Monday, December 15, 2014

A Month of Giving: Week Three

It's the third week in a whole month of giving! See my first post for more detail and specifics, but the list below will tell you what are the real necessities.

One change/note: I won't be able to send out the prize from this giveaway for at least a week after the winner is announced.

So here's what you need to know:
- I will be giving away two books a week every week in December.
-The books being given away are lightly used and well taken care of ARCs, some of which have come out/been published already, while others have yet to be released/published.
-The weekly giveaways only run for one week. So enter ASAP.
-Said weekly giveaways are only open to US residents. (Yes, yes, international readers I hear you just hold on and keep reading.)
- There will be special giveaway the week of the 21st.
* This same week, there will be a giveaway (using the book depository) for INTERNATIONAL Readers only! (I'm finally doing it for you guys!)

This week's prize is...

An ARC copy of Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton. It has an expected publication date of  February 10th 2015. I have really enjoyed it and it is undeniably unique. It is interesting and something that will intrigue Sci-Fi lovers everywhere.

And an ARC copy of Now That You're Here by Amy K. Nichols! This one came out the beginning of this month and it was one of my favorite books in the past few months. It was really cool and you can read my deeper thoughts in my review here.
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Darkest Part of The Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest

by Holly Black

Date of Expected Publication: January 13th, 2015
Format: Paperback ARC

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough? 

At first all I wanted to do was spill my guts out about this book as soon as I finished the last word. Actually, I was dying to blog about it after the first word, but I've been putting it off for a while now because now that I sit to write a review for it, I have absolutely no clue where to start, or what to say. I have never been at as much a loss for words as I am right now. This book gave me an unsatisfiable book hangover for a full week and still haunts me. As soon as I finished it I wanted to read it over again. I didn't really want a sequel or a series, one book summed everything up perfectly, but I loved the story so much that I wanted to read it over and over again until my eyeballs fell out. I couldn't read anything else for a really long time because it wasn't as good, and I just wasn't in the mood for any other type of book. I just wanted The Darkest Part of The Forest again. Thankfully, I am back on track now, but I must say, this book destroyed me like no other.

When I finished the book:


As soon as I read the first word, I knew I wasn't going to be able to put it down and I was right. The way Holly Black wrote and the style she used couldn't have been more perfect for the type of story it was, It was thoroughly enchanting. Holly Black's writing is bewitching.

The plot was the perfect pace and kept me on my toes the entire time and I was able to follow it all without any horrible info dumping or anything because the world building was flawless.

There is nothing I can say to fully explain and sum up my complete obsession with both the characters and the concept. Really just the whole book. Anyways, I didn't have any problems with any of the characters. Sure Hazel and Ben had kind of strange and absent parents, but that was part of their character and it was recognized that their family was kind of an anomaly so I was ok with it, and there were moments of involvement. Jack's parents played a surprisingly large role and it worked with everything else very nicely.

All of these characters were unique and a bit weird, but without being horribly quirky. Holly Black does an amazing job of making her characters some of the realist feeling that I've read. They all have this inexplicable tangibility. I don't want to say too much about Hazel or the romances because I want to talk about them in a later post. However, I will say that I loved Hazel's romance and will sing it high praises into eternity. Ben's on the other hand was abrupt and felt more logical and less real on an emotional level. It was like a lightning strike, there was a bit of thunder before but that was your only warning, there was no development, or gradual progression to it. So I couldn't ship it quite like I wanted to.

The concept was to die for! A true fairy tale like no other. It was a mix of so many classic elements, knights and fair folk, and all the superstitions that come with it all. It was a really interesting and fun blend that felt oddly natural and wonderfully fresh.

I also really enjoyed that she incorporated and addressed real and difficult issues that people face and are especially prominent in teen lives. There are mini existential crises, struggles to define who they are, mistakes, betrayals, and general struggling with a bit of learning how to be a human, and it is great.

Last Thoughts: 
It's like I keep saying, it is indescribable, words don't do it justice. This book is bewitching and will probably eat your soul (in a good way, I promise). I just...I don't even know what to say. It took my breath away. It was love at first word. I give it the ultimate five out of five stars and my highest recommendation. Read it. Read it now. No regrets.

Goodreads and Liberty Bay Books!

General Gif Consensus:

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Second Week of Giving

If you read the post last week, you already know how this all works, but here is a little reminder just incase!

So here's what you need to know:
- I will be giving away two books a week every week in December.
-The books being given away are lightly used and well taken care of ARCs, some of which have come out/been published already, while others have yet to be released/published.
-The weekly giveaways only run for one week. So enter ASAP.
-Said weekly giveaways are only open to US residents. (Yes, yes, international readers I hear you just hold on and keep reading.)
- There will be special giveaway the week of the 21st.
* This same week, there will be a giveaway (using the book depository) for INTERNATIONAL Readers only! (I'm finally doing it for you guys!)

This week's prize..,

An ARC copy of Far From You by Tess Sharpe! This one already "came out" but I really enjoyed it and you can check out my review here!

AND an ARC copy of Zodiac by Romina Russell. I haven't gotten to write a review of it yet and I may never, but it was quite enjoyable! It "comes out" December 9th 2014!

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Book that Broke Briana

Ensnared (aka the book that broke Briana)

by A.G. Howard

Expected Publication Date: January 6th 2015
Version: Paper Back ARC

Disclaimer: I am trying to keep this general, but I wouldn't recommend reading this review at all if you haven't read at least the first book, Splintered. There are some details that may hint at certain outcomes or spoilers. Spoilers or large hints to spoilers are "gray-ed" out and you can highlight them to read at your own risk!

Request: If you do highlight and read the spoilers please do not discuss specifics in the comments or elsewhere because that would spoil it to those that chose not to read the spoilers, and wait for the book.

After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She's determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles . . . and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world--a parallel dimension filled with mutated and violent netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the wildly popular Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that's gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But if they succeed and come out alive, can everyone truly have their happily ever after?

First off, I want to squeal and give a HUGE shout out to Liberty Bay Books for the ARC. (I died a little inside when I found it.) Also, A.G. Howard TWEETED ME BACK! It was so cool to have an author actually respond to tweets about their book! (I don't dislike it when authors do not do this because that is asking a lot, but I just thought it was cool that she took the time to reply to every single one!)

Let's kick it off with the one issue I had. The romance. You may remember from my review of Unhinged that I became hardcore team Morpheus during that book. So naturally I was rooting for him, but I did like Jeb for a while, so I didn't really feel like there was anyway I could be too horribly disappointed by the outcome of the triangle. I was mistaken. I hated how the triangle was resolved.(SPOILER) A choice never really had to be made, and personally I found the resolution a little weak and lack luster. I can't say more without spoiling it. Go read it then come back and we can discuss it.

(SPOILER) Also, everyone had such a happy ending. Everything was just wrapped up in a little bow with no loose ends and that kind of frustrated me. Life doesn't happen like that so why do stories?

However, Ensnared maintained all the other things I loved from Splintered, and Unhinged. The characters were still their brilliant selves (well mostly *wink wink*), however I wished there had been a little bit more development evident as it was happening. Characters changed, and it was obvious at the end, and it was explicitly showed in a few moments along the way. I was impressed by the amount of character development that it had though.

The plot was still cool and on point. It kept me wanting more, although I may have liked the plot of the others, a smidge better.

Again, the writing and voice were super fun and really worked well with everything else.

Last Thoughts: Despite a few minor qualms, I devoured this book and it devoured me. It was super fun and I was entertained through every second of it. The concept of the entire series is stellar. Howard crafts a unique series like no other, with an ultimately satisfying ending. I have to give it four to four and one half stars out of five because the few problems I had with it were too large to ignore.

Goodreads and Liberty Bay Books!

General Gif Consensus: 

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Month of Giving: Week One

I am so immensely thankful for Liberty Bay Books. It has only been a bit over a year of working with them and still, it is already hard to remember what it was like before. They have made a huge difference in how I blog and because of their support I am able to do some really awesome things!

Suzanne came to me with yet another brilliant idea/offer. She suggested doing, "a month of giving" to give away more ARCs! Well you don't have to ask me twice! Of course I said yes! So now I'm here to kick it off. I am beyond thrilled to be able to share so many great books with you guys! I would not be able to do this without Liberty Bay Books, Suzanne, and all her amazing employees!

So here's what you need to know:
- I will be giving away two books a week every week in December.
-The books being given away are lightly used and well taken care of ARCs, some of which have come out/been published already, while others have yet to be released/published.
-The weekly giveaways only run for one week. So enter ASAP.
-Said weekly giveaways are only open to US residents. (Yes, yes, international readers I hear you just hold on and keep reading.)
- There will be special giveaway the week of the 21st.
* This same week, there will be a giveaway (using the book depository) for INTERNATIONAL Readers only! (I'm finally doing it for you guys!)

Week One: "Holly Black: New and Old"
Again you only have 7 days to enter and you have to be a US resident.

This week's prize is two Holly Black ARCs...

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown received a grand review and rating from me which you can see here, but be warned it was from my earlier days and may be a bit wild. (This one has been "out" for a while.) 

The Darkest Part of the Forest almost didn't make it into the giveaway pile because I loved it so much that I wanted to keep it forever and ever. That review is still to come because the book won't be "released" until January 13th 2015. 

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass

by Sarah J. Maas

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. 

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass--and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

I caved. I finally read Throne of Glass. I did it for you guys, and boy am I glad I did. I devoured this book. Sure it had some issues, but hey what book doesn't?

Let's talk about Celaena. She is one of those strong characters people either love or hate. She is a bit of an unreliable narrator and certainly has some big character flaws. She is self centered, and vain and lacks compassion, not to mention her arrogance. But for some reason I enjoyed her anyways, I think it was the hints of something better hidden beneath it all. I didn't find it weird when she was preening or noticing her outfits, or indulging because that really fit the established personality and it seemed logical because she had been deprived of: nice clothes, good food, and other nice things that we take for granted, for so long! Her sassy comments were quite humorous and as I said before her redeeming qualities offset all the flaws. Her loyalty and curiosity were admirable and her strength was astounding both physically and emotionally she was not all about her and she was not all bad, despite how it may have seemed.

Side note about her backstory, I thought this was so well woven in! There wasn't a huge info dump, and it was parceled out throughout the story keeping some mystery in it too. Maas only gives you what you need to know for the story and nothing extra, fitting with Celaena's personality and making the story so much better to read.

For the most part,  I was happy with the plot. I got pretty caught up in it. There were small lumps of info upon occasion and little lulls, but as a whole I really, really enjoyed it.

I was pretty darn happy with the writing too. It was a bit repetitive when it came to things like descriptions, but other than that I wasn't really upset with any of it.

Honestly though, I was so caught up in the concept and the other characters that I wasn't paying too much attention to the technical stuff. I should be upset with myself for not paying closer attention or I should assume there were things I didn't see, but really, it gets more points in my book if it was so good that I didn't even notice!

Last Thoughts: This review is so late that I don't have much left to say about it other than that I really loved it! It was super entertaining and I can't wait to continue the series and see what happens! I give it five out of five stars.

Goodreads and Liberty Bay Books!

General Gif Consensus: 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Far From You

Far From You

by Tess Sharpe

Format: Physical ARC

Nine months. Two weeks. Six days.

That's how long recovering addict Sophie's been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong - a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.

Forced into rehab for an addiction she'd already beaten, Sophie's finally out and on the trail of the killer - but can she track them down before they come for her?

I wasn't sure if I'd like this one when I started out. Infact, I wasn't sure if I even wanted to pick it up, but I fell in love within the first pages. Every second I spent reading it was well worth it.

This is one of those raw books that just tears at you inside as it progressive. It was so real and emotional, with intense mystery. It was amazing and the plot was masterfully spun. I was reeling with every turn and it was perfectly paced. I had my suspicions, but I was still surprised when all the pieces fell together at the end. The end was just as intense as the beginning and every second in between, it was utterly satisfying. 

Sharpe kept the writing perfectly simple, letting the story speak for itself rather than overwhelm it with fancy words. There was detail where it was needed and tasteful, but really Sharpe let the emotions shine through, and the story take over, and it was brilliant.

Characters. Ah Sophie. Sophie is possibly my favorite flawed character ever. She has so much going on and there are so many reasons she should be a totally unreliable character and far too flawed to be a good balanced character, but it didn't come out that way. I loved every single part of her, and especially her flaws. She was stunning and amazingly real. She also developed beautifully, the pace of the development was really great, and the progression/development ran so deep

All the other characters were brilliant even in their pain, misfortune, and fear. I feel like Sharpe really realized that if she was going to write such a dark story with so many negatives and flaws, then there needed to be some bright spots to help readers get through it and she did a great job of bringing those out and balancing the dark and the light. One of the ways she did it was through supporting characters, Sophie's friend and Aunt were so fun and positive and even though I didn't get to know them very well, or for very long, but it seemed I knew them the instant they were introduced, and they were spectacularly loveable, and surprisingly prominent for their roles.

Sophie's parents were actually involved and it was so cool to be able to see both sides of parent child conflict. Her dad was the sweetest thing and their relationship was so touching. Then you have Sophie's mom where the emotions are even more complicated, but still realistic and raw and just really added another dimension to the tale.

Last Thoughts: Overall, I ended up completely enamoured by this book, so much so that I couldn't see flaws. it is a truly heart wrenching, yet surprisingly empowering read that is sure to fascinate and ensnare. It will have readers holding their breath until the last page.

Note: This book deals with multiple powerful and tough issues and I would recommend that only readers that are about Sophomore age (or possibly Freshmen, depending on maturity) and up read it.

Although, my love for this one runs deep, I feel that four out of five stars or four and a half stars out of five is an apt rating.

Goodreads and Liberty Bay Books!

General Gif. Consensus: