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Book Watch: Night Star

“In this installment, Ever and Damen face down bitter rivals, jealous friends and their own worst fears—all in the hope of being together forever. Night Star is guaranteed to mesmerize fans and leave them breathlessly awaiting the sixth and final book!” — Goodreads

Night Star, the fifth book in the Immortals series by Alyson Noel is due out next week on November 16th in both hardcover ($9.49 Amazon) and eBook ($9.99 Amazon/iTunes) formats. And judging by the very revealing excerpt and Goodreads description, this book is likely to be even better than its predecessors – and with a cliff-hanger ending – setting us up for the series conclusion.

To read the nail-biting excerpt from the upcoming book on the authors website, click here.

Click HERE for the review.

Book trailer for Night Star:

Book Watch: Last Sacrifice

“Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them.”

Last Sacrifice, the final book in the Vampire Academy series will be released on December 7, 2010. It’s available for release day delivery on Amazon.com, but will be available just past midnight local time for eBook readers. Although the book in electronic format is more expensive than the printed edition, it may just be worth the extra dollars to have access to it a few hours earlier.

Although we’ll have to say goodbye to Rose and Dimitri, at least we’ll get to see more of the Vampire Academy universe with Richelle Mead’s spin-off series due out in 2011.

Review: Torn (Book 2 in the Trylle Trilogy)

Torn is the 2nd installment in Amanda Hocking’s Trylle Trilogy – a YA fantasy novel about trolls. In Switched, the first book in the series, readers learn that trolls, a.k.a. the Trylle, are not the homely creatures they’ve come to associate with that particular name. (After all, as interesting as trolls might be, there are probably not that many readers who would want to read a series about ugly, grumpy, greedy and conniving mythical creatures – especially stories involving romance and adventure.) In fact, they look, for all intents and purposes, like humans, which is how they are able to coexist with the human populace without detection.

Torn continues the story of Wendy Everly, a changeling who discovered that she was in fact a Trylle Princess that was placed with a human host family when she was an infant. In Torn, Wendy is once again being pursued by the Vittra – a rival Kingdom of trolls. The story reveals why she is so sought after, what her true capabilities are, and the choice she is forced to make – between love and her duties as Princess to the Trylle. With a new love interest, a better understanding of her position in Trylle society, and a firmer grasp on her powers of persuasion, seventeen-year-old Wendy Everly has some difficult decisions to make – does she follow her heart, does she accept her responsibilities, or does she choose her own safety?

Yet again, Amanda Hocking has created a unique tale in this genre that has become extremely crowded with stories from both indie and veteran authors. Torn is fast-paced and will engage you from the very first page. Although new characters are introduced, the author does not neglect the secondary characters from the first book, as often happens in series books. And while this is a sequel, the story does not feel like a filler book – one that bridges the gap until the next installment is released. The plot moves the story along, answering questions raised in the first book, but leaving readers with more than enough questions and loose ends for the final book in the trilogy, Ascend.

This book (and series) is a must-read for anyone interested in the YA fantasy genre and for anyone interested in a quick, enjoyable tale.

Reviewer gives this book:

To read an excerpt of Torn before its release on Amanda’s blog, click here.

Torn book trailer:

Review: Shade

Jeri Smith-Ready’s first young adult novel, Shade, was quite a nice surprise. Not typically a fan of ghost stories, or haunted love stories, this novel was a refreshingly creative in how it approached the genre. The plot revolves around a young girl named Aura Salvatore who lives in a world where humans who are born after a certain date (“the Shift”) have the ability to see the ghosts who have not passed on. Her boyfriend Logan was born prior to the shift and so doesn’t see the ghosts as she does. In fact, she is the very first person born after the Shift. She meets a boy, Zachary, who shares the same birthday but was born before the Shift. Meeting him is not a coincidence, and while much of the tale involves her developing relationship with Zachary, it’s her unusual connection with him that leads to more questions – hopefully to be resolved in the sequel coming out in May 2011.

Aura’s character, as with many YA novels is gutsy and likable. And, although the author does create a love triangle, she doesn’t make you choose teams. Both love interests are equally worthy and makes Aura’s decision that much more heartbreaking.

Shade is a quick read, with an engaging storyline. Although there may be no real surprises, the characters are believable and readers will connect with them. It is a story that will be enjoyable for tweens, teens, on up. It’s well worth the $9.99 ebook price or the $12.23 hardcover price set by Amazon. Definitely looking forward to the sequel.

The Shade book trailer:

Random Thoughts: Call it Old Fashioned, but a Bound Book has its Merits

In this age of technological advancements is it unusual to be pining for the days of the non-electronic book? Every day we spend hour after hour staring at a computer screen to check our email, use our productivity software to produce documents, spreadsheets and presentations, research articles, read up-to-the-minute content, and on. But now we have these amazing electronic books that allow us to carry our entire library with us from place to place.

But there is still something so wonderful about picking up a well made book. Handling a cloth-bound tome with a finely textured page and deckled edge gives you the sense that what you’re reading is important, and makes you appreciate the time and effort that went into creating a book from idea to final product. With our electronic formats coming at us so stealthily, and with such immediacy, it is often easy to forget all the work that went into a story’s creation.

And settling down with a great novel is about slowing down, leisure, taking the time to enter a different world than the one rushing past us each day. By reading on the go, with our e-inks, and electronic page turns, we lose that tactile connection we had to our books. Feeling the raised inks and textured weave as our finger trails along to guide our eyes, or turning down the corner of a page to save our place, are just some of the sensory experiences we lose from following a story on an ebook.

The experience of sitting in our homes with our shelves of well-loved and well-read novels surrounding us cannot be matched with a portable library on a memory chip. And a visit to a public library with a loaner ebook reader and empty shelves does not create the sense of wonder in our young children as a room filled to the ceiling with colorful and exciting stories.

As a reader, I have moved on to the ebook format with a relish, opting instead for the ease and convenience of the electronic medium, but have moments of nostalgia for those beautifully printed, illustrated and designed books that were the norm until recent years. And to those brave authors who have opted not to conform, just yet, to the digital world, your steadfastness is to be commended.

Review: Burned – House of Night Series

Burned, the seventh book in P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, continues the story of Zoey Redbird, a 16-year-old vampyre High Priestess-in-training. The long-awaited story picks up immediately following the shattering of Zoey’s soul when she witnessed her long time friend/boyfriend/consort, Heath, get killed at the hands of Kalona, a fallen angel, with whom Zoey is also connected. This story is told primarily from the point of view of the secondary characters in the series – Stevie Rae, leader of the red vampyres; Stark, Zoey’s warrior; Aphrodite, Zoey’s friend and Nyx’s prophetess; and the Raven-Mocker, Rephaim, Kalona’s son.

While this segment of the series does further the plot that has developed over the previous six novels, and answers the questions left from the cliff-hanger ending of the previous book, it is rather more a detailed look at some of the other characters created by the authors than a continuation of Zoey’s tale. If the reader wanted further development of Zoey Redbird’s character, her relationships with Heath, Stark and Kalona, they will have to wait until the next installment.

Although it was a nice deviation to have these other characters take center stage, with such a startling ending to the previous book it would have been more fulfilling for the focus to be the development of the storyline of the main players. Furthermore, although the story was by no means short (384 pages), the story itself was only furthered along by a few days. At this rate, it might be several years before this series reaches its conclusion and readers get the answers they’ve been long hoping for. (The word is that there are to be nine books in the series, but if it continues to be popular, the authors don’t get tired of their characters, and the plot still has a long way to go before it reaches its natural conclusion, that number may not hold.) And, as this is a young adult novel, while read by both young and not-so-young alike, the target audience may well be into their late twenties or thirties by the time Zoey, Kalona and Neferet face off.

The Burned book trailer:

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