Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Year One from Nora Roberts is so different yet simply amazing

Description from Amazon.com

It began on New Year’s Eve.
The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed―and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magick rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river―or in the ones you know and love the most.
As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.
In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.
The end has come. The beginning comes next.

For fans of Nora Roberts, this book will be a test for you. Some of us have gotten used to the paranormal trilogies she has been writing of late, and we love them. Some do not love them. This book is a test for all of her readers, because it is even more different.

A plague released and takes out essentially half of the worlds population. Some survivors are developing magical abilities that no one has seen before. Fairies and Elves are coming out of the wood work and people with mystic abilities now have full blowing magical powers. Some with no signs of power have it, others remain the same. All of these are immune from the plague. 

This story follows a few groups of people as they eventually come together to survive. 

Arlys, Fred, and Chuck escape New York City just in time and travel towards Ohio in search of Arlys' family. Max and Lila also escape New York City and travel towards Pennsylvania in search of Max's brother Eric. Rachel, Jonah, and three newborn babies escape New York City and just travel south looking for safety. They have adventures along the road, picking up old and new friends and escaping from Raiders looking to steal supplies and kill for no reason.

Eventually the small groups come together and form a large community, but even then there are dangers waiting, looking for The One that is among the group. 

This book was so incredibly good, even though it was so incredibly different than any of Roberts' other work. There are small love stories spread throughout the book, however they are not really the focus of the book like her stories usually are. Still, I thought it was incredible, and I couldn't put it down!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Warcross from Marie Lu.. perfect book for Gamers .. well and everyone too!

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Can we say holy crap! My son received an advanced signed copy of this book, my coworker picked it up at ALA for him. He absolutely devoured it. Then he wouldn't let me borrow it to read it! What a brat! So I had to wait for it to officially release, and I am sooooo glad it is finally here.

I became interested in video games a couple years ago, because my husband and my son are gamers. I'm a reader. But sometimes I will play with them, even though I really suck. So the idea of a virtual reality game that everyone plays was pretty interesting, not to mention the name,  Warcross, is pretty awesome, too.

Emika Chen is a bounty hunter, hunting down bad guys who gamble on Warcross even though it is illegal. Her mother split years ago, her father died when she was young, and she bounced from foster care to foster care until she took off. She lives bounty to bounty, just trying to survive. She can't find official work because she has a couple red marks on her record, which would keep any respectable job from hiring her.

So when the Warcross championship game starts and she sees a quick way to make some money so she doesn't lose her apartment. But when she unexpectedly glitches into the game, the world, and Hideo Tanaka see her and know who she is.

Hideo brings Emika to Tokyo and offers her a job. Someone is hacking into his game and he wants her to find the person. She will infiltrate during the Wardraft game and find whoever it is. If she finds him, her bounty is ten million dollars. There are six other bounty hunters out searching.

Emika tries to keep herself separate, from her team makes on the Phoenix Riders, and from Hideo Tanaka, who she is incredibly drawn to. But they creep past her barriers. But Zero, the anonymous hacker, is out to get Hideo and Emika before they find him.

WOAAAAH. Okay, so the ending kind of did not surprise me. I feel like I figured out who Zero is, and I won't tell you when I figured it out because that would ruin it for you also. There is so much going on in this book, and I seriously want to play Warcross. It needs to be real. I loved the characters, some with just enough menace, some with just enough friendliness. Just all around amazing. And it's not the end of the story.... 

Monday, September 25, 2017

I just found author Leigh Bardugo, how did I miss her?!

So, I have heard people talk about Leigh Bardugo and especially her book "Six of Crows" for awhile. The first time I tried to read it, I felt lost and uninterested. I did not know that the Shadow and Bone series takes places a few years before Six of Crows, and if you read them first, some of SoC makes a lot more sense.

Shadow and Bone description:
Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold―a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.
Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite―and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.
As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.
Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.

Alina is just a regular soldier fighting with her best friend Mal for the safety of her country Ravka. She is a member of the first army, the normal people. The Second Army consists of Grisha, those with magical powers who also help protect the country, under the leadership of a dark and creepy guy called the Darkling. All children are tested to see if they have Grisha powers, and those that do are taken to be raised and taught at the Little Palace. 
Mal and Alina are both tested but neither had powers so when they were old enough they joined the army and learned to fight. Mal is a tracker, with an innate ability to track that surprises everyone. Alina is a mapmaker, not a great one either. However, on a perilous journey through a dead zone filled with monsters, Alina unleashes a power she never knew she had. She is taken by the Darkling to train. Told that her sun summoning abilities along with his dark abilities will be able to destroy The Fold, that undead area of the land that contains unimaginable monsters.
But nothing is as it seems at the Little Palace and soon Alina realizes that someone wants to use her powers not to save the country but to take it over and unleash more hell. 

This is just book one in a trilogy and I really enjoyed it. Why I never read it before, I have no idea. I finished Shadow and bone on Friday, book 2 on Saturday, and book 3 on Sunday, and then I read Six of Crows. I have to wait til tomorrow for Crooked Kingdom to arrive :/ Ugh. I hate being stopped dead in the middle of a series!

Anyways, this really was a great series and a fantastic author, so give it a try!

A woman held hostage for years and a woman held hostage by her past, desperate to put the same man behind bars. Sharon Sala returns with Race Against Time

Growing up in the foster system, Quinn O'Meara made a point of never getting involved. But when she discovers a crying baby amid a fiery crime scene, she knows she has no choice. Suddenly in way over her head, Quinn turns to the police, unintentionally positioning herself in the crosshairs of a deadly human-trafficking ring. 
The last time homicide detective Nick Saldano saw Quinn, she was still the young girl he'd shared a foster home with. The girl who'd loved and cared for him when no one else had. Now here she was, gorgeously all grown-up—and in terrible danger. 
Unwilling to lose her again, Nick insists on keeping Quinn close, especially when the bond they once shared heatedly slides into desire. Quinn finally has someone worth holding on to, but what kind of future can they have when she might not live to see tomorrow?

Sharon Sala never fails to bring us a good mystery mixed with a heart warming romance. I absolutely adore Ms Sala's books and crave the new one whenever they are released. This book brings us a mix of stories, as Starla Davis is kidnapped and sold to a man twice her age and kept captive for seven years. Upon escape, though, she ends up recaptured and her son saved by a woman named Quinn who happened to be passing by. Nick Saldano is surprised when a woman walks into the police station, shot and holding a baby. She recounts her story and is rushed to the hospital for surgery. Nick and Quinn come to realize that they have a past, a shared childhood. Nick was drawn to Quinn to begin with and now its a race against time to save her from the sadistic man out to kill her. Our secondary story is about Starla, desperate to escape again and find her son and to hide from the man who held her captive for so many years.

Both stories mix and mingle very well. Ms Sala always brings us a fantastic story. This one was really interesting because I had just finished my last class of the Citizens Academy, with the local police department, and we just learned about human trafficking. It was a weird coincidence. I feel like Sala definitely did her homework, though, when writing about this.

A great book as always!