Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

A World Without Princes
(The School for Good and Evil # 2)
By: Soman Chainani
Pub. Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Source: Edelweiss

In the epic sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected.

When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.

Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love—and this time, it comes from within.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins.

I really enjoyed the first book, The School for Good and Evil, so I was very happy to see the second book on Edelweiss. What I love most about these books is that even though it seems like a book for younger children, it isn't. There are many dark themes throughout it, and it is so much more then just fairytales. It's also about friendship, honesty, and being comfortable in your own skin.

I really love each and every one of these characters and I enjoyed watching them grow from book one. Sophie and Agatha, who were friends in the real world way before the magical world changed their lives, are so honest and real. I love the bond the two of them share. I also liked Tedros so much more in this one. He was a lot stronger in book two, and him and Agatha are just so sweet together!

The writing was fast paced and kept my attention the entire time. I also enjoyed the illustrations that are seen throughout the chapters. I am excited to see what is next for these characters!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and Me
By: Jennifer E. Smith
Pub. Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss

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

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

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Edelweiss and Little, Brown for Young Readers. 

Jennifer E. Smith is becoming known as the author with the adorably cute stories and she definitely did it again with the The Geography of You and Me. I really enjoyed the characters of both Lucy and Owen and I love that the story was told in both of their point of views. I was expecting a different kind of story though, which put me off a little bit.

Lucy and Owen meet for the first time in an elevator when all of New York City is under a blackout. While they are only stuck in the elevator for a couple of hours, they decide to spend the rest of the blackout together. Both of them are dealing with their own problems, but they enjoyed the time the spent together. I thought that they had a really cute connection and I liked that they kept in touch through postcards. It was really unique and sweet.

I was under the impression that they kept in touch for a few years after the blackout. I thought that through college and new friends and new relationships they were still going to have this connection. That wasn't the case. The whole story took place in a span of about a year. This totally disappointed me.

Other then that, I thought this story was a sweet love story with such a perfect ending. I also love the cover and I thought it captured the story wonderfully.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Release Day Launch~Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: How to Say Goodbye by Amber Lin

How to Say Goodbye
By: Amber Lin
Pub. Date: April 7, 2014
Publisher: Self
Pages: 220
Source: Ink Slinger PR

Amy has a secret: no one’s ever held her hand. She doesn’t even know how to hug. Everyone thinks she’s smart, but straight A's are way easier than making friends. Then she meets Dane, a golden-haired surfer whose easy charm and hot touch teach her what she longs to know.

Dane lives for the salty breeze and a sweet wave, because that’s all he has. He’s been on the streets since he was fourteen. A drifter. Homeless. Then he meets Amy. Smart and accomplished, she’s everything he’s not. He wants to be the sort of man who deserves her.

Except that means facing down his past—and that past might very well swallow them both.
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author and Ink Slinger PR.

As soon as I read the synopsis for How to Say Goodbye, I instantly knew I wanted to read it. I really loved this story because I loved both characters so much. Both Amy and Dane were so, so broken, each for very different reasons. It was easy to feel connected to them and I definitely experienced their pain right along with them.

Before Amy met Dane, she has never really been close to anyone. After her father died, her mother dropped Amy off at her Uncle's and she went back home to Japan. This to me was heartbreaking. Amy is 20 years old and hasn't even held hands with someone. At 18 years old, Dane has been living on the streets for the past four years. We don't learn much about him at first because he holds everything inside. We just know he has been forced to do some terrible things to survive. I was so fascinated by him, and wanted to learn everything there was to learn about him. Despite everything he had to overcome, he will do anything to protect those he cares about. Once we finally learn what caused him to run away, I felt so bad, but at the same time I felt he had other options then to just run away. Either way, Dane's story killed me. 

The book was told in alternating point of views between Amy and Dane, which I loved. I felt I got to know them more and got more out of the story because I was able to get inside of their heads. I really loved the two of them together but wished that Dane would have been more honest with Amy. I understand his need to hold some things back, but he was way to hot and cold for my taste. It definitely got annoying at times.

Overall I really loved How to Say Goodbye and looking forward to Amber Lin's next book!

He smiled with the barest hint of irony. “Guess you have better things to do than build a sand castle.”

She hated how his words echoed her thoughts, how they put him down. Didn’t he know how much she would give to be like him? Relaxed. Confident. God, she didn’t want to be afraid anymore.

“I’ve got time.”

He pointed behind the castle. “There’s an enchanted forest right there.”

She knelt down. “Here?”

“No, over. A few inches to the left. Don’t you see it?”

He was…teasing her. It took her a second to understand just because it had never happened before. Not that she could remember.

She looked down to hide her smile. “I think I’ve got it now.”

He grinned. “Then get building, Cornell.”

Her first attempt was more like a molehill with a pointed top. By her second she’d learned to pack the sand more tightly, earning a brief nod from him. After that she worked steadily, forming the little conical pine trees in varying sizes. A vision sketched in her mind, of lush trees and woodland creatures, of fancy and imagination.

Kneeling in her oh-so-practical shoes was impossible, so she took them off. Her skirt hiked up her thighs as she scooted around the forest. Sand squeezed between the mesh of her stockings.

She hoped it would never come out.

When he finished carving arched windows, he stood back and dusted the sand from his palms. She trailed a finger down the last tree—this was how he’d feel, gritty and soft—before standing up to join him.

He was tall. His height shouldn’t have been a surprise; she was often the shortest one in the room. But she’d been equal to him on the ground, both of them dirty and eager in the sand. Now he was the tall, handsome stranger, and she the shy girl who hardly spoke.

She’d aced fluid mechanics, for God’s sake, so why should this matter? It didn’t, it didn’t. But her heart double-timed when she asked, “What do you think of the forest?”

With mock solemnity he studied the trees. They lined up neatly in rows like a Christmas tree farm she’d passed once in rural New York.

“It’s pretty,” he said, repeating her words. Then he smiled, almost shy. “Very pretty. Do you want to grab some dinner?”

Her breath caught. Had he just asked her out? It had sounded like that. Exactly like that. Her heart beat a rapid pace.

Daylight traced tiny lines radiating from his eyes, from the corners of his mouth. A smattering of blond hair covered the tanned skin of his chest, highlighting lean muscles beneath. Even the tips of his eyelashes were bleached, every part of him touched by the sun. A golden boy, a rippling-surface stereotype, while hidden depths lurked beneath. What would it take to dive under? In that moment she wanted to find out. Right then she wanted to drown.

But she’d had a lifetime of treading water, of survival. Only one answer made sense.

“I’m sorry.” Her voice sounded hoarse with disuse, as if she hadn’t spoken in years instead of seconds. “I’m not going to be here long. In Florida.”

She kicked herself. He hadn’t asked her to marry him, for God’s sake. He’d only wanted a date, and she should be able to do that. If she were more normal, she could have.

Fleeting emotions flickered across his face. Disappointment first, followed by others she couldn’t understand. But resignation—that one she recognized like an old friend.

“All right. Take care then.” His voice rang with finality. They would part now. She wouldn’t see him again, because she didn’t know how to be close to another human being. No textbook had ever taught her. No monthly phone call had told her how to feel.

Her face heated.      

“You too,” she murmured. “I’ll see you around.”

But even that presumed too much. A slight shake of his head said no, she wouldn’t. His lips curved in a cold shadow of his former smile.

“Bye, Cornell.” He crossed the beach, heading for the water.

He walked right past the frothy edge and dived underneath, leaving only ripples in his wake. His head came up once for air, and again, and again, growing smaller, farther away.

She waited for hours. Or seconds, really. She stood with sand caked to her hands and her knees, feeling abraded and raw. Every other time in her life, she’d pretended not to want this. Friends and laughter. Easy camaraderie. Touch. Standing on the cooling sand, her stomach grumbling with hunger, she could no longer pretend.
Amber Lin writes edgy romance with damaged hearts, redemptive love, and a steamy ever after. Her debut novel, Giving It Up, received The Romance Review’s Top Pick, Night Owl Top Pick, and 5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies. RT Book Reviews gave it 4.5 stars, calling it “truly extraordinary.” Since then, she has gone on to write erotic, contemporary, and historical romances. She has been published by Loose Id, Carina Press, and Entangled.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now
By: Ann Brashares
Pub. Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 288
Source: Netgalley

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

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

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

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children's.

I think I am the only female on the planet who has not read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, so The Here and Now was my first book written by Ann Brashares. Maybe I went in with too high expectations, but I was not impressed. I feel like this book could have had so much potential, but the story and characters just fell flat for me.

I am a huge fan of time traveling books, and while usually they leave me confused and with a gigantic headache, this one wasn't confusing at all, which I appreciated! Prenna, her mom and a whole group of others have come from 100 years into the future. In their time, a plague has wiped out almost everything and the planet isn't really livable anymore. Things are bad so this elite group was chosen to go into the past to live. There is a whole bunch of rules that they must follow, and if you screw up too much, you disappear. This group definitely reminded me of a cult. The leaders just controlled the people and didn't allow anything out of their norm.

Prenna is fine with following the rules, she knows it's for the best. But that changes when she meets Ethan. Ethan turns her world upside down and makes her realizes that she has most likely been lied to about everything she has known. I did like Ethan. He had a good personality and he was a good guy, but I didn't see any real connection between him and Prenna.

Overall, while the story was a bit predictable, and I found myself getting bored, the story had a good concept. I think I was just expecting and hoping for more.

2.5 stars rounded to 3.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

By: John Corey Whaley
Pub. Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pages: 356
Source: Edelweiss

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Edelweiss and Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

I loved this book. I fell in love with absolutely everything. Noggin is so original and different then anything else out there. The writing was perfect and the characters, each and every one of them was written wonderfully. Each one was so relatable and fleshed out. I couldn't get enough of this book, which is why this review is so hard to write. I just want to gush about it and fangirl over it instead!

Five years ago, Travis was dying of cancer. He and his parents decided to try an experimental surgery which would freeze his head and maybe, 40 or 50 years down the line, his brain could be transferred to someone else's body. Turns out medicine advanced a lot quicker then anyone could have expected and now Travis is back, his head attached to a boy named Jeremy Pratt. Travis is still a 17 year old and he feels like he just took a nap, where his high school girlfriend is engaged to another man and his best friend has his own life in college.

Travis had the most realistic voice. Everything was so hard for him to deal with, but he handled everything in such a great way. Sure, some things he did was a little immature and his ex girlfriend and best friend would get angry. But Travis is still technically 17. For him, he took a nap and woke up to everything being different. His friends and family actually had to deal with his death, so him being back was equally as hard for all of them.

There were so many funny parts to this story, much more then I would have imagined. For being kind of a dark story, there was so much light. I think Noggin could be enjoyed by everyone because it is so much more than just a young adult book.

And that cover! The cover is just absolutely perfect and really captures the story perfectly!

This is my first book I've read from John Corey Whaley and now I can't wait to read his first book, Where Things Come Back!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

This Side of Salvation
By: Jeri Smith-Ready
Pub. Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss

Everyone mourns differently. When his older brother was killed, David got angry. As in, fist-meets-someone-else’s-face furious. But his parents? They got religious. David’s still figuring out his relationship with a higher power, but there’s one thing he does know for sure: The closer he gets to new-girl Bailey, the better, brighter, happier, more he feels.

Then his parents start cutting all their worldly ties in to prepare for the Rush, the divine moment when the faithful will be whisked off to Heaven…and they want David to do the same. David’s torn. There’s a big difference between living in the moment and giving up his best friend, varsity baseball, and Bailey—especially Bailey—in hope of salvation.

But when he comes home late from prom, and late for the Rush, to find that his parents have vanished, David is in more trouble than he ever could have imagined.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss.

I really enjoyed This Side of Salvation. I usually stay away from books about religion and/ or cults, but I loved the cover and I am a fan of the author, so I gave this story a shot. I am so glad that I did. The writing was wonderfully done and I loved every single character.

David's parents are convinced that the Rapture, also known as the Rush is going to happen soon. When this occurs, everyone who is worthy is going to disappear and be safe, while God destroys the rest of the earth. You always have to laugh at people who believe religious fanatics such as David's parents. But in this case, Smith-Ready makes you understand. The death of David's older brother, John completely destroyed the family. I can even understand why a young kid like David would turn religious. The way his brother died was horrible and tragic, and David had first hand experience with what happened.

On the night that the Rush was supposed to happen, David and his sister, Mara were at a party. Coming home late, they expect to come home to angry parents, but there parents have disappeared. Neither of them believed that the Rush was going to happen, but what other explanation can there be? I loved trying to figure out the mystery along with David, Mara, Bailey (David's gf) and Kane (David's best friend). All of the characters were written in a way that made me feel connected to them. They were all really fleshed out, especially David.

We only get David's POV in This Side of Salvation, and I think for this story, having one point of view worked perfectly. I think it would have been too much if the author decided to add different POVs. The story is also told during "Now" and "Years, Months, Days, ect Before the Rapture". I liked this aspect of the story and thought it added a lot to it.   

Overall, I really loved This Side of Salvation and I can't wait to see what Smith-Ready has in store for us next! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cover Reveal: Untamed by Victoria Green and Jinsey Reese

(Untamed, #1)
Authors: Victoria Green & Jinsey Reese
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance (Novella Series)
Expected Publication: April 2014 by Turning Leaves Press

Rich, beautiful, and wild, Reagan McKinley has everything she needs...but nothing that she wants. That is, until she spends one hot night in the arms of sexy, unbridled Dare Wilde.
She's a girl trapped in a rigid world she desperately wants to escape, and he's an untamed artist with an attitude, hell-bent on freeing her—body, mind, and soul. But Reagan's life is not her own, and Dare is not welcome in it. She can't include him in her carefully-controlled, extremely public lifestyle...and yet she cannot give him up.
Will a shared passion for art—and, increasingly, each other—be enough to keep them together? Or will it be the thing that ultimately tears them apart?
It's hot. It's sexy.
And it's coming April 2014.

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