(Review) Bound to Darkness by Lara Adrian

Bound to Darkness by Lara Adrian (Review)

Lara Adrian, LLC, 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1515250494 Formats available: ebook $4.99. Paperback comes out August 18, 2015. $12.95.

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Synopsis & Review

“Softness and affection had never had a place in his life – until Carys had stepped into his orbit.”

The Breed (vampires) are a mostly male, night dwelling species. Out of their entire species there are only 3 females, and 3 day-walkers. Carys is exceptionally rare, being a day-walking female. As the beloved daughter of one of their people’s leaders, Rune knows that Carys is destined to be more than the mate of a cage fighter. Even though he thinks she deserves better, Rune can’t stay away from Carys. But Rune is keeping dark secrets and is terrified his past will come back to haunt him. Or worse, cause harm to Carys. Meanwhile, war threatens as the Breed warriors race to track down their enemy and learn more about the mysterious “Atlantean” race that recently surfaced on their world.

The Midnight Breed series has a well established world, whose rules and characters have been carefully explored and developed over the course of more than 17 novels/novellas. Because of this, even though Carys and Rune’s romance stands alone, readers new to the series may be lost if choosing Bound to Darkness as their first foray into the series. If you are new to the series, I’d recommend you instead start with Edge of Dawn (Book 11), because it starts the second major story arc of the series and better re-introduces the characters and world.

The alternating viewpoints strategy is one Adrian has long employed successfully. It allows us to see the story not only from the two main character’s points of view, but also occasionally from other characters, giving a broader look and understanding into the events surrounding the main romance. In Bound to Darkness the romance appears to take a backseat to the other story elements, giving this more of an Urban Fantasy feel rather than the traditional Romance-dominated feel. In terms of emotional intensity and character development, Bound to Darkness didn’t quite compare to the previous entry into the series (Crave the Night (book 12)) and felt more like it was laying the groundwork for the next story. Carys and Rune’s story didn’t have the same importance to the story that the romance usually does in Adrian’s books.

Nevertheless, fans of the Midnight Breed Series will find this a satisfying addition to the series and will enjoy seeing what their favorite characters have been up to in the face of the upcoming war with Opus Noctem. With steamy romance, and exciting action, this is a quick and entertaining read for fans of the genre.


About the Author:

Learn more about Lara Adrian and her books on her website


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it? 

What other authors or series do you guys like? Romance, Urban-Fantasy, both?

Do Not Disturb: I’m Reading…. Bound to Darkness

Do Not Disturb

This is just a quick post, because I’m incredibly busy reading right now 🙂 Just a heads up that Bound to Darkness, the wonderfully talented Lara Adrian’s newest addition to The Midnight Breed Series debuts it’s e-book version today. The physical book copy will be available on August 18, 2015.

The Midnight Breed Series is an adult Vampire Romance series that takes place mostly in Boston within 20 years or so of today. Each book is a self contained story how two people falling in love, but each book also contributes to a larger story arc within the world. We often see returning characters and foreshadowing for future characters in each book. These Vampires are a bit different than what I’ve seen in other stories, the mythology and science are quite gripping, and the characters are generally well developed and unique from each other. It’s heavy on the character, plot, and romance. One of my all time favorite series, I’ve been with this author for many moons and plan to continue to be a loyal reader of her Paranormals.

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Let’s talk about the Apocalypse

It’s the end of the world as we know it……

Men are from Mars & Women from Venus?
I was reading a NY Times article the other day called It’s the End of the World as She Knows it, and it got me thinking about how popular the apocalyptic/dystopian genre is right now. I wonder what our obsession is with the “end times.” Is it because we all know great civilizations eventually fall, and we cannot help wondering what life would be like after ours does?

The author talks about how she thinks female writers and male writers imagine the post-apocalyptic world to be very different. Men usually focus on the physical dangers like violence, rape, and cannibalism. Meanwhile, the ladies tend to focus on the psychological and social aspects like fear, survival, love, isolation, and despair. This basically speaks to the old stereotype suggesting that men are generally physical/external in nature, while women are generally emotional/internal (I don’t think that’s always true). If that’s true, then what is it about guys that makes them want to explore all of the blood, gore, and violence society could be capable of at the fall of our civilization? And what makes ladies more interested in how the individual human psyche would handle such a fall?

I don’t necessarily agree it’s a men-vs-women thing, at least in the YA books I’ve been reading. For example, Kresley Cole’s Poison Princess shows a very physical side to post-apocalyptic life where physical threats are very important to the story, while Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky deals heavily with the internal and social aspects.

What do you guys think? Do women and men handle this genre differently? Which approach do you like more?

…And I feel fine.

I’d like my apocalypse with Zombies on top

So let’s talk about our favorite way the world ends, and why we like it, shall we?

Ok, I’ve been on kind of a Zombie kick lately. I haven’t even seen The Walking Dead yet but am still enjoying the rise in popularity of zombies. What is it about zombies that is so thrilling and enjoyable, yet creepy and disgusting at the same time? It’s probably because, at least subconsciously, we realize how truly horrific it would be to be a walking corpse whose hunger for human organs knows no bounds…..

  • Favorite YA Zombie-fied book:
    • Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter – Alice can see monsters that almost no one else can and needs to learn how to fight them. It reminds me of Buffy the Vampire slayer with the humor, great characters, and romantic elements
  • Favorite Zombie Movies: (I think they are all on Netflix right now)
    • Zombieland – If you have not seen this yet, stop reading this blog and go watch it immediately. It is hysterical.
    • Warm Bodies – Why are you still reading? You should be watching Zombieland!  – Falling in love with a Zombie? This one is equal parts Romantic and completely disturbing! Especially when he eats that brain.
    • World War Z – Intensity, action, and Brad Pitt. Enough said!
  • For the Gamers: (My boyfriend @Johnnyebs06 is a gamer and has kindly provided zombie-erific games you might enjoy.)
    • Resident Evil series. A classic where man was made into zombies by an evil corporation. The sense that it could really happen and the feelings of isolation make it a hit
    • Dead Rising – a more comedic take on zombies, you use various weapons to lay waste to hordes of zombies. We like that it doesn’t take itself seriously and its a total stress outlet. Bulldozing down zombies really takes the edge off.

Of course there are a billion and two other end of the world books, movies, TV shows, games, etc out there I’ve never heard of. So what is your favorite type of Apocalypse story?


This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but with a whimper

– T.S. Elliot

(Review-YA) Ms. Marvel Vol.1: No Normal

Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal

Wilson, G W, and Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel: Vol.1. New York: Marvel, 2014. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0785190219 Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook. Paperback $12.95.

Info 684 Genre: Graphic Novel

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Synopsis:

As a 16-year-old Muslim American girl, born in Jersey City to immigrant parents, Kamala has many concerns on her mind, most importantly her desire to “just be normal.” But after she’s gifted (or cursed?) with the powers of Ms. Marvel, will Kamala learn that beauty emerges from our differences. And that there is No Normal?


Booktalk:


Themes include: Growing up, identity, culture, family, responsibility, friendship, courage, overcoming expectations.
Awards/Honors: 2015 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story, Eisner Award


My Thoughts: No Normal is a really powerful story and important graphic novel. The main character, and super-cool superhero, is a young Muslim-American girl. As she deals with the normal feelings of isolation and wishes to be “normal,” you cannot help but root for her to overcome her obstacles. Watching as Kamala tries to balance her new powers and desire to be a “normal” teenager while trying to respect her parents and her cultural heritage is a touching and powerful experience. Kamala is just the superhero many of us have been searching the skies for!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the series is Ms. Marvel Volume 2: Generation Why


Extras:

  • Locate Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Here is an interview with G. Willow Wilson done by Islam Sci-fi

About the Author: G. Willow Wilson began her writing career at 17 years old. Since then she has written several Eisner Award nominated/winning comic books. Wilson is also a novelist, though she currently writes the bestselling monthly comic book series Ms. Marvel for Marvel comics.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
“G. Willow Wilson.” G. Willow Wilson. Web 13 July 2015.

(Review-YA) These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Kaufman, Amie, and Meagan Spooner. These Broken Stars. , 2013. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1423171218 Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.63. Kindle $3.99.

Info 684 Genre: Sci-Fi

These Broken Stars

Synopsis:
Lilac, daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, and Tarvar, common born soldier, come from different worlds and should never have met. But, escaping a crashing space craft, they end up stranded on a deserted planet with only each other to depend on. As they learn to help each other survive, and feel the pull of attraction, they are also realizing the planet might not be as deserted as they originally thought. There is mystery and danger on this planet, and the cause of it all hits close to home for one of them. This one takes star crossed lovers to a whole new level.


Booktalk:


Themes include: Survival, death, romance, love, family, corruption, extra-terrestrial life.


My Thoughts: This is a new favorite for me. I don’t usually read space sci-fi so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I absolutely fell in love with this book, these characters, and this world. Everything is beautiful from the cover on through. Both characters are easy to adore and the story has suspense, mystery, romance, and gut-wrenching emotion. This story is told from the perspectives of the male and female lead and has a little something for everyone. I truly cannot recommend this story enough. Seriously, trust me, go read it!

This one is probably best enjoyed by slightly more mature young adult readers!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the Starbound Series is This Shattered World

If this is your kind of story, I’d personally recommend:

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Extras:

  • Locate These Broken Stars at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • These Broken Stars was optioned for television. There hasn’t been more info on this since the original press release, but you can read about it here.
  • Check out an interview with both Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner at Presenting Lenore.
  • If you liked These Broken Stars, you might find something else you like here, on Goodreads.com
  • The Starbound Series also has its own dedicated website.

About the Authors: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are the authors of the Starbound Series. Their style is a bit unique, because the books are told from the dual perspectives of both main characters. Amie writes all the chapters that are narrated by one character, while Meagan writes all the chapters narrated by the other character. Both authors have books they write individually as well.


Citation & Credits
Book cover images: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
“Amie Kaufman.” Amie Kaufman. Web 13 July 2015.
“Meagan Spooner.” Meagan Spooner. Web 13 July 2015.

(Review-YA) Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon

Upstate

Buckhanon, Kalisha. Upstate. London: John Murray, 2005. Print.ISBN-13: 978-0312332693. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $12.32.

Info 684 Genre: Street-Lit

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Synopsis:

17-year-old Antonio finds himself in jail, separated by what might as well be an ocean from his family, his life, and his girlfriend Natasha. Upstate tells Antonio and Natasha’s story through the letters they write to each other while Antonio serves his time. As both their lives take them in unexpected directions, Antonio and Natasha fight for a relationship that is put through incredible tests. This is their love story.


Themes include: Love, relationships, responsibility, coming of age, prison, violence, overcoming expectations

Awards/honors American Library Association ALEX Award, Hurston-Wright Foundation Debut Fiction Award


Booktalk:


About the Author: Kalisha Buckhanon currently has two novels out, and a forthcoming 3rd in the spring of 2016. Her works have won several awards and she has taught writing, humanities, and English through PEN American Center’s Prison Writing Program, many inner-city schools, summer arts camps and library initiatives.


Extras:

  • Locate Upstate at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Here is an excerpt from the audiobook version of Upstate

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Macmillan Audio. “Upstate by Kalisha Buckhanon — Audiobook Excerpt.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 12 April 2012. Web. 14 July 2015.

(Review-YA) Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Infinity: Chronicles of Nick 1

Kenyon, Sherrilyn. Infinity: Chronicles of Nick. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2011. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0312599072. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.99.

Info 684 Genre: Horror

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Synopsis:

Nick is a smart kid, but he’s from “the wrong side of the tracks,” and the son of an unwed (and poor) high school drop out. Nick’s life takes a drastic change when his classmates start revealing themselves as supernatural monsters (zombies, werewolves, and bears oh my!) and Nick is rescued and hired by some rich do-gooder. Nick’s life is about to get real weird…. and were those fangs he saw when his employer smiled just now?


Themes include: Identity, courage, choice, overcoming expectations, friendship, responsibility


Booktalk:


About the Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon is a New York Times and International bestselling author of both adult, and young adult books. Infinity is the first of many Chronicles of Nick books currently available, and she’s working on the next one right now.


Extras:
Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?

The next book in the series is Invincible: Chronicles of Nick 2

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Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Sherrilyn Kenyon Books. “Infinity (Part 1, The Trailer).” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 24 May 2010. Web. 14 July 2015.

(Review-YA) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Alexie, Sherman, and Ellen Forney. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. New York: Little, Brown, 2007. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0316013697 Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.45.

Info 684 Genre: Multicultural

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Synopsis:

There once was a kid named Junior. He already had a hard time fitting in on the Indian Reservation because of his various medical conditions. And then he decided to go to school off of the reservation (GASP!). Which made everyone there hate him (traitor! traitor!). and then he got to his new school and didn’t fit in there either. At first.

What’s a boy to do? Junior tells his story through humor, both written and visual, through his cartoons and diary entries.


Booktalk: 


Themes include: Identity, bullying, violence, alcoholism, courage, friendship, culture, death & loss, overcoming adversity
Awards: 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book award, Fiction and Poetry.


My Thoughts: Junior documents his circumstances with such humor and honesty that you can’t help but love, sympathize with, and root for for him. This is a realistic under-dog story that gives us a somewhat rare glimpse into the lifestyles, culture, and difficulties faced by American Indians living on Reservations in the U.S. The story touches on some dark and upsetting concepts, but I’d recommend this read for anyone. Those younger than 12 may not understand or be prepared for some of the topics and situations.


Extras:

  • Locate The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian at your library through Worldcat.org
  • If you liked this book, you can see similar titles at goodreads.com
  • Here’s an interview with Sherman Alexie where he discusses, among other things, living in America as part of the non-dominant culture

About the Author: Sherman Alexie is a poet, novelist, short story writer, and performer.

  • His writings have won several awards
  • He is a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian who grew up in Wellpinit, Washington on the Spokane Indian Reservation.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is based loosely on Sherman Alexie’s life growing up.
  • You can learn more about Sherman Alexie and his writings on his website
  • Follow Sherman Alexie on twitter @sherman_alexie

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Mathe Steer. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Audiobook 1.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 26 April 2015. Web. 13 July 2015.
Moyers & Company. “Sherman Alexie on living outside boarders.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 12 April 2013. Web. 13 July 2015.
“Sherman Alexie.” Sherman Alexie. Web 13 July 2015.

(Review-YA) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke & Bone. New York: Little, Brown, 2011. Print. ISBN-13: 9780316134026. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $7.31. Kindle $1.99.

Info 684 Genre: Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Once upon a time an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.

Karou is an art student in Prague. She’s a little bit different. Her sketchbooks are full of drawings of fantastical creatures and her hair grows out of her head blue. Karou has her feet in two different worlds; the one we know of, and the other one. Karou doesn’t know who or what she is. But she’s about to find out.


Themes include: Identity, truth and lies, the supernatural, violence, love
Honors/Awards: YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012, finalist for Andre Norton Award and Children’s Choice Book Awards Teen Book of the Year. 


Booktalk:


About the Author:  Laini Taylor is also the author of the other books in the Smoke and Bone trilogy, as well as other YA books.

  • You can learn more about her and her books at her website
  • There is also an official tumblr for Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It includes a lot of extra and interactive content.

Extras:

  • Locate Daughter of Smoke and Bone at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • If you liked Daughter of Smoke and Bone you can see similar titles at goodreads.com
  • Here’s an interview with Laini Taylor about Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Sugarscape. “Laini Taylor author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone talks to Sugarscape.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 1 October 2011. Web. 11 July 2015.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. “Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (book trailer).” Online video clip. YouTube.com 23 September 2011. Web. 11 July 2015.

(Review-YA) Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Brown, Jennifer. Hate List. London: Little, Brown Young Readers, 2009. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0316041454. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $8.20.

Info 684 Genre: Realistic Fiction

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Synopsis:

Val Leftman returns to school after her boyfriend, Nick, brought a gun to school, killing several students and injuring others, including Val. While Val tries to recover, emotionally and physically, dealing with her feelings of guilt and anger, her community regards her with suspicion and distrust.


Video Book Talk:


Themes include: Violence, bullying, hatred, family tension, identity, and suicide
Awards/Honors: ALA best book for YA, VOYA “Perfect Ten,” and School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.


A personal note about bullying: Bullying is a powerful theme found in Hate List and a recurring theme in many of our lives. As someone who suffered severe bullying in school, I want to remind my readers that you aren’t alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence, some of the people you might talk to include; your parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, clergy, friends, parents of friends, law enforcement, your librarian, and me. If you talk to someone and feel you aren’t being heard, talk to someone else. Don’t give up. Ever. You are not alone.

There are also resources online that might help, heres just a couple.


About the Author: Jennifer Brown writes YA and Middle grade books.

  • In addition to Hate List she has several other books currently published.
  • You can learn more about her and her books at her website.
  • She also encourages readers with questions or comments to reach out to her at JenniferBrownYA@gmail.com.

Extras:

  • Locate Hate List at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • See what other teens thought about Hate List at Teen Ink
  • If you like Hate List, find similar books at Goodreads.com

Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
“Jennifer Brown.” Jennifer Brown. Web. 6 July 2015. http://www.jenniferbrownya.com
JenniferBrownYA. “Hate List Trailer.” Online video clip. YouTube.com. 9 Sept 2009. Web. 6 July 2015.