Thursday, 24 April 2014

[eARC Review] Talker 25 by Joshua McCune


Title: Talker 25
Author: Joshua McCune
Series: Talker 25 #1
Genre: YA Fantasy, Dragons
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow / HarperCollins
Source: eARC received from publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads








Debut author Joshua McCune's gritty and heart-pounding novel is a masterful reimagining of popular dragon fantasy lore, set in a militant future reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker and Ann Aguirre's Outpost.

It's a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune's debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.



I am usually hit and miss when it comes to Dragon themed books. For me they are either really good or really bad, and to be honest I haven't found one that I really loved, so when I saw the premise for Talker 25 I thought I would give it a try and hopefully finally find the illusive Dragon love. But unfortunately I didn't love this one as much as I hoped.

The one thing that makes a good book is world building, and I will say that Talker 25 has a great one. These characters live in a world where Dragons have "infested" the earth and in doing so created a new kind of war. And because of this war the military have created a new line of defense to fight against these Dragons. And of course with new creature some rebellion against the current government. I loved the Dragon aspect of this story, I liked that they were a mystery and that we didn't really understand (until later) why they came to earth and what they ultimately wanted. I also loved that there were different kinds of Dragons and each had its own distinct power and ability and that created a great world for these characters to live in.

Unfortunately the world building was the only part of this book that I liked. I found, overall, that there were way too many characters in this book. And these characters were introduced very quickly and without explaining exactly who they were and what they meant to the main character. And because I didn't know what they meant to the main character meant that meant that I forgot who they where seconds after I was introduced. That became my biggest concern because if I couldn't keep track of who was who, then it was hard for me to feel anything for any of the characters. This was especially true when the main character when to a compound that was filled with other teenagers that could talk to Dragons. It was at this point that I become very confused with character and plot because everything happened so fast and I didn't understand any of it.

It was at this point that I thought the plot got a little messy and unorganized. We were introduced to so many different characters and they were explaining what the compound was for and what was happening and I just felt like there were too many voices and not enough continuity. There was also a love interest that to me distracted from the real story and made no sense plot wise. I felt like it was inserted for the "female" reader and honestly I would have liked the book better without that distraction.

Overall this book was a big disappointment and I really hoped for better. I hate to bash on a book that was worked so hard on, but I really disliked it. I did not feel anything for the narrator and she really made no attempt to help me along on the story. I wanted more explanation and more continuity in order for me to follow the story until the end.

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

[eARC Review] The Here and Now by Ann Brashares


Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA Time Travel
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: eARC received from publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads




Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

From Ann Brashares, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, The Here and Now is thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking—and a must-read novel of the year.



I will preface this review by saying that I have not liked a book that Ann Brashares has written since the end of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I loved those books so much that I thought I would love anything that she would write, but over the years I have discovered that I don't like her style of writing as much as I used to, and I am sad to say that The Here And Now did not change that statement.

I will say that the beginning of this book had me hooked, i liked the main character because she was a great narrator and a great person to introduce us to her world. I am a huge fan of time travel, and the fact that she is from the future made me very curious on what would happen. I liked that there were consequences to breaking the rules and that there was a society connected to their time travel. I liked all of these things, and I am sad to sad that those were where my likes ended.

There is a love story in this book, and usually I am all for those, but to me this seemed extremely rushed, and I honestly didn't believe it at first. To me it made no sense why this boy was obsessed about this girl because they had never really talked. I also found that the boy himself was a useless character until he was needed. For example, the MC was kidnapped and it just so happens that he put a tracker on her and knew how to break into a house?? how is that possible when we had no inkling of these skills before hand. I felt like he was a plot device and was used mostly to advance the plot and nothing more.

I also felt that the world building fell apart completely by the middle of the book, nothing was really explained and there were no consequences to her action at all. One of the rules was you cannot have a romantic relationship with someone from the now, and she did, but nothing happened.  I also had a huge problem with the end. It was way too easy in my opinion. How can this one girl take on a whole organization with just her words and no actual action? I felt cheated and I wanted more of a fight.

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

[ARC Review] To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han


Title: To All The Boys I've Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Series: To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC received by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads




Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series.

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them... all at once?

Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.



I fell in love with Jenny Han a lot slower than many of her readers, and that is because I have never read her The Summer I Turned Pretty series, even though I have all of them on my shelf. I fell in love with Jenny Han's writing when I read Burn for Burn and Fire with Fire, it was then that I knew I had a new fav author.

While I was reading To All The Boys I've Loved Before I realized that the plot was very similar to that of Lillia in Fire with Fire. Where she pretend to date a boy for her own benefit. But this time it was mutual instead of a one sided lie. I loved Lillia's character in that series, and I loved Lara Jean as well. I think I liked her because she was real, she had teenager problems but dealt with them as a flawed character and to me that was great to read because not only did her mistakes seem real to me, but the way she handled those infractions was a great way to show character growth.

What I found amazing in this book was that no character felt inconsequential, every character that Lara Jean meets has a purpose and I think I liked those characters even more. I loved her relationship with hr older sister, and the fact that she looked up to her in a way that some might find unhealthy, but it was that relationship which caused Lara Jean to find herself in the end. I loved her rocky relationship with her younger sister and how guilty she felt when she didn't treat her with the respect that her other sister would have. I loved that she kept referencing herself in relation to her older sister, and that that changed as the story moved forward. Lara Jean found herself outside of what her family expected and I loved reading that.

The love story was simplistic but real, but my only issue was that I did not like Peter at all, I thought that as the book went on I would feel differently for him, the same way that Lara Jean did, but I didn't. And I think that put a damper on the book itself, but also my reaction to the end. I wasn't shocked by the end, I would like to know what happens after the last page, but I am not in desperate need of it right now. I will be waiting for the next book in this series because I loved Lara Jeans character and her interactions with all the characters.

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Monday, 21 April 2014

[ARC Review] The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer


Title: The Inventor's Secret
Author: Andrea Cremer
Series:  The Inventor's Secret #1
Genre: Steampunk Adventure
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Publisher: Philomel
Source: ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Purchase
Amazon | Indigo | TBD | Goodreads




In this world, sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth, they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape  or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery. Perfect for fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners, Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, ScottWesterfeld's Leviathan and Phillip Reeve's Mortal Instruments.



Steampunk is not a genre that is popular at the moment but I have a few in the past and i have loved all of them. I love the combination of history and technology and the whole combination of the two is fascinating. When I saw that Andrea Cremer was writing her own steampunk series I knew I had to read it ASAP, and I was not disappointed.

The world that Andrea created was brilliant in so many ways, it was dripping with history and yet felt entirely foreign to me. I loved that although I was reading about a different time where customs were entirely different than my own, I still felt connected to story and its characters. I did not feel like the world took over the entire story either, there was enough detail in order for me to get a sense of what was going on around the characters, but not so much that I got distracted from the actual storyline.

I especially loved Charlotte, our narrator because she was so strong and independent and did not need anyone to help her through life. I loved that she was still a little naive to the world outside of where she existed. It made her seem more real to me. Although there was a romance and a boy that is swoon worthy for sure, I didn't feel like it overtook the mystery aspect of the book. There were moments where I thought the romance was overdone and that they were plot devices in order to create conflict for Charlotte, but it was not too often that this happened. And I will admit that I did like her love interest very much, there was great sexual tension for much of the book and that created a great relationship between Charlotte and Jack.

What I think i loved the most about this book was that Andrea showcased and very real relationship between a brother and sister, and honestly it was my favorite relationship in the whole book. It was infuriating at times but I also felt the love they had for each other. I am so glad that this book is the beginning of a series because I cannot wait to see where this story goes and where these characters end up, especially with the way the book ended!
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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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