Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: Mortal Danger

Title: Mortal Danger
Author: Ann Aguirre
Series: Immortal Game #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Source: I received an advanced copy in exchange for a honest review.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn't imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She's not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he's impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly... bad things are happening. It's a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil's bargains, she isn't sure who—or what--she can trust. Not even her own mind...

Mortal Danger is the story of Edie, a desperate young woman who makes a deal with a group that she doesn't even begin to understand. This one starts off dark. Really dark. When we first meet Edie, she is en route to jump off a bridge. The beginning of this book focuses a lot on bullying and how devastating it can be to victims. And it's sad because I know this part of Edie's story isn't fiction and so many kids feel hopeless in their lives. So everyone please try to be kind to each other!

The pacing of this one was off for me. I enjoyed the first few pages that set the story up, but then things start to drag a bit after that. But stick with it, as I found the second half to move much faster and be fairly exciting.

Edie is a pretty sympathetic character. She has had some pretty crappy stuff happen to her. However, for being as smart as she was, I think she should have tried to learn more about her situation. I know that's what I would have done.

Then there was the whole thing with Edie and Kian, who was basically her handler in the deal she made. Things went way too fast between them for me and I was actually confused sometimes, because I didn't follow their relationship very well.

That said, the second half of the book was definitely enjoyable for me, even if the first half had some pacing and romance issues. This book actually reminded me of some of Holly Black's books, which is a pretty high compliment from me. So if you get past the few imperfections, I still enjoyed this one quite a bit and am excited to see what happens next.

Also, I'm kind of in love with the creepy cover!

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Also, make sure you've entered my current giveaway for a copy of Wanted: Dead or in Love (US/CAN) here!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life of a Blogger: Quirks

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi of Novel Heartbeat. Each week, we share a little about ourselves and our real lives so we can get to know the people behind the blogs!

I haven't done a Life of a Blogger for a while now. Oops! This week's topic is quirks. I guess I have a few...

1. I love putting things in alphabetical order. Especially my books. I find it calming.
2. I love baking, but sometimes avoid it because I hate doing the dished afterwards.
3. I can't read in the car or on the bus, but I can on a train.
4. My boyfriend and I have a special voice we use when we talk to our cat. It's not a baby voice, but almost more like a demon.
5. If I'm eating multiple things (like meat, potatoes and veggies), I have to eat them one at a time.

Jeez, I can't think of anything else. Maybe I'm just not that quirky.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review + Giveaway (US/CAN): Wanted: Dead or in Love

Title: Wanted: Dead or in Love
Author: Kym Brunner
Publisher: Merit Press
Publication Date: June 30, 2014
Source: I received a copy in exchange for a honest review.

Impulsive high school senior Monroe Baker is on probation for a recent crime, but strives to stay out of trouble by working as a flapper at her father's Roaring 20's dinner show theater. When she cuts herself on one of the spent bullets from her father's gangster memorabilia collection, she unwittingly awakens Bonnie Parker's spirit, who begins speaking to Monroe from inside her head.

Later that evening, Monroe shows the slugs to Jack, a boy she meets at a party. He unknowingly becomes infected by Clyde, who soon commits a crime using Jack's body. The teens learn that they have less than twenty-four hours to ditch the criminals or they'll share their bodies with the deadly outlaws indefinitely.

I wasn't sure what to expect going into Wanted: Dead or in Love, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. It was a good adventure and I really liked the paranormal aspects.

This one was told using dual POV, alternating between Monroe, a modern teen, and the legendary Clyde Barrow. I usually am not a huge fan of dual POV, but this time it really worked! I appreciated the noticeable differences in their voices and enjoyed the past vs. present differences.

I didn't know much about Bonnie and Clyde going into this book, so I liked that I actually learned a bit of history as well. I'm all for making learning fun!

Like I said, I really enjoyed the paranormal aspects of this book. Being possessed by the spirit of a dead gangster would be terrifying! I found the 'rules' for how being 'half-dead' worked fresh and unique and I really thought they worked.

However, I did have a few minor issues with the characters. All of them. Monroe is the kind of character who constantly makes bad decisions, especially in the first 40 pages or so. Since it was so early in the book, it made it hard for me to like her for most of it, since we didn't have a relationship before she went around going stupid crap. Jack was such a little wiener for most of the book. I understand he was put in a really crappy situation, but it seemed like he did everything that he could to get in Monroe's way. Bonnie was mostly just annoying. She had such a one-track mind and no depth. I did end up feeling pretty bad for her in the end. And Clyde just gave me the heebie jeebies! He came off really sleazy to me with all his pickup lines mixed with his chauvinistic attitude. I definitely couldn't see the attraction there. Also, horniest ghost ever!

Despite my issues with the characters, I really enjoyed this one based on the paranormal aspects and historical information. Recommended for history buffs and fans of alternative ghost stories.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

It's Not Official Until There's a Blog Post About It: Megan's Giant TBR Challenge

Like most of you, I love books. A lot. Especially have shelves full of beautiful hardcovers and tempting paperbacks. But this is getting out of hand.

Tuesday night I decided to reorganize my bookshelves (I do this every so often since I find it really relaxing - weird I know - I just have a thing for putting books in alphabetical order). I decided to switch it up and sort my books into read and unread. And then I realized my unread books take up more than a full bookcase! That's insane! I counted this morning and I have 176 unread (or partially read) books! What? When did this happen? Getting early access to ARCs is awesome, but it also means I don't read the books I already own, win from giveaways, receive finished copies from publishers and purchase. And none of this includes the black hole that is my kindle.

So what am I doing to do? I am instigating an immediate ban on buying AND requesting new books AND entering giveaways. Instead of reading new releases, I'm going to read through my shelves. One exception: sequels. I  want to carry on with my series and therefore I'm letting myself buy or request books that continue a series I've already started. Because I know I would break down and buy a few coming out in the next year.

My ultimate goal of this challenge is to get my TBR so that it takes up one book shelf instead of more than a full bookcase. So I will keep these strict rules until I get below 100, then I may relax them a bit (ie: I can buy/request 1 book per 5 books read or one per month or something).

Wish me luck! I'll be posting an update at the end of each month to track my progress. You'll still so reviews for new releases until the end of October, but starting then, it will be mainly older books (and sequels).

Current TBR: 176 books

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Illusions of Fate

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick:

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Release Date: September 9, 2014

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Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.

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I think I'm in love with the cover of this one. Teacups and birds are two of my favourite things to look at!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Wildflower

Title: Wildflower
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Source: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for a honest review.

The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family's bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She's even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird's star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.

Wildflower is a fun, light read and would be perfect to bring along to the beach. With a relateable main character, lots of music references, Wildflower was good, clean fun to read.

Bird is a likeable main character and seems pretty realistic, despite her unusally upbringing. She and her family are a traveling bluegrass band and Bird has lived in a Winnebago for the past five years. She definitely fits in the "good girl" category, which I enjoyed. I find that sometimes contemporaries focused on more rebellious teens (because it makes an interesting story), but I found myself much better able to connect with Bird, since she was more like me growing up, other than the country music star part.

Wildflower covers a lot of contemporary bases. Trying to get the attention of the boy you like, family drama and finding out more about who you are. I liked Adam a lot. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy and I though him and Bird's quest to find the best fountain Coke in America was adorable. Bird also faced some family problems, which I thought were super realistic and it would be felt weird if they hadn't happened, given the situation the family was in. 

It was interesting to watch Bird learn about the rest of the music industry beyond playing shows with her family. It seems super tough and stressful, although very fulfilling if that's what you love.

I enjoyed the ending of this one. I felt it was realistic, but still hopefully. I think I read somewhere that this is part of a series, which I'm excited about, since I liked Bird a lot and want to see what the future holds for her.

I think it's also worth mentioning that this book definitely fits into the clean teen fiction category. Like I mentioned about, Bird is a good girl and there's no cussing, drinking or sex in this one. 

I really enjoyed Wildflower. If I went to the beach, this is the exact sort of book I'd like to bring along.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review: The Kiss of Deception

Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Source: I received a complimentary ARC in exchange for a honest review.

In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

I love YA and I love fantasy, so The Kiss of Deception was perfect for me. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I especially found the lore of this one interesting. And I'm pretty sure we're going to find out even more lore by the end of the series and I'm very interested to know it all.

Lia was a very likable character. She's strong willed and smart and stubborn and feisty and loyal. I find that a lot of YA heroines that are popular have a similar personality to Lia, so I think most readers will like her as well. I enjoyed her friendship with Pauline and also her clear love for her brothers. While she doesn't care to follow the rules, I completely sympathize with her reasons and I loved her ability to adapt to new situations and not be trapped in princess-mode.

The supporting characters were great. I loved Pauline and Berdi. I also like Gwenyth and really hope we get to learn more about her. And I'm also super curious about Lia's mother, since I'm certain there's more to her than meets the eye.

And then there are the boys. Yep, plural. There is a bit of a love triangle here, but I'm happy to say Lia makes her decision almost immediately. I will mention that I got fairly confused about the boys for a while. You find out both of their names and both of their roles right away, but you don't find out who is who for a while and I totally had them mixed up and had to completely change my thinking. I personally prefered Kaden, but that's based entirely on a weird personally thing I have going on.

I found the plot dragged a tiny bit in the middle, but for the most part, things moved fast enough to keep my attention. I am excited to find out what happens next, since the book leaves off in a very intense situation. Can't wait for book two!

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