Thursday, February 19, 2015

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | Review

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | ReviewAll The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Random House on January 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

picadillyblueI’d heard that Jennifer Niven’s young adult debut was a good one but I wasn’t prepared for how much of a tearjerker it was.  All The Bright Places is my kind of book: contemporary, super sweet romance, lots of deeper issues that take root in your mind and don’t let go.  Is it any surprise that I loved it?

Theodore Finch is an odd boy.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to like him at first.  He was strange and kind of rude and just not very friendly.  Then there was Violet who was pretty much a mean girl.  She was pretty and popular and smart and funny.  Basically she was the opposite of Finch.  However, they did have something in common.  They were both rather preoccupied with the thought of death.  Theodore was a very depressed boy who liked to think of interesting ways to die.  He not only thought of ways that he might die, he also researched the statistics surrounding those types of deaths.  He was kind of morbid.  As for Violet, her sister was killed in a car accident and ever since then she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about death.  She refuses to get in a car, she doesn’t think much about moving on with her life, and she can’t help but feel that her sister’s death was her fault.  That connection brought her and Finch together but there was so much more that kept them together.

The story focuses a lot on depression.  It’s pretty clear from the start that Finch suffers from depression and maybe some other condition but that isn’t made known.  It’s impossible not to feel for him.  However, it’s not depression or death that bring Finch and Violet closer together.  It’s the crazy project their teacher gives them that does it.  They have to visit wonders of their state and chronicle their time at each place.  They are only required to visit 3 places but Finch and Violet take it even further, attempting to visit every wonder of Indiana that they can find.  It’s this project that brings Violet out of her shell and brings her and Theodore together.

The story itself isn’t exactly fast-paced and that is probably my only issue with All The Bright Places.  I found my attention being drawn by other things and it took me a while to really feel invested in the story.   I will admit that the first 50 to 75 pages are a little boring and almost made me give up completely.  I’m definitely glad I didn’t but the thought did cross my mind.

Overall, All The Bright Places has me eager to read more young adult novels from Jennifer Niven.  I found myself laughing and crying all throughout this book and it definitely left me smiling at the end.

What others are saying about All The Bright Places:

My Shelf Confessions’ review: “Although I didn’t fall madly in love and have my heart smashed to a million pieces (maintaining my titanium heart reputation), I can completely understand why this book has been so impactful and emotional for so many people.”

That’s What She Read’s review: “Not only does All the Bright Places tear one’s heart strings, but it also raises awareness of mental illness and the importance of taking action if a loved one refuses to seek help.”

The Book Addict’s Guide’s review: “If there’s anything you need to know about ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, it’s that it’s a book that will stick with you long after you’ve finished reading.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blog Tour: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury | Review + GiveawayThe Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1
Published by Scholastic on February 24, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

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The Sin Eater’s Daughter was one of those books that I’d heard nothing but good things about.  Needless to say, my expectations were pretty high.  While I wasn’t quite as blown away as I’d hoped, I was definitely impressed with Melinda Salisbury’s debut novel.

Twylla possessed the ability to kill people with a single touch, making her extremely valuable to the rulers of her kingdom.  She was used as a weapon by the king and queen but also betrothed to their son, Merek.  While she was an asset to the kingdom, she was not treated as such.  She was very much alone among the other royals.  Her guards were the closest thing to friends that she had.  Her life was very solitary and kind of depressing.

Twylla was a weak point for me.  She was quite naive.  She didn’t question her abilities, how she got them, why she got them, or how they worked.  She accepted what the king and queen told her, even when things didn’t always add up.  Enter Lief, Twylla’s new guard from another kingdom.  He treated her as a person rather than a tool.  He made her question everything she had known.  He changed her and I liked the side of her that he brought out.  Of course Merek was still in the picture but he took a backseat to Lief in the romance department.  Major love triangle in The Sin Eater’s Daughter but I truly don’t know how I feel about this one.  Lief and Merek both had secrets but they both were good fits for Twylla, in different ways.

The lore throughout the book was definitely the best part.  The history of the kingdom as well as the whole world was so thought out and extensive.  The practice of sin eating was extremely interesting.  There wasn’t a whole lot about sin eating at first but it does come into play later in the story.  There is also a fairytale that comes into play closer to the end of the story and it blew my mind when everything came together.

I feel like I’m not doing a good job playing up how good The Sin Eater’s Daughter was.  There is romance, betrayal, folklore, mystery, and so much more.  It’s an interesting start to a new fantasy series.  The cliffhanger ending kind of killed me and I’m definitely going to continue this series.

Overall, fantasy fans should check out The Sin Eater’s Daughter.  Melinda Salisbury shows real talent with her debut novel.

What others are saying about The Sin Eater’s Daughter:

Jess Hearts Books’ review: “The Sin Eater’s Daughter was a rich mystery driven Fantasy that’s sure to keep readers enthralled with its surprising twists and unique world.”

Woven Magic’s review: “I like my fantasys with take charge heroines, magic and battles and political plots, but for a fantasy romance this was good. (and there was plenty of conniving by bad guys.)”

Fiction Freak’s review: “Read this. Seriously. Honestly. Read The Sin Eater’s Daughter and you won’t regret it.”

 

Melinda

About Melinda:

Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped by her grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian. The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel, and will be published by Scholastic in 2015. She is represented by the amazing Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

She tweets. A lot.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest

Giveaway!

5 winners will receive copies of The Sin Eater’s Daughter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

Week One:

2/16/2015- Fiktshun– Interview

2/17/2015- Katie’s Book Blog– Review

2/18/2015- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads– Guest Post

2/19/2015- Beauty and the Bookshelf– Review

2/20/2015- Novel Novice– Interview

Week Two:

2/23/2015- Fiction Fare– Review

2/24/2015- Supernatural Snark– Guest Post

2/25/201- YA Bibliophile– Review

2/26/2015- Dark Faerie Tales– Interview

2/27/2015- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater | Review

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater | ReviewBlue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #3
Published by Scholastic on October 21, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 391
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

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Does it come as any surprise that I absolutely adored Blue Lily, Lily Blue? If it does, you probably haven’t read my reviews of The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves so you should probably stop reading this and check those out first.

I’d heard there was a cliffhanger at the end of Blue Lily, Lily Blue so I was pretty on edge throughout the whole book. (Don’t worry; it’s not a bad cliffhanger.) There were so many twists and turns in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, I just couldn’t keep up. I never once was able to predict what was going to happen next. That’s always been one of the things I love most about Maggie Stiefvater’s books and it was no exception with this one.

The characters have grown on me since the first book and I’ve come to love them all but I still can’t predict a single thing they are going to do. All of them managed to piss me off at least once throughout the book but I love them even more now, especially Adam. Adam has been the hardest for me to like throughout the series but I finally felt like I could understand where he was coming from with this book. He’s still not my favorite of the Raven boys but I like him a lot more now than I used to.

The story develops a lot more in Blue Lily, Lily Blue than in any of the other books. The Raven boys and Blue finally make some progress on their quest to find Glendower but they find more problems as well. Their quest is not a simple one and every bit of progress they make seems to be hindered by something. I’m not sure how things are going to end in the next (and final) book but I’m eager to see how Maggie Stiefvater ties things up.

Overall, Blue Lily, Lily Blue just blew me out of the water. I was expecting something amazing and I definitely got that. I wish I didn’t have to wait for the final book but I know there are plenty other readers out there anxiously awaiting it with me.

What others are saying about Blue Lily, Lily Blue:

There Were Books Involved’s review: “Maggie Stiefvater makes you believe in magic.”

Not Yet Read’s review: “The group as a whole do have some pretty tense moments, odd discoveries and of course two major breakthroughs in this installment and the way it ends did indeed leave me eager for the next book, I just didn’t feel that this one was as gripping or strong as the previous two books which I loved.”

Wrapped Up In Books’ review: “This series is undoubtedly one of my absolute favorites, and I am eagerly awaiting not only the series finale, but re-reading it and listening to the complete audiobooks (the narration has been excellent).”

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blog Tour: Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass | Review + Interview + GiveawayLove & Other Theories by Alexis Bass
Published by Harper Teen on December 31, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
3 Stars

Love and Other Theories is a fast-paced twist on the coming-of-age novel . . . and the romantic comedy.

Aubrey and her best friends made a pact to play by the guys' rules when it comes to dating. They're hoping the rules will keep them from experiencing high school heartbreak--they don't realize that these rules could just as easily keep them from opening their hearts and minds. And when new boy Nathan Diggs moves to town, Aubrey starts to think that some rules are meant to be broken.

With equal parts bite and romance, topped off with an irresistibly engaging voice, Alexis Bass's debut novel is one you won't want to miss.

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Love & Other Theories is not your typical fluffy contemporary romance.  In fact, there is nothing typical about Love & Other Theories.  While it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, I did find myself hooked from the start and smiling when I finished it.

Aubrey and her best friends are the mean girls of the school.  They hook up with all the hottest guys, they shun girls that go against them, and they tend to get up to no good behind each others backs.  They are not girls that are easy to like and that was by far my biggest issue with Love & Other Theories.  Aubrey was a smart girl but she was really stupid when it came to her friends and boys.  As for her friends, they weren’t all the worst but Shelby was a bitch.  I didn’t understand why everyone was so under her spell.  She was so full of herself and what she did to Aubrey was so hurtful.  I was also not so impressed with Nathan.  At first I was completely in love with him, especially with Aubrey.  They were so cute together.  Then I met Trip.  Trip was a guy who got what he wanted and expected that to always be true.  However, he was also a really sweet guy who clearly cared a lot for Aubrey and would do anything for her.  By the end of the book, my heart was his and I couldn’t remember who Nathan was.  Oops.

There was a lot of terrible communication between Aubrey, her friends, and all the boys in their lives.  So much stuff could have been cleared up if they had just talked about things.  Aubrey was pretty afraid to speak out but she wasn’t the only one.  There were so many secrets surrounding all of her friendships and other relationships, including with her family.  When Aubrey finally started speaking her mind I wanted to jump for joy.  However, it took a lot of heartache for her to reach that point and I felt terrible for all of it, especially since it could have so easily been avoided.

The story itself was not all that action packed but it was entertaining.  I love books that are set right around college time.  There was a lot of focusing on getting into college, what life was going to be like in college, and learning to say goodbye to friends from high school.  While Aubrey and her friends had a weird relationship, they really did see each other as life long friends.  Leaving them behind was a hard thing for Aubrey to even contemplate.  Also, while the whole partying thing was a little overdone, it made things interesting.  Aubrey and her friends had this crazy high school experience that was similar to that of my high school.  Not necessarily me (I was a nerd) but I totally understood it because my friends partied it up like them.  The drugs and alcohol might get to some people but I found it pretty realistic.

Overall, Love & Other Theories definitely won’t be topping my favorites list but I’m glad I gave it a chance.  I found myself flipping pages as fast as I could and by the end of the book I was really attached to the characters.  That’s the mark of a good book, to me.

What others are saying about Love & Other Theories:

Once Upon a Twilight’s review: “You will go from absolutely loving it to worrying about where it’s going to take you next; to making you completely fall in love with it.”

Fic Fare’s review: “With that said, I do think the story told here was interesting and if you are looking for a book that isn’t a soft, fluffy romance, you might enjoy this one.”

The Quirky Reader’s review:  “I think fans of Katie Cotugno will immensely appreciate this gem, but if you’re  just into contemporary YA in general, then you are required to check this one out.”

Interview

Describe Love & Other Theories in 140 characters or less.

A system developed by four best friends designed to avoid heartbreak falls apart the last few months of the high school.

Do you have a favorite character from Love & Other Theories? If so, why? (I know this is like asking a mom to pick a favorite child but I had to do it!)

It is hard! Of course, I love them all—even when I don’t like them, I love them. I…um…I guess the main character, Aubrey, because I wrote a whole book around her last few months in high school. 🙂

I created a minor character just to make my cousin laugh when she read the book; so in that regard, Leila Court is another favorite.

Did you consciously decide to write for a YA audience?  If so, what made you decide to write YA?

I decided to write YA because I love that time in life, when nothing is permanent, there’s so much possibility, so much changes so quickly, and there are no notes to pull from because you’re experiencing everything for the first time.

Do you have any must haves while you are writing?

I actually don’t have must-haves for writing (though having coffee on hand is great!). I’ve trained myself to write anywhere, with anything (or nothing). I make a huge dent in my word count goals typing on my phone while waiting in line (usually for coffee, haha).

Do you have any big plans for your release day?

My release day is New Year’s Eve and I’ll be back in my hometown for the holidays, so I’ll be celebrating both the book’s release and the New Year with some of my oldest friends.

What is next for you?  More YA books?

Yup, more YA books! My next standalone contemporary YA novel, WHAT’S BROKEN BETWEEN US (HarperTeen) will be out next year.

Short answer:

Bad Boys or Good Boys?

Good Boys

Happily ever after or happily never after? 

Happily never after

Series or standalone?

Standalone

Love triangles or soulmates? 

Neither

Write at night or write during the day? 

At night

Write in silence or write with music?

With music

Print, audio or eBooks?

All of the above

Giveaways

Win a book written by one of the awesome authors who blurbed Love & Other Theories.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale | Review + GiveawayLittle White Lies by Katie Dale
Published by Delacorte Press on December 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Fans of Pretty Little Liars will be ensnared in this tale of deceit. Christian is hiding terrible secrets from his girlfriend, Lou. But Lou has told lies as well. What if their accidental meeting wasn’t an accident?

The first time Lou meets mysterious Christian, she knows he is The One. But Christian is hiding a terrible secret. Why does he clam up every time Lou asks about his past? Why doesn’t he have any family photos, and why does he dye his blond hair black? When Christian’s house goes up in flames, his tires are slashed, and he flees for his life, Lou insists on going with him. But as Christian’s secret is unveiled in front of the whole world, it seems everything he’s ever told Lou is a lie. Can what the media are saying about him really be true? Should Lou trust him? Or is she in grave danger?

But Christian isn’t the only one keeping secrets. For what if their accidental meeting was no accident at all?

picadillyblueLittle White Lies incorporated everything awesome about suspense novels and everything action packed about young adult novels and combined them to make one awesome story.  Suspense is hard for young adult but Katie Dale managed to craft a wonderful story that kept me guessing until the very end.

If you follow me on Twitter or Goodreads, you might have seen some status updates about the main character.  She annoyed me for a good portion of the book.  Her actions made no sense to me and I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t just give up.  She practically stalked this guy Christian and every time he turned her down for a date she would not take the hint.  It actually got to be a bit stalkerish (that’s totally a word.)  I was quite upset with how she was acting and I just wanted to slap some sense into her.  My feelings towards Lou changed about halfway through the book though.  Christian wasn’t the only one with secrets and once Lou’s started to come out, her behavior started to make a little more sense.  I can’t say too much without giving things away but just trust me that her behavior won’t annoy you so much once you get to a certain point.  In fact, you’ll probably start to like her a lot, just like I did.

The cast of characters in Little White Lies were a strong mix of personalities.  Lou was a little shy, quiet, smart, but with a great sense of humor.  She was a bit awkward which only made me love her more.  Her best friend, Vix, was her exact opposite.  She was outgoing, a little crazy, and pretty much the perfect balance for Lou.  Kenny was funny but there was just something about him that I didn’t love.  He always seemed a bit sketchy.  As for Christian, he was a hard person to get a read on.  He was very mysterious and sometimes a little rude.  I could understand why Lou was a bit attracted to him but I didn’t get her obsession.  He seemed like any other guy just with a few more secrets than most.

The mystery is truly what kept me reading.  It was hinted at early on in the story but I really had no clue how things would play out.  I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how everything was going to tie together.  Katie Dale did a great job with that aspect of the story.  Even if I could figure out one thing I’d be completely clueless about something else.

Overall, Little White Lies really is perfect for fans of suspense.  I look forward to reading more from Katie Dale.

What others are saying about Little White Lies:

Books and Whimsy’s review: “I also liked that Little White Lies manages to ask some important questions about family, friendship, and who we are on the surface.”

Book Passion For Life’s review: “I know many people will enjoy it – so go read it and see for yourselves – but for me, it was a little underwhelming.”

In Libris Veritas’ review: “It has a well written plot, great characters, and puts some attention on the flaws of the justice system.”

Giveaway

Two US residents will win copies of Little White Lies

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay | Review

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay | ReviewPrincess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
Published by Random House on December 9, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
5 Stars

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?Game of Thrones meets the Grimm's fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty's daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora's throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it's too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

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Princess of Thorns is the fantasy novel I’ve been looking for.  Stacey Jay took the tale of Sleeping Beauty and made it completely fresh.  I devoured this novel!

Princess Aurora is unlike any other princess I’ve read about.  She’s very self-sufficient and possibly even a little too independent.  She doesn’t trust easily because of her past.  She teams up with Niklaas to save her brother only because she can’t avoid it.  Niklaas is an extremely likable character, mainly because of his complete honesty.  Aurora is disguised as her brother when they meet and she keeps up that pretense through their relationship.  She and Niklaas form this amazing bond as friends because of that.  Their friendship and their banter is probably one of the best things about Princess of Thorns.

Aurora’s story is 100% unique.  She is not Sleeping Beauty, she is the daughter of Sleeping Beauty and her mom blessed her with fairy magic before she died.  However, the magic is both a blessing and a curse.  It makes her extremely strong and fierce in battle but it also means that she will never know the true love of a man.  The powers she’s been given make her very much a loner and it’s part of the reason she doesn’t trust easily or rely on others often.  She’s a little too stubborn for my liking at times but it made things even more awesome when she realized the error of her ways.

The world that the story is set in is very much a fantasy world.  The land is ruled by ogres and there is a prophecy stating that dark times will come at the hands of one briar-born child.  Since Aurora and her brother Jor are the only two briar-born children left, it makes things in their lives very interesting.  It’s up to Aurora and Jor to stop the prophecy from coming to pass.  That’s not exactly an easy task though since the ogre queen is determined to have them and she’s pretty much all powerful.  There truly is never a dull moment in Princess of Thorns.

Overall, I really have no way of doing justice to this book.  If you love fantasy worlds, fresh retellings, kickass females, and witty banter, definitely check this one out immediately!

What others are saying about Princess of Thorns:

Lili’s Reflections’ review: “Perfect for fantasy lovers and fairytale nerds like myself, this is a book that cannot be ignored!”

Shae Has Left The Room’s review: “As soon as I finished, I wanted to start over and read it again.”

Bibliodaze’s review: “There’s some good stuff to recommend it, but right now, the bad stuff outweighs it for me.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Blog Tour: Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe | Review + Interview + GiveawayEarth & Sky by Megan Crewe
Series: Earth & Sky #1
Published by Skyscape on October 28, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 306
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help--but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.

picadillyblueEarth & Sky is a member of a genre that I don’t often read: science fiction.  I’ve never really been interested in things to do with aliens, other worlds, and time travelling but Megan Crewe did a wonderful job with Earth & Sky.  I was intrigued from the start and couldn’t stop reading once I started.

One of the draws of Earth & Sky is that it’s not super scientific or futuristic.  It’s set in a world like ours full of people like us.  Skylar in particular is very normal, just with a special ability.  She suffers from terrible panic attacks.  For most of her life she’s tried to hide them from people and learned how to deal with them on her own.  However, Win tells her that they aren’t typical panic attacks.  They are triggered by something truly wrong in the world, something that only a few people can actually sense, Sky being one of them.  As for Win, he may be an alien but that’s not to say he’s not just like a regular guy.  He just happens to have some really big jobs on his plate, such as finding a weapon to destroy a satellite.  No big deal.

This is not the first book I’ve read by Megan Crewe and it will definitely not be my last.  Earth & Sky reaffirmed my love of her writing style.  It’s simple and easy to read making her books even more fast-paced than they already are.  Her writing style also helps keep the story a little more simple since there is a lot going on.  It would be easy to make Earth & Sky a very hard to follow story but that was not the case.

The romance in Earth & Sky was a bit lackluster.  It was hard to tell if there was something blooming between Win and Sky.  I don’t know about you guys but I’m a huge fan of romance and I actually like books less when there isn’t some steaminess.  At first I thought there might be some romance between Sky and one of her classmates but that didn’t seem to go anywhere and things could maybe go somewhere between Win and Sky in future books but there wasn’t much action this time around.  I definitely don’t think that’s a huge drawback but for me it did take away some enjoyment.

Overall, Earth & Sky is a unique science fiction story that can appeal to all readers, even ones like me who aren’t the biggest fans of sci fi.  I recommend giving this series a shot and I definitely look forward to seeing where things go in future installments.

What others are saying about Earth & Sky:

Feisty Little Woman’s review: “The time-travelling in Earth & Sky is creative and well-thought out.”

Nick’s Book Blog’s review: “Earth & Sky was an entertaining read and offered something unique in the YA scifi genre.”

megan About the author:

Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can’t look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there.

Where to find Megan online:

Website: http://www.megancrewe.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/megan.crewe
Twitter: http://twitter.com/megancrewe
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2839407.Megan_Crewe
Tumblr: http://megancrewe.tumblr.com/

 

 

Interview

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog as part of the blog tour!

Thank you! I’m glad to be here.  🙂

Describe Earth & Sky in 140 characters or less. 

Teen girl joins alien rebel on a journey through history and around the world to stop his people’s time manipulating experiments on Earth.

What made you decide to write YA?

To be honest, it wasn’t so much a decision as a realization. When I first started writing novels, I was in my teens, so I wrote about teenaged characters because that was what I knew. As I got older, I found most of my story ideas still involved teens and that I enjoyed writing about that period in people’s lives the most. It’s such an intense time, with so many firsts and issues people are often only just becoming aware of, and it’s also a period of so much change as you grapple with your identity and whether it fits who you want to be. There’s a lot to explore there as an author.

Do you have a favorite character from Earth & Sky?  If so, why?

My main characters are almost always my favorites, and I am very fond of Skylar. She’s had to deal with a lot and still manages to find the courage to take all the risks she does to protect the people she cares about, but she isn’t afraid to stand up for her own needs either.

Do you have any must-haves while writing?

As much quiet as I can get—I have trouble focusing with music or chatter around me. Wrist rests to prevent muscle strain, especially necessary because when I’m drafting I’ll be on the computer for long stretches at a time. And an outline so I know where I’m going.

Do you know how a story is going to end when you start it?  Is it easier to figure out the beginning or the ending of a book/series?

See above about outlining—I’m very much a planner, and always work out the major details before I start a story. With a series, I need to have at least a vague idea where the overall story is going to go across all of the books, though I generally don’t figure out the specifics until I’m finished each book before.

As to beginnings vs. endings… I find beginnings really hard in general. It’s tough balancing introducing your characters and their world with getting into the action quickly enough. Whereas I love bringing everything together for a grand finale. But on the other hand actually figuring out the details of the ending is usually more difficult just because there are many different elements that need to be coordinated and built-up properly, whereas at the beginning I’m just getting the ball rolling.

What is next from you?  More books in the Earth & Sky world?

There are two more books to follow Earth & Sky–The Clouded Sky and A Sky Unbroken—which will be out in spring and then fall 2015. I don’t have any further books lined up yet, but I do have a couple projects waiting for their turn to be considered and another I’m in the process of writing, and I hope to have news to share about one or more of those before too long!

Short answer:

Bad Boys or Good Boys? Good boys—I like to see heroines treated with respect.

Happily ever after or happily never after? Somewhere in between–realistically hopeful, let’s say

Series or standalone? Reading: standalone; writing: both

Love triangles or soulmates? Between the two I’d have to take love triangles, but I really prefer two-person love stories that are romantic without it having to be a destiny/forever soulmates type deal.

Write at night or write during the day? Day.

Write in silence or write with music? Silence

Print, audio or eBooks? Print for collecting; eBooks for convenience

(Sorry, I’m obviously not very good at answering shortly.  😉  )

Giveaway

One grand prize winner will receive a Kindle Paperwhite with custom EARTH & SKY cover and preloaded with the ebook, and nine others will receive a signed paperback copy of the book. All winners will also receive an EARTH & SKY swag pack including star candies in Win’s favorite Earth flavors, signed bookmark, magnet, and sticker. (Open internationally)

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Beautiful Girl by Lida James | Review

Blog Tour: Beautiful Girl by Lida James | ReviewBeautiful Girl by Lida James
Published by The Studio on October 28, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

I’ve always wanted to be beautiful, but the irony is that you can’t force it—real beauty is when you don’t have to try, it’s just there. You wake up to it, like freshly fallen snow outside your window, and it’s yours to bask in. Real beauty is for people like my roommate, Kate, who float through life.

I don’t float—I run.

Sophomore year at Dutchess College has just begun, and Nicole is still haunted by memories of her first love, Zach. As the changing leaves fall on the stately Hudson Valley campus, she takes solace in running—pushing herself to go harder, faster, to be the best. With the wind blowing through her hair, she can almost convince herself that she is beautiful, that she will find love again.

So when Nico runs, quite literally, into the maddeningly elusive Justin, she’s convinced she’s found the guy to make her forget her ex—despite the warnings of her friends and her straight-edged running partner, Luke.

But when Nico is attacked in the woods after a wild night of partying, everything changes. Suddenly, Nico begins receiving anonymous threats, and she no longer knows where to turn for help—or whether even her close friends can be trusted.

All she wants is to be one of the beautiful girls—the ones who never have to chase perfection. But in order to uncover the truth, she’ll have to face a past she had hoped to leave behind forever. She thought she could outrun the darkness, but darkness has a way of catching up...and only one boy can save her.

picadillyblueBeautiful Girl is the first book I’ve read from Paper Lantern Lit’s publishing imprint and it’s definitely set my expectations pretty high for their future books.  Lida James’ debut novel has pretty much everything readers could want: suspense, romance, mystery, and betrayal.  I was hooked from the moment I picked it up.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Nicole when I first started the book. She’s not an easy girl to like and it was hard for me to figure out if she might be a little bit crazy.  She definitely seemed like she might be a bit of an unreliable narrator.  She was paranoid and a little obsessive when it came to certain people in her life.  She was also very confused about guys.  She was a little bit of a tease and that was probably my biggest issue with her.  She had 3 or 4 guys interested in her  and it seemed like she just played them all.  I had no clue which one of the guys she was truly interested in although I knew which one I thought she should be interested in.  Henry was the only guy that seemed to be really good for Nicole.  He was sweet and charming and a little shy.  He was good for her and didn’t bring out the bad side of her like Justin or Zach did.

As for the mystery, I saw part of it from the start but there were many things that managed to surprise me throughout the course of the book.  Things kept happening and I’d expect one person to be doing them only to find out later that it was someone else.  I think Nicole’s paranoia really added to the mystery.  There were times when I was sure she was right about whoever was attacking her and other times I was sure she was just losing her mind.  It kept things interesting, that’s for sure.

The friendships in the book really did very little for me.  Nicole’s roommates were supposed to be her friends but I saw Monica more as a frenemy than anything and Kate was barely there for most of the book.  I just didn’t understand any of the draws for the friendships and I thought they were actually quite mean to each other.  They definitely had more of a relationship that involved a lot of backstabbing and jealousy.

Overall, Beautiful Girl is a thoroughly interesting read that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  It definitely fits into the new adult category since it deals a lot with sex, drugs, alcohol, and other explicit content but it’s not done for the shock factor alone.  I’d highly recommend this one for fans of suspense.

What others are saying about Beautiful Girl:

Reading Lark’s review:  “I think in the end Lida James has created a story that will remind you of the beauty of hope and new beginnings.”

Fiktshun’s review: “BEAUTIFUL GIRL is a dark and intriguing story with gorgeous writing, an array of disturbing, maddening, sympathetic, likable and detestable characters facing a number of tough issues, and a chilling and suspenseful mystery.”

LidaJames

About the author:

Lida James grew up in Brooklyn, New York and graduated cum laude from Vassar College with a BFA in English (and a lot of film credits, too). After working as a cameraperson on feature films in NYC she relocated to Los Angeles in search of mountains and waves. Once there, she wrote and sold screenplays (and snowboarded and windsurfed). She continues to enjoy living in Los Angeles with her husband and their two children—all shredders like herself—and two rescue dogs. Beautiful Girl is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter to learn more and for updates! photo © Amy Malloy

 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sublime by Christina Lauren | Review

Sublime by Christina Lauren | ReviewSublime by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon & Schuster on October 14, 2014
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

When Lucy wakes up in a frozen forest, she isn't sure why she's there, until she sees Colin.

Colin has captivated half the girls at Saint Osanna's, but no one has ever snared his fascination the way Lucy does. Even as Lucy begins to remember the details of her life–and her death–neither of them is willing to give up what they have, no matter how impossible it seems.

An adrenaline junkie, Colin begins taking himself to the brink of death, where their realities overlap–and discovers that he can physically be with Lucy. But maybe some lines shouldn't be crossed.

picadillyblueSublime, the first YA book from the duo of Christina Lauren, is a surprisingly unique ghost story that left me guessing until the very last page. I picked it up on a whim and I’m really glad that I did.

Sublime will captivate readers from the very first page.  Colin and Lucy’s story is one unlike any I have ever read.  From the synopsis, I knew that Lucy was dead but really that’s about all I knew when I started the book.  Lucy’s death and life remain a mystery for quite some time.  She can’t remember anything leading up to her awakening by the lake at Saint Osanna’s.  She only start to realize exactly how different she is when she’s drawn to Colin, as if she’s only there for him.

Lucy is an odd character.  It’s pretty obvious that she’s dead even without it being stated.  However, people can still see her and touch her.  She’s not your typical ghost.  She’s not out for vengeance or justice but she doesn’t exactly know why she is there.  She’s very mysterious and kind of hard to like at first.  She did grow on me pretty quickly though.  Colin grew on me even more quickly.  He was a really sweet boy who had a very troubled past.  At first glance he seems like just another spoiled kid at Saint Osanna’s but that ends up totally  not being the case.  He also has a very strong tie to Lucy, both as a ghost and from when she was alive.  Then there was Colin’s best friend, Jay, who was actually my favorite character in the book.  He had such a fun personality and he was a really great friend.  I would have liked a little more of him but it wasn’t really necessary to the story.

The story is slow to take off but once it does, it’s completely gripping.  Colin and Lucy are determined to find some way to be together and through trial and error, they do.  Colin is an adrenaline junkie and the closer he gets to death, the closer he gets to Lucy.  It’s all just a matter of how far he’s willing to go to be with this girl.  There’s a fine line between adventure and death.  Admittedly this story kind of made me want to smack Colin and Jay for their stupidity but it was pretty thrilling.  Also, as Colin gets in deeper with Lucy, people around him start to realize what’s going on and it finally starts to come to light why Lucy is actually there.  It was totally not what I was expecting, at all.

Overall, Sublime is an entertaining read that is definitely not like other ghost stories out there.  Sure there was a bit of instalove and some seriously bad decisions on some character’s parts but I still enjoyed it.  I’d recommend giving this one a try!

What others are saying about Sublime:

Moonlight Gleam Reviews’ review: “Overall I would give it 3 out of 5 stars simply because it felt too dragged out.”

Once Upon a Twilight’s mini-review: “Sublime was a great introduction into the YA community for Christina Lauren, the writing duo.”

The Book Nookery’s review: “Not recommended. This is a romance, and not even a believable one.”

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blog Tour: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker | Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker | Review + Excerpt + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker | Review + Excerpt + GiveawayBurying Water by K.A. Tucker
Series: Burying Water #1
Published by Atria on October 7, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

picadillyblueK.A. Tucker’s newest novel is full of mystery, suspense, drama, romance, and betrayal.  Readers will have an impossible time putting this one down once they get started.  It has some similarities to the style of her previous series, Ten Tiny Breaths, but it really does stand out.

Alex (Water) has no memory of her life.  She doesn’t even know her own name.  And don’t worry, it’s not a spoiler for readers to know who she really is.  You find that out within the first chapter or two.  However, readers don’t find out what happened to Alex or why for quite some time.  The story is told in chapters that alternate between the past and present as well as between the points-of-view of Alex and Jesse.  It’s the perfect way to tell this story although sometimes I felt like I would have learned more if Alex had been telling parts of the story rather than Jesse.  You definitely only get one perspective of every situation which makes things very interesting but also very one-sided.

Alex (Water) is not hard to like and sympathize with, even once you find out some of the things she’s done in the past.  Let me go ahead and say this: I don’t condone cheating but I had no issues with it in this book.  You’ll see why pretty quickly.  Alex is lost and confused for so long.  She knows absolutely nothing about her life and it’s hard to even imagine what that is like.  No one is looking for her and without the Welles family, she’d have no one and no place to go.  However, some good people do come into her life and they help her through her problems.  One of them is crotchety old lady Ginny Fitzgerald.  Ginny’s story broke my heart but I loved her.  She was grouchy and mean but she’s one of those people you just can’t help but come to like.  Another person that helped Alex was Jesse.  Jesse was a good guy, through and through.  He always had Alex’s best interests at heart, no matter what he did.  It also didn’t hurt that he was described as being extremely sexy and a gear head.  Nothing wrong with that!

The story is fast-paced and heart-pounding.  Even though you know what’s going to happen, it’s hard to read the events leading up to it without getting terrified for Alex and Jesse.  There are some high stakes in their relationship and those high stakes only made their relationship that much more interesting to me.  While the story does seem a bit unbelievable at times, it really comes together perfectly at the end and left me with a smile on my face.

Overall, Burying Water is another fabulous new adult novel from K.A. Tucker.  It’s by far one of the best new adult books I’ve read and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.

P.S. I’m not a fan of the name Water.  I just could not get used to it.  It seemed a bit hippy like to me.

What others are saying about Burying Water:

Itching For Books’ review: “Burying Water has an intriguing plot, great writing, and interesting characters (even the side ones offered something significant), but I feel like there was something missing for me.”

Love Between The Sheets’ review: “Between the storyline and the characters, Ms. Tucker painted a vivid picture that resulted in an intimate, intense, and intriguing tale of what one might do if given the chance to do it all over again, and ultimately what might be lost along the way.”

Four Brits and a Book’s review: “Page after page, chapter after chapter, I was lapping up the words.”

Excerpt

Burying Water – by K.A. Tucker

Jane Doe

Now

 

Kind fingers probe something unseen on my scalp and then, with the sound of the door clicking shut, the doctor asks, “How about we start with the basic questions. Can you please give me your name?”

I open my mouth to answer. It’s such a simple question. Everyone has a name. I have a name. And yet . . . “I don’t . . . I don’t know,” I stammer. How do I not know what my name is? I’m sure it’s the same name I’ve had all my life.

My life.

What do I remember about my life? Shouldn’t something about it be registering?

A wave of panic surges through me and the EKG’s telltale beep increases its cadence. Why can’t I seem to recall a single scrap of my life?

Not a face, not a name, not a childhood pet.

Nothing.

Dr. Alwood stops what she’s doing to meet my gaze. “You’ve had a significant head injury. Just try to relax.” Her words come slow and steady. “I’ll tell you what I know. Maybe that will jog your memory. Okay? Just take a few breaths first.” She’s quick to add, “Not too deep.”

I do as instructed, watching my chest lift and fall beneath my blue-and-white checkered gown, cringing with a sharp twinge of pain on my right side with each inhale. Finally, that incessant beeping begins to slow.

I turn my attention back to her. Waiting.

“You were found in the parking lot of an abandoned building nine days ago,” Dr. Alwood begins.

I’ve been here for nine days?

“You were brought into the emergency room by ambulance with extensive, life-threatening trauma to your body. Your injuries were consistent with a physical assault. You had several fractures—to your ribs, your left leg, your right arm, your skull. Your right lung collapsed. You required surgery for a hematoma, a ruptured spleen, and lacerations to . . .” Her calm voice drifts off into obscurity as she recites a laundry list of brutality that can’t possibly have my name at the top of it. “It will take some time to recover from all of these injuries. Do you feel any tightness in your chest now, when you inhale?”

I swallow the rising lump in my throat, not sure how to answer. I’m certainly having difficulty breathing, but I think it has more to do with panic than anything else.

“No,” I finally offer. “I think I’m okay.”

“Good.” She gingerly peels back pieces of gauze from my face—some over the bridge of my nose and another piece running along the right side of my face, from my temple all the way down to my chin. By the slight nod of approval, I’m guessing she’s happy with whatever is beneath. “And how is the air flow through your nose? Any stuffiness?”

I test my nostrils out. “A little.”

She stops her inspection to scribble something on the chart that’s sitting on the side table. “You were very fortunate that Dr. Gonzalez was in Bend on a ski trip. He’s one of the leading plastic surgeons in the country and a very good friend of mine. When I saw you come in, I called him right away. He offered us his skill, pro bono.”

A part of me knows that I should be concerned that I needed a plastic surgeon for my face, and yet I’m more concerned with the fact that I can’t even imagine what that face looks like.

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About the author:

Born in small-town Ontario, K.A. Tucker published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. She is a voracious reader, and currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.

 

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Giveaway

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