Posted on Oct 22nd, 2013 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

10616322

Book Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

The final book in a series is always bittersweet. There’s no way around it. On one hand you’re insanely excited to finally get your grubby little hands on the book that you’ve been dying for since you pried your hands away from the first book. On the other hand, this is it. The book will live with you, but you won’t get anything else after this. Of course there’s movies, fan fiction and potential novellas, but otherwise this is it.

Veronica Roth quite simply gave readers one of the best series finales since Harry Potter. Yeah, I said it. Veronica Roth’s Allegiant is right up there with The Deathly Hallows. I’m sure it’s hard to live up to the hype of a series and this book blew all my expectations out of the water.

I was worried about everything in the series wrapping up in a nice neat little package, without a ton of story threads hanging loose. For me, this book was perfect. Curtains were lifted, revealing most of the details I’ve been desperately craving since I finished Insurgent. Veronica’s ability to craft a story around complex characters, situations and still remain true to the world is astounding.

I couldn’t have asked for a better, braver finish to this series.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

Posted on Oct 9th, 2013 by audra
In these categories Book Tour, Review, Society's Bookshelf

Look HERE for the full tour schedule!

17290286
Book Title: Goodbye, Rebel Blue
Author: Shelley Coriell
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Amulet Books

Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. Perfect for fans of Jay Asher’s blockbuster hit Thirteen Reasons Why, Coriell’s second novel features her sharp, engaging voice along with realistic drama and unforgettable characters.

Goodbye Rebel Blue takes the idea of a creating a bucket list and puts an interesting spin on things. Some of Kennedy Green’s last moments were spent in detention with Rebecca Blue, AKA Rebel Blue. Kennedy was definitely way more into their assignment and their last conversation was definitely off to Rebel. For starters, Kennedy is someone active in school clubs, cares about the environment and volunteers constantly. Rebel doesn’t like rules, doesn’t participate in school activities or sports and only has one sort of friend. Unfortunately for Kennedy she dies shortly after that very detention, leading Rebel to find Kennedy’s bucket list. Despite Rebel’s best efforts to get rid of the list, the fates seem to keep it glued to her. So Rebel does what makes sense; she takes it as a sign that she needs to finish the list.

Finding your place in the world when you feel like an outsider can be really tough and I didn’t have half as many things going on in my past as Rebel did. Despite this, Rebel was still incredible relatable and I think a lot of readers will be able to find pieces of Rebel inside each of them. I had an interesting experience with this book because there were times I really disliked Rebel, but then there were times I couldn’t stop rooting for her. And then I remembered that I, myself was a bit like Rebel as a teenager. I thought back to the times I was a bit of a Rebel and gave my mom more trouble than she would have liked. I stretched my wings so to speak and managed to make my way through some difficult years much like Rebel did.

Overall, this was an incredible book. I loved Rebel’s growing relationships with others, but most of all I loved Rebel’s growing relationship with herself. It was great to have a bit of diversity in this book through Nate’s family. It didn’t come across as forced or awkward as I’ve seen in other books. I wish there was a bit more resolution or even a window into Kennedy’s life. I wonder if Rebel will ever get to complete items on her own bucket list. And best of all, this book inspired me to create a bucket list of my own.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

 About the Author and Giveaway!

shelleycoriell

I’m a former newspaper reporter, magazine editor, and restaurant reviewer. These days I write smart, funny novels for teens and big, edgy romantic suspense. A six-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Finalist, I live and love in Arizona with my family and the world’s neediest rescue Weimaraner. When I’m not behind the keyboard, you’ll find me baking high-calorie, high-fat desserts and haunting local farmers markets for the perfect plum. Hugs!
You can find Shelley at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, and blog.

1 Winner will recieve a GOODBYE REBEL BLUE Swag Pack including a finsihed copy of the book, a journal + More.
US Shipping Only | Must be 13+ to Enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted on Oct 8th, 2013 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

15829686

Book Title: Tandem
Author: Anna Jarzab
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives–infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather’s stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real–until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she’ll be trapped in another girl’s life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love–one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she’s someone she’s not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing–and no one–is what it seems.

Tandem by Anna Jarzab was a BEA Buzz Book for the young adult category and after reading this book I wholeheartedly believe it. In Tandem, Sasha lives in one world, and Thomas lives in a parallel universe. In this other universe, Princess Juliana has been kidnapped by a rebel group, so to try to maintain peace, Thomas goes through a bit of elaborate measures to bring Sasha from his world to his.

I’m not usually a fan of sci-fi books, but this world was crafted well and allowed me to become immersed in its new terms and way of life. The writing allowed me to completely devour it. I just couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.  I liked the sci-fi elements of the book and also really appreciated that there was a bit of familiarity in having our world set in a real place- Chicago. This helped ground me a bit to the concepts. Also in my opinion, the author paced the beginning just right so that I was eased into the tandem and parallel worlds concept.

I started to get a bit dismayed when a love triangle reared its ugly head, but again, the author weaves it through the story so it just feels right and works incredibly well with the story. It didn’t feel like it was thrown in for the sake of having a love triangle in the story. It added some really great conflict and made me think about what I wanted to happen to Sasha. I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Sasha. At some points I really loved her, and other times I just wanted to whack her upside the head and knock some sense into her. And you know what? That’s okay! For all intents and purposes she’s been kidnapped, drugged and pretty much forced to live this double life. The consequences and rewards for Sasha are steep. So naturally a teenager would go through the gamut of emotions and Anna portrays this beautifully.

I’m glad this will be a three book series, and I can’t wait to read Tether, the second book in the series.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

Posted on Oct 5th, 2013 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

deceived

Deceived
by Julie Anne Lindsey
Release Date: 09/18/13
320 pages

When Elle’s father, a single parent and a big shot in corporate insurance, moves her to yet another boarding school for senior year, Elle is disgusted when nothing changes. Her night terrors don’t go away, and, soon, despite her father’s caring calls and visits, Elle starts to believe she’s losing her mind. She knows she’s being followed; a ribbon is tied around her doorknob, and there are those cigarette butts that keep turning up on the doormat, in violation of a strict smoking ban on campus. Then there’s Bryan, an intriguing boy Elle meets at a flea market and later finds out is a student at her school. Yet on campus, he pretends he doesn’t recognize her – until the day he divulges just how much danger she’s in. In her search for an answer to all the madness, Elle unravels the truth about her dad’s real identity, why someone has lied to her all her life, and the terrifying truth that she may be the only one who can save her from the one who’s following her now.

Deceived is one of those books that sounds absolutely amazing, but in execution it just really didn’t work. Elle and her father move around a lot, and she’s stuck in a new boarding school when weird things keep pinging her radar. When her father hears about it, he visits her right away and tries to get her to move to their new house.

A lot of things in Deceived threw up red flags for me, to let me know things weren’t quite adding up. The problem was, there either wasn’t a lot of follow through, or it was too little too late. There wasn’t a lot of development throughout the middle of the book with some of the story and the resolutions came across a bit cliched and again, a little too late.

I really feel that the characters were the books strongest points. I really enjoyed Elle and I feel that getting to experience everything through her made the book more enjoyable to read. Bryan was a cute book boy and I enjoyed their interactions, although it was hard to see their interactions as fully believable.

Deceived was a quick read, perhaps because I was trying to get through it so I could figure out exactly what was going on. If you’re looking for a book with a lot of mystery, this one is for you.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Book Depository|Kobo

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

Posted on Oct 3rd, 2013 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

17331322

Book Title: Eat, Brains, Love
Author: Jeff Hart
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books

Two teenage zombies search for brains, love, and answers in this surprisingly romantic and laugh-out-loud funny debut novel with guts.

Jake Stephens was always an average, fly-under-the-radar guy. The kind of guy who would never catch the attention of an insanely popular girl like Amanda Blake-or a psychic teenage government agent like Cass. But one day during lunch, Jake’s whole life changed. He and Amanda suddenly locked eyes across the cafeteria, and at the exact same instant, they turned into zombies and devoured half their senior class.

Now Jake definitely has Amanda’s attention-as well as Cass’s, since she’s been sent on a top-secret mission to hunt them down. As Jake and Amanda deal with the existential guilt of eating their best friends, Cass struggles with a growing psychic dilemma of her own-one that will lead the three of them on an epic journey across the country and make them question what it means to truly be alive. Or undead.

Eat, Brains, Love is a heartwarming and bloody blend of romance, deadpan humor, and suspense that fans of Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies will devour. With its irresistibly dry and authentic teen voice, as well as a zombie apocalypse worthy of AMC’s The Walking Dead, this irreverent paperback original will leave readers dying for the sequel that’s coming in Summer 2014.

At first, I thought it was crazy that someone would refer to this book as “heartwarming” and then I got about a 1/4 of the way into it, and it’s one of the best ways to describe the soul of this book. The Zombie’s in this book aren’t all completely brain dead monsters constantly seeking brain matter to ingest. This put a unique spin on the zombie world for me, and also allowed the story to be shown through the two main zombies we meet- Jake and Amanda. After a particularly bad lunch in the cafeteria, the two are now on the run from a secret sector of the government designed to keep this zombie apocalypse on the down low.

The narration shifts between our two zombie friends, and a physic who works for the top secret government branch. She’s still only a teen herself, and she has a unique ability to be able to see someone’s last moments, or hold on to visions of where that person might be. This is helpful to her bosses when they are tracking down rogue zombies. Not so helpful when she wants to keep someone’s whereabouts (namely Jake’s) secret because she may or may not be harboring a teen crush on the guy.

Eat, Brains, Love (a coy play on the Eat, Pray, Love book by Elizabeth Gilbert) had it all. The main characters were relatable, even those in their zombie state. The situations were oddly believable, it wasn’t too fantasy like to make it seem completely made up as if everything came from left field. I was thrilled to discover gay characters portrayed in a relatively positive light.

So, were there things I didn’t enjoy about this? I think if there was one thing I could change, I would make this a stand alone book. It seems as though the ending is left open for a sequel, but I would have preferred this one to have been wrapped up a bit more cleanly as a stand alone.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

Posted on Oct 1st, 2013 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

Kami Garcia/Unbreakable

Book Title: Unbreakable
Author: Kami Garcia
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books

Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia. 

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

Unbreakable definitely reminded me of Supernatural meets Ghost Hunters meets the Da Vinci Code with a creepy, spooky setting. Unbreakable has a lot of hype with it, and I couldn’t wait to read this one. Garcia’s first book since the Beautiful Creatures series (co-written with Margaret Stohl, who recently wrote Icons) was a must read for me, and it mostly did not disappoint. Kennedy’s life was going okay enough, until suddenly her mother’s death turns everything upside down. Jared and Lukas save the day a bit and fill Kennedy in on everything she’s been missing out on. They let her know about the Legion, a group comprised of 5 members who have special skills to help locate 5 pieces needed to create a device.

At first glance, this cover really threw me for a loop. I’m not crazy about it and to me, it doesn’t really speak to the book. It’s creepy but too reminiscent of Brandon Lee’s The Crow. Some parts actually felt a bit recycled from movies or haunted TV shows, but I think that’s more because of the lore those shows and movies were based on. Specifically, the Dybbuk box lore was the central theme of The Possession, a movie with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Papa Winchester from the Supernatural tv show). The lore from the movie and this book is based on a true story, but I feel that The Possession was too fresh in my mind so it felt conflicting to read it here.

Reading this was an interesting experience as I was a bit scared at parts, and actually had a nightmare the night before I finished this book where I was stuck in a creepy old asylum and that was more than enough incentive for me to finish this book!

Overall the book was a great read. The characters were interesting and the story was genuinely creepy and fun to follow. The writing felt a bit simple at times, which created a tad bit of a lull in the middle. I wish there were more to the ghost encounters. It seemed as though the Legion was able to get out of situations way too quickly. I would have liked for these to have gone on for a bit longer than they did.

Lots of spook, mystery and action make Unbreakable a great Halloween read and leaves me eagerly awaiting book two!

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

Posted on Sep 30th, 2013 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

blackout
Book Title: Blackout
Author: Robison Wells
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Laura and Alec are trained terrorists.

Jack and Aubrey are high school students.

There was no reason for them to ever meet.

But now, a mysterious virus is spreading throughout America, infecting teenagers with impossible powers. And these four are about to find their lives intertwined in a complex web of deception, loyalty, and catastrophic danger—where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.

Warning: this review has slight spoilers in regards to Aubrey’s powers. I will warn again before speaking in regards to this below.

I’ve read Robison Well’s Variant series and was really looking forward to reading Blackout. When I saw that Ally blurbed it as well, that solidified by intense wish to read this book as soon as possible. The cover is super pretty and interesting, which also made me want to read it that much more.While most book synopsises are watered down, Blackout’s was pretty bare and left a lot open, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Overall, I really liked Blackout. Wells doesn’t waste a lot of time getting right down to things as we start off the book, almost quite literally, with a bang. The characters seemed to be grouped a bit as good or bad  and over the course of the book we get to discover whether that classification is correct. I loved the scenarios the characters get themselves into, and seeing how they work through the issues thrown at them. It was definitely a journey story, seeing both the moral journeys of the characters and seeing our characters go on actual journeys.

While I loved the story, I did have a hard time following along. The voice was great, but the narration felt a bit off at times. Sometimes starting new chapters were a little hard to get into because I wasn’t sure which characters were being focused on at first. I also had some issues with their power manifestations. SPOILER ALERT. When we discover that Aubrey’s power doesn’t work on cameras, I couldn’t help but wonder how she never got caught shoplifting? Did Nicole’s power balance that out to make no one suspicious? This one fact ended up distracting me through the entire second half of the book and couldn’t shake it!

Blackout is an intense dystopian book that I would highly recommend for fans of this genre. I hope there is another book in this series, I really want to know some of the background of the power manifestations, the terrorist uprising and the army response.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

Posted on Sep 28th, 2013 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

escape from eden banner

17245704

Title: Escape From Eden
Author: Elisa Nader
Release Date: August 18, 2013
Publisher: Merit Press

Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape.

But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s façade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?

The idea of a religious cult hidden away in a jungle immediately pulled me into this story. I’ve never really been obsessed with the idea of cults, but I was completely intrigued with this topic from the first page through the very end. Mia was brought to Edenton when she was eight years old and her mother was pregnant with her little brother, Max. At Edenton everyone has a job and a purpose. Mia works in the kitchen, her mother helps with the little kids. The kids around Mia’s age all live in camp style cabins.

On the surface Edenton looks like a commune where everyone puts in their equal share of work. Gabriel and his family comes to live at Edenton and it seems like things start to fall apart a little quicker. Things started to get really suspicious early on for me, and at the first Bright Night, an enlightening all night long prayer event with severe consequences, I realize things have gone from suspicious to deadly.

This book got a whole heck of a lot darker than I thought it would based on the synopsis. Some of this subject matter can be a bit triggering to some, and it’s usually story matter that I don’t like to read. I don’t know what it is about it though, it just all works so well together that it was okay for me.

I didn’t realize I had expectations for this book, but the author blew them all out of the water. This book has positively everything. Strong characters, suspense, terror, action and romance. I almost can’t accurately even describe how much I loved about Escape from Eden. My favorite though is the character development in this book. Nader did an amazing job crafting the story and those that live within it.

Escape from Eden is a fantastic read that I highly recommend.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound

Posted on Sep 26th, 2013 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

16068905

Book Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

From the author the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

How do I even begin to talk about Fangirl without flailing about like an actual fangirl?

First off, the cover is pretty adorable. I really like that it complements the covers of Rowell’s other published books. Honestly, my expectations for Fangirl were set pretty high because of how deeply I fell in love with Eleanor and Park. Well, I don’t know why I would have worried because Rainbow Rowell is a an amazing author and her writing really shines in Fangirl.

Cather and Wren are identical twin sisters who are separated for the first time when Wren decides she doesn’t want to be roommates their freshman year in college. This puts Cath’s anxiety on high alert as Wren has always been there to help her get through her rougher moments in life. Without Wren as a roommate, she’s stuck with Reagan and Levi.
Rainbow couldn’t have done a more perfect job nailing the character’s voices. I was completely lost in this story, almost nothing felt out of place or forced. The pacing was dead on. At first I didn’t realize fan fiction would play so predominately and that worried me a bit. You see, I’m not the biggest fan of fan fiction. Not only that, I’m not really a fan of non-canon. So when I started reading this and realized there was non-canon fan fiction about a Harry Potter-esque book I got a bit worried. After about the first chapter all my fan fiction worries were over. I was still a little weirded out about the Simon Snow books because in my brain it just felt like a cheap Harry Potter knock off but at least the fan fiction wasn’t a problem.

Like Eleanor and Park, Fangirl tackles deep issues extremely well. The characters and their messed up situations are both heartfelt and depressing. Rainbow toes the line between the two which kept me from being too overwhelmed with the sad stuff mixed in. Reading Cath’s experience with college felt like I was given a window to look at my freshman year. I grew up a homebody that never liked sleepovers, always preferred staying home and reading over going to parties and that didn’t change when I went to college. Luckily I did make friends but it was hard at first. I remember the same anxiety Cath had about going to the dining hall. I even had a roommate that would try to drag me out places, and I’m sure she was over me.

Just like Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell comes at us with another five star worthy book.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

Posted on Sep 23rd, 2013 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

18129411

Book Title: Phoenix Overture
Author: Jodi Meadows
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

This breathtaking and lyrical novella captures a thrilling and momentous decision for a young man and the people he loves. Told from the perspective of Sam, the sensitive musician from Jodi Meadows’s Incarnate series, lifetimes before he meets Ana, Phoenix Overture is a story of love and loss, strength and courage, and facing the consequences of the hardest of decisions.

Phoenix Overture offers existing fans a deeper insight into a favorite character and the intriguing history of Heart, while new readers will find a stunning introduction to this rich world and the romantic, captivating fantasy of the Incarnate series.

In the wilds around the Community where Sam and his family have taken shelter, life is dangerous. Dragons, trolls, centaurs, and other monsters fill the world. The word comes from the council that everyone must leave and journey to rescue their leader, Janan, who has been abducted by a mysterious new enemy in the north. Faced with overwhelming threats that bring death and destruction, Sam and the others reach the northern Range and, reunited with Janan, are given an unimaginable opportunity. Although it would give them the privilege to live and learn and love without fear, the choice is not without its own dire consequences. And lives—though not theirs—are sure to be lost. Just how much are they willing to give up to save themselves?

I was a big fan of Sam in the Newsoul books, so I was pretty excited that there was a novella chock full of Sam goodness. Phoenix Overture is only the second novella I’ve read. I’m not really that big of a fan of them. It seems just as the going gets good, it’s over! It makes me frustrated and ragey, but at the same time it’s like getting bonus glimpses into a world of love filled with characters I adore. Which makes me hard to stay frustrated and ragey for very long.

I loved that this was a Sam prequel but also shed a lot of light on the other characters we’ve come across in Incarnate and Asunder. I loved getting to see how Sam and Stef met, and seeing the early seeds of their friendship. It was interesting to see the council members and Janan got everyone involved in the scheme we discover in Asunder.

It was hard to experience Sam’s upbringing, and seeing the similarities between his and Ana’s parents and how that’s affected their beings. What was almost heartbreaking for me was not only Sam’s relationship with his father, but also his relationship with music. Of course he had a natural disposition for music, but we discover what really drove his love of all things music.

I don’t feel Phoenix Overture is a necessary read for the series, but it was a nice little addition to this series and I’m glad I was able to read it.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Kobo

 goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47