Monday, October 31, 2016

Review: In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken


In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
The Darkest Minds #3
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: October 28th, 2014
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 535

Summary (from Goodreads):

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. 

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

In the Afterlight is an amazing ending to an amazing series. I can't even explain to you how much I love this series. This book has action, heartbreak, SUCH amazing characters and friendships, just everything!

Ruby has grown so much since the first book when she was scared of her own shadow. She continues to grow through this entire series to become someone so strong and willing to sacrifice everything for  those she cares about.

Liam is still super sweet. Ruby and Liam's relationship in this book is frustratingly complicated. They're still dealing with the repercussions of Ruby stealing Liam's memories and they don't seem to agree on anything, but their relationship is still so wonderful and cute.

Cole is infuriatingly bossy in this book. But he's also trying to make hard decisions for a group and keep them all safe. He seems to be unnecessarily mean to Liam throughout the book, but I think he just desperately needs Liam to stay safe.

I don't want to go on about all of the major characters in this book because I would be talking forever, but I kinda wanted to give my two cents on Cate. I have never liked her. Not in my first read of this series and still not in my reread. I appreciate that she cares so much about the kids and everything she does is to try and help them, but I really don't think she always goes about it in the best way.

I tried to talk about what I mean by this, but it just turned into a huge rant so I deleted it and you'll just have to read it and see what I mean. It is something that happens in the beginning of the book.

The rest of the characters are also amazing. Chubs is his same sassy self. Vida is still full of attitude, but you get to see a different side to her in this book. Clancy is still horrible.

The group's goal in this book is to escape from the destroyed remnants of Los Angeles and meet back up with Cate and the rest of her group at the ranch and then to come up with a plan for a camp hit to free the kids at Thurmond.

Okay. This is seriously a horrible review, but I just can't string words together to do this book or series justice. I've seriously been sitting on this review for weeks because I don't know what to say. I love it so much. At least my reviews for the first two books were coherent (as far as I remember).

This book is exciting. It has romance. It has action. It will make you cry (at least it made me cry). If you listen to the audio, I'm positive it'll make you cry. Ooh boy, I was listening to this while I was at work and I'm just so glad that the sad parts came while I was on my lunch break because I was just crying my eyes out in my car in the parking lot.

Overall, I can't think of a single book I would recommend more than I recommend this series. It's so amazing and I think about it on a daily basis because I love it so much. If you like dystopia/mild sci-fi, kids with powers, charming southern love interests, road trips, good books, you should definitely read this series!

Have you read this series? Have I convinced you that you need to read it? Do you love it so much?

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Book Nerd Bites (#4) - The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken


Book Nerd Bites is an original monthly feature created by Becca, Cyra, Kristie, Natasha, and Valerie as part of the Book Blogger Creativity Project hosted by Nori. Each month we will be sharing exciting recipes inspired by some of our favorite books. Feel free to join in, but please make sure you link your post back to us so we can enjoy your favorite bookish delights as well!

Don't forgot to use if you want to share your food inspiration with us on twitter or instagram!

For today's edition of Book Nerd Bites I will be featuring...


The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Since I kind of have a Darkest Minds thing going on this month, I figured I had to try and include it for this feature as well! I recently did a reread of the whole series and in the first book, there is a scene around the campfire at East River where they are having chili for supper.

So for my post for the month, I'm going to share a recipe for chili that I just recently made! It was my first time making chili and I kind of just went through a bunch of recipes on pinterest and did a pick-and-choose thing to figure out what ingredients I wanted in my chili.

Ingredients:


-2 lbs of ground hamburger
-1 medium/large onion
-2 cloves of garlic
-1 (15) oz can of tomato sauce
-1 tsp garlic salt
-2 Tbsp chili powder
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp pepper
-1 can Rotel
-2 (15) oz cans beans
(I used 1 dark red kidney bean and 1 light red kidney beans)
1-2 c. water or beef broth

Tips:

Don't drain the beans or the Rotel.
Regular pepper is probably optional, just because I forgot to add it when I made this.
I added like 1.5 cups of water and I feel like that was too much.

Instructions:


Brown the meat and crumble. Drain it if it's too greasy.


Cook onions and garlic until it's done. I don't know what point it's done at because I apparently didn't think that was important in my notes I wrote down.


Pour all of the ingredients into the crockpot.


Mix thoroughly.

Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

The longer the better.

Top with cheddar cheese, sour cream, crackers, whatever you like.

I like an incredibly disgusting amount of cheddar cheese and crushed Fritos on my chili.

What do you like in your chili? Have I convinced you to read this book yet with all my posts this month? If I haven't, I might have to try harder in the future!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: November 2016 Releases!

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I decided that I'm going to change up Waiting on Wednesday. Instead of doing one every week, I'm just going to do one once a month and feature all the books coming out the next month that I'm salivating for.

Here are the books that I'm waiting for in November!


Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Four girls with the power to control the elements and save the world from a terrible evil must come together in the first epic novel in a brand-new series.

When Phantoms—massive beasts made from nightmares and darkness—suddenly appeared and began terrorizing the world, four girls, the Effigies, each gained a unique power to control one of the classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Since then, four girls across the world have continually fought against the Phantoms, fulfilling their cosmic duty. And when one Effigy dies, another girl gains her power as a replacement.

But now, with technologies in place to protect the world’s major cities from Phantom attacks, the Effigies have stopped defending humanity and, instead, have become international celebrities, with their heroic feats ranked, televised, and talked about in online fandoms.

Until the day that New York City’s protection against the Phantoms fails, a man seems to be able to control them by sheer force of will, and Maia, a high school student, unexpectedly becomes the Fire Effigy.

Now Maia has been thrown into battle with three girls who want nothing to do with one another. But with the first human villain that the girls have ever faced, and an army of Phantoms preparing for attack, there isn’t much time for the Effigies to learn how to work together.

Can the girls take control of their destinies before the world is destroyed forever?


Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin

The action-packed, thrilling sequel to Ryan Graudin's Wolf by Wolf.

There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.


For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?

This gripping, thought-provoking sequel to Wolf by Wolf will grab readers by the throat with its cinematic writing, fast-paced action, and relentless twists.


Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.


The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. 

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.


Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Two o’clock was missing. 

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.

What books are you looking forward to in November?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#63)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week's topic is a Halloween freebie! I don't read a lot of horror books and I don't really know a lot of them. So I am just using this list of books shelved as horror on Goodreads to pick books that I would like to read!

I have a few of these books to read, but this was a long list and has a lot of books I've never heard of on it, so I just picked the first ten that I haven't read that I want to read.


The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics


This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers


After the Woods by Kim Savage


The Archived by Victoria Schwab


What the Dead Want by Norah Olson


This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee


A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis


Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke


The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude



What are some horror-ish books that you'd like to read?

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken


The Darkest Minds #2
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: October 15th, 2013
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Purchase
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 512

Summary (from Goodreads):

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster. 

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her. 

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

The Plot:

In Never Fade, Ruby is an active member of the Children's League. In the beginning we find her on a mission to recover a valuable League agent, despite the fact that there is a rule that if you get caught you're on your own. No one is coming to help you.

After recovering this agent, Ruby is given a special mission that takes her back to the other side of the country to find a flash drive with crucial information about IAAN on it. This flash drive is unknowingly in the hands of none other than Liam Stewart.

This information is vital for the kids in the Children's League because it will take things out of the hands of the agents who are trying to take over the League and REALLY don't appreciate the kids being involved.

The Characters:

I absolutely love the characters in this book. They are so well-written and amazing. Ruby goes through so much change since we last saw her in The Darkest Minds. She no longer fears her abilities and has so much more confidence. She seemed a lot more closed off in this book. But in all, she's independent, strong, and fiercely protective of those she's in charge of.

Vida and Jude are two of the kids on Ruby's team from the League. Jude is such a sweetie! He's chatty and lovable and kind of like an excited puppy. He doesn't like silence or the dark and I'm pretty sure that everything he does in this book is totally endearing.

Vida on the other hand, I had a rough time with. I thought that since I grew to like her in the series the first time I read it, I would like her better now. But I seriously hated her so much for about 3/4 of this book. She's mean and literally never has a single nice thing to say about anything except Cate and I just got so sick of her until most of the way through the book when she started warming up to Ruby more. She is actually a great character, but it was just SO hard to like her for a long time.

Since we last saw Chubs, things have changed a bit with him. He had to do some unpleasant things to make a place for himself in the world where he wasn't going to be hunted like an animal. He's still his same smart and kinda sassy self that we all love!

Liam hasn't really changed. He's still the same protective, sweet, naive boy as he was in the first book. But he has a really rough time in this book with sickness and the fact that Ruby wiped herself from his memory. This leaves him kind of confused because all Ruby could erase were his memories, not his feelings. Oh Liam, how I love you.

The Romance:

All in all, the romance did go where I wanted it to go. However, the journey to get there wasn't everything I could have hoped. But that is partially because I basically just wanted a book that was AAALLLLL Liam and Ruby all the time. But they have to fight to be together in this one a little bit. While there wasn't much romance in this book until closer to the end, I loved every bit that I got.

The Setting:

This book takes place all over the place. I think during the mission Ruby is on in the very beginning, they're in Pennsylvania? Then they're in California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, Colorado, and back to California.

One of the reasons I picked up The Darkest Minds was because of the road trip aspect. There is definitely still a road trip in this book, but I feel like the focus is less on the journey itself and more on what they're doing and where they're going.

What I Didn't Like:

I can't think of anything that I really have a problem with in this book. I don't really like Cate or the Children's League in general for some reason, but it doesn't really affect my feelings about the book. I don't know why I don't like Cate, but I didn't like her the first time I read the series either.

My main problem with the Children's League is that it separated my FAVORITE CHARACTERS EVER! But really I like that we got a more confident Ruby, Vida, and Jude out of the deal.

Overall:

I loved this book. I thought it was an amazing sequel. It's got tons of action, some wonderful new characters, and definitely some HEARTBREAAAAAK </3!! If you loved The Darkest Minds, you will need to read this one ASAP. It's got a lot more going on, it's got more road trips, it's got a badass Ruby. I highly recommend this series. To everyone.

Have you read this book/series? What did you think of it?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (#62)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week's topic is Ten Characters I'd Name my Child/Pet/Car/Etc. After! I actually just did this topic a few weeks ago about characters I'd name my future children after!

So while thinking of different ways I could spin this, I was thinking of sharing literary figures/books with characters that share my name!

Which is probably going to be a short list, to be honest. How many Cyras do you know? I have never found my name on anything before and the one time my mom found my name on a souvenir license plate type thing at the state fair, she didn't get it! What were you thinking, mom!?

So first of all, these are three books that I know of with characters that share my first name:


Abducted from a life of privilege, she was sold into slavery in a distant land. For Lady Janet Leslie there would be no escaping the harem of the wealthy and powerful Sultan Selim. But from the moment the handsome ruler spied his breathtaking "Cyra," was captivated -- by the fiery desire that coursed through his veins. She belonged to him, body and soul -yet it was he who was enslaved.

Praised for her keen sense of history and remarkable storytelling powers, the bestselling author of The Spitfire displays the passionate magic that has made her a national favorite -sweeping the reader into the romantic past, from the magnificence of Renaissance Europe to the perfumed splendor of a Sultan's court.

The Kadin is the book that my mom originally got my name out of. It was only recently that she finally told me the name of the book because it wasn't something that she wanted me to read when I was a bit younger, I guess. I assume it's a 'trashy' romance novel.

I'm excited to finally read it!


They survived The Island, but can they cross The Chasm?

Four months after Prince Galian was discovered alive on a remote island, he's adjusting slowly to life at the hospital under the Kylaen media's glare. His promises to Theo remain unfulfilled as fear of his father keeps him from taking concrete action. And the more he learns about the machinations in Kylae, the less sure he is that it's possible to make a difference.
 
Across the great Madion Sea, Major Theo Kallistrate struggles to navigate the tricky political waters of Rave's presidential staff. To make positive change for her people, she must remain relevant and interesting to the Raven media and to the president. When he asks her to deliver a speech on her supposed two-month imprisonment at Mael, she's not sure she can stomach the lies.
 
The Chasm is S. Usher Evans' breathtaking, fast-paced follow-up to The Island, which readers say is "not to be missed."

My name isn't in the synopsis of this book (the character isn't a real major one), but it's in there somewhere! I nearly croaked when I saw that my name was in there, I was so excited! Woo hooooo!


Fans of Star Wars and Divergent will revel in internationally bestselling author Veronica Roth’s stunning new science-fiction fantasy series.

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

I am SO excited for this book to come out. I didn't necessarily love the Divergent series, I liked the first book. I liked the second book a little less. I didn't really like the last book. But this book sounds exciting and my name is in it! So I obviously have to read it! 

And in the effort to make this list have a little more meat to it, I am including literary figures that somehow share my name. So basically, I've included my middle name, Rae. 

So here is what I can come up with for literary figures:


Rae Carson


Cyra McFadden

I've never heard of this lady before, but she's a writer so it fits the prompt! I found her when I looked up my name on a baby name site! I have never heard of anything that she's written, but I'm always excited to find another Cyra.

Who are some characters that share your name? Any authors/literary figures?