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Review | NOVEMBER 9

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November 9

AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover

EDITION: Paperback, 310 pages | Published By: Atria Books

ACQUISITION: Own

RATING: 5.00/5.00

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

MY THOUGHTS: Having a 2 year old and being six months pregnant doesn’t leave me much time for reading these days… HOWEVER, that DID NOT stop me from binge reading this book in a matter of a weekend. It was THAT good. Not that I expect anything less from a Colleen Hoover novel, considering that I did the same thing with Maybe Someday.

The second I opened this book and began reading I was hooked on Fallon’s story. She begins the story as this horribly insecure person because of scars left on her body after she was stuck in a house fire. She blames her father, since he has taken responsibility for the blaze, and therefore her already struggling relationship with him is in even more turmoil. Upon the eve of her move to NYC to try her hand at acting on Broadway – since her film acting career was cut short by the deformities left by the fire – Fallon finds herself at breakfast with her father, breaking the news that she is moving. He isn’t thrilled at the news, and all but tells her that her career is over due to the scars on her face and body, and to try something else, like college.

Overhearing all of this is Ben Kessler. Unable to sit and listen to this conversation, Ben jumps in and pretends to be Fallon’s boyfriend, which renders her father speechless, and leads to one of the most intense, incredible romances I’ve ever read about.

Unable to end their short relationship, Fallon invites Ben back to her apartment to help her pack. They get to know each other a little bit, and decide to meet up once a year, every November 9th. Not only will this give them time to get to know each other slowly, but it gives Ben a story line for his novel.

Over the course of the book, we follow Fallon and Ben each November 9th. We see how each has grown and changed, and how the effects of only talking and seeing each other once a year has on a relationship. I fell in love with this book so hard, and maybe reading it while pregnant wasn’t the best idea, since my emotions are already so messed up, but this book definitely gave me some wicked emotional whiplash. There is just so much love, hate, sadness and sorrow, life and death, heartache, heartbreak… you name it.

I did think I had the book slightly figured out at one point – assuming that Fallon and Ben would not end up together after a line about how a book can have a happy ending without the main characters being together, as long as they’re happy apart. But I won’t spoil it for you – you’ll have to read and find out if they win in the end.

If you’re a fan of other Colleen Hoover books, new adult, or are looking for somewhere to start in the contemporary romance genre then November 9 is a GREAT place to start.

Happy Reading!

Laura

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REVIEW | Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

71811MOON CALLED | Book #1 of the Mercy Thompson Series

AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs

PUBLICATION INFORMATION: MASS MARKET PAPERBACK EDITION – 288 pages | Published: January 31st 2006 by AceRoc Books

MY RATING: 4 Stars | GOODREADS RATING: 4.18/5.00 Stars

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WHAT ITS ABOUT: Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

MY THOUGHTS: I enjoy a good Urban Fantasy every now and again. I found Kelley Armstrong’s  Otherworld series (though I’m only around book #6 and have more to read yet.) thoroughly entertaining, and I’ve been craving some hot sexy alpha werewolves. This book has been on my shelf for a year, and I picked it up on a whim, without the intentions of really sitting down and reading it – but once I got a few pages in… I was hooked.

Mercy is a great lead character. She’s tough, takes no BS – and doesn’t mind calling people out on it – and can stand her own ground. She is also a Walker – able to shift into a coyote – and is the only one of her kind in the world. Mercy is an auto mechanic, working in a shop that was handed down to her by Zee – a metalworking fae (gremlin, to be exact). Mercy lives next door to Adam Hauptman, who is the Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack, and all of the packs are overruled by the Marrok, Bran, who also had a hand in raising Mercy.

After several uneventful years, suddenly Mercy finds herself thrown in the middle of some nasty werewolf business when a newly Changed wolf named Mac shows up at her shop and she helps him out. He tells her about how he was Changed, and it sets off a chain of events leading to Adam and his daughter Jesse being kidnapped.

I find most Urban Fantasies to follow very similar rules. While I believe Moon Called can fit in with a lot of other books of its genre, there were so many things that helped it to stand out on its own. Mercy is definitely one of my new favorite characters. I love her attitude, and that she isn’t stupid. She finds herself in predicaments, but it’s usually to help out those she loves and cares for, and to set peace in the world. She’s always kept out of Werewolf affairs, but when young Mac comes to her, she’s suddenly thrust into their world and the politics and danger that comes along with it.

At the beginning of the book, Mercy’s relationship with Adam isn’t really much of anything. He keeps an eye over her, and they tend to aggravate one another, but there isn’t any hard feelings or hatred. I didn’t necessarily feel any type of connection between them, so events at the end of the book were a pleasant surprise and cliff hanger that is leaving me excited for book two to arrive in the mail – yes, it was ordered before I’d even finished this book because I knew I’d be continuing on with this series. There is a lot of lingering tension between her and Samuel, though, that I can’t wait to see how it is resolved. I like the love interests, even if they were a bit predictable, I cannot guess how they will develop.

In Mercy’s world, the werewolves, witches, and vampires are still living in secret, but the fae, ruled by the Gray Lords, are out in public. As such, they are forced to live on reservations around the US. The groups rarely mix. Bran, the Marrok of the wolves, is planning to bring the wolves out into public – which not all wolves are happy about. Thus this sets into motion the events of this book.

There is a lot of action in this book to keep you engaged, as well as a minimal of slower story-building scenes that keep you abreast of backstory for characters, etc. I absolutely love Patricia’s writing style, it’s easy to read yet engaging. I liked the pacing of the book a lot, and was excited to get back to reading any time that I had to take a break.

The themes of the book such as magic and special powers among the supernatural were interesting as well. Most wolves only have increased senses like hearing, smell; which is typical. But some have a little extra, like Samuel. They are also very dominance oriented, and feel challenged often. I like that Mercy, as a Walker, can “smell” emotions. She can tell when someone is fearful, scared, etc. She can also “hear” spells cast by witches, which up until this point, no one can do, and no one knows that she can. I am very interested in seeing how this develops in future books. I am not sure why this detail stuck out so much, but I find myself really interested by it!

I would highly recommend this book if you are an avid reader of urban fantasy or are looking to break into the genre. There are sexy werewolves, a bad ass heroine who is incredibly likable, and lots of tension between supernatural species to keep you fully engaged in the series.

SIMILAR READS: Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews | Downside Ghosts Series by Stacia Kane | Kitty Norville Series by Carrie Vaughn | World of the Lupi Series by Eileen Wilks | The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison

 

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REVIEW | A Court of Thorns and Roses

16096824Book #1 | A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J Maas

Publication Information:

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children’s

Rating: 4 Stars – I Really Liked It!

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 A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

My Thoughts: I have to first say that reading this one immediately after binge reading the entire Throne of Glass series is not the best idea. That being said, if you have read ToG you also have to throw out any notions that this is anything like the faeries and fae worlds in ToG, because it isn’t – it’s nothing like it.

What we do have here, is the same wonderful writing that I fell in love with in ToG, and a main character who doesn’t give herself nearly enough credit. She isn’t as bad ass as Celaena, but she can hold her own. We have a sexy, beastly love interest, and vile vindictive deadly faeries that wouldn’t blink an eye at killing a human – even if she “belongs” to the Spring Court High Lord.

We begin the book with Feyre out hunting for food for her family – father, and two sisters – and she gets both a deer and a wolf. Being told in the first person point of view, we find out that she is curious if the wolf – which is abnormally gargantuan – could be a fairy, but after skinning it, she decides there is no way, it was a regular wolf.

For extra money, since her family is incredibly poor after her once-wealthy father lost his fortune, she sells the wolf’s skin to a mercenary, and goes home – reveling in how awful her life is, and how she is bound to care for her family that do not even like nor appreciate her thanks to a promise she made to her mother upon her deathbed. What she doesn’t expect, is to go home thinking it a normal day in her life, only to have a beastly faerie burst in her door and steal her away upon some terms of the Treaty between the mortals and the fae, since it turns out that wolf was in fact fae.

There may be spoilers from here on out – if you haven’t read this book yet, I’d recommend waiting to read the rest of my review until you’ve read it.

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REVIEW | MAYBE SOMEDAY by Colleen Hoover

Maybe Someday

BY: Colleen Hoover

SERIES: Maybe #1 | Maybe Not #1.5

RATING: 5.00/5.00 Stars | GOODREADS RATING: 4.24/5.00

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be.

Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.

A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page.

FIRST IMPRESSION: There is something so seriously sexy and delicious about a guitar player! Sydney is such a wonderfully likeable character, and I want this book to go on forever because I adore everything and everyone in it!

CHARACTERS: The characters in this book were some of the most loveable characters that I’ve had the pleasure of reading about. Even Bridgette got my curiosity piqued – making me know for sure that I will be reading Maybe Not, which is about her relationship with Warren. I loved how quickly Sydney felt at home with Warren, they have an awesome friendship! I also love how great the chemistry was between Ridge and Sydney, and even Ridge and Maggie. Every pain, heartache, and happiness was so easily felt like I was experiencing everything with them. I really cannot tell you in words just how much I truly loved these characters.

PLOT/STORYLINE: One thing that I am never really a fan of, is the prologue that is part of the actual story later on (Think all of the Twilight books.) Colleen makes it work in her novels, but I could do without. Anyway – that really doesn’t have much to do with things because I freaking loved everything about the plot in this book. Well, maybe not everything. I would have loved a little more with Ridge and Maggie. I don’t know exactly what, but I felt like it was too quick when it was all said and done. Like yes, they realized things about their relationship, but I don’t feel like after five years it would be that easy to part ways. Especially with how Maggie’s health is. It’s hard to write and not spoil anything here!

The development of relationships was done magnificently here as well! While feelings were developed early on, it wasn’t Insta-love AT ALL! They took their time in really starting anything, and I loved that. If you don’t like slowly developing love stories, this one might not be for you – but it was so damn good that I would tell you to read it anyway!

I loved how easy and seamless the whole story felt. There were really no slow parts that dragged for me. I felt like everything moved fluidly, and all parts were necessary to really connect with the characters. From beginning to end, I was hooked on this book.

MY THOUGHTS: The thing about me is that I’m a sucker for a guitarist or musician in any love story, because my husband used to play guitar in a band. He was in a band for most of our relationship, having only stopped about two years ago. All of his guitar equipment is still in the house, and when he picks his guitar up, I’m easily transported back to my eighteen-year-old self, when we used to sit in his bedroom and he’d strum out a song on his Washburn Acoustic.

When I read the summary for this one, I knew I’d love it. I also MUST say that this is my 2nd Colleen Hoover book, and it was AMAZING. I am even going to go so far as to say it is my FAVORITE Contemporary Romance & New Adult of 2015. Yes. This book was THAT good. There weren’t many parts that I wasn’t fully engaged in the story, and I definitely stayed up way past my bedtime to continue reading – even on vacation with my one-year-old asleep next to me with a 5:00am wake up time to catch our flight home.

Colleen has a wonderful writing style that is both easy yet good at really conveying the characters thoughts, feelings, and emotions.I am adding her to my Auto-Buy Authors list for sure!

Happy Reading!

Laura

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REVIEW | Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless

AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover

SERIES: Hopeless #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Losing Hope #2 Finding Cinderella #2.5

RATING: 3.50/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 4.40/5.00

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

INITIAL THOUGHTS: So I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy lately – heavier things that I needed to take a little break from. I thought Hopeless would be a light, quick, contemporary romance for me (which was NOT the case at all. Read on…); especially since I have been thinking about making my way into the New Adult arena, plus – anyone who’s everyone knows that CoHo is blowing up the bookish interwebs.

WHAT I THOUGHT: Holy Lord of all that is holy. This was NOT just any old fluffy contemporary romance by any means. I must say it was more than I bargained for. This book took a really dark turn, and dealt with some pretty hardcore issues. ***Trigger Warning: this book takes on the topics of sexual abuse/rape. While it doesn’t go too far into detail, I thought it was worth a mention just in case you cannot read any books dealing with this topic.***

Hopeless follows seventeen-year-old Sky Davis. Sky lives with her anti-technology/electronics, strict adoptive mother, Karen. She doesn’t have a TV, computer, cell phone, etc. luckily her BFF Six – yes, I totally had issues with picturing Six from the TV show, Blossom here… And yes, that just showed my age haha – lives right next door, and the two have movie nights often. Sky is also home schooled but is able to convince Karen to allow her to attend public school for her senior year. Of course this would be the time for Six to announce that she will be studying abroad in Italy for six months and so Sky will be on her own.

Unfortunately, Six has a reputation for being promiscuous and therefore people think the same of Sky, which makes for some uncomfy moments on her first day of school – including post its on her locker with nasty names. But of course Sky takes this all in stride because she’s just that kick ass awesome!

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I did not expect it to take the dark turns that it did, but that’s okay. It’s not necessarily a bad thing when you think a book is going to be light and fluffy and then it totally blows you out of the water with a darkness and depth that you didn’t know existed.

THINGS I DISLIKED:

  • How contradictory Sky was with relationships. She would describe Karen as this strict, overbearing parent who allows no electronics, and they eat vegan (Even though Sky doesn’t when she isn’t at home.) yet she loves Karen a lot, and is almost defending her at times. It just seemed a little weird to me.
  • How contradictory Sky is with her feelings for Holder. At first she is creeped out by him; and even when they start hanging out she will still make comments about his creepiness and how uneasy she feels around him. Then we are suddenly seeing her gushing over how attracted to him she is, and cannot stop thinking about him. This resolves, in my opinion, but it was weird at first. Holder is just a very Intense and Passionate person.
  • We never got closure – or an ending – with Breckin, or Six. Those are two story lines I can think of off the top of my head; but there were things left unresolved at the end of the book and that annoys me the most – and is the reason I decided to bump the rating down from a 4 Star to a 3.5 Star review. If there will be  sequel I can overlook this! I see there is a 2nd book, but I don’t know if it’s just Hopeless told from Holder’s POV or if it’s truly a continuation of this story.
  • Holder keeping secrets from Sky about herself. If he truly loved her I feel he would’ve done more to get them out in the open. I feel as though if they were true ‘soulmates’ she would’ve felt the same way he did; even if she didn’t remember things.

THINGS I LIKED:

  • I thought I had the book figured out early on. Ha ha, joke was on me! I didn’t have it figured out in the least, Not even a little bit.
  • The intensity and passion of Holder – ONCE secrets are out, and we can like him without him coming off as creepy.
  • How completely different this book was than I thought or expected it to be. When an author can wow me like that, it’s a really good thing!
  • Sky is a pretty incredible chick! She went through A LOT and still came out on top. She is an admirable character.

WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Yes. If you are looking to break into the New Adult genre, or just looking for a good book with heavier topics, then this would be a good one for you. It definitely is an 18+ book, and again deals with sexual abuse.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a twisting, winding tale through a teenager’s eyes as she finds herself and comes to terms with a past that she couldn’t remember. A good read for anyone who likes a darker, heavier themed contemporary romance with first love and finding ones self intermingled.

Happy Reading,

Laura

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REVIEW | Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Incarnate
AUTHOR: Jodi Meadows
SERIES: New Soul #1 | OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Asunder #2 | Infinite #3
RELEASE DATE: January 31, 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books
EDITION: Hardcover, 374 pages
AQUISITION: Own
RATING: 3.00/5.00 | GOODREADS RATING: 3.75/5.00
New soul

Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.

No soul

Even Ana’s own mother thinks she’s a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she’ll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?

Heart

Sam believes Ana’s new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana’s enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else’s life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.

Why I Wanted This Book: I love the idea of reincarnation, and it’s always interesting to see other people’s ideas and thoughts about it. The concept seemed truly unique and fascinating so I knew I had to read it.
Story/Plot: I’ve never been into the fantasy genre before, so when I say that this book was like none other I’ve ever read, I’m not sure if that’s an accurate assumption. But for me, it’s the truth. The plot for this story is completely unique from the beginning to the end. The plot was quite slow until about the last third; that’s when action picked up and a lot of information was thrown at you. I sort of want to go back and reread the last 150 pages because this is where all of the important stuff that should’ve been spread throughout the whole book was all put out there in a big, huge rush. Two hundred and fifty pages had you wondering why Ana exists and how it happened and will there be more newsouls; and then within a few pages you know – kind of – but it’s not satisfying and you are left wanting to know more.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Janan, either. It was pretty predictable for me in figuring out that the temple had something to do with Janan. I was trying to explain the premise of this book to my boyfriend after I finished reading it and he said it sounded like a bad episode of Star Trek TNG. Sadly – I had to agree with him. There are parts that seem like Meadows really had everything plotted out, but then there were other parts where it didn’t feel like she’d thought everything out past what was going on right then and there in the book. I do like the idea of there being matching souls (i.e. – soul mates); and I love how Ana and Sam bonded through music,

Characters: It was difficult for me to develop a relationship with the characters in this book. If you imagine a character having several “layers” of personality and who they are, I would say we got maybe two layers deep into Ana and Sam’s characters. We get a little more than just top layer personality, but it didn’t go really far in depth. It was easy to understand Ana – from her life with Li, to meeting Sam, to moving to Heart – and the writing style also made it easy to see things from Ana’s point of view. There were a lot of times where Ana was very wishy-washy. She would be, “To hell with Li and telling me I’m a nosoul! I’m a real person with the right to think, and feel, and love just like anyone else…I’ll show her!” and then a few chapters later she was like, “Oh, I really don’t deserve to feel because Li told me so, and I’m really not worth Sam’s love and compassion.” That got to be frustrating at times. This style of first person narrative made it hard to connect with the other characters here and there as well. I also didn’t like how okay Ana was when she found out that Sam was lying to her about taking Li and Menehem’s diaries, and sneaking out at night. When he fesses up to it, she was just like, “Oh. Ok.” I would’ve been pretty peeved if it were me. It’s times like that where I felt a major disconnect.

It was refreshing to watch Ana and Sam’s relationship grow, and that there wasn’t the nauseating insta-love between them. Ana goes through a large metamorphosis from when she lived with Li, to living with Sam now in Heart. To watch her grow and learn is wonderful; and for her to finally understand that while some people may be threatened by her, there are others out there who are nice to her, and kind, and even friends with her.

Writing: I have a huge love/hate relationship with the writing style. Why I loved the writing style: It really showed Ana’s character as far as her inexperience; her hesitancy to trust; and her insecurities about herself and being a “nosoul” like Li beat into her head. Why I hated the writing style: It was very difficult to visualize  Range and Heart; the world-building was severely lacking. It was difficult to visualize the characters as very few physical descriptions were given, and they also would give previous incarnations for some of the Heart residents. It was difficult to keep everything straight at times. I really believe if the world-building had been stronger I think I would’ve given a higher rating and had an overall more enjoyable experience. It was too difficult to have to literally stop and try to see what was being told to me.
This is not to say that Meadows isn’t a good writer; she is, in fact, a wonderful storyteller and has pretty cool views on reincarnation. I have plans to continue on with the series, but do hope a few of the hang ups are resolved for the sequel(s).
Ending: The book ended in an okay spot, but leaves A LOT left to still be resolved. I don’t want to say that it was a cliff-hanger ending, but close to it. There was a lot of action in the last 100-150 pages and then it slowly waned to the finish. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, but I guess I didn’t necessarily hate it either.
Cover: The cover is beautiful and one of the reasons I wanted this book. It is very representative of the story and Ana, yet is simple in it’s beauty. The idea of Ana being like a butterfly is a huge integral part of the story and is very dominant on the cover as well.
My Hopes for Book 2: I am curious to see if any of the people that died in Incarnate are reincarnated; the relationship between Sam and Ana and if it changes at all now that things that Sam’s lied about have come to light; More information revealed about the symbiotic relationship between Heart, the temple, and Janan.
Happy Reading!
Laura
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REVIEW | Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour
By: Morgan Matson
Paperback, 344 pages | Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
My Rating: 5.00/5.00 Stars | Goodreads Rating: 4.06/5.00 Stars
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.
MY THOUGHTS: There is just something so perfect about a Morgan Matson novel. You can expect awesomeness, and it will be delivered. She manages to do Contemporary Romance perfectly – there’s no insta-love, and her character’s are each flawed and struggling in their own ways. In Epic Detour, we have Amy Curry – fresh off the loss of her father in a car accident that she is convinced was her fault; and Roger Sullivan – who is still reeling from a recent breakup. They are thrown together on a cross-country road tour, and of course, they both get more than they bargained for.
For the past month, Amy has been living alone – her father is gone, her twin brother is in rehab, and her mom picked up and moved to Connecticut – which is the destination of the road trip with Roger. She is horribly depressed, blaming herself – wallowing in a pool of self-pity, and basically has become an empty shell of herself. She’s abandoned all of her friends, including BFF Julia who is officially giving up on her. 
 “The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for them.”
Roger is back in California from Colorado, where he attends college, and is heading to Philadelphia to spend the summer with his father. He was dating Hadley Armstrong – the pretty girl who’s M.O. is to leave guys high and dry, with no explanation of why it went bad. She’s basically not a nice girl. But Roger needs closure – and wants her back. He agrees to this road trip thinking he can drive to Colorado and win Hadley back. 
Day One – Amy and Roger decide to throw her mother’s four day itinerary out the window, and make their way from California to Colorado, stopping to see the sights. What they find on the way is more than either thought they’d get.
***
I cannot tell you how much I seriously HEART this book. It is so perfect, well, except for the end – I want MORE! Please, write a sequel, Morgan, I beg of you! I need to know where our characters end up after this. 
  
I picked this book off my shelf looking for a light read, which I did and didn’t get. Sure, there’s the contemporary part of this book, but there are some pretty hefty topics in this book too – death, addiction, breakups, and finding yourself – and your way out of grief and depression. Matson does this is such a wonderful way too, mixing the good with the bad. You can feel Amy or Roger’s despair one second, and the next you’re laughing. It’s wonderful! 
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Oh my gosh, YES! In a heartbeat, I would recommend it to any Contemporary Romance lovers looking for a five-star read.
Happy Reading,
Laura 
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REVIEW | The Sword and the Sinking Stone by CJ Dushinski

Hey Bookworms! Today I am sharing with you my review of this paranormal dystopian as my stop on the tour! Continue through the review to the end to enter the giveaway! Leave comments and let me know if you plan on reading this one! Check out the rest of the stops on this book tour HERE.

THE THORN AND THE SINKING STONE
SERIES: Thorn and Dagger Series – Book #1
AUTHOR: CJ Dushinski
RELEASE DATE: March 2015
PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen
MY RATING: 3.00/5.00 Stars | GOODREADS RATING: 3.61/5.00 Stars
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:  Warring families. Forbidden love. And danger they can’t escape…

Daggers. Roses. Cowboys. Boat Men. Survivors of Earth’s Last War, four “families” vie to rule the dreary streets of Rain City through violence and blood. Valencia Hara, Princess of the wealthy Black Roses, is raised in warrior ways with sharpened steel. But she is no ordinary Rose. She is Cursed—tainted with the ability to see seconds into the future…

To avenge his father’s death, Sebastian Leold, of the rival gang Two Daggers, must face off against the Black Princess, he with his dagger, she with her katana sword. Yet a secret from a shared past leaves him unable to kill beautiful Valencia; nor can she kill him. For they once knew each other beyond their blood feud…and they have more secrets in common than they know.

But in a world filled with vengeance and violence, there can be no room for love…

MY REVIEW:  A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The first time that I read the summary for this book; I realized that it was one that I wanted a copy of ASAP.

My first thoughts were that it was a futuristic, dystopian re-telling of Romeo and Juliet – which I see lots of other reviewers saying they thought the same thing – even though this book isn’t marketed as such. Personally, I feel that I’d have picked this one up without a second thought if it had been marketed as such. Romeo and Juliet is one of my fave stories of all time!

The world-building in this story was pretty remarkable. I think that the author had a clearly defined world in her imagination and was able to perfectly portray her visions onto the pages.

I liked the characters too. Each was 3d and able to stand out from the rest. There was such an array of different types of characters too – apart from the main characters that really made this book stand out in its genre.

The writing style was just okay – I don’t think that there was anything that would make it stand out or have me remember it as being incredible.

Would I recommend this book?
Yes, if you love sci-fi/dystopian/paranormal/tragedies. 


Will I continue this series?
Yes, I anticipate finishing the series.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO BOOKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  While attempting to navigate life as a responsible human being, CJ graduated from university with a B.Comm and worked her way along as a marketer, copywriter, and graphic designer to earn a paycheck while pursuing her passion for creating fantastical stories set in dark and wondrous corners of the world. Born amongst the wheat fields and open skies of the Canadian prairies, CJ’s imagination has always run wild, taking her on adventures across the world from modeling in Seoul, South Korea to backpacking through Europe and surfing (poorly) in Hawaii.

After wandering through ancient cities and civilizations, learning from diverse cultures, and surrounding herself in new experiences, CJ was inspired and began work on her debut young adult novel THE THORN AND THE SINKING STONE, to be published by Entangled Publishing 2014/15. CJ currently resides in Calgary, Alberta Canada – home of the Canadian Rockies – and keeps one hand on her passport and pen at all times, ready to pick up, see the world, and weave her experiences into stories.

CJ is represented by Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Literary Agency LLC.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook  

 
 

Happy Reading!

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REVIEW | The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

THE DEMON KING
BY: Cinda Williams-Chima
SERIES: Seven Realms #1
GOODREADS RATING: 4.21 out of 5.00 Stars
MY RATING: 5.00 out of 5.00 Stars
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WHAT THE BACK OF THE BOOK SAYS: 

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her—including marriage to a suitor who goes against everything the queendom stands for.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

LIKES
  •  Princess Raisa! My goodness, I didn’t realize how badly I’ve been in need of a strong heroine. One thing that I love is when a character completely transforms over the course of the book, and Raisa is no exception. She starts out as a naive, ignorant princess heir but who she is at the end of the book is not the same girl.
  • Han Alister. Or Cuffs Alister. Or Hunts Alone. You know – whichever name you decide to call him! Han is such a unique character as well. He is often thought of as this vicious street gang leader who has no care or regard for anyone, but that is so far from the truth! He is a complex character, and I cannot wait to see where the rest of the series takes him. He has immense potential, so it will be interesting to see if he ends up as a hero or villain.
  •  The world-building. This is a giant world – uh, hello, it’s called the Seven Realms series – and it’s incredible how easily the landscapes come to life right off of each page! From the grimy, dirty streets of Ragmarket or Southbridge, to the royal castle of Fellsmarch to the Vale and the camps – Marisa Pines and Demonai – each is unique and incredibly detailed.
DISLIKES
  • It started off reading a little young, but the content didn’t match that. I enjoy the writing, but it did take me a few chapters to really connect.
  • A few events were predictable.
  • I didn’t realize that there was a map – my Kindle copy opened to chapter one, skipping the title page etc., so I didn’t know there was a map included! Duh!
MY THOUGHTS

I don’t know how I haven’t read this book yet. I mean, seriously – it was THAT good. It just really missed my radar. We start the book thrown immediately into action, and pick up information about the main characters and the realm along the way. I enjoyed that the story was told from alternating perspectives as well. It was a great way to contrast Raisa’s life growing up as royalty, and Han’s life, growing up as a street thug. I thoroughly enjoyed Williams-Chima’s writing style. She writes in such a fantastic way, that the characters came to life on each page. I was able to feel everything that Raisa and Han did – from happy moments to really heartbreakingly sad ones.

I also love the character growth in this book. Raisa becomes such an admirable character by books end, that it’s hard to believe she came from where she did. She always had it in her to start a revolution, and now she’s ready to carry it out. She isn’t the type of future monarch to sit around and let her people live in squalor while they live in grandeur in the castle.

Another great part of this book is the range of characters. From humans, to those who wield magic, to those who create magical amulets. I love, love, loved the magical themes in this story! We had good magic users and of course, bad. It was written beautifully, and I cannot wait to see how the magical use will evolve in the next books. It was nice to see such an array of characters as well, from all races and walks of life. It really added a diversity to the book that was wonderful.

The world building was helped greatly by the provided map in the beginning of the book of the Seven Realms. It can be a little overwhelming at first, since the books takes place in many different parts of the world – and different areas are mentioned often. But once you really get a handle on it, it’s incredible how author’s can create these worlds in their minds!

WOULD I RECOMMEND IT? Whether your a newbie to fantasy or an avid fantasy reader – you’ll love this book!

Happy Reading!
Laura

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REVIEW | Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

SILVER SHADOWS
Series: Bloodlines – Book #5
Author: Richelle Mead
My Rating: 3.50/5.00 | Goodreads Rating: 4.40/5.00
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

 
LIKES
  • Sydney and Adrian’s love for each other.
  • Hopper – the dragon!
  • Sydney and Adrian’s relationship status – at the end of the book.
  • How fast paced and full of action this book (and ultimately the entire series) is.
  • How strong the bond of friendship is between Jill, Angelina, Eddie, Sydney, Neil, and Adrian. In a world where dhampirs and vampires do not have relationships (friendship or otherwise) with Alchemists, the way they’ve banded together and the loyalty towards each other is insane!
  • Sydney’s magic. I love this aspect of the book, I truly do!
  • Carly Sage.
  • Rowena.
  • Jill’s bond with Adrian – and her maturity.
  • Jill and Eddie. Please, get together! I’m OTP’ing it! Jeddie?
  • Diversity in characters and lifestyles.
 
DISLIKES
  • The Re-education center and the Alchemists.
  • Queen Tatiana’s voice in Adrian’s head. (Curious to see what that’s all about.)
  • Adrian’s negative Spirit attributes.
  • Some parts that seem to lag and drag.
  • The Alchemists. Did I already mention them? I hate them.
 
MY THOUGHTS:
*I cannot promise that this is a spoiler-free review. If you haven’t read the first 4 books of the series, I recommend not continuing with this review!*
 I have been obsessed with the Vampire Academy world from the first page of Vampire Academy, and when I found out that there was a spin-off series, it made my little vampire-loving heart leap with joy! So far, I’ve loved Sydney and Adrian’s story, told throughout the Bloodlines series.With  every book, I’ve closed the cover and had the worst book hangover – desperately awaiting the next book to come out.
While I did enjoy the continuation of the story, I felt that this one was just a little stagnant. At the end of The Fiery Heart, Sydney was taken by the Alchemists for re-education, and Adrian is left fighting to find her. But in his spirit-wielding way, Adrian falls back into old habits at the start of Silver Shadows, and Sydney is wasting away in a dark cell, drugged until she admits she sinned, and is willing to undergo re-education to find her way back to the light. She is in this dark place both physically and emotionally – as it was her own sister, Zoe, who betrayed her, and her father who committed her to this place. She leaves her hopes of rescue in Adrian – who is back at Court, after his mother came to get him and bring him back after Jill contacted her. Back at Court, Adrian teams up with Nina – another Spirit user – who joins him in his drinking escapades, and makes sure he gets back to his room. She also has feelings for him.
Mostly, this book just starts to tie up the loose ends from the series, getting ready to end it all in just one more book.
While it ended on a cliffhanger in true Richelle Mead style, I found large chunks of this book leaning towards boring. Even though we get the typical unexpected – like what Sydney and Adrian do in the end – that I can say that I wasn’t expecting AT ALL – for the most part it’s Sydney in re-education, confirming what we already know – that she is a bad ass – and Adrian falling back into old drinking patterns and we follow him around Court while he parties. I don’t feel like a lot happens, which I suppose being the last book before the finale, it can happen.
I still love Mead’s writing style, and her characters feel like they are really some of my BFFs. Her characters have such depth and emotion that it’s hard not to get invested in them. Even though this was not one of my favorite books in the series, I still fully enjoyed it and I am so sad that when I read The Ruby Circle, that this series will be finished. I don’t think I am ready for that!
Would I recommend it? Obviously, if you’ve read the first 4 books then YES you need to read it!

Happy Reading!

Laura

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