Hello and Welcome!

Red House Books is going through a bit of a update!

I've always had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted this space to be but I've been detoured from my path by...lots and lost of other people's opinions and ways of doing things...

I'm committed to this little chunk of the interweb but I've also branched out into other places so! Now it's time to think of Red House Books as more of a hub of all things me! And Me is a hell of a lot of book love!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Short Story Review: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas

E-novella / Short Story
Throne of Glass #0.1
January 2012
Kindle / Nook / Kobo

Synopsis:
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She’s been sent by the Assassin’s Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes—and she will risk everything to right the wrong she’s been sent to bring about.
(from Goodreads)

Overall Feelings:
Good but a little hesitant as I'm not sure how I feel about Calaena.

My Thoughts:
This novella is a little different as it's 1 part of a prequel of 4 leading up to the full length novel Throne of Glass.

Calaena Sardothien is only 16 but she is already one of the most feared and respected assassins of her time. In this short story we follow her and fellow assassin Sam. They are sent on a mission whose details they realize have been hidden from them. Never one to obey orders blindly, Calaena hatches her own plan of attack. And although at first you get the impression that Sam is very much against it, it's not long before I realized that he would indeed follow Calaena just about anywhere.

I enjoyed this story but it was really only because of Sam. Calaena was a bit hard to like, a bit too devil may care, a bit too much - suck it up boys I'm better then you and don't you forget it! In the end, I warmed up to her a little but I'm still confused as to her motivation. Why is she so harsh without reason? It was a little off putting.

Extras? Nope, just the novella

Will I continue the Series?: I do plan on buying at least the next short story (The Assassin and the Desert #0.2) and from there I guess I'll see.

Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

The Throne of Glass Series:
#0.1 The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
#0.2 The Assassin and the Desert
#0.3 The Assassin and the Underworld
#0.4 The Assassin and the Empire
#1 Throne of Glass
#2 Crown of Midnight (August 2013)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane

"...the perfect blend of paranormal elements combined with true to life emotions."
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: December 2012
Pages: 304
Series: #1
Format: e-galley
Acquisition: received for review via NetGalley

Synopsis:
Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.
Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her.
A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all.
(from Goodreads)

Overall Feelings:
Loved it!

My Thoughts:
For me, Indigo Awakening was the perfect blend of paranormal elements combined with true to life emotions. Loosely based on the phenomenon of actual Indigo and Crystal children (seriously, look it up!), this story took me on a fast based emotional roller coaster of a ride with an ending I never could have imagined.

Along with thrills and conspiracies there is also a healthy dose of romance that I felt really drawn to.

I'm actually a little surprised at myself on this one. I absolutely loved how Gabe and Rayne interacted but I really shouldn't have seeing as their relationship was full on insta love! Seriously though - I couldn't get enough of the two of them. I never questioned their motivations and their interactions felt genuine.

This book moves along fast but at no time did I feel like I was missing something. Jordan does a fantastic job with character development. Even though I only spend a short amount of time with Gabe, Rayne , Lucas and the fascinating cast of supporting characters I felt like I really got to know them.

Will I continue the series?:
I love Jordan's writing so I'm eager to see where she takes her Indigo Awakening characters. With that said, I feel that this story also works well as a stand alone. There is a lot more story that can be told but no cliff hangers and no loose ends that need immediate attention. With that said - yes, absolutely I will be continuing the series.

Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

The Hunted Series:
#1 Indigo Awakening
#2 Crystal Fire (2013)


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Book Roundup (14) - January 27, 2013

Merriam-Webster defines 'roundup' as a gathering in of scattered persons or things (source)

Replace 'persons or things' with 'BOOKS!' and you'll have what happens in my house every week as I try to keep control of my hoard :)

I got some excellent books these past couple of weeks!


Silly of me but I really hate that they changed the cover design and now book 3 doesn't in any way match my hardcovers of books 1 and 2. Started reading this one already and so far it's really good!

Gift:
From Goodreads: "A lavish look at the read world -- both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama -- of Downton Abbey" LOVE IT! I'm so obsessed with this


For Review:
June 4, 2013 from Henry Holt and Company
EEEEKKK! I am so excited to get this one read! I LOVED Shadow and Bone - one of the best fantasies I've read in a really long time.

July 23, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
This is a monster of a book! (688 pages!) Smith really knows how to write terrifying stories - I love his Escape from Furnace series and The Fury looks to be a great start to another awesome supernatural series.

May 28, 2013 from Feiwel and Friends
I couldn't wait...and I already read this one and it is FANTASTIC! Better then book 1 in my opinion  Can't wait to share all my thoughts with you closer to the release date :)

July 2, 2013 from Feiwel and Friends
A new horror story from Stine? Yes please!!


Links are to Goodreads :)

How about your guys? What have you added to your hoard lately?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Wander Dust by Michelle Warren

"loved [the time travel] aspect of the book."
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: November 2011
Pages: 374
Series: 1st in a series
Format: e-book
Acquisition: Free download

Synopsis:
Ever since her sixteenth birthday, strange things keep happening to Seraphina Parrish.
The Lady in Black… burns Sera’s memories.
Unexplainable Premonitions… catapult her to other cities.
The Grungy Gang… wants to kill her.
And a beautiful, mysterious boy… stalks her.
But when Sera moves to Chicago, and her aunt reveals their family connection to a centuries old, secret society, she is immediately thrust into an unbelievable fantasy world, leading her on a quest to unravel the mysteries that plague her. In the end, their meanings crash into an epic struggle of loyalty and betrayal, and she’ll be forced to choose between the boy who has stolen her heart and the thing she desires most.
Wander Dust is the breathtaking fantasy that will catapult you through a story of time, adventure, and love.
(from Goodreads)

Overall Feelings:
Happy with a little bit of wonder thrown in.

My Thoughts:
Going into Wander Dust, I really didn’t know what to expect. My sister, who is 16 absolutely loves this book and she desperately wanted me to read it. She also told me she didn't think I would love it as much as her - she knows me so well :)

Did I enjoy Wander Dust? Absolutely! Did I love it to pieces? Not really but I can see why my sister does.

There is a very light hearted feel to this story. Not a lot of over burdening explanations for actions and events. Things kind of move along at their own pace and seem to happen naturally. Which, the more I think about it, shouldn't really work considering the main story is about time travel!

And yeah? Time travel? Awesome subject and one that you don't see all that often. I loved this aspect of the book.

Then there is Seraphina who I have to say I really liked. She didn't wine or complain when life flipped itself over her head (literally) and she doesn't doubt herself. She is a character I can really see young girls looking up to and that can sometime be a rare trait in YA heroines these days!

Will I continue the series?:
Yes! My sister has already read book 2 and she said it was even more fabulous then the first.

Rating:
4 / 5 Stars

The Seraphina Parrish Trilogy:
#1 Wander Dust
#2 Protecting Truth
#3 Untitled (2013?)


Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

"Tumbling down a deep rabbit hole - fast and uncontrollable - that's how I felt reading The Darkest Mind."
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: December 2012
Pages: 496
Series: #1
Format: ARC
Acquisition: received at BEA 2012

Synopsis:
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
(from Goodreads)

Overall Feelings:
A little underwhelmed by the details but very satisfied with the results.

My Thoughts:
Something is happening to the world's children. Something that causes the adult population to react in pretty terrifying ways. It was this dramatic and extreme reaction that I had a problem with at first. Without having a firm background on what exactly was happening, it seemed really out of place.

The world in which Ruby finds herself in is in chaos and if I understand things correctly, it all has to do with the breakdown of our government due to a lack of funding. So, in 5 or 6 years time, almost all of America's children are either dead, in camps, or roaming the decaying urban landscape of what was once a fully functioning society. This dystopian aspect didn't quite fit together as neatly as I would have liked with what I knew about Ruby and her background.

Tumbling down a deep rabbit hole - fast and uncontrollable - that's how I felt reading The Darkest Mind. It was hard telling which way was up and there was nothing to hold on to. Everything in this world is unpredictable. It's a harsh and crewel and Ruby is right in the middle of it all.

Have to say though, I found myself routing for Ruby from the very start. The world she lives in, I did have a few issues with, but I was on her side 100%. Wanting to know what happened to her was a strong driving force that very much helped move the story along.

Will I continue the series?:
Yes! There is too much left unanswered and I really want to know what happens to Ruby.

Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

The Darkest Minds Series:
#1 The Darkest Minds
#2 Untitled (2013)
#3 Untitled (2014)


Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

"A somewhat unbelievable tale but heartwarming nonetheless."
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication Date: June 2011
Pages: 307
Series: standalone
Format: paperback
Acquisition: bought

Synopsis:
Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.
Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.
The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.
Told in verse and brimming with raw emotion and pure romance, this is a gracefully woven tale of life-changing secrets and unexpected friendship.
(from Goodreads)

Overall Feelings:
Heartbreak full of hope.

My Thoughts:
A somewhat unbelievable tale but heartwarming nonetheless. Told in verse, Amber shares the story of her day alone. Her life is about to change in a huge way and she needs to be alone for one last day. Her story was moving, as was the story of the mysterious boy she meets at the beach, but overall, a little too far fetched.

That's not to say I didn't really enjoy this book, because I did. Verse books are usually quick reads and a story that only encompasses 1 day in the life of 2 people, in my opinion, should not take all that long to read. For this reason, the verse prose was perfect.

Amber is facing a situation that really, very few (if any) people have faced before. She feels alone and betrayed and even though her family is expecting her to be in her bed that morning, she can't help but escape away. As a reader, we get small glimpses into her life - leading up to the 'big reveal' and the real reason she feels the need to run away.

On this solely remarkable day, Amber meets Cade who in fact is having a terrible day of his own. The two become friends in an instant, spend the day together and eventually share their stories.

In the end, the fact that Amber and Cade's stories were a little too much to believe was overshadowed by the raw emotion behind what was happening to them. Their struggles and the connection they manage to make in one day really made The Day Before a powerful read for me.

I'm really draw to book in verse and Lisa's are always fantastic. I would love to add all of hers to my collection.

Rating:
4 / 5 Stars


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Website for finding FREE e-books!

Have you guys heard of this one?


freebooksifter.com is a website that posts daily free Kindle books. 

My boyfriend's brother told me about it last week (thank you!) and I've been checking it every other day or so. 

It's a new site (started up this month) and so far I love it!

Some of the freebies are Kindle only (as are a lot of free e-books these days) but the ones I've wanted to read I've been able to get for free on iBooks as well. 

And honestly, I don't go much in for the full length novel freebies unless they have come highly recommended. What I have been able to find are new to me short stories, a few cookbooks and chapter previews.

It's a really easy site to navigate so I'm not going to gush on about it anymore - you'll just have to check it out for yourself :)

As an FYI tough - if you're looking for YA be sure to check both the 'Teen' category and the 'Children's eBooks' category as I've found YA reads in both.

Anyone else use Freebook Sifter? Think you'll give it a try?


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Picture Book Review: Oh So Tiny Bunny written and illustrated by David Kirk


Reading Level: Picture Book
Publication Date: February 5th 2013
Format: ARC
Acquisition: Received for review

Summary:
During the day, Oh So Tiny Bunny is very, very small. But at night, he dreams of being big—as big as a dragon, or even a mountain! At first, that's fine, but then he feels lonely. There’s no one to share it with. Are there no other bunnies so big as him?
Every small child dreams of the day they will grow up to be big, but in this book David Kirk reminds us that sometimes . . . it’s not so bad being small.
(from Goodreads)

Overall Feelings:
One of the most adorable picture books I've ever read.

My Thoughts:
Guys? The bunny's name is Oh So! The cuteness scale on this one is off the charts!

My daughter ate this book up - we had to read it through about 4 times before she got tired of saying 'awwwww!' every time Oh So did something ridiculously adorable.

And Oh So? He's a friend I'd love to have. He has a dream about what it would be like to be big but in the end he realizes that being tiny isn't oh so very bad after all.

A great addition to any child's picture book collection. My 6 year old was able to read it herself but she much preferred having it read to her.

Excellent all around. I have a list of little ones I can't wait to buy this book for!

Rating:
5 / 5 Stars

David Kirk is the author / illustrator behind The Miss Spider series
My daughter loves the TV show based on this series so it's no wonder she also loved Oh So. David is a fantastic story teller and artist!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

On My Reader (24) - January 12, 2013

On My Reader posts are were I highlight recent ebooks I've added to my digital collection :)

Ok, so I *might* have gone a little nutso with the e-novellas and short stories this week...but I really couldn't help myself!

Links are to Goodreads

On My Kindle (Kindle was free as of today)

Really need to finish up this series.

From iBooks (these are all available on Kindle or Nook for the same price)

I posted about this one earlier in the week.
Read it already and it's a fabulous start to what I hope is a fabulous debut.

Anyone started this series? It's been on my wishlist but I haven't heard that much about it.

A dystopian short story originally published in the anthology Brave New Love.


11 short stories from Tor Books. I posted about these gems yesterday :)


Can't believe this one slipped under my radar for so long! I love this series!

This series is terrifying and I'm looking forward to finishing it up this year.

So, what's on your e-reader? :)

Friday, January 11, 2013

FREE E-Book Alerts!

Guys!

In case you didn't know, I am completely addicted to short story e-novellas! You know, all those #0.5 and #2.5s of a series? 

I EAT THEM UP!

I love them so much I started a Goodreads List just to keep track of them all. (Anyone can add to it so it's a little wonky but my Personal List is a little more organized.)

Today I found something awesome which maybe you are all already aware of but it's all new to me and it's fabulous!

The Fierce Reads Anthology Volume 1

Also available from iBooks

Contains
Legacy Lost (Of Poseidon #0.5) by Anna Banks
The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5) by Leigh Bardugo
Prophet (Struck #0.5) by Jennifer Bosworth
Dress Your Marines in White (Monument 14 #0.5) by Emmy Laybourne
Glitches (Lunar Chronicles #0.5) by Marissa Meyer


The Fierce Reads Anthology Volume 2

Also available from iBooks

Contains
Foundation (Razorland #0.5) by Ann Aquirre
The Department of Alterations (Crewel World #0.5) by Gennifer Albin
Men Who Wish to Drown (Companion story to Monstrous Beauty) by Elizabeth Fama
Heads Will Roll (Necromancer #0.1) by Lish McBride
Ruled (Birthmarked #2.5) by Carah M. O'Brien
Jacks and Queens at the Green Mill (Companion story to The Shadow Society) by Marie Rutkoski
(Also contains The Witch of Duva and Glitches from the first volume)


Not 1 but 2 Fierce Reads Anthologies with a combined total of 11 short stories from some awesome series.

Thank you Tor Books :)

EEEK!

Some of these I've already downloaded / read / reviewed, some were on my radar already and some are completely new to me. How exciting!

Best part? Both Anthologies are FREE!

I'm so excited :)