off their escape route. Their emergency fire shelters were no use against 3,000 degrees, and they all died in minutes. This was the greatest loss of firefighters since the 9/11 attack. My Lost Brothers is an inspirational memoir of how Brendan escaped the streets and turned his life around by joining the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the day he lost the 19 men who saved him.

Before watching Only The Brave, I immediately went on the computer and read all about it, unaware that the crew was going to die. After realizing that Brendan wrote a book, I knew I just had to read it!

The majority of the book was in perfect unison with the documentary. This inspirational story teaches how to find one's purpose in life, and shows how millions of firefighters, police officers, and other first-responders put their lives on the line to save others. My Lost Brothers also teaches strength in the face of tragedy, and displays the importance of acceptance and moving on. This is a great book for someone who has faced death or PTSD, or knows someone who has. I learned a lot about the values of family and determination. I now also know more about firefighters than I ever did, and I have a stronger admiration for them. This book is heartbreaking and dramatic, and honors the men who died saving others.

Even though this book is intended for adults, it is perfectly suitable for teenagers as well. I highly recommend that you read this book and honor the sacrifice of these 19 brave men.

Title: My Lost Brothers: The Untold Story by the Yarnell Hill Fire's Lone Survivor
Author: Brendan McDonough, Stephan Talty
Publisher: Hachette Books
Pages: 288
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars
Goodreads

Friday, December 15, 2017

Monster (Gone Book 7) by Michael Grant

Monster is the amazing seventh book in the Gone series, which takes place four years after the previous book. The Gone series is my favorite YA dystopian series, and I first discovered it back in 6th grade at my school library. An alien virus on a meteor attacked a nuclear power plant in Perdido Beach, California. When mixed with Uranium and human DNA, it formed a radioactive monster that called itself the Gaiaphage. It made an energy barrier that made everyone 15 and older disappear. Teens and animals also gained superpowers, and animals mutated. Four years ago, after defeating the Gaiaphage the barrier came down, children were reunited with their parents. The FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) was over.

But four years later, asteroids are hitting Earth again, with a worse alien virus. Monster is the story of the teens that mutate into monsters when ingesting the virus, and the story of the corrupt government trying to control them for experiments. Some are heroes, some are out of control. Instead of just Perdido Beach, this time it's all over the world. The only thing more terrifying than the FAYZ is when history repeats itself.

I absolutely loved this book! Michael Grant does not fail to impress! The book follows the perspectives of multiple characters, with the main characters of Shade and Dekka, a character from Gone. I loved how the book includes elements and characters from previous books. Monster is basically Gone dumped with gasoline, and it was incredible. I absolutely loved the plot! After six books, the author still manages to create new elements and revolutionize the already amazing series! I loved the concept before, and I still do. The dramatic battle and action scenes are even more gripping than before!

I really enjoyed the prospect of having to digest part of the rock to mutate instead of it happening against their will. This book really shows options, and how these teens had a choice to swallow the rock, a choice to change their lives. (Shade ate it with peanut butter.) Some are hungry for power, while some want to be the hero. Others were forced to take it by the corrupt government, like Dekka. The diversity of the characters is stronger than in the previous book because each character clearly has their own motivations.

A little detail that I liked was that Monster came out four years after Light, and the book takes place four years later. I like that it kept the time frame the same, and all the events made sense and aligned with that time jump. I also love that this book is a prime example of one of the reasons why we learn history in school, to prevent history from repeating. It will be very interesting to see how the past impacts their decisions. The last time I read the previous book, Light, was two years ago. I appreciated the balance of Monster talking about background information from previous books while not distracting from the main events.

Michael Grant has confirmed the release of two more books in this series, Villain, coming out September 1, 2018, and Hero in 2019. (Why oh why do I have to wait a whole year?)

I highly recommend that you pick up the Gone series, and/or his other series that I loved, Front LinesRead my review of the previous Gone book, Light! My Light review has links to all my Gone reviews. In the Front lines/Soldier Girl series, read my reviews of Front Lines, and Silver Stars! The third book in that series, Purple Hearts, comes out January 30, 2018.

Title: Monster (Gone Book 7)
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 576
Series: Yes, Book 7
Rating: 5 Stars
Goodreads

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (The Muse Chronicles Book 2) by Sara Crawford

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is the second YA urban fantasy book in the Muse Chronicles. This new book was sent to me by the author. Sylvia Baker used to love music. Listen to it, write it, sing it, and embrace it. She used to believe in Muses, goddesses of the arts that inspire artists such as Sylvia. But after staying in Ridgeview, Sylvia now believes that Muses' don't exist, and that Vincent was just a fragment of her imagination. She has ripped all music from her life, and tries to be a normal teen, with a job, friends, and loving nature. 

But in her dreams, she is forced to question all this, and wonders if maybe, just maybe she really is a half-muse, and maybe Vincent really did exist, as well as the war between traditional Greek Muses and modern Earthly Muses. And maybe Vincent's life is in grave danger, and Sylvia is the only one who can save him.

I loved Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, possibly even more than the first book! The cover art is stunning! I loved how in the last book, we watched Vincent save Sylvia, and now in this book, it's the other way around. Now Sylvia's the hero, a confident side of her that I adored!

It explores in more depth the damages of life without music, and expands upon the therapeutic side of singing and writing. For about the first half of the book, readers see Sylvia lost, sad, and confused, struggling to figure out who she is. Then she evolves into strength and determination, set on bringing back Vincent from an unconscious sleep. Her character development was extraordinary and her internal conflict and pain will strike a pin in the hearts of readers. I also enjoyed how the author incorporated LGBT themes, and also encouraged the acceptance of others.

I highly recommend this book, and I cannot wait to read the third and final book, You and the Night, coming out sometime in 2018!

Watch the YouTube video the author made talking about the book.

Read my review of the first book in this series, We Own the Sky.

Title: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (The Muse Chronicles Book 2)
Author: Sara Crawford
Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services LLC
Pages: 283
Series: Yes, Book 2
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Settings I Want to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish blog. If you want to participate, click here. This week's theme is Ten Bookish Settings I'd Love to Visit.

This is a really cool one for me. A good part of a story is having good imagery for the reader to be able to see the setting and put themselves in the situations. However, we don't often stop to think whether we want to be there. Below are the top ten settings I'd want to visit, in order of priority. It just so happens that all of these are from YA and middle grade science fiction and fantasy books. What book setting would you like to visit?

This is sort of a no-brainer for me. Who wouldn't want to live in a virtual world where one can live forever and shape their own reality? 

2. The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
This would also apply to the follow up series of Percy Jackson, The Heroes of Olympus, as well as The Trials of Apollo, since they have the same setting. These settings consist of a universe where the Greek Gods exist and have kids known as Half-Bloods (half human, half immortal). I would love to visit Camp Half-Blood, and I have always been fascinated with Greek Mythology.



3. The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann 
I must admit that I am doing badly with keeping up with the series, but I still love the setting. Basically, in a land called Artimé, they teach creative people to use their talents for magic. People definitely call me creative, and I would love to learn magic!


4. Backwards Glass by David Lomax
While I did not like the book, I really want to go there so I can have a mirror to travel through time! 

5. Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
This is my favorite series ever, so it stands to reason that I would want to visit there. I want to travel by light leap, be in a glittering castle, see dinosaurs, and meet gnomes and goblins and all the creatures! Actually, living there would be pretty cool, since I would have a special ability.  


6. Consider by Kristy Acevedo
Despite the very stressful circumstance, I would really want to see Earth in 2359! If I was in that circumstance, I would step through the portal. 

7. Gone by Micheal Grant
This is one of those books that I am emphasizing the word "Visit." Look, it'd be cool to visit a place with no adults for a few hours! I would not want to live in this series, but it could be fun for a while. 

8. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Again, I would not at all want to live there, but I would like to visit from a scientific standpoint of the Earth dying and studying how and why.

I would like to go see the advanced tech and find out how it is humanly possible to deal with being part robot. Seeing robots up close and personal would be pretty cool, too. 

10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
It would be a nice break to go to a school where love isn't allowed. It would be interesting to see what happens without the distractions of dating and romance in the halls and classrooms.
 

 
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