Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: Clariel by Garth Nix

Title: Clariel
Author: Garth Nix
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 10.14.2014
Pages: 382
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Series: Abhorsen #4
Source: Finished copy from publisher

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilp. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her - and it is herself she must question most of all.

Review:

I was totally excited to read this. It sounded like such a great story with a beautiful world and Clariel herself sounded like someone I would love in this book.

There was so much to absorb in this book. The Abhorsens, free magic, charter magic, and their respective mages. And all of the mechanics that went along with them.

Bel was probably my favorite character. He just seems so full of energy and ready to go and help when needed. And he most certainly wasn't afraid to step up when the time came. Clariel was certainly determined. She wanted so much to get back and out of the city that she succeeded, just not in the way she ever thought.

I haven't the Old Kingdom series so I wasn't sure what exactly I would expect. It certainly made me want to read them!  Although this was the prequel, I definitely felt like I was missing something. With all of that going on, I was left with the question of what is the significance of  the magics and what exactly do the Abhorsens do?

Overall, it was a good book with some very good imagery and a cat who I haven't quite figured out. I am definitely going to getting the Old Kingdom series.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Wicked
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: 12.9.2014
Pages: 371
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Series: A Wicked Saga #1
Source: Finished copy from author

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans. 

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart. 

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her. 

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

Review:
Sometimes an author I love does something that truly tests me. I’ve said for years that I’ll read anything Jennifer L. Armentrout writes, and what does she write? A novel with faeries in it. And what is my biggest book no-no?

Yes, faeries.

I have yet to find a story with fae in it to love … until now. So yes, Jen Armentrout is actually that good that she managed to get ME to read a novel with a genre I typically shy away from. And not just read it, but enjoy it.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I liked about this book. Maybe it was that there is finally a book with new adult age characters that are not set in the every day, contemporary world. Ivy is a lovely main character, written with Armentrout’s signature wit and snark with a healthy dose of heart. But it’s absolutely Ren that stole my heart. Ren with his confidence and green eyes and arms and abs and …


Wait. Where am I again?


The end, though … While the twist felt obvious to me, I’m still excited to see where Armentrout takes the rest of this series. The ending, while not an overt cliffhanger does leave the reader with a sense of impending doom and worry. I can’t wait to crawl back into NOLA and hang out with Ren (and I guess) Ivy again!

Waiting On Wednesday: Hold Me Like A Breath


"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly waiting to get into our hands.

This week I'm waiting on....


HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH
By: Tiffany Schmidt

Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can't protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family's line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

Why I Want It:
Tiffany Schmidt beyond wowed me with Bright Before Sunrise, and I simply cannot wait to see what she does with this story! The plot sounds wholly unique and original and Schmidt has a fantastic voice for storytelling.


Hold Me Like A Breath will be released May 19, 2015 by Bloomsbury

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Chapter Reveal: Inspire by Cora Carmack

Be sure to check out the always adorable Cora's website for chapters 1 & 2 and the rest of the tour stops for more chapters!

December 5-Kimberlyfaye Reads-Chapter 3
December 8-Love Between the Sheets-Chapter 4
December 9-The Irish Banana Review-Chapter 5
December 11-Paranormal Book Club-Chapter 6



About INSPIRE:
Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.




About Cora Carmack:


Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Links:

Review: Zodiac by Romina Russell

Title: Zodiac
Author: Romina Russell
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: 12.9.2014
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult, SciFi, Fantasy
Series: Zodiac #1
Source: ARC from BEA
Website: http://zodiacbooks.com/

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
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 Cancerian 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?

Review:
I was hoping to love this book just by the cover and the little bit of info in the back. I haven't read anything about the Zodiac before so I was hoping for equally awesome and different.

The world building here is just stunning. Each sign is its own world complete with moons and ecosystem or lack there of. All are in theZodiac which would be the equivalent of a galaxy. They all have seperate but similar governing rulers and advisors. They all have their own contributing factor to their world and Galaxy. It's all so intertwined that I can't believe it's all spread out and not on one world. Definitely a beautiful imaginative world that I would love to go to, when there isn't a galactic threat.

Rho's story didn't stop since page one. There is an energy in this book that just gets you going. Rho gets no reprieve. Everything gets thrown on her at once and she can do nothing but move forward. I love her self reflection moments. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be her, with all of that responsibility and people looking to me to save them.

I love the mystery of Mathias and Hysan. They are like air; ever present and supportive but could be deadly with what they hold or their absence. There is something about about them that makes you hold your breathe around them. They both have this vibe of quite, distant, secretive, and mysterious. I am still left questioning if there are ulterior motives. But in a good way. It leaves you wondering, needing more.

This was a fast paced book. I loved that. Action and emotions on every page. At one point I didn't think there would be anymore. That this was a single book. I am SO glad there will be more. There is an element of surprise at the end that leaves room for so much more and I can't wait for the next one.


Buy: Zodiac by Romina Russell

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Fosters TV series is going to print!


DISNEY PUBLISHING WORLDWIDE ANNOUNCES COMPANION NOVEL TO ABC FAMILY’S HIT SHOW “THE FOSTERS”

Novel to be the first in a potential series

Glendale, CA—December 8, 2014—Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) announced today the release of THE FOSTERS: Keep Your Frenemies Close, based on characters from ABC Family’s hit TV series “The Fosters,” written by former Wall Street Journal reporter and non-fiction author Stacy Kravetz (Welcome to the Real World: You’ve Got an Education, Now Get a Life!; Girl Boss: Running the Show Like the Big Chicks; and The Dating Race: An Undercover Report from the Frontlines of Modern-Day Romance). The book cover will be revealed today in five pieces via an online scavenger hunt on “The Fosters” social media sites including https://www.facebook.com/TheFostersonABCFamilyhttp://instagram.com/thefostersabcf,
https://twitter.com/thefostersabcf. The first piece of the puzzle is attached.

THE FOSTERS: Keep Your Frenemies Close is a companion to ABC Family’s hit show “The Fosters,” and will be the first book in a potential series. The first book takes place over a weekend community service/school extra credit trip, which Callie is required to take in order to boost her history grade. To complicate things, she’s thrown together with Talya, Brandon’s ex-girlfriend who has always been jealous of Callie, and the forced relationship between Callie and Talya takes a series of turns over the course of the book.  The bright spot is a new guy, Austin, who flirts with them both and stirs up even more trouble between the two.  Callie and Talya reveal secrets to each other, find common ground, find confidantes in each other, and bond over the work they’re doing. Also, the relationships with the other kids on the weekend trip -- a new cast of characters which will be ongoing in the book series -- both create tension as well as draw Callie and Talya together. Ultimately, they see each other as something other than rivals and find they have more in common than they’d thought. On the bus ride back home, they’re forced to consider whether this newfound friendship will outlast the weekend. Especially when the unthinkable happens.

“A great TV show and a great read to go with it.  If you love ‘The Fosters,’ there’s nothing better than more stories about them. It’s wonderful we can offer our fans many connection points,” said Karey Burke, ABC Family’s Executive Vice President, Programming and Development.

Currently in its second season, “The Fosters” will feature a special holiday episode tonight, Monday, December 8 at 8pm ET/PT and return with new episodes on Monday, January 19, 2015 at 8pm ET/PT on ABC Family.

THE FOSTERS: Keep Your Frenemies Close will be published as a trade paperback original and goes on sale January 27, 2015. Print and eBook formats are available for pre-order wherever books are sold. THE FOSTERS: Keep Your Frenemies Close is the first book in the Kingswell Teen imprint and the first collaboration between Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) and ABC Family.

About Disney Publishing Worldwide
Disney Publishing Worldwide (DPW) is the world's largest publisher of children's books, magazines, and apps, igniting imagination through storytelling in ever-inventive ways. DPW creates and publishes books and magazines both vertically in-house and through an extensive worldwide licensing structure. As a leader in digital products, DPW creates bestselling eBook titles and best-in-class original apps that have garnered more than 50 awards to date. DPW is also committed to the educational development of children around the world through Disney Learning which includes our flagship learning brand, Disney Imagicademy, as well as Disney English and other Disney themed learning products. Headquartered in Glendale, California, DPW publishes books, magazines and digital products in 85 countries in 75 languages. For more information visit  www.disneypublishing.com.

About “The Fosters”
ABC Family’s “The Fosters” is a compelling, one-hour drama about a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological teenaged kids being raised by two moms. Stef Adams Foster, a dedicated police officer, and her wife Lena Adams Foster, a school Vice Principal, have built a close-knit, loving family with Stef’s biological son from a previous marriage, Brandon, and their adopted twins, Mariana and Jesus. Recently added to the mix are their newly adopted son, Jude, and his sister, Callie, who is striving toward adoption as well despite the roadblocks caused by her tumultuous family history.

Winner of 2014’s Television Academy Honors Award and GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series, “The Fosters” is executive-produced by Jennifer Lopez, (“American Idol,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” “The Back-Up Plan”) and created by Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige (“Queer As Folk”), who also serve as executive producers and writers, along with Joanna Johnson (“Make It or Break It”).

“The Fosters” stars Teri Polo (“Meet the Parents”) as Stef Adams Foster, Sherri Saum (“In Treatment”) as Lena Adams Foster, Jake T. Austin (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) as Jesus Adams Foster, Hayden Byerly (“Parenthood”) as Jude Adams Foster, David Lambert (“Aaron Stone”) as Brandon Foster, Maia Mitchell (“Teen Beach Movie”) as Callie Jacob, Danny Nucci (“Titanic”) as Mike Foster and Cierra Ramirez (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”) as Mariana Adams Foster. Greg Gugliotta, Elaine Goldsmith Thomas, and Benny Medina also serve as executive producers. The series is produced by Nuyorican Productions, Inc. in association with ABC Family. 

About ABC Family
Part of the Disney/ABC Television Group, ABC Family is distributed in over 97 million homes. ABC Family features programming reflecting today’s families, entertaining and connecting with adults through relatable programming about today’s relationships – told with a mix of diversity, passion, humor and heart. ABC Family’s programming is a combination of network-defining original series and original movies, quality acquired series and blockbuster theatricals. For 2014, ABC Family has launched the “WATCH ABC Family” authenticated service which allows viewers with participating TV subscription services access to 24/7 live viewing of the network, as well as continued on demand access to such popular series at home and on the go via a wide array of devices. ABC Family is also the destination for annual Holiday events with “13 Nights of Halloween” and “25 Days of Christmas.” ABC Family. A New Kind of Family.

###

THE FOSTERS: Keep Your Frenemies Close
By Stacy Kravetz
On sale date: January 27, 2015     
Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4847-1620-5 • Price: $9.99 • Ages 12 and up
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4847-2240-4

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Exclusive Excerpt & Review: Breaking the Rules by Katie McGarry



Welcome to day 2 of the BREAKING THE RULES Excerpt Tour! If you missed day one, be sure to check it out over at Mundie Moms because my excerpt picks up where Katie's left off.

EXCERPT: 

I gently nip her earlobe. While mornings aren’t her thing, she’s definitely a night girl. “I promised Jacob I’d video chat with him today. You wanted to shop for a new dress, and we have one more stop before we hit Denver.”
Jacob—my younger brother.
I spent the past three years of my life plotting and scheming to gain custody of him and our youngest brother, Tyler. This spring, after experiencing one of those life-altering moments you see in the movies, I walked away from the custody battle and gave my brothers the life I could never provide. I shattered the fucked-up remains of my heart in the process. But Echo, being a damned magical siren, gathered the pieces and has slowly sewn them together.
“I take it back,” Echo mumbles into the pillow. She fails at pulling the cover over her head when I pinch the blanket with my fingers to keep it in place. “I don’t want a new dress for Denver. You take the keys and go chat with Jacob.”
Echo’s been invited to an art showing, and this one has her on edge. If I had to guess why, I’d say she’s tired of the same pretentious jerks acting like they know everything. I’ve been over this nonsense since our second week, but Echo’s into it, and I’m into Echo. “We need to map out the rest of our trip so I can call ahead and get shifts. I need cash if you want to stay in a hotel again.”
I worked at the Malt and Burger for two years in Louisville, and thanks to their employee travel program, I can take swing shifts at sister stores throughout the nation. Gas and food on this trip hasn’t been cheap, and then I sent a chunk of money to my best friend, Isaiah, for a deposit on an apartment.
 “I’ve got money.” Echo nestles in like it’s three in the morning instead of seven, and damn if she doesn’t look sexy doing it.
Even with the slump she’s hit this past month, Echo did well earlier this summer by selling her paintings at galleries. I agree she could finance us, but the only thing I have left is my pride, and I’ll eat shit before anyone rips that from me.
“I’m earning my way,” I say. “If you don’t come with me today, we’ll end up going through Kansas again.”
She wrinkles her nose but has yet to open her eyes. “It’s a large country, Noah. We can live without seeing Kansas again.”
“If you wake up and come with me, we’ll have plenty of time to plan a new route.”
“Know what I haven’t had plenty of in two years? Sleep. Now—shhhh. I’m nightmare-less, and you’re ruining my streak.”
Echo’s been nightmare-less for seven days. It’s a big milestone, for both of us. “Echo…”
“Please,” she whispers in this sensual Southern drawl full of the cracked grogginess that drives me crazy. “Pretty please?”
Everything inside me softens. Hands down, this girl owns me. I gave up caring this past spring how fucked I am because of it. “Five minutes.”
“An hour.”
“Ten minutes, and we’ll stay in a hotel tonight.” We’re visiting Colorado Springs for the next two days before we drive to Denver. It’s our last sightseeing trip before going home. Until this point, I’ve been adamant we camp.
Accepting her silence as consent to the deal, I hook an arm around her and draw her into my body. Echo flips, rests her head on my bare chest, and I don’t miss the unrepentant smirk. Her breath tickles my skin, and the thought of seducing her creeps back into my brain. I shove the impulse away. I made a deal and I’m a man of my word.
With the soft sound of her even breaths and her body molded to mine, my eyelids grow heavy. I battle the urge to sleep along with her. This summer has brought a sense of peace I haven’t experienced since I was fourteen, since the night before my parents died.
A herd of footsteps race past the tent, and seconds later a small kid’s voice yells, “Hey, wait up.”
I force my eyes open. “Come on, baby. It’s time.”
“You’re mean, Noah.”
The blanket falls off her arm as I slide a finger down her shoulder. Goose bumps form along her skin at my touch. She may be cranky, but she’s responding.

BREAKING THE RULES Synopsis:

A summer road trip changes everything in this unforgettable new tale from acclaimed author Katie McGarry.

For new high school graduate Echo Emerson, a summer road trip out west with her boyfriend means getting away and forgetting what makes her so . . . different. It means seeing cool sights while selling her art at galleries along the way. And most of all, it means almost three months alone with Noah Hutchins, the hot, smart, soul-battered guy who's never judged her. Echo and Noah share everything--except the one thing Echo's just not ready for.

But when the source of Echo's constant nightmares comes back into her life, she has to make some tough decisions about what she really wants--even as foster kid Noah's search for his last remaining relatives forces them both to confront some serious truths about life, love, and themselves.

Now, with one week left before college orientation, jobs and real life, Echo must decide if Noah's more than the bad-boy fling everyone warned her he'd be. And the last leg of an amazing road trip will turn . . . seriously epic.


And don’t forget to read the first books in the Pushing the Limits Series…


About Katie McGarry:
Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.
Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

Links:
Twitter: @katiemcgarry


EXCERPT REVEAL SCHEDULE:

December 3

December 4
                                                        
December 5

December 6

December 7
Review:
As a reader I always want to know what happens after the last page. Was it really happily ever after? It's rare that after a couple has their story that they get a follow up. BREAKING THE RULES is a glimpse into the life of Noah and Echo post-PUSHING THE LIMITS. Oddly enough, despite how much I clamor for these follow up books, wanting to reconnect with characters I love, I usually feel let down by sequel books. But in BREAKING THE RULES, I fell deeper in love with two characters that kickstarted Katie McGarry's career and my love of her books.

This book is a reader's dream. Not only did I get to catch up with Noah and Echo again, but I love that McGarry was careful to keep this book from getting overly fluffy and cliche. Don't get me wrong - this might be her steamiest book to date, but it's also so real. Noah and Echo are growing up and that means dealing with adult problems that question their relationship.

While on the road they both grow and learn more about each other and themselves. They fight, sometimes like teenagers over petty things, but then they also learn how to resolve issues and talk them out. This book isn't just about two people being in love, it's about the maturity that it takes to form a lasting relationship.

McGarry can do no wrong in my book, but with 3 books written between PtL and BtR, I thought Noah and Echo were my least favorite pairing. BtR made me realize that I was so very. very wrong. Time to go re-read PtL!

Rating: 5 Stars



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