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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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

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Boxers & Saints (Boxers & Saints #1-2) by Gene Luen Yang | Review

Boxers & Saints (Boxers & Saints #1-2) by Gene Luen Yang | ReviewBoxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang
Published by First Second Books on September 10, 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 512
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

In two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grass-roots rebellion is successful.

But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity.

Boxers & Saints is one of the most ambitious graphic novels First Second has ever published. It offers a penetrating insight into not only one of the most controversial episodes of modern Chinese history, but into the very core of our human nature. Gene Luen Yang is rightly called a master of the comics form, and this book will cement that reputation.

picadillyblueGraphic novels are quickly becoming some of my favorite things to read.  They tell stories so beautifully while also being really fast reads.  Boxers & Saints may be two books that total 512 pages but I flew through them both.

Boxers tells the story of Little Bao, a young Chinese man who is tired of the Christians coming through China, taking their food and land with no repercussions.  Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Red Lantern, Little Bao uses his skill in kung fu to fight the Christians.  He learns to summon the ancient Gods and channel their powers against the Christians and their followers.  He creates the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fist along with his brothers and other men from his village.  They go through China, taking out Christians along the way and picking up more men for their cause.

Saints tells the story of Four-Girl (Vibiana) who is taken in by the notions of Christianity and decides to become a follower of the faith.  She takes up residence in a compound full of other Christians, thinking she has finally found a good home where she will be accepted and loved.  However, at the time, the Boxer Rebellion is in full swing and closing in on Vibiana and her new friends.

This is one series that you really do need to read together.  You truly only get half of the story in each book.  Once you read the first one though, you’ll be intrigued enough to check out the second one.  The stories are amazingly told through beautiful (extremely graphic) illustrations.  I knew absolutely nothing about the Boxer Rebellion before reading Boxers & Saints and I truly felt like I learned a lot from these books.  Gene Luen Yang did a great job keeping both books relatively unbiased and presenting readers with both sides of the story.  My heart truly hurt for both Little Bae and Vibiana for their circumstances.  It’s unusual for a story to be told like this one where the villain of one book is the hero of the other and vice versa.

Overall, Boxers & Saints is great for long-time fans of graphic novels or for readers looking for a good place to start.  It’s an extremely interesting tale of war, family, and love of country.

What others are saying about Boxers & Saints:

Alice Marvels’ review: “Boxers & Saints are two thought-provoking reads that overlap and intersect beautifully in unforgettable, emotional ways.”

Good Ok Bad’s review: “To this end, Yang has intentionally created a work designed to interact with our sense of self by pushing us to understand the human story from multiple vantage points.”

YAdult Review’s review: ” I also give a great hand clap to Yang because the drawings and the story had me intrigued throughout Boxers.”

 

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.

 

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Novel Goodreads ** Author Goodreads ** YouTube ** Pinterest ** Instagram

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blog Tour: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios | Review + Interview + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios | Review + Interview + GiveawayExquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Series: Dark Caravan Cycle #1
Published by Harper Teen on October 7, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 480
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

picadillyblue

Heather Demetrios’ sophomore novel has been receiving mixed reviews all across the board. It was hard for me to set expectations going in because the bloggers I usually agree with, were all over the place. That being the case, I went into Exquisite Captive with the expectations that I would enjoy the novel strictly because I enjoyed Heather Demetrios’ debut novel, Something Real, and because I’ve been enjoying fantasy novels lately. My expectations were definitely met.

The uniqueness of Exquisite Captive greatly appealed to me. I’ve only read one book about jinni’s in the past and it was nothing like Exquisite Captive. I truly have nothing I could compare this to that might tell you guys what to expect. That’s far from being a bad thing though. Just know, you are not getting your standard fantasy novel when you go into this one. I loved the Jinni history and caste system and look forward to an expansion of that in the following books in the series.

While I didn’t love the love interests, the relationships definitely intrigued me. Nalia’s relationship with Malek definitely reminded me a bit of the Juliette-Warner thing going on. He’s not a good guy and I don’t see him ever being redeemed but I think he will appeal to some readers for that whole Warner-like aspect. Raif, on the other hand, was more my kind of guy. I didn’t trust him at first but he grew on me.

The aspect of this book that’s probably going to be hardest for some people to get by is how slow the first half is. It’s the first in a new fantasy series so you have to expect world-building and you can’t expect that to be rushed. Just know that it is worth it if you make it past that first part.

Overall, Heather Demetrios has impressed me once again. I highly suggest you do what I did and go into this one kind of blind and just judge for yourself.

What others are saying about Exquisite Captive:

Novel Novice’s review: “Dark and seductive, Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios will have you rethinking wishes — and every genie story you’ve ever heard, whether it’s that lovable blue guy in Aladdin or Barbara Eden in “I Dream of Jeannie.”

Mostly YA Book Obsessed’s review: “I was fascinated by the beautiful world that Demetrios’ created!”

Escapism’s review: “There was so much potential but it never rose to it.”

New 2 Author Photo Macmillan 2015About the author:

When she’s not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher’s Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of the upcoming EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles and what Kirkus called in its starred review “an intoxicating, richly realized realm of magic, politics, spirituality and history” (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN CYCLE). She is also the author of the upcoming I’ll Meet You There (Winter 2015). I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for youth of limited economic means. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). Find out more about Heather and her other books at www.heatherdemetrios.com and www.darkcaravancycle.com

Interview!

First off, thanks so much for doing this interview. I adored Something Real and I can’t wait to read Exquisite Captive!

Yay! It makes me so happy that readers who liked my contemporary YA are also excited about checking out a story about a jinni enslaved in Hollywood.

Describe Exquisite Captive in 140 characters or less!

Enslaved jinni / empress-in-hiding seeks infuriatingly attractive enemy to free her from dangerous master. Must know how to steal bottles.

How was it different for you, going from a contemporary novel to a fantasy novel? Was the writing process any different?

I work on them at the same time, so although the novels themselves are very different for readers, it’s all part of the daily landscape to me. The essentials are the same: creating a world the reader will want to spend time in and characters that will find a place in their heart. The writing process is pretty much the same, although with my fantasy there are a lot more outside elements I use: physical storyboarding, writing to music, using scent in my office to bring the world to life…things like that.

What made you decide to write about jinni? It’s definitely not something that’s done a lot!

The idea came from a prompt in a writing class, but I stuck with it because nobody else was exploring these fascinating mythological creatures. The more research I did, the more I began to see the enormous potential for giving the jinn the treatment they deserve in the West. This isn’t Disney’s Aladdin or I Dream of Jeannie. I really tried to delve into the dark side of Arabic lore here.

Do you have any must-haves while writing?

Something to drink—coffee or sparkling water, usually. A heating pad—sitting all day really wrecks you. My Macbook Air and an aesthetically inspiring environment, which is usually my office or one of the coffeehouses in Brooklyn.

Do you have any plans for your release day?

My release day is going to be totally baller because it’s the first day of the Epic Reads tour! I’ll be in Princeton, NJ on my pub day day—I can’t wait! My launch party is the day before at Books of Wonder in Manhattan and we’re going to have a sitar player and henna artist there. I want readers to have a little taste of my jinn world.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on now? I know there are more books in the Dark Caravan Cycle but anything else?

My next contemporary YA comes out in Feb. 2015. It’s called I’ll Meet You There and it’s a love story about a young Marine who just lost his leg in Afghanistan and a girl he works with at a quirky roadside motel. It’s my heart in paper and ink. I can’t wait for it to come out!

Short answer:
Bad Boys or Good Boys? I prefer bad boys next door. ☺

Happily ever after or happily never after? I’m a hopeless romantic of the Stephanie Perkins school.

Series or standalone? Series for fantasy, standalone for everything else. With fantasy, you need more time to really see this whole world the author is creating and you want to have enough time to spend with the large cast of characters. But I can’t reiterate enough that every book in a series needs to stand alone in terms of being a satisfying read with its own plot and character arcs. No filler!

Love triangles or soulmates? Some people might be worried that Exquisite Captive has a love triangle – it doesn’t. Three people does no always a love triangle make. I get pretty tired of the love triangle, but when it’s done well, I can’t resist its pull. Triangle or no, I prefer seeing soulmates who figure out they’re meant to be by novel’s end, but don’t know they’re meant to be at novel’s beginning.

Write at night or write during the day? I feel very lucky that I get to write full time. Because of that, I try to get most of my work done before my PIC (partner in crime) gets home from work. But it’s art – you can’t really confine it to one part of the day.

Write in silence or write with music? It depends on the book. I write the Dark Caravan Cycle to sitar and Middle Eastern music because that’s just what feels right and keeps me in the world. I usually write in silence, but have a playlist that inspires me for when I’m taking breaks.

Print, audio or eBooks? Print. Ain’t nothin’ like the real deal.

Giveaway!

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October 2nd:
Ex Libris REVIEW
Bookish REVIEW + DREAM CAST

October 3rd:
Fiktshun REVIEW + THIS OR THAT
Imagine a World REVIEW

October 4th:
Two Chicks On Books GUEST POST
Books a la Mode REVIEW

October 5th:
Fire and Ice REVIEW + MUSIC PLAYLIST
Me, My Shelf and I SPOTLIGHT

October 6th:
Novel Novice REVIEW
Addicted Readers REVIEW

October 7th:
Such A Novel Idea REVIEW + 10 RANDOM THINGS
Katie’s Book Blog REVIEW + AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Forever Young Adult – CHRACTHER INTERVIEW

October 8th:
I Heart YA Fiction REVIEW
Wholly Books REVIEW + WHAT’S ON HEATHER’S DESK

October 9th:
Once Upon A Twilight REVIEW
Crossroad Reviews REVIEW

October 10th:
Mundie Moms REVIEW + EXCERPT
Curling Up With A Good Book REVIEW

October 11th:
Swoony Boys Podcast REVIEW + A DAY IN THE LIFE OF HEATHER
Book Lovers Life REVIEW

October 12th:
A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW + TENS LIST
CBY Book Club – EXCERPT

Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2) by Ann Aguirre | Review + GiveawayAs Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre
Series: 2B Trilogy #2
Published by Harlequin HQN on September 30, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. There are the justifications she gives to everyone else—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. And then there’s the reason Lauren can’t admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend’s older brother.

Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He can’t pinpoint exactly what’s missing until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. But he’s the guy that women love and leave—not the one who makes them think of forever.

Though she’s terrified of opening up, Lauren’s ready to take that chance. Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.

picadillyblueAs Long As You Love Me, the second book in the 2B trilogy, cemented my love for Ann Aguirre’s new adult books.  I enjoyed I Want It That Way but it seems like nothing compared to my love for As Long As You Love Me.

Rob and Lauren stole my heart from the very first page.  I really connected with both of the characters.  Rob is a very attractive but not so smart guy.  He’s always been looked at as the dumb jock, not just by outsiders but by his whole family.    His confidence is nonexistent and he sees himself going nowhere in life.  Lauren is really one of the only people who sees potential in him.  She is just as messed up as he is though, just in different ways.  She has severe social anxiety and it has practically crippled her.  She has moved back home from college and Rob is one of the only people in town for her to hang out with.  What starts as a sweet friendship quickly develops into something more and the two of them bring out the best in each other.  However, things are never smooth sailing so they face many trials, making you wonder if these two are destined for a happy ending or better off on their own.

Rob and Lauren’s flaws are what connected me to them because I could so easily relate to them.  Ann Aguirre created characters that readers will easily be able to understand and sympathize with.  It doesn’t hurt that Rob is also a dream guy.  Lauren’s not too bad herself! She’s got a fabulous sense of humor and the banter between the two of them really just made me smile.  I really liked that their relationship was far from perfect but they worked through their issues together.  They didn’t keep anything from each other.  If Rob did something that bothered Lauren, she let him know, and vice versa.  They were very open about things and it was really refreshing.  For once I didn’t want to reach into the book and knock some sense into the characters.

The story is far from action-packed but it’s still completely unputdownable.  Rob and Lauren are enough to hook readers.  I just wanted to know if they’d get their happy ending and if so, how everything would work out.  It didn’t hurt that there were cameos from the characters of I Want It That Way.  There was also just enough drama to keep things interesting.  Things were far from perfect in Sharon, Nebraska and the honesty of the small town setting really added to how much I loved As Long As You Love Me.

Overall, As Long As You Love Me is a wonderful new adult novel that I think fans of the genre will adore.  It’s a sweet contemporary story that will leave you with a smile on your face!

What others are saying about As Long As You Love Me:

Fic Fare’s review: “Overall, this series is a wonderful addition to the new adult genre – not as heavy as some of the books you’ll find in this genre, but I really like that we’re getting some that aren’t all angst, angst, angst.”

Nomi’s Paranormal Palace’s review: “Although I liked the first book, As Long As You Love Me is definitely my favourite in the series so far.”

Closet Geeks and Slow Mo’s review: “So I got to admit, when I finished. I did sigh happily.”

Ann Aguirre

 About the author:

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton | Review + Giveaway

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton | Review + GiveawayAdrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux on September 23, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

When a daredevil teen pushes herself too far, she must choose between two boys: the one who wants to keep her safe, and the one who dares her to return to her old self.

Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a family of risk takers and is an avid thrill-seeker herself, until the day she splinters her ankle in a terrible fall. Her whole life goes from mountain biking and rock climbing to sitting at home and attending group sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center that her hippie mother found. The boy who witnessed Dyna’s accident believes her injury is a wakeup call and he encourages her mild new lifestyle, but a young Afghanistan War veteran she meets at the healing center pushes her to start taking chances again. Forced to face the consequences of her daredevil impulses, Dyna finds herself in danger of risking the one thing she’s always treated with caution—her heart.

picadillyblueBefore reading Adrenaline Crush, I hadn’t heard much about it but what I had heard wasn’t the greatest.  I went in with low expectations and the book definitely surpassed them.  I found myself really enjoying Adrenaline Crush and I powered through this book!

Dyna isn’t an easy character to like for a while.  She’s fearless, at first, and totally willing to go after whatever she wants.  However, after her accident, she’s scared of all the things she used to love and she thinks safe is the best way to go.  Her new boyfriend, Jay, totally embodies her new philosophy of taking things safe.  He’s sweet and kind and pretty corny.  He had no flaws and that in itself was totally a flaw for me.  As for being fearless, Dyna doesn’t see her ever being that way again.  That changes when she joins the Ulyssess center for physical therapy and meets Pierce.  Pierce and the rest of the group force Dyna to realize that maybe being safe isn’t the best way to live the rest of her life.  Pierce definitely had some flaws and I loved that about him.  He was strong but could be volatile.  He brought out the best and the worst in Dyna.

Dyna’s family was one of my favorite things about Adrenaline Crush.  Her parents are originally introduced as two people who don’t pay much attention to their kids but I did not see them that way at all.  When Dyna was in her accident, they would not leave her alone.  They were super overprotective but they were awesome.  Her dad’s protective attitude towards Jay was so funny.  As for Dyna’s older brother, Harley, he cracked me up.  He was a total stoner, going nowhere, but I thought he was adorable.  They had a very strong family and I loved seeing that.

The story is super fast-paced.  The book itself is only around 190 pages and it flies by.  I seriously sat down, started this one, and couldn’t put it down until I was done.  I wanted to know what Dyna would choose and how the other Ulysses center patients would overcome their issues.

Overall, Adrenaline Crush is a really cute story with a little bit of a deeper story.  I will definitely be checking out more from this author.

What others are saying about Adrenaline Crush:

Lili’s Reflections’ review: “If you enjoy characters with haunted pasts, a love triangle done right, incredibly strong heroines, and a family dynamic that is absolutely to die for, I highly recommend this book.”

Rather Be Reading’s review: “All in all, the book kept me interested and was definitely enjoyable, even if it won’t be a forever favorite.”

Books Are Vital’s review: “Adrenaline Crush definitely lives up to its name.”

Giveaway!

Thanks to the wonderful people at Macmillan, I have a copy of Adrenaline Crush to giveaway to one US resident.  Just fill out the Rafflecopter!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blog Tour: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper | Review + Giveaway

Blog Tour: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper | Review + GiveawaySalt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
Published by Little Brown on September 23, 2014
Genres: Historical Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: BEA, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

A sweeping historical romance about a witch who foresees her own murder--and the one boy who can help change her future.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island's whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she's to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.

Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane--a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for.

picadillyblueSalt & Storm, Kendall Kulper’s debut novel, is truly unlike anything I’ve read.  It’s historical fantasy brimming with witches, magic, curses, romance, and mystery.  I couldn’t put it down!

Salt & Storm starts off very slowly.  Don’t let that stop you from continuing with the story though.  The writing is heavy, very reminiscent of other historical fantasy novels.  That’s not to say that it’s not gorgeous though because it definitely is.  I remember the style of writing being pitched as similar to Laini Taylor’s and I definitely saw that comparison from the start.  Kendall Kulper does have a style all her own though that readers will get used to quickly and come to love over the course of the book.

The story itself is fascinating.  I’ve always been a fan of stories about witches and Salt & Storm is going to be added to my list of recommendations when it comes to those types of books.  These aren’t your typical witches though.  The Roe witches each have very distinct abilities.  Avery’s grandma’s magic focuses on emotions, Avery’s mom’s magic also focused on emotions but specifically those of love and affection, and Avery’s own gift was to be able to interpret dreams, although sometimes it seemed more like a curse.  Also, the witches were held in very high esteem on the island.  Sure, people were intimidated by them but they also sought them out for protection and aid.

The romance was very much a slow burn type of romance, my absolute favorite.  There were times at first when I feared it would veer into instalove territory but that was not the case.  It was more that Avery and Tane had an instant attraction as well as a kind of magical pull.  Tane was good for Avery.  He opened her eyes to how sheltered she was and gave her a new way of looking at life.  She really changed as a person as she got closer to Tane and he made her a lot more likable in my eyes.

Overall, Salt & Storm won’t be for everyone, that’s for sure, but I highly recommend it.  It’s a captivating story that may take longer to read than other books but it’s worth it!

What others are saying about Salt & Storm:

Love Is Not A Triangle’s review: “I enjoyed the history in Salt & Storm and the book overall.”

Good Books & Good Wine’s review: “Salt & Storm made me feel heavy and weighted down and I am totally okay with that.”

Maji Bookshelf’s review: “Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book and I was overall disappointed in everything about it, from the plot, character development, to the romance.”

Kulper_Headshot_Small2
About the author:

Kendall Kulper writes historical fiction with a fantasy twist for teen readers and knows more about nineteenth century whaling than she ever imagined. Her debut YA novel, SALT & STORM will be published by Little, Brown September 23, 2014. She graduated from Harvard University with a degree in history and literature in 2008 and spent several years as a journalist before deciding to write full-time. She grew up in the wilds of New Jersey and now lives in Boston with her husband and chronically-anxious Australian Shepherd mix, Abby.

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Giveaway

2 winners will receive hardcover copies of Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper.  US only!

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

Week One:

9/15/2014- Novel Novice– Interview

9/15/2014- The Infinite To-Read Shelf– Review

9/16/2014– All Things Urban Fantasy– Guest Post

9/16/2014– No BS Book Reviews– Review

9/17/2014– Such a Novel Idea– Interview

9/17/2014– Katie’s Book Blog– Review

9/18/2014– IceyBooks– Interview

9/18/2014– Reading YA Rocks– Excerpt

9/19/2014– Wishful Endings– Guest Post

9/19/2014– Casual Readers– Review

 

Week Two:

9/22/2014– Supernatural Snark Interview

9/22/2014– About to Read– Review

9/23/2014– The Cover Contessa– Guest Post

9/23/2014– Imaginary Reads Review

9/24/2014– Fire and Ice– Guest Post

9/24/2014– Once Upon a Twilight– Review

9/25/2014– Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Interview

9/25/2014– The Best Books Ever– Review

9/26/2014– Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

9/26/2014– Tynga’s Reviews– Review

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley | Review

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley | ReviewRites of Passage by Joy Hensley
Published by Harper Teen on September 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
4 Stars

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty...no matter how much she wants him.
As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

picadillyblue

Rites of Passage is a strong debut novel from Joy Hensley.  I was seriously impressed by this contemporary novel and I’m already looking forward to whatever she writes next.

Rites of Passage combines a few of my favorite things: strong females, forbidden romance, and a school setting.  And it just so happens that all three of these things are done well.  Sam is one seriously kick -ass female.  She knows it’s going to be tough being one of the first female students at Denmark Military Academy but she doesn’t let that stop her.  She’s never backed down from a dare and this is not going to be the first time she does.  She is determined to honor her brother’s memory by making it through the first year and paving the way for future generations of young women.  She is severely hazed, to the point of injury.  She’s looked down upon by almost everyone, including her older brother.  To top it all off, she has no clue who to trust seeing as there is a secret society determined to get her and all the other girls to leave.   None of that stops her though.  She is smart, funny, kind, and one tough cookie.  She’s the kind of heroine girls can definitely look up to.

The forbidden romance aspect was pretty steamy.  Sam and her cadet drill sergeant have a lot in common and he’s one of the few people at the school who treats her just like anyone else.  He doesn’t look down on her because she’s a female and he doesn’t make any special concessions because she’s a female.  To him, she’s just another person, one that he is attracted to though.  The attraction between them is definitely made clear at the beginning of the book but it takes time to build and nothing happens for quite some time.  Even after things are more out in the open, Rites of Passage really isn’t a romance centered novel.  Sure there are some steamy and some super sweet scenes between Sam and Drill but it’s not a focal point.  It was well done.

The school setting was awesome.  Rites of Passage is a lot like any other boarding school novel except that it’s set at a military academy where things are crazy strict.  To be honest, while I was reading I kept picturing the set of the Disney Channel Original Movie Cadet Kelly.  I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about, with Hilary Duff.  Scenes from that movie kept popping into my head while reading Rites of Passage and that was not a bad thing.  Denmark Military Academy was a really well-developed school setting that I could easily picture in my head.

The story is completely pulse-pounding.  I read Rites of Passage in one sitting because I was dying to know what was going to happen.  You won’t want to put this one down once you start it.  The ending was a little abrupt though and I was left with a few questions that I would love to have answered, maybe even in a second book.  While I don’t think Rites of Passage necessarily needs a sequel, I’d greatly enjoy one.

Overall, Rites of Passage is a fabulous debut and a wonderful contemporary novel.  I can’t wait to see what Joy Hensley has planned next!

What others are saying about Rites of Passage:

Jenuine Cupcakes’ review: “Sam McKenna is the perfect blend of fierce determination, vulnerability and feminine strength.”

The Bookish Owl’s review: “Rites of Passage, without a doubt, is a phenomenal debut.”

Love is not a Triangle’s review: “I stayed up until 1:30 am finishing Rites of Passage because I couldn’t go to bed until I got to the end.”