Countdown Pick #1: Flame of Surrender (The Ferryman and the Flame, #1) by Rhiannon Paille (11/1/2011)
The boy who follows death meets the girl who could cause the apocalypse.
Krishani thinks he’s doomed until he meets Kaliel, the one girl on the island of Avristar who isn’t afraid of him. She’s unlike the other girls, she swims with merfolk, talks to trees and blooms flowers with her touch. What he doesn’t know is that she’s a flame, one of nine individually hand crafted weapons, hidden in the body of a seemingly harmless girl.
Nobody has fallen in love with a flame until now. She becomes Krishani’s refuge from the dreams of death and the weather abilities he can’t control. Striking down thousand year old trees with lightning isn’t something he tries to do, it just happens. When the Ferryman dies, Krishani knows that he’s the next and that a lifetime of following death is his destiny.
And Kaliel can’t come with him. The Valtanyana are hunting the flames, the safest place for her is Avristar. Krishani can’t bear to leave her, and one innocent mistake grants the Valtanyana access to their mystical island. They’re coming for Kaliel, and they won’t stop until every last living creature on Avristar is dead. She has to choose, hide, face them, or awaken the flame and potentially destroy herself.
This one sounds like it's right up my alley. Fantasy to the nth degree. Mermaids, mystical powers, magic and the whole nine yards. The main characters sound intriguing and with a romance brewing it's just another element that has me thinking this could be a potential favorite. While this isn't Paille's first book, it does sound like it's her first go at young adult fiction and I'm eager to see what she's got.
Countdown Pick #2: Moonrise (Low Red Moon, #2) by Ivy Devlin (1/31/2012)
Avery and Ben are just beginning to explore the depth of the bond that links them. Their ability to sense each others' feelings and Avery's mysterious connection to the forest mean that their love is unlike any other. But even such a perfect bond can be strained by jealousy, and when Hope, a gorgeous girl from Ben's old life, arrives in town, Avery can't help but feel threatened. And in more ways than one-because someone is trying to kill her, again.
Also new in town are a pair of Hunters-men who know about werewolves and who seek only to destroy what they can't understand. Hope is connected to the Hunters somehow, but by the time Avery figures out her secret, it's too late-and someone will pay with their life. With the glowing, emotional language that made Low Red Moon such an irresistible read, Moonrise ups the romantic stakes with a heart-tugging sacrifice that testifies to the power of love.
It feels like it's been a very long time since the series opener, Low Red Moon made it's debut and earned a spot on my bookshelf. Devlin caught my interest and wove a story together with two characters that were hard not to like. In this second installment Avery and Ben will not be able to simply enjoy each other's company. While it would I'm sure be sweet, it would not make for a very exciting sequel. So instead it sounds like Devlin's throwing all sorts of problems their way, including a girl from Ben's past. I'm already predicting I won't be a fan of Hope. Should I start making Team Avery t-shirts?
Countdown Pick #3: Destiny and Deception (13 To Life, #4) by Shannon Delany (1/31/2012)
The sensational fourth novel in the 13 to Life series sees Jessica and the Rusakuvas fighting to overcome one of their biggest challenges yet--the possibility of a cure for lycanthropy.
With the threat of the mafia seemingly gone and the company's headquarters in Junction destroyed, Pietr Rusakova is adjusting to being a normal teen and Jess is realizing normalcy may not be what she wanted after all. But both Jess and Cat know the truth--that normal can't be taken for granted. Their precious cure isn't permanent--and when a new danger stalks into their small town, Alexi decides he must overcome his issues with the mother who abandoned him to be raised by wolves and make a brand new deal to save his adopted family.
While I've got a lot of catching up to do with this series (I've still got to read books two and three before I can start this installment) I'm making sure to continue to add each and every installment of Delany's 13 To Life series to my TBR list. The series opener had me glued to the pages and I found myself really enjoying Delany's style of writing. Her pace and technique, and overall plot were just right in my opinion. So while I still have a lot of other books that I'm also trying to catch up on, I'll admit that Jessie and the Rusakuva family have been missed. I'm hoping that I can squeeze in at least one or two of the books I've let fall to the wayside in this series, because I'm sure before I know it book five will be out and I'll just feel further behind and further away from ever actually getting caught up with this series.
Countdown Pick #4: Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James (1/24/2012)
Syrie joined forces with her talented son Ryan to co-write her next novel, Forbidden. The book is about a 16-year-old girl who comes into unusual powers, only to discover that she's half-angel... and her entire existence is forbidden.
Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson Academy as the ideal hiding place where he could escape and be normal for once. He hadn't factored Claire Brennan into his plans...
Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the threat to Claire's life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?
Syrie James came out of the woodwork for me when she requested I read and review her novel, Nocturne. I had never heard of her or her writing before and after getting the chance to read Nocturne I made sure to correct my mistake. I found an author that was not afraid to write a realistic version of fiction and fantasy if that makes any sense. I guess what I'm trying to say is that a lot of authors who write fiction tend to make sure their endings are all tied up and nice and neat when the final page is turned. Happy endings and all that.
And while a lot of the time I prefer my characters to reach their goals and get the peaceful and blissful endings that they deserve in my opinion, sometimes it's a nice change of pace to have a little bit of reality mixed in with my fiction. James has co-written this title with her son and I'm looking forward to seeing if the writing gene runs in the family. I'm crossing my fingers that the book lives up to my expectations.
Countdown Pick #5: Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1) by Wendy Higgins (5/1/2012)
What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences? This is life for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.
Anna, a tender-hearted southern girl, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.
A cross-country trip forces Anna and Kai to face the reality that hope and love are not options for their kind. When it's time for Anna to confront her demons, will she choose to embrace her halo or her horns?
Angels in a word is an instant pull for me. I've said it before and I'll say it again. There's just something about these types of characters that get me to crave the books that contain them. I guess it's that I know I'm almost always guaranteed a good vs. evil scenario which I can also never resist. It's nice to have a clear side of right and wrong, but it sounds like Higgins is going to blur that line a bit. We've got characters fighting their inherent natures and only one option; to give in to their "bad" sides or pay with their lives? That's the feeling that I'm getting from the small synopsis I was able to find. How can readers fight for the bad guys? But how can you not when you know that they're only trying to stay alive? Regardless, this title sounds like one I'm not going to be able to pass up.