Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Review: Across the Universe

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I'm sad to admit that I had Across the Universe by Beth Revis on my shelf since it came out. And I just read it earlier this year. I was going to get to meet Beth (who is hilarious, btw) again, so I wanted to have read something of hers. There were things that I loved and things that I did didn't.

I really liked Amy. She was born on Earth and cryogenically frozen to be moved to a new planet on a journey that will take 3 centuries. Elder was an interesting character as well. He was born aboard after many, many generations have lived on the ship. They are from two completely different worlds. I loved that Beth told this story between both main character's points of view. Amy narrated one chapter, and then Elder, and then Amy, and so on... I completely got Amy's thoughts and ideas, but Elder... his thinking is so off because of the way he was raised, the way Earth's history had been skewed.

It took my two months to finish the book. I found the beginning very boring. I would have gotten through it much faster and enjoyed it much more if it hadn't taken a quarter of the book for Amy to wake up from being frozen. One quarter of the book... She was waking up around page 100. I put the book down and almost didn't pick it back up. But I did because I had friends who loved it. And I'm glad I did. But if you haven't reached page 100 and have given up, skim ahead. It'll pick up. I promise.

If you have the hard back, and haven't taken the jacket cover off, do it. It has blueprints of the ship on the under side. When I met Beth Revis, she said her inspiration for the ship, was the ship on Futurama. I can see it.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taste Book Trailer and Excerpt Reveal

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

And now... the official book trailer for Taste by Kate Evangelista.

Song Credits: "Hunger" © Noelle Pico.
Full Download available at

And an excerpt...

I sat up and followed Calixta’s gaze upward. I rubbed my eyes. I didn’t know what I was seeing at first. A statue? ¬My brain refused to snap together coherent thoughts. I didn’t realize I’d fallen so close to one of the garden benches until I stared up at the boy that sat on one. He was strikingly beautiful. His tumble of blonde hair curled just above his sculpted cheekbones. He wore a silk shirt and a loosened cravat, like he’d become bored while dressing and decided to leave himself in disarray. His ivory skin and frozen position was what had me mistaking him for something carved from marble by Michelangelo. Then he sighed—a lonely, breathy proof of life. If I had to imagine what Lucifer looked like before he fell from heaven, the boy on the bench would certainly fulfill that image. My brain told me I had to look away, but I couldn’t.

“Luka,” Calixta said again, her voice unsure, almost nervous. It no longer contained the steel and bite she had threatened me with, which made me wonder who the boy was.

He leaned on his hands and crossed his legs, all the while keeping his eyes fixed on the night sky. His movements spoke of elegance and control. I’d encountered many people with breeding before, but his took on the air of arrogance and self-assuredness of someone used to getting what he wanted when he wanted it.

I only realized I’d been holding my breath when my lungs protested. I exhaled. My heart sputtered and restarted with a vengeance. Luka tore his gaze away from the stars and settled it on me. I’d expected pitch-black irises, like the other Night Students, but blue ice stared back at me.

“Human,” he whispered.

He reached out, and with a finger, followed an invisible trail down my cheek. I stiffened. His touch, cooler than Demitri’s, caused warm sparks to blossom on my face. He lifted his finger to his lips and licked its tip. He might as well have licked me from the way my body shivered.

Luka’s curious gaze held mine. “Leave us,” he said, but not to me.

“But—” Calixta protested like a spoiled child.

He spoke in a language I hadn’t heard before, remaining calm yet firm. The words had a rolling cadence I couldn’t quite follow, like rumbling thunder in the distance. They contained a harsh sensuality. The consonants were hard and the vowels were long and lilting.

Footsteps retreated behind me.

Luka reached out again.

It took me a minute to realize he wanted to help me up. I hesitated. He smiled. I smiled back timidly and took his hand, completely dazzled. Even with my uniform soaked from melted snow, I didn’t feel cold—all my attention was on him and the way his callused hand felt on mine. Without moving much from his seated position, he helped me stand.

“What’s your name?” he asked. He had a voice like a familiar lullaby. It filled my heart to the brim with comfort.

I swallowed and tried to stop gawking. “Phoenix.”

“The bird that rose from the ashes.” Luka bent his head and kissed the back of my hand. “It’s a pleasure meeting you.”

My cheeks warmed. My head reeled, not knowing what to think. I couldn’t understand why I felt drawn to him. And the strange connection frightened me.

From behind, someone gripped my arms and yanked me away before I could sort out the feelings Luka inspired in me. I found myself behind a towering figure yet again. Recognizing the blue-black silk for hair tied at the nape, relief washed over me. Calixta hadn’t come back to finish me off.

Demitri’s large hand wrapped around my wrist. Unlike the night before, no calm existed in his demeanor. He trembled like a junky in need of a fix. The coiled power in his tense muscles vibrated into me.

“What are you doing here?” Demitri asked.

I didn’t know he’d spoken to me until I saw his expressionless profile. I sighed.


I flinched. The ruthless way he said my name punched all the air out of me. “You owe me answers,” I said with as much bravado as I could muster.

“I owe you nothing.” He glared. “In fact, you owe me your life.”

“I don’t think so.”

Ignoring my indignation, he faced Luka, who’d remained seated on the bench during my exchange with Demitri. “Why is she with you, Luka?”

“I wasn’t going to taste her, if that’s what you’re implying,” Luka said. “Although, she is simply delicious. I wouldn’t mind if you left us alone.”

There it was again. Taste. The word that kept coming up between these Night Students and I was connected to it in an increasingly uncomfortable way. To taste meant to sample, but what? My flesh? They had to be joking because the alternative wasn’t funny.

“The sins of the father …” Demitri left his sentence unfinished.

Luka’s smile shifted into a snarl. “Obey my command.” His chin lifted. “Kneel.”

Demitri’s stance went rigid. His grip tightened around my wrist.

Okay, weird just got weirder. Why would Luka want Demitri to kneel before him? I thought back to Eli and the others bowing to Demitri when he questioned them, but they didn’t kneel. Seriously? Were they all living on a different planet or something?

Kneel.” Luka’s detestable smirk made his features sinister rather than angelic. The real Lucifer: a fallen angel.

Without letting go of my wrist, Demitri knelt down on one knee and bowed his head, his free hand flat at the center of his chest. “Your command has been obeyed,” he said formally.

Luka nodded once.

Demitri stood up and pulled me toward the school without telling me where we were going. Not having the time to thank Luka for saving me from Calixta, I risked a glance back. Luka smiled at me. His smile spoke of whispers, secrets, and promises to be shared on a later date.

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she has four completed Young Adult novels.

Author Website:
Twitter: @KateEvangelista
Find Taste on Goodreads:
Crescent Moon Press page for Taste:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review: Huntress

Nature is out of balance in the human world. The sun hasn't shone in years, and crops are failing. Worse yet, strange and hostile creatures have begun to appear. The people's survival hangs in the balance.

To solve the crisis, the oracle stones are cast, and Kaede and Taisin, two seventeen-year-old girls, are picked to go on a dangerous and unheard-of journey to Tanlili, the city of the Fairy Queen. Taisin is a sage, thrumming with magic, and Kaede is of the earth, without a speck of the otherworldly. And yet the two girls' destinies are drawn together during the mission. As members of their party succumb to unearthly attacks and fairy tricks, the two come to rely on each other and even begin to fall in love. But the Kingdom needs only one huntress to save it, and what it takes could tear Kaede and Taisin apart forever.

The exciting adventure prequel to Malinda Lo's highly acclaimed novel
Ash is overflowing with lush Chinese influences and details inspired by the I Ching, and is filled with action and romance.

I was such a fan of Ashby Malinda Lo that I couldn't wait for Huntressto hit shelves. Huntress is something of a prequel to Ash. Kaede and Taisin's story is told in Ash, but here we get to see the story unfold. Taisin is a student at the Academy moving towards her goal of becoming a sage. When she gets visions of herself on a journey, she brings it to her teachers.

In her visions, she sees herself, Kaede (another student), and Prince Con on a journey to Taninli, the land of the sidhe. Stories say that humans and fey once had a connection, but they have cut themselves off from each other for so long, that the humans aren't even sure the sidhe still exist. Until they get an invitation from the queen herself. Their land is dying. Each summer is less and less like summer until the year that spring doesn't seem to be coming at all. So these three set out on a journey with three guards to see if the queen can answer the question of the seasons not changing.

Kaede and Taisin are both training to be sages. Taisin seems to have a knack for many sage duties while Kaede has none. But being the daughter of the king's Chancellor, much is expected from her. Including marriage to Lord Win. Taisin knows from her visions that she and Kaede will fall in love, but she's refusing to let that happen. After all, a sage must make a vow of celibacy.

One thing I loved about both Huntress and Ash, was that we have straight characters and gay characters, and they are who they are. A character comes out as being gay and that's that. There are no arguments. No being ashamed. No issue with their life choices. And, personally, I think that's beautiful. That's how this world should be. Everyone should be free to love who they love without others' taking issue. Most of the time, LGBT books center around issues that occur when a character "comes out" because, unfortunately, that's the world we live in. But I think it's nice to have a book that doesn't revolve around a character being gay. That it's just a part of who they are.

I'm generally not a fan of high fantasy, but I loved this book. It was beautifully told, and I adored the characters. Kaede and Taisin were adorable together, and watching their love grow was beautiful. The supporting characters were great as well, as was the story. I'm looking forward to reading more from Malinda Lo in the future.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: Black Heart

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.

But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.

I’ve been a fan of Holly Black’s since I read Tithe in 2007. And her Curse Workers series is by far my favorite thing she’s written. So imagine my excitement when I got my hands on an arc of Black Heart.

Sadly, Black Heart is the final book in this series. And I needed this book to be great. However, considering how much I’ve loved Holly Black’s other books, I had hope that it would reach my high expectations. And it did! I read this book in two days and didn't want to put it down.

This will be a short review because I don't want to spoil anyone. But trust me when I say you want to read this series. Cassel and Lila are amazing characters. And I really enjoyed Daneca, Sam, and the rest of the supporting cast. The curse work and the mob is new, fresh, and interesting. And something different in YA is so great. Because so often I feel like I'm rereading because so many books are so similar. It tied up all the loose ends left over from books one and two and wrapped up the series very nicely.

I can't wait for Holly's next book: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.