Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little
"In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden's tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden's turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe's leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family's position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden's heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden's heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb's increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden's every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family's survival on the line, Jayden must finish the deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find true love for herself."- summary from Amazon

I am not usually one for historical fiction, but this book really captured my attention. It's just written so beautifully and is such a compelling, suspenseful story. I will admit though that I am a bit of a sucker for ancient cultures so with this being set in Mesopotamia, it was easier to get me to read it. Jayden is a great main character and I loved reading her journey through the desert and dealing with all the obstacles that come up in her path. I do wish I had known from the start though that this was the start of a trilogy; for some reason, I thought this was a stand-alone book and was expecting it to end as such. It does not because there are still two more books, which is fine though because I'm really enjoying being in this world with these characters.

Overall, a fantastic start to a new trilogy and I'm really excited to see where things go from here!!

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

Monday, December 15, 2014

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz Czukas
"Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe's Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer's car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the "drowned rat" look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees— of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe's list of Top Ten Best Moments."- summary from Amazon

If you haven't yet read Czukas' extremely awesome debut, now you have two amazing books of hers to read. If you love quick, funny, page-turning reads, these are the books for you. I absolutely loved her sophomore effort and read it very quickly considering how long it takes me to read books lately. I finished it in just a day or so, and may have taken more than my allotted time for breaks at work because of how compelling the story was.

Chloe is a funny, realistic character that I think readers will relate to. I definitely related to her as a retail worker during the holidays and how crazy and stressful that job is. It was interesting to see how very right Czukas got it. And all of Chloe's co-workers were written very well and made for such an engrossing story. And of course the simmering romance between Chloe and Tyson was such fun to read.

Overall, a fantastic follow-up to Czukas' debut Ask Again Later and I am so excited to read whatever she writes next, both as herself and as her NA counterpart, Ellie Cahill.

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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


and here's an interview with Romina:
1) How did you get the idea for Zodiac?

My editor, Liz Tingue, and I came up with the concept for ZODIAC by combining my love of Space with her passion for astrology. Liz and I met ten years ago, in a college class that was pretty much “math for English majors,” and we always knew we wanted to team up on a creative project. I think ZODIAC was written in our stars. J

2) What is your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don’t like those, do you have a favorite snack to eat while writing, or as a reward for writing?

I like strawberry Jelly Belly beans, but my favorite things to snack on are dark chocolate bars, chocolate chip cookies, and salty French fries.

3) What do you do in your free time when you’re not writing?

…annnd I just realized I have no life. (Blogger's note: She has a life!! She does a lot of cool things, like write newspaper columns, produce movie trailers, photography, and potentially plays the drums, though her bio is a bit unclear on that front though I don't know why you would dream of a new drum set if you didn't play, lol.)

4) What are you currently reading, or are about to start? Are there any 2015 books you’re excited about?

I’m reading Winter Falls by Nicole Maggi who is another December debut author. As a member of the Fearless Fifteeners, I’m excited about tons of books in 2015, like Dove Arising by Karen Bao, Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, and An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, to name a few.

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

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
"Sam McKenna has never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She's expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don't think girls belong there. What she's not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so trivial . . . no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don't just want her gone—they won't rest until she gives up. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active . . . and determined to force her out.

At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust . . . and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences."- summary from Amazon

HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING!!! And, like Lies We Tell Ourselves from earlier this week, made me so angry at the Neanderthal sexist military guys in this book (and I read those books back-to-back). I would constantly get the urge to punch someone. It's just crazy that anything like this could happen in this day and age, but I know it definitely still does. A lot of archaic thinking is still in some major institutions.

Aside from the anger, this was a wonderful debut book and I loved the character of Sam- extremely strong (both in strength and will), loyal, and fierce. I loved being in her perspective and reading her journey through a semester at the DMA, which also included some romance with her young, hot drill sergeant. I LOVED Drill (you do find out his real name in the book, but I'll leave that for you to find out) and their scenes together were alternately sweet and hot. Hensley knows how to write a fantastic realistic love connection.

The secret society is absolutely crazy and that whole aspect of the book had me on the edge of my seat. I wish more had been done (or more had been written) in regards to the ending, but I do think it was handled realistically, which I guess is how it should be (though I would not be opposed to an unrealistic ending if it meant good completely won out over evil).

Overall, a highly recommended debut that deals with something very different from what we see in YA. I know I've never read a book set at a military academy. I am looking forward to seeing what Hensley does next!

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

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
"In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town's most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept "separate but equal."

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another."- summary from Amazon

I was angry during a lot of this novel, not because I hated the book or anything, but because of how bigoted and ignorant many white people were during this time in our country's history. It made my blood boil reading how African-Americans were treated and what sorts of things they went through to make integration and equality happen. But it is inspiring to be reading from Sarah's point of view, going through the days with her and feeling her thoughts and emotions during this whole process. And Linda's perspective is great too- seeing her change over the course of the novel and making realizations about herself, her family, her peers, the black students, and others around her was handled so beautifully by Talley.

Talley's writing is engrossing and compelling, and she makes both Sarah and Linda very distinct and their attraction to each other very real. The book is told in five different parts (Parts 1 and 3 are Sarah alone, Part 2 is Linda, and Parts 4 and 5 go back and forth between the two) and takes place over the course of a few months.

Overall, an extremely stellar debut and I urge everyone to go check it out. I cannot wait to see what Talley writes next!

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

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blog Tour- Wild by Sophie Jordan

Wild by Sophie Jordan
"A good girl goes fabulously bad in the final book in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s sexy New Adult romance series, in which three Ivy League suite-mates seek higher knowledge of just how far they can go.

Months after her boyfriend dumped her, Georgia can still hear the insults he hurled at her. Boring. Predictable. Tame. Tired of feeling bad, she’s ready to change her image, and go a little wild. What better way to prove her ex wrong than a hot night of sexual adventure at the secret campus kink club?

In the shadowy den of the kink club, she unexpectedly runs into Logan Mulvaney, her friend’s little brother. A player extraordinaire too hot for his own good, he may be younger, but the guy is light years ahead when it comes to sexual experience. Now he’s telling her to go home—“good girls” don’t belong here!

Georgia is tired of having others define her. She’s going to teach Logan a lesson he won’t forget—one white hot, mind-wrecking kiss . . . that leads to another . . . and another . . . and. . . . Realizing she’s way in over her head, Georgia runs.

Only Logan won’t let her go. Everywhere she goes he’s there, making her want every inch of him. Making her forget who she is. Who he is. And just how wrong they are for each other."- summary from publisher

About the Author:
Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she's not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler. You can find out more on her website, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

Here's a small excerpt from Wild:

“I gotta go,” I said hurriedly, turning to walk around the Jeep, ready to climb in the backseat, not even caring how obvious I was in trying to put distance between us by unnecessarily circling around the vehicle.

I felt him move behind me before I felt his hands on my arms. “No, you don’t,” he growled. “You don’t get to run away again.”

I squeaked as he hauled me back against his chest. My spine stiffened iron-rod straight against the wall of his broad chest. I felt my eyes go huge in my face. He was touching me. Again.And I was freaking out on the inside. I sucked in a deep breath, determined that my freak-out stayed internal only.

“Let me go. They’re coming.” My heart hammered violently in my chest and I didn’t know if it was because we were about to get busted by my friends or because his body felt so unbelievable against mine. Okay, fine. It was both.

His mouth brushed my ear as he spoke, spiking sensation to every nerve in my body. “Are you embarrassed, Georgia? You don’t want them to see me with you? Don’t want Pepper and Reece to know about us?”

“There is no ‘us.’ ”

“Oh, but there will be. We both know why you came tonight.” His fingers flexed, each digit a burning imprint on my forearms.

“Yeah?” Was that breathy croak my voice? “Why?”

“Because you haven’t been able to forget what it felt like to kiss me, and you want to know if the rest of it will be that good, too.” He bit down on my earlobe and a whimper escaped my lips. “It will be.”

An invisible band squeezed around my chest. I swallowed against my constricting throat. “Arrogant much?”

“It’s okay. I haven’t been able to forget either. I can still remember the way you taste.”
Oh. My. God.

I swallowed a moan and lurched free from him. Swinging around, I faced him and felt my knees go weak at the look in his eyes. Heavy-lidded and deep, his blue eyes looked almost indigo as they stared down at me.

“I know you probably think it’d be some great joke to bang one of your brother’s friends, but I’m not going to be another notch on your bedpost . . . some girl you screw once and forget about the next—”

He moved fast then, closing the space that I had established between us. Oh, yeah. He was a jock with ninja-fast reflexes. I needed to remember that.

I gasped as his hand slid around my neck, fingers burying in the hair at the base of my scalp. He lowered his head, dropping his forehead against mine until our breaths clashed and mingled. His fingers pressed and massaged the back of my head, shooting sensation straight to the core of me. Holy hell. Was that some kind of secret pressure point?

His words gusted over my mouth. “You think we’d fuck just once?”

My stomach plummeted at his blunt words.

He took my hand and dragged it between us, pressing my palm to his crotch—against the outline of his cock in his tight baseball pants. It hardened, growing beneath my touch and I felt an answering ache clench between my thighs. God, it had been so long.

“This doesn’t feel like a joke to me. You don’t,” he growled in a tight voice. “I want to do things to you . . . things a clean, vanilla girl like you never dreamed of. Things that tool boyfriend of yours never came close to doing to you.”

“Ex-boyfriend,” I replied automatically.

At my response, Logan pushed my palm harder against him, rubbing the hard ridge of him. A tiny moan escaped me as the ache squeezed between my legs.

He angled his head. “I think you want me to do dirty things to you, Georgia.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Exquisite Captive Blogger Relay Giveaway!

Hey everyone! I have an awesome giveaway for you today- a hardcover copy of Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios (an awesome book!) with a signed bookplate to go along with it!

But first, the winner from yesterday's relay giveaway held by Misty of The Book Rat is: Teresa Whiteside!

Now, for my relay giveaway, all you have to do is just leave a comment (with your email address if it's not easily accessible by clicking on your blogger profile) on this post by midnight tonight telling me why you are excited to read Exquisite Captive! If you do not state why, you will not be entered. The giveaway is US only! The winner will be announced tomorrow over at Great Imaginations!

Below, find out more about Exquisite Captive!

Jinni. Empress. Warrior. Slave.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she's now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth.

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—all for an unbearably high price.

Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at too terrible a cost. . .

In this gorgeous fantasy, Heather Demetrios brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

Here's the rest of the relay schedule:

November 20th: Great Imaginations
November 21st: Falling For YA
November 24th: The Quirky Reader
November 25th: Book Whales
November 26th: The Best Books Ever
November 27th: The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club
November 28th: A Reading Nurse
December 1st: Michelle and Leslie’s Book Picks
December 2nd: Bewitched Bookworm
December 3rd: Bookish Broads
December 4th: Eater of Books

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Relay Giveaway Info- Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

One of my fellow relay-ers, Misty from The Book Rat, made a little vlog explaining this whole relay giveaway. Check it out and enter at each stop. I posted the schedule below the vlog:

Heather also posted a blog entry about the contest too, if you don't want to watch the video. The schedule is below, so be sure to come back here Nov. 19 for my giveaway!!

November 5th: Lili's Reflections
November 6th: ForeverBookish
November 7th: Supernatural Snark
November 10th: RealityLapse
November 11th: Hello, Chelly
November 12th: What Sarah Read
November 13th: That Artsy Reader Girl
November 14th: A Glass Of Wine
November 17th: The NerdHerd Reads
November 18th: The Book Rat
November 19th: Book Chic
November 20th: Great Imaginations
November 21st: Falling For YA
November 24th: The Quirky Reader
November 25th: Book Whales
November 26th: The Best Books Ever
November 27th: The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club
November 28th: A Reading Nurse
December 1st: Michelle and Leslie’s Book Picks
December 2nd: Bewitched Bookworm
December 3rd: Bookish Broads
December 4th: Eater of Books

Friday, October 24, 2014

Giveaway- Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

On November 4th, HarperCollins unveils Forbidden, a seductive YA debut from award-winning middle grade author Kimberley Griffiths Little. Forbidden transports readers back in time to the deadly deserts and sweltering heat of Ancient Mesopotamia for a tale of danger, duty, and forbidden love. Jayden is on the brink of womanhood and betrothed to her tribe’s prince, cold-hearted Horeb. But when tragedy strikes, Jayden meets Kadesh, a mysterious visitor from the south who makes Jayden doubt everything she knows. Torn between loyalty to her tribe and the chance to escape her fate, Jayden must make a choice that will change her life forever.

Read on below for Kimberley's contest, but I also have a giveaway of my own that you can enter by leaving a comment on this post! I'm going to see Kimberley next Wednesday at a signing and have an extra copy of Forbidden for a lucky winner that I can get personally signed! All you have to do is leave a comment below with your thoughts about Forbidden and/or the book trailer by Tuesday, October 28 at 9pm EST. US residents only, and leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win!

Kimberley is also offering a HUGE preorder giveaway from October 6th to November 4th (release day!) to celebrate. See below for full details on how to enter.

  • You must preorder Forbidden through an online retailer or your local bookstore, then email a photo of your receipt to forbiddengiveaway@gmail.com.
  • Fill out the rafflecopter below
  • US/Canada Only
  • Ends at midnight EST on November 3, 2014
  • Optional entries: share the trailer on your own site or social media, follow Kimberley on twitter, and tweet about the giveaway (can be repeated daily for extra entries!)
  • Winners will be announced and contacted November 4th (release day!)
  • If the winner does not respond with their mailing address within one week, a new winner will be chosen.



1. NEWLY RELEASED Kindle Fire HD6 Tablet with 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, Front and Rear Cameras, 8 GB -- choose your color! (Black, Magenta, White, Citron, or Cobalt)
3. CHAOS OF STARS by Kiersten White
4. Satin Belly Dance Skirt
5. Belly Dance 150-Coin Hip Scarf
6. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
7. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
8. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
9. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
10. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
11. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)


2. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
3. Red Silk Veil (not pictured)
4. Belly dance DVD: Sensual Belly Dance with Blanca, a professional dancer (technique, choreography, and performances)
5. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
6. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
7. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)


1. Red Middle Eastern Earrings
2. "Will YOU risk it all?" button (not pictured)
3. Set of 10 Book Club Cards
4. Jeweled bookmark (not pictured)

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Forbidden: In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

Follow Kimberley:

About Kimberley: Award-winning author Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico on the banks of the Rio Grande with her husband and their three sons. Her middle-grade novels, When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, have been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “beautifully realized settings.” Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell. She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. You can visit her online at www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com.

Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
"Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart."- summary from Amazon

I cannot tell you guys how much I was looking forward to reading Isla, pretty much ever since it was first announced. And actually, my amount of excitement for this book is probably equal to that of pretty much everyone else in the YA community anticipating this book. But whatever. So I was so excited when it was finally released, and when Magan of Reading Gals was kind enough to buy me a copy of it, I was even more excited (and extremely grateful- thanks again!!).

Perkins did not disappoint. I absolutely loved the concept of this book, focusing more on working on and staying in a relationship than about the steps to getting INTO that relationship. It's definitely something different from most YA out there. I really enjoyed reading about Isla and Josh's relationship- their ups and downs, obstacles to getting together (the first fourth of the book they are not together), their adventures, and so much more. I will also admit that the last 50 pages had me squealing in joy as we get visits from Anna and St. Clair, and Lola and Cricket (as well as some other friends whose names I can't remember, lol); it makes for the perfect ending to this companion trilogy.

Overall, if you haven't checked out Perkins yet and you're into romantic novels, she is definitely the author for you. She writes such realistic, compelling, and poignant relationships and really understands teens at their core.

FTC: Received hardcover copy as gift from Magan of Reading Gals (thanks!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
"Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. The Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been searching for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild their kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of half of the ancient locket that can restore their magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics, and to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own."- summary from Amazon

If you enjoy fantasy, go get this book right now and don't bother with the rest of the review. It is that good! I absolutely loved Raasch's debut, from her world-building to her amazing characters to her compelling writing. I flew through this book when I read it the other month and always had such trouble putting it down. I did see a certain reveal coming early on, but that didn't necessarily dampen my reading experience.

Meira is a fantastic heroine- strong and flawed, and her rapport with Mather (as well as the other guy in the love triangle, Theron) is a joy to read. And yes, there is a love triangle but this is a triangle done right- both of the guys are extremely likable and awesome, and there's definitely a tough choice to be made here. There isn't a clear one good, one bad sort of thing, or another guy thrown in for the hell of it but you know it's not going to last thing. These two gentlemen are clear winners.

But the book is not all about romance (a lot of it is secondary). There's the complex relationship between Sir and Meira, which does get explained toward the end of the book (and is very emotional). There's also a lot of action and fight scenes going on in this novel as well- it is a fantasy book, after all- which Raasch handles very well and creates some edge-of-your-seat compelling scenes.

Overall, a terrific high fantasy debut that I'd recommend for fans of Tamora Pierce and Sarah J. Maas. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the rest of this trilogy.

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor

On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor
"On New Year’s Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It’s painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what she doesn’t know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges—including vicious side stitches, chafing in unmentionable places, and race-paced first love—and strengthening herself to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined."- summary from Amazon

This book was really good. Toor does a wonderful job with Alice's emotional journey throughout the story, as she deals with multiple changes in her life. I also think that Toor wrote the developing relationship between Alice and Miles very well and I enjoyed reading scenes between them. There's a lot of different changes going on in the book for Alice between family, her friends, her pet rat Walter, the looming future of college, a new hobby and job, and of course, Miles. Toor handles them all very well; I do think that the book may not be for everyone as Alice is very self-absorbed and a bit callous at times but at the end of the book, she is consciously working on changing that. But for readers who may not enjoy spending a lot of time with that kind of character, you may want to steer clear of this book.

Overall, a very interesting book and I'm eager to read more from Toor!

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore
"Pretty, popular Marijke Monti and over-achieving nerd-girl Lily Spencer have little in common—except that neither feels successful when it comes to love. Marijke can’t get her boyfriend to say “I love you” and Lily can’t get a boyfriend at all. When the girls end up at a late night showing of Titanic, sniffling along with the sinking ship, they realize that their love lives could—and should—be better. Which sparks an idea: Why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they create perfect romantic situations? Now they have a budding friendship and a plan—to act out grand gestures and get the guys of their dreams. It seems like fun at first, but reality turns out to be much more complicated, and they didn’t take into account that finding true love usually requires finding yourself first."- summary from Amazon

I loved Fiore's debut and this follow-up is just as awesome, romantic, and hilarious. I particularly enjoyed the dual perspective between Marijke and Lily, firmly planting the reader right into each of their lives and witnessing the emotional journey each goes on throughout the course of their pact and the novel. Readers will definitely be able to relate to one or both of the girls. The concept too of the book is really interesting as well, and I liked reading the different ways they went about putting that plan into effect.

Overall, another great book from Fiore and I'm excited to see what she writes next!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bleed Like Me by C. Desir

Bleed Like Me by C. Desir
"Seventeen-year-old Amelia Gannon (just “Gannon” to her friends) is invisible to almost everyone in her life. To her parents, to her teachers—even her best friend, who is more interested in bumming cigarettes than bonding. Some days the only way Gannon knows she is real is by carving bloody lines into the flesh of her stomach.

Then she meets Michael Brooks, and for the first time, she feels like she is being seen to the core of her being. Obnoxious, controlling, damaged, and addictive, he inserts himself into her life until all her scars are exposed. Each moment together is a passionate, painful relief.

But as the relationship deepens, Gannon starts to feel as if she’s standing at the foot of a dam about to burst. She’s given up everything and everyone in her life for him, but somehow nothing is enough for Brooks—until he poses the ultimate test."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed this book from Desir; she did a fantastic job portraying Gannon and Michael's toxic relationship and all of their flaws so well. And being in Gannon's mind, you can kind of see how she would fall for a guy like Michael, but you can also see all of the warning signs from him too. It was different reading a love interest that way, and made for an intriguing story. There's a lot going on in this book, but Desir handles it all extremely well and provides enough backdrop for why Gannon is the way she is.

Overall, an amazing new book from an up-and-coming author. Check it out!

FTC: Received e-galley from Edelweiss. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen

A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen
"Shana has always had a blind spot for boys. Can she trust the one who's right in front of her?

Sixteen-year-old Shana Wilde is officially on a Boy Moratorium. After a devastating breakup, she decides it's time to end the plague of Mr. Wrong, Wrong, and More Wrong.

Enter Quattro, the undeniably cute lacrosse player who slams into Shana one morning in Seattle. Sparks don't just fly; they ignite. And so does Shana's interest. Right as she's about to rethink her ban on boys, she receives crushing news: Her dad is going blind. Quattro is quickly forgotten, and Shana and her parents vow to make the most of the time her father has left to see. So they travel to Machu Picchu, and as they begin their trek, they run into none other than Quattro himself. But even as the trip unites them, Quattro pulls away mysteriously..."- summary from Amazon

Chen's latest novel is, of course, simply amazing. I am a huge fan of hers so I can be biased, but her books are really fantastic and I always enjoy reading a new one. The emotional and sexual tension between Shana and Quattro was written so well, and really dives into creating a real foundation for their relationship rather than just a physical attraction (though there is that too, of course).

I've also always liked Chen's focus on family dynamics too in each of her novels, which is not always seen in YA novels of late. In this, Shana's dad is told he is going blind and, as the reader, we get to see how this news affects everyone in the family personally and in their interactions with each other. And through this, Chen creates some incredible, relatable characters both in the family as well as the other travelers on the tour (I especially liked Grace), and Shana's best friend back home too.

Chen does a wonderful job too of letting the reader experience Machu Picchu through Shana's eyes as she goes through this transformative journey. There's a real sense of place with the hike and everything that happens with it.

Overall, another hit for Chen and I really urge you all to check her out. She's not an author that you hear a lot about, which really sucks because she is extremely talented and amazing. Buy all her books now! I command it!

FTC: Received signed ARC from author (thanks Justina!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
"The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for."- summary from Amazon

This trilogy is one of my absolute favorites and Bardugo ended it so well, and in a way I never would've expected, but I feel like it makes the most sense. I had such trouble putting this book down; Alina's journey in this final book is extremely compelling and fairly crazy as she tries to finally put the Darkling to rest for good.

Of course, the romance between her and Mal is a great aspect of the trilogy and there's some good heart-to-hearts between them amid all the adventures going on. And I love how Bardugo left them at the end of this story.

Overall, I cannot recommend this book and trilogy enough. If you love high fantasy, this is the trilogy for you.

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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig

Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig
"The last place you'd expect to find a team of criminals is at a prestigious Philadelphia prep school. But on a class trip to the U.S. Mint - which prints a million new coins every 30 minutes - an overlooked security flaw becomes far too tempting for a small group of students to ignore. United by dire circumstances, these unlikely allies - the nerd, the slacker, the athlete, and the perfect student - band together to attempt the impossible: rob the U.S. Mint. This diverse crew is forced to confront their true beliefs about each other and themselves as they do the wrong thing for the right reasons."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed Ludwig's debut Pretty Crooked and was excited to read this stand-alone title from her. I'm always amazed at authors who can write about spy missions or heists so effectively. They're some of my favorite books to read because it just seems so cool. This story was even more intriguing because it puts us into the minds of four very different teens as they begin to work together to pull this whole thing off. The climax is amazing and throws in a crazy curveball that I didn't see coming. The characters too are so well-written; in the summary and in the book, they have their roles to fill but they are all much more than what the public perceives them to be.

Overall, a quick, compelling read from Ludwig. I can't wait to read more from her (and actually have the sequel to Pretty Crooked, called Pretty Sly, on my TBR shelf already) and I definitely recommend this book if you love spy/heist novels like I do.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Chasing Before by Lenore Appelhans

Chasing Before by Lenore Appelhans
"It’s been four months since Felicia saved Level 2 from the Morati, the corrupted angels who trapped her and her boyfriend, Neil, in the afterlife. Now, she and Neil are finally ready to move on to the mysterious Level 3, an afterlife training facility where humans pick a career to pursue until they supposedly retire to the next level.

Shortly after arriving, Felicia learns some shocking truths about her life that make her question everything. Neil wants to focus on the future, but Felicia insists on looking for answers about her past. Just when Felicia thinks things can’t get any more complicated, deadly explosions begin to rock Level 3, and Julian—her charming former love who might still be aligned with the Morati—reappears.

Felicia has a choice: Will she do everything in her power to expose the Morati and end the destruction of Level 3, even if it means never knowing who she really is? Or will she chase after the desires of her heart and risk losing her past humanity, her present afterlife, and a future with Neil?"- summary from Amazon

The Memory of After (aka Level 2) was a wonderful debut and pretty much after reading the final page, I was so excited to read the sequel. It did not disappoint. There's a lot to love here- the new afterlife setting and rules, the suspense of figuring out what's going on with the Morati infiltration, the continued relationship between Felicia and Neil, as well as getting to know new characters Megan (aka Felicia's best friend from Earth) and Brady (introduced in his own fantastic story in The Best Things in Death anthology). I did wish we could see a little more of Brady but perhaps I will just pester Appelhans to write more memories from him.

There's definitely conclusion to this newest installment so fans don't need to worry about a cliffhanger ending, but it does give the impression that it could go on, which I kind of hope it does. I love being in this world and with these characters. Regardless, I will follow Appelhans wherever she goes with her follow-up novels. If you've not read this duology yet, do so now; it's such a breath of fresh air in the YA market with an intriguing concept and compelling characters.

FTC: Received signed ARC from the author (thanks Lenore!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Art of Secrets by James Klise

The Art of Secrets by James Klise
"When Saba Khan’s apartment burns in a mysterious fire, possibly a hate crime, her Chicago high school rallies around her. Her family moves rent-free into a luxury apartment, Saba’s Facebook page explodes, and she starts (secretly) dating a popular boy. Then a quirky piece of art donated to a school fund-raising effort for the Khans is revealed to be an unknown work by a famous artist, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Saba’s life turns upside down again. Should Saba’s family have all that money? Or should it go to the students who found the art? Or to the school? And just what caused that fire?

Greed, jealousy, and suspicion create an increasingly tangled web as students and teachers alike debate who should get the money and begin to point fingers and make accusations. The true story of the fire that sets events in motion and what happens afterward gradually comes together in an innovative narrative made up of journal entries, interviews, articles, letters, text messages, and other documents."- summary from Amazon

I loved Klise's debut (Love Drugged) and was so excited to see that my library had a copy of his follow-up novel. It's a different type of story from him; this book has many different perspectives and, like the summary says, it's told through a variety of ways- journal entries, interviews, articles, etc. It's an extremely interesting and compelling read that propelled me through the book very quickly. Klise inhabits each of these characters with ease and writes realistically for each of them, though everyone is of different backgrounds, ages, etc.

Overall, a fantastic second novel from Klise, and I'm excited to see what he does next. If you haven't read either of his books yet, do so now!

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Cole St. Clair has come to California for one reason: to get back Isabel Culpeper. She fled from his damaged, drained life, and damaged and drained it even more. He doesn't just want her. He needs her.


Isabel is trying to build herself a life in Los Angeles. It's not really working. She can play the game as well as all the other fakes. But what's the point? What is there to win?


Cole and Isabel share a past that never seemed to have a future. They have the power to love each other and the power to tear each other apart. The only thing for certain is that they cannot let go."- summary from Amazon

I absolutely adored this new book featuring Cole and Isabel from the Shiver trilogy. I loved getting back into their world and seeing them in a new setting- Los Angeles. There's a lot keeping them apart, and Stiefvater does a wonderful job illustrating that; there's a lot of realistic issues between them (not just the whole werewolf thing, though that is a big part too). They both have been hurt in the past by other lovers, each other, and their own families; it becomes hard to overcome those things and be vulnerable with someone else. Stiefvater writes their relationship so well, which makes the reader really root for them. And for fans of the series, the reader is given a glimpse into what's been going on with Sam and Grace as well, which is nice to see.

Overall, a fantastic new entry and ending to the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. I highly recommend it, and you can also read it without really having read the previous three books.

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Blog Tour- Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen
"He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body!"- summary from publisher


About the author

Michelle Knudsen is the author of The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian, as well as the best-selling picture book Library Lion, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes; Argus, illustrated by Andréa Wesson; and Big Mean Mike, illustrated by Scott Magoon. Michelle Knudsen lives in Brooklyn, New York.

and here's an interview with Michelle:

1) How did you get the idea for Evil Librarian?

This was one of those stories that I just sort of started writing, without any idea what it was about. I was taking a break from a different, heavier novel, and suddenly Cyn’s voice was just there in my head, and I started writing down what I heard. I liked what she had to say, and so I kept going, writing to find out what was going to happen next. Cyn’s not a high-school version of me, but she does love a lot of the same things that I do ... including musical theater and swoon-worthy guys. I had a lot of fun with her story. Plus it gave me an excuse to listen to Sweeney Todd (and rewatch the video of the 1982 Angela Lansbury/George Hearn production) over and over again, which was possibly my most favorite research ever.

2) You've written a lot of books for younger children. What brought you to the YA genre? Was it a genre you'd read a lot from before diving into it?

I started out in children’s books on the editorial side, at Random House Books for Young Readers. I worked on everything from board books to early chapter books, and read everything from board books to YA novels, and so from the start I always felt comfortable reading and eventually writing books for various age groups. I’m not sure why it took me until now to write a novel for teens ... for a while my ideas just mostly seemed to come for younger books, and so those were the books I wrote. I could tell as soon as I heard Cyn’s voice that she was in high school, though, and knew her story was going to be for an older audience than my earlier books.

When I was in high school, there wasn’t anything like the amazing variety of YA novels that are out there today. Mostly back then I was reading adult fantasy and science fiction, but many of those had main characters who were young adults (and some have since been repackaged for the YA section). So I think that also helped set the stage a little for writing fantasy and paranormal YA stories of my own.

3) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if you don't like those, your favorite snack to have while writing or as a reward for writing?

I must admit, I’m not a huge jelly bean fan. If there are a bunch of jelly beans in a bowl, I tend to go for the green ones, but I know Jelly Bellies go far beyond the basic color/flavor spectrum. I would probably have to do some serious taste-testing to figure out my favorite. But as far as other candy-type rewards go, I really like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. For a long time those were my #1 go-to choice at the end of a night’s work. (I tend not to snack too much while actually writing — it makes it hard to type!)

4) What are you currently reading, or are about to start?

As usual, I’m in the middle of a few different books. My current bedside novel is Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, which is amazingly good. I just started the audiobook of John Scalzi’s new novel Lock In (the version read by Wil Wheaton), and I’m liking that a lot so far, too. And I’m very slowly making my way through George R. R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons. (I read the first few Song of Ice and Fire novels when they first came out, long before the HBO series, and LOVED them, but I’m not finding myself as helplessly sucked into this book as I was the earlier ones. Still working on it, but it’s definitely my back-burner book; I keep it on my Nook and my phone for when I’m stuck somewhere without something else to read.) Not sure what will be up next; I have so many books in my TBR piles, and they all look so good — it’s very hard to choose!

Check out all the previous stops on the tour!


Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Random Chalk Talk

Books 4 Your Kids

Green Bean Teen Queen

Katie's Book Blog

Word Spelunking

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

Rumble by Ellen Hopkins
"Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question."- summary from Amazon

I am a huge fanboy of Ellen's books and have read every single one of them (including her two adult novels), so this review will be pretty much a bunch of gushing. What I love about her books is that each story is so different and focuses on such different characters, experiences, and settings. This is told from a boy's perspective, which she's done now a few times though I don't think she's done it for a whole book (the ones I'm thinking of are multiple POV books she's done, like Impulse, Tilt, and Smoke). She does a wonderful job with Matt's voice and his inner anger and turmoil toward most of the world and faith in general.

There's a lot of interesting arguments both for and against faith, as well as different applications of faith (Matt's girlfriend, her dad, and church youth group apply it the wrong way, lol). The most intriguing application deals with a book being challenged (The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky)- there's not a whole lot of page time given to this thing going on but Hopkins makes sure that it still packs a punch in the message behind it. Religion has no place in determining a school reading list.

The only thing that bothered me mainly had to do with the summary (which she didn't even write, so it's not really a problem with her at all, lol). I kept expecting this "horrific event" to happen for the longest time, so I kept being like "oh, maybe this is when it will happen." or "Oh, I bet will happen!" and it never happened. For the record, the event doesn't happen until well past page 400, which makes the "calling everything... into question" part very short and abrupt. It didn't feel like enough time was given to really getting into the aftermath of that event and Matt's questioning period.

Overall though, another great read from Hopkins and I am eager to read more of her books. If you haven't read her (and regardless of if you enjoy verse or not), please go out and do so now! And if you have read her before, be sure to check out this newly released book!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher (thanks to Ellen and Siena!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Review + Giveaway- The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
"Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warnings, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that's when Lainey and Bianca stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, the girls are sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey's arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous.

After a few "dates," it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game. Can fighting for what she wants help Lainey figure out what she really needs?"- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed Stokes' debut novel, though some people may definitely balk at the heroine Lainey throughout the novel. I know I did a little bit, but what kept me going was the subtle changes I could see in Lainey's character as I read her story and following her along on her journey. She's not always likable but I feel like she's very realistic. People make bad decisions, they're stuck in their ways, and don't want to venture out of their comfort zone (or what they feel has become their comfort zone)- this is how Lainey is. She has the seemingly perfect life, but it just really isn't as perfect as she thought it was.

I really enjoyed a lot of the characters from this book, especially Lainey's friend Bianca and of course the wonderful sexual tension and chemistry between Lainey and Micah. Readers also get a great treat with the recently released prequel novella Infinite Repeat, which is from Micah's point of view.

Overall, a solid debut from Stokes and I'm excited for her next novel Liars Inc., out next March.

I also have a giveaway from Paula Stokes herself! Depending on your location, one winner will receive a signed Art of Lainey paperback and bookmarks (for US residents), or an order of Art of Lainey from The Book Depository and a signed bookplate and bookmarks (for international residents). All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by Wednesday, August 27 at 9pm EST and you're entered. For an extra entry, leave a comment on my interview with Paula from the other week.

FTC: Received e-galley from Edelweiss. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.