Sunday, April 6, 2014

Rec'd Paranormals: 'Panic,' 'Murder of Crows,' 'Death Sworn'

by Jessie Potts)

Photo - Harper Collins

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic is a wonderfully creepy and vicious idea of a "game" called Panic. Graduating seniors play this game, a terrifying game with alliances, vicious players and one that really taps into a person's inner brave. Heather is a great heroine. Her true character slowly unfolds as the game goes on, and her inner strength is not flashy like other dystopian heroines, but rather stronger and straighter. At first I was rolling my eyes for the reason she'd entered panic (over a boyfriend, really?), but it makes sense. High school is a weird time, and we don't always make the smartest decisions. Reading through her and Dodge's eyes, though, was fabulous, and I love the guy characters in this story! (Best friend and love interest are both awesome.) At the end of the day, though, this is one of my favorite authors (loved Before I Fall), and I'm looking forward to her next projects!

Lauren Oliver's top three dystopian novels?

• The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Atwood is a beautiful writer, and this book — one of the first dystopians I read — is so frightening and detailed and well-evoked.

• Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. There's a reason this book won the Prinz! The world Bacigalupi creates is so cool, especially the labyrinthine exploration of old oil tankers.

• Battle Royale (by Koushun Takami). Battle Royale is basically the Japanese Hunger Games (except it preceded HG by about 10 years). It's a story about a group of kids who are forced to kill each other by the government for the sake of entertainment. So good!

Lauren's top three book boyfriends?

• Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. He's always going to be tops!

• Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. Is that weird? He's in high school.

• Gansey from The Raven Boys (by Maggie Stiefvater)! A new boyfriend, but a good one.

Epic one-liner from Panic?

Sometimes, as many as forty kids compete.

There is only one winner.

"Murder of Crows" by Anne Bishop.(Photo: Roc)

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

I have been waiting for this book since Written in Red. The audio book is soooooo good, too, that I've already pre-ordered Murder of Crows. I definitely recommend reading that first since this is a continuation. On to the plot: Crows are being drugged and horribly killed. The bloodbath (both humans and Others are being killed) is still going strong, and the tensions are mounting. Let me tell you, the tensions are mounting! Anne Bishop is so good at writing character development and the dynamics between the characters that I found I felt like I was there in the story, alongside the Crows, the Elementals, the Vampires and all the others. I loved the slow relationship/romance buildup between Simon and Meg, and I found myself clutching my book, wanting more to happen. I love this series and I NEED MORE!

Anne Bishop's favorite YA fantasy/UF novels?

• Moon Called by Patricia Briggs (really, the whole Mercy Thompson series).

• Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews.

• A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix.

Top three books Anne's looking forward to in 2014?

• Night Broken by Patricia Briggs.

• Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris.

• Hens of the Baskervilles by Donna Andrews.

Epic one-liner from Murder of Crows?

He didn't want to be in the office on the day one of the girls realized the visiting *terra indigene* thought of them as a kind of tourist attraction — not as impressive as Talulah Falls, but more mysterious.

"Death Sworn" by Leah Cypess.(Photo: Greenwillow Books)

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Ileni lost everything she ever thought was permanent and important … her magic, her place in society and her future. She was given a choice: remain shunned by society or become a magic tutor to assassins. I loved the assassins' caves. There are no secrets that are truly kept, and there are mysteries that each assassin is carrying, as well as the sect. I love the baby romance, I love the action and, truthfully, I felt I was reading a live-action Assassin's Creed. (I adored the Master, too … so creepy and villainous.) This is the perfect read for those looking for a bit of spice and mystery in a book. I'm hoping the second book will have even more chemistry and more of the Empire in it.

Leah Cypess' top book boyfriends?

• Eugenides from The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (which is actually the second in the series, but Eugenides isn't a "boyfriend" until this book). Eugenides is a thief who consistently outsmarts everyone he comes up against ... until he meets his match, who also happens to be one of his greatest enemies.

• Alan from The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan. A brilliant, unscrupulous manipulator who will do anything for the people he loves. (And in his case, "anything" includes minor details like "possibly destroying the world.")

• Jace from Split by Swati Avasthi. Deeply wounded and fighting his dark side with all his might, Jace is a hero I found it impossible not to fall in love with.

Top three books Leah's looking forward to in 2014?

• The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson. Third in a series about a unique and irresistible Southern teenager who finds herself drawn into the shadowy world of ghost hunters in London. I loved this series from the start, and after the way the second book ended, I'm pretty much counting down the days until the next one.

• Tether by Anna Jarzab. Second in a trilogy about parallel universes. The first book in this trilogy was a solid, fun adventure that hinted at the more complex world-building yet to come.

• Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. The exploits of Caelena, a deadly assassin with a heart of gold and a past full of secrets, are fun, fast, and unpredictable. I can't wait to read more of them.

Epic one-Liner from Death Sworn?

How can you know what your life is worth if you don't know what you would trade it for?

"Theirs to Cherish" by Shayla Black.(Photo: Berkley)

Theirs to Cherish by Shayla Black

For those of you looking for more of an adult (ménage and BDSM) book, I'd pick this up. It's the eighth book in Shayla's Wicked Lovers series and centers on two Doms and a little sub named Callie. I do love that you can read any and all of the WL series as stand-alones so you can pick and choose your heroes. : ) If you love Shayla's writing and character style, you'll love this latest installment. While I wish there were more female Doms, I understand that it just doesn't sell, so if you love alpha dominant males and torn submissive heroines trying to choose between two men, pick up Theirs to Cherish.

Shayla Black's top three ménage romances?

• Triple Play (Rhyannon Byrd).

• Calista's Men (Jory Strong).

• The Reluctant Dom (Tymber Dalton). This is not a traditional ménage, but it's a worthwhile three-hankie read.

Some of Shayla's own favorite heroines?

• Alyssa Devereaux from Delicious, because she's gutsy and a survivor. She made something of herself when most people would have crumbled. Despite her hard life, she never lost her ability to love or believe in the future.

• Anka MacTavish from Embrace Me at Dawn, because she recovered from terrible tragedy, tried to protect those she loved, and came back a whole, more loving person and partner.

• Callie Ward/Howe from Theirs To Cherish, because she's sassy and has a lot of moxie, but she's also got a lot going for her upstairs, outwitting and outclassing everyone who meant to incarcerate or end her. Under it all, she hid a sensitive woman with a huge capacity to love and forgive.

Epic one-liner from Theirs to Cherish?

My world is forever changed to the most beautiful existence possible because of you.

Jessie is currently reading …

Floodgates by Mary Calmes. The book came out of nowhere and releases today, but look for a full review next week! It's got mystery, romance between Tracy and a hottie, and a really hilarious and oblivious younger brother (oh, Evan).

Jessie Potts, also known as Book Taster, adores books in all forms. She also does reviews for Bitten by Books and RT Book Reviews and is an intern at Entangled Publishing. You can follow her on Twitter (@BookTaster).