Saturday, 19 April 2014

20 Questions~With Kelley Armstrong!


This is a brand new feature for the blog! This is where I ask publishing professionals (authors, marketers, and bloggers) some awesome questions!

Today I am happy to have Kelley Armstrong on the blog! She is the author of Sea of Shadows, a book I absolutely loved myself, check out my review here. Without further ado, here is Kelley!

1. Explain what part of the Publishing world you are a part of (ie. Publisher, Author, Blogger etc.)

I’m the author of the Cainsville modern gothic series and the Age of Legends YA fantasy trilogy. Past works include Otherworld urban fantasy series, the Darkest Powers & Darkness Rising teen paranormal trilogies and the Nadia Stafford crime trilogy, I also co-write the Blackwell Pages middle-grade fantasy trilogy as K.L. Armstrong with M.A. (Melissa) Marr.


2. Who is your favourite author of all time, and why?

My favourite writer changes all the time, but the one who was my favourite for the longest length of time is Stephen King--for his ability to make the supernatural seem natural. I've been reading him since high school.


3. Who would you chose to play you in the movie depicting your life?

Some twenty-year-old gorgeous starlet who looks nothing like me, because that's probably the only way you're going to get people to watch a movie about my life!


4. What was/is your favourite candy or snack from your childhood?

Chocolate chip cookies.


5. Who is your favorite fictional character, and why?

I always go with Anne from Anne of Green Gables, because she was the first character I could really relate to. Until that point, most of what I read either had male leads or “perfect” girls. She was strong but flawed.


6. Do you have a TV show that is your guilty pleasure? If so which one is it?
Probably CSI. After so many years of following a formula, it’s incredibly repetitive, but it’s mental comfort food—if I’m tired, I can just watch it and shut off my brain and enjoy the mystery.


7. Do you have a bucket list? If she what is one item on that list?

I don’t have one. Sorry!


8. Are you a Mac or PC

I think like most people I would say “Mac.” That old ad was genius in appealing to our need for individuality. Few people want to be seen as just a face in the crowd. We like to think we’re unique and quirky, so we identify more with the Mac guy in the ad.


9. Do you have a favourite fictional couple?

I have lots, but I’ll go with Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson from Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series.


10. What is your most anticipated movie you cannot wait to see, and why?

I’m a huge movie buff, but I don’t hotly anticipate new releases. It’s more like “Oh, look, there’s a movie out I wanted to see. Let’s do that at some point.”


11. What season is your favourite, and why?

It’s a toss up between spring and fall. I’ll go with fall because it’s less muddy and rainy.


12. If you could do any profession, other than your own for a day, which would it be and why?

Any profession at all? Lion tamer. But, yeah, I’d need some training. And, preferably, a toothless lion. As for why…well, I figure it’d be just about my only chance to ever do that, and if I get a chance at any experience, I’ll go for an extreme one!


13. Who was your first ever concert?
Raffi J


14. Where is your favourite reading spot, and why?

Any recliner, which is also where I write. I have about 4 of them in my house.


15. Did you have a nickname as a child? If she what was it?

Nope, I was nickname-free.


16. What posters did you hang on your wall when you were younger?
Animals. I don’t recall ever having rock stars or actors on my walls. It was always posters of animals.


17. What is your favourite genre to read, and why?

I read a lot of genres, but my favourite is crime thrillers.


18. If you could describe yourself as a potato chip flavour, why would it be and why?

Let’s go with salt and vinegar. It’s suitably tart :)


19. Do you agree with the notion that over time, ebooks will eliminate print books?

Things are clearly changing, but I don’t agree with the doom-and-gloom hand-
wringing I see and hear. I hate to see Borders go. Competition is good for the business. My hope is that it will be seen by others—chains and independents—as a sign that these changing times require changes in the book-business, rather than being seen a death omen for all.


20. What book are you most looking forward to reading this year?

I’m as bad with this as I am with movies. I love to read, but it’s more a case of seeing that something I want is available and buying it, rather than knowing when one comes out and waiting for it. Which is the wrong thing for a writer to say!

About Kelley


I’ve been telling stories since before I could write. My earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, mine would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to my teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make me produce “normal” stories failed. Today, I continue to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in my basement writing dungeon.

 Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr| Website

About Sea of Shadows

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.


To purchase Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong
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Friday, 18 April 2014

[eARC Review] The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith


Title: The Geography of You and Me
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Poppy
Source: eARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review


Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads







Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.



I read my first Jennifer E. Smith book last year and I loved it because the romance was flirty and fun, and the writing was very much in the same boat as the romance. I loved that the overall story was not too serious and that I could smile through the entire book. So when I saw that she was writing another book I knew I wanted to read it. Sadly the more I read into this book the more I didn't like it.

When I write review, especially negative ones I do not like to trash a book, I do not think its right in terms of being a professional Blogger. I know how much time and effort goes into a book in every aspect from the author to the publisher and I will never bash a book. but that being said, I do have the right to dislike a book and explain why.

That being said, I will start off by highlighting what I did like about the book. I really enjoyed the voice in this book. I loved that it was told in two POVs, one male and one female that way we get more than one perspective on the same story. I also liked that is was different than many other YA novels out there because the main characters spend most of the time apart from each other. That was very refreshing for me. But sadly that is where my likes end.

I wanted so much more than what I got, I wanted these characters to have more chemistry, to have a better relationship, I wanted to have more details. The whole concept of this story was that these characters meet on an elevator when the city of New York is under a blackout. Then they move away from each other and say they will keep in touch. One my email and the other by postcard. But we never really saw any correspondence. They hardly talked and when they did it only said "wish you were here." I wanted way more than that to believe that these teenagers actually started to like each other.

I very mush disliked the secondary characters, they did not seems to move the plot forward at all, they each found new loves, but for some reason I could care less about them, they had no impact on the story itself. I felt like they were there to just show that the characters moved on, I never really believed in these characters. And to be honest I wanted more of a traditional love story. I kept waiting and waiting for these characters to get together and every time I was disappointed.


Overall I wanted way more than I got from this book. I was hoping for something more traditional in the love department, but I will say that this book has not deterred me from reading more from Jennifer E. Smith, she will always be my go to author for great flirty romances.
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Thursday, 17 April 2014

[eARC Review] The House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple


Title: House of Ivy & Sorrow
Author: Natalie Whipple
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Paranormal, Witches
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: eARC received from publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads







Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.


Witches. Honestly that was all that needed to be said about this book for me to want to dig in. I love everything to do with this subject, I have been obsessed with the Salem witch trials for years, so this book was high on my list of books to read in 2014.

What I think i liked the most about this book was the family aspect. Family was a very large part of the culture of this book, and that is something that is not addressed in many YA novels, especially ones that have a paranormal edge. And it was not only blood family that is the highlight, it is also friends as well. Friendships have always been very popular in YA, in any genre, but I felt that in this book Natalie Whipple did something different, she made them a part of the family (when you read you will get why) and that inclusion just made the friendships stronger and more fun to read.

The more I read of this book the more I loved it, and once I finished the story I realized that this could be a series of books, it has that potential and I loved this because at this point I have no idea whats in store for this book, but I also loved that this book could stand om its own. That is something that you do not normally see in YA paranormal. They are usually trilogies, or series in general and it was refreshing to read a book that was complete in itself and could be read on its own.

There were a few things that were not my favorite, and one of those things was the romance. I am a sucker for a good boyfriend, but I found that the one in this book was very intense very fast and to me that was not the most believable relationship. I honestly would have preferred if the story focused solely on the female friendships and the family relationships more than the romantic one.

I also found that the end of the story was very fast and the conflict was resolved too quickly. I wanted more ramifications to all the characters, and I didn't get that. I found that it was tied in a neat little bow at the end and to me that didn't seem plausible after all the things that happened throughout the book.

This book was gory and downright gross at times and I loved that, but I do wish that there was more of it because I found that fascinating. It could have been a bit darker at times but overall I loved it! Cannot what to see what Natalie writes next!
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

[ARC Review] Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Title: Don't Look Back
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads







Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all-popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend.

Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her-even if the old Sam treated him like trash.

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory-someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?



I have been obsessed with Jennifer L. Armentrout and her book since I read her entire Lux series in 2 days. I think he writing is so refreshing and her stories keep the reader on the edge of their seat the entire time. And once I saw that she was writing a standalone mystery YA i knew I had to read it ASAP! And I am happy to say I was not disappointed!

There are certain tropes that happen in mysteries, certainly in YA, and one of those tropes is amnesia. Amnesia had been done a lot on mysteries in the YA genre but honestly for me it never gets old. I think its a great way for the reader to connect with the character, especially if they are a different kind of person during the amnesia then they were before. And that is the case in this story.

I loved that Samantha was an unreliable narrator because she had no idea what happened, who she was and what her life was life before the accident. This was a great way to get the reader to connect with her because we feel bad that she cant remember her life, and especially when she meets het friends and family and realizes that they are not the best of friends she thought they were. Sam changed throughout the course of the book and I loved that. She began to see her friends and family in a different light and that realization was very interesting for me because you want Sam to be a better person than she was before the accident, because according to her friends she was just as bad as they were.

The mystery element was just that, a mystery. I had an inkling on who the bad guy was, and I will say that I was right but honestly I was more interested in Sam as a character then figuring out who did it before the reveal. Obviously I wanted to know who it was, but I wasn't looking for clues everywhere because I more invested in Sam and what her character was going through. I will also admit that I threw this book against my bedroom wall at one point in the book because SERIOUSLY!

There is a lovely love story in this book, and Jennifer is know for creating amazing book boyfriends, and this book is no different. Carson was a great guy in this book, he was sweet, attentive and honest just plain amazing to Sam. Their growing relationship and affection for each other was great to read and I really wish this was a series of book just so I can have more CARSON!

If you love great characters that are witty and sarcastic, a great mystery and a great book boyfriend then please pick up this book. Jennifer is a genius in this genre and I serioulsy cannot wait to see what else she writes in the future!
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

[Blog Tour] Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman




Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author: Anne Blankman
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog #1
Genre: YA Historical, Mystery
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: eARC received at part of a Blog Tour in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Apple | TBD | Goodreads








In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.
Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.
And Gretchen follows his every command.
Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.
As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?



I love history, and especially for some reason, history of WWII, so when I read the synopsis of Prisoner of Night and Fog I knew I wanted to read it, and I am so glad that I did because I loved this book for many reasons, and one of those reasons was the history, but another reason were the characters, and not just the Main Character, but the secondary characters as well.

This book in one way about Hitler and his life before he became the face of Germany, and on the other hand it is about Gretchen and her journey through her grief and discovery of who Hitler really was and the effect he had on the people around her. The detail and amount of research that went into this book blew me away. I never at any point felt like the author was dumping info into my lap, it came gradually and I loved that about this book. At times it felt like I was there with Gretchen, weaving in and out of the streets of Germany and at times, interacting with her "Uncle Dolf."

The secondary characters were the best part for me because I felt they were the real story. I especially loved Gretchen's brother because he was the meanest character i think I have ever read in YA, ever. He was sadistic, threatening and a psychopath. This was the first time I have read a character like him and I honestly did not know I could hate someone that much, but i did. And I think the most frustrating part of reading his character was that no one believed Gretchen when she told them about her brother and how horrible he was to not only Jews but her as well.

Now, there is a love story in this novel and I really liked it because i felt like it wasn't overwhelming me as a reader and yet it made sense for Gretchen's character. Daniel was the exact opposite of her and her beliefs, but when he tells her that her fathers death was a murder she begins to think differently and therefore her feelings change. He becomes the only one she can trust and I thought that relationship was a great distraction from the Hitler aspect of the story.

If you are at all interested in WWII history please pick up this book because it will give you an inside look at what happened behind the scenes. And you will definitely fall in love with the characters in this book, it is quite hard not to root for Gretchen and Daniel and I really am looking forward to reading more in this series!





About the Author


Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.


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Monday, 14 April 2014

[ARC Review] Far From You by Tess Sharpe


Title: Far From You
Author: Tess Sharpe
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: ARC received by publisher in exchange for honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads








Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.

The first time, she's fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that'll take years to kick.

The second time, she's seventeen, and it's no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina's murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.

After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina's brother won't speak to her, her parents fear she'll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina's murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared.



I love a good mystery novel and I will say that finding one in YA is especially hard because it is normally combined with another genre and therefore it is not as authentic. But when I started reading Far From You I knew that it was going be a straight up Contemporary Mystery.

Far From You follows Sophie a recovering drug addict who witnessed her friends murder. She know that the killer is still out there and the only problem is, everyone thinks it was her fault and no one is looking for the killer. What I think I loved the most about this book was the way it was written. We not only get to see Sophie in the present, dealing with her grief and the fact that her whole family still thinks she is addicted to drugs, but also in the past when she is navigating her friendship with Mina and the line between obsession and actual love.

Another thing that I thought this book did really well was navigate Sophie and her realization that she liked girls, it was not a subject that took over the entire book and most of the time I forgot about it while reading but then there were times where I felt everything Sophie felt, all the frustration, confusion and heartbreak. I loved reading her journey to self discovery, and I loved reading Mina and Sophie's relationship and how it evolved over the course of their young lives.

The mystery aspect of the novel was my absolute favorite part. We not only got Mina's murder to solver but we also have the story of another girl that had gone missing a few years before. Mina started to investigate her disappearance of that young girl and got herself into trouble, and Sophie knew that this story was what got her killed and now she only had to prove it. I loved that I did not expect the end and the reveal of who killed Mina, it was very well hidden, but I bet that if I read it again I would see subtle clues, but I loved it none the less!

Sophie was a great narrator for this story because even though she was intensely flawed, she was incredibly relateable and likable, therefore a very reliable narrator. I loved her voice and the fact that she wanted to taken seriously even after her drug problem.  And what I loved the most about Sophie was that her addiction did not define her throughout the book, she was strong, lovable and a great character to read. I loved her story and I cannot wait to read anything else by Tess Sharpe!

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

20 Questions~With Sara Benincasa


This is a brand new feature for the blog! This is where I ask publishing professionals (authors, marketers, and bloggers) some awesome questions!

Today I am happy to have Sara Benincasa on the blog! She is the author of Great, a book I absolutely loved myself, check out my review here. Without further ado, here is Sara!


1. Explain what part of the Publishing world you are a part of (ie. Publisher, Author,

Blogger etc.)


I'm an author. I wrote a memoir called "Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom." And my new book, "Great," is a YA novel inspired by "The Great Gatsby" but with teen girls in the Hamptons in 2014.


2. Who is your favourite author of all time, and why?

I just think Neil Gaiman is the freaking best. It does not get any better in my world. Love, love, love all his stuff.


3. Who would you chose to play you in the movie depicting your life?

The late, great John Candy, obviously.


4. What was/is your favourite candy or snack from your childhood?

I was big into Reese's Pieces. I heard they invented them for "E.T." but that might be apocrypha.


5. Who is your favorite fictional character, and why?

Ooh, tough one. Gandalf is pretty rad. Then again, so is Young Pete from The Adventures of Pete & Pete. 


6. Do you have a TV show that is your guilty pleasure? If so which one is it?

I love "Bar Rescue" on Spike TV and I have zero guilt about it. I am obsessed. Host/executive producer Jon Taffer is the world's greatest bar consultant AND LIFE CONSULTANT.


7. Do you have a bucket list? If she what is one item on that list?

I do not have a bucket list. I could die at any moment, and I won't regret not having gone skydiving. I just hope I don't freak anyone out when I die. Oh and I hope my funeral isn't too awkward or boring for anyone.


8. Are you a Mac or PC

I am a Mac, a 2010 Macbook Pro, actually.


9. Do you have a favourite fictional couple?

Miss Piggy and Kermit really make it happen for me. As for a couple I've created, I do love Skags and Jenni, the couple on the periphery of "Great." I'd like to give those girls their own story.


10. What is your most anticipated movie you cannot wait to see, and why?

I'm not actually a huge movie buff, but I'd love to see the film adaptation of "Sandman" that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is attached to executive produce.


11. What season is your favourite, and why?

I do love the spring. It used to be the fall, as that's when my Scorpio birthday falls. But I take such joy in the spring. Of course, here in Southern California, it's sort of always summer.


12. If you could do any profession, other than your own for a day, which would it be and why?

I would be a rocket scientist as I've always wondered what it might be like to be good at mathematics and science.


13. Who was your first ever concert?

Oh, I went to see Debbie Gibson on the Electric Youth tour. It was so loud that I cried and my mother got me earplugs.


14. Where is your favourite reading spot, and why?

I like to read on the couch, or in bed. I don't read as much as I should! I spend so much time writing and I don't think I spend enough time reading.


15. Did you have a nickname as a child? If she what was it?

The kids on the bus called me Medusa back in fifth grade. They said I was so ugly I could turn men to stone. Also, my hair was curly, which passed for ethnic in Flemington, NJ. Thank God I grew up to be a stone-cold FOXXXXXXXXXX.


16. What posters did you hang on your wall when you were younger?

I'm sure there were some Tiger Beat-related posters of Jonathan Taylor Thomas at some point in time.


17. What is your favourite genre to read, and why?

I like narrative nonfiction and graphic novels.


18. If you could describe yourself as a potato chip flavour, why would it be and why?

I would be BBQ Chicken Fried Awesome, which is also what I hope is on my tombstone.


19. Do you agree with the notion that over time, ebooks will eliminate print books?

I think that print books will eventually become popular among the folks who cannot afford e-readers. They will also become popular among the wealthy, who will show off their libraries of actual print books to their fancy friends. And the wide swath of folks in between will just use e-readers.


20. What book are you most looking forward to reading this year?

I hope to read Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" finally. I know it's not a 2014 book but I still haven't gotten around to it.


BONUS!

Who would you love to see fill out this survey? Mary Todd Lincoln, just because that would be quite a feat.

About Sara:


Sara Benincasa is an award-winning comedian and author of the book "Agorafabulous!", from William Morrow (a division of HarperCollins), a book based on her critically acclaimed solo show about panic attacks and agoraphobia. She blogs for Jezebel and XOJane. Sara is currently working on her second and third books, both YA novels. "Great" will be released in the United States in April 2014; the ARC is currently available via Edelweiss.

To Follow Sara Benincasa:

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Tumblr| YouTube




About Great:

Everyone loves a good scandal.

Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason for drawing close to Naomi-to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. But Jacinta's carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Based on a beloved classic and steeped in Sara Benincasa's darkly comic voice, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.


To purchase GREAT by Sara Benincasa


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Friday, 11 April 2014

[ARC Review] The Lonesome Young




Title: The Lonesome Young
Author: Lucy Connors
Series: 1st in series
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: ARC received by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads








Get swept away in the first book of the sensational romantic drama that is Romeo & Juliet meets Justified.

WHAT HAPPENS when the teenage heirs of two bitterly FEUDING FAMILIES can’t stay away from each other?

The Rhodales and the Whitfields have been sworn enemies for close on a hundred years, with a whole slew of adulterous affairs, financial backstabbing, and blackmailing that’s escalated the rivalry to its current state of tense ceasefire.

IT’S TIME TO LIGHT THE FUSE . . .

And now a meth lab explosion in rural Whitfield County is set to reignite the feud more viciously than ever before. Especially when the toxic fire that results throws together two unlikely spectators—proper good girl Victoria Whitfield, exiled from boarding school after her father’s real estate business melts down in disgrace, and town motorcycle rebel Mickey Rhodale, too late as always to thwart his older brothers’ dangerous drug deals.

Victoria and Mickey are about to find out the most passionate romances are the forbidden ones.

. . . ON A POWDER KEG FULL OF PENT-UP DESIRE, risk-taking daredevilry, and the desperate actions that erupt when a generation of teens inherits nothing but hate.



There are times when you need a book to just take you away from your life, and there are times when you need a book that is a overdrawn love story that makes you wish you lived in their world. I will not say that the characters in The Lonesome Young were not overdone, or that the love story has been done before, because we all know this. But what I will tell you this book is so well written that you cannot help but fall for these two star-crossed lovers and their families. I loved reading this book.

Many have said that this story has been done before, that there is nothing original in this book that warrants a read. But I disagree. All love stories stem from the trope of two lovers that cannot be together, it is unavoidable. But what I think I liked about this book was that these characters did fall in love right away. It was not the insta-love that in some YA has become the norm. There was crazy sexual tension between the two characters and it was great to read. It propels you to read more because I wanted to know if the two of them would eventually get together. And what I think I loved that most was that their relationship was not perfect. There were fights, and breakups and a lot of passion and that I think is what makes this book so relateable.

The secondary characters were my favorite part of this story because they were the true stars of the book. It was these characters that propelled the two main characters together and drew them apart at times. Each family had their issues and each family hated the other one for different reasons. Am I saying that I liked these characters? Hell no! I hated most of them with a fiery passion, but my hatred for them propelled my loved for the two lovebirds. And I believe that was the whole point.

This books is not deceiving you because its storyline is not as original as other. When you look at the cover you can tell exactly what you are getting. It is not hiding anything and I loved that about the presentation. Overall this book was a great getaway for me and I loved reading every page. I will also tell you that this book is the first in a series and I am so excited because we need more epic romance series that do not include anything magical or fantastical.
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Thursday, 10 April 2014

[ARC Review] Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong



Title: Sea of Shadows
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Age of Legends #1
Genre: YA Fantasy, Horror
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Source: ARC received by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads








The first book of a bold and hugely anticipated new YA trilogy by the phenomenal Kelley Armstrong.

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire's worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters' journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they've ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court--one that will alter the balance of their world forever.



Starting to read this book was very hard for me, and it is probably not the reason you think. It was not because I was afraid of Sci-Fi, or the start if a new series, it was because it was written by one of my favorite authors of all time; Kelley Armstrong. I have read and loved everything that Kelley has written so far, and my fear was that I was not going to like it as much as her other books. I hate not loving a book by a favorite author, and that was my fear going into this book. But thankfully I was worried for nothing and I loved every page of this book.

This is not a genre that I am great at reading, it can be very touch and go for me, and I will say that more often then not, fantasy mixed with a bit of sci-fi can be dangerous. But honestly I think that this book is a great start to a brand new series that follows twin sisters who have extraordinary powers. I loved the creativity that Kelley had with the world that these twins live in. Not only was there magic and mystery but it also had disgusting creatures that both frighten and enthrall the reader. I loved reading about this world and what it was capable of.

This book is told from both girls' POVs and I loved that because they were separated for most of the story therefore as a reader we got to see two different sides of the same story and that was great to read. I love being able to see different sides and figure out what will happen next. And I will be honest I never actually figured out what was going on until Kelley decided to show me, and I will say that I was surprised!

Kelley has always been good at writing romance, and I honestly loved that this book was not focused on that. Although it was prominent at some points, most of the story was about the love these sisters had for each other and how that love drove them to find one another in the end.

Overall this book is a lot darker and more horror-like in genre than most of her other YA novels but I think that the grotesque elements brought this book to a whole new level for me and I loved reading it. I seriously cannot wait for the next book!
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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

[ARC Review] The Summer I Wasn't Me



Title: The Summer I Wasn't Me
Author: Jessica Verdi
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemporary, LGBT
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: ARC received by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads








Lexi has a secret.

She never meant for her mom to find out. And now she's afraid that what's left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

Lexi knows she can fix everything. She can change. She can learn to like boys. New Horizons summer camp has promised to transform her life, and there's nothing she wants more than to start over.

But sometimes love has its own path...



As I have said before, I am not a religious person at all. And I am the type of person to get very annoyed if you dump a religion on my lap and expect me to believe it. So when I saw what The Summer I Wasn't Me was about I knew I was intrigued but I was wary about the religious aspect of the story. But I thought I would give it a try anyway and you never know, it may surprise me. And wow did it ever. I loved this book from the moment Lexi started to narrate her story.

Lexi is gay, and has know for a very long time, but when her mother finds out she sends her to a transformation camp called New Horizons where they claim to be able to change those who suffer from homosexuality. What I think I loved the most about this book was Lexi's devotion to her mother and even though she doesn't believe in New Horizons or what they are doing, she believes that if she goes she will help her mother cope with everything. Although I didn't agree with what Lexi was doing, lying to her mother and to the people at New Horizons, I loved that she loved her mother enough to try and change herself to make her happy.

Jessica Verdi has a way of making all her characters relateable and this book is no different. Lexi was a character I got behind immediately and I knew I was emotionally invested from the very first page. But then there are the secondary characters that Lexi meets at New Horizons. It is these characters that change the book, and for the better. These characters make Lexi remember that who she is, is not something to be changed but something to be embraced. And I loved that these characters were not just there to advance the plot, they had their own merit and had their own storyline away from Lexi and the camp.

The end of this book was not wrapped in a tidy bow and everything was back to the way t should be and I loved that. Nothing in life turns out perfect and I loved that this story was realistic enough to showcase that. I was very happy with the way it ended, it was vague yet satisfying and I could not have asked for a better way to end a great story.
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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

[ARC Review] Great by Sara Benincasa



Title: Great
Author: Sara Benincasa
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Contemorary
Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: ARC received by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads








Everyone loves a good scandal.

Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason for drawing close to Naomi-to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. But Jacinta's carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Based on a beloved classic and steeped in Sara Benincasa's darkly comic voice, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.

 

I want to preface this review by saying that I have NOT read The Great Gatsby and therefore I went into this book blind as to what to expect. That being said, I believe that my naivete towards to original story allowed me to enjoy this book that much more.

Naomi Rye, our narrator was a great character to introduce us to her world. I say that because she herself is an outsider and therefore sees things that other characters may not. What I loved most about Naomi's character was her growth throughout the book. She gets introduced to us as a city girl from Chicago who comes to visit her mother in the Hamptons. She hates everything about that life and what it represents, but we see her get influences by other through the story, and she really changes when she meets Jacinta, and I honestly believe that Jacinta's character changes the outlook of the entire story, and I loved that one character could shape so many others.

Even though I have not read or seen any of the movies of The Great Gatsby, I did realize that Great kept certain themes of the original, such as deception, obsessive love and grandeur from the original source. I loved that these themes were still present but put through a modern lens for a new generation to read. The things I think that surprised me the most were the things that I loved the most. The LGBT elements were a great surprise to me and I loved that even though they were subtle, they impacted every character in some way. It was these relationships that shaped the entire story.

Great was a surprise love for me, I was not expecting to love it as much as I did because I was not familiar with the inspiration, but honestly I think my naivete to the original was what pushed this book over the edge for me. I did not know what to expect and I loved that.
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Monday, 7 April 2014

[ARC Review] Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins



Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #2
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Source: ARC gifted by a friend

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads









  
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.



I am a lover of all things Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I watch the show constantly and I reference it like its nobodies business. So when I heard that Rachel Hawkins was writing a book that was like Buffy meets The Selection I knew I needed to read it, and i am so glad that I did because it was a great read!

This book has everything you need for a great read; it had humor, lots and lots of humor that makes you laugh out loud when you're reading. It also has mystery, and I loved that the mystery of who David was and what she meant to him was a great way to get my interest and keep it throughout the book. This story also has magic and I am a sucker for all things magic, and I loved that although it was not the most prominent thing in the story, it added so much in the end.

As I have said MANY times on this blog, I am a sucker for anything to do with Greek myth and this story had great elements of that. David is an Oracle and once I heard that I had this big geeky smile on my face because I knew where it was going and I knew I was going to love every second of it.

What I think i loved the most about this book were the two main male characters. Ryan and David could not be more opposite of each other, but while I was reading I liked both of these guys a lot. These characters were not horrible people, sure they said mean things sometimes but eventually they would apologize and make up. This was such a  great breath of fresh air because most times when there is a "love triangle" there is usually one that you hate more than the other, but this time it was really hard for me to chose.

Overall this book is very lighthearted and I think that is what separates it from others like it on the shelf. Yes, it deals with some very serious topics but it does it in a way that makes sense for Rachel's characters and does not depress the reader. I seriously cannot wait for the next book in this series because the way things ended in this one? It was a shocker!
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Friday, 4 April 2014

[ARC Review] The Ring and the Crown


Title: The Ring and the Crown
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Series: The Ring and the Crown #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, History, Magic
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: ARC received by Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads





Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.

But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.



When I read a historical fantasy there are always certain things that I want to see, and those are great world building and great characters that not only you can relate to, but also ones that make you believe in what you are reading.

The Ring and the Crown had amazing world building, I loved that it was set in a historical time period but had elements of magic. I do really wish that there was more magic evolved in the story because while reading, those were my favorite parts. I loved that Merlin was a part of this story, although I really wish he had played a larger role overall. Sometimes I felt like he was only in the background and had no real stake in the overall story.

I have always loved stories that involve perspectives from more than one character because I love seeing the same story from the eyes of others because you get different perspectives on the same situation and usually that makes the story better. Unfortunately there were way too many characters in this book, at times I wish there was a character tree or something for reference so that I could keep track of who was related to who and who was marrying who. That would have been extremely helpful at times because I was confused for most of the book.

I also found that because there were so many characters that had their own narrative, I wasn't able to get to know each character to the degree that I am used to. I felt like I was just going with the flow and I did not have a stake in what happened to them. If one of them dies I wasn't sad, I really had no motion because I wasn't attached the character like i should have been. There were many love stories in this book, and my favorite part of reading a great love story is the lead up, because it is there that you get the tension and romance. But in this book there was no lead up at all, much of the romance and lead up were done off page and I really did not like that because I had no stake in who was with who and what happened to who. There was one particular part of the book that had me really upset, one of the female characters was having an affair with one of the boys, as a reader I could tell that he wasn't as into her as she was with him, and that was not only frustrating but seemed unnecessary. But the issue I had was there was a scene where the girl was with this boy and they were in the bedroom, he then gave her a tea of some sort and after a bit she could no longer move, and it was at this point that he decided to take advantage of her. And the part that really bothered me was that she was okay with it because she was in love with him. He pretty much raped her and it was as if it didn't happen at all. That was what really bother me.

Overall this book had many problems for me, I was expecting a lot more than what I received. I wanted to feel more for the characters and I wanted more magic overall.
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