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In My Mailbox (53)

In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Story Siren where we get to share the books we received over the week for review, purchase, loan or trade.

Over the past week I received:

Purchased with birthday gift cards:

Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Balthazar by Claudia Gray (kindle edition)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Won:

The Butterfly Clues (signed) by Kate Ellison and butterfly bookmark -  from the awesome Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner and Paper Lantern Lit

Library:

Bewitching by Alex Flinn

Review via Netgalley:

Talisman of El by Alecia Stone

 

 

 

 

 

Audiobook surprises for review from Penguin Audio:

Tough Sh*t by Kevin Smith

Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott with Sam Lamott

Chasing Midnight by Randy Wayne White

The Thief by Clive Cussler and Justin Scott

Shades of Hope by Tennie McCarty

What did you receive in your mailbox this week?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books to Fall For

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish featuring a new top ten list each week. Everyone can participate- head on over to their blog and sign up.

This week is freebie week and you can choose whatever top 10 topic you like. Since back to school started up again this week in my town I am starting to think about fall. With that in mind, I made a list of my most anticipated fall reads.

My reading interests don’t necessarily change in the fall, except maybe to pick up a horror book or two in October. The books I’ve chosen are all either standalone or the first book in a series and are a mix of different YA genres.

These are the titles that have piqued my interest for fall reading:

2. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez (October 18) – This one looks like a good one for music lovers. It is about a musical prodigy and provides an inside look at what it takes to succeed.

3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (October 18) – I’ve read the authors other series and I’m curious to read this one about riders that compete in a dangerous water horse race.

4. After Obsession by Carrie Jones, Steven E. Wedel (September 13)  – A scary and creepy paranormal about possession.

5. The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton (September 27) – An historical fiction book about faeries set in Victorian London.

6. Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon (October 4) – A paranormal book set in Ireland with romance and an interesting mythology.

7. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (November 15) – A dystopian where the heroine has a fatal touch. This is another one being compared to The Hunger Games, but it does sound intriguing.

8.The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (November 15) – In this dystopian world inhabitants are kept separate by the language they speak, but the heroine has the ability to speak all languages. Sounds like an interesting concept.

9. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (September 27) – I’m eager to read this story about the aftermath of an accident where the heroine has lost her memory and strange things begin to occur.

10. Fateful by Claudia Gray (September 13) – An historical fiction with werewolves on the Titanic by the author of the Evernight series. I’m so curious about this one.

Do your reading tastes change in the fall? What fall books are you looking forward to? I’m excited to check out everyone’s lists this week!

Afterlife by Claudia Gray

Book: Afterlife (Evernight #4) by Claudia Gray

Published by: HarperTeen, March 8, 2011

Genre: Young Adult

Format/pages: Hardcover 368 pages

Format read/Source: ARC courtesy of NetGalley

Date read: October 11 2010

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Synopsis from the author’s website (includes spoilers for books 1-3)

Bianca and Lucas have always believed they could endure anything to be together. When a twist of fate not only transforms Bianca into a ghostly wraith, but also turns Lucas into a vampire—the very creature he spent his life hunting—they are left reeling.

Haunted by his powerful need to kill, Lucas can turn to only one place for help… Evernight Academy. Bianca is determined to remain with him. But with the vampire leader of Evernight waging a war against wraiths, her former home has become the most dangerous place she could be, despite the new powers her transformation has given her.

A battle between wraiths and vampires looms, and Bianca and Lucas face a terrifying new reality. They’ve overcome every obstacle life has thrown at them, but is their love strong enough to survive the challenges after life?

My Thoughts:

The Evernight series has always set itself apart in the world of YA vampire books. From the first book on there have been many surprises in this series that have kept it interesting. Keeping the series at four books feels right for the story. I don’t feel short-changed or that the series has been dragged out for too long. The author certainly does not shy away from controversial plot twists and has kept the suspense going strong. The last book HOURGLASS was a rollercoaster ride for her characters, as Bianca and Lucas found themselves becoming their own worst nightmare. AFTERLIFE is an exciting finale to the series, with the usual twists and turns. The conclusion provides answers and ties up all the loose ends. The ending is satisfying overall and in keeping with the series.

Appropriately the final book returns back to the series’ roots and back to Evernight Academy. Lucas needs some help adjusting to being a vampire and Evernight is just the place for him. In addition to supporting Lucas, Bianca also has her own path to follow. Bianca is adjusting to her new existence and her new wraith superpowers that make her the hope and envy of all the wraiths. She is also trying to maintain her relationship with Lucas now that he is a vampire. She hopes her parents will welcome her back even though she is now a wraith. Old favorites such as Balthazar, Vic and Ranulf are also at Evernight to provide their usual support and humor.  Mrs. Bethany is up to her old tricks, and we find out some of her history that provides some insight into her behavior.

This book is evenly paced and kept my interest throughout. It builds nicely on the tension from the last book and kept me on the edge of my seat trying to guess the outcome for our favorite characters. The action builds to an exciting, yet bittersweet conclusion. I recommend this series for fans of YA paranormal series set in boarding schools. It is a fast-paced series full of surprises with plenty of action and romance. You can read the first book, EVERNIGHT, for free for a limited time here courtesy of HarperTeen.

It softens the blow to know that a spin-off book will follow featuring none other than Balthazar. BALTHAZAR is due to be released in March 2012. While you are waiting for Balthazar, the author also has a standalone book coming out about werewolves on the Titanic titled FATEFUL, due in September 2011.

For More Information:

Amazon | Goodreads | Author’s website

YA Historical Fiction Challenge

The YA Historical Fiction Challenge is hosted by YA Bliss. I love the idea of this challenge because this will encourage me to read more historical fiction and there are so many great ones due out next year. You don’t have to select a 2011 release though, any historical fiction book that you read in 2011 is eligible.

There are three levels to the challenge to choose from:

Level 1: 5 YA HF books in 2011
Level 2: 10 YA HF books in 2011
Level 3: 15 YA HF books in 2011

I am going to try for level 3. This is my tentative list of books that I will read for the challenge:

1. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

2. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (own)

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (own)

4. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell (own ARC)

5. Vixen by Jillian Larkin

6. Wildthorn by Jane Eagland (own)

7. Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl (own)

8. Fateful by Claudia Gray

9. Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink (own)

10. Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney

11. Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

12. The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

13. Chime by Franny Billingsley

14. Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston

15. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

 

 

Hourglass by Claudia Gray

Hourglass (Evernight, #3)Hourglass by Claudia Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hourglass is book 3 in the Evernight series. This was a very exciting, action packed installment. It takes place right after Stargazer left off. Lucas and Bianca have taken off with the vampire hunters Black Cross after their attack on Evernight academy.

It has been awhile since I read Stargazer, but it was easy to pick the story back up. Bianca and Lucas get to explore their relationship more, now that they are on the run together. And Bianca learns to be a vampire hunter while trying to keep her secret.

This is probably my favorite book in the series, there is a lot of action and jaw dropping moments in this book. We learn more about the secret Bianca’s parents have been keeping from her. The story lines are well balanced, and we get to see some old familiar faces like Balthazar, Vic and Ranulf. And we also meet a new wraith character named Maxie.

I was a little reminded of the BBC series Being Human while reading this book, all we need is for the werewolves to be introduced to the series.

The parts that dragged on a little too long for me were the Black Cross training scenes. Otherwise, great pace and the book was a quick exciting read. I’m looking forward to seeing where this series is going next!

View all my reviews

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