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1.01.2013

MY Favorite Books of 2012

UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Never Sky Trilogy, Book One
by Veronica Rossi 
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Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—nicknamed The Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms eventually will. In this dystopia, even the very air she breathes could kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild, dangerous—a savage. He’s also her only hope.

Perry needs Aria, too. She alone holds the key to his redemption. And their unlikely alliance will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

Debut author Veronica Rossi is accumulating fans from all over the globe—the book has already sold to more than twenty countries. It’s not surprising that foreign rights for this title have been flying off the shelf. It’s a tantalizing romance in any language.


The first new book I read in 2012, it's like getting sucked into a heady romance, and vicious and unforgiving world, and new and unique mythology. LOVED IT. Perry and Aria are an incredible duo.

Look For:
ROAR AND LIV, Never Sky Trilogy prequel novella, book 0.5- available now.
THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, Never Sky Trilogy, Book Two- coming 01/08/13.
INTO THE STILL BLUE, Never Sky Trilogy, Book Three- coming in 2014.



Picture from the PB edition
SHATTER ME
Shatter Me, Book One
by Tahereh Mafi
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"You can't touch me," I whisper.

I'm lying, is what I don't tell him.

He can touch me, is what I'll never tell him.

But things happen when people touch me.

Strange things.

Bad things.

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel.



DESTROY ME
Shatter Me, 1.5
by Tahereh Mafi
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Format: eBook
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In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of....

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel MeDestroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.


I was absolutely destroyed by SHATTER ME, the book has haunted me all this year. I recieved UNRAVEL ME as an ARC at ALA, but refused to read it until DESTROY ME was published. Thank God I did that. DESTROY ME reaches inside your guts and twists and pulls them out. Setting up an impossible standard for UNRAVEL ME to live up to. BEST BOOKS OF 2012.

Look For:
UNRAVEL ME, Shatter Me, Book Two- coming 02/05/13.


ASHEN WINTER
Ashfall Trilogy, Book Two
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It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

I also read ASHFALL this year, and I'd never read something so completely realistic. I felt like I took every step with Alex, and the relationship between Alex and Darla felt more real than fiction. Everything felt so sharp, like razors cutting you up, this is an emotional and brutal read. Perfection.

Also Read:
ASHFALL, Ashfall Trilogy, book One.


DRAGONSWOOD
Wilde Island Companion to Dragonskeep
by Janet Lee Carey
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An enchanted, medieval fantasy dripping with magical romance....

Wilde Island is not at peace. The kingdom mourns the dead Pendragon king and awaits the return of his heir; the uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is strained; and the regent is funding a bloodthirsty witch hunt, hoping to rid the island of half-fey maidens.

Tess, daughter of a blacksmith, has visions of the future, but she still doesn’t expect to be accused of witchcraft, forced to flee with her two best friends, or offered shelter by the handsome and enigmatic Garth Huntsman, a warden for Dragonswood. But Garth is the younger prince in disguise and Tess soon learns that her true father was fey, making them the center of an exciting, romantic adventure, and an ancient prophecy that will bring about peace between all three races—dragon, human, and fairy.

This was the first book I read that dealt with one of the many trends of 2012, women's rights. Tess fought against an abysmal present and future as well as the injustice of her society. Blended with the dragon mythology, awesome characters, story and plot. LOVED that the girl saved the Prince from the tower by means of a dragon and her wits. DRAGONSWOOD made me a fan of Janet Lee Carey for life. 

Also Read:
DRAGON'S KEEP, Wilde Island, Book One.


SCARLET
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The people of Nottinghamshire know Will Scarlet as Robin Hood’s shadow, a slip of a boy who throws daggers with deadly accuracy and an accomplished thief with an unerring eye for treasure. A select few know that Will is actually Scarlet, a young woman “recruited” by Robin two years earlier as he wandered the alleys of London. But no one knows who the real Scarlet is, what she was doing in London, and how she got that scar on her cheek. That is, no one but Gisbourne, the ruthless thief-taker just hired by the sheriff to capture Robin and his band.

Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could
cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

The loathsome thing about this book is that it is a stand-alone. I mean, really? A.C. Gaughen has nothing else to write about the characters of Nottinghamshire? Robin Hood is sure as all hell not finished saving the country, and I felt Scarlet's had tons more story left to tell. But, really, SCARLET is an awesome tale. Scarlet is a wonderfully kick ass character, and so are Robin and his band of men. I hated to leave this world, the characters, the fighting and adventure- and the romance. LOVE IT.


CINDER
Lunar Chronicles Book One
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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

What can I say that millions of Marissa Meyer's fans haven't already about this book? All I can say is that I appreciated the new world and new setting of CINDER. This futuristic sci-fi dystopia was one fully embedded with the sights, smells, and grit of New Beijing. It's all so different and new that I have no idea what to expect in SCARLET, I just can't wait to get my hands on it. 

Also read: 
GLITCHES, Cinder book 0.5
THE QUEEN'S ARMY, Cinder book 1.5
SCARLET, Cinder book 2.


BORN WICKED
The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book One
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Cate Cahill and her sisters are considered eccentric bluestockings—a little odd, a little unfashionable, and far too educated for their own good. The truth is more complicated; they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it could mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave. Before their mother died, she entrusted Cate with keeping them safe and keeping everyone, including their father, in the dark about their powers. 

When her father employs a governess and Cate begins to receive notes from her missing, presumed-mad godmother, her task becomes much more difficult. As Cate searches for answers in banned books and rebellious new friends, she must juggle unwanted proposals, tea parties, and an illicit attraction to the new gardener. Cate will do anything to protect her sisters, but at what cost to herself?

As the politics of 2012 got more and more extreme, reading a book like BORN WICKED was chilling. Set in an extreme and oppressive dystopic fantasy setting where men have taken away the power of women. It scared me because I could see a tide turning in real time, in real life. How can someone "different" survive in this "big brother"/The Crucible-like society. I loved the tension and secrets in every aspect of Cate's life. She was constantly stuck between a rock.... and a slab of granite. Throw in a secret romance and Spotswood had me in the palm of her hand. Cannot wait for STARCURSED!

Look For:
STAR CURSED, The Chaill Witch Chronicles, book Two June 18, 2013.


GRAVE MERCY
His Fair Assassin, First in Trilogy
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Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf? 

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?


From start to finish GRAVE MERCY had me hooked. The detail, the characters, the story, and the mystery, and the romance. This book had everything I wanted, a strong  female character, her equal in the hero, and intrigue to spare. Ismae and Gavriel are one of my favorite partnerships, contentious and wary, worth it in the end. DARK TRIUMPH is going to be off the charts with Sybella and Benebic the Beast of Waroch as it's main heroes. Hard to top GRAVE MERCY, but I think LaFeveres is up to the challenge.

Look For:
DARK TRIUMPH, His Fair Assassin, book Two- coming April 2, 2013.
MORTAL HEART, His Fair Assassin, book Three- coming in 2014.


BITTERBLUE
The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, Book Three
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Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck’s reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle—disguised and alone—to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.


The gangs all here, back together for one last adventure, the epicly sized BITTERBLUE. Chalk full of Po, thank the G.O.D. I really love him, Katsa also pops in every now and again to make a girl cry for another Katsa and Po centric novel. Few series in the YA genre are as intricate and beautifully crafted as The Seven Kingdoms are. May be one day Cashore will brings us new adventures from this world, but for now, this beautiful and powerful trilogy has come to it's conclusion.

Also Read:
GRACELING, The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, Book One.
FIRE, The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, Book Two.


HEMLOCK
Hemlock, Book 1
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Mackenzie Dobson knows the rules. Be careful walking alone at night, avoid anyone who growls and report suspicious behaviour to the nearest registration bureau. One bite or scratch and you could end up infected with Lupine Syndrome - the werewolf virus - and holding a one-way ticket to the nearest rehabilitation camp. Not that knowing the rules does much good. Mac's best friend, Amy, knew the rules and a werewolf still tore out her throat. 

Four months later, Mac, Kyle and Jason - Amy's two best friends and her boyfriend - are still trying to pick up the pieces. As Jason searches for a way to find Amy's killer, Mac discovers a terrible secret about Kyle when he saves her from a brutal assault: he's infected. She's suddenly caught between a friend who's sworn to kill a werewolf and a friend who actually is a werewolf. And when another series of attacks rocks Hemlock, Mac begins to suspect that Amy's death might not have been the act of a lone, crazed werewolf. If she can dodge an extremist anti-werewolf group and a group of wolves sent to investigate the attacks, she might be able to figure out who was really behind Amy's death. But werewolves and mysteries aren't the only problems Mackenzie is facing. 

As Mac starts to realize she has feelings for Kyle, Jason reveals a secret he's been carrying for months: minutes before Amy's death, he broke up with her because he was in love with someone else: Mac.

I love my monsters. Always and forever. So werewolves are not a tired subject, especially in the hands of Kathleen Peacock. In the world of HEMLOCK, werewolves are a fact of life, a persecuted and marginalized monsters who are rounded up and put into camps. More and more rights are taken from them, and extremist anti-werewolf factions are preying on societies fears to gain power and influence. Caught in the crosshairs is Mac and her friends, a cast that is eclectic and exciting. I waited a long time for HEMLOCK to be published, and now I feel like my wait will as long as the first, but at least I know the end result is well worth it!

Look for the Hemlock Trilogy, book Two- in 2013.



ARTICLE 5
Article 5, Book One
by Kirsten Simmons
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New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials and maybe worse. People who get arrested don’t usually come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs—like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes—and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what’s worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.


Oh my God, I loved this book. The relationship between Ember and Chase is everything. It colors everything, the betrayals and the mending of trust, the fragility of feelings and how they can save or kill a person in love. This dystopia is constructed as an all encompassing oppressive and controlling entity, the stakes are high, the danger is constant, hope is like spun glass. But the pain and turmoil these characters live through prove that people can overcome even the darkest of circumstances. That's what I loved about Article 5, a road story of love and redemption.

Look For:
BREAKING POINT, Article 5, book Two- coming 02/12/13.



INVISIBLE SUN
Black Hole Sun, Book Two
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A dystopian thrill ride—incredible action, inventive world-building, deadly humor, and more—for fans of movie classics such as Blade Runner and Mad Max! This is the sequel to Black Hole Sun, which Suzanne Collins called “imaginative and action-packed.”

Durango saved the world. Okay, maybe not by himself—he had help from Mimi, his nano-implant with a biting wit, Vienne, his second-in-command, whom he also happens to be hopelessly in love with, and a ragtag crew of misfits. Still, you’d think he deserves a break. But a mercenary’s work is never done. He’s on a new mission, one that will infuriate just about everyone. One that will put everyone he cares about in unspeakable danger. 


I took a chance with BLACK HOLE SUN, I had no idea what to expect, but I was not expecting what I got. A diamond hidden in plain sight, full of humor, action, and one hell of a hero. Durango is a shining star, and together with his ever fierce and deadly second Vienne, they are utterly perfection. If INVISIBLE SUN hadn't kicked my teeth in, I'd still be chewing on my finger nails in anticipation of RISING SUN and SHADOW ON THE SUN.

Also Read:
RISING SUN, Black Hole Sun prequel novella, Book 0.5- coming 02/05/13.
BLACK HOLE SUN, Black Hole Sun, Book One.
SHADOW ON THE SUN, Black Hole Sun, Book Two- coming 03/26/13.


THE SELECTION
The Selection, Book One
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For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon. 

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.


Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

If someone told me I'd love a book that was a cross between The Bachelor and the Hunger games, I'd have told them to shut the front door. But I did love it, because the story is so much deeper than that. This is a character driven story, if you don't come to care about the lives of the people involved, then the rest of the story falls apart. And in the back drop in a budding revolution, starving citizens, and an oppressive caste system. The poor need a champion and I'm hoping that THE ELITE will address this. The story has set up more than just a romance, I'm looking forward to Maxon, America, and Aspen growing up to be characters that affect change.

Look For:
THE PRINCE, The Selection prequel novella, book 0.5- coming 03/05/13.
THE ELITE, The Selection, Book Two- coming 04/23/13.


THE LAST PRINCESS
The Last Princess, Book One
by Galaxy Craze
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Happily ever after is a thing of the past.

The year is 2090.

England is a barren land. Food is rationed. Oil has decimated the oceans. The people are restless.

A ruthless revolutionary enacts a plan to destroy the royal family, and in a moment, the king is dead. His heiress, Princess Mary, and her brother, Jamie, have been abducted, and no one knows their fate. Princess Eliza Windsor barely escapes, and finds herself scared and lost in London's dangerous streets.

With a mind for revenge and the safe recovery of her siblings, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. There she is tempted by her first taste of independence -- and true love. Ultimately she must summon her courage and fight to ensure that she does not become... The Last Princess.


No official word I can find on book two, but there is a TON of story still to be told. In a future of disease and war, this Princess who has lead a very insulated existence takes it upon herself to strike back. Alone, and without hope, Eliza becomes a hero shaped by pain and strife. Although it's a futuristic story and because of the breakdown on society, modern and medieval elements co-exist. Eliza becomes our knight errant and her quest can save not just her brother and sister, but her country. I wish I knew any news on book two!


PURE
Pure, Book One
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We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.

Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .

There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it's his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.

When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.


Ahhh, I can't say enough about this series. Brutal, unforgiving environment, big characters... check out my ongoing giveaway for it.

Look For:
FUSE, Pure Trilogy, Book Two- coming 02/19/13.


SHADOW & BONE
The Grisha, Book One
by Leigh Bardugo
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Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, all she’s ever been able to rely on is her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’ve been sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. 

When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. She is torn from everything she knows and whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes that she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the Sun Summoner. Only her power can destroy the Fold. Overwhelmed by luxury, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to keep her wits about her without Mal by her side. 

But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her mastery of her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha—and the secrets of her heart.

2012 was an absolutely golden year for YA, Young Adult lit that didn't feel like it was aimed at a younger audience. SHADOW AND BONE is pure fantasy, mystical, dark, dangerous, and cinematic. I could see everything Bardugo described, it's textures, it's temperatures, and it's intensity. Darkling is a character for your dreams and nightmares. Drink him like a poison or like a drug, this world will make you crave the impossible. This series, it's writing, it's in my top 3 of 2012.

Look For:
THE WITCH OF DUVA, A Grisha Trilogy companion (see below).
SIEGE AND STORM, Grisha Trilogy, Book Two- coming 06/04/13.
RUIN AND RISING, Grisha Trilogy, Book Three- Coming in 2014.


THE WITCH OF DUVA
A Grisha Trilogy Short Story
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There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls…or so the story goes. But it’s just possible that the danger may be a little bit closer to home. This story is a companion folk tale to Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel, Shadow and Bone.



FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS
by Diana Peterfreund
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Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Eighteen-year-old Luddite Elliot North has always known her place in this caste system. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. But now the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress and threatening Luddite control; Elliot’s estate is floundering; and she’s forced to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliott wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she abandoned him.

But Elliot soon discovers her childhood friend carries a secret—-one that could change the society in which they live…or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she has lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.


So emotional, so heart wrenching, the baggage and history between Elliot and Kai is heartbreaking. A fascinating story inspired by PERSUATION, but set in an post-apocalypse where the world is damaged and it's inhabitants live in a caste systems of have and have nothings. But there are those who have walked through fire to make their own way in life, and there in lies the crux of the problem for Elliot and Kai. He can't see why she would have lied to him and stayed, and she can't let him every see how much it all hurt. How much her responsibilities tie her to an insufferable life. Love it.

Also Read:
AMONG THE NAMELESS STARS, For Darkness Shows the Stars prequel, book 0.5.
ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA, For Darkness Shows the Stars, Book Two- coming 2013.



THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD
A Throne of Glass Novella, Book 0.1
by Sarah J. Maas
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Format: eBook
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A Throne of Glass novella.

On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She's been sent by the Assassin's Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes - and she will risk everything to right the wrong she's been sent to bring about.



THE ASSASSIN AND THE DESERT
A Throne of Glass Novella, Book 0.2
by Sarah J. Maas
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After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.



THE ASSASSIN IN THE UNDERWORLD
Throne of Glass, Book 0.3
by Sarah J. Maas
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When the King of the Assassins gives Celaena Sardothien a special assignment that will help fight slavery in the kingdom, she jumps at the chance to strike a blow against an evil practice. The misson is a dark and deadly affair which takes Celaena from the rooftops of the city to the bottom of the sewer--and she doesn't like what she finds there.


THRONE OF GLASS
Queen of Glass, Book One
by Sarah J. Maas
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After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.


A hero for the ages. Celaena is everything you'd want in a hero. She grows and changed before your eyes, She is lightyears from the masked assassin in THE ASSASSIN AND THE PIRATE LORD. I could never even come close to touching all the complexity and beauty in it. But it the THE stand out of the year. All together, five works making one perfect EPIC, hands down the best thing of 2012. Not even close.

Look for:
CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, Throne of Glass, book Two Fall 2013.


THE ASSASSIN AND THE EMPIRE
Throne of Glass Novella, 0.4
by Sarah J. Maas
Read an excerpt
Format: eBook
Find it on Amazon KindleB&N NookGoodreads
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Celaena Sardothien is the assassin with everything: a place to call her own, the love of handsome Sam, and, best of all, freedom. Yet, she won’t be truly free until she is far away from her old master, Arobynn Hamel; Celaena must take one last daring assignment that will liberate her forever. But having it all, means you have a lot to lose . . .

This fourth fantastic e-novella gives readers an inside look at the characters who appear in the full-length novel Throne of Glass. Don’t miss out!


Left me balling, emotionally rips you up. PLEASE READ THIS SERIES IN ORDER. You'll get the full emotional squeeze if you do.



OUTPOST
Razorland, Book Two
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In this sequel to Enclave, Ann Aguirre ramps up the action and horror. If you were scared of the blood-thirsty Freaks before, brace yourself for this incredible sequel.

Salvation isn't as safe as it seems...

Deuce’s whole world has changed. Now living topside in a community called Salvation, she has a whole new set of problems. Down below, she was considered an adult, and she contributed to the whole. Now, topside, the people of Salvation think she’s a brat in need of training. She hates school, and she doesn’t fit in with the other girls. They’ve spent their lives learning to cook and sew–suitable woman’s work. Deuce only knows how to fight. To make matters worse, Fade keeps her at a distance, and the band of four has broken into fragments.

Stalker presses for a closer relationship, but Deuce sees him as a training partner, and she’s busy trying to find her place in Salvation. She refuses to accept that she’s wrong for being who she is, but tensions rise as she struggles against the status quo. 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.

Once she’s free from school for the year, Deuce pursues a chance to serve in the summer patrols–those responsible for making sure the growers and planters can work the fields without danger of Freak attack. It should have been routine, little fighting, but things have been changing on surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks are smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it will take a girl like Deuce to turn the tide.

Turning up the danger, bringing people together, tearing them apart. Duece is becoming more than a huntress, she's owning being a female, owning her feelings. Fade is put through hell, Stalker is becoming- by inches- a human being. But as our characters change, so do the freaks. They are becoming more sentient, and that mean they can strategize. I don't know if there is anything scarier. 

Also Read:
FOUNDATION, Enclave universe book 0.5
ENCLAVE, EnclaveTrilogy, book One.
ENDURANCE, Enclave Trilogy, book 1.5.
HORDE, Enclave Trilogy, Book Three- coming Fall 2013.


THE DIVINERS
The Diviners, Book One
by Libba Bray
Read an excerpt
Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads-
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Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.


Great cast, great story, great mystery. Loved the spirit Evie brought to her every day life. Wish I could be more like her. An unforgettable novel.


DEFIANCE
The Courier's Daughter, Book One
by C.J. Redwine
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Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads
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Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.


One of the best romances of 2012. Best fantasy, best books, best everything. Sure I'd figured out how the Commander controlled everything, but that is a minor aspect on the overall genius of this story. I was on pins and needles breaking out into cold sweat, you never know who is safe, and who is dead meat. You are just wishing and gripping the book tight hoping that Rachel and Logan can live long enough to stay together. I cannot do justice to this story, but I hope I can impress upon you readers that it is worth it's weight in gold.

Look for:
DECEPTION, The Courier's Daughter, book Two in 2013.


CROWN OF EMBERS
Girl of Fire and Thorns, Book Two
by Rae Carson
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Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads
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Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds.

A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.


I literally re-read this book five times this year. The series is on my All-Time Favorites shelf, and CROWN OF EMBERS is my favorite of the two and a half so far. Elisa is so special, and I think I want to marry Lord Hector- seriously. I WANT MORE!

Also Read:
THE SHADOW CATSFire and Thorns Trilogy prequel novella, book 0.5.
GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNSFire and Thorns Trilogy, book One.
THE SHATTERED MOUNTAINFire and Thorns Trilogy novella, book 1.5.
UNTITLED GoF&T novella, Fire and Thorns Trilogy novella, book, ?
THE BITTER KINGDOM, Fire and Thorns, book Three.


REBEL HEART
Dustlands, Book Two
by Moira Young
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Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads
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Nothing is certain and no one is safe in the second book in the highly praised Dust Lands trilogy, which MTV’s Hollywood Crush blog called “better than The Hunger Games.”

It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba’s world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh’s freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road, a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.


One of my favorite aspects of this series is that it deals with mature issues and elements. This series pulls no punches. REBEL HEART takes everything from BLOOD RED ROAD and twists it into complicated and impossible knots. Every moment is fantastic, waiting until 2014 for the follow up is like a punch in the face. 

Also Read:
BLOOD RED ROAD, Dustlands, book One.
Book Three in late 2013 or early 2014.



MIDNIGHT CITY
A Conquered Earth Novel, Book One
by J. Barton Mitchell
Read an Excerpt
Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads
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Lord of the Flies meets War of the Worlds in this alien-invaded postapocalyptic world where two teens and a young girl with amazing powers must stop the aliens’ mysterious plan

Earth has been conquered by an alien race known as the Assembly. The human adult population is gone, having succumbed to the Tone—a powerful, telekinetic super-signal broadcast across the planet, which has reduced them to a state of complete subservience. But the tone has one critical flaw. It only affects the population once they reach twentyone or twenty-two years old. This means that there is one group left to fight. Teens.

Holt Hawkins is a bounty hunter, and his current target is Mira Toombs, a treasure seeker who has escaped from Midnight City after being sentenced to death. It's not long before Holt bags his prey, but their instant connection isn't something for which Holt bargained. Neither is the Assembly ship that crash-lands near them shortly after he captures Mira. Venturing inside the ship, despite the tied-up Mira's objections, Holt finds a young girl who can't remember anything except her name: Zoey.

The three soon begin an adventure through alien-conquered North America, encountering young freedom fighters, powerful artifacts of strange science that seem like magic, pirates and brigands, and frightening mutated creatures of the night, all while trying to stay one step ahead of the Assembly. Zoey, in the meantime, starts to exhibit amazing powers while Holt and Mira begin to realize that this young girl just may be the key to stopping the alien invaders.


Midnight City is the breathtaking first book in the Conquered Earth series that chronicles three young people and their journey through a dangerous world as they try to save it.

Ok, MIDNIGHT CITY is like sitting on a roller coaster that's just taken off. Conquered Earth is a world of horrible wonders, full of things with sharp teeth, and invaders with Wellsian tech, gangs of kids scraping out a life and waiting for the inevitable loss of control over their faculties and their will. Best of all is Holt, a classic action hero the kind that overcomes desperate and impossible action sequences, and this is what you come to expect from Holt. Love. Him. But the story and the stakes are bigger than just Holt, and we've only seen two sections of this varied world. Complex and cinematically imagined, MIDNIGHT CITY should not be missed.

Look for:
WINTERBAY, Conquered Earth novella, book 0.5 in 2013.
THE SEVERED TOWER, Conquered Earth, book two in 2013.



THE ASSASSIN'S CURSE
Strange Chemistry
by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Read an excerpt 
Find it on AmazonB&NGoodreads
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Ananna of the Tanarau is the eldest daughter of a highly-ranked family in the loose assortment of cutthroats and thieves in the Pirate's Confederation. When she runs away from the marriage her parents have arranged for her, they hire Naji the assassin to murder her.

When a mysterious woman in a dress shop offers her magical assistance for dealing with the assassin, Ananna accepts. She never went in much for magic herself -- she lacks the talent for it -- but she's not quite ready to die yet, either. Unfortunately, the woman's magic fails.

Fortunately, Ananna inadvertently saves the assassin's life in the skirmish, thus activating a curse that had been placed on him a few years earlier. Now, whenever her life is in danger, he must protect her -- or else he experiences tremendous physical pain. Neither Ananna nor the assassin, Naji, are pleased about this development.

Follow Annana and Naji as they sail across the globe, visiting such mysterious places as the Court of Salt and Waves, in their desperate effort to lift the curse. Soon they will discover that only by completing three impossible tasks will they be able to set themselves free.


The last book I read in 2012 and absolutely one of the best. An adventure of wonders, magic, and pirates! I wish like hell I could be on the high seas with Ananna, she is one kick-ass  heroine. She can teach me to pick pocket better than Aladdin, or sword fight better than all the boys, and survive in pretty much any environment (except the desert- death to all deserts!). Or work magic like assassin Naji, imagine all the awesome and sexiness of Price Zuko, mix in his stealthiness as the The Blue Spirit, turn it up like a thousand, add in terrible powers, and you get close to Naji. I wanted to eat this series like a sinful desert, but mostly I want THE PIRATE'S CURSE in my greedy little hands!

Look for:
THE PIRATE'S CURSE, The Assassin's Curse duology, book Two in 06/04/13.


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