The Lunar Chronicles (1-4) by Marissa Meyer

★★★★☆

CinderIf you haven’t started on this series, you’ve been missing out. I listened to all of The Lunar Chronicles on audiobook this year. This YA series takes old fairy tales, and gives them a modern, futuristic twist that brings them all together.

Cinder is a cyborg, having been in a tragic accident when she was little. She works in the market as a mechanic, and one 13206760fateful day, Prince Kaito comes to her stall to get his android fixed. This sparks a friendship (and perhaps a romance?) between a regular citizen and the soon-to-be Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth. Earth is under attack from “The Plague” — a disease that kills a person within weeks of contracting it. No one knows where it comes from or how to cure it. When Cinder’s evil stepmother gives her up for the cyborg draft for medical testing, Cinder finds out some very shocking news about herself. cress-marissa-meyer-top-ten-young-adult-books-of-2014This starts an epic journey and Cinder gains many friends — and enemies — throughout the process.

Scarlet is a young farmer whose grandmother disappears one day. She’s determined to find her, and on the way, she meets a genetically modified man named Wolf. He’s mysterious and Scarlet isn’t sure she should trust him. Cress is a spin on the old Rapunzel story, locked up in a satellite to do evil Queen Fairest_CoverLevana’s bidding with her impressive hacking skills. Queen Levana rules Luna (the Moon), and she is well-known as a cruel leader who killed her own niece, Celene, the rightful Queen of Luna. Princess Winter is her step-daughter, cursed with Lunar Madness and never to be Queen due to her lack of royal blood. Over time, all of these characters, and many more, meet up with Cinder and choose either to follow and help her, or work against her for their own benefit.

WinterThe story is very fast-paced and easy to read, but has the same feel-good plot points like the fairy tales. It has it all: action, romance, humor, politics, and fantasy. The last book in the series, Winter, just came out this November, so now you can read through all 5 books without torturous waiting, like the rest of us did. Lucky you!

Purchase the books here: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter

“The Sister Pact” by Stacie Ramey (Plus Giveaway)

★★★☆☆ New Release Tuesday! After reading my review of The Sister Pact, you can purchase the book here or enter this giveaway the publisher is hosting for my followers.

The Sister PactAllie is in a downward spiral. She’s got to find a way to cope now that her older sister Leah is dead. Leah was perfect, popular, sassy, and loving.

But then she killed herself.

Allie tries to self-medicate with pills, weed, cough syrup, promiscuity — anything she can get her hands on — so that she doesn’t feel the pain, the questioning: Why didn’t Leah honor their pact? They were supposed to go together.

The Sister Pact is a great YA novel that shows the true feelings and thoughts of depression and the aftermath of suicide. Allie is also struggling with divorcing and bickering parents, an ex-boyfriend, a new love interest, and one of the most challenging things she’s ever faced: losing her art, not being able to find her colors.

Purchase the book here.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Giveaway: “This is Where it Ends” by Marieke Nijkamp

UPDATE: Read my review here.

This is Where it Ends is set to publish January 5, 2016, and I have a review copy on my TBR pile. It looks intense and insane and I can’t wait to read it.

Here’s a synopsis from Amazon:

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.41hfrWWhMRL

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

While we wait the next few agonizing months for it to come out, the publisher is hosting a giveaway for a copy of the book and a chalkboard set. They’re asking the winners to use the chalkboard and chalk to record how This is Where it Ends made them feel and share it on social media using #thisiswhereitends and #sourcebooksfire. What a cool idea!

Enter now through November 1st. Good luck!

You can also pre-order the book here.

“Another Day” by David Levithan

★★★☆☆

Another DayAnother Day is the sequel to David Levithan’s book Every Day, following the same story from Rhiannon’s point of view this time. This book was a great companion to Every Day — it gave the perfect background to what Rhiannon was thinking during this whole period of time and what she was going through with Justin, her boyfriend.

This book talks about some really “real” stuff for young adult readers, just like Every Day did. Rhiannon is in an extremely emotionally abusive relationship with Justin. She is constantly walking on eggshells and anticipating his anger at most things she does. You are left cheering for A to win her over, knowing even if they are in such a weird situation, at least she won’t be with Justin anymore.Every Day

If you read Every Day, you’d be missing out on most of the story if you don’t read this one. See my review for Every Day here.

You can purchase Every Day here and Another Day here.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

“Illuminae” by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

★★★★☆ New release Tuesday! Purchase Illuminae here!

IlluminaeWhen their home planet is attacked, the people of Kerenza must escape on two United Terran Authority ships. Kady and Ezra, very recently separated (like, that morning), are two teenagers among those forced to flee.

Set in the future, Illuminae is a sci fi young adult book that takes place in space. This story is uniquely told through chat histories, computer logs, online articles, ship diagrams, and letters between high-ranking officials.

Between escaping the original attack, surviving an AI gone awol, evading an enemy ship on their tail, and trying not to contract the deadly contagion that turns people angry and homicidal, it’s really a challenge to stay alive. Kady finds her calling hacking into the ship’s computer systems to find out what the officials are hiding from the civilians. Ezra gets conscripted into the UTA to fly in battles. And among all of the madness, Kady and Ezra are trying to work out their relationship problems.

The battle to stay alive is never-ending. With heart-pounding action scenes, it’s a mystery to whether or not Ezra and Kady will survive each obstacle — and if they do, will they get back together?

There will also be two follow-up books in the series, titles and release dates to be announced at a later date.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest review.

“Alive” by Scott Sigler

★★★★☆

New release Tuesday! Purchase the book here.

AliveTo begin, I have to honor what Scott Sigler asked of all reviewers of this book: To not spoil the surprises that I experienced so that new readers will have the same experience when reading Alive.

Em wakes up in a coffin, in a room with several other people, all dressed alike. They don’t know who they are, where they are, or why they are there. They must work together (or not) to find out what has happened to them. I found myself frustrated along with Em and her companions along every turn, needing to keep reading to figure out along with them all the answers to their questions. Several times I believed I knew where the story was going, but my guesses were always wrong in such a big way.

Without spoiling anything further, I want to recommend this book to you all. Though slow at times, it is worth the payoff when you finally reach the end and discover the truth about their strange circumstances. You will not guess the ending. Guaranteed.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of Alive in exchange for my honest opinion.

“The Escape” by Hannah Jayne

★★★☆☆

New release Tuesday! I’m very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a copy to review. The publisher is also generously sponsoring a Rafflecopter giveaway for my followers!

The EscapeFletcher Carroll and Adam Marshall couldn’t have run in more different crowds. Fletcher keeps to himself, while Adam is a popular Dan River Falls High jock. Yet one day, they are both reported missing. They went into the forest to take a hike together and never came home. Avery Templeton, the Police Chief’s daughter, is enlisted to help with the search party.

When Avery comes upon Fletcher, it’s almost like she walked into a horror film. He’s got blood covering his body, his voice is raspy and terrified, and most bizarrely, he has absolutely no memory of what happened. Avery used to be friends with Fletcher, and since she found him, she feels responsible for helping him remember. But Fletcher isn’t sure if he wants to remember. What if what he remembers is a deranged stranger? Or even worse, what if it’s someone close to him?

The Escape is a fast-paced thriller, always twisting and turning, and you never know where it’s leading next. Don’t read this one on a camping trip.

Purchase the book here.

“The Heir” by Keira Cass (The Selection Series Book 4)

★★★★☆

The HeirTwenty years after Prince Maxon’s Selection, the country is once again facing turmoil and rebellion. Though Maxon ended the caste system, some citizens of Illéa still base decisions (hiring, marriages, etc.) on the old castes. This is creating unrest, and King Maxon and Queen America have an idea of how to bring some peace and to stir up some patriotism  — a Selection for their eldest daughter, Eadlyn.

Eadlyn has spent her formative years training to take on her birthright: the throne and all the responsibility that comes with it. So when her parents want her to put politics on the back burner and try to find her “one true love,” she’s less-than-ecstatic. She agrees to do the Selection on a few conditions that she believes will protect her from actually having to marry one of the boys who she is sure will be foolish and immature — in other words, unworthy of her and the duty of ruling Illéa. But just like her mother and father’s story before her, the Selection doesn’t turn out to be what it seems.

The Heir is the first of two books in Eadlyn’s story (the second of which with no known title or pub date yet). I highly enjoyed coming back into Illéa to learn about some of its new royalty and I am excitedly anticipating the release of the sequel.

In the meantime, you can read my review of the first three books in The Selection Series: The Selection, The Elite, and The One. In October, Kiera Cass is releasing a special collection of 4 novellas, new scenes from the Selection, a map of Illéa, and much more. Pre-order “Happily Ever After” here (releases Oct. 13, 2015).

Purchase “The Heir” here.

The Selection Series (Books 1-3) by Kiera Cass

★★★★★

First of all — how beautiful are these covers? Honestly, they are breathtaking.

51rsxhScWmLIn Illéa’s caste system, America Singer is a 5. That means that she, and her family, must find a career in the arts (regardless of the demand for their craft). America is lucky enough to have a beautiful singing voice and she loves to play instruments, so she doesn’t seem to mind too much. Illéa is a newly formed country set in the future consisting of North America and Latin America. The country is ruled by King Clarkson and Queen Amberly. They have a single heir, Maxon, and he has finally come of age. Unlike princesses, who are married off into other royal families, princes get to participate in the “Selection.” (Think The Bachelor, but with citizens of Illéa.)

The EliteAmerica doesn’t want to sign up because she has a secret love — Aspen. But the Selection will pay her poor family for participating, and Aspen insists that she try to have a chance at a better life. Marrying Aspen would downgrade her to a 6, only two steps away from homelessness and poverty. On the other hand, marrying Prince Maxon would make her a One, the highest caste in Illéa. When America is chosen to participate out of thousands of eligible young women, her family is ecstatic — the complete opposite of her feelings.

America enters the glamorous, regal life of the royal family, and must compete with 34 other daughters of Illéa for theThe One heart of Prince Maxon. At first, she isn’t interested. Why would she want some stuck-up prince when she has someone waiting for her at home? But Maxon isn’t what he seems, and it changes America’s plans…

The first three books, The Selection, The Elite, and The One, embody the entirety of Prince Maxon’s Selection (the Elite are the top six, the One is the one he chooses). The books are filled with butterfly-in-stomach romance, catty girlfights, love triangles, and surprisingly some political strife. America grows with each book, becoming more and more of what Illéa needs in a Princess — but will she be the One Prince Maxon chooses?

I purchased this in a beautiful 3-book box set that included a bonus from the novellas that Kiera Cass wrote from different characters’ points of view. I read these three books in record time — they were day-dreamy guilty pleasure reads, and I found myself continuously lost in world of Illéa.

Purchase the books here: The Selection (Book 1), The Elite (Book 2), The One (Book 3), The Selection Box Set

The HeirAlso, watch for my review of the next book in the series, set 20 years after the end of The One — The Heirfollowing a similar but gender-flipped Selection.

Happily Ever AfterThere is also a collection coming out called Happily Ever After, which contains 4 novellas, new scenes from the Selection, a map of Illéa, and much more. Pre-order here (releases Oct. 13, 2015).

Book Signing — Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan

Rainbow Rowell and EllieOn Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a reading and signing at The Bookworm (in Omaha, NE) for Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan. Rainbow is from Omaha, so she is a hometown celebrity here, and I’m quite surprised at how long it’s taken me to meet her. David Levithan is another popular YA author, most famous for his co-authoring of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green of The Fault in Our Stars).

Rainbow’s promoting her collector’s edition of Fangirl, which comes in different colors depending on the store. It also includes some awesome fanart on the endsheets and a ribbon bookmark, which I feel is a sorely overlooked book feature.

Rainbow Rowell David Levithan signingDavid is promoting his newest book, Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story, which is a spinoff of the musical featured in Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Neither author opted to read from the books, but instead spoke about their new projects and held a Q&A session. If you have the chance to see either at an event, it is highly recommended.

Here’s my haul: Some cute little buttons, Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, Landline, Hold Me Closer. Also, I already owned Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Every Day, so I had them signed while I was there. See my review of Every Day here.

Rainbow Rowell David Levithan book signing haul