Wednesday, December 27, 2017

When Sh*t Gets in the Way (When Life Gets in the Way #2) by Ines Vieira

4.5 Stars!

A huge 'Thank you' goes out to Ines Vieira for the e-book!

"...don't tell me you're not mine when everything that I am has your imprint on it."
                  I loved it even more than the first! Quaid and Jess are just so cute and lively that I read it in a day and a half. I like that the timeline overlaps with the last few chapters of When Life Gets in the way because I think it adds something more to all the characters and helps make their lives so much richer.
                  Jessica Silva has a lot going on in her life. Her cousin Isaac is gone and her uncle Hector is still hell bent on proving that he's the most disgusting human being in a hundred-mile radius, she isn't handling her first year at Columbia as well as she hoped, and having to spend time with Quaid Stevens is absolutely driving her up the wall. Sure, she had a thing for him in high school, how couldn't she when he's so seemingly perfect? But, Jess believes perfection is a beautiful lie. And she can't stand liars.
                  Quaid comes from a family obsessed with perfection. It doesn't matter if your life is a shit-show as long as you keep up appearances. He isn't used to letting people get close enough to know about the skeletons hiding in the closet or the ones running around in broad daylight in expensive high heels. But, Jessica Silva has him thinking about changing his mind. That girl is a force of nature and he'd better strap himself in so he can ride out the storm. She wants to see imperfection he's trying to hide, but can he survive showing her?
                 I absolutely adore Jess! She's so fiery and passionate about everything she does that you can't help but feel yourself get ready to take up arms with her. She's smart and funny in a way that keeps the normally quiet Quaid on his toes. They challenge each other in the best ways possible. He pushes her to be all that she can be and protects against those who try to kill her spirit. In turn, she teaches him to relax and enjoy life without the constraints his grandparents try to put on him. Together they could be unstoppable. But, can they make it through all the lies and hurdles or just give up and call  it quits When Sh*t Gets in the Way?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles #2) by Erica Cameron

4 Stars!

Thank you to Chapter by Chapter, Erica Cameron, and Entangled Teen for the ARC through NetGalley and the opportunity to participate in the blog tour!

"We're fighting to get home... to keep the salvageable pieces."
               I've been so excited to read this book it wasn't even funny. I loved Island of Exiles and couldn't wait to see where Khya's adventure took her next. This has honestly been one of the most original and intricate series I've ever read. I adore the interesting dynamic Khya and Tessen have and welcome the refreshing break it gives readers from the old cliches.
               Khya and her people have been lied to their entire lives. Yorri is not dead. The Miriseh are not gods. Ryogo is not the heaven they get to go to if they serve them well and the Miriseh do not guard its gates. Each one of these lies has been shattered to leave one truth crystal clear: they must kill Varen. However, the one thing he didn't lie about was being immortal, so Khya and allies have traveled to the real Ryogo in search of the secrets Varen had hidden there before he was exiled five-hundred years ago. Many of the Ryogans still fear magic even if they don't believe the legend of the bobasu, so Khya and her friends are being hunted even in the land they're trying to help save. In order to save Shiara, Ryogo, and her brother, Khya will have to make sacrifices and learn to be the leader she always wanted to be.
               Because it's apparent that this series is going to go on for a bit, it makes sense that a lot of this book would be a set up for the ones to follow, and it was, but a lot of really important things happened too and there are a couple of interesting plot twists. I like that Erica Cameron doesn't skip steps to get to where she's going, she takes her time to build her plot which makes the world she's shaping so much more rich and developed. The only problem I had was I feel like Khya and Tessen's relationship was a little more....muted than it was in the first book. I mean, it was there and they interacted often, but it just seemed to me that something was missing. Still, they're one of my favorite pairings. I'm usually a total sucker for a hot alpha male, but this relationship was just so different and interesting. It was the epitome of an equal relationship that is so rarely seen in writing. I love that, while Khya often takes control of the romantic interactions in their budding relationship, Tessen is in no way seen as meek or submissive; he is confident and capable of holding his own. And, while Tessen was originally the one constantly pursuing the prospect of a relationship, he respects her wishes and boundaries. So, I'd love to see more of that brought back in the next book. If they survive that long. Will they make it home to save Shiara or will they remain forever adrift, hunted in Ryogo amidst a Sea of Strangers?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seize Today (Forget Tomorrow #3) by Pintip Dunn

4 Stars!

Thank you to Chapter by Chapter, Pintip Dunn, and Entangled Teen for the ARC through NetGalley and the opportunity to participate in the blog tour!

"The future, after all, is yours to embrace or defy."
       I can't say that I ever expected this book to revolve around Olivia Dresden, but it was definately one of the most interesting POVs to conclude the series with. I think it turned out to be an excellent decision. While I'm sad to see this trilogy come to a close, I've certainly enjoyed this wild ride Pintip Dunn has taken us on.
       Olivia Dresden has always been a shadow of a person. She's never been the daughter her mother, the Chairwoman, wanted, nor is she brave or strong like Callie or Jessa; instead, as a precognitive, she sees a million pathways spread out before her, a world of possibilities at her feet, but is always unsure of what path to take. Not many people know, however, that her visions of the future come with an expiration date: May 4th, which is just a few weeks away. Faced with the looming fate of uncertainty, Olivia decides that it's time to finally act and rebel against her mother's genocidal scheme. She teams up with Ryder, an alluring boy from the Underground with a mountain of trust issues to try to help the people she's admired all her life to save the world she's only seen from the outside. Together, they face the biggest enemy of all--Fate--in a race to keep their timeline from unraveling for good.
       While I wasn't expecting this to be Olivia's book, I ended up being so glad it was! I felt like I gained such a deeper understanding of this rich and complex world that Dunn has created by getting to experience it through her eyes. The ending wasn't what I was expecting, nothing about this book was really, but it had substance and I have a feeling it will be staying with me for days to come. I do wish that there had been a little more romance between Ryder and Olivia like there was with characters in the first two books, but I understand that that wasn't the main priority while they were trying to save the human race. I also loved getting to watch Olivia getting to grow as a person; going from an unsure girl into a true heroine who can stand up for what's right no matter what it costs her. She did have to make some awful tough decisions along the way, though. When you see all the directions, all the possible moves on the board, it can be difficult to keep from getting distracted. So, will Olivia be too caught up in trying to predict the outcomes to remember to play the game, or will she challenge fate by just trying to Seize Today?

Learn more about Pintip Dunn!
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Friday, September 22, 2017

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

4 Stars!

Thank you to Chapter by Chapter, Meg Kassel, and Entangled Teen for the ARC through NetGalley and the opportunity to participate in the blog tour!

"This town is marked, making her marked. Both are fair game."
        I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book. The synopsis is seriously vague. But, I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out. Honestly, I would have loved this tale to be a series and am a little disappointed that it appears to just be a one off! Black Bird of the Gallows is a haunting mix of mysterious curses, creepy characters, risky romance, and dangerous adventure that will have you buzzing for more!
        Angie Dovage had a traumatic childhood that has left her with a need to go unnoticed. Though she is an extremely talented musician, she even shields herself behind a disguise when her colorful alter-ego Sparo when she takes the stage as a DJ at the local club. But, when the mysterious and magnetic Reece Fernandez moves in next door, he seems to notice everything about her and appears to like what he sees. However, wherever Reece goes, death and destruction are soon to follow. Angie's curious about the secrets the boy next-door is keeping. She wants to know why there's suddenly strange crows lining her street and weird bees that seem to be making people crazy, and she's cure Reece has the answers. Her town has been marked, but for what?
        I loved how original this story was! Cursed crows, harbingers of death, and Beekeepers are certainly all new ones for me. On the down side, it did feel a little rushed. I would have liked it to be a little more spread out and some more explanation about aspects like what it being a "marked" town really means and how the magic of their curses came to be and functions. Still, I really enjoyed this cast of characters and their wild adventure. Angie and Reece are drawn to each other like moths to a flame, but will they be strong enough to weather the storm that's coming? Because the Black Bird of the Gallows is in town and not everyone will be alive by the time it moves on.

Check it out on Goodreads!
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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1) by Gabrielle Prendergast

4 Stars!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for the ARC!

"Maybe the world will end, he signs. Maybe the sky will fall... Maybe snowflakes will rise and time will stop moving."
               I have mixed emotions on this one, probably would've only given it 3 stars if the last 1/4 hadn't made me want to read the next one. I was expecting Defy the Stars meets the post-apocalyptic setting of Angelfall, something along the lines of "alien/other boy no one thinks could possibly be capable of human emotion is teamed up with supposed enemy who is a badass girl trying to save everyone"... But that's not what I got. I partially blame the misleading synopsis for my disappointment on that front.
               Okay, to be fair, the synopsis was accurate on a bare-bones level, but perhaps what really threw me off was all the ways this book defied the norms of others like it; in ways that were both good and bad. My main grievance was that I'm pretty sure I wasn't even a big fan of the "heroine" Raven most of the time. Instead of the badass hero of the apocalypse I was expecting,  she was just a kinda mean and selfish problem child with anger issues, who just "happened" to know martial arts. I wanted someone a bit more noble, but perhaps that this is a more realistic representation and that's why I was unnerved. I have mixed feelings about how the Nahx were described as well, mostly because they weren't actually described very much at all. It mentions the full body armor that obscures there face briefly, but not in depth. On one hand, I like that it gives readers a bit of freedom of imagination, but on the other I really wanted answers and waiting until the end to "see" Eighth's face nearly killed me.
               If anything, there were several parts of this book that reminded me of the movie Warm Bodies most of all. One of the shining aspects of this piece is that is the farthest thing from insta-love that I've ever read. It's definitely a slow burn "romance" whose flames were almost snuffed out on several occasions. I love this because it let the main focus be what it should be: survival. It was very refreshing to see a "relationship" go at a normal pace for the situation it was in, instead of immediately jumping on the "star-crossed lovers" bullshit bandwagon or looking like a case of Stockholm Syndrome. I'm very curious to see how the next one continues to play out! Personally, I'd love to see things move a little faster in different areas now that the stage is set!