Blind Spot Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway)

"It's a story about how sometimes we fail to see things that are right in front of us."

Since You've Been Gone (Review)

"fabulous, wonderful, endearing, amazing story"

Dissected by Megan Bostic (Blog Tour)

"Powerful & Thought Provoking"

In Honor by Jessi Kirby (Review)

"This is going on my favorites shelf and I will probably reread it again in the future."

Blog Tour: Hungry by H.A. Swain (Review + Giveaway)

"Hungry is a captivating and thought-provoking story set in a fascinating world."

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Review))

"All-in-all, a perfect summer read and you should totally pick up these books, if you haven't already!"

The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle (Review)

"The Edge of Falling is a beautifully told story, both in plot and writing."

Hexed by Michelle Krys (Review)

"Hexed was just the thing that I needed to get back into the reading world."

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window by Kirsty Moseley (Review)

The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window
Genre:
Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication.Date  April 30th, 2012
Pages:256
Published By:  Kirsty Moseley
WebsiteKirsty Moseley

The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window on Goodreads
My review copy:Bought

Where to get:


Amber Walker and her older brother, Jake, have an abusive father. One night her brother's best friend, Liam, sees her crying and climbs through her bedroom window to comfort her. That one action sparks a love/hate relationship that spans over the next eight years. Liam is now a confident, flirty player who has never had a girlfriend before. Amber is still emotionally scarred from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Together they make an unlikely pair. Their relationship has always been a rocky one, but what happens when Amber starts to view her brother's best friend a little differently? And how will her brother, who has always been a little overprotective, react when he finds out that the pair are growing closer? Find out in The Boy Who Sneaks In My Bedroom Window.

(Goodreads)

"Every time I start to fall, you make yourself fall backwards so I land on top of you. You're going to hurt yourself," I explained, frowning.
He shrugged. "Rather me than you," he mumbled under his breath, pulling me to my feet again.
"It's always been you; it'll always be you, Angel."
He smiled. "You're my girlfriend, Angel," he purred seductively, kissing my lips lightly. "My girl." He kissed me again. "The only one I want."
She looked terrified; she looked so scared that I felt like my heart would stop beating at the sight of it.
"The first time I saw you I thought you were an Angel straight from heaven. You were so beautiful that you took my breath away. You still do, every day."
He turned his nose up, faking a shudder. "Don't remind me about my former life without you, Angel. I'll have nightmares," he said with mock horror, making me laugh.

I picked this one up because of the description. There was abuse, which tends to be something I keep picking up, but I also figured there'd be a good level of sweetness within the story. The protective brother aspect, the boy who's always been there aspect, and everything else hinted at all added up to a book I thought I'd truly love. Unfortunately, this book fell a long ways short of my expectations.

The main character wasn't one that I liked or connected to at all. She contradicted herself so many times. First Liam was always an asshole. Then we find out that he did nice things sometimes--but oh no. They were SO ANNOYING. She said things all the time that weren't reflected in the actual characters. Most specifically, Liam. And her interests. She loves dancing, but we don't spend much time with her actually dancing. I'm not a dancer, but I know for a fact that a lot of practice goes into it. She was a character that was described as lots of things that weren't backed up. She's supposed to be funny. I did not see this. She's supposed to be kind. Why? Because she helped one friend figure out a birthday gift one time? Because she was somewhat friendly to Johnny? Other than those two things, she was kind of rude most of the time.

All the other characters weren't very complex, either. The best friend who was obsessed with guys. The over-protective brother. The brother's best friend who's had a crush on her for forever but acted like a manwhore because he wanted to move on or he was waiting for her or something. Don't get me wrong, some of these things I find entertaining. I LOVE protective older brothers in books. And when the love interest, Liam, put aside his manwhore ways, he grew on me easily. But that didn't make their characters any more interesting. Mostly just gave them a bit of saving grace from being hated by me.

The writing didn't do much for me. It was very show, then tell. Like, we already understood something, but it was said a sentence or two later even though we already grasped what was going on. And people "burst out laughing" (or something of that sort) several times in this book. Again, I didn't really find much, if anything, that was THAT funny. There were stereotypes galore, and the characters seemed to KNOW this. At one point, one girl (named Jessica, which didn't do anyone any favors) seriously said, "I'm head cheerleader! We're supposed to be together." Um, no. That's not how it goes. I'm not saying there isn't a levels thing in high school--like more social, well-known people kind of end up with people like them--but it doesn't go by what sport you play or whatever. That's just silly.

The plot of this story was odd. It kept changing. First it was Amber and Liam getting together. Because they just realized they should be together. I can deal with that, but what I didn't get was some of the things with them, like how they slept in the same bed EVERY NIGHT since the first time. And then later there were times described where they didn't. And I find it hard to believe she and Liam never had an ACTUAL conversation in all that alone time they spent together between sleeping in the same bed and him driving her to dance on Saturdays and whatnot. But let's move on. After that we get to this bet. Pretty much every single girl in school bet money on the fact that they could "nail Liam first." I don't know what high school they go to, but it is clearly fictional. That kind of stuff doesn't HAPPEN. Is he really that desirable? There surely must be some girls in that school that aren't interested. Or even if they are, they have the brains to not go in on a bet like that. I found that part of the novel so, SO hard to take seriously. After that, we get to the issues with her father and what I'd been expecting in the story. From that point on, the story worked better for me.

My only other huge problem with the book was Liam in the beginning. He was very full of himself. He seriously said things like "Most girls would love to have me do that to them." Because that matters. And he explains his manwhore ways, with the typical explanation of trying to get over Amber. And I didn't like how Amber viewed him at the beginning of their relationship, assuming he was having trouble because she wasn't giving him sex right then. Liam was absolutely fine and respectful at that point, but Amber was still critical.

All that said, however, there were some things I liked about this novel. I found it an enjoyable read, for the most part. Which is probably hard to believe because of everything I pointed out already, but after I'd made it through and noticed all those things, I still found I liked the general story. Surprisingly, I think I will re-read this one at some point. When I need something sweet. Because the book did have a lot of things I look for in books, and while the story wasn't perfect, I was okay with it overall.

I was also a huge fan of how respectful Liam was when it came to sex with Amber. He didn't push. He always asked her is she was sure. It was a complete 180 from how Liam seemed and was described in the beginning, but it was a good change, so I approve. We got in his head a few times throughout the book, and while this happened at what seemed like completely random times, I appreciated it nonetheless. At one point we were in his head, and he was with Amber and thought, "OK, I'll just go along with it until she tells me to stop; I knew she felt comfortable enough to ask me to stop, which I loved." I like this.

Overall, while The Boy Who Sneaks in My Bedroom Window is nowhere near a perfect book and there are so many things I did not like about the story, there were still some enjoyable elements. I wish it could have worked better for me, and I do plan to re-read it at some point. And I definitely plan to check out more books by this author. This one was only her first, so I have hope that her books get better and I'm not giving up on her yet.




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Monday, July 21, 2014

Shadows by Paula Weston (Review)



Genre:
Paranormal, Angels,YA
Publication Date:September 10, 2013
Pages:400
Published By:  Tundra Books
WebsiteShadows on Goodreads

Paula Weston
My review copy: From Random House Canada for honest review

Where to get:
http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-The-Rephaim-Paula-Weston/dp/1770495479/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1404011182&sr=8-1
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-paula-weston/1112305516?ean=9781770497696
http://www.indiebound.org/hybrid?filter0=Shadows+by+Paula+Weston&x=0&y=0
http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Rephaim-Paula-Weston-ebook/dp/B00BVJH1SI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404011182&sr=8-1&keywords=Shadows+by+Paula+Weston



It's almost a year since Gaby Winters watched her twin brother die. In the sunshine of a new town her body has healed, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn't help that every night in her dreams she fights and kills hell-beasts. And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who's been appearing in Gaby's dreams, he tells her things about her brother and her life that cannot be true, things that are dangerous. Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And who is Gaby? The truth lies in the shadows of her nightmares.
(Goodreads)



  Somebody shoot me, please.  I haven't given anyone a second glance since well before the accident.  And here I am blushing because this guys happens to resemble someone I see in my increasingly violent dreams.
  He kisses me back, but he's not really committed.   It's like he's waiting for something,  I run my fingers over his arms, pull him to me.  His grip tightens on my hair and his arm comes around my waist.  He's not waiting anymore.
'All right,  Let's pretend I have this whole other life I know nothing about.  And that Angels really were kicked out of heaven because they couldn't keep it in their pants.  Why would I be looking for their leader if he and the rest of them are in hell?'
The thought comes again.  I can't die.  This isn't about killing me   this is about hurting me.  And by thrashing I'm making Malachi's job easier. 


   Angel books used to be one of my favourites, and the overpopulation started... Then love triangles started to become a pillar in them, and really it went downhill from there. However, after reading a sparkling review from Joy from Joyous reads (who is harder on the Angel genre than I), I knew that I had to give this book a go. Turns out the book is spectacular and I wish I had picked it up a long time ago. There is some sort of magic worked throughout the pages and Weston completely captivated me from start to finish. Her writing went above anything I had expected and created a hit, in an often miss genre.

   What I believe makes this book is the unique take without a triangle, that didn't hesitate to take its own path. Certainly Weston knew that we were all beyond the triangle, and were looking for something of substance in this genre. I don't even know how to describe the plot without killing it for you. It was to say the least wonderfully paced and had exceptional world building. Those things alone give the book a great edge, but the story behind it all topped it off for me. Everything just flowed in together and was easy to fall into and power through without stopping.

   I am not hesitant to say that I loved Gaby. She is strong, independent and has a brain. I am not saying that there aren't characters out there with them, but when it comes to angels it seems that females brains simply fly away. Not in stupidity I supposed, but more that they forget to question things and form their own opinion. Heck, Gaby has proof of many things and she still finds ways to question it. Some may find this annoying but there was a lot for this girl to try and figure out, and honestly without the questions she would have been like many others that have come before her. There aren't really any moments I can recall rolling my eyes at her, or any moments that I thought she was a complete idiot. She was not a perfect character but she was well rounded.

   There is a hesitancy in saying Rafa wasn't a typical love interest. There are moments where he could have been but at the same time I often found him predictable. He hid things but of course he hid things because if he didn't it would have made for one quick and boring read. He wanted to protect Gaby, but in doing so he did what all guys hiding things do... He drove her to do the things that he didn't want her to. You can't expect the girl to do anything else. There was no way he was going to get away with these things, guy in her dreams or not. I would however like these two as a couple, and some of the scenes made me wish that the book would make the cross over from young adult to new adult.

   Shadows is not your typical Angel read by any means. Paula Weston did a phenomenal job creating this spectacular read. It's a shining star in a genre that has sadly gotten too cliché and stuffed with triangles. There is much to love as you can see from above, but also the unmentioned witty and highly amusing banter. If you have mostly given up on angels give this baby a try and surely your mind will be changed. If you are already a fan you are going to LOVE this! I look forward to the next book in the series and am glad the wait is not too long.
  



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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (ARC Review - Kinda)


Series:
Standalone
Genre:
Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, Gothic Fiction
Publication.Date:July 22, 2014
Pages:320 (ARC ebook)
Published By:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Website:Carlos Ruiz Zafón 

Marina on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:



"We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul. This is mine."

In May 1980, fifteen-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his barding school in Barcelona. For seven days and seven nights no one knows his whereabouts...

His story begins in an old quarter of the city, where he meets the strange Marina and her father, Germán Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Oscar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the last Sunday of each month. At exactly ten o'clock in the morning, a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman, her face shrouded be a black velvet cloak. Holding a single rose, she walks to a gravestone that bears no name, only a mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings.

When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her, they begin a journey that transports them to a forgotten, postwar Barcelona--a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons--and reveals a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets.

Written just before The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón's Marina has long been a cult classic in Spain and is now an international bestseller. (Goodreads)



I have zero idea how to approach this. This has never happened to me before, so bare with me, okay?

First and foremost, I didn't finish Marina. I had a really hard time getting involved in the story. At the same time, I don't feel that Marina is worthy of a DNF review or a poor rating. Weird, right? The writing is beyond wonderful and exceptionally descriptive. I can see getting lost in the pages and if you're a fan of Gothic literature, you'll definitely enjoy this novel.

I don't want to turn you away from Marina. If the synopsis appeals to you, check it out from the library, download the preview chapters on your Kindle or Nook, or heck just buy it. There are amazing reviews on its Goodreads page. Maybe I just picked it up at the wrong time. This is a novel that you need to devout time to. You need to sit and completely engross yourself in the story of Oscar and Marina.

I'm going to move this book to my "on hold" shelf on Goodreads, but a part of me wanted to bring attention to this novel. I think that alone should be a sign that, though I had trouble getting involved in the story, there is something about Marina that grabs hold of you and doesn't let go.



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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Between The Layers by SaraJean Panek [Book Blitz & Author Interview]



Genre:
Fantasy,Young Adult
Publication.Date  July 16th 2014
Pages:179
Published By:  Elephantine Publishing
WebsiteSaraJean Panek

Between The Layers Goodreads
My review copy:I received a copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. 

                                     Where to get:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0991500776/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0991500776&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-very-good-life-lynn-steward/1118920887?ean=9780991500772&itm=1&usri=9780991500772&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-GwEz7vxblVU-_-10:1&r=1,%201

Most fifteen year old girls are trying to figure out who they are; I’m trying to stay alive long enough to figure out what.

I’ve always been on the run. From my guilt about the things I couldn’t change, and from the voice in my head that won’t let me be normal. But yesterday Tommy and I were in a car accident on the way home from school. When I woke up, Tommy was gone, and so was the world I grew up in. Now I’m running less in a metaphorical way, and more in a “pick up the pace if you don’t want to die” way. Why? Because my eyes are blue, and I’m lost in a fantasy world where that means I’m different. It means I might not be human. It means I should already be extinct, and someone called “The Regent” is determined to make me that way.

I need to find the way home, and before I do that, I need to find Tommy. He’s only in this mess because of me. I can’t do it on my own, but it’s hard to know who to trust when everyone keeps trying to kill me.


I couldn't shake the feeling that I seemed to be caught in the middle of something very strange and very dangerous, with a very "Toto, I don't think we're in south-eastern Maine anymore" vibe.
These people, I muttered, annoyed. If they don't even have decent writing tools, what am I going to do when I have to go to the bathroom? I glanced back at the tub in the corner and looked again at the bowl that sat next to it. The realization that it was a chamber pot slapped me in the face. 
There were dozens of them, maybe more than a hundred, who were floating around inside my head and making me remember things I had never experienced. I was certain that they had taken the oath, and I could feel their deaths like notches on my bones. 
The Midnight Forest, he began, known before the Vanishing as the Fae Forest, stands at the top of the world. No ship sails past it, no map shows any land beyond it. No one knows how far it extends or how many secrets it conceals. We know only that it hides a core in which the Source of all magic lies. the magic radiates out from their core, soaking into the very land around it, transforming everything. The farther the magic travels from the core, the more diluted it becomes, until it doesn't even manifest. 




When and why did you begin writing?   
Honestly, I've been writing as long as I can remember.  Before I even knew how to write, I would scribble on pages and pages of yellow legal pads and then "read" my stories to anyone who would listen.  I've just always been very imaginative.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Pretty early on.  Probably 3rd grade.  I've been fortunate enough to have some amazing teachers in my life, several of whom saw a talent for writing in me and encouraged it.  In 3rd grade, I was selected to go to special workshop for gifted writers, and I've thought of myself as a writer ever since.

What inspired you to write your first book? 
Tamora Pierce.  I absolutely love the Tortall books, and the first novel I ever began (not published) was very much inspired by them.

Do you have a specific writing style? 
Not particularly.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? 
No, I'm not trying to spread a message or get a point across.  Writing for me is an escape, and I want my story to be the same for my readers.    

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 
There were some secondary characters that were based on my friends, but they didn't survive the revision process.  But Serendipity's family is loosely based on my own, especially her two older brothers.

What books have most influenced your life? 
Again, Tamora Pierce is a huge influence on me.  Also the Fall of Ile-Rien series by Martha Wells.  Tremaine is an awesome character, and I wish I had written her.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
Heather Hildenbrand IS my mentor.  She's such a talented writer, and so driven.  Everything I know about the business, I learned from her.

What book are you reading
 now?  
Brood of Bones by A. E. Marling.  I love it so far!

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I've recently heard great things about S. M. Boyce, and I'm excited to begin reading her Grimoire Saga.

What are your current projects?
I'm in the early stages of a New Adult urban fantasy novel.  It's like a look at the civil rights movement, but with wizards.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 
Hurting my characters.  I love them, and I just want them to be happy.  But that's not good storytelling.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? 
Such a difficult question! So many authors come to mind--J.K. Rowling, Martha Wells, Kristen Britain, George R. R. Martin. I think the common thing that I love about all of these writers is their excellent character development. They create real, believable characters, and stay true to them. I feel like I honestly get to know their characters. I love them, I hate them, I care about what they do and what becomes of them. The ability to create empathy in total strangers for a figment of your imagination is the mark of a true storyteller to me.

Who designed the covers? 
My cover was designed by one of my oldest friends, Samantha Roque.  Between the Layers was her first cover design!  The locket on the front was a photograph taken by another good friend of mine, Lydia Young.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?  
Starting and finishing are the absolute hardest.  The middle flows easily, but I never know where to begin or how to wrap it up.

Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Never lose sight of why you started.  Writing is a passion, an expression, something that you love.  Never forget that.




About the Author


SaraJean Panek has loved books since before she could read. One of her earliest memories is of sitting with one of her two older brothers and following along the page as he read her “Rapunzel.” She’s been telling her own stories nearly as long. “Between the Layers” is SaraJean's debut novel. She travels at every opportunity, but currently lives in her hometown of Virginia Beach and spends most of her free time writing, the work she loves.Connect with the author:




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