Monday, June 11, 2018

ARC Review: Notes from my Captivity

About The Book:

  Title:  Notes from my Captivity 
  Author: Kathy Parks 
  Pub. Date: July 10th, 2018 
  Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 
  Pages: 352
  Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary 
  Rate: 3/5 stars 




Synopsis :

Girl meets boy… and the family holding her hostage.

Adrienne Cahill cares about three things: getting into a great college; becoming a revered journalist like her idol, Sydney Declay; and making her late father proud of her.

So when Adrienne is offered the chance to write an article that will get her into her dream school and debunk her foolishly optimistic stepfather Dan’s claim—no, belief—that a legendary family of hermits is living in the Siberian wilderness, there’s no question that she’s going to fly across the world.

After all, it is the trip of a lifetime.

But the Russian terrain is even less forgiving than Adrienne. And when disaster strikes, nothing—not the flirtatious guide or her stepdad’s obsessively detailed preparations—can protect Adrienne from the sheer force of nature. Now, Adrienne’s being held captive by the family she was convinced didn’t exist, and her best hope for escape is to act like she cares about befriending them, even if it means wooing the youngest son.

Review:

Notes from my Captivity is a new YA novel about a girl who gets kidnapped by a hermit family living off the grid in Siberia. Most people think this family is a myth, which is what brings Adrienne to the Siberian wilderness in the first place. Her stepfather is in search for this family - The Osinovs, to prove to the world they exist. However, insanity ensues, and Adrienne ends up captured by them. And she believes they just might be trying to kill her.

I did like the characters in this novel. Adrienne was strong and funny. She was very sarcastic and I looove sarcastic narrators. The Osinov's were my favorite part of this, though. They were definitely super creepy, but intriguing at the same time. I loved the different dimensions of their character and motivation, it's what kept me interested in this novel. While the plot was different than your typical YA, there were definitely times that I anticipated what was going to happen. That would have been my least favorite part of the novel. it the situations were more surprising, I'd definitely have given this novel 4 or maybe even 5 stars. 

I did like this book. The beginning was definitely slow, but the second half was very hard to put down. I will say that this one honestly is like a YA I've never read before. I think the book could be for fantasy and contemporary fans alike, as there are big components of both. Have you read Ms. Park's previous novel, The Lifeboat Clique? I am hesitant about picking it up because it doesn't seem like something I'd like based off of the description, but this book was up my alley, so I'm thinking about giving it a try. Have you heard about Notes from my Captivity? Are you interested in giving it a try?

Thank you to Harper Collins for providing
this book in exchange for my honest review

- Jocelyn

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

ARC Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

About The Book:

  Title: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe 
  Author: Lauren James 
  Pub. Date: July 3rd, 2018 
  Publisher: HarperTeen 
  Pages: 320 
  Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction 
  Rate: 5/5 stars 




Synopsis :

The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents’ tragic deaths left her alone on theInfinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.

Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.

Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there’s more to J’s mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone….

Review:

Ok - I'm being completely serious when I say this book is one of the best science fiction books that I've ever read. So basically, NASA located a planet that was indeed, inhabitable by humans. At an attempt to colonize the planet, NASA sends a ship armed with astronauts, seeds, and genetic banks into space. The only problem, it would take years upon years to get there. So, two astronauts would man the ship while the others remained in torpor sleep. NASA didn't account for one of the astronauts getting pregnant on the first leg of the trip. So, instead of going into torpor sleep, the first two astronauts had a baby and raised this baby on the Infinity. At the start of our novel, there is nobody on the ship except for Romy. A huge mishap caused everyone else to die, except her. She is running the ship all by herself. 


"Love takes so much energy, and it just leads to pain." 

Romy is an extremely emotionally strong girl to be given this role in space and be the only one on the ship. However, she suffers from debilitating anxiety, which makes her question herself and her decisions. One day, NASA tells her that a second fleet will be joining up with the Infinity. The commander of this fleet - 'J' is on constant contact with Romy from then on. However, some things just don't add up. And we begin to question just who J is and what his motives are. It is honestly SO CHILLING. This book is also fiercely feminist, and I just love it so much. It's hard to put my words into coherent sentences so please enjoy this neat-o list of things I liked:

Things I Liked:
1. The mental health aspect.
2. The slow-burn of learning the ship's back story.
3. How relatable Romy is.
4. The mystery surrounding J.
5. The writing - it is CRAZY addicting

Things I didn't like:
Nothing

"If a life of fear isn't worth living, then why should I carry on?" 

Science fiction and thriller all rolled in one - this book is so fast-paced you can definitely finish it in one sitting. I am 110% pre-ordering this gym as it is one of my favorite books of 2018! If you haven't read this book yet (because I think it's been published before), you need to PRE-ORDER it so we can discuss the amazingness that is The Loneliest Girl in the Universe.
Thank you to Harper Collins for providing
this book in exchange for my honest review

- Jocelyn

Monday, June 4, 2018

Book Blitz: Spectacle

About the Book:
Title: Spectacle
Author: S.J. Pierce
Publication date: June 4th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Synopsis: 
Avatar meets Gladiator in this spellbinding Young Adult, Science-Fiction seriesby bestselling author S.J. Pierce.
Two hundred years after the Great Disaster, the day earthquakes ravaged Earth’s landscapes, humanity has finally regrouped and is working toward a better future. But in New America – one of three remaining landmasses – overpopulation makes a better future seem bleaker by the year.
Mira (Mirabella) Foster and her parents are citizens of New America, and with the threat of starvation and disease looming on the horizon, a discovery threatens to push everyone to the brink of chaos:blue markings develop on people’s skin. Markings that allow them to camouflage,but also make them feared, and eventually, targets of violence.
Mira’s dad is one of them.
Spectacle, Part One is the beginning of a three-part series. Suitable for ages fourteen and up.

On sale for 99¢ for a limited time!
Spectacle has made it to my TOP TEN LIST OF DYSTOPIAN BOOKS to read. ★★★★★
This book is totally ADDICTIVE, FAST-PACED and SUSPENSEFUL, with great lead characters and complex world building. ★★★★★

HUNGER GAMES meets AVATAR in this spellbinding Young Adult, Science-Fiction series by bestselling author S.J. Pierce.

EXCERPT:

When Luxxe and I make it into the crowd, they part for us, their cheers and attentions trained on him – the camp’s hunting trainer and star of our monthly hunting expeditions. In other words, their well-respected (and sometimes feared) hero. I’ve seen him hunt enough to know why too. He’s precise and brutal. No holds barred. It’s safe to say he’s the best one here, and I have to admit, though anything violent makes my stomach turn (even for the purpose of food), to see him in his element is like witnessing the athleticism of an Olympian god. This is what he was made for – to kill.His arm slips from my shoulder as he turns to hug his best friend and training assistant, Cole – another mountain of a teenage boy. He wears his dreads shorter, and his eyes are the color of liquid metal. His markings have harsh angles like bolts of lightning and cover his arms and half his torso. They’ve multiplied since I last saw him.The cheers around us ebb as they wait for Luxxe to finish his greetings and lead us into the forest; this is the part where I have to fend for myself. Then we’ll part ways into smaller groups and kill whatever we can carry. Our group is usually me, Luxxe, Taylor, and Cole.While I stand with my hands clasped and looking at the ground, the lonely snowflake in a frenzied bed of coal, I feel some of their eyes on me but pretend not to notice. I know they wonder about me – the blonde, pale girl with no markings who hardly ever comes around; the girl Luxxe is close with even though he has a very committed girlfriend, not that it’s any of their business; the daughter of the former head liaison who met with the President all those years ago. Though most believe my dad is innocent, I think some blame him for starting the war that placed us here, though they don’t say it. At least not to me. I’ve overheard rumblings in the market a time or two about how he went ‘mad’ or ‘rogue’ and secretly planned to take the President out but was taken out instead. And it might be my imagination, but I feel their resentment when they look at me, still fresh after all this time. Like I was somehow in on whatever they assume he did.Oh, well. Screw them. He was innocent.

Author Bio:
Multiple Award Nominated and Bestselling Author Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare time to writing Paranormal, Sci-fi, and Contemporary Romance novels.
Please visit www.sjpiercebooks.com and sign up for her mailing list or subscribe to her blog if you'd like to hear when new books come out!

GIVEAWAY!

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~Cassie

Friday, June 1, 2018

ARC Review: The Brink of Darkness (The Edge of Everything, #2)

About The Book:

  Title:  The Edge of Everything, #2) 
  Author: Jeff Giles 
  Pub. Date: July 3rd, 2018 
  Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens 
  Pages: 400  
  Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal  
  Rate: 4/5 stars 




Synopsis :

Things have changed for seventeen-year-old Zoe ever since the otherworldly events that brought her together with the mysterious bounty hunter she calls X. In order to save Zoe and her family, X has done the unthinkable - he's given up his freedom and returned to captivity in the Lowlands.

X is determined to break the lords' hold on him once and for all, but being stripped of his power pushes him toward a darkness he's never experienced and a past he's never known. The secrets that surface could be the key to reuniting X and Zoe... or they could mean the destruction of everything they have been fighting for.

Review:

The Brink of Darkness is the follow up to Jeff Giles' Edge of Everything. I really liked The Edge of Everything so I was very excited to read the sequel. I think I initially read The Edge of Everything after I got it at BEA in 2016 so the wait has been real. 

"You don't believe you're going to get out of here."
"I want it far too much to believe it." 

The Brink of Darkness picks up with Ripper making a mockery of the Bounty Hunters in the Lowlands by evading them. She is seeking out the graves of her children and nothing will stop her, except X, who is the only bounty hunter she'll return with. Zoe is still recovering from the harsh truth that instead of her dad dying a hero, he was a coward who left their family. However, this sequel mostly focuses on X and all the questions that were left unanswered regarding his past. The Brink of Darkness has more of a setting in the Lowlands, which I love! That underworld that Mr. Giles created has such lush and rich world-building. I'd read 100 more book taking place there. The Lowlands is never boring and neither are the characters there, which makes The Brink of Darkness difficult to put down! 

I adored the characters in The Brink of Darkness. We see our favorites (um, Ripper, obviously) as well as a few new faces (Plum, Maudlin). The characters all had interesting backstories that came in to play and were all thoroughly developed. It was obviously great seeing X again and equally as great that he had ample page time. Zoe was just as she was in the fist book (kind of a pain in the ass), but the fact that I loved the other characters so much made up for it. When I first started this book, I was unaware as to how many books were going to be in this series. So when I started getting closer to the end, I was thinking 'wait is this the last book'? And indeed it is only a duology. I was disappointed because just as I felt like I was becoming to REALLY love the characters, they were being taken away from me. However, I will say, this book does an amazing job tying up loose ends and providing a good conclusion. 

The Brink of Darkness is the emotional and satisfying conclusion to The Edge of Everything Series. And I have to say, this follow up was better than The Edge of Everything. If you've read the first book and you aren't sure you want to read the sequel, I'd HIGHLY encourage you to do so - especially if you love X. And while I'm quite disappointed that this series is over, I'm excited to see what Jeff Giles writes next. It would be great if he wrote a series of short stories from the Lowlands! I'd 1000% read that! 

Thank you to Bloomsbury USA Children's for
providing this book in exchange for my honest review

- Jocelyn

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cover Reveal: Storm of the Gods

About the Book:
Title: Storm of the Gods (An Areios Brothers Novel)
Author: Amy Braun
Publication date: August 27th 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Synopsis:
The first in a brand new urban fantasy series where gods roam and mortals fight, STORM OF THE GODS follows two brothers who are caught in a conspiracy revolving around ancient artifacts, and find themselves siding with their supposed enemies rather than the Olympian who demands their loyalty…
Thirty years ago, the gods of Greek legend returned to the world. Their return restored their powers, which had been spent in a cataclysmic battle with the Titans. With the ancient deities imprisoned in Tartarus, the Olympians now reside in Néo Vasíleio, formerly known as California.
Twenty-four-year-old Derek Aerios is a war scion, a descendent of Ares, the God of War. He and his brother, eighteen-year-old Liam, capture mythological creatures and rogue scions as part of Ares’s elite military force. As he struggles to cope with his violent powers and the scars of a traumatic childhood, Derek tries to keep the two vows he has made: protect his brother, and never kill a human again.
But when Ares forces him to hunt and kill four rogue scions under Athena’s control—by threatening Liam’s life—Derek chooses to go after the scions in order to save his brother and keep his promise to himself.
Yet the closer Derek gets to the scions, the more he realizes that his orders are part of a deeper conspiracy that put him at odds with his mission and his conscience. Athena may not be the enemy, a traitor could be in their midst, and the Titans could be closer to freedom than ever before.


 

Author Bio:
Amy is a Canadian urban fantasy and horror author. Her work revolves around monsters, magic, mythology, and mayhem. She started writing in her early teens, and never stopped. She loves building unique worlds filled with fun characters and intense action.
When she isn’t writing, she’s reading, watching movies, taking photos, gaming, struggling with chocoholism and ice cream addiction, and diving headfirst into danger in Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.



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~Cassie

Friday, May 18, 2018

Cover Reveal: If

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Title: If
Author: Randi Cooley Wilson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: Summer, 2018
Cover Designer: Hang Le by Hang Le

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IF FOR WEB 

  If you knew love would hurt you, would you fall? If you knew love would leave you, would you let it go? If you knew love could never be, would you try? From bestselling author Randi Cooley Wilson comes a gut-wrenching love story about heartbreak, second chances, and letting go. The ifs that linger between the pages of this novel will break your heart and stay with you long after the final chapter. Emerson Shaw thought she’d left her old life behind her, but when she returns home for her best friend’s wedding, she has no idea her past is waiting to reclaim her. Dark and broken, Lincoln Daniels never wanted to find love. But when he met straight-laced Emerson, he fell. Hard. The only thing they seemed to have in common was an undeniable mutual attraction, but from the moment he laid eyes on her, there was something about her that called to him. Until he lost her. Tormented by demons and consumed by dark desires, it took years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of their what ifs. Just when Emerson is finally ready to let go and stop existing in a past full of pain and regret, Lincoln returns, turning her life upside down. What begins as a tentative friendship quickly escalates, and the two soon realize that all the ifs lingering between them no longer matter. If is a love story about two damaged people whose future depends on promises made in the past. What happens when two broken people meet, fall in love, and realize they can never be? What happens when all the what ifs no longer make sense? If you knew your heart would break, would you still fall? This book is intended for mature audiences.

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Randi Cooley Wilson is a best selling author of paranormal, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance books. Born and raised in Massachusetts, she attended Bridgewater State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. After graduation, she moved to California and worked in Marketing, Public Relations and Advertising on Luxury and Global Lifestyle Brands. In 2014, Randi published the bestselling and award nominated Revelation Series, the Royal Protector Academy Series, and the Dark Soul Series. Randi makes stuff up, devours romance books, drinks lots of coffee—though she prefers champagne—and has a slight addiction to bracelets. She currently resides in Massachusetts with her daughter, fur baby, and husband.

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~Cassie

Thursday, May 17, 2018

ARC Review: Always Forever Maybe

About The Book:

  Title:  Always Forever Maybe 
  Author: Anica Mrose Rissi
  Pub. Date: June 5th, 2018 
  Publisher: HarperTeen 
  Pages: 256
  Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary 
  Rate: 3.5/5 stars 




Synopsis :

When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Betts already knows the two of them are infinite. Inevitable. Destined to become an us.

Betts has only ever kept one secret from her best friend, Jo, but suddenly there’s a long list of things she won’t tell her, things Jo wouldn’t understand. Because Jo doesn’t see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.

She’s wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters.

Review:

"I didn't even know this boy, but I knew I would let him take me anywhere." 

Always Forever Maybe is a contemporary YA that explores abusive high school relationships. I was hesitant to start this because the last few YA novels I read regarding this topic were very similar and kind of just varied with the main characters' backgrounds and personalities.

I was very surprised that not only was Always Forever Maybe different in terms of characters, it was also a bit in different regarding plot and context. For the first half of the book, I honestly was thinking that this is just another variation of abusive high school relationships that I've read numerous times already. However, when I got to  the second half of the book, I realized it was different and didn't take the path I was expecting it to take. Yes, you can tell from the beginning that Betts is not going down a good path with Aiden and that this is going to end badly for her and you just want to shake her and say "STOP MAKING EXCUSES"! 

Another thing I really liked about this novel was the characters. I loved the relationship between Betts and Jo. This was a big part of the novel and I think their friendship helped you to better understand their motivations and characters. I also really liked Eric, Jo's brother. I thought the romantic interest, Aiden, was kind of plain. He was not really that different from any characters like him. He could have been replaced by any character in a novel similar to this and it wouldn't have made a difference. He was abusive and used his sad past as an excuse to act like a jerk, which is pretty typical for characters like him.  

"Even the very worst version of you deserves nothing but love." 

I want to thank my friend Heather at Harper Collins for sending me this book! I pretty much enjoyed it and I was actually surprised because a lot of abusive relationship YA books tend to be very, very similar in context. I do wish that Aiden was a little bit different than your typical abusive boyfriend character and I wish it would have went into more detail regarding how Betts' mom knew Aiden, but it just kind of left you wondering what situations happened to make her mother dislike him so much. Anyway, I think fans of YA contemporaries will enjoy this. If you think this book sounds interesting, you should definitely give it a try! 
Thank you to Harper Collins for providing
this book in exchange for my honest review
- Jocelyn