Series Spotlight: The Razorland Trilogy (ENCLAVE, OUTPOST, HORDE) by Ann Aguirre

I flew through this series in just a few days. Read book 1 in one day, book 2 in one day, and book 3 in 2 days (but only because I was getting sick; otherwise, I would have finished it in just a day as well). Guys, this is now one of my favorite series ever. And I’m the kind of reader who is usually slow at following up on sequels. Even if I love the first book, it’d take me months or years before I pick up the next book in the series. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because sequels can be potentially disappointing? Or maybe there’s just way too many books on my TBR list. *shrugs*

But this series? Yeah, 1,2,3, boom! And I was done. It’s a post-apocalyptic world crawling with zombie-like Freaks, and you’d think that would be so cliched by this point, but no. There’s great characterization, excellent worldbuilding (in that it’s such a believable scenario), and the writing is tight. The main character, Deuce, belongs to the Definitely Strong Female Protagonist list, but Ms. Aguirre wonderfully balances Deuce’s strengths with her weaknesses so that we don’t just have a kick-ass protagonist for the sake of being kick-ass, but a three-dimensional character who has a lot to learn.   

Book #1: ENCLAVE

7137327New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters–or Freaks–who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight–guided by Fade’s long-ago memories–in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.

 

 

 

Book #2: OUTPOST

10193062Deuce’s whole world has changed.

Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

 

Book #3: HORDE

10596724The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they’re not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn’t run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade’s love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn’t been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

 

About the Author:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes all kinds of books, emo music, action movies and Doctor Who. She writes all kind of fiction in multiple genres, both YA and for adults. (Source: Goodreads)

Book Spotlight: A MURDER OF MAGPIES by Sarah Bromley

I have been neglecting my blog, but only because I’ve been on a reading frenzy lately. Now that the frenzy is calming down, I thought: what better way to celebrate the awesome books I’ve read so far than to spotlight them online for the world to see? Right? And to leave reviews on Goodreads or Amazon, too. Because we all know that one way to support our fave authors is to share reviews.

So anyway, my first read this year was a YA Gothic Paranormal with Romani siblings (Vayda and Jonah Silver) for protagonists. The atmospheric writing is deliciously creepy, and the incredible (but dangerous) powers of the Silver twins amps up the stakes between life and death. I loved the mystery that surrounds their past–a mystery that has murder in it–and the way it creeps back into their present lives, no matter how hard they try to hide from it.

The story is told in two POVs, one of them from Vayda’s perspective, the other from Ward Ravenscroft, a boy who’s just as lost as the Silver twins–and just as secretive about his past. Ward gets drawn into the Silver family affair, especially with his connection to Vayda, which is much more than physical attraction but something deeper, and possibly something sinister.

Beautifully written, A MURDER OF MAGPIES is a page-turner that will keep you up late into the night. I cannot recommend this highly enough! 

 

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Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see.

No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it’s not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vayda and her family at risk.

Until someone quiets the chaos inside her.

Unwanted. That’s all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can’t explain the hold she has on him–inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn’t know what her powers can do. Yet.

Just as Vayda and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn’t so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.

Praise for A MURDER OF MAGPIES:

“Richly written, A MURDER OF MAGPIES isn’t a book to be read, but one to be devoured by the light of a dying fire. Sarah Bromley will pull readers in and have them glancing constantly over their shoulder, where the ghosts of the past await them.”
– New York Times bestselling author Heather Brewer

“A MURDER O MAGPIES is one of those books I couldn’t put down… a little bit mystery, a little bit horror, a little bit love story–there’s something for everyone on these pages. Rich, well-written, and different in a genre desperate for something a little bit different…” Hillary Monahan, author of MARY: THE SUMMONING

A deliciously, dark Gothic tale of lies, manipulation, and forbidden love. A MURDER OF MAGPIES will haunt you long after the last page is read.Cole Gibsen, author of the KATANA trilogy and THE SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERIMENT.

2K Twitter Follower Giveaway!!

I’ve reached 2,000 followers on Twitter, and as promised, I’m doing a giveaway to celebrate this milestone. What’s up for grabs?

(Click on title for book description. It’ll take you to the Goodreads site.)

HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW by Natalie Whipple

HIGH AND DRY by Sarah Skilton

THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E. Smith

NOBODY by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

photo 1 (10)  photo 1 (12) photo 2 (10) photo 2 (11)

 And also swag!!

Signed postcards of WILL THE REAL PRINCE CHARMING PLEASE STAND UP? by Ella Martin

Bookmarks of NOT A DROP TO DRINK & IN A HANDFUL OF DUST by Mindy McGinnis

Signed bookmarks of Sarah Fine’s OF METAL AND WISHES

R.C. Lewis’ STITCHING SNOW bookmark

photo 1 (11) photo 2 (9) photo 3 (4) photo 3 (5)

Book prizes come with WILL THE REAL PRINCE CHARMING PLEASE STAND UP? postcards, and are US only (because shipping is costly, and I’m not JK Rowling with money to spare)

However, swag prizes are INTERNATIONAL!

There will be multiple winners! (because I want you guys to win something)

US only Giveaway (Books + postcards):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

US & International Giveaway (Swag):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Goodluck!!

Book Spotlight: GATED by Amy Christine Parker

About the Book: YA Thriller

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Hardcover: 352 pages

Publisher: Random House for Young Readers

Release Date: August 6, 2013

Blurb (from Goodreads):

A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

Appearances can be deceiving.

In the Community, life seems perfect. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited Lyla’s family to join his group and escape the evil in the world. They were happy to be chosen, happy to move away from New York and start over in such an idyllic gated community. Now seventeen, Lyla knows that Pioneer is more than just their charismatic leader, he is their prophet . . . but his visions have grown dark.

Lyla is a loyal member of the Community, but a chance encounter with an outsider boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community—everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. Her family and friends are certain in their belief. Lyla wishes she could feel the same. As Pioneer begins to manipulate his flock toward disaster, the question remains: Will Lyla follow them over the edge?

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story of the Community from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker’s beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

About the Author:

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at amychristineparker.com and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.

My Thoughts:

Fast-paced and thrilling, GATED had me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. I was fascinated by the cult and how Pioneer, the cult’s leader, was able to manipulate and brainwash his people by tapping on their fear and emotional fragility and using it to turn them into willing captives. It’s scary.

Book Spotlight: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West

About the Book: YA Contemporary

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Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: July 2, 2013

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

About the Author:

Kasie West lives with her family in central California, where the heat tries to kill her with its 115-degree stretches. She graduated from Fresno State University with a BA degree that has nothing to do with writing. Visit her online at http://www.kasiewest.com.

Twitter: @kasiewest

My Thoughts:

I absolutely enjoyed this read! It was charming with very likable characters, and I loved the funny, sarcastic voice of the main protagonist, Caymen. The supporting cast of characters were wonderful too, and they all had their own quirks that added to their personalities. As for the love interest, Xander, I thought he and Caymen were perfect for each other. Cute and adorable are the words that come to mind when I think of this book. Two thumbs up!

There’s a paperback giveaway of this book (US only) happening over here: The YA Club. Go enter to win; your chances of winning are excellent right now.

You’re welcome.