Where reading is a way of life

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Burn by David Estes

YA Sci-Fi/Apocalyptic, Paranormal
Brew #3
My Rating: 5 stars


When Rhett Carter finally manages to communicate with his cursed father, he wants nothing more than to discover a way to save him. The only problem: The closer he gets to Martin Carter, the faster he'll die. To help, Laney secretly seeks out Rhett's father, embarking on a dangerous mission. Unbeknownst to her, she's followed by Bil Nez, Hex, and Grogg. Separated from Rhett, their lives sit on a knife's edge.

Meanwhile, with bloodthirsty packs of Shifters prowling around New Washington, the only hope for survival is Rhett's ability to unite the humans and magic-born. A tenuous alliance is formed: the Reaper and his Necros; the Clairvoyants; Floss and her witch hunters; and the humans. But will it be enough to defeat their enemies and restore order to a world in chaos? And will Rhett and Laney ever have the chance for a normal life, a life they both desperately want?

Or will the world BURN?

My 2 cents

**There will be spoilers for both Brew and Boil in this review, but none for Burn**

"A nightmare awakens,
Opening one bruised eye.
Although they scream, it doesn’t listen,
Doesn’t care,
Doesn’t feel,
Doesn’t hate nor love.
Only takes.
And because it breathes fire, the world will burn.

Burn, Rhett Carter"

And so starts the conclusion to this epic trilogy! The Necros and the Clares have joined in with the few remaining humans to defeat Flora and the Shifters. But neither humans nor the magic born in their camp are happy with the truce, forcing Rhett to choose sides. Meanwhile, Flora is planning the attack of the century.

I absolutely LOVED this book! It was an epic conclusion and I loved every minute of it! I also thought the story had a perfect balance of action and suspense, comedy and silliness, snarkiness, and tear-jerker moments. The story flowed so easily, with never a dull moment, and I was completely hooked from beginning to end.

The thing I love the most, though, is the characters. This is an insane cast of dynamic characters, and made the story very entertaining. This really is a dark story with lots of horrible things happening and death everywhere, but it still has these moments of complete hilarity that had me laughing out loud while I was reading!

First of all: Tillman Huckle The underground arms dealer and fanatic gamer who always tells Rhett like it is. I especially loved this exchange between them:

"He makes a good point, even if changing the name of New Washington seems like the least of our worries. Even still, we need something to give the people hope. Something to help us start over. Something to make us all feel connected to each other. A new name might just do that.
“How about Unity?” I say.
Huckle laughs, and at first I think it’s because he’s just used a grenade launcher to blow up a pocket of the walking dead. “What about Peaceville? Or Harmonytown? Or did you consider The Land of Butterflies and Kittens?” Huckle says. "


Then there's Mr. Jackson, THE REAPER as he's known by almost everyone. A very creepy dude, with lots of secrets, even more than we thought. Something about him just intrigues me. Rhett wonders about him a lot as well. 

"Is he seriously joking with me? The master of the dark art of raising the dead has become a standup comedian? Surely this is the end of the world."

XAVE! He grew and grew on me all through the series, and the final book gave him a few well deserved highlights. Xave is incredibly smart, brave, and wise.

"“Everyone deserves help when they need it,” Xave says, “even if they think they don’t want it.” 

And then there's Grogg, the huge troll made of mud, and Hex, the wonderdog! Their adventures throughout the story are PRICELESS! We even get several chapters from their POV! These were huge highlights of the book for me!

"As his legs once more gain hold on the earth, Hex tries to remember why he’s here, what he’s doing.
Protect…um…protect someone…protect…

Flowers are sniffable.
Weeds are scratchable.
Grass is munchable and usually full of lots of curious creatures.
And yet, despite the abundance of all three of these plants in his immediately vicinity, Hex finds himself on the roof, chasing after Grogg, who’s more fun than all three put together. "

And then we have Bil. Bil really grew on me in this book. In the previous one, I was really not happy with his character, but he really redeems himself in this installment! Even better are his exchanges with Laney!

"“Life is but a random echo,” Bil Nez says. Apparently I woke him up when I was trying to calm myself down.
“Thanks for that,” I say, desperately wishing Normal Bil was back. I might not like Normal Bil that much, but compared to Crazy Bil, Normal Bil feels like an old friend.
He ignores my sarcasm. “Life reverberates off the walls of a cave, searching for a way out, but it always fades away.”
“You should write these things down and publish a coffee table book,” I say."

LANEY!! My fave character of the story still had me laughing and chuckling throughout the adventure! I just love Laney, her sarcasm, snarky, bravery, and fierceness. She. is. AWESOME!

"Laney practically chokes on her laugh. “Woo her? You couldn’t woo a cocker spaniel. Just the thought of you ‘wooing’ anyone makes me want to woo my pants.” 

And finally, there's Rhett, our MC full of contradictions. He seems like a simple character, but there's a lot more going on to him underneath. Definitely one of the most interesting MCs ever!

"All I know is that my life feels like a giant April Fool’s Joke most of the time. Either that or a mysterious box that has something different in it every time you open it."

The twists in this book...I can't even! HOLY CRAP BEANS, the twists were completely surprising, and they just kept on coming! (Although I will admit I did figure out a smallish one near the end ;) ) David Estes is quickly becoming the master of twists, and is magic at pulling them out of his hat!

The last thing I want to talk about is the ending. This ending was one of the best endings I've ever read, for a book, and a trilogy. I LOVED every single word on that last page. It tied everything up neatly and had definite feels. It made perfect sense and gave me what I wanted as a reader.

This trilogy is truly a gem, and I am sad to say goodbye to these amazing characters. Maybe the author will surprise us with some more stories about them in the future (hint, hint).

And now I'll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes.

"Double negative,” Rhett says.
“Doesn’t that make a positive?”
“Damn,” Rhett says. “I thought I was being clever."

“Don’t kill the humans, the zombies, the guys in the dark cloaks or the girls that glow like the sun. Oh, or the crazy old woman with the fingernails growing out of her head.”

"Time is the great devourer, taking days, months, and eventually years from us all. It doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t differentiate, shows no mercy."

You can buy Burn here:

And don't miss the first two books in the series!

Amazon  Goodreads

My Review

Salem’s Revenge strikes without warning or mercy, ravaging the powerless human race under the forces of united gangs of witches, wizards, and warlocks. During the slaughter, Rhett Carter's foster parents and sister are killed, and his best friend and girlfriend are abducted by a gang of witches calling themselves the Necromancers, who deal in the dark magic of raising the dead. Rhett’s sword-wielding neighbor with a mysterious past saves Rhett from becoming another casualty of the massacre and teaches him the skills he needs to survive in this new world.

Rhett is broken, his normal high school life of book blogging and football playing shoved in a witch-apocalyptic blender. The only thing he has left is his burning desire for revenge. Armed with his new witch hunting skills and a loyal, magic powered dog named Hex, he sets out into the unknown with one mission: hunt and destroy those who took away everyone he ever loved. 

But Rhett isn’t just a witch hunter; he has secrets of his own that he has yet to discover, secrets that his enemies will stop at nothing to keep him from.

And discovering the truth about himself is the human race’s only hope.

                                                                                Amazon    Goodreads

                                                                                                   My Review

Revenge. That’s all that’s left for witch hunter Rhett Carter. The magic-born have stripped everything from him—killed his friends, cursed his warlock father, shattered his future—leaving him bare and broken, but not dead. Their mistake.

When Rhett and Laney are suddenly thrust in different directions, Rhett must decide who to trust and who to kill. Backed by his trusty canine sidekick Hex, Rhett will embark on his deadliest mission yet, one that will lead him directly toward those who want him dead, pushing his unique resistance to magic to the edge and back again as he tries to remove his father’s curse.

Separated from Rhett, Laney seeks to understand the strange changes to her sister, Trish, who’s believed to be the last living Clairvoyant, and what role she’s destined to play in the future of humankind.

Wrapped around everything are four major groups: the Necromancers, the Changelings, the witch hunters, and New America, the remnants of humanity. When the major forces are brought together for an epic battle, the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Author Photo - David Estes

About the Author:
Author of popular YA dystopian series, the Dwellers Saga and the Country Saga. Voted books to read if you enjoyed the Hunger Games on Buzzfeed and Listopia.

Join 2,700+ David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite in David Estes' official fan group at:

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

You can find and contact David here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Falls the Shadow by Stephanie Gaither

352 pages, YA Sci-Fi
Falls the Shadow #1
My Rating: 5 stars


When Cate Benson was a kid, her sister, Violet, died. Two hours after the funeral, Cate’s family picked up Violet’s replacement. Like nothing had happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to give their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth—which means this new Violet has the same smile. The same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all of the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

At least, that’s what the paparazzi and the anti-cloning protestors want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that. She’s used to defending her sister, too. But Violet has vanished, and when Cate sets out to find her, she ends up in the line of fire instead. Because Cate is getting dangerously close to secrets that will rock the foundation of everything she thought was true.

In a thrilling debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?

My 2 cents:

Wow, this story had me hooked!

The basic premise: In a futuristic world, they have figured out a technology to create perfect clones. Parents can elect to have this procedure done to their children, and then the "clones" are stored in a facility, and regularly updated (their brains are like computers) with all the memories of the original. The idea being, that if a child dies, you can have them "replaced." 

The MC, Catelyn's older sister, Violet dies of a disease. Their parents are rich (her dad's the mayor) and they have cloned their kids, so Violet is replaced. Catelyn is 12 at the time, and tries to go along with it, but she knows it not really her sister. Everything goes on as normal.

4 years later, and Violet's best friend, Samantha Voss is found dead in the woods and Violet's the prime suspect. The clones have their critics in society, and this proves that the cloning process isn't perfect. Catelyn gets in the middle of a conspiracy with a government agency, and has to find her sister before they do and terminate Violet.

The story was quick moving, I couldn't put it down. What I really appreciated was that it didn't get too in depth with the technology and world building, it was easy to understand. This world was much like our own, except greater tech. The characters were good, although not too well developed, except the two sisters.

The thing I liked best was their relationship, it was so well done. Because in both their heads, they recognized that this new Violet was not really Violet, but an imitation, but they had to both pretend otherwise. So lots of complexity there, plus things get pretty crazy, making them both have to make hard choices.

The next best thing was the conspiracy and all the twists that happened throughout. It wasn't really clear who was the "bad guy" until the end, and even then, it was really the lesser of two evils. Loved that aspect.

Overall, I LOVED this, so my type of book, 5 stars!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Reread Challenge 2015

This year I've decided not to sign up for many challenges. I'm just doing a few personal ones and a few on Goodreads. But I saw this one, and knew I had to do it!

This is the first Reread Challenge! Hosted by Belle of the Literati and So Obsessed With.  

The Re-Read Challenge Details
  1. This challenge will run from January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2015. The sign-up linky will remain open until the end of January, but join at any time by adding your intro post to any monthly re-read recap linky.
  2. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it's a re-read.
  3. We will have two giveaways - one at the six-month point and one at the end of the year. Giveaway details posted closer to the halfway point!
  4. You don't have to follow our blogs to participate or be entered in the giveaways.
How You Sign Up
  1. Write a post about joining The 2015 Re-Read Challenge on your blog. In the post, include the banner, a link back to our sign-up page, the number of books you'd like to re-read and list some books you're hoping to re-read for the challenge.
  2. Add the direct link to your sign-up post in the linky below.
  3. Optional: Put the challenge button in your sidebar (grab link available at the bottom of the post).
  4. DONE. It's as easy as that to get started.
How You Participate
  1. Re-read some books!
  2. In the first week of each month, we will post a re-read recap on Belle of the Literati and So Obsessed With that includes a linky that will be open all month. Write a post detailing what you re-read the last month, and add the direct link to our linky to be entered in our giveaways.
  3. If you write any re-read reviews (it's totally optional!), add those to the monthly linky for additional entries (one per post) in our giveways.
  4. If you miss a monthly post, just link up your reviews and/or recap in the linky during the next month.

Why am I signing up? First of all, I LOVE rereading my favorite books. I always reread books. In 2014 I reread 22 books. They are great when you are in a reading slump and can't figure out what to read--just pick a favorite book you love!  Also, sometimes when the last book comes out in a trilogy or series, I like to read the whole series at once. Its so fun!

Most of my rereads I have planned have that purpose in mind--I need to get caught up on or finish a series, and I need a refresher.

Here's some of the books I'm hoping to reread:

My Goal is to reread 20 books this year.


1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas