masson_scarlet-in-the-snowBel:

Cover

A beautiful young lady in a black & white with a vine accent around the edges. Smack bang in the middle of the cover is an exquisite rose bloom in a wonderfully vivid scarlet. The title is in red, and I quite like the effect.

Characters

Magic practitioners, young women climbing the social ladder, and the stereotypical hero and heroine can be found in this one.

Favourite

Old Bony. She’s a bit of a nasty character, but her heart is in the right place.

Least Favourite

Ivan. I know this is a fairytale retelling, but seriously?

Beginning

A Beauty and the Beast retelling: girl becomes the prisoner of a beast and this is where it all gets a little too convenient.

Storyline

Girl is sent home, but things occur to make her want to go back to the beast.

Ending

Not quite the Disney version of the happy ending, but it’s close enough.

Thoughts

This was a quick read, but some things fell into the way-too-convenient basket for my liking. However, I do appreciate that Natasha is a brilliantly strong female lead character.

This would definitely be a nice entry-point to fairytale re-tellings for the middle grade crowd. But for the older YA audience, it’s just not as strong as other versions.

Quote

“Tonight, you ride in the sleigh with my pretties.” ~ Old Bony making evening plans for Natasha

 

sophie-massonKrista:

Cover

The cover had immediate appeal to me, the red really stands out with the white background and represents the story. 

 Characters

Natasha and Ivan. Beauty and the Beast, Natasha comes from  poor family, Ivan from a rich. They both come under the care of Luel for the beginning of the story and the relationships blossom from there.

Favourite

Luel, the care taker of Ivan, an intelligent and magical woman who brought a wonderful motherly element to the story.

Least Favourite

The villain. Usually, I really enjoy the drama the villain adds to this story, but with this one I just didn’t like him much.

Beginning

Natasha gets caught in a snow storm in the forest; she runs from wolves and finds sanctuary in a mansion. She finds there is nobody around and finds herself drawn to one red rose in the garden. Upon her touch, the rose falls apart and the home-owners demand repayment for their loss.

Storyline

Even though, at first, Natasha is held at the mansion until her debt has been paid, she soon learns of the mystery of the man-beast, Luel and the magic that keeps them in hiding. Natasha soon grows very fond of Ivan and Luel and wants to help him release him from the curse.

Ending

Very powerful, eventful, and big moments that really made this story a beautiful read.

Thoughts

I was a little wary at the beginning but once it really gets going, Natasha begins her travels and meeting the witch it really took off. Set in an alternate Prague, the story recreates the landscape, cultures, and languages. Great world building and characters that you really want to root for. Natasha is a strong and admirable character. I very much enjoyed this fairy tale story and highly recommend it. I love stories that take us on a trip, getting a glimpse at different cultures and social life. Great story telling all around.

Quote

For who as seen Old Bony these days? Not a single soul. Not once in a hundred years has she shown her long thin nose and sharp teeth to people anywhere.  Who knows, maybe her brand of magic, the magic you hear of from the old stories, cannot survive in our modern world of telegraphs and trains and typewriters. 



 Fukuda_TrapFrom author Andrew Fukuda comes The Trap, the explosive finale to The Hunt trilogy—perfect for fans of The Hunger Games!

After barely escaping the Mission alive, Gene and Sissy face an impossible task: staying alive long enough to stop an entire world bent on their destruction. Bound on a train heading into the unknown with the surviving Mission girls, Gene, Sissy, David, and Epap must stick together and use everything they have to protect each other and their only hope: the cure that will turn the blood-thirsty creatures around them into humans again. Now that they know how to reverse the virus, Gene and Sissy have one final chance to save those they love and create a better life for themselves. But as they struggle to get there, Gene’s mission sets him on a crash course with Ashley June, his first love . . . and his deadliest enemy.

Hardcover, 320 pages

Published November 5th 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin (first published October 24th 2013)

ISBN 1250005124 (ISBN13: 9781250005120)

 

This whole series has been a fast-paced and action-packed race for survival. In the first book, Gene has learned to control his human side and ‘hides’ out in the open among the vampires. In the second book, they run for their lives, but end up in the hills in the midst of a cult. Now, in the third book, everything must come to an end, but when they are surrounded by the millions, it’s a very close call.

I was actually surprised by how the series ended. The whole series was above and beyond my expectations and the ending was so different to what I imagined it would be. The plot comes full circle, but the story lives on inside you, open to your own possibilities–not set in stone. It was very fitting.

There are a lot of answers in this final book. Yet, there is also constant movement; it’s a race against time as increasing numbers of vampires catch up to them. I have become a huge fan of vampire stories. I have recommended this series from book one because of the great writing and constantly moving storyline. I have also become extremely fond of survival stories, especially ones where you think there is just no way that most people would find the strength to survive.

Gene, Sissy and Ashley June really make this story as much as the plot does. Ashley June is one of my favourites as every scene she was in kept me glued to the page. I do recommend this series, especially if you love vampires. This isn’t much of a romance read; it’s full of action, suspense and survival. The characters are smart and intelligent. I thought that it was different from other young adult vampire books I have read, and I found the whole series highly enjoyable.

You can also purchase The Trap in audio book.

 



Dashner_eye of mindsAn all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

Hardcover, 308 pages

Published October 8th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

ISBN

0385741391 (ISBN13: 9780385741392)

 

The Eye of Minds is a great book for gamers and those interested in virtual reality. VirtNet is a gamer’s heaven that places you right into the fantasy world by putting your physical body into a sleep state while your mind goes on adventures. It’s an addictive and safe place where you can hang out with friends or have heart-racing experiences.

There is a rumour that one of the players has started taking hostages on the VirtNet and causing brain damage to those taken. This has the government searching for the hacker and they soon contact Michael for help.

The world building is amazing; since you’re put into this game world with the addition of hackers, it is an ever-changing world that goes beyond imagination. Michael spends little time in the ‘real world’, so the majority of the story takes place within the VirtNet.

I really enjoyed the characters as well. Both Michael and the villain stood out for me, and I loved both of them equally. The story doesn’t keeps a fast pace in the race to save the hostages, and there is also an eye-opening twist ending that I didn’t see coming.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy Michael Grant or Rush by Eve Silver. It is fast-paced and full of adventure, danger, and page-turning fun.



Ormand_Dark-DaysThe future world has been divided into sectors–each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors’ thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what’s coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future.

Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she’ll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.

Hardcover, 256 pages

Published June 3rd 2014 by Sky Pony Press

 

First comes the wall and news of the new world, then comes the horrific news videos from destroyed towns. Soon the clock begins to tick down; if you have not been chosen by now, you will die.

It comes to no one’s surprise when the clock begins to count down the days. They have seen the broadcasts of the other sectors that have been destroyed. Some, like Sia’s mother, become obsessed with watching the news, fearing the future. Sia’s father practically disappears, rarely coming home and telling her he is working. Sia has her best friend, until her family wants her to spend more time in the house as the riots are going to start and they don’t want to see her harmed.

What she sees are some people being chosen and taken to the new world, while others just count the days until destruction. There is no way out because of the walls, and no use fighting because no one has ever survived. Sia does not want to sit and watch everything crumble around her. She gets the opportunity to share this feeling when a new boy appears and gives her a new view of the situation. Sia does not want to take things lying down. She wants to fight.

Sia is a courageous character, doing what no one else has done. Why not spend her last days taking action, instead of regretting doing nothing. The pace of the story is pretty fast and there are many events that take place in a short amount of time. The world building is imaginative, fun, and very sci-fi. People die, friends are made, lost connections regained, and possible love found in the darkest of times.

This is another adventurous survival story that found its way on my radar, and I do recommend it. I really enjoyed the world building, how the story came together, and the endless possibilities in what can happen next.

 



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