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Friday, February 27, 2015

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott

Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott
"True is not exactly loving New Jersey. Banished from Mount Olympus and tasked with helping couples find love without using her powers, the goddess-formerly-known-as-Cupid is having a tough time. Especially now that True’s immortal love, Orion, has also appeared at her New Jersey high school—but with no memory of their relationship.

To distract herself from seeing Orion flirt with another girl, True focuses her efforts on making a match: Peter and Claudia. Peter is the star quarterback and the most popular guy in school. But he’s insecure about his future, so he preemptively dumps Claudia, his girlfriend. (If she won’t want to be with him later, why stay together now?) Claudia doesn’t take the breakup too well, and she’s ready to show the quarterback of their rival school just how ready she is to get over it.

But True sees something in these two seniors. She believes they should be together—but can she help them find their way back to each other (and get herself closer to home)? Or have things already spun too far out of control?"- summary from Amazon

I am a huge fan of Scott's books and I absolutely adored this follow-up to Only Everything. I loved seeing True and Orion slowly getting to know each other (and usually at the embarrassment of True). The couple that True works on in this novel are wonderful and I think the way that Scott writes these books really helps. It goes between three different characters- True, and then the boy and girl of the couple being worked on. This really allows the reader to get into the heads of these characters and see exactly what they are thinking and feeling and why they are doing what they're doing. Scott really gets into the heart of different kinds of relationships through these books and it makes me eager to see what happens in Book 3.

Overall, such a great second book in this trilogy and it's going to be sad when I finish the final book.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Zodiac by Romina Russell

Zodiac by Romina Russell
"Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancrian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?"- summary from Amazon

This book was such a fantastic debut and Russell's writing is amazing and compelling. I loved following Rho's journey as her life is turned upside-down by this mysterious force and as it propels her to grow up very fast and make some huge decisions. I also really loved the characters of Mathias and Hysan and her complicated relationships with both as the three of them travel the Zodiac together and figure out what exactly is going on.

Russell's world-building here is so good and I really enjoyed learning all about the Zodiac world and how it works as well as its mythology and the differences between each of the Houses. It's extremely clever and makes for an interesting read.

Overall, I really enjoyed this debut and I'm looking forward to seeing where the rest of the series goes from here.

FTC: Received hardcover from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, January 23, 2015

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

All Fall Down by Ally Carter
"Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down."- summary from Amazon

Oh, I have missed Ally Carter's writing; I didn't know how much though until I started reading All Fall Down. I've read several of Carter's books, and kind of lost track of her two series and I may need to go back and read more while I wait for the second book of this new series Embassy Row.

It's everything you expect from an Ally Carter book- high stakes situations, lots of humor, and quite a few hot guys. The difference with this book though is that it's definitely darker than her previous books and deals with the main character's mental instability extremely well. Grace vacillates between being so convinced of what happened and being so doubtful of her memories, and what really happened is a huge twist, which Carter handles deftly. The reader really goes along on this roller coaster of a ride, and I really felt for Grace and what she went through.

Of course, there's also a great cast of characters, which Carter is also very good at developing. These are characters you immediately want to spend time with and get to know. The interactions just flow so well and make the novel go by way too fast. I particularly loved the main group of friends Grace makes on Embassy Row- Noah (LOVE!), Rosie, and Megan; they're all incredibly smart, funny, and all-around amazing.

Overall, a fantastic start to a new series and I am extremely eager to get my hands on Book 2. Go out and buy this book now!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
"Do you want to get to know the woman we first came to love on Comedy Central's Upright Citizens Brigade? Do you want to spend some time with the lady who made you howl with laughter on Saturday Night Live, and in movies like Baby Mama, Blades of Glory, and They Came Together? Do you find yourself daydreaming about hanging out with the actor behind the brilliant Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation? Did you wish you were in the audience at the last two Golden Globes ceremonies, so you could bask in the hilarity of Amy's one-liners?

If your answer to these questions is "Yes Please!" then you are in luck. In her first book, one of our most beloved funny folk delivers a smart, pointed, and ultimately inspirational read. Full of the comedic skill that makes us all love Amy, Yes Please is a rich and varied collection of stories, lists, poetry (Plastic Surgery Haiku, to be specific), photographs, mantras and advice. With chapters like "Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend," "Plain Girl Versus the Demon" and "The Robots Will Kill Us All" Yes Please will make you think as much as it will make you laugh. Honest, personal, real, and righteous, Yes Please is full of words to live by."- summary from Amazon

Just like Tina Fey's Bossypants, I absolutely adored this book. Poehler's writing is compelling, hilarious, and honest, and gives readers a wonderful balance of memoir and inspiration/advice. It's not just about Poehler's life, though of course there is a lot about it- from growing up in Boston to living in Chicago and doing Second City to her time with Upright Citizens Brigade and SNL to her years on Parks and Recreation. But there's also life lessons told in the book, how to deal with a multitude of different issues, how to be yourself to the fullest extent, and so much more.

Poehler's writing made me feel like I was listening to a close personal friend talking about their life. There's a lot of personality and emotions in her prose, which helps to give that familiarity to the reader. One of the things I loved about this book is how much she talked about how hard it was to write this book. As an avid reader who knows many authors and as a writer myself, I know this sentiment all too well and it was nice to see a celebrity write about how hard, difficult and tough it is to write. She compares writing to "hacking away at a freezer with a screwdriver." How very true.

Overall, this was a fantastic memoir and I urge everyone to go out and read it!! You will not be disappointed.

FTC: Borrowed book from local library. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
"Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Now in hiding on the dark caravan—the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters' every command—she'd give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle. Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna's revolution and Nalia's sworn enemy. He promises to release Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother. There's just one catch: for Raif's unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle . . . and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him."- summary from Amazon

It's been a while since I read a book featuring a jinni so I was excited to read this story and what I've enjoyed all the genie/jinni novels I've read so far is that they're all different. Each author has a completely different take on how they write their genies/jinnis. This is the darkest of all the ones I've read and there's a lot of world-building and backstory going on with Nalia and her world of Arjinna. Demetrios takes a complete 180 and is just as good writing fantasy as she is writing contemporary; it's such an engrossing, compelling read.

Overall, a fantastic start to a new trilogy and I'm eager to see where Demetrios takes Nalia and Raif next!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.