Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner


"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....

CAN'T LOOK AWAY


By: Donna Cooner

Torrey Grey is famous. At least, on the internet. Thousands of people watch her popular videos on fashion and beauty. But when Torrey's sister is killed in an accident -- maybe because of Torrey and her videos -- Torrey's perfect world implodes.

Now, strangers online are bashing Torrey. And at her new school, she doesn't know who to trust. Is queen bee Blair only being sweet because of Torrey's internet infamy? What about Raylene, who is decidedly unpopular, but seems accepts Torrey for who she is? And then there's Luis, with his brooding dark eyes, whose family runs the local funeral home. Torrey finds herself drawn to Luis, and his fascinating stories about El dio de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

As the Day of the Dead draws near, Torrey will have to really look at her own feelings about death, and life, and everything in between. Can she learn to mourn her sister out of the public eye?


Why I Want It:
I am a huge makeup junkie, and I love watching makeup haul/tutorial/reviews on YouTube. I'm excited to see a book that is about makeup blogger, plus I really enjoy emotionally turbulent contemporaries.



Can't Look Away will be released August 26, 2014 by Point

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Title: Of Beast And Beauty
Author: Stacey Jay
Publisher: Delacorte
Publication Date: 7.23.2013
Pages: 391
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Fantasy
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from a friend

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Review:

I love Beauty and the Beast when I was a little girl. Who didn't? Stacy Jay's slightly darker, twisted version but a whole new perspective on this childhood story that makes me love it even more.

Isra's world under the dome quite the host of issues. You don't really get an idea of what her city looks like except for the glimpse when she finally does a walk through. Though, you get the general idea that it is quite vast and has it's citizen caste areas like any normal city. The dome itself lacks any real description other than it's glass.

I believe the focus of this book was more on the characters and their story, which is why the setting wasn't as important. Isra has lead a lie of a life since she was four only to find out that it was someone important to her that made her that way. She is a strong woman in all that she faces and while she may seem childish, she handles it all beautifully.

I loved the relationship build up of her and Gem. It was somewhat typical but keep in mind the original Beauty and the Beast. Love conquers all, even in real life. Even though this has a bit of magic in it, anyone in the real world can see how it applies to our lives.

This reinvented tale of our childhoods puts a new light to it. It's a wondrous tale that was hard to put down. A little bit of adventure with lots of love and suspense makes this my favorite tale of an old story.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Title: The Burning Sky
Author: Sherry Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: 9.13.2013
Pages: 464
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Series: The Burning Sky #1
Source: ARC from BEA

Rating:

Summary (from Goodreads):
It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

Review:
Who doesn't love magic, adventure, and of course, love. Sherry Thomas made an amazing world, somewhat current but yet old at the same time. Princes and queens with their servants yet modern enough with trains and boarding schools.

Iolanthe is such an amazing girl, Thomas gave her so much devotion and courage that I was amazed by her and her adventures. She was so worried about keeping up appearances, in more ways than one, that she would let nothing get in her way of what she wanted or needed to do in order to keep herself and those that mattered to her safe.

Who knew that what she had to go through, at the hands of Titus, would be such an amazing adventure if not daunting on her part. When one thinks they have no destiny of any sort of measure and believes themselves to relatively normal only to have their whole world thrown upside down by exactly what you thought wouldn't be life changing, you might get a little mad.

Titus is confusing. He is distant and hard, yet soft at the same time. He does have feelings but shows them in the oddest ways sometimes. He never does anything without purpose and has plans for everything. Even if he doesn't expect something, in an instant he had a plan. He is quite comical when faced with a conundrum. He goes into a nervous mess while trying to help himself and sometimes it is best to trust your friends and let things happen.

Thomas created a magical world with adventures that set your mind spinning. I could read this fast enough and cannot wait for the next book.

Buy: Amazon

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett

Title: The Stepsister’s Tale
Author: Tracy Barrett
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: 6.24.2014
Pages: 272
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She's tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother's noble family-especially now that the family's wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It's hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane's burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family's struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane's stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire. 

When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate...

From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett's stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.

Review:
This is one of those books I went into a little curious about, but ultimately got swept away in a fantastical fantasy world. THE STEPSISTER’S TALE is truly a fairytale for more grown up people, and Tracy Barrett does a brilliant job of bringing the storied tale of Cinderella to life in a whole new way.

I’m a huge fan of de-villainizing a villain. I love seeing a character typically written off as bad become reformed and a heroine. Jane is just such a character. Seeing the humanity of Jane, of seeing the conditions she was growing up in while her mother was simply more and more disillusioned, was heartbreaking.

I think the true brilliance of Barrett’s writing is that while she has completely twisted the Cinderella tale I knew as a child, she is still able to keep the reader entranced with that childlike wonder and purity of a story that drew me to fairy tales in the first place. The magic is still very much here (not the talking/sewing mice, although she does make a nod to several characters in brilliant ways), but it’s a grown up magic.

I started this book the afternoon I got it in the mail and finished it the same evening. It is a fast, cleansing read that I cannot recommend enough. Flowing prose and fantastic narration drive this original plot to the very end.
 

Buy: Amazon

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Polaris


"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....


POLARIS

By: Mindee Arnett

Following the events of Avalon, Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. Jeth is desperate to find the resources and funding he needs to rescue his mother from an ITA’s research lab and leave this whole galaxy behind for a new life somewhere else. But the ITA is just as desperate, and soon Jeth finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing Jeth and his crew—dead or alive. In a last-ditch effort to save everyone he holds dear, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he'd see again: Dax Shepherd, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. And he’s not the only one: upon arriving back at Peltraz spaceport for the first time since he witnessed the death of his old employer, Jeth discovers Dax has a new partner: Jeth’s mother, Marian.

This shocking turn of events is only the first in another breathless, action-packed sci-fi adventure rife with danger, love, and betrayal, as Jeth has to once again ask himself how much he’s willing to invest in a morally bankrupt galaxy in the hopes of saving those he cares for.


Why I Want It:
I absolutely adored Avalon beyond words. I cannot wait for this conclusion - which I will read because my usually book hang ups do not apply to duologies. And also because it's based on Firefly. And Mindee is a doll.

Polaris will be released January 20, 2015 by Balzer + Bray

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Kiss of Deception
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Publication Date: 7.8.2014
Pages: 489
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love. 

Review:
Oh to be a princess! Just for a little while though. I don't think I could handle all the political duties or an arranged marriage. She did exactly what I would have done, run.

I loved this book. The story was one adventure after another with imagery that no where else but right next to Lia. You learn a lot about her in just the first few pages. She wants so hard to do her duty but her heart wins over. She thrives to be just herself and not just a horse contracted over to a prince she knows nothing about. She wants a simple life and does just exactly that. She is so determined to leave her old palace life behind and create a new one in hopes of finding love. Lia has a passion for life like I have never seen. Even when hinges get tough, she puts her chin up and ferociously meets the situation with everything she has. Lia quickly learns her destiny and tries her damnedest to steel her heart and set her mind to what she must do. Even if it means her life.

Rafe and Kaden. Where to start. Well first of all, once they get acquainted it's hard to distinguish who is who, as the point of view changes often. But once the story gets along a bit you quickly figure out who is who and what each of them want. They are both so mysterious and it's hard to understand their motives. They war with themselves over their heart and duty.

Buy: Amazon

Monday, July 7, 2014

Blogger Anonymous: Blogger Burnout


Welcome to the second edition of Blogger Anonymous. Not quite so anonymous, but definitely a place where people (mainly me, but feel free to join in), post about issues and drama that is currently plaguing me pertaining to blogging.

Today's topic of choice? Blogger Burnout.


I am currently suffering from this very condition, as is my co-blogger. Typically Gabrielle and I try to time these things so one of us is on their game, but this summer, we've both been going like crazy and there hasn't been much time do blog updates. (Please notice how there have been no updates in 2+ weeks.)

And honestly? I'm OK with this, but I didn't used to be.

The first time I experienced Blogger Burnout (we'll just call it the Big BB from here on out), I had been blogging just over a year. Life was good. I had my followers, I went to my first BEA ... and then my life went into overdrive.


I got back from NYC, my brother got married 2 days later, and then I started a new job the day after that. It was crazy and my blog went untouched for the better part of the Summer of 2012.

But you know what? When I started blogging ... I found not much had changed. The majority of my followers were still there and the world kept going. I was so worried that my followers would scatter to the four corners of the earth, 


but they didn't. 

I've had several friends say to me lately that they're tired of scheduling posts, making sure they're on top of books, blog tours, and trends, and all of the things. That blogging has become more an occupation than a hobby.

If that's you, can I give you a little bit of advice?

WALK AWAY.



Not forever. Maybe for a couple days. A week. Pick up a book that doesn't need to be reviewed until 2015 just because you can. Sometimes I forget the joy of losing myself in a book just because. I forget that I started blogging as a way to squee and share my love of all things bookish. But somewhere along the lines, it got twisted into an obligation. 


So, if you feel like you're hitting that burnout point, the Big BB, give yourself a break. Your followers will still be there when you come back. In fact, taking a beat and letting yourself breathe can be amazingly refreshing.

I am loving my current hiatus, even though it's coming to a close because I've had my break. Now I have energy and more importantly, I want to blog again. I've missed this community and seeing what my friends are loving and reading.

But I promise - you aren't admitting defeat if you take a break. Quite the opposite in fact. Come back more fabulous than ever.


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