Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Mass

Heir of Fire
(Throne of Glass # 3)
By: Sarah J. Mass
Pub. Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 565
Source: Netgalley

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. 

The Throne of Glass series is definitely an amazing, original series about a young women named Celaena who is one of the worlds greatest assassinations. I loved watching Calaena grow throughout the series, and I can't wait to see what will happen to her in the next book. While I didn't like Heir of Fire as much as I did the first two books, it was still a wonderful book.

Heir of Fire takes place right after Crown of Midnight ends. Calaena has left the palace on one of her errands, but at the same time has her own agenda. I hated that she wasn't at the castle with Chaol. I hated so much that they were separated. I also didn't like that Dorian and Chaol weren't being honest with each other and keeping secrets from the other. I love their friendship so much, so it's definitely something I missed in Heir of Fire.

In this installment we are introduced to another leading man-Rowan. I absolutely loved him! Maybe even more that Chaol and Dorian, which I never thought could be possible! In the beginning he was so closed off and kind of a jerk, but I loved watching his walls break down. **Swoon**

We got to see a lot more of Calaena's vulnerable side in Heir of Fire. She blames herself for so much that has happened. I hated how broken she was. We also learn a lot more about her past and family, and what really happened 10 years ago when everything she has ever known was destroyed. These parts were so hard to read.   

Heir of Fire ended on such a cliffhanger. I am so excited for the next book. I don't know if I will be able to wait a whole year! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: Shatter by Erin McCarthy

(True Believers # 4)
By: Erin McCarthy
Pub. Date: September 1, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Group Berkley
Pages: 250
Source: Netgalley

Kylie Warner prides herself on being optimistic, but after finding her best friend in bed with her boyfriend and flunking chemistry, her upbeat attitude has taken a dive. Even an impromptu hook-up with her sexy new chemistry tutor only brightens her mood slightly. After all, it’s not like she’ll ever see the tattooed scholar again…

While he’s a whiz at complex equations, Jonathon Kadisch has trouble when it comes to figuring out women. So when Kylie tells him that she’s pregnant after their night of passion, he’s at a complete loss. He’s prepared to be a good father—unlike his own deadbeat dad—but he’s less prepared to fall for the genuine and alluring blonde bearing his child.

With emotions running high, Kylie wonders if Jonathon’s devotion is out of growing love or looming obligation. And when heartbreak threatens to tear them apart, Jonathon will have to fight for the only girl who’s ever made him feel whole.
 I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

I have enjoyed this series from the beginning, and I think Shatter has been my favorite so far. I really loved the characters, and I think that's what made me love this book so much. Both Kylie and Jonathon have earned a special place in my heart. First off, I love that Kylie was the one who needed tutoring, and it was tattooed Jonathon "Darwin" Kadisch that was the genius that was tutoring her.

I think these two were so adorable with each other, and nothing is hotter then a geeky, tattooed boy. They were only together one night, but that one night resulted in pregnancy. They literally just met, but I love that Jonathan was ready to do the right thing by Kylie and their unborn child.

Despite having a huge issue that the two of them were trying to figure out, I like that there wasn't any drama in the story. They were honest with each other, which I enjoyed. It was a nice change of pace from other new adult stories out there.

Shatter is one of my favorite stories from this series, and I am excited to read the next one!   

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review: Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

By: Ellen Hopkins
Pub. Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderberry Books
Pages: 560
Source: Edelweiss

Eighteen-year-old Matthew Turner doesn't believe in much. Not in family—his is a shambles, after his brother’s suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when the going gets rough. Certainly not in some omnipotent master of heaven and earth, no matter what his girlfriend, Hayden, thinks. In fact, he’s sick of arguing with her about faith. Matt is a devout atheist, unafraid of some Judgment Day designed by decidedly human power brokers to keep the masses in check. He works hard, plays hard, and plans on checking out the same way. But a horrific accident—one of his own making—plunges Matt into a dark, silent place where the only thing he can hear is a rumble, and eventually, a voice. And what it says will call everything Matt has ever disbelieved into question.
 I received this galley from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I have been a huge fan of Ellen Hopkins for years. I feel like her last few books have not been as strong as her books from the beginning, but I still love her and will read anything she writes. Which is why I read Rumble. I usually try to stay away from books with a big religious theme, but it's Hopkins, so I had to read it. While I liked it, I didn't love it.

In true Hopkins form, the main character is trying to deal with something major that has happened in his life. Matthew blames himself for his brothers suicide. When Luke came out to his family, Matthew wasn't as supportive as he should have and could have been. Now Luke is dead, and Matthew is trying to figure out how religion plays into his life. His parents, especially his mother, are huge believers of a higher power. Matthew is the other end of the spectrum. He believes there is no way God can exist. He says all you have to do is look at all of the hate in the world to realize it. I actually really liked Matthew and I connected to him. He grew a lot as a character throughout the novel and I enjoyed watching his transformation.

I wasn't a huge fan of the ending. I felt it was very rushed. I actually didn't even realize I was reaching the end of the novel, then all of a sudden I did.  I hate when that happens! I think a few more pages would have been better.

What I love so much about Hopkin's books is she always creates the most realistic characters. They are all going through something terrible and I think many people can connect and relate to them. Even if you have never been in the exact same situation as them, there is still something there that can connect you to them.

I can't wait to find out what Hopkins will write next!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Blog Tour: My Tribute to The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

Addison Stone’s sudden death left nothing but questions; everyone felt they knew her best, but once she died it seemed to be so much smoke and mirrors. So I decided to find out: who was Addison, really? What were we to her? The tells her inner circle’s story. Now I want to hear yours. Write something; paint; sculpt; collage; take a photo. Just create something and post it. Give us your memories of her. Maybe together we can put our shattered butterfly back together.
-Adele Griffin
This isn’t your average blog tour. Instead of a traditional interview, review, or guest post, we’re asking you to join in the spirit of The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone, a docu-novel that tries to get to the bottom of who Addison Stone really is.

Obviously you don’t *really* know her–she doesn’t actually exist–but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun pretending, right?

And have fun we did! Over 50 bloggers, 13 days, and a huge amount of creativity, here we have it. The blog tour for The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone. (Note: there’s tons more, including free swag, at

My tribute to Addison Stone:

I didn't know Addison. Not like Lincoln or Jonah knew her. We were both in the same art class at Pratt. I remember thinking how talented Addison was, but also how lonely and vulnerable she was. Everything she was feeling could be seen right on that canvas for everyone to see. The day she stopped coming to class was "the day the music died" so to speak. I will never be as talented as she was. She was truly something special.

Visit to learn more about Addison Stone

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review: The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone
By: Adele Griffin
Pub. Date: August 12, 2014
Publisher: Soho Teen
Pages: 256
Source: Edelweiss

National Book Award-finalist Adele Griffin tells the fully illustrated story of a brilliant young artist, her mysterious death, and the fandom that won't let her go.

From the moment she stepped foot in NYC, Addison Stone’s subversive street art made her someone to watch, and her violent drowning left her fans and critics craving to know more. I conducted interviews with those who knew her best—including close friends, family, teachers, mentors, art dealers, boyfriends, and critics—and retraced the tumultuous path of Addison's life. I hope I can shed new light on what really happened the night of July 28.

- Adele Griffin

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone is one of the most original stories I have ever read. Author Adele Griffin tells the story of street artist Addison Stone through photographs, artwork, and interviews from Addison's friends, ex boyfriends, family, and other people in the artist world. We get to see how Addison deals with fame and we see her downward spiral. While working on a piece, Addison falls to her death, and no one knows if it was suicide, an accident, or murder. This is what Griffin wants to find out.

From the first photograph of Addison I wanted to know more about her life. I loved reading the interviews from the people who really knew her, and the people who just acted like they did. Addison did suffer from a mental illness, but does that mean she killed herself? Or did one of her ex boyfriends push her, since neither of them have alibi's for that night? Each page left me wanting more. The best part? The accompanying artwork and photographs. I must have spent five minutes staring at each one.

The writing is what makes this story so different then other contemporaries out there. Told entirely in interview form, we get a sense of Addison, without ever really knowing her, since at the time of the story, she has already died. I thought it would be confusing with so many different peoples viewpoints, but it ended up being so easy to keep up. I was never lost and I always knew who was talking. Each voice was very distinguished.

My favorite voice was Lincoln Reed, who was probably the love of Addison's life. At first you only think negative things about him, since he doesn't have an alibi and he was no where to be found during all the media attention, but it's 100% clear how much Lincoln loved Addison.

I can not wait to read more from Griffin and I highly recommend The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone!

Check back tomorrow for my Addison Stone inspiration piece, part of the The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone blog tour

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: Reckless by Priscilla West

(Reckless # 1)
By: Priscilla West
Pub. Date: August 4, 2014
Publisher: Self
Pages: 249
Source: eARC from Author

Everything about him warned me to stay away.

I’d seen bad boys before, but he had it all and more. The rippling muscles covered in tatts, the piercing eyes hiding dark secrets, the silky voice that could make a girl come with just a whisper.

He was exactly the type of guy that would get me in trouble, but when he jumped off the stage, inked skin glistening with sweat and breathed his seductive words into my ear, I couldn’t resist the temptation.

It was supposed to be the best one-night stand of my life, but fate didn’t let it play out that way. Things happened. I got upset. I got hasty. And worst of all, I got reckless.

After that disaster, I thought it was the last I’d see of him. But what I didn’t know was that I’d started something.

Something that could shatter the very thing I had worked so hard to protect.

I should have known back then that the most seductive things in life are also the most dangerous.

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoy Priscilla West's books. She writes really complex and broken characters and I love reading about them healing and Reckless was no exception. I fell in love with both Jax and Riley. Jax was just so complex and Riley really knew how to stand on her own with him.

Jax and Riley first meet at one of his concerts and instantly the two of them have this hot, sexy connection. They never expect to see each other again after their one night stand but it turns out that Riley is the accountant that has been hired by the bands management to help control the money. Jax is your stereotypical bad boy, until you get to know him. He is actually a very sweet and caring guy but due to his horrible, abusive upbringing it has left him with more then his share of issues. When he finally started to open up to Riley about his past, I nearly lost it. Especially the story of his 14th birthday. I almost died. The story is told through the POV of Riley, but I loved the single flashback chapter from Jax POV. It added so much to his character. I really hope we learn more about Jax's past in the second book.  

I couldn't believe the ending! What a cliffhanger. I am so excited for the next book, and I really hope that I don't have to wait long for it!

I highly recommend this book. I think its the start of an amazing series! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review: Lead Me Not by A. Meredith Walters

Lead Me Not
By: A. Meredith Walters
Pub. Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 288
Source: Edelweiss

In this dangerously sexy novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Find You in the Dark, a straight-laced college student meets a handsome but enigmatic stranger who lures her into an underground club scene, where she finds it difficult to resist temptation

Aubrey Duncan understands loss. She knows what rock bottom looks like, and she is determined to crawl back up to the top after the sudden death of her younger sister. She blames herself for her part in the tragedy, convinced that she could have done something, anything, to help her.

In her effort to gain redemption, Aubrey starts fresh at Longwood University and facilitates an addiction support group, hoping she can support someone else in the way she failed her sister. But what she doesn’t count on is an all-consuming fascination with group member Maxx Demelo, a gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed enigma who hides dark secrets behind a carefully constructed mask. He only reveals what he wants others to see. But Aubrey glimpses another Maxx hidden below the surface—a Maxx who is drowning in his own personal hell.

As Aubrey and Maxx develop an attraction too intense to ignore, he pulls her into the dark underbelly of the city club scene, where she is torn by her desire to save him and an inexplicable urge to join him in his downward spiral. Worst of all, she is beginning to love everything she should run away from—a man who threatens to ignite in her a fire that could burn her alive.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book. I really, really loved this book. A. Meredith Walters made me care so much about these characters, I was still thinking about them days after I finished the book. Aubrey and Maxx were written so beautifully. They were so broken, but Maxx, sweet, scared Maxx just stole the entire show for me.

After her sister overdosed on drugs, Aubrey has decided to make it her life's work to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else. Maxx deals and takes drugs to help deal with the pain in his past. Lead Me Not is definitely not a fluffy, light read. I actually had to put the book down a few times just so I could process my thoughts and feelings.

I really liked Aubrey as a character. She was very strong, and I liked that she could hold her own with Maxx. 
Maxx is someone who basically acted like a jerk, and never let anyone see his vulnerable side or what he was really thinking and feeling. It isn't until you see him with his younger brother that you start to realize there is something way more to him. The events leading to the end really angered me, but they were just so realistic. The actual ending made me so excited for the next book (well, I hope there is a next book!).

Once Maxx started opening up to Aubrey, I really loved the two of them together. They had such a wonderful connection. What made their relationship so hard was that Maxx is a full on addict, who never realized that he had a problem. It was just so heartbreaking, especially when things got so bad that he started to lie to his brother. Those parts killed me.

I've read other books from Walters, but Lead Me Not has definitely been my favorite by far. I am so excited to see what's next! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Before You by Amber Hart

Before You
(Before & After # 1)
Pub. Date: July 29, 2014
Publisher: K-Teen
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley

Some say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn't stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

The minute I saw this cover and read the blurb I knew I had to read it. I was so excited when I saw it on netgalley! Who doesn't love the idea of a good girl and a bad boy, but Before You definitely stood on it's own. There were some similarities to other contemporaries out there, but there were also a lot of differences.

Faith is a through and through a good girl. She makes good grades, listens to her father, who happens to be the local pastor, and never does anything that is against the rules. Turns out that is just one big facade, and I loved it! I loved getting to know the real Faith. Turns out she used to be into the party scene in a bad kind of way-even had to go to rehab. But the only people who knows this about Faith is her family and her best friend Melissa. She plays the part of a good girl good. It isn't until she is assigned to show Diego, a new student from Cuba around school that things start to unfold. Diego can definitely see the real her. Diego is full of tattoos and scars from his days running drugs for the gangs in Cuba. Him and his father has come to Miami for a better life and to get him away from all that. I really enjoyed watching Faith and Diego go from hating each other, to friends, to a relationship.

There were a lot of things that bothered me about Faith. Behind closed doors she and Diego were adorable, but at school she would ignore him and talk about him with her friends. I felt so bad Diego. Either way, the two of them had a really great connection, I just wish Faith was nicer.

I really loved the moments between Diego and his extended family. No matter where you come from, or what you have been through, you always need your family. I thought these moments were so special, and I knew they meant a lot to Diego.

I will never know what it's like to be in Diego's shoes, but the pain, anger and fear he felt, I felt it too. His story was heartbreaking, and even though he did bad things, I understood why he had to do them. I just wanted him to be able to get out of that life completely!

I'm looking forward to the next book featuring Melissa and Javier, Diego's cousin.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Review: A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not" Ripley by Neal Thompson

A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not" Ripley
By: Neal Thompson
Pub. Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Pages: 374
Source: Blogging for Books

"A Curious Man" is the marvelously compelling biography of Robert "Believe It or Not" Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist turned globetrotting millionaire who won international fame by celebrating the world's strangest oddities, and whose outrageous showmanship taught us to believe in the unbelievable.

As portrayed by acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley's life is the stuff of a classic American fairy tale. Buck-toothed and cursed by shyness, Ripley turned his sense of being an outsider into an appreciation for the strangeness of the world. After selling his first cartoon to "Time "magazine at age eighteen, more cartooning triumphs followed, but it was his "Believe It or Not" conceit and the wildly popular radio shows it birthed that would make him one of the most successful entertainment figures of his time and spur him to search the globe's farthest corners for bizarre facts, exotic human curiosities, and shocking phenomena.

Ripley delighted in making outrageous declarations that somehow always turned out to be true--such as that Charles Lindbergh was only the sixty-seventh man to fly across the Atlantic or that "The Star Spangled Banner" was "not "the national anthem. Assisted by an exotic harem of female admirers and by ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a devoted researcher who spoke eleven languages, Ripley simultaneously embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, the fearlessness of Marco Polo and the marketing savvy of P. T. Barnum.

In a very real sense, Ripley sought to remake the world's aesthetic. He demanded respect for those who were labeled "eccentrics" or "freaks"--whether it be E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the man who could swallow his own nose.

By the 1930s Ripley possessed a vast fortune, a private yacht, and a twenty-eight room mansion stocked with such "oddities" as shrunken heads and medieval torture devices, and his pioneering firsts in print, radio, and television were tapping into something deep in the American consciousness--a taste for the titillating and exotic, and a fascination with the fastest, biggest, dumbest and most weird. Today, that legacy continues and can be seen in reality TV, YouTube, "America's Funniest Home Videos, Jackass, MythBusters" and a host of other pop-culture phenomena.

In the end Robert L. Ripley changed "everything. "The supreme irony of his life, which was dedicated to exalting the strange and unusual, is that he may have been the most amazing oddity of all.
Since I was a child I have been fascinated with Ripley's Believe it or Not. I remember going to his museums and loving every minute of it. I was so excited when I had the chance to read this book for review because I always wanted to know more about him and the interesting life he lead. While I learned a lot, and did enjoy the story as a whole, I found myself being bored too. It's definitely written in biographical format, and that has never appealed to me.

I had no idea how messed up Robery Ripley really was. He was so sheltered and socially awkward that it amazes me what he was able to accomplish in his life. I loved learning about his adventures, and the pictures were great!

As I said, I loved learning about his life but at the same time, once he started traveling there were just way too many things happening. It was hard to keep up, which made me not want to continue. But my need to want to learn more is what kept me reading. I think I would have been so much happier with the book if it was a 100 pages shorter.

Either way, Ripley lived such an interesting life and his story should be told. I would recommend this book to those who do want to learn more about him.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review. 

3.5 stars rounded up to 4. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Review: Pretenders by Lisi Harrison

(Pretenders # 1)
By: Lisi Harrison
Pub. Date: October 1, 2014
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 293

It takes place at a high school in New Jersey. Summer is over. Sophomore year begins tomorrow. Outfits are being planned. Lunch buddies are being secured. Texts are flying. All seems normal when…ping! Everyone in the sophomore class gets an email.

SUBJECT: The Phoenix Five: License To Spill.

Attached is a mega document.

A letter from a mysterious student starts the book. It explains that at the end of each year the school yearbook- The Phoenix- names the five most outstanding freshman. She (or he) always suspected that last years’ five (3 girls, 2 boys) were phonies. She (or he) always thought they tried too hard to be popular. But she (or he) never had the proof. Until now. She (or he) stole the secret diaries they were asked to keep by their English teacher. She (or he) has compiled them into a book.

This is that book. 

I received this galley in exchange for an honest review. 

I loved the concept of this book so much, but there was a few things that disappointed me. For one, I hate that this was turned into two books. I think one book would have been absolutely perfect. I actually didn't even know the book was going to end until I turned the page and it was over (I was reading an e-ARC and the formatting was all off-it told me I had another 60 pages :/).

The story is told through the journal entries of five teens-Lily, Vanessa, Sheridan, Duffy and Jagger. I started the book really enjoying everyone's POV, but as the story went on, the only one I really cared about was Jagger. While everyone else was complaining about stupid things and being overly dramatic, Jagger was the only one who really was dealing with things. If I do choose to read the second book, it will only be because I want to know more about Jagger and get resolution for his story.

I will say that having five point of views can be extremely difficult-not just for the author, but for the reader as well. But Lisi Harrison pulled it off wonderfully. I could clearly see the differences between the voices. They were all very unique. I definitely have to give her props for that.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Some Boys by Patty Blount

Some Boys
By: Patty Blount
Pub. Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 352
Source: Netgalley

Some boys go too far. Some boys will break your heart. But one boy can make you whole.

When Grace meets Ian she's afraid. Afraid he'll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses the town golden boy of rape, everyone turns against Grace. They call her a slut and a liar. But...Ian doesn't. He's funny and kind with secrets of his own.

But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you believe in love?

A gut-wrenching, powerful love story told from alternating points of view by the acclaimed author of Send.
I received this galley from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really love Patty Blount's books. Her characters go through really tough things that are so realistic to today's teenagers, and Some Boys is no exception. Told in the POV of both Grace and Ian, the reader gets an inside look how hard it is too be a teenager, especially a teenage girl in today's world.

Almost two months before, Grace was raped by the towns golden boy, Zac, who also happens to be Ian's best friend. When Grace names her rapist, no one believes her. Zac said she wanted it and she enjoyed it, and Grace was deemed the town slut. She went from being popular, to not even being able to walk down the hall without being taunting by everyone. Even parents have something to say about it. This is something that happens too many times in real life, and its sad and horrible and I don't understand how it keeps happening. I don't understand how people, knowing what they know, can still automatically blame the victim. It's very hard for me to read. Blount did a good job with Grace's voice. I really felt her pain and anger and I just wanted her to be ok.

Ian automatically believed Zac. He's his best friend so why should he doubt him. But when he and Grace are forced to clean lockers in detention he starts to see a side of Grace that tells him maybe Zac is the one whose lying. I liked Grace and Ian together. It definitely wasn't easy, but it was real. Ian was in a rough place because he wants to believe his best friend, but he sees Grace isn't the slut everyone says she is. I thought he was a very well written, realistic boy that many people could relate too. He wasn't perfect, he made mistakes, but he was a good person.

Some Boys is a really important story that I think people should be more aware of. Even though it is a very hard topic, I still really enjoyed this story and I highly recommend it. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

By: Kristi Cook
Pub. Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 384
Source: Edelweiss

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.
 I received this galley from edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I've always been obsessed with life in the South, from their old plantation style homes and histories to their way of life in modern times. I was really looking forward to reading Magnolia for this reason.

Magnolia deals with two families, the Cafferty's and the Marsden's. They have been best friends since the Civil War. For over a hundred years the families have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to blend their two families together through the marriage, and it finally looks like it can happen with Jemma and Ryder. The problem is that these two can't stand each other, or more appropriately, Jemma can't stand Ryder and we don't know why. We know it has something to do with a high school dance a few years earlier. I really wanted to know the history between these two, because they had excellent chemistry.

I really loved the two of them together. They were just so cute! Their story really picked up for me when they were forced to stay together during a terrifying hurricane. It was so adorable how scared Ryder was and how protective Jemma got of him.

I totally understand why Jemma's parents weren't able to come home before the hurricane, but I don't understand why Ryder's parents just told him to stay with her, alone, during the hurricane. They said it was because of the pets that Jemma's family has, but they couldn't make an exception for one night? It was a freaking hurricane! They could have just locked the pets in one of the rooms in their plantation home. Then at least two teenagers wouldn't have to be alone during a hurricane with multiple tornadoes.

Except for that one issue, I really enjoyed Magnolia and I absolutely loved the cover. This was my first Kristi Cook book, and I am excited to read more from her.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Blog Tour: Review: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well
By: Rin Chupeco
Pub. Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night. 

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out.

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.
 I received this galley from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't really know what to expect from The Girl from the Well. I knew there was a ghost, a boy with secrets and I knew it was being described as similar to the movie, "The Grudge". I read the first chapter, had no idea what was going on and decided to stop. A few days later I was still intrigued, picked it back up, and ended up loving it! So definitely give this book a chance, it's totally worth it!

What makes this book so interesting is the POV it's in. Okiku was murdered hundreds of years ago, and spends her afterlife killing those who have killed children. She walks the earth alone, but she has a purpose. I loved her voice and her descriptions of things. Even though she has been around for over 300 years, she is so detached from people, which made her POV so much more interesting to read. Everything changes for her when she meets Tark. A strange boy with creepy, moving tattoos on his arm.

I loved Tark! What a sad, broken, funny, sweet guy. All we know from the beginning is that his mother put those tattoos on him when he was very young and that she tried to kill him. We have no idea why. He had so much love for him mom, even though she has done nothing but hurt him. The whole situation was so hard to read. I also loved Tark's cousin, Callie. She was so supportive of Tark and I loved their relationship.

I don't know much about Japanese supernatural culture, so I really enjoyed learning about all of it in this book. You could tell that the author did a lot of research for this story, and it paid off! I was turning the pages so fast to learn more about all of this.

I really enjoyed The Girl from the Well. I thought it was interesting, fast paced and highly original. I will definitely read more from this author!

Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. The Girl from the Well is her debut novel. Connect with Rin at

Friday, August 1, 2014

Free Preview Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After
(Anna and the French Kiss # 3)
By: Stephanie Perkins
Pub. Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 339
Source: Free preview provided by Netgalley

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

I received this free preview from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I feel like I've waited forever for a new Stephanie Perkins novel, so I was so excited when I saw a free preview on netgalley for her latest book, Isla and the Happily Ever After. From the few chapters that I read, I think Isla and Josh are going to be fantastic contemporary characters. In true Perkins fashion, Isla and the Happily Ever After seems like it's going to be a fun, sweet and amazing story that I am so looking forward too.

I am also excited about the setting. I love that we will be back in Paris again, but the two characters live in New York City, so scenes will also take place there.

I am already so intrigued by Isla. She seems like she is going to be so realistic and fun. I think a lot of teenage girls (and even adults) can relate to her. I can't wait to learn more about Josh. There definitely seems to be an interesting story there!

August 14th can't come fast enough!

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