Big News!

It’s time to pull out the happy gif again…

My life is changing! Last week I got a new job, and in two weeks, I’m moving to Texas!

Not permanently, but while I’m there, I hope to go to author events and the like… so if any of my readers are from the Dallas area, and can fill me in on events, I would appreciate it. Sadly I’m missing out on the Austin Teen Book Festival, but I’m sure there will be tons of other events over the next six months. Or so I hope ;)

I’m going to schedule some reviews and other posts, so there shouldn’t be too much radio silence while I’m moving and getting settled into a new place. I’ll probably be hanging out on Twitter, too, so come say hi @leaflette!

– leeanna

Blog Tour Review: The Sundering by Megg Jensen (and giveaway!)

BB Book Tours

Today I am the stop on the tour for The Sundering by Megg Jensen. The tour is hosted by The Bookish Brunette. Check below for my review and a giveaway.

the sunderingInfo:
Title: The Sundering
Author: Megg Jensen
Release Date: August 30, 2012
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author for blog tour
Series? The Swarm Trilogy #3, The Song of Eloh Saga #7
Series Reviews:
Sleepers (#1)
Afterlife (#2)
The Sundering (#3)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Page Count: ~159

Summary:

After defeating the Malborn and losing the person she loved most, Lianne escapes to Chase’s homeland. With her appearance forever marked by death, Lianne feels like a monster both on the outside and the inside. She retreats into herself, fearful of what she’s become.

But she can’t hide forever.

The Malborn, damaged but not broken, send a deadly message to Lianne. They are coming for her and now she’s brought danger to a peaceful land that believed they’d driven the Malborn from their shores forever. Lianne must force herself to trust again and make the ultimate sacrifice to save everyone she loves. In a world ruled by whoever harnesses the most powerful magic, no one can be trusted – no one is safe. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:

**This review may contain spoilers for Sleepers and Afterlife**

The Sundering is the conclusion to the Swarm trilogy as well as the conclusion to the Song of Eloh Saga. I haven’t yet read the Cloud Prophet trilogy, the first set of books in the Song of Eloh Saga, but just by reading the summaries, I think I can see how they all fit together.

At the start of the book, Lianne is in deep mourning for her boyfriend, Bryden. When Lianne’s mother tried to steal her magic and life, Bryden stepped in, saving Lianne but losing his own life in the process. I liked that Lianne had trouble with Bryden’s death, instead of moving right on to another guy. But at the same time, I thought the book could have been more balanced between Lianne’s grief and the war with the Malborn.

I also liked that the author explored the impact magic and its uses have on people. Lianne’s physical appearance is altered by the destructive magic she used at the end of Afterlife, and her mental status is affected as well. At the end, when Lianne makes a huge decision about magic, I at first found it hard to believe, but when I considered all she had been through, and how magic had affected her life and the lives of everyone she loved, it was more believable. Whew — hopefully that makes sense without spoiling the conclusion!

I honestly wasn’t sure how Megg Jensen would finish the story. As I mentioned, the ending took me by surprise, and came on a tad quickly. I still had a few questions after the end, but I think it was a satisfactory conclusion and tied up most of the loose ends.

In my review for Afterlife, I said that Chase was my favorite guy in the trilogy. That holds true in The Sundering. He’s extremely patient with Lianne while she’s grieving, and even though he loves her, he’s willing to wait as long as it takes for her to get over Bryden. Lianne herself frustrated me a bit — she’s still impulsive, and continues to keep secrets. However, I could see how she had grown from the first book, Sleepers.

All in all, The Sundering was a good read, and as I’ve said before, it was nice to read a whole fantasy trilogy in under 500 pages! The Swarm trilogy would be great if you want something short yet epic in scope.

Lastly, I have to say I really liked the covers for the Swarm trilogy. They actually fit the content of the books!

Rating: 3 owls

Socialize with the author:
Megg Jensen:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @meggjensen

Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

– leeanna

Review: Afterlife by Megg Jensen

afterlifeInfo:
Title: Afterlife
Author: Megg Jensen
Release Date: April 25, 2012
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author for blog tour
Series? The Swarm Trilogy #2, The Song of Eloh Saga #6
Series Reviews:
Sleepers (#1)
Afterlife (#2)
The Sundering (#3)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Page Count: ~151

Summary:

The fire inside Lianne threatened to consume her, but she fought back and won. Unfortunately the collateral damage of her decisions won’t stop haunting her. She embarks on a secret trip to find Mags and return her son, but her search leads her into another nest of lies.

Everyone’s safety is in Lianne’s hands as the Malborn, an enemy more fearsome than her own people, looms over them. Will Lianne be able to unravel the secrets in time to save the ones she loves the most? Or will her lack of faith in her own decisions lead to disaster? (summary from goodreads)

My Review:

**This review may contain spoilers for Sleepers**

Afterlife picks up right after Sleepers, the first book in the Swarm trilogy. Lianne and her lover Bryden sneak off on a journey to reunite Trevin with his mother, the former Fithian queen.

Of course, with Lianne, nothing goes as it should. She is whisked away by Chase, a mysterious new guy, who insists he’s the only one that can protect her. There’s a sort of love triangle going on in Afterlife. In Sleepers, you had Lianne-Kellen-Bryden, but in Afterlife, Lianne is firmly with Bryden, and Chase loves her. The twist? He’s never met her, but seen her in visions his whole life.

Chase’s visions have a way of coming true no matter how hard one tries to stop them. They reminded me of the grandfather paradox. Chase is probably my favorite guy in the trilogy. He’s very protective of Lianne, and is always there for her, even though she doesn’t always treat him well.

In Afterlife, we met another group of bad guys, the Malborns. Their methods of gaining power are downright creepy, yet I wanted to know about them. Again, as with Sleepers, the action moves along very quickly. Afterlife is about 50,000 words, but I think Megg could expand and write longer books. I’d like more detail about the different worlds and peoples. I had a few moments of confusion here and there trying to sort things out, but it wasn’t too bad.

Afterlife is a quick read, and I did enjoy continuing Lianne’s story. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her, considering how much she goes through in just two books!

Rating: 3 owls

Socialize with the author:
Megg Jensen:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @meggjensen

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: Velveteen by Daniel Marks (@dannymarksya)

velveteenVelveteen by Daniel Marks
Release Date: October 9, 2012

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.

Bonesaw.

Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal… and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules… or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her. (summary from goodreads)

Velveteen sounds dark, and I’m hoping it is. I love dark stories. The premise reminds me a bit of The Lovely Bones, but I don’t think it will be anything like that book.

It’ll be brutal… and awesome. I hope so!

Socialize with the author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @dannymarksya

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

Review: Sleepers by Megg Jensen

sleepersInfo:
Title: Sleepers
Author: Megg Jensen
Release Date: July 21, 2011
Publisher: Self-Published
Source: Author for blog tour
Series? The Swarm Trilogy #1, The Song of Eloh Saga #5
Series Reviews:
Sleepers (#1)
Afterlife (#2)
The Sundering (#3)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Page Count: ~171

Summary:

An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she’s filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy? (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
Sleepers starts off quickly, with the main character watching an execution of her countrymen. Immediately I wanted to know why they were being executed, and why Lianne was watching.

Lianne is a Dalagan adoptee, one of three in the country of Fithia. Fithia conquered her country, and she and her fellow adoptees were sent to Fithia at birth so they could return home at age 20 and tell their countrymen how wonderful Fithia is.

All her life, Lianne has believed what the Fithians have told her. Until, that is, her sixteenth birthday. That morning, she wakes up feeling a burning hatred for her adopted homeland. And that’s when she learns the truth … or does she?

There are a lot of twists in Sleepers. The story moves very fast. I would have liked a little more time spent on some of the major events, but in some ways, the quick action is a plus. One of the best things about the entire Swarm trilogy (Sleepers, Afterlife, and The Sundering) is that it’s less than 500 pages. So you get to read a whole story, where with a normal fantasy series, 500 pages might not even cover the first book.

Lianne is a strong character. While I saw a few glimmers of a Mary Sue, she is also impulsive, and doesn’t always think before she acts. I also would have liked for the love triangle in the book to be more developed — but then, I reminded myself that Lianne is sixteen, so falling in and out love so quickly is plausible.

Sleepers was intriguing enough for me to want to read the rest of the Swarm trilogy.

Rating: 3 owls

Socialize with the author:
Megg Jensen:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @meggjensen

– leeanna

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #25

Last Week’s Reads:

The Fire Rose
by Mercedes Lackey
Lies Beneath♦♦
by Anne Greenwood Brown
The Second Empress♦♦
by Michelle Moran
Sleepers♦♦
by Megg Jensen
Afterlife♦♦
by Megg Jensen
The Sundering♦♦
by Megg Jensen
   
Crewel♦♦
by Gennifer Albin
   

This Week’s Reads:

 
Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill
by Aaron Allston
Someday Dancer
by Sarah Rubin
 

Wowza! I am really, really surprised I read so many books last week. I doubt the upcoming weeks will look like that! I kept my upcoming reads light on purpose, and I’m hoping to fit one more vlog in. Probably for the Star Wars book, because then I can wear a Star Wars t-shirt.

With this reading rush, I am super behind on reviews. At least this time I’ve been taking notes while reading, so I have something jotted down. I also have a little extra time before work this week — my parents are having a new roof put on, so at 7:30AM my whole house starts shaking. Of course it happens on the week I work late!

This week, the blog tour for The Sundering is stopping by. In the preceding days, I’ll have reviews of the other two books in the trilogy, Sleepers and Afterlife. Look for that Tuesday-Thursday.

Review books received from:
Lies Beneath: Amazon Vine
The Second Empress: Crown and NetGalley
Sleepers: Author for blog tour
Afterlife: Author for blog tour
The Sundering: Author for blog tour
Crewel: Amazon Vine

Thank you! ♥

♦♦ indicates books received for review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

– leeanna

Blog Tour Stop: Guardian of the Moon Pendant by Laura J. Williams (and giveaway!)

BB Book Tours

Today I am one of the stops on the Guardian of the Moon Pendant blog tour, hosted by The Bookish Brunette. Check below for an excerpt and giveaway.

guardian of the moon pendantInfo:
Title: Guardian of the Moon Pendant
Author: Laura J. Williams
Release Date: July 25, 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Series? Highland Secrets #1
Genre: Fantasy

Summary:

The MacAlpin women are of a fierce clan, born from a rare bloodline that harbors a dark and powerful secret – a mystical heirloom called the Moon Pendant. It is the key to controlling the MääGord standing stones, a magical Portal into the Otherworld, the realm of the Fae.

Anabel and Izzy MacAlpin are two sisters, polar opposites, living separate lives.

Anabel’s life is going precisely according to her plan, a ring on her finger from her steady beau, Edgar, and medical school in the fall.

Izzy’s life is filled with scars and wounds from her past. Dubbed the “spare child” by her family and treated poorly, she rebelled, and now lives life by her own rules.

These two sisters’ worlds are about to explode when one of them must go to Scotland and fulfill her duty as the Guardian of the Moon Pendant, by recharging this magical heirloom with four elementals, air, earth, water, and fire, and then finally close the Portal.

There’s only one problem…

The Baobhan Sith – a vampiric faery who lures men in with her hypnotic voice, feeding on their blood or transforming them into Màrmann, her zombie-like warriors who do her bidding – desires the Moon Pendant to take control over the Portal, opening a gateway into the realm of man, helping her to seek revenge on the MacAlpin clan, and to quench her eternal thirst for human blood.

Anabel finds herself torn between a sinfully handsome Scottish warrior, Blane and her fiancée, Edgar. Izzy finds herself, angered by her sister’s lack of faith in her.

Both sisters are forced to help one another, but may end up killing each other in the end. Surrounded by an array of good and evil Scottish Fae like a vampiric faery, the Baobhan Sith, zombie-warriors, the Ankou, Dryads, the Fachan, the Ghillie Dhu, Heather Pixies, Leigheas, the Nuckelavee, the Bloody Baron a Red Cap, Stone Faeries, Trows, and Will-o’-the-wisps.

Will these two sisters put aside their differences before the final task to charge the Moon Pendant and close the Portal or will the Baobhan Sith, the vampiric faery, be successful and open the Portal into the Otherworld?

Excerpt:
“Did that last burst of energy, drain you?” she said mockingly.

The light green veins underneath the Moon Pendant slowly seeped into a putrid forest green, its decaying color flowing through my body, extending out to my fingertips, a highway of throbbing vascular tubing stinging through my pale skin, robbing me of my energy.

“Did you not know, until it is fully charged, it will parch you dry, helpless, useless. That is why the Sentinel warned you,” Lainahwyn smiled impishly. “So sad, it only gets worse each time you charge it.”

My body began to spasm, crippling me with a searing pain. I crumpled down to the moist earth below, my eyes meeting Blane’s terrified gaze.

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Socialize with the author:
Laura J. Williams:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @_LauraJWilliams

– leeanna

Waiting on Wednesday: After: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia

afterAfter: Nineteen Stories of Apocalypse and Dystopia edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Release Date: October 9, 2012

If the melt-down, flood, plague, the third World War, new Ice Age, Rapture, alien invasion, clamp-down, meteor, or something else entirely hit today, what would tomorrow look like? Some of the biggest names in YA and adult literature answer that very question in this short story anthology, each story exploring the lives of teen protagonists raised in catastrophe’s wake—whether set in the days after the change, or decades far in the future. (summary from amazon)

More for my “the world is ending” addiction! I’m not a huge fan of short stories, but I think I can deal, because the lineup of authors for this is great. To name a few: Carrie Ryan, N.K. Jemisin, Susan Beth Pfeffer, and Sarah Rees Brennan.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

stormdancerInfo:
Title: Stormdancer
Author: Jay Kristoff
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Source: Amazon Vine
Series? The Lotus War #1
Genre: YA, Steampunk, Fantasy, Dystopian, Asian Lit, Mythology
Page Count: 336

Summary:

A DYING LAND
The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire. (summary from goodreads)

My Review:
In trying to write this review, I’ve been stumped on how to express the awesomeness and badassery that is Stormdancer. Not since I read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo earlier this year have I been so blown away by a book. I literally felt empty when I finished Stormdancer — I didn’t want to leave the world that Jay Kristoff created.

Stormdancer is a book that will have wide appeal to teens and adults. While Yukiko, the main character, is a teenager, she is usually quite mature. She deals with many of the issues teens face: a difficult parent, falling in love for the first time, and finding one’s self, in ways that I could believe. A lot of the time with young adult novels, the protagonists annoy me because I can’t remember acting like them when I was a teenager. Not so here.

A lot of Yukiko’s maturity comes from the world she lives in. Shima is a country destroyed by greed. The main crop, blood lotus, kills the land. There are barely any animals left alive, and the skies are blood red from pollution. And Shima’s leader, the Shogun, is a few liters of chi short of a full tank.

The worldbuilding is amazing. I loved that Stormdancer is set in Japan, as most fantasy and steampunk novels are set in Europe, especially England. I also loved that Jay’s writing is so detailed — he describes everything, down to the type of clothing, weapons, and tattoos that people have. That level of detail isn’t for everyone, so you may want to read an excerpt first, but it’s something I enjoy. I always want to know as much as possible about a new world, so I can really immerse myself in it.

At first, I did get bogged down with the details, and on trying to remember everything. After a few pages of focusing, I just let the narrative wash over me, and everything clicked into place. Very rarely did I have to flip back to find out what something was. There’s also a handy glossary included, in case you do need to look up what a term means.

The creativity in Stormdancer is astounding, as are the character relationships. I have to mention Buruu, the griffin (thunder tiger). He makes my list for favorite animal companions in fantasy books. I’m not going to say a lot about why I like him so much, because the explanation would have too many spoilers, but he’s great. I want my own Buruu.

The plot is complex. Unlike a lot of young adult books, the story is told in third person point-of-view, which lets the reader get a clearer picture of everything going on. Happily, Stormdancer doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but there are plenty of open storylines left for the next book in the series.

Rating: 5 owls

Socialize with the author:
Jay Kristoff:
Website
Facebook
Twitter @misterkristoff

– leeanna

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #24

Last Week’s Reads:

   
God Save the Queen♦♦
by Kate Locke
   

This Week’s Reads:

 
Crewel♦♦
by Gennifer Albin
Guardian of the Moon Pendant♦♦
by Laura J. Williams
 

Talk about a slow week! I can’t believe I’ve only read one book. I’m forecasting this upcoming week will be slow as well, because I have some writing projects I need to finish (and start).

I did post my first ever vlog, of me talking about Libriomancer. I foresee more vlogs in my future! I had fun making it, and I can see how it would be easier, sometimes, than trying to write out my thoughts. Maybe I’ll become the next Felicia Day….

I feel like I say this every week, but I’m hoping to do some catch up! I’m moving towards getting more organized, scheduling reviews ahead of time, and making a loose schedule for what I need to read and when.

I started off this week with a review of Safekeeping by Karen Hesse. Other upcoming reviews this week include Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff, which I really liked. I know not everyone likes it. It’s a book there has been a LOT of hype over, and I can see both sides of why people do and don’t like it. Maybe I’ll do a short vlog on that, although I’m sure I would butcher the names and places.

Last week I reviewed:
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Review books received from:
God Save the Queen: Orbit and NetGalley
Crewel: Amazon Vine
Guardian of the Moon Pendant: Author for blog tour

Thank you! ♥

♦♦ indicates books received for review

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Book Journey.

The YA linky list for It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Teach Mentor Texts.

– leeanna