Monday, August 15, 2016

With Every Breath (Wanderlust #1) by Lia Riley | Review

With Every Breath (Wanderlust #1) by Lia Riley | ReviewWith Every Breath (Wanderlust #1) by Lia Riley
Published by Forever on December 29th 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

BREATHE DEEP . . . AND JUMP IN

At the ends of the earth, Patagonia is a land where ambition trumps reason and the savage summit of La Aguja lures the most determined climbers. It's also the last spot a "play-it-safe girl" like Auden Woods expects to find herself. But she'll lace up her brand-new hiking boots and do whatever it takes to secure a dream job at an adventure magazine . . . even if it kills her. And it just might. When disaster strikes, her only chance at survival comes in the form of the surliest, sexiest mountaineer ever to come out of Scotland.

After a climbing accident cost him his brother, professional mountaineer Rhys MacAskill is at the end of his rope. Redemption is not in his future. That is, until a terrifying storm blows a budding journalist into his tent and it's up to him to make sure they both survive until morning. Despite the demons weighing on him, Rhys can't resist the temptation of the charming American and one wild night just isn't enough.

Auden and Rhys soon learn there are no shortcuts as they navigate their way between life, death, and atonement, and discover something they never expected—love.

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Oh new adult novels, you can be so cheesy.  With Every Breath fits in that category but I must say that I found myself enjoying my first foray into Lia Riley’s works.  It’s a fast-paced read that you can probably read in one sitting if you really want to.  It’s cute and will definitely leave you with a smile on your face.

Pros:

  • Story: I loved both Auden and Rhys’ stories.  Auden is an aspiring journalist who doesn’t have much to show so far in life.  She’s lived in the shadow of her twin sister and she feels that it’s finally time to get out there and create some stories of her own.  Rhys has lived more than most people.  He’s a professional mountaineer who is looking for redemption at the top of La Aguja.  Both Auden and Rhys are looking for something at La Aguja.  What they find isn’t exactly what they set out for but it proves to be exactly what they need.  There were some surprising twists in each of their stories and I liked that I could be kept guessing.
  • Characters: Auden is probably one of my favorite new adult protagonists.  Her life hasn’t been easy but she’s not a depressed or pessimistic person.  She’s funny and quirky and a lot of fun.  From the moment I was first introduced to her, I knew I’d be able to relate.  She’s not very outspoken and she’s afraid to ask for help.  All that changes when she meets Rhys.  He’s someone who doesn’t know her and she can be whoever she wants to be around him.  She was looking for the chance to change and he was the perfect opportunity.  As for Rhys, what can I say, I have a thing for the brooding ones.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s Scottish.  Even in my head I could hear that accent.  He was very closed off and that didn’t change the second he met Auden.  He didn’t really have a choice but to help her out.  His past was much darker than Auden’s and I could see that he thought his future was going to be too.  He had to work hard to open up to her and trust did not come easy from him.

Cons:

  • Ending: The ending felt really rushed to me.  I remember looking down at the page count on my ereader and wondering how everything could be wrapped up in so few pages.  I felt that once Auden and Rhys reached the camp at La Aguja everything just sped up and came tumbling out.  Things were revealed and resolved in just a few pages.  I didn’t see how that fit with either character.  I also felt that the biggest thing that happened in the whole book just got glanced over.  It’s a huge thing that impacted both Auden and Rhys and it was barely mentioned.  I don’t know if the next book in the series will address it at all but I really hope so.
  • Dialogue:  Dialogue is what usually gets me in new adult novels and that was the case with this one too.  Rhys is this brooding mountaineer who supposedly uses women for his own purposes but when he meets Auden he acts like this lovestruck teenager.  Sure he sometimes acts rather rude but most of the time he’s super romantic and sweet, even in his head.  I just couldn’t put that with my idea of Rhys as he had been described previously.

Overall, With Every Breath is an enjoyable read if you are just looking for something fun and mindless.  It’s not the best new adult but it’s definitely not the worst either.  I have a feeling I’ll continue with this series and check out more of Lia Riley’s books.

Overall reaction:

What others are saying about With Every Breath:

Romancing the Book’s review: “Emotions are high throughout and I shed some tears along with a few laughs.”

Harlequin Junkie’s review: “With Every Breath is a fun, enjoyable, slightly angsty read that I highly recommend especially if you’re interested in an at-home trip to South America.”

Stories Unfolded’s review: “Every new book I read of Lia’s makes me more of a fan and she’s getting another thumbs up from me on this one.”

Friday, August 12, 2016

Vial Things (Resurrectionist #1) by Leah Clifford | Review

Vial Things (Resurrectionist #1) by Leah Clifford | ReviewVial Things by Leah Clifford
Series: Resurrectionist #1
on August 9, 2016
Genres: Horror
Format: ebook
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

When the resurrectionists of Fissure's Whipp begin disappearing, eighteen-year-old Allie knows someone is after their blood—or, more accurately, the genetic mutation that allows their blood to heal wounds, save lives and even bring back the recently deceased.

Raised by her aunt after her parents' deaths, Allie knows staying vigilant means staying alive. She's trained her whole life to protect herself by any means necessary, from self defense classes to extensive weapons training in knives. Now, she’s gone so far as to befriend a homeless boy named Ploy who unknowingly trades a few nights a week on her couch in exchange for being a human tripwire to those hunting her.

But as Allie and Ploy's feelings for each other grow, Allie realizes this time, she'll need more than fighting skills and a sharp blade to beat a villain literally out for blood.

Protecting a girl he shouldn’t love, from a threat he understands too well, Ploy must face his past to save his future in Allie’s world—a world where bringing back the dead can cost you your life.

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve read a book from Leah Clifford but it didn’t take long for me to remember why I loved her first series.  Vial Things is the start of her new Resurrectionist series and while it definitely gave me the same vibe as her Touch trilogy, it really captured my attention with it’s unique new story.

Vial Things is the story of Allie, a teen resurrectionist trying to escape her gift.  She doesn’t mind the whole bringing people back to life thing but she doesn’t like that her family uses it as a way to make money.  She decided that the easiest way to deal with it was to leave it all behind.  That plan is a good one until resurrectionists start turning up dead.  Allie knows that someone is hunting them and she isn’t safe just because she doesn’t use her gift.  She teams up with a homeless boy named Ploy and together they set out to make things safe for the resurrectionists again.

Pros:

  • Characters: I knew I was going to like Allie from the start.  Yes she was closed off but that wasn’t really by her choice.  The only people in her life who knew what she was capable of wouldn’t accept her once she stopped using her ability.  She found it hard to trust others and she didn’t exactly have an easy time of making friends.  I found her to be really likable, even if she didn’t show a whole lot of emotion.  She was lonely and that was something that is so easy to relate to.  That loneliness didn’t stop her from being a total bad-ass though.  She was strong and fierce and willing to do what it took to survive.  Ploy was similar to Allie in a lot of ways.  He was homeless and not exactly fit for the streets.  It was easy to see that no matter how he acted, he wasn’t always as brave as he seemed.  Allie was a friend to him; one of the only ones he had.  He had secrets from her, that’s for sure but so did she.  They were both using each other for different reasons but as they used each other they got to know each other and started to genuinely like one another.  Neither of them were completely trustworthy and there were times when I questioned what exactly one or the other was going to do but that’s one of the things that kept me hooked and on the edge of my seat.
  • Backstory: The science behind the resurrectionists did confuse me at times but it was really interesting.  The ability isn’t something that everyone gets and it’s not something that just comes out of nowhere.  It’s a genetic thing that manifests in some children but not all.  As this is the start of a series, I understand that I probably didn’t get everything there is to know about the resurrectionists but I look forward to finding out more.  There was so much about the family dynamics that I feel like I didn’t get and I hope to find out more about that as Allie learns more about being part of a group of resurrectionists.
  • Pacing: The story moves along at a rather quick pace.  There isn’t ever really a time when you’ll want to step away from the story.  Things are constantly happening and new information is being learned at all times.  I had a hard time stepping away from Vial Things once I was really able to sit down and start reading.  It’s one of those books that hooks you early on and doesn’t let you go until the last page has been read.

Overall, Vial Things needs to be on your radar, if it’s not already.  Leah Clifford has a way with the dark and morbid and scary and I love it.  I look forward to reading more in this series.

Overall reaction:

 

What others are saying about Vial Things:

Insane About Books’ review: “The words disappeared as I read this story, and I found the building of this story  with anticipation and mystery completely brilliant.”

Novelknight’s review: “This is going on my recommendations list for the September newsletter (a little late for August unfortunately).”

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What I’ve Been Reading

I spent my blogging hiatus doing a lot of reading.  Let me tell you, it was pretty nice just to read whatever the heck I wanted and not have to worry about writing a review or posting on Twitter or the blog.  I was able to really power through some of the books on my shelves and I am pretty proud of myself for that.  I definitely think blogging became my number one priority for a while and the books actually got pushed to the side.  Sure I’d read them but I read what I felt like I needed to read for the blog and I spent way more time focusing on what to post rather than what I was actually reading.  It happens.  My goal this time around is to not do that.  That may mean less posts or posts of a different variety but hey, I can do what I want here!

911Xmhn9+rL Broken Prince Some Girls Bite

 

Obviously I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  I started it the second I got my hands on it and read half in one sitting.  I really wanted to savor it since it will be the last Harry Potter book but that didn’t happen.  I’m happy that I got to read more of Harry’s story and find out what became of the wizarding world but it couldn’t measure up to the originals.  I will definitely see the play if I ever get the chance to though.

Broken Prince is the second book in the Royals series and these books are so addicting.  I am dying for book 3 right now.  Paper Princess is the first book (which I reviewed here) which I read a couple months ago.  I picked up Broken Prince the day it came out and I regret that a little because, like Paper Princess, it totally has a cliffhanger ending.  Erin Watt needs to stop doing this to me!

I read the most recent book in the Charley Davidson series from Darynda Jones and was looking for something similar. I found that in the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill. And then I promptly read all 12 books.  Whoops.  Now I’m impatiently waiting for the 13th and final book in the series.  If you love snarky women who are majorly badass, you’ll love Merit.  Oh and Ethan’s not bad either.  Seriously though, you should probably check these books out.  Clearly they are addicting.

Those are just some of the books I’ve been reading this summer.  I did read some books I picked up at BEA and even some of my egalleys but I’m going to save those for a later post.

Have you read any of these?  Do you have any books similar to these to recommend to me?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What the heck has become of this community?

My title seems pretty self-explanatory.  This is pretty much just me ranting so if that’s not what you want to read, you should probably stop reading this post now.  You have been warned!

If you read my last post or have paid any attention to the blog, you know I have taken a break from blogging.  Part of it was stress and lack of time and part of it was because I honestly just got fed up with how I’ve seen book bloggers acting this past year.  I’m sure it’s not just book bloggers but since those are pretty much the only people I pay attention to online, it’s really noticeable to me.

It seems like every time I login to Twitter, it’s a competition.  Let’s be real here, blogging has always been about the books and no matter what people say, it’s always been about the ARCs for some.  You can see who those people are just by logging in and checking out the BooksForTrade hashtag on Twitter.  That started out as a great way to spread the ARCs around and clean off your shelves but that is not what it has become.  It’s almost impossible to trade books now because people have wishlists of books that aren’t even available.  People want only specific ARCs of either much older books or books that haven’t even had ARCs made yet.  They also are only willing to trade their books for those specific books.  Then there are the people who go to conferences and get really popular books and then post them on the hashtag.  Pretty sure that’s not what those conferences are for but what do I know, I’ve only been attending them for the past 5 years.

Here’s another thing that the BooksForTrade hashtag really brought to my attention: the lust for ARCs.  What the heck?  I can understand wanting an ARC of your favorite book but I don’t see the need to have ARCs for every popular series out there.  It’s pretty easy to see who wants the ARC for their collection and who wants it just to show the rest of the world that they have it.  If your wishlist consists of nothing but really popular books and in ARC format, good luck with that.  Pretty sure you’re completely missing the point of not only the hashtag but the whole reading thing in general.  Don’t get me wrong though, if I thought I could trade someone for a Harry Potter ARC, I’d put my firstborn child up for trade.

I swear this next part is my last little rant but I have got to say something about Instagram or as us bloggers know it, bookstagram.  I used to love going on Instagram to see what books people had bought or received or were reading but I can’t really stand it much anymore.  Every other post is sponsored by someone or something and the posts that aren’t sponsored are trying really hard to get sponsors.  For something called bookstagram, it doesn’t seem to focus much on the books anymore.  Most of the pictures that are supposedly about books focus more on the accessories or props that are with the books in the photo.  And don’t even get me started about the books.  It’s clear which books are popular at the moment and those are pretty much the only books you are going to see photos of on Instagram.  It’s well known that the popular books are the ones that get the most likes in photos.  Why would anyone post photos of lesser known books if they know they aren’t going to get them more likes or followers.

I know not everyone is going to agree with me about the things posted here but this is my blog and these are my thoughts.  This is how I feel and it’s a big reason why I took such a step back from social media.  I know these are very generalized statements and I’m not saying that everyone does this.  There are bookstagrammers that I adore and people who use the BooksForTrade hashtag for its original purpose.  It just seems like everyone wants what other people have. When did it stop being about being grateful for what we do have?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Things Are Changing Around Here

Hey!  Look who it is!  Yeah, I know, I suck as a blogger.  You would think that with it being summer, I would have plenty of time to read and you’d be right.  I have been reading.  I just haven’t been blogging.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve actually been reading more than ever before.  I lowered my Goodreads goal this year because I just didn’t think I would be able to read more than 100 books.  I’m now at 80 books which puts me 20 books ahead of schedule.  Deciding to back off from the blog and social media has done wonders for my reading time.  It has also done wonders for my happiness.  Blogging is stressful work.  It used to be a bunch of fun and I’d come home from work and look forward to just working on the blog.  That stopped being the case a while ago.  I kept thinking about coming back to blogging and I’d start to work on a post and just give up.  It held no appeal to me.  I mean, it has been almost 8 years.  I figured I’d get tired of it way before now.

However, that’s not to say that I’m done.  I’ve spent a lot of time lately just thinking about life and my priorities.  I spent so much time this summer focusing on other people and I finally decided it’s time to just do what I want.  That means I’ll be blogging again but it probably won’t be like it was before.  I’m not going back to review all the books I read while I was taking a little blogging break.  I will probably mention them around here or on Twitter or Goodreads but that is way too much work and I’m not about that right now.  I want to bring the fun back to my blog.  I really miss the way blogging used to be for me and it’s time I got that joy back in my life.

So that’s it.  I will see you guys around here and on Twitter and probably even on Instagram though I admit that I’m pretty lazy with that one.  I’ve missed blogging and I really look forward to jumping back in and seeing where things go!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation (How to Ruin #1) by Simone Elkeles | Review

How to Ruin a Summer Vacation (How to Ruin #1) by Simone Elkeles | ReviewHow to Ruin a Summer Vacation (How to Ruin, #1) by Simone Elkeles
Series: How to Ruin #1
Published by Llewellyn Publications on October 8th 2006
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 234
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

Moshav? What’s a moshav? Is it “shopping mall” in Hebrew? I mean, from what Jessica was telling me, Israeli stores have the latest fashions from Europe. That black dress Jessica has is really awesome. I know I’d be selling out if I go with the Sperm Donor to a mall, but I keep thinking about all the great stuff I could bring back home. 

Unfortunately for 16-year-old Amy Nelson, “moshav” is not Hebrew for “shopping mall.” Not even close. Think goats, not Gucci. 

Going to Israel with her estranged Israeli father is the last thing Amy wants to do this summer. She’s got a serious grudge against her dad, a.k.a. “Sperm Donor,” for showing up so rarely in her life. Now he’s dragging her to a war zone to meet a family she’s never known, where she’ll probably be drafted into the army. At the very least, she’ll be stuck in a house with no AC and only one bathroom for seven people all summer—no best friend, no boyfriend, no shopping, no cell phone… 

Goodbye pride—hello Israel.

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I was looking for a fun summer read and I figured this couldn’t be more perfect. I’m a huge fan of Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry series so I had really high hopes for this one. While I did find it a fun read for the summer, I was disappointed by many things about it.

Pros:

  • Setting: To be completely honest, I’ve never been all that interested in Israel as a setting. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a cool place, I’ve just never seen many books set there and I never set out to find a book set in Israel. I’m glad How to Ruin a Summer Vacation was set in Israel though. It’s a unique setting and Simone Elkeles did a wonderful job including not just the atmosphere but the history as well. I may have to see about finding more YA books set in Israel.
  • Romance: I love the romances where the characters start out disliking each other. I feel like characters who argue quite a bit sometimes have the best chemistry and that was the case with Amy and Avi. I could see their romance coming from a mile away but I wasn’t sure how they were actually going to get together. They had their ups and downs but I thought they were really good for each other. They balanced each other out.

Cons:

  • Amy: Amy was one of the most immature characters I have ever read about. She was so self-absorbed. Her dad wanted to take her to Israel to see her grandmother because she was sick. All Amy could see was that her dad was trying to ruin her life. Then she met her family and she treated them like crap. Yes, her cousin was a bitch. However, so was Amy. She didn’t even try to make things work between her and Osnat. I was really let down by that. And honestly, I don’t know what Avi saw in her because she was such a bitch to him most of the time. Really, she was a bitch to everyone.
  • Story: There really wasn’t much going on for the story. This was really just mostly a romance. I was okay with that since the book was so short but if there were more pages to the book, I would have gotten bored. I was hoping there would be more to the story as far as Amy’s relationship with her father and that didn’t happen. I know it could still happen in the next two books but for now, there wasn’t much to that relationship and what there was happened rather quickly.

Overall, How to Ruin a Summer Vacation is not Simone Elkeles’ best book, that’s for sure. I will continue with this trilogy since it is a fun read but I’d definitely recommend the Perfect Chemistry books over this trilogy.

Overall reaction:

What others are saying about How to Ruin a Summer Vacation:

Stuck in Books’ review: “If you like contemporary YA then this is good one to choose.”

The Page Sage’s review: “The insight into Israeli culture is fantastic.”

Friday, June 10, 2016

Deeper We Fall (Fall & Rise #1) by Chelsea M. Cameron | Review

Deeper We Fall (Fall & Rise #1) by Chelsea M. Cameron | ReviewDeeper We Fall by Chelsea M. Cameron
Series: Fall and Rise #1
Published by DRC Publishing on January 24th 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 453
Format: ebook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
1 Stars

Two years after her best friend was involved in a car accident that caused a traumatic brain injury, Lottie Anders is ready to start her freshman year of college. Ready to move on. Ready to start forgetting the night that ripped her life apart.

Her plans come to a screeching halt when not one, but both brothers responsible for the accident end up back in her life again.

Zack is cruel, selfish and constantly rubbing what happened to her friend in Lottie's face.

Zan is different. He listens to her awkward ramblings. He loves To Kill a Mockingbird as much as she does, and his dark eyes are irresistible. His words are few and far between, but when he does speak, she can't help but listen.

The trouble is, Zan was the driver in the accident, and now Lottie's discovered he lied to her about what happened that night. Now she must decide if trusting him again will lead to real forgiveness, or deeper heartache.

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Let me just start off by saying that I’m extremely glad I got this book for free on Kindle and didn’t waste my money on it.  Deeper We Fall reminded me why I don’t read self-published books.  There were so many things I absolutely hated about Deeper We Fall.  I’m honestly amazed I even finished it and I’m kind of kicking myself for wasting so much time with it.

Pros:

  • The only good thing this book had going for it was the beginning.  It started off strong, I’ll give it that.  I wanted to know more about what happened after the accident and the secrets surrounding the accident.  It was pretty easy to figure out what the secret about the accident was though so my curiosity didn’t last too long.

Cons:

  • Characters: I didn’t like most of the main characters.  Will and Simon were probably the exceptions.  They were funny and I loved how they treated Charlotte.  Will was a great brother and Simon was basically brother number two.  They were adorable.  Charlotte, however, was whiny and annoying and extremely naive.  She blamed herself for the accident even though she wasn’t even in the car.  She did everything she could to stop her friend from getting in the car, short of dragging her away.  There was nothing she could have done and she constantly beat herself up about it.  Not just herself though.  She treated Zan and Zack Parker like crap for the accident.  Zack was totally to blame but Zan was pretty much an innocent bystander even though he was driving the car.  I could also understand her hostility toward Zack because he was a total douchebag.  Her attitude toward Zan was just mean though.  And for her to then start falling for him just made no sense.  Zan was annoying because he was so obsessed with Charlotte.  I didn’t find his behavior attractive.  In fact, it was a little stalkerish.  He claimed to be in love with her but he never even had a conversation with her before the accident.  That’s not love, that’s obsession.
  • Romance: Okay let’s get into the romance a little more.  Zan and Charlotte obviously have something going on and it was the dumbest thing I have ever read.  First, Charlotte is a giant bitch to Zan.  She was never once nice to him and yet he loved her.  Or at least claimed he did.  Then when they do finally start something, he lets her call all the shots and she’s not willing to let anyone know about them.  And Zan is fine with that.  He doesn’t want to scare her off so he just lets her walk all over him.  I’m all for men and women being equal in relationships and that goes for this situation too.  Zan had no control over what they did or didn’t do.  I hated that.
  • Story: The story dragged for so long.  There was so much unnecessary information.  Nothing even happened with Charlotte and Zan for more than half of the book.  I’m sorry, if there is supposed to be some big important romance in a book, it should happen before I get 70% of the way through the book.  Also, there was pretty much nothing else going on other than this romance that I was pretty sure was never going to happen. There were a few small side stories which I knew were going to be excuses to have more books with these characters but they were pretty much all tied up pretty quickly and didn’t hold my interest.  Everything about this book was predictable.

Overall, I’m just going to stop because if I don’t, I’ll rant for 5 more pages.  I don’t recommend reading this one but it’s free on Kindle if you do decide to pick it up for some reason.  It seems like other readers have really enjoyed it so maybe it’s just that this one was not for me.

Overall reaction:

What others are saying about Deeper We Fall:

  • Polished Page Turners’ review: “I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys New Adult, especially those that are heavy on the emotional and not on the sex.”
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sea Spell (Waterfire Saga #4) by Jennifer Donnelly | Giveaway

Thanks to the wonderful team at Disney Hyperion, I’ve got another great giveaway for you guys!

Sea Spell

ABOUT THE BOOK

At the end of Dark Tide, Book 3 in the Waterfire Saga, Astrid leaves her mermaid friends to confront her ancestor, Orfeo, the evil force behind the rise of the monster Abbadon. Orfeo possesses one of the six talismans that the merls need in order to keep the monster locked up forever. But without the ability to songcast, how will Astrid be able to defeat the most powerful mage in history?

Meanwhile, Serafina and her Black Fins train goblin troops for battle against her uncle Vallerio’s death riders. Will Sera ever see her beloved home—and her beloved Mahdi—again, or will the Volneros take over the mer realms while Orfeo takes on the gods themselves? Nothing less than the fate of the underwater world is at stake in this breathtaking finale.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Donnelly is an award-winning author of both adult and young adult books, including Deep BlueRogue Wave, and Dark Tide, the first three books in the Waterfire Saga. For adults she has written a trilogy of best-selling books that includes The Tea RoseThe Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose. Her first young adult novel, A Northern Light, received many accolades, among them the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Carnegie Medal in the UK, and a Michael L. Printz Honor. Her second young adult novel, Revolution, was named a Best Book of 2010 by Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal, and the audiobook received a 2011 American Library Association Odyssey Honor. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley. For more information, visit www.jenniferdonnelly.com.

EXCERPT

Read the prologue of Sea Spell here.

OFFICIAL LINKS

Learn more at waterfiresaga.com

Follow Disney Books on Twitter and Instagram

#WaterfireSaga

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CONFIRMED PRIZING

One (1) winner receives:

A copy of Sea Spell and branded nail polish.

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Publishing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 6, 2016

Blog Tour: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone | Review + GiveawayThe Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone
on June 7th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: PLA
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Maddie O'Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect pre-college summer with her best friends and young-at-heart socialite grandmother (also Maddie's closest confidante), tying up high school loose ends. Maddie's plans change the instant Gram announces that she is terminally ill and has booked the family on a secret "death with dignity" cruise ship so that she can leave the world in her own unconventional way - and give the O'Neill clan an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.

Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her over-the-top family. As they travel the globe, Maddie bonds with other passengers and falls for Enzo, who is processing his own grief. But despite the laughter, headiness of first love, and excitement of glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram. She struggles to find the strength to say good-bye in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, loss, and the power of forgiveness.

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The Loose Ends List is one of those books that you will either love or hate and I am definitely on the love side.  I knew from the moment I read the synopsis that this was going to be a book for me.  While it had it’s flaws, I truly enjoyed Carrie Firestone’s debut novel.

Pros:

  • Story:  It takes a lot to switch things up with contemporary novels.  I admit that even though it is my favorite genre, I can really get bored with the books because they all seem to be very similar these days.  The Loose Ends List really brings something new to the contemporary genre.  I’ve read tons of books dealing with death in the family but nothing like this.  Maddie’s grandma is a force to be reckoned with and she’s not gonna let cancer bring her down.  She’s going out the way she wants to and that’s on a cruise with her family by her side. While it’s definitely a sad story, there are so many fun and happy moments to balance it out.
  • Romance: I knew from the start that Maddie’s boyfriend wasn’t going to be the one she ended the summer with and I was glad for that.  He was terrible and her reasons for being with him were terrible.  Enzo, on the other hand, was good for her.  They were going through similar situations and they both needed someone.  Their relationship was sweet and fun and I loved watching Maddie cross things off her loose ends list with Enzo.
  • Writing: I really liked Carrie Firestone’s writing style.  The story never drags and a lot of that has to do with the writing.  It’s not overly descriptive or wordy but it’s also not sparse in descriptions.  I think it lends itself well to contemporary stories although I say that without having read any other kind of story from Carrie.  It really helped keep my interest in the book even if I had issues with some other things.
  • Humor: This is not just a sob story.  There is so much humor woven into the story that it’s almost easy to forget that one of the main characters in the story is going to die.  I loved how Carrie Firestone managed to balance the humor and the heartache.  I never expected to laugh as much as I did throughout The Loose Ends List.  That’s not to say I didn’t cry a ton too but it was pretty even.  A lot of that had to do with Maddie’s grandma.  She was a hoot.  I loved her and I could see why Maddie did too.

Cons:

  • Characters: While most of the characters were awesome, I had some issues with a few.  Take Maddie, for instance.  She was so superficial.  I was beyond annoyed with her attitude at the start of the book.  She admits to dating a guy just because he’s popular and the captain of the lacrosse team.  It’s like she’s always trying to prove herself to someone.  I wanted her to grow up and start doing things just for herself.  Her friends were the same way.  It seemed like all they cared about were boys and parties.  All except for Rachel, Maddie’s friend but not really.  They grew apart because Maddie became popular and Rachel cared about comic books and things like that.  What a lame reason to grow apart.  Why can’t you do both?  Yes, Maddie grows up a lot throughout the book but she really annoyed me for a lot of it, as did the people she chose to hang out with.

Overall, The Loose Ends List is a wonderful read that had me laughing, smiling, and crying quite a bit.  I look forward to reading more from Carrie Firestone.  Check this one out and don’t forget your tissues when you do pick it up.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Blog Tour: Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan | Guest Post

Blog Tour: Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan | Guest Post

Blog Tour: Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan | Guest PostJulia Vanishes by Catherine Egan
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on June 7th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Goodreads

Julia Vanishes Julia has the unusual ability to be . . . unseen. Not invisible, exactly. Just beyond most people's senses.

It's a dangerous trait in a city that has banned all forms of magic and drowns witches in public Cleansings. But it's a useful trait for a thief and a spy. And Julia has learned--crime pays.

Her latest job is paying very well indeed. Julia is posing as a housemaid in the grand house of Mrs. Och, where an odd assortment of characters live and work: A disgraced professor who sends her to fetch parcels containing bullets, spiders, and poison. An aristocratic houseguest who is locked in the basement each night. And a mysterious young woman who is clearly in hiding--though from what or whom?

Worse, Julia suspects that there's a connection between these people and the killer leaving a trail of bodies across the frozen city.

The more she learns, the more she wants to be done with this unnatural job. To go back to the safety of her friends and fellow thieves. But Julia is entangled in a struggle between forces more powerful than she'd ever imagined. Escape will come at a terrible price.

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CITY OF EX-BOYFRIENDS

A friend who read an early draft of Julia Vanishes asked me if a certain guy in the book was drawn from a certain guy in my (past) life. He isn’t. But a few days later I was drawing a map of Julia’s home, Spira City, and thinking about the character of each neighborhood – the dark, damp alleys and cellars of the Edge, the exuberantly subversive spirit of the Twist, the glamor and exclusivity of West Spira. That’s when I realized: I’ve dated each of these guys. I can think of at least one ex-boyfriend to correspond with each neighborhood, and if you’ve spent a few years dating, you probably can too.

Forrestal is the guy who seems plausible at first – he’s nice, he’s clean, he gets along with everybody – but you realize pretty fast that there’s nothing here for you. It’s too quiet, all the houses look the same, and all the streets seem to circle around, back to the same place. Go to a brighter part of the city, where garbage is blowing down the streets and you hear music and laughter from inside the bars. Push open a new door. Never think about him again.

The Twist is the guy who sweeps you off your feet, possibly on the rebound from Forrestal, with his energy and jokes and wildness. He is rumpled and drinks too much and he can never stay still for long. He’s a drummer and you’re surprised how good he is because he doesn’t strike you as very focused. He never seems to sleep. It will be fun, but it won’t last, because sometimes you do have to sleep, and while you’re sleeping, he’s going to find someone else to stay up with him. You’ll stay friends, because even if you don’t want to live here, you still want to visit sometimes.

Mt. Heriot is in your evening class on John Donne. He gives you rides home afterwards on his motorbike. He’s shorter than you but not insecure about it, he’s a vegan socialist who reads Hebrew fluently and writes very long poems that he won’t let you read. The relationship lasts a few hilarious, happy, confusing months until the class ends and he goes off to South America with a tiny backpack and his political idealism and for a while life seems very quiet. He will always be your favorite ex-boyfriend.

The Plateau comes to the café where you work on breaks from his construction job. He asks you out on his birthday. You say yes because it’s his birthday and he seems funny and smart and you like the way he looks covered in a layer of sawdust. He shows up for your date scrubbed pink and wearing so much cologne and hair gel that you can hardly breathe. He is sullen and monosyllabic all evening and then shoves you against a wall for a grope at the nightclub. The Plateau might at first glance seem like a respectable, practical sort of neighborhood – the Parliament buildings are there, and the train station – but Hostorak, the horrifying prison for witches, lies at its center, a dark, rotten spot at the core, and you just don’t want to go anywhere near that, really. So run.

West Spira asks you out while you are filling up his coffee. You recognize from the very first moment that this is the kind of man for whom everything is a transaction. You are nineteen and a waitress, and you know what your part of this transaction will be. Still, you say yes, because at this point in your life you are driven by curiosity more than anything else. He takes you out for dinner. He takes you out on his boat. He takes you skiing. One night he starts ranting about taxes and feminists, and you are done. After you break up, he writes you a livid e-mail detailing every cent he spent on you.

You wouldn’t date The Edge if you knew what kind of neighborhood you were stumbling into. You end up with him because you’re lost, and it takes a while to realize just how bad it is. How lost he is. You go a little deeper and it’s all gravestones and then impassable mountains. This is where you learn that you can’t save someone from themselves, but you’ll never feel as guilty as when you leave him behind.

The Scola is the guy who talks to you about books. The streets are well-lit. You can see where you’re going. It’s lively here, but it also feels safe. This is the guy you marry, but you’ll find that a marriage contains every neighborhood within itself, and that you are also full of unexpected corners and derelict neighborhoods. You learn to walk each other with care – to enjoy the familiar, the favorite bookstores and restaurants and wide open parks, to take delight in the surprises and discoveries, and to steer clear of certain streets at certain hours of the night. You think you can’t get lost here, and you’ve stopped carrying a map, but anything can happen in the city.

I don’t know about you guys but I’m definitely planning on checking out Julia Vanishes very soon!