Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Release Day Launch and Giveaway for Escaping Me by Elizabeth Lee



Hey everyone! I'm so excited to be a part of the Release Day Launch for Escaping Me by Elizabeth Lee. It's, in one word, HOT. I can't wait for you all to read it.

Synopsis:

All she wanted to do was forget. Forget the memory of walking in on her boyfriend in the middle of, well, another girl. Forget how she had her entire life planned out. And, forget about being perfect all the time. Unfortunately, she was Whitney Vandaveer and despite the fact that she moved to the middle of nowhere—she couldn't.

He always knew he would never be more than nothing. No job, no money, no future. Cole Pritchett had accepted the fact that he would always be the screw up and he was okay with it. Until he met her.

Here's the thing they quickly found out—sometimes we all need a little help escaping who we think we are.



Elizabeth Lee Bio:

When I'm not writing or playing the part of wife and mother, you can find me dancing back-up for Beyonce, singing back-up for Miranda, or sunning myself on the beach with a drink in hand.  Here's the thing about being born and raised in a small town—you have a very vivid imagination!  Now, I channel it all to create stories where the girl always ends up with the right guy, first kisses are magical, and a happy ending is just that!



Links:


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Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken
by Sarah Rees Brennan
Published September 2012 by Random House
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)

Summary from Goodreads: Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?


--

I became aware that Unspoken existed when I started folliwing Sarah Rees Brennan, the author, on twitter (@sarahreesbrenna). Not because she shameless plugs her books, but because she shamelessly plugs her readers' reactions to her books. It felt like every time I got on my twitter account I would see that another reader of Unspoken was upset by the ending. Many readers express their desire to harm SRB, but it's all in jest-how would they get a sequel? Needless to say, I was intrigued by the strong reactions to Unspoken and snatched it from my library the moment I saw it.

Kami Glass is an aspiring journalist from Sorry-in-the-Vale, a small village in England. She has long thought her town hides secrets, especially when it comes to the Lynburn family, but can't put her finger on exactly what they are. Kami has a secret of her own, one that doesn't have the rational explanation her friends and family want. A secret that comes out when the Lynburn family returns to Sorry-in-the-Vale.

Besides an ending that elicits a strong reaction from readers, I had no idea what to expect from Unspoken. What I got was a spunky main character, an intriguing love interest with a fabulous twist, and a wholly original magical element. I typically have an aversion to third person narration, but Brennan's writing was absorbing, not isolating.

I fell in love with Kami almost immediately. Her sharp wit and big heart were a big part of why I became invested in the novel. I was also intrigued by her unusual relationship with Jared, her "imaginary friend" that she speaks to in her head. In relation to Jared, there were a lot of things I saw coming from a mile away, but I still enjoyed watching them play out.

Though I may have been immediately drawn in by Kami, there's a lot to say for the secondary characters in Unspoken as well. Kami's friends are all dynamic and add something to the novel,  though we see them from Kami's view and she can be a bit short sighted about her friends. The adults in Unspoken have their own stories, their own motivations, and become more and more important as the novel goes on, something that I really enjoyed.

Sarah Rees Brennan's writing is very atmospheric. Unspoken has a light Gothic feel to it. The town, Sorry-in-the-Vale, was almost a character in the book. It feels like the book is set in the early 1900s, but it's really set in present day. The juxtaposition of the tone and the modern setting was a lot of fun to read.

Unfortunately, I couldn't completely get behind the magical elements of this story. I felt a disconnect from it, possibly because Kami is an outsider to the magic, or maybe because they don't fully appear until the end of Unspoken. Hopefully the sequel, Untold, will explore these elements more fully.

Unspoken is a novel that I adore. I enjoyed everything: the main character, the setting, the writing, the romance, the intrigue. It felt as though I was reading a novel written in a different time, in the best way possible.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Review: Stalking Sapphire by Mia Thompson

Title: Stalking Sapphire
Author: Mia Thompson
Published: April 2013 by Diversion Books
Genre: New Adult
Source: Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Stalking Sapphire

Summary from Goodreads: Despite the illusion Sapphire Dubois presents to the rest of the world, she is not just your stereotypical 22-year old Beverly Hills heiress; she hunts serial killers. While her fellow heirs spend their nights with trending celebs and drugs at the hottest club, Sapphire secretly spends hers luring, capturing, and anonymously handing over So-Cal’s most wanted killers to the police — just your average Tuesday night.

What Sapphire doesn’t know is that one of her adversaries is watching her every move, aware of both her true identity and her unconventional hobby. Needless to say, he doesn’t approve. Used to being the one who redefines the definition of predator and prey, Sapphire’s world abruptly shatters when a gruesome ‘gift’ arrives for her at the Beverly Hills Country Club. With her involuntary crush, handsome Detective Aston Ridder, close on her tail, Sapphire now has to rethink her routine strategy and figure out how to capture a killer who already knows she’s coming.


--

Stalking Sapphire is a New Adult mystery/thriller that kept me turning the pages late into the night. I've never read anything quite like Stalking Sapphire, a mix of thriller, mystery, and Beverly Hills drama. The main character, Sapphire, is part of the reason the story is so unique. A socialite who spends her free time catching serial killers anonymously? Talk about badass.

Sapphire, a Beverly Hills socialite, has an interesting hobby: catching serial killers. She just can't make herself care about the same things a normal Beverly Hills heiress does, and finds catching killers to be much more fulfilling than sipping mimosas with her best friend Chrissy at their country club. Then Sapphire receives a severed finger in the mail and the stakes are higher than ever. Now it isn't just Sapphire putting herself in danger-the life of another young woman is in her hands.

Though I had some issues with Stalking Sapphire, which I will get to later, I really enjoyed the novel as a whole. I don't often read mysteries, and Stalking Sapphire has me wondering why that is. It was so much fun to question whodunit and to feel like I couldn't stop reading until I knew. I'll admit, I thought I had it figured out pretty early on, but Thompson threw me a curveball. Maybe a more experienced mystery reader would have had the read culprit figured out before I did, but it sure was a surprise to me.

I loved Sapphire as a character. She has a lot of spunk, and tells it like it is. She puts on a show for everyone around her, but it's obvious to the reader that she doesn't fit into her high class world. She could be really funny, and also had a lot of heart. Aston, the love interest, is just an ass. Seriously, I honestly couldn't stand him for most of the book. He wasn't putting up a front to disguise his inner softy. He was really, truly, a judgmental misogynistic ass. It was hard for me to get behind him as the love interest, yet at the end I found myself softening toward him a bit.

Stalking Sapphire is told from multiple points of view: Sapphire, Aston, Sapphire's stalker, and the girl her stalker is keeping captive. The alternating POVs went smoothly, for the most part. I wasn't crazy about the POV of the culprit. Those sections felt really repetitive but I've never The secondary characters, meaning those who didn't get a POV, were a little bit lacking for me. Sometimes they said things that felt out of character. Other times they just didn't have much of a personality at all.

Stalking Sapphire was a fun, enjoyable read with a spunky main character who is unlike any I've read before. I had a few problems with the characterization, but I think I will be continuing with this series. Honestly, who can turn down a serial-killer-hunting Beverly Hills socialite? Not this girl!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin

Title: A Really Awesome Mess
Authors: Trish Cook and Brendan Halpin
Release Date: July 23rd by EgmontUSA
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 
A Really Awesome Mess

Summary from Goodreads: A hint of Recovery Road, a sample of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and a cut of Juno. A Really Awesome Mess is a laugh-out-loud, gut-wrenching/heart-warming story of two teenagers struggling to find love and themselves.

Two teenagers. Two very bumpy roads taken that lead to Heartland Academy.


Justin was just having fun, but when his dad walked in on him with a girl in a very compromising position, Justin's summer took a quick turn for the worse. His parents' divorce put Justin on rocky mental ground, and after a handful of Tylenol lands him in the hospital, he has really hit rock bottom.

Emmy never felt like part of her family. She was adopted from China. Her parents and sister tower over her and look like they came out of a Ralph Lauren catalog-- and Emmy definitely doesn't. After a scandalous photo of Emmy leads to vicious rumors around school, she threatens the boy who started it all on Facebook.

Justin and Emmy arrive at Heartland Academy, a reform school that will force them to deal with their issues, damaged souls with little patience for authority. But along the way they will find a ragtag group of teens who are just as broken, stubborn, and full of sarcasm as themselves. In the end, they might even call each other friends.


A funny, sad, and remarkable story, A Really Awesome Mess is a journey of friendship and self-discovery that teen readers will surely sign up for.


--

I don't know about you, but I would not expect a book about a reform school to be funny. I would think it would be pretty depressing, actually. A Really Awesome Mess definitely proved me wrong in that aspect. I laughed out loud a few times and that's pretty rare for me. A whole lot of heart accompanies that humor, and the combination is as perfect as sweet and salty. 

Justin and Emmy are both wrongly sent to Heartland Academy, a reform school for problems ranging from pathological lying to eating disorders, by their evil parents who just want to get rid of them. Or that's why Justin and Emmy think they're being subjected to teenage hell, at least. Slowly, Justin and Emmy begin to realize that they may actually have a reason for being at Heartland that has nothing to do with their parents not loving them.

A Really Awesome Mess uses dual narration, and let me tell you, both Just and Emmy are hilarious. Seriously. I loved them. Justin's wisecracking and Emmy's sarcastic humor were such a treat to read. A few times I forgot whose head I was in and got a little confused, but I think that's due to the continuity of the secondary characters and the setting more than voice issues. 

Speaking of the secondary characters; they were prefect. They all had depth and awesome individual personalities. Not to mention the plethora of growth going on for them as well as Justin and Emmy. The interactions between the group were my favorite part of the book. The characters were all so original and hilarious.

I was a little disappointed in the level of "after school special" the end of the novel reached. I'm happy with the way it ended, but I think it diverged from the tone of the rest of the novel. Other than that, I am happy with the way the authors portrayed the real issues these teens had, and I don't feel as though the issues were trivialized, which could have easily been the case.

A Really Awesome Mess was a surprisingly funny read with a lot of heart. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking for more from these two authors.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling

Title: My Ex From Hell
Author: Tellulah Darling
Published: April 2013 by Te Da Media
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
My Ex From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #1)
Summary from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Sophie Bloom wishes she’d been taught the following:
a) Bad boy’s presence (TrOuBlE) + teen girl’s brain (DraMa) = TrAuMa (Highly unstable and very volatile.)
b) The Genus Greekulum Godissimus is notable for three traits: 1) awesome abilities, 2) grudges, and 3) hook-ups, break-ups, and in-fighting that puts cable to shame.

Prior to the Halloween dance, Sophie figures her worst problems involve adolescent theatrics, bitchy yoga girls, and being on probation at her boarding school for mouthy behaviour. Then she meets bad boy Kai and gets the kiss that rocks her world.

Literally.

This breath stealing lip lock reawakens Sophie’s true identity: Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She’s key to saving humanity in the war between the Underworld and Olympus, target numero uno of Hades and Zeus, and totally screwed.

Plus there’s also the little issue that Sophie’s last memory as Persephone was just before someone tried to murder her.

Big picture: master her powers, get her memories back, defeat Persephone’s would be assassin, and save the world. Also, sneak into the Underworld to retrieve stolen property, battle the minions of Hades and Zeus, outwit psycho nymphs, slay a dragon, rescue a classmate, keep from getting her butt expelled from the one place designed to keep her safe …

… and stop kissing Kai, Prince of the Underworld.

My Ex From Hell is a YA romantic comedy/Greek mythology smackdown. Romeo and Juliet had it easy.


--

I started My Ex From Hell when on a break at work and was surprised to find myself thinking about it throughout the rest of the day. Then I finished it the same night, though I'd planned to read a different book entirely. It's everything you could want from a light contemporary with some mythical elements thrown in. And it has a really, really funny narrator. 

My Ex From Hell is about sixteen year old Sophie, a normal girl who attends a rather modern boarding school and has two awesome best friends and a witchy adoptive mother. Except Sophie is really Persephone, Goddess of Spring. Obviously that is not a problem normal teenagers have. And if that wasn't enough, Persephone had a lover. Kai, son of Hades. Sophie doesn't remember their relationship, but that doesn't mean she can't feel the sparks. 

Sophie, the narrator, is my absolute favorite thing about this book. She was so witty and had a snarkiness that I envied. Her narration kept me entertained more than anything else, and I couldn't help but love her. Her two best friends are also great, and have really distinct personalities. I was surprised at how easily I could picture these characters in my head-normally it's difficult for me to maintain a distinct image for each character throughout the novel, but I had no problems with this one.

The Greek mythology in My Ex From Hell was really easy to understand, but I found it to be too simple. A lot of the mythological details were explained once, and then the reader is expected to accept it and move on. I'm pretty familiar with Greek mythology (Hello Percy Jackson!) but there were a few things in here that I'd wished we were given more detail about, because I'd never heard of them before and was interested. 

The plot in My Ex From Hell moves really fast, which means I was never bored. Unfortunately, there are a few places that felt rushed, where I wasn't sure how we got from point A to point B. The writing was really engaging though, so that was a definite plus.

My Ex From Hell is a funny, fast paced YA contemp that is sure to please an fans of Greek mythology.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Title: Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: March 2013 by HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 5 out of 5
Requiem (Delirium, #3)
Summary from Goodreads: Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancĂ©e of the young mayor.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.


--

Requiem was everything I could have asked from the end of this trilogy and more. After following Lena through Delirium and Pandemonium I was anxious to see how her story would end. Both of the previous books were great, but they were also different from each other. I am not disappointed in the least by the direction Requiem took. I'm in awe Lauren Oliver and amazing storytelling.

I read Delirium back when it first came out and the dystopian craze was in full swing. I remember thinking at the time that I really liked the book, but felt more connected to Lena's best friend Hana than to Lena. Well, I now feel even more connected to Hana because the chapters in Requiem alternate between both her and Lena's point of view. I loved this addition to the series finale. I think it was imperative for the reader to see things from the point of view of someone on the other side. Who more perfect for that purpose than Hana, Lena's best friend?

Honestly, all I want to do is fangirl over Lauren Olivers fantastic, wonderful, writing. I felt what Lena felt. I understood how torn she was over love, and over duty. I ached with her. I could feel Hana trapped behind the glass wall of her cure. I understood her inability to see exactly how muffled she was. I felt all the emotions, guys, and it was amazing.

The ending! I was practically gasping for air while tearing through the final pages, trying to suck up as much information as possible. I adored the ending. Iit was perfect. We get the end of Lena's story. We come full circle. I didn't want anything more, and though we don't get specifics of the fate of Lena's world, we are left with a hopeful and joyous feeling.

Requiem was the best of the trilogy, and I highly recommend all three. Lauren Oliver's writing is beautiful, poetic, and makes you hope the book will never stop.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review: Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

Title: Rules of Summer
Author: Joanna Philbin
Published: June 2013 by Poppy
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Source: Won
Rating: 4 out of 5
Rules of Summer

Summary from Goodreads:
There are two sides to every summer.

When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it's as if she's entered another universe, one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She's signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules -- a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion. Upon arrival, she's warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.

Stifled by her friends and her family's country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It's the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride. But will Rory's own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, will the Rules' picture-perfect world ever be the same?


--

Rules of Summer was an unexpectedly engrossing novel about love, heartbreak, friendship, and the class system. I started reading it because I was in the mood for a light summer read, then was surprised to find myself halfway through with absolutely no desire to put it down.

Rules of Summer alternates between focusing on Rory and Isabel, a duel narrative that I really enjoyed. It was a nice change of pace from the girl/boy duel narratives. Normally I have a hard time getting into a book that's written in third person, like Rules of Summer, but I had absolutely no trouble at all this time. In fact, I really enjoyed Philbin's writing style. There were a few times where it was unclear which girl was the "she" being referred to, but those instances were brief and cleared up quickly.

Though it may appear to be just a light romantic read, Rules of Summer has much more to it than meets the eye. Rory and Isabel develop a friendship that forces them to examine the differences in their social classes, as does Rory's crush on Isabel's brother and Isabel's infatuation with a guy who is far removed from her country club world. I loved how Rules of Summer had a strong family storyline, and wasn't just about summer romances. There are plenty of those out there.

The biggest love story in this novel is the friendship between Isabel and Rory. It felt genuine to me, and the way both of them grow from it was great to read. Both Rory and Isabel's personalities were very distinct and I connected with them both in different ways. Rory's down-to-earth qualities and how she handled herself in uncomfortable situations were very easy to relate to, while Isabel's need to find herself outside of her family made me root for her the whole way.

My only problem with Rules of Summer was the rushed ending. I wish there had been some more resolution to a few things, or more of the month of August. There was also a twist that I saw a mile away, but also one that I didn't see coming at all. So in my mind that's evened out.

I would definitely recommend Rules of Summer for anyone looking for an engrossing young adult contemporary that has a whole lot of heart. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: Aberrant by Ruth Silver

Title: Abberant
Author: Ruth Silver
Published: April 2013 by author
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Received copy for review from author
Rating: 2 out of 5
Aberrant (Aberrant #1)

Summary from Goodreads: In the future Dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government's match in marriage and "The Day of the Chosen", a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn't existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she's arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from "The Day of the Chosen." The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.

With Joshua's help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.


--

There really is no worse feeling than disliking a book you requested for review. There are a lot of great reviews of Aberrant on Goodreads, but unfortunately it wasn't for me. 

Olivia lives in Cabal, where the government chooses who you marry and women can't conceive without government intervention. Olivia's whole life changes when she learns that she is the first child to be conceived naturally in centuries and that she may have the ability to conceive herself. She is forced to run away from Cabal with her lifetime best friend and government appointed husband. In their journey they discover that Olivia is a much bigger deal than they'd ever imagined.

The concept of the world in Aberrant is certainly interesting, though I can't say it's altogether original. Nor did I find it particularly cruel. The government tries to detain Olivia because she can conceive, and there is a scene that is supposed to make us think see the government of Cabal as evil, but the most outlandish policy is the government regulated marriage. Maybe we are supposed to see the way they regulate who can have children by a lottery as cruel as well, but I saw it as more of a forced way of coping with the infertility problem than a choice to be oppressive. I never got a sense of "this is so wrong" when reading, so I didn't understand Olivia's haste to leave Cabal.

I had a lot of trouble connecting with Olivia. I didn't really get the sense that there was much personality to her. It seemed like she was more of a means to an end for the author to get to the next plot point than a person with her own motivations. I know that every character ever written is just a means to an end, but it shouldn't feel that way to the reader. 

There were also quite a few inconsistencies in the characters, especially Joshua, Olivia's love interest. He was hot and cold to extreme degrees that were explained away far to simply to be believable. Though he and Olivia had been best friends since childhood, I never really got the friends vibe from them. I think their relationship could have been a lot more dynamic if it had been more about the friendship than the romance. The writing style in Aberrant wasn't easy for me to read. It felt rushed, though maybe others would see it as exciting.  

My problems with Aberrant lie in my inability to connect with Olivia and my lack of comprehension of the world she lives in. I just wasn't sucked in and I never got to a point where I really cared what happened.

Aberrant wasn't for me, but there are many positive reviews of it on Goodreads. If you are a big fan of Dystopian novels I encourage you to give it a shot.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy (Legend #2)
by Marie Lu
Published January 2013
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Prodigy (Legend, #2)

Summary from Goodreads: June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.


--

Prodigy is the sequel to Legend, one of my all time favorite dystopian novels. I didn't think it was possible, but I liked Prodigy even more than Legend.

It's been a couple years since I read Legend, and I was a bit worried that I wouldn't remember everything that had happened. Well, I didn't exactly remember everything, but Lu added subtle reminders throughout the first few chapters of the book that didn't feel like a recap but really helped me get back up to speed.

Guys, duel narration is my favorite. Absolute favorite. Lu handles the narration so well that, had I been reading Prodigy at a normal speed instead of lightning fast, I wouldn't have needed ink to be different colors for each narrator. Day and June have such distinct voices that it's always apparent which one is narrating. Each chapter flows seamlessly into the next, despite the differing narrators, which pretty much meant that I never wanted to stop reading.

In Prodigy, Lu continues to paint a picture of the world Day and June live in. Their world is one of my favorites, because it's not a place vaguely resembling the United States; it is the United States. A few of the places Day and June go to are Vegas and Denver. There are multiple discussions about how and why the United States turned into the Republic and the Colonies, as well as the differences between the two and the implications. I really enjoyed these explanations and never felt as though I was given more information than I could handle at once, nor was I bored. 

I think my only complaint here is that, though the voices of Day and June are distinct and enjoyable, I wish there had been more development for both of the characters. Maybe that will come in the next installment, but it felt like both of them were stuck, unsure of which direction to go. There are a few big decisions made, but they are largely circumstantial, not internal.

Prodigy is a fantastic sequel and also does a great job of setting up for the third book, Champion. I absolutely cannot wait to complete this trilogy!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Release Day Launch and Giveaway for Taste the Heat!


Hey all! Rachel Harris, author of the YA books My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century and the upcoming A Tale of Two Centuries is releasing her first adult book today! Unfortunately I haven't read it yet, but I've heard that it's SUPER swoon-worthy. 
Here's some info:

 

 One sexy fire captain. One Cajun chef. One combustible kitchen…

When chef Colby Robicheaux returned home to New Orleans to save her family restaurant, the last person she expected to reconnect with was her brother’s best friend and her childhood crush. As tempting as a sugar-coated beignet, Jason is one dish she can’t afford to taste. Colby can’t wait to leave the place where her distrust of love and commitment originated and go back to Vegas.

Fire captain Jason Landry isn’t looking for love, either. Disillusioned by his past, he knows he should be focusing on finding the perfect mother for his daughter. But when he first sees Colby, all grown up and gorgeous, he can’t help but be drawn to her. And when she suggests a no-strings-attached fling, Jason can’t say no.

As their relationship grows more intense, Colby finds that Jason isn’t as easy to leave behind as she thought. Could turning up the heat on something real be worth the possibility of getting burned?

Rachel Harris Bio:
Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, where she watched soap operas with her grandmother and stayed up late sneak reading her mama’s favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston, she still stays up way too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations.

When not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, she homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches reality television with her amazing husband. Taste The Heat is her adult romance debut. She’s the author of MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY and A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES. She loves hearing from readers! Find her at www.RachelHarrisWrites.com.

Links:
Entangled Website: http://www.entangledpublishing.com/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review: The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

The Crimson Crown
(Book Four in the Seven Realms Series)
by Cinda Williams Chima
Published October 2012 by Hyperion Book CH
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 5 out of 5
The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, #4)

Summary from Goodreads: A thousand years ago, two young lovers were betrayed-Alger Waterlow to his death, and Hanalea, Queen of the Fells, to a life without love.

Now, once again, the Queendom of the Fells seems likely to shatter apart. For young queen Raisa ana'Marianna, maintaining peace even within her own castle walls is nearly impossible; tension between wizards and Clan has reached a fevered pitch. With surrounding kingdoms seeking to prey on the Fells' inner turmoil, Raisa's best hope is to unite her people against a common enemy. But that enemy might be the person with whom she's falling in love.

Through a complicated web of lies and unholy alliances, former streetlord Han Alister has become a member of the Wizard Council of the Fells. Navigating the cut-throat world of blue blood politics has never been more dangerous, and Han seems to inspire hostility among Clan and wizards alike. His only ally is the queen, and despite the perils involved, Han finds it impossible to ignore his feelings for Raisa. Before long, Han finds himself in possession of a secret believed to be lost to history, a discovery powerful enough to unite the people of the Fells. But will the secret die with him before he can use it?

A simple, devastating truth concealed by a thousand-year-old lie at last comes to light in this stunning conclusion to the Seven Realms series.


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I've been with the Seven Realms Series since the publication of The Demon King in 2009. I don't think I realized what I was getting myself into. Following the journey of Raisa and Han through four quite long novels led to me being so invested in their ending that I read all six hundred pages of The Crimson Crown in one day. One. Day. I had the worst book hangover ever after that.

The Crimson Crown is the best book of the quartet. In theory, the readers of the quartet have reached a point where we understand the way the world of the Seven Realms works. So Chima can take a break from world building, right? Oh so wrong. Instead of relying on our previous knowledge, Chima continues to educate us about her world until the very end, adding layers upon layers to the Seven Realms until I felt as though I could pass a history test on a fictional world. The beauty of this is that these parts aren't boring at all, and I had a level of interest that surprised me.

I read book three in the quartet, The Gray Wolf Throne, a year and a half ago. I was a little shaky on the details of the previous book going into The Crimson Crown. Despite the complexities of the previous novels, it only took me about fifty pages to become fully invested in Han and Raisa again. Chima doesn't do a recap, but she does drop little hints along the way about things the reader may have forgotten from the other novels. I loved being able to re-immerse myself in the world of the Seven Realms without any difficulty.

So much happens in The Crimson Crown: revelations, loss, love, danger, backstabbing, intrigue. You name it, it's probably in here somewhere. I read it all in one day because I had to know what would happen. The narrative is third person, though it switches between multiple points of view, in no set pattern. This definitely keeps things very interesting, because the reader knows more than any single narrator and wants to see how it all plays out. Or, in my case, wants to yell at the characters and tell them what the other characters are up to.

I am deeply satisfied with The Crimson Crown as the ending of the Seven Realms Series. The character development, world building, and loaded plot (loaded in a good way-like a baked potato!) kept me glued to the book. When I finished, I felt like my emotions were far too big for my body. That's the best way to end a series, in my opinion.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Pivot Point
by Kasie West
Published February 2013 by HarperTeen
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 5 out of 5
Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

Summary from Goodreads: Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.


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You know when you see tons of phenomenal reviews for a book and you just know that there's no way it can possibly be as good as you've made it out to be? That is not the case with Pivot Point; it exceeded my already sky high expectations.

First, if you're worried about being confused: don't be. The dual realities are really easy to follow once you get past the first few chapters. The plot points that overlap between the two narratives are both fun to spot and heighten the sense of urgency. I really enjoyed seeing the same characters through Addie's two different sets of eyes, and I was always wondering which path she would end up choosing.

Science Fiction is definitely not my favorite genre. Luckily for me, Pivot Point reads more like a contemporary with some sci-fi thrown in. The characters abilities take a back seat and let to stellar plot shine.

The characters in Pivot Point were all dynamic and played a part in the plot. They had to be, otherwise things would have been a ton more confusing than they actually were. I'm in awe of how Kasie West kept the characters consistent even though they were in two separate realities. The one character who I thought wasn't consistent actually was, just not in the way I'd expected.

I got so anxious about which future Addie would choose and why. It kept me turning the pages like crazy toward the end. And let me tell you, Kasie West handles the final decision in an unexpected and beautiful way. I would have been completely happy with her just leaving Pivot Point as a standalone after that ending, but I'm ecstatic that there will be a sequel.

Pivot Point is one of my favorite books this year. The writing had an effortlessness to it that kept me glued to the pages. The romances were done really well, and were so different that I never got them confused. West did a great job creating Addie's world, and I can't wait to read more about it in Split Second.