Monday, April 3, 2017

Unnatural Deeds by Cyn Balog

Unnatural Deeds
Author: Cyn Balog
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: November 1, 2016

Unnatural Deeds has all of the things I usually like in a novel: an unreliable narrator, mystery and a huge twist that left me genuinely surprised. But, for some reason, this read was just so-so for me. It was a middle of the road novel that months later I have trouble remembering. Which, I think, speaks volumes.

This novel centers around Victoria Zell. She is detached, has mental health issues, and somehow attracts the new boy at school. I know what you’re thinking, very tropey. This novel though uses the tropes to its advantage and the ending is not at all what you would expect. The ending is seriously the best part about this book.

I think the root of why this novel was so “meh” to me was because I didn’t like or connect with Vic at all. As I kept reading all I could think was that she is the absolute worst. I never felt sorry for her, I never cared about her. Luckily, this novel is fairly short so spending an entire novel with her was bearable.

Overall, this was a good book. Not a great or amazing book. It was just good. I enjoyed the quick pace, and loved the ending. But years from now I likely won’t remember this read.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee

Every Falling Star
Author: Sungju Lee
Publisher: Abrams
Publication Date: September 13, 2016

I find North Korea endlessly fascinating. It’s a country run by a dictator god and propelled by an immense propaganda machine. The country is isolationist and focused on keeping the people under control. This is the setting in which Every Falling Star takes place. It is the place Sungju, our hero, is born.

What I really liked about this true story was that it was cohesive, engaging, and didn’t flinch away from the harsh realities of Sungju’s life. The novel begins with Sungju growing up a happy boy. He lives in the capital city of Pyongyang and his father is a prominent member of the party. But, when his family loses favor, they are forced to move to rural Chosun (the North Korean name for North Korea) and that is where their problems begin.

Many people don’t know that after Kim Il-Sung passed away there was a devastating famine in North Korea. It killed so many and made an already difficult life impossible. Much of this story takes place during that time. The reader watches as hunger kills more people than the government ever could. It also showcased the disillusion that the rural people had for the government and the secret languages they used to communicate these opinions. It was these parts of the novel, about the suffering around Sungju, that I really enjoyed. They were well written and so emotional.

Overall, this is a great, true, story. Not many escape from North Korea. Fewer tell their stories. This novel offers a glimpse into the reclusive nation and shows the conditions those living under the regime face.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Hear the Wolves
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 28, 2017

It’s survival of the strongest in a contemporary, girl-versus-wild middle-grade debut from Fire & Flood author Victoria Scott!
Sloan is a hunter.
So she shouldn’t be afraid of anything. But ever since her mom left the family and she lost hearing in one ear in a blizzard, it’s been hard to talk to people, and near-impossible to go anywhere or do anything without her dad or big sister within eyesight — it makes her too scared to be on her own.
When they leave her home alone for what should only be two nights, she’s already panicked. Then the snow starts falling and doesn’t stop. One of her neighbors is hurt in an accident. And the few people still left in Rusic need to make it to the river and the boat that’s tied there — their only way to get to a doctor from their isolated Alaska town.
But the woods are icy cold, and the wolves are hungry. Sloan and her group are running out of food, out of energy, and out of time. That’s when the wolves start hunting them . . .

Hear the Wolves Playlist
Dog Days Are Over - Florence + the Machine: 
Hear the Wolves is an intense survival story, and I feel like this song fits the challenges the characters face.

House of Wolves - My Chemical Romance:
This song has WOLVES in the title, so immediate win. But also, the fast tempo and urgency fits the character’s frantic race through the woods.

Ain’t It Fun - Paramore: 
Sloane was left behind by her father and sister in order to push her into independence. She is essentially “on her own in the real world.”


Some Nights - Fun:
Sometimes, it’s all about those lyrics! The words and mood of this song make me think of Hear the Wolves in a big way.

Boston - Augustana: 
This song makes me think of Sloane and her internal struggles.


Weightless - All Time Low: 
And this song makes me think of Pilot. It’s all in the lyrics!


Mama - My Chemical Romance: 
This is an ode to the complicated relationship, or lack of one, that Sloan has with her mother.


Out of the Woods - Taylor Swift:
And lastly, with the prominent threat lasting throughout Hear the Wolves, this song fits the entire novel.

About the Author
Victoria Scott is the author of eight novels including Titans, Fire & Flood, Salt & Stone, the Dante Walker trilogy, Hear the Wolves (March 2017), and Violet Grenade (May 2017). She is published by Scholastic and Entangled Teen, and is represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties.

Victoria’s latest novel, Titans, received two starred reviews, and Fire & Flood has been selected as a 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program book. Victoria’s novels have been bought and translated in fourteen foreign markets. The author currently resides in Philadelphia, and loves hearing from her readers. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer Giveaway!

Stranger Than Fanfiction
Author: Chris Colfer
Publication Date:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer comes a funny, heartbreaking, unforgettable novel about friendship and fame.
Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television show Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime – but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he's been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship.
In this touching novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer takes us on a journey full of laughter, tears, and life-changing memories.

About the Author

Chris Colfer is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and Golden Globe-winning actor. He was honored as a member of the TIME 100, Time magazine's annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world, and his books include Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, Stranger Than Fanfiction, and the books in The Land of Stories series: The Wishing Spell, The Enchantress Returns, A Grimm Warning, Beyond the Kingdoms, and An Author's Odyssey, and the companion books A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales, The Mother Goose Diaries, Queen Red Riding Hood's Guide to Royalty, The Curvy Tree, and Trollbella Throws a Party.

Don’t miss TV-start-turned-bestselling author Chris Colfer’s newest novel about being a hit TV-star! Catch up on page and screen! One (1) winner receives:

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Any Boy but You 
Series: (North Pole, Minnesota #1) 
Author: Julie Hammerle
Publication Date: February 13, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Crush

Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.
The girl Oliver's fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She's his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.
When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.

Guest Post
What inspired you to write Any Boy But You? Is it based on anyone special?

The character I relate to most in Any Boy but You is Oliver, for sure. 

It didn’t start out that way. I hadn’t gone into writing the book planning to deal with my own social anxieties through him, but that’s how it worked out. The way he sees his sister, Regina, is how I see people who have it more socially together than I do. She’s an extrovert, who thrives on engagement with others. He’s an introvert, who finds the whole “making and keeping friends” thing exhausting and terrifying.

He wants friends. He wants to find his “person,” to use a Grey’s Anatomy word, but he’s scared of being rebuffed. He’s scared of putting his heart out there and having it tossed back in his face. And that fear has won out his entire life. He’s spent seventeen years hiding behind his computer and his “above it all” façade, while other people paired up around him.

When he talks about his fear of rejection or his worry that no one would show up for him when he really needed a friend, that’s all me. That stuff was waaay too easy to write.

Obviously, Oliver and Elena’s budding romance is the center of this story, but my favorite interpersonal moments happen between Oliver and Harper, Elena’s BFF. Harper and Oliver strike up an unlikely friendship, and she’s exactly the person he needs to help him come out of his shell. Oliver wants a romantic relationship and he does grow to care about Elena, but what he really needs (and finds in Harper) is a good buddy.

About the Author
Julie Hammerle is the author of The Sound of Us, which will be published by Entangled Teen on June 7, 2016. Before settling down to write "for real," she studied opera, taught Latin, and held her real estate license for one hot minute. Currently, she writes about TV on her blog Hammervision, ropes people into conversations about Game of Thrones, and makes excuses to avoid the gym. Her favorite YA-centric TV shows include 90210 (original spice), Felicity, and Freaks and Geeks. Her iPod reads like a 1997 Lilith Fair set list. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two kids, and a dog. They named the dog Indiana.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Daughter of the Pirate King by Trisha Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King
Author: Trisha Levenseller
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publicaton Date: February 28, 2017

This book made me appreciate reading again. 2016 was one big book slump for me. I couldn’t find anything I liked and much of what I was reading was far too serious. I picked up Daughter of the Pirate King on a whim and for the first time in a long time I remembered what a joy reading can be! This book is fun. It is pirates hunting for treasure, being scallywags, and living life on the high seas. It was exactly what I didn’t know I wanted.

This novel follows pirate captain Alosa. She is the daughter of the pirate king (hence the title). The story begins when Alosa is captured by rival pirates. Only, the jokes on them because Alosa was planning to be captured all along. She is searching their ship for a legendary treasure map. One said to lead to an epic trove. But all is not smooth sailing.

Alosa is a great heroine. And I liked seeing her be good at what she does, pirating. The days of girls needing saving are long over! Alosa is the captain of an almost entirely female ship and they’re the best of the best. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the crew in the sequel.

The best part about this story was the witty banter between Alosa and Riden. They reminded me of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride & Prejudice. Only with more kissing. And more pirates. The relationship between Alosa and Riden is a slow burn that you can’t help rooting for.

The only thing I didn’t like about this novel was that I have to wait for the sequel! I’m excited to read more about Alosa, Riden, and the entire pirate crew. When I read this book I desperately needed something fun, light, and interesting. This book was all three! Put this on your to-read list now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Blog Tour: Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake + Giveaway

Guardian of Secrets 
Series: Library Jumpers #2
by Brenda Drake
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.
Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.
And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.
Maybe. If she survives.
Other Books in the Series
Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1)

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.
Jumping into some of the world's most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik's world and her own, before both are destroyed.
Guest Post
Music is very important to me when trying to get into the feeling of a scene. A book’s soundtrack can add another layer to the story. The perfect song can help deepen your writing and aide in helping us feel the characters’ emotions. I’m thrilled to share with you today my soundtrack for Guardian of Secrets, book two in the Library Jumpers series.

Secrets by OneRebublic is the perfect song to start out with. This volume in the Library Jumpers series is all about secrets. The lyrics “This time, don't need another perfect lie” fits perfectly how Gia feels in this story. 

Don’t Let Me Down by the Chainsmokers, this song plays to Gia’s desperation after something bad happens and all she wants is Arik, but he isn’t there for her. The lyrics “I really thought you were on my side … But now there's nobody by my side” plays perfectly with her feelings during this scene.

Heathens by twenty one pilots is a fun song that plays to the new threat in this book and his gang of evil Mystiks. With lyrics like “All my friends are heathens, take it slow” and “Please don’t make any sudden moves” goes great with Gia and Nick’s feelings when they encounter this new threat in the darkness of a library. 

Close by Nick Jonas with Tove Lo is a song for Gia and Bastien. I can’t say much here because I don’t want to spoil anything. The lyrics that go perfectly with this scene are “I know, I know you know you’re scared” and “'Cause space is just a word made up by someone who's afraid to get too close.”

Love Me Now by John Legend when Gia is trapped in a barren wasteland with somebody (I’m trying to be cryptic here) all she and this other person think is “I know it'll kill me when it's over …I don't wanna think about it, I want you to love me now.”

Rise by Katy Perry finishes off the book nicely. It fits Gia’s mind set after a battle where so much was lost and she must rise. And I end with these lyrics: “When you think the final nail is in. Think again. Don't be surprised. I will still rise.”

I hope you enjoyed the playlist for Guardian of Secrets. If you would like to listen to the Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1) soundtrack!
About the Author 
Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2). She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Goodreads -
Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card with Guardian of Secrets swag pack *International winners will only get $50 GC*

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The 100 Book Blitz + Giveaway!

I am so excited that THE 100 returns to TV tonight! And to help celebrate the show's return Little Brown Books For Young Readers and Rockstar Book Tours are giving away 5 Boxed Sets of the Complete series! So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

THE 100 Box Set (Books 1-4)
Author: Kass Morgan
Pub. Date: January 3, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 1360
Formats: Paperback
Find it: AmazonGoodreads

All four thrilling novels in The 100 series, now available in a paperback boxed set! Ever since nuclear war destroyed our planet, humanity has been living on city-like spaceships hovering above the toxic surface. As far as anyone knows, no one has stepped foot on Earth in centuries--that is, until one hundred juvenile delinquents are sentenced to return and recolonize the hostile land. The future of the human race rests in their hands, but nothing can prepare the 100 for what they find on this strange and savage planet.
Read the series that inspired the hit TV show. The 100, Day 21, Homecoming, and Rebellion are gathered together for the first time in this striking box set, perfect for fans and series newcomers alike.

About Kass Morgan

Kass Morgan studied literature at Brown and Oxford, and now resides in Brooklyn, where she lives in constant fear of her Ikea bookcase collapsing and burying her under a mound of science fiction and Victorian novels. Kass is currently working on the sequel to The 100, which she’ll finish as soon as she finds a coffee shop that allows laptops on the weekend.


5 winners will receive the complete boxed set of THE 100 Series, US Only.

Ends on February 8th at Midnight EST!

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Author: Neal Shusterman 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: November 22, 2016

This had so much potential and it never materialized into anything. That is the intense tragedy of Scythe. It is a novel with an interesting premise: the world has grown so advanced that no one dies anymore and Scythes are tasked with killing people in an ordered, systematic way.

The characters in this interesting world were completely flat. Citra and Rowan were selected to be Scythes in training. They both don’t want this job. Which is a good thing, you shouldn’t want to be a killer. But, they had no feelings. They weren’t grappling with big decisions. They were just there. It sucked the life out of this interesting premise to have two so very vanilla characters.

The worldbuilding was overdone. This was a long read and it was almost entirely worldbuilding. Which would have been fine except there was nothing else going on in the story. The characters were pawns with little to no personality.

The one thing I did enjoy about this story was that it spanned multiple generations of characters and ideological viewpoints. It was really about internal power struggles in organizations that are immune from law. I enjoyed that aspect but the story read as rather dry. I was expecting something with more zest and this wasn’t it.

Overall, this was so-so read. It had tons of promise that never materialized. I don’t plan on continuing this series, there just wasn’t enough to keep my attention.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Wicked Like A Wildfire

Wicked Like A Wildfire
Author: Lana Popovic
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: August 15, 2017

All the women in Iris and Malina's family are born with a gleam—a unique way of manipulating beauty through magic. Seventeen-year-old Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, her twin sister Malina interprets moods as music, and their cold, distant mother Jasmina bakes scenery into decadent treats at her confectionery in Old Town Cattaro, Montenegro.

Jasmina forbids Iris and Malina to share their gleams with anyone, and above all, she forbids them to fall in love—being discovered could shatter the quiet lives they’ve built in their tucked-away, seaside town. But Iris and Malina are tired of abiding by their mother’s rules and rebel in secret whenever they can.

Yet when a mysterious, white-haired woman attacks their mother and leaves her hovering between life and death, the sisters unearth an ancient curse that haunts their line—a wicked bargain that masquerades as a blessing, and binds the twins’ fates—and hearts—to a force larger than life. To save each other, they must untangle a thousand years of lies and reveal their own hurtful secrets. But even the deepest sacrifice might not be enough.

Wicked Like a Wildfire is the first book in a sumptuous, bewitching duology about the power of love, death, magic, and the many faces of beauty.
My Thoughts: GIVE ME THIS BOOK!!! No really. Give it to me. This premise, that cover. I haven't done a waiting on Wednesday post in a long time but this book mad me do one. Make sure you're adding this to your TBR lists now. I have a feeling it's going to be a big book in 2017.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top 10 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't

I had a HUGE reading slump in 2016. There were a ton of books I meant to read but for one reason or another didn't get to. These are the top books that I didn't get to I plan to read sometime this year!

1 Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
2 And I Darken by Kiersten White 
3 Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

4 Just Kill Me by Adam Selzer 
5 The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

6 With Malice by Eileen Cook 
7 The Monster on the Road is Me by J.P. Romney
8 Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

9 Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
10 The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

Monday, January 9, 2017

A List of Cages by Robin Roe Blog Tour + Giveaway

Thanks to Disney for sending me a review copy of this book and for providing the prize pack!

A List of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: January 10, 2017

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he's got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn't easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can't complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian--the foster brother he hasn't seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He's still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what's really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

First-time novelist Robin Roe relied on life experience when writing this exquisite, gripping story featuring two lionhearted characters.
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads | Disney

Kindness Goals of 2017
I feel like everyone had an awful 2016...but me. I had an amazing 2016. I got engaged, finished my masters degree in library science, landed my dream job, and moved to a new state! In 2017 I want to pass this good energy to everyone.
  • Be more understanding. 

  • Be positive. In exchanges with other people, both in person and online. I'm going to radiate positive energy and believe the best in others. The bookish community, on twitter especially, can be so negative. I'm not going to be a part of this. I'm going to take everyone at face value and think the best of others.

  •  Be of Service. I want to make positive contributions to my library, neighborhood, and the bookish community.  
About the Author
Robin Roe has a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a master's from Harvard. She counseled adolescents in Boston before she moved to Dallas, Texas to run a mentoring program for at-risk teens. This is her first novel.
One (1) winner receives:
  • A copy of A List of Cages
  • Plus a $50 Visa gift card to put towards a day of friendship.
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