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?

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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.

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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!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It Had to Be You by Lizzy Charles

4 Stars!

"You are braver than anyone I know, and you challenge me to be myself."
                  This one was pretty cute. Very lighthearted with a sprinkling of humor, a great pick for when you just want to kick back and relax without the added stress of an overly emotional read. I'm not saying that everything in the book is sunshine and roses all the time, because it's not, there is a good amount of teen angst and some drama, but the presentation keeps it from going too deep. 
                  Edelweiss sure knows how to make an impression and her first day trading being home-schooled for a posh, private education was certainly unforgettable, starting with making a tardy assembly entrance, covered in pizza sauce with prairie dogs going at it on the TV screens, and ending with having to use the window ledge to make a graceful climb into the common room wearing nothing but her bra and panties. Needless to say, navigating these new social minefields is proving to be highly stressful for Edel. Thankfully, James Parson, resident prankster and ladies man, always seems to help her out of increasingly sticky situations. Together, they decide that a fake relationship would benefit the both of them: Edel would have some much needed protection from being on the arm of one of the most popular guys at school while pleasing her parents at the same time and James will get to stay at school by convincing his father and teachers that he has changed. But what happens if there relationship doesn't turn out to be as fake as they think it is? 
                  I didn't really have any problems with this one. It was lacking a bit of depth, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Not every book has to break you emotionally to make it good. Sometimes it's nice to just read something cute and fun, which this has in spades. With a bright cast of characters and a sweet cast of characters, follow Edel and James as they figure things out and finally realize they're fooling no one but themselves because It Had to Be You.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Sin and Cider by K. Reese

4 Stars!

Thank you to K. Reese and What the Book?! Promotions for the ARC and opportunity to participate in the blog tour!

"You make it so easy to fall for you, but you make it so hard to do anything about it."
                This was a nice mix of cute and sexy! There were a couple of aspects that frustrated me, but they were mostly either the result of my personal preferences/opinions or were moderately corrected by the end of the book. Overall, I would definitely recommend it for a quick summer read when you're in the mood took kick back with a little southern spice!
                MacIntosh Layne (Yes, REALLY!) needs to reevaluate her life and decides there's no better place than her hometown in Tennessee, so she packs a bag and moves home for the summer. Once she's there, she questions the snap decision she made to move to Chicago after high school in order to escape the humiliating revelation that her crush had absolutely no interest in her whatsoever. Determined to get back to her roots, she takes over the renovation and reopening of the cider barn in her family's orchard, despite any awkwardness her unexpected helping hand may cause.
                Lawson Westbrook had never given his best friend's kid sister a second glance all those years ago, but now she's certainly captured his eye. He almost can't believe who he's looking at. Even though he doesn't do real relationships and even the word "commitment" makes him nauseous, he's hell bent on getting Mac in his bed, at least for a little while, with a little proposition he's cooked up. Since she's heading back to Chicago in the fall anyway, they can surely handle a no-strings summer fling, right? 
                I've never really been into the whole "stick it out and maybe he'll change his mind" thing when it comes to commitment, but Mac's vulnerability when it comes to Lawson is a human trait and makes her feel more real, if a bit naive at times. I guess my biggest problem was with the first couple of chapters, where there were a lot of sentences directed at the reader. Personally, I feel that speaking to the audience is fine every once in awhile, but doing it too often can cause the story/narration to feel forced. Those initial chapters were toeing the line for me, but the rest managed to find a rhythm and get back on track, making sure it didn't detract too much from my enjoyment of the book. Also, the additional meddling of the sister, parents, and best friends was a really nice touch that made me smile and giggle a bit. So, the question is, will all the emotions threatening to overflow be too much? Or will Mac and Lawson figure out that the recipe for love involves a little Sin and Cider?