Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Aspen and the Dream Walkers by Caroline Swart

   Ever wonder what it was like to live in a Cinderella story?  Aspen did.  She was a teenage girl trapped in a twisty nightmare version of Cinderella where she was constantly having to deal with an evil stepsister who tortured and blackmailed her, and a stepfather who could care less about her and made sure that she and her mother had nothing, as well as felt like they were nothing.  Aspen's father had died long ago when she was a baby.  She doesn't even remember him.  But her mom still missed him a lot.  Her stepfather, Stephan, had made sure that there was basically nothing left to remember or cherish when he was through.  Aspen couldn't even buy new clothes because her mother didn't work and had no money.  However, Mirian, her stepsister, wore designer clothing and heels.  And then Dylan shows up.  He is one hot guy and Miriam is instantly interested.  She gets whatever she wants and she is after him now.  But Dylan isn't interested in her.  He is interested in Aspen.  Aspen is like him.  She fries electronics when she touches them.  It's a strange nuisance, but she also notices quickly that Dylan seems to have a little electrical charge to him as well.  And Aspen is drawn to him.  Then the dreams start coming more often.  They are so realistic, but it is like it's in a different world.  A place called Lanta where the sky is the color of a lemon until it turns purple and the bad people come out, chasing people like her and creating some horrific nightmarish creatures.  It gets even stranger when Dylan and her new friend at school, Sandy, have to explain to her that it is all real.  She is a Dream Walker and so was her father.  Her mother, however, is human.  Not just that but her father was the ruler of Lanta.  Aspen is a princess here, a member of the Power Clan.  After never having anything, she isn't sure what to do with this information.  Now that she knows the truth, Aspen must learn how her powers work and how to control them.  If she doesn't, she could hurt one of her new friends.  And then there is her Uncle Leeman that she is just meeting and getting to know.  Between dealing with new powers, a horrific stepsister, her crazy crush on Dylan, and what looks to be her rival (Ruby from the Fire Clan), she has a lot to deal with...

   "Dream Walkers have been on this earth for centuries.  We live in a parallel plane to Earth.....There are good and bad people living on this plane.  The Chancellors are the bad guys.  They become powerful and multiply on fear.  Fear is what feeds them.  Nightmares are ideal for creating fear, so they try and make as many bad dreams as they can.  A small child in the middle of a nightmare is the perfect vehicle for strengthening Chancellors.  They live on the energy created by that fear.....We're the good guys.  Our mission is to stop nightmares before they start so that children don't suffer and Chancellors don't multiply."

   This book was very clean with very minimal language and no real adult situations.  In fact, the book has a really cool story line.  It is a pretty awesome idea to write a book about a clan of people who fight the source of bad dreams.  Ingenious really.  Not only that but the fact that she has no idea who she is or what she is capable.  It is great to see that she doesn't let all that power go to her head, because Aspen has more power than most in her clan.  But it isn't very stable, and that can be dangerous.  Dylan helps her to learn how to channel that power and he absorbs it whenever it is necessary.  After she fully gets her powers, they tend to come out whenever she gets really angry or upset.  It's a good thing Dylan is around so much to help her keep it under control.  What Aspen doesn't like is how much attention he gets from Ruby.  She is way too familiar with Dylan for Aspen's liking, and she seems to snub Aspen when she can.  Great.  Another Miriam.  At least that is what I thought whenever Ruby started coming into the picture!  Rebuilding her life is requiring a hefty effort on Aspen's part, as well as that of her friends and family that is left.  Her Uncle Leeman is going to be her and her mother's savior when it comes to getting away from Stephan and Miriam.  Because of him and Dylan, they will be safe and happy.  And most importantly, Aspen won't have to hide who she is from her mother anymore.  Like I said before, it's a twisty nightmarish version of Cinderella that will keep you coming back for more!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Vampires Rule (Rule Series Book 1) by K. C. Blake

   Yes when I first saw this book the title jumped out at me as corny at best, and only more than a little over played.  But I finally decided to give this book a try and it was much better than my expectations.  My expectation was a Twilight rerun.  But Vampires Rule had an interesting story line and I wouldn't mind reading the complete series.
   In the beginning of the book, Jack is a vampire.  A 17-year-old boy forever stuck at that age.  Never to grow old and never to even feel the heat of the sun again.  He was turned ten years before when his mother and father and he were killed by a werewolf.  Luckily there had been vampires nearby and they turned him.  In a stroke of luck, or possibly fate, he is mauled by a werewolf in a cemetery while trying to save a teenage girl.  Turns out she didn't need saving, but he might.  Being scratched by a werewolf was a death sentence to a vampire and to a human it was the curse of becoming what had injured them.  Silver, the girl Jack was trying to save, takes him to her house to heal.  She saved him from the werewolf.  Silver is one powerful hunter that has the power to suck the souls out of werewolves.  And she was destined to meet Jack.  It is all written in a diary from long ago.  Strangely enough, because of his injury, Jack turns back into a human.  But not a normal human.  Unfortunately some of his powers, along with a few new ones, would be returning to him.  He would have some vampire powers as well as some werewolf powers.  Why?  Because he and Silver were not only meant to meet and be together, but they were meant to take down the head werewolf.  In killing the oldest werewolf, that would make all others into regular humans again.  But being human is much harder than Jack thought.  He is tempted to go back to his vampire family on more than one occasion.  Even going back to finish high school is hard.  His temper is out of control and he has to deal with his would-be younger brother that has now taken the roll of parent basically.  Billy, his brother, is under a lot of stress and continually hopes that he doesn't have to kill Jack.  Billy's afraid of Jack to some degree.  He knew what he was before Jack came back home.  Then there is Silver.  Jack is crazy about her but feels like he is putting her in even more danger since everyone seems out to get him.  Can he balance his crazy life, the revenge he wants for his family's death, and find the head werewolf?

   It is especially interesting in this book to see how vampires and werewolves were created, and who created them.  The reasoning behind it was rather selfish.  My question is why would you create both of these factions and then write in a diary about visions of ending werewolves and vampires after you were the one who had created them?  This is a question that there is no answer to in this book.  The woman behind all of this is rather vague and we don't know a whole lot about who she was.  Then watching Jack struggle with being some kind of destined super human is definitely worth the read.  When he becomes human, he feels even more alone than when he was a vampire.  No one seems to really understand him.  Those close to him seem to fear him.  Others want to kill him.  And the only other person besides Silver that he feels close to and connected to turns out to be his mortal enemy.  And his enemy warns him that Silver brings trouble with her wherever she goes.  In fact, at the end of the book, Jack receives another sinister warning about Silver from an unexpected source.  Just another thing to add to the pot of complicated that has become his life.

*image via K.C. Blake

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Reclamation (Book 3 of The Ravening Series) by Erica Stevens TEASER

   The saga continues...Bethany and Cade are still running for their lives, but things are changing.  The death and destruction left from the aliens have reached an all time high and the group can barely stomach what they are seeing.  As lives are continually in jeopardy, so are Cade and Bethany's secrets about who they both really are.  And the secret does come out that Cade is one of the aliens.  Fortunately because of his love and dedication to Bethany, they don't try to kill him.  But the group remains very distrusting of him.  Who would blame them after what they had seen and been through?  Then there is Bethany's little secret about the changes Cade's blood made within her.  Everyone finds out about that too and suddenly she is on the bad list as well.  She lied to everyone about that and Cade.  But Cade will do anything for Bethany to make sure she survives and has the life she deserves.  And that includes a very daring move to try and rid Earth of the aliens that continue to stalk it.  It's the only move they have.  With the help from a very unusual source, they have to at least try to save the world.  If they don't succeed, all will be lost.

"There's something about certain humans that entangles us.  There's something about them that we react to, and it is only one of them for each of us."

   This book made me want to laugh and cry.  It makes you feel like you are living it.  You can feel yourself wading through the emotional turmoil of the characters.  It is an amazing ending to an amazing series!  Make sure you check it out!  The book comes out January 28th!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Twin Souls (Nevermore Book 1- A Vampire Hunter Novel) by K.A. Poe

   Being abandoned by your dad was one thing, but when your mom walks out on you too, what do you do?  Alexis is going to be 18 soon and things in her life have suddenly gotten more complicated than she bargained for.  Feeling completely abandoned, she does her best to go on with her life while her dad left a long time ago and her mom just left to go live elsewhere with her boyfriend, Mark.  Her best friends, Karen and Jason, do their best to cheer her up, but should Alexis even care anymore?  Interestingly enough, she meets a mysterious new guy at school that is showing quite a bit of interest in Alex while her life is going down the drain.  She ends up going to his house and after midnight on her 18th birthday, he has to explain that she is from a line of vampire hunters and her mom and dad were not her real parents.  Her Uncle Paul is her real father and her real mother has been dead for a long time.  Paul hid Alex in order to protect her from the monsters he was hunting.  But the twist is that Salem, the new guy from school, is a vampire too.  He just doesn't drink human blood.  And he can conjure pretty much anything he wants to, food included.  The more that she gets to know Salem, the less she thinks he is a monster.  In fact, she really likes him and he cares for her very deeply.  But Paul is a hard case and feels like all vampires are monsters.  Then Alex sees her mother on t.v. after having been mauled by a bear.  She was in the hospital, but alive.  Alex has a bad feeling about what is going on, thinking that it was a vampire, like Mark.  Salem doesn't think it's him at first because he used to be like Salem.  But after a series of strange and short conversations with Alex's mom, Salem grows more suspicious of Mark being the perpetrator.  In a desperate move, Alex asks for she and Paul, along with her real aunt, to go see about her mom.  But she has no idea what she will find and how it will impact her life.

   In a way you want to say poor Alex because of all of the hardships she had to endure.  However, she is one tough girl and does her absolute best to deal with things as they come.  It is a lot to take in being abandoned by two parents only to find out neither are your real parents and your real dad wants a relationship with you.  He wants to be dad while Alex is not ready to accept that just yet.  It is a tenuous situation and things get more and more strained with the situation with Alex's mom and then finding out that Alex has an exceptionally rare gift.  Then there is Salem, who Paul has tried to kill a few times and almost succeeded at one point.  Will Paul be able to accept their growing relationship?  And more importantly, will Alex be able to accept who she really is?

*image via K.A. Poe

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Burn (The Burn Series Book 1) by Annie Oldham

  Before WWIII, the United States took away all freedom of speech and personal privacy in a dramatic attempt to eradicate terrorism.  They had watchers in every classroom, every home.  There was even a bill in congress for personal identification implants so the government could always track their citizens' movements.

 Sixteen-year-old Terra lives where someone would only read about in science fiction and fantasy novels.  She lives below the surface of the ocean, down in the depths on the very bottom.  It is a secluded colony with a controlled climate.  She lives in a bubble.  Before WWIII (the Event) started, many scientists got together and formed these colonies in the ocean to escape what would inevitably happen.  When the war broke out, those living in the colonies were safe.  One hundred years later, their existence was just a rumor.  And the colony wants it to stay that way.  People don't ever go to the surface, what they call The Burn.  It is said to be an awful, desolate, and lawless place.  But Terra isn't happy with living in the colony.  To her it feels like living in a prison.  She longs to get out and see what The Burn is.  Mostly, she just wants to escape the colony.  Unfortunately everything in the colony is controlled and monitored heavily.  Escaping is difficult and she must leave behind her loving sister and controlling father.  Her mother hadn't been seen in a very long time.  Terra blames her father for that because of the strange circumstances of her mother's departure.  With the help of one of her teachers and the mysterious Gaea, she leaves for what had been Washington at one time.  Now all of the states have been dissolved and it is just called New America.  And it is nothing like she thought it would be.

"...Politically.  New America is the most stable nation at the moment.  Though that's nothing to brag about, given the way they're enforcing stability.  Their citizens are required to live in designated cities.  Anyone found outside is incarcerated in a labor camp.  So many other nations broke out into civil war after the Event and war with each other as well.  I suppose the relative peace in New America is admirable, but I wouldn't ask its citizens about it...."

When Terra reaches Washington, things are chaotic.  The first thing she does is rescue a guy who was drowning.  But he doesn't know who rescued him and she follows him and his friends back to their settlement.  Dave, the guy she rescued, takes to her quickly and likes her.  She likes him too.  But there is Mary, who Dave has a serious history with.  Mary also doesn't trust her.  The more she gets to know the people within the settlement, the more she feels like a liar and feels like she is betraying her new friends by not telling them the truth of where she came from.  Then again, she can't really talk.  The sacrifice for her to come to The Burn was her tongue.  So the group at the settlement thinks she is from Arizona.  The longer she stays and participates, the more she wonders if she should have stayed at the colony.  Even if it did eat at her from the inside out.  Here on The Burn it sometimes comes down to kill or be killed.  People didn't hesitate to take whatever they wanted or needed from you and you had to stay on your guard almost constantly.  Staying alive meant hard work and going out for meds and supplies sometimes, which could be extremely dangerous.  Should Terra stay?  Could she survive here in this new reality?

I left the colony to find a place I belong.  Instead I find I am capable of unspeakable violence.

One can only see the similarities in what happened before WWIII with the limitation of freedoms and how things are today.  History does repeat itself at times.  And although Terra lived in a safe and very controlled environment, is it really worth giving up her freedom for feeling like you're in prison?  Can you trade your freedom for safety and comfort?  Even though most would that lived in these colonies, she wasn't one of those.  The chance to find out who she really was and where she really belonged had a much bigger pull on her than the safety and comfort of the colony.  But what she found changed her.  Things out on The Burn were harsh.  A reality she never expected that made her question her decision to come there.  Want to hear the whole story?  Go check out The Burn!!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Perception (Perception Trilogy Book 1) by Lee Strauss

 Imagine living in a utopian society.  A society where everything seemed absolutely perfect.  Everyone that resided there had blond hair and blue eyes.  They were all "perfect", and they were all GAPs: genetically altered persons.  A genetically altered person had the lifespan of at last two hundred years and had a great immune system.  They never got sick.  The walled cities that they lived in were immaculate and screamed of wealth.  Zoe Vanderveen was a GAP living in Sol City.  She was the typical GAP with the long blond hair and blue eyes.  Her grandfather had been one of two men that had come up with the gene mutations to create the genetically altered person.  And her grandfather was in a position of power.  While everything seems normal, it isn't.  Zoe's brother, Liam, disappears and she will do whatever it takes to find him.  In order to do so, she must go outside to employ the rebel Noah Brody for help.  Noah is also the son of the lady who helps clean Zoe's home.  They are not GAPs and do not look like them with their dark hair and eyes.  Their lifespan is normal and, unlike the GAPs, not all of them have chips inserted into their hands either.  Many people in this world do have chips.  It allows them to pay for things and can be a source of identification instead of carrying around cards that could be stolen.  Identity theft has been pretty much wiped out and few people take regular cash anymore.  Noah Brody is against everything that has to do with Zoe's world and what it represents.  With the social classes being so separated now, it creates tension, especially among the lower classes.  And Noah is the leader of the resistance.  While Noah agrees to help Zoe, he starts falling for her, even though she is who she is.  There are so many reasons why he shouldn't like her.  But he can't seem to help himself and Zoe gradually falls for him too.  But associating with outsiders can be dangerous and the answers to what Zoe seeks are not answers she will like.  It will be the beginning of something to change her world and possibly everyone else's as well.

"I'll never be what you are, Zoe.  What you need...."

Danger and confusion everywhere.  Loved the book!  I couldn't put it down and kept wondering if Noah and Zoe would work out because of their obvious differences.  And the secrets of her own family are the type of skeletons in the closet that, if they come out, can be very dangerous, especially for the one who holds the knowledge.  A suspicious Officer Grant.  A power playing grandfather.  Secret keeping parents.  Illegal activities.  A possessive boyfriend.  And a love that seems it can never be.  It has a little bit of everything!

Check out the next book in the series: Volition

*images via Lee Strauss
*quote via Lee Strauss

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Make yourself a book nook!

I saw this amazing book nook someone had created and just had to share it!  I would love to have one like this!!  (image found on Facebook)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Clarice's Book Nook has now passed 10,000 page views!!!  Yay!!!  Thank you to all of my followers out there!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Masquerade (Heven and Hell Series Book 1) by Cambria Hebert

 One night when it was dark, Heven was attacked and mauled.  She ended up with permanent scars on one side of her face.  Ugly and large scars.  Obvious to everyone who saw her.  People stared at her, whispered behind their hands.  It changed her.  She had been the popular cheerleader with lots of friends and a social life.  Now she was a recluse.  She shied away from everyone and wore hoodies and her hair down so that it would cover her scars.  She was quiet.  And her social life was almost non-existent.  Her only friends being Cole and Kimber, who went to school with her.  Cole and Kimber were dating and had been for quite a while now, even though they had the occasional breakup.
   Then a new guy shows up.  Sam.  He is tall and super handsome.  It seems to Heven that he is interested in Kimber, who was bent on giving Cole a hard time while they were broken up by making him insanely jealous.  And it works.  They get back together and it becomes very apparent that Sam is more into Heven.  He tells her she is beautiful.  And he is the only one who has ever touched her scars.  It takes Heven a while to really start believing that Sam actually likes her, and wants to be with her.  All the while, he is also trying to keep her from being the victim of another attack.  What she doesn't know is that Sam knows exactly what happened, even though Heven can't remember.
   Sam and Heven are on a tough road.  Through a series of attacks, Heven realizes just how much her life is in danger.  And Sam has a confession to make.  He is a hell hound.  And Heven was attacked by a hell hound.  Sam unknowingly drew attention to Heven by being so interested in her before they ever met.  He accidentally saw her one day and was charmed, pulled in by her.  And because of that, China, the "leader" of their little group of hell hounds attacked Heven.  And she intends on finishing the job.

   The story line in Masquerade is a rather unique one to me.  I have not read too many books that involved hell hounds, especially ones that morph into humans and fall in love.  But Sam and Heven do fall in love.  He always feels like he is undeserving of her love and she feels like she isn't good enough for him because she is so scarred.  But what is truly going on is the fact that she is holding herself back.  Once she starts opening up again, people flock back to her, glad to have her back to "normal".  This creates some tension and jealousy between Heven and Kimber.  It makes Heven start questioning their friendship, but that story must be continued in the next book because it is not completely played out in this one.  There are bigger things going on in this first book.  Like how Sam is appointed Heven's guardian when they find out that she is a Supernatural Treasure and will be in quite a bit of danger.  The two of them together could turn the tide of whether good or evil will reign on Earth.  It is a big responsibility and I cannot wait to see more in the next book!!

*images via Cambria Herbert
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