Sunday, May 1, 2016

YA Spine Poetry

Spring has finally arrived and the sun is shining. So I was in the mood for a little light poetry (and after another involuntary blogging break a new blog design, too). Aren't YA titles just destined to be made into a poem? 




Monday, February 15, 2016

Book Review: Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers



Title: Assassin's Heart
Author: Sarah Ahiers
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: February 2nd 2016
Length: 400 pages
Keywords: YA, fantasy, romance, murder, family
Source: Publisher

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay. (Goodreads)






Set in the kingdom of Lovero, ASSASSIN'S HEART introduces us to a world where killing means honor and death resurrection. Lea Saldana is a Clipper, an assassin from one of the nine Families who rule Lovero. She is well trained and clever. So how come love blinded all her assassin senses and got her entire Family killed? 

Her love to Val, a boy from the rival Family of the Da Vias, could be the thing that destroyed her family. What a dramatic plot! I was intrigued when I first heard about ASSASSIN'S HEART, especially about the emotional world of our protagonist Lea that would be sent into turmoil after the alleged betrayal by Val. That part of the story was a very interesting mind game, too. Like Lea, the reader doesn't know for a long time if Val's betrayal was real or if someone played a game with the young lovers' hearts. The revelation of this mystery and the direction in which the story was headed was promising at first, sadly losing its appeal in between and recapturing my attention towards the end. And the ending wasn't one I could've foreseen. Sure Sarah Ahiers gets plus points for writing surprising story turns, still I would've wished for a more romantic ending for Lea and Val. 

Sarah Ahier's debut novel isn't directly a Romeo & Juliet re-telling, but it features some of the key elements of the original story. Of course there are star-crossed lovers Lea and Val and the feuding families. There is also a priest that helps Lea find her way. Then there's still so much more to the story. A big part of ASSASSIN'S HEART, Lovero and its history are built on strong religious beliefs. In Lovero assassins kill people to honor their Goddess Safraella and the entire story is filled with mentions of this cult and its practices and what happens when someone disobeys the great Goddess. Religion is what lends Lea's existence and her actions its true meaning. 
   Lea's story is an emotional rollercoaster. She feels betrayed and seeks revenge. At the same time she's in love with someone she should want to kill. Sarah Ahiers did a good job portraying all these inner conflicts in Lea and expressing them in her actions and moves. 

In addition the story has a paranormal touch. And it's a scary one. There are ghosts roaming the plains outside the main cities in Lovero. If they spot or come near you, you are as good as dead. Strangely, Lea has a special gift that allows her to feel something different than fear around these ghosts. More about that and Lea's journey through Lovero you better find out yourself.

We learn a bit about Lea's family (biological) and her Family (her clan, defined by their solidarity) and Val's Family story as well. There would've been some room for one or two subplots exploring the relations between the other seven Families, too, while some parts of the story as it was felt redundant and kind of repetitive. 
   When I read ASSASSIN'S HEART I was expecting to read a standalone. Lea's story has an ending but it's part open, too. So I'm curious if there will be a sequel. I'd definitely give it a try because I liked the overall feel of Sarah Ahiers debut and its premise.



 


3,5/5 ***/* ASSASSIN'S HEART - An explosive debut about murder, heart-break and vengeance with ghostly fantasy elements!

Sarah Ahier's debut is a sure recommendation for YA fantasy readers! Her writing is engaging as is her world building. The conflict of the star-crossed lovers just sucks you into the story. A story that promises a mix of extraordinary religious beliefs, paranormal activity and action-packed duels between rival Clipper Families. And don't forget the most important part of the story: Lea's heart which is torn between revenge and love. Will she have it both in the end and triumph or perish as the last of the Saldana Family? Grab a copy of ASSASSIN'S HEART to find out!








 "Yes, my mother had tried to kill me again tonight. But she'd done it to make me a better clipper. In her own, twisted way she was protecting me by making me stronger. If Val's Family ever tried to kill him, they'd make sure he wouldn't have an antidote." – p. 16








ASSASSIN'S HEART by Sarah Ahiers you might enjoy RUINED by Amy Tintera, REIGN OF SHADOWS by Sophie Jordan or THE MURDER COMPLEX by Lindsay Cummings about a quest for revenge, star-crossed lovers and a murderous society.








* Click here to read an excerpt of ASSASSIN'S HEART.

* For more information about Sarah and her books visit www.falenformulatesfiction.blogspot.com.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

February & March 2016 ARC Giveaway - 4 winners



I'm kicking-off my first giveaway in 2016 today and am very excited for you to win and read these four beauties pictured above! They are ARCs I got at Frankfurt Book Fair last year and the copy of Holly Bourne's newest release was sent to me by Usborne. The giveaway is international and ends on February 23rd (my birthday). There will be 4 winners, just tell me which ARC you'd like to win in the widget. Good luck!


Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. 
Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is. 



Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble
 Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.



Summerlost by Ally Condie

It's the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar. 



How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber's hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.
And then there's prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard.



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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Book Review: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner


Title: Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pulishing Date: December 1st 2015
Length: 432 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, sci-fi, romance, friendship, space travel, war
Source: Bought

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.


Summary by Goodreads 






THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT was one of my most anticipated books to be released in 2015. It's been a long wait until I could finally start the third book in the STARBOUND trilogy but it was so worth it! In each instalment Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner introduced us to a new pair of protagonists who were always very likely to fall in love. And THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT is no different. We have the pleasure to meet Sofia, a real con artist, and Gideon, the universe`s most skilled hacker. Their first meeting is just as explosive and heated as Lilac and Tarver and Jubilee and Flynn's first encounters in the previous books. What a dynamic jump into the story!

What I loved most about THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT is that we get to meet our two other favourite STARBOUND couples again. Lilac and Tarver have been there from the very beginning of the story and they are there when it all comes to an end. Just like Jubilee and Flynn, who are at the side of their best friends when the final battle decends upon them. Sofia and Gideon are the perfect addition to this group of friends. They fit together so naturally you can't but adore them.
   Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner write the best characters anyway! Their writing in general is so vivid and strong I can't help getting sucked into their stories again and again... and again.

So much has happened since THESE BROKEN STARS and I couldn't be happier about THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT finally uniting the stories of our six beloved STARBOUND protagonists. The conspiracy dots are connecting to constellations and the story is striving towards a finale like a super nova. In the end THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT is a brilliant and very fulfilling conclusion to the STARBOUND series, solving the mystery of the whispers we encountered in the first book and inducing the big showdown of our friends against the power-hungry Roderick LaRoux.

THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT has so much to offer. We get to explore the planet of Corinth, which creates a rich and diverse background to our story. There is this very sweet love story between Sofia and Gideon and the friendship between all of our STARBOUND heroes. In addition lots of hacking business, chases and battles are upping the thrill factor to maximum.
   The stories of THESE BROKEN STARS, THIS SHATTERED WORLD and THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT connect to one big and brilliant reading experience. And the last book in the STARBOUND series really ends on a beautiful and hopeful message. Thank you Amie and Meagan!






5/5 ***** THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT - A stellar, quick-witted and very beautiful conclusion to my favourite space trilogy! 

With the STARBOUND trilogy Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner created a marvellous reading experience for every fan of...well, words. Yes, THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT and its companions are that good! I'm in love with every fibre of Amie and Meagan's STARBOUND universe!







"I slide my other hand past the hacker's lap, toward the door controls, the movement quick but smooth. The driver's going to get over his confusion and outrage at some point, and I need to get the door open so we can bolt. I'm about to palm the scanner when the boy's lips curve under mine  – he's smiling, grinning – and it's the only warning I get before he's parting his lips and taking full advantage of my ploy by trying to stick his tongue down my throat. 
Asshole." – p. 32








THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT you might enjoy AVALON by Mindee Arnett, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis and  GLITCH by Heather Anastasiu.







* Read THIS NIGHT SO DARK, the prequel to THIS SHATTERED WORLD.

* Click here to read an excerpt of THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT!

* For more information about Amie and Meagan visit www.meaganspooner.com and www.amiekaufman.com.




Monday, January 4, 2016

Books Read in 2015

Happy New Year 2016!
I'm wishing us all many wonderful reads, joy and happiness for this new year. Let's make it a good one together! 

In 2015 I didn't read as many books as I might have wanted. Still, I'd call it a year with great experiences, travels and even a few five-star reads. I read 66 books in total. Eight of them were debut novels. I finished six book series and started four new series. My reading goal for 2016 is to read at least 75 books and read all of my top ten most anticipated books. Below is a list of the books I read in 2015. What books were on your reading list of 2015?


January


Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan 4/5 stars
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher 4/5 stars
Heat of the Moment by Lauren Barnholdt 3/5 stars 
Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel 4/5 stars
Lies I Told by Michelle Zink 2,5/5 stars
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay 4,5/5 stars JANUARY FAVOURITE
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand 4/5 stars



February 


After Hours by Claire Kennedy 2/5 stars
Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor 4/5 stars
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard 5/5 stars FEBRUARY FAVOURITE




March


The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill 3,5/5 stars
Invincible by Amy Reed 2/5 stars 
The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski 4/5 stars MARCH FAVOURITE



April


Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca 2,5/5 stars
Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally 4/5 stars 
The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan 2,5/5 stars 
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios 5/5 stars APRIL FAVOURITE




May


Unleashed by Sophie Jordan 4/5 stars
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord 4/5 stars
Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson 3/5 stars
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West 5/5 stars MAY FAVOURITE
Paper Towns by John Green 3/5 stars
Until the Beginning by Amy Plum 4/5 stars
The Two of Us by Any Jones 3,5/5 stars



 
June


Dumplin' by Julie Murphy 3/5 stars
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler 4/5 stars
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han 3,5/5 stars
Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil 3/5 stars
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith 4/5 stars
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead 4/5 stars
The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead 4/5 stars
The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead 4/5 stars
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead 4/5 stars
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead 5/5 stars JUNE FAVOURITE



July


The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead 3,5/5 stars 
Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham 3,5/5 stars
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney 3/5 stars
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen 4/5 stars
The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher 2/5 stars
#scandal by Sarah Ockler 3/5 stars 
Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer 3,5/ stars
Light of Day by Allison van Diepen 2,5/5 stars
Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger 4/5 stars JULY FAVOURITE



August


Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller 4/5 stars
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff 4/5 stars
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch 4/5 stars AUGUST FAVOURITE




September


Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown 3,5/5 stars SEPTEMBER FAVOURITE
The Replaced by Kimberly Derting 3/5 stars



October 


Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins 5/5 stars OCTOBER FAVOURITE
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick 3,5/5 stars
The White Rose by Amy Ewing 4/5 stars 
The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan 3/5 stars
Future Perfect by Jen Larsen 2/5 stars
The Sun in Her Eyes by Paige Toon 3/5 stars
Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler 3/5 stars



November


The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black, Cassandra Clare 3/5 stars
Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie 4/5 stars
Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray 5/5 stars NOVEMBER FAVOURITE
Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales 3/5 stars
The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens 3/5 stars
Brooklyn Girls: Angie by Gemma Burgess 4/5 stars
Brooklyn Girls: Coco by Gemma Burgess 4/5 stars
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella 3/5 stars



December  


The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella 3/5 stars
Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra Manning 3/5 stars
Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner 5/5 stars DECEMBER FAVOURITE