29.2.16

ARC REVIEW: BEYOND THE RED by Ava Jae

BEYOND THE RED

Author: Ava Jae
Source: eARC via the Publisher on Edelweiss
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Summary:
Alien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide. 
Purchase:
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I think my problem with this one is that I was anticipating something more. The first half of the book didn't keep my attention the way I wanted it to and I was thinking that there would be something MORE out of the whole "genocide" and "flee"-ing that is mentioned in the summary. It was almost as though that was hastily added in or that there wasn't enough that "happened" and something else needed to be added to the drama of the story.

27.2.16

ARC REVIEW: NOWHERE GIRL by Susan Strecker

NOWHERE GIRL

Author: Susan Strecker
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
"The day Savannah was killed she was fifteen minutes late to meet me." So begins bookseller favorite Susan Strecker's second novel of twin sisters and the murder that left one twin behind.

Savannah was the popular bad girl skipping school and moving quickly from one boyfriend to the next, so when she didn't meet Cady as promised, Cady wasn't surprised and the truth was Cady was already a bit mad at her. When Cady suddenly becomes short of breath she realizes Savannah is in trouble, but within minutes Savannah is gone.

Years later Cady, now a bestselling author of suspense, spends her time interviewing killers, hoping each interview will help her understand what happened to her sister. Despite Savannah's death, the bond Savannah and Cady share has never been broken. Savannah still comes to Cady, but the clues her sister sends don't add up until a chance encounter while researching her latest novel provides a missing piece of the puzzle.

Purchase:
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
 
I really enjoyed this one. I thought there was the right amount of mystery and intrigue while giving you the clues to solve it that it kept me reading along. I like when mystery novels give you some clues as to who did the crime, but also when you reread and find more subtle hints to it. I had it semi-figured out around 40% of the novel but the actual outcome was something I don't think anyone could have guessed. I'm not sure this one has that "rereadability" factor though, not for me at least.

I liked all the characters, but I would have liked to see more come out of the marital issues that Cady and Greg had. It felt like it was so prominent and then got swept under the rug. That is actually pretty true for all the romance/romantic issues in this one. There was so much build up to something happening and then nothing came out of it.

I liked Cady. I liked that she had fears and flaws and was really scrutinizing herself because I could completely relate to her. I was completely inside her head during this novel and felt as though I was living her life. I think she was such a strong character and the perfect heroine for this novel. I don't think I would have enjoyed it half as much if it hadn't been told in first person through her perspective.

The pacing was pretty good, I thought it lagged a little bit in some areas but this wasn't enough to deter me from continuing reading or even take a break (I at one point ran into a doorway because I was reading and walking). I highly recommend this one and think it will be one that everyone enjoys.

26.2.16

COVER REVEAL: WATER'S WRATH by Elise Kova

http://booksandladders.blogspot.ca/p/blog-tours.html
Hello and welcome to the cover reveal for WATER'S WRATH by Elise Kova! 

Not only do I have the ah-mazing cover for you guys below, but there is a fun giveaway for an ADVANCED COPY OF THE BOOK!! Which, if you are paying attention to this series in any way, shape, or form, I know you are dying to get your hands on! If you are new to the series, you can learn more about the rest of the AIR AWAKENS SERIES in this post as well, plus learn Elise's thoughts on the covers by the wonderful Merilliza Chan. Now, onto the cover.
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24.2.16

BLOG TOUR: CONTRA by Andrea Murray || Review + #GIVEAWAY

Hello and welcome to my tour stop for CONTRA by Andrea Murray! I have a review for you, plus there is a giveaway at the bottom of this post! 

Let's learn more about the book...

CONTRA

Author: Andrea Murray
Series: Omni #2
Publisher:
Publication Date:
Rating4/5 stars

Summary:

In the sequel to the young adult dystopian novel, Omni, one young couple will do anything to stay together, and one man will do anything to control them. 

After barely escaping death in Omni, eighteen-year-old Pierce has left behind his place in the Artist stratum in exchange for sanctuary with his family. However, when Harmony goes missing, he can’t help but think it’s just another ploy of the Omni government to force him to return. 



With Harmony on her own, the two must find a way back to each other while battling against the full might of the government, but one powerful official is determined to keep them apart. Bent on revenge, Pelagic will stop at nothing to expose the secret of Pierce’s parentage.
Purchase:
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was a satisfying conclusion to the duology. I liked that the basis of the myth was still there but that Murray took some liberties with it to make it her own. I think it was a really well constructed duology that is best read back to back as one novel. I really liked the re-imagining of the world and the way that the system was created -- I also really liked the characterizations and the choices that everyone made. But it did feel a little easy for some of the characters to get what they wanted. I read the Author's Note after and I understand WHY the characters were able to get off easy, but it kinda felt like a cop-out.


23.2.16

ARC REVIEW: KILL THE BOY BAND by Goldy Moldavsky

KILL THE BOY BAND

Author: Goldy Moldavsky
Publisher: Point
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
From debut author Goldy Moldavsky, the story of four superfan friends whose devotion to their favorite boy band has darkly comical and murderous results.

Okay, so just know from the start that it wasn't supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favorite boy band.

We didn't mean to kidnap one of the guys. It kind of, sort of happened that way. But now he's tied up in our hotel room. And the worst part of all, it's Rupert P. All four members of The Ruperts might have the same first name, but they couldn't be more different. And Rupert P. is the biggest flop out of the whole group.

We didn't mean to hold hostage a member of The Ruperts, I swear. At least, I didn't. We are fans. Okay, superfans who spend all of our free time tweeting about the boys and updating our fan tumblrs. But so what, that's what you do when you love a group so much it hurts.

How did it get this far? Who knows. I mean midterms are coming up. I really do not have time to go to hell.

Purchase:
Disclaimer: Brittany from Brittany's Book Rambles let me borrow her ARC! She's the sweetest so show her some love.

Honestly I'm not quite sure what to think about this one. It is for sure laugh out loud funny, but I also love how gritty and real it was. I really liked how Moldavsky portrayed the life of fangirls because it isn't always as glamorous as popular culture makes it out to be. These four girls are the EPITOME of fangirls in my opinion. And they weren't stereotypes of fangirls either. I have been there, I have done all the things these girls have done. Well ... not all ... But most.

20.2.16

BLOG TOUR: ARROWS by Melissa Gorzelanczyk | Review + Scavenger Hunt!

Hello and welcome to my tour stop today to review ARROWS by Melissa Gorzelanczyk. As well, I have a scavenger hunt for you where you have to find a specific phrase in my review! Once you find it, you can enter it in the second giveaway that is SPECIFICALLY for the scavenger hunt! Good luck!

Let's learn more about the book...


ARROWS

Author: Melissa Gorzelanczyk
Source: eARC via the Publisher
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: January 26, 2016

Summary:
A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV's Teen Mom.

People don't understand love. If they did, they'd get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can't say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can't stay angry with him . . . and can't stop loving him. But there's a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she's been shot with a love arrow.

Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma and Danny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma's life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn't know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn's fault . . . but he's going to get a chance to make things right. He's here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn't reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny--perfect for fans of Katie McGarry's novels and MTV's 16 and Pregnant.


Purchase:
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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This one was really good; I had heard some mixed things about it, but I found myself really enjoying the book! The best part about ARROWS is that it straddles the line between fantasy and contemporary in a way that I really enjoyed. It had everything I wanted in a story: tension, love, and spells! As well, they actually used an arrow so that was pretty cool too.

18.2.16

Why I DNF Books + When You Should Give Up And Call It A Day

One thing I never did before blogging was not finish a book. I would power through and finish no matter what, even if I wasn't a fan. This year though, I have started to change. I have set rules and limits for myself for how far I will go with a book before I decide I have had enough. And I think this is something we ALL struggle with: the question of when, why, and how we DNF a book -- and then what do we do after? So I'm going to run through how I determine whether I will continue with a story and give you guys some advice for how to come up with your own guidelines (or steal mine, I'm chill with that) and what to do once you actually HAVE DNFed a book.


Jamie DNFs A Book

This still doesn't happen very often, but I do have a shelf dedicated to it on GR. Actually, two sort of. I have an "on hold" shelf where I put books that I'm just not feeling right off the bat (~10% or less) that I think maybe I will come back to and give another chance. And I have my DNF shelf where I put those books that I just couldn't get through.


First In A Series/Standalone

But you don't care about that, lbr. So to the goodies. First up, a "checklist" for when to DNF a First In A Series/Standalone. These are always a little tricky because you have to give the book enough time to get past the character introductions and into the actual plot. 

So my thinking is...
  • If I'm not enjoying it after 25% of the book (or thereabout)
  • If I roll my eyes twice in a way that also make me want to bang my head off the table
    • This could be for any reason, but I know my reading style so if the plot is very trope-y but not well written, it will be a quick DNF for me
  • Insensitivity for trigger warning things
  • I can immediately guess what is going to happen (and I am right)
  • Writing style is making it difficult for me to follow the story (a la SHATTER ME)
  • I cannot connect to the characters at all (even to dislike them)
  • Poor grammar, lots of mistakes, etc. (only in finished copies, though)
  • Toxic relationships that are treated as being romantic

17.2.16

TSAR'S GUARD PARADE: Ten Reasons I'm Excited For The Book + #GIVEAWAY


Hello and welcome to my stop on the Tsar's Guard Parade! I am super excited about THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye which is releasing in May 2016 that I wanted to help spread the love! You can see the details about the book below, along with ten reasons I am really excited about this book, PLUS you can WIN AN ARC at the end of this post! Stick around for all the good things.

Let's learn more about the book...

THE CROWN'S GAME

Author: Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17, 2016

Summary:
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose. 
Purchase:

Ten Reasons I'm Excited For The Book

1. MAGIC!!
2. Brittany's Review of the Uncorrected Manuscript.
3. Russian Setting with lots of history brimming in the pages.
4. Ottoman Empire threat -- the BEST Empire in history, tbh.
5. All the character reveals have been amazing! I can't wait to meet these characters.
6. The pre-order incentives which increase as more people purchase are to die for!
7. Evelyn is such a nice person and will always chat with you on Twitter!
8. The words "ANCIENT DUEL" in the summary have me giddy with excitement.
9. The whole having to kill the one you love or they will kill you tension will be ah-mazing!
10. The bromance between Pasha and Nikolai!


Bonus! Watch Sarah K.'s Fanmade trailer for the book!


Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on "So You Think You Can Dance," and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she guarantees she will win. When she isn't writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN'S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA.


Connect with the Author:

16.2.16

EXCLUSIVE: #JERKBAIT Playlist by Mia Siegert and Christopher Loke

Hey guys! I'm so excited to be sharing an EXCLUSIVE playlist with you guys today for the book JERKBAIT by Mia Siegert. Mia reached out to me to post this playlist for you and my first thought was "YES" followed closely by "I can't wait to listen to it!" 

I have listened to it and I can tell you that it made me cry in my car on my way to and from work because the songs really hit home, especially when you know the premise of the story. A lot of them are ones you will know and recognize, but in the context of JERKBAIT, they are eye opening. 


Let's learn more about the book...

JERKBAIT

Author: Mia Siegert
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Summary:
Even though they're identical, Tristan isn't close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself. Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, Tristan starts seeing his twin as not an NHL prospect, but a struggling gay teen who is terrified about coming out in the professional sports world. Trapped together in their claustrophobic room, Robbie suggests they run away with "Jimmy2416," a guy Robbie has talked to online for months but never met. Tristan must decide whether to tell his parents about Robbie's plan, losing his twin's trust forever, or go on a journey that will put their lives and innocence in jeopardy.
Purchase:

A Word From Mia...

A few months ago, Christopher Loke (the Executive Editor at Jolly Fish Press) and I discussed making a playlist for JERKBAIT. It made sense as the novel is very music-oriented (although I'm trying to be cautious with spoilers). Together, we created a Spotify playlist and had a good balance—he had a lot more of the "soft" songs, and I had a lot more of the "grit." I think both of our choices, especially fused together, worked well. 

The order of the songs generally follows the plot of the novel. Because of spoilers, I'm being super cautious about explaining the songs, so, instead, I chose some relevant lyrics from each song that applies perfectly, IMO. :)

Unfortunately, Spotify didn't have one of the songs I really wanted to include, which was "Lifeboat" from the Heathers musical. Literally, the whole song is perfect for one scene when Robbie tries to talk with Tristan.

Fortunately, there's a youtube video:


Anyway, enough of that! Here we go!

Heads up that some songs potentially could be trigger-y as the book revolves around some dark things, including gay teen suicide and predators.

14.2.16

BLOG TOUR: THIEF OF LIES by Brenda Drake \\ Character Tour + #GIVEAWAY

ThiefOfLies_CharacterTour Welcome to Brenda Drake’s THIEF OF LIES Character Tour! Each stop will feature a character profile from book one of the Library Jumpers Series! There is a tour wide giveaway so be sure to check out all the characters for chances to win. 
You can find a list of the tour dates here

Today, we’re getting to know Jaran


But first, let's learn about the book!

THIEF OF LIES 

Author: Brenda Drake
Series: Library Jumpers #1
Age: Young Adult 
Publisher: Entangled TEEN 
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Number of Pages: 400 
ASIN: B00YM6RD6M 
Genre: Fantasy, Romance 

Summary:
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. 

While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound. Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed. 
Purchase:
JARAN TURAY
Jaran
Jaran Turay 
Age: 16 
Sentinel Battle Globe: Blue (Water) 
Description: Caring, optimistic, and a friend to all. 
Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers Series Book 1) quote
“I will fight until my last breath for all that is good.” 

Jaran is from Tiebele, Burkina Faso in West Africa. Isolated from the outside world, the village’s clay hut homes are decorated with frescoes and geometric patterns. Jaran is a descendant of the royal court of the Kassena people who live here. Jaran is a quiet person and doesn’t share personal things with the other Sentinels. A loyal friend and strong fighter, Jaran would risk his life for what he believes in. His water globe can cause major floods if he isn’t careful. Sometimes in a rush to save others, he gets careless with it. In book two, Jaran and Gia grow close and he helps her through some major changes. 

Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers Series Book 2) teaser with Gia and Jaran: 
 I made a move to go pair up with him, and Jaran stepped in my way. “Want to match up?” he asked. “No, I already have a partner,” I said. He must’ve noticed the fury in my eyes because he shook his head. “I don’t think that’s a wise decision.” “Why? You think I’ll kill him?” “Actually, that’s exactly what I’m thinking.” I released an exasperated breath. “He’s more of a match for me.” Jaran acted wounded, placing his open palms across his heart. “Now, that just hurt my feelings.”   

I hope you enjoyed meeting Jaran. Thank you for stopping by and don't forget to enter the giveaways for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card with an eBook copy of THIEF OF LIES or a signed hardcover copy of FORGET TOMORROW by Pintip Dunn below. 

Brenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up is of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment). 

Connect with the Author:


12.2.16

REVIEW: TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard

TRUTHWITCH

Author: Susan Dennard
Series: Truthwitch #1
Source: Purchased from Chapters
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary:
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

Purchase:
I went into this one knowing that the hype was probably going to kill it for me. But it wasn't even so much the hype that did me in but the first 65-70% of the book. Sure, I went into this hearing it was going to be the next Holy Grail but I knew that from the depths of the hype monster means that I would probably not enjoy it as much as those who were tweeting about it. I did still expect to thoroughly enjoy it and want to have the next book right away, sadly this was not the case.

Before I get a Bloodwitch on my trail who wants to kill me, let me say that I DID like it. It is a GOOD book. But it is not the be all, end all, especially of the YA Fantasy genre. There were a lot of great things about this one, but there were some instances in this novel that had me not enjoying reading it. I was at the point where I was at 41% and thought about DNF-ing it because I just wasn't getting into it. But I pushed through and the last 30% really wow-ed me, but I am reviewing the whole book so it is a solid 3 stars (with the first 65-70% being 2.5* and the last being 4*, which makes it 3* when you average it out. I can show you the math).