I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper. The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace: With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries. A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab: Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. Delilah Bard is a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped. The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury: Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch. Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girls she truly is. Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen's, some truths should not be told...

Friday, January 1, 2016

Stream Of Consciousness: First & Then by Emma Mills

I had this on my TBR for a while due to the fact that it's a Pride & Prejudice retelling, but for the longest time after I completely forgot about that aspect. I even saw it at the library when it first came out and totally just walked right past it (I still hate myself for that). Then one day I finally realized this was a retelling of my favorite book, and I finally acknowledged how quickly I needed to read this. However, I kept putting this one off because I was afraid I wouldn't like it, but I had a P&P craving recently so I decided to read this instead.

First & Then is a pretty wild ride in terms of how I felt about it as the book went on - that's why I thought I'd share my feelings toward the book with you guys! I'll start with my thoughts from the beginning of the book all the way to the end. That being said, I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense.

Meets Devon For First Time: Hmmm I don't really feel anything. But she's really mean to her cousin; Elizabeth Bennett was never mean. *humph* And she's also kind of whiny - but I can also see myself in some parts of her, so I hope that's not how I actually am...

Meets Ezra aka Mr. Darcy: He's frowning, but it's a mean kind of frowning. AND HE'S SO MEAN. I don't think even Darcy was this mean. Ezra's definitely got the scowling down, but it's not the type of scowl I admire. I probably won't even end up liking him - this book is disappointing me already. I want Darcy. EZRA, YOU WILL NEVER BE DARCY. Unless you become more like Darcy later. Which you might.

Devon Reads Jane Austen and References S&S and P&P: Aaaaah the main character loves Austen novels! Oh no...I hope this doesn't mean I'm like her. I agree with her sometimes, but she's whiny and super prejudiced and prefers to love her friend Cas rather than Ezraaaaaa - she just ain't my cup of tea. Also, dear Devon, please get it through you head: Willoughby is not a decent guy!

Foster's Development: I mean, yay, makeover! But what changed him? Football? And what made him the way he was in the first place - they didn't explain this enough. I need to know more. Foster might actually be my most favorite person though, besides the mystery behind his before and after pictures.

Ezra and Dev Moments: They're so cute!!! I knew I'd come to love Ezra (though my feelings toward Dev are still pretty iffy). And they're so cute together! But who is Jane Bennet and Mr. Wickham in the novel? I want to know. I have guesses but I don't know if they're right - I suppose I'm sort of glad this isn't your everyday, predictable Pride & Prejudice retelling. It puts a new spin on things.

Homecoming: Noooo the pain, I can't stand it. I have a thing for painful scenes, and this is the most painful thing I've read in a while. *drowns in pain* THIS IS NOT OKAY. Also, why's it Homecoming? Isn't it usually Prom in these types of book, with seniors and whatnot. On another note, if Homecoming is the climax-ish moment, then wow this romance moved quickly.

The End: Gaaaah Ezra's confession was quite possibly the cutest thing ever! And people's true colors are coming out and other people finally realize they're prejudiced. Whoo! I just realized how prejudiced Devon is in this novel though - it's like Pride & Prejudice with an emphasis on the prejudice. BUT DID I MENTION HOW CUTE IT WAS.

It was really frustrating trying to identify which character was which in this P&P retelling, but in the end, I was glad I didn't know who was who because it made this retelling much more unpredictable. I will say, however, that if this was an accurate representation of a modern Pride & Prejudice, I would travel back in time to the nineteenth century. Even so, this was a really fun, quick read that all Austen fans should read.

...I'm going to go read Pride & Prejudice now. 

Book Synopsis: Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

Source: Borrowed a copy from the library.

Title: First & Then
Author: Emma Mills
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, YA
Pages: 272 pages

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer - Expectations That Did Not Come To Fruition

I don't know how many of you know this about me, but I have absolutely nothing against Twilight. I first read the series in sixth grade and fell in love with it immediately. I re-read it again in ninth grade and guess what? I was still in love with it. After hearing that Meyer came out with a gender-bent version of her original novel, I couldn't help but want to read it. I was afraid that this version would ruin Twilight for me forever and stayed away for as long as I could, but I am only human, and soon enough, I picked up the book from my library out of sheer curiosity. Yes, I am disappointed as it didn't meet my expectations at all, but by the end, I didn't hate it as much, so yay. Here are the expectations I had regarding the anniversary edition, and here are the ways in which the "adaptation" disappointed me.

The romance would play out differently thanks to the gender-bending.
Long story short, it wasn't. The romance was literally the exact same as in the original novel, which was super disappointing, and also unrealistic, at least to me. I get Meyer's point that Twilight is a romance that does not depend on the human being a girl, specifically Bella, but she went about it all wrong. By keeping the romance exactly the same - I'm not kidding, literally every event was the same - all that effectively changed in the novel were the genders, and so all this book became was a really bad version of Twilight.

The storyline would change, just a little.
Sorry, but no. Just like the romance, the story was exactly the same. Let me make myself clear: Life and Death is nearly exactly the same text as Twilight, but with boys as girls, girls as boys, and different names (minus the ending, which I'll get to next). It's like when your professor tells you to revise your paper, but you're too lazy to do a proper revision and you just change a few words here and there that your peers marked up on your draft. It is a very sad attempt to make your original paper better, and it most definitely does not work.

The different ending would be worth the read.
Not only was the different ending a much shorter alteration than I had believed it would be, but it really wasn't worth reading this whole 300-some page adaptation. I wish it was, but no. I could have just read the major differences between this and Twilight like my friend did, and I would have been just as satisfied. The ending was a surprise, but not worth suffering through the not-so-great version of Twilight.

It would be a more interesting way of re-reading Twilight since I hadn't read it in so long.
I tried to go straight into Life and Death as a retelling, but all that occurred was that I kept longing for the original characters with their original genders, and eventually I had to take a break, flip the giant book over, and take the time to re-read the original Twilight. So basically this book sucks in terms of a Twilight re-read replacement.

This would be a new, more acceptable version of Twilight.
When I first heard that this book was gender-bent and the purpose behind it, I was hoping that the new adaptation would fix the problems many people had with the original novel, which is to say, the controversial relationship between Bella and Edward. It did no such thing, however. It isn't even a more feminist version, at least not in any way that counts. Making Bella the guy (aka Beau) in the relationship does not eliminate the perceived problems in Twilight, so I honestly fail to understand the need for the existence of this novel.

"400 pages of new content"
Hahahahahaha that one's a joke.

My expert advice:

Don't read this unless you are unconditionally and irrevocably in love with anything that comes from Meyer's pen.

Book Synopsis: Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Twilight! This special double-feature book includes the classic novel, Twilight, and a bold and surprising reimagining, Life and Death, by Stephenie Meyer.

Packaged as an oversize, jacketed hardcover “flip book,” this edition features nearly 400 pages of new content as well as exquisite new back cover art. Readers will relish experiencing the deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful love story of Bella and Edward through fresh eyes.

Source: Borrowed a copy from the library.

Title: Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: Paranormal Romance, YA
Pages: 389 pages

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Q&A Review: Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

The Q&A book review is a new format of reviewing I'm trying out for when I'm just not in the mood for bulky paragraphs. Also, I think it helps out readers as well to get direct answers/info about the book rather than me longwindedly ranting/raving about the romance story. What'll most likely happen is that I'll switch between book review formats, but please don't hesitate to comment on whichever format you find works best! Now on to the questions.

Where does this book stand as compared to the rest of the series?

I definitely like this one a little less than the last two, but that's not to say it wasn't mind-glowingly amazing (just that the other two books were that good). The only problem I had with this book was the romance - it's the only thing that kept it from a full five stars. The romance wasn't as intricate and realistic in this one as it was in the other two books where my favorite trope of "I love/hate you" plays out perfectly, and yet Gideon and Sofia's romance is an integral part of the novel, which had me a bit disappointed. However, the plot was brilliant, as always, and the fact that we get to see the couples from the first two books was a really nice addition. In terms of cover, however, I would say this is somewhere in the top two, the other being the first book, These Broken Stars.

Do I need to re-read the other books before I start on this one?

I didn't re-read the series before starting this - I rarely do - and despite a few plot points and minor-ish characters mentioned from the other books, it wasn't a big deal. The book does a good job of making sure you can comprehend the story even without remembering every detail from the rest of the series, so I would definitely recommend going into the novel as soon as you get your hands on it if like me, you're not usually the re-reading type.

PLOT PLOT PLOT. Tell me about it.

Personally, I loved the plot. Like always, it managed to be super science-fiction-y without making the average reader feel like an idiot - always a plus. There was never a lag in the pacing, and there was never a moment I felt bored and wanted to turn to another book for a break. Both Gideon and Sofia have great POV's, and while their romance seemed predictable and rather cliché, watching them work together and untangle their mess of emotions and of course, try their very best to hide their secrets and their pasts, was great. It was also really cool getting to see how each couple from each book in the series was related, and how and why they are important together; it was a real treat getting to see everyone before the end of the series. There is this amazing twist at the end that I did not for the life of me see coming, and oh my gosh, the emotions it rips out of you. Brace yourselves.

Give me a little something about the main characters.

Well, as I mentioned before, the couple in this novel is Gideon and Sofia. We read from Sofia's point of view first, and she meets Gideon at the very beginning of the novel, if very unconventionally. The thing is, they were both attracted to each other from the start, so it felt like a insta-love with issues, which I didn't really appreciate. I mean, they both distrusted each other and whatnot, but they obviously liked each other. And Gideon is so cute about it too. Gideon is basically the best hacker ever, and Sofia is the best actress/spy/whatever she is - both suffered tragedy in their pasts. She wants to get revenge on LaRoux for everything he's done, and Gideon just wants to be the good guy. It's too bad they have slightly different agendas. And trust issues.

If I haven't read this series yet, what would you tell me?

Umm all that comes to mind is that this entire series reminds me a lot of Illuminae - well actually, the other way around since These Broken Stars came first - SO READ IT. If you're fond of epic romances with plots that leave you in awe, you need to try out this series. And how could you possibly not want these covers on your shelves??? (yes, that is a legitimate reason to try reading the book)

Book Synopsis: A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

Source: Borrowed a copy from the library.

Title: Their Fractured Light
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA, Science-Fiction
Pages: 432 pages

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mini-Reviews Because I'm Baaaaack

First, I'd like to bring up the new Goodreads, modern-y layout/format. I don't know what to say about it, but I did bring it up, and I'm pretty sure that counts for something.

Now, if some of you thought that I had dropped off the face of the Earth, never to be seen again, well, I can't blame you. I've been hiding in a cave in the very depths of the ocean - aka college - and lemme tell you, my time management skills haven't improved much. I read a decent amount, but even the thought of blogging was laughable with papers to write, naps to take, and sixteen shows to stay on top of. However, Christmas break has arrived, and thanks to these lovely things called mid-season finales, I have absolutely no idea what to do with my life. And so I turn to blogging. As one does.

What's craziest about late 2015 is probably that I have done more re-reading in these last few months than I have done in the past four years (coincidentally, I've been re-watching a lot of movies as well). Below are my most recent re-reads, some of which I'm currently reading - they're just as good as they were the first time I read them!

The exception is Twilight. I like it enough, and it's still addicting, but I'm noticing flaws I didn't the first two times I read it when I was younger. I hadn't actually planned on re-reading the novel, but I got a bit nostalgic during my attempt to read Meyer's new gender-bent version, Life and Death (which I'm not even going to attempt to talk about right now).

Anyways, enough about my life; now it's time to discuss several of the books I read while I was "off the radar".

Six Of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo
Rating: ★★★★
Series: Six Of Crows #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Pages: 465 pages

I was just as excited as everyone else for the release of this book several months ago; when I got an email from the library saying they had it ready for me, I was jazz-hands excited. The excitement didn't diminish when I started reading, but as I went on, I realized that Six Of Crows wasn't exactly what I had expected. The characters and storylines were amazing, but at the same time, very different from what we got from the original Grisha series. I had a blast reading this - there are some a m a z i n g ships that are to d i e for - but the problem is that I don't get the significance of the plot. This might just be me, but I can't see beyond the con and the characters themselves. I had a great time reading the novel, but I don't think this series will go down as particularly special or memorable for me.

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1
by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona
Rating: ★★★★
Series: Ms. Marvel #1
Genre: Graphic Novel, YA
Publication Date: October 30, 2014
Publisher: Marvel
Pages: 120 pages

I'm not really much of a comic book person, but I saw this one around the blogosphere and I got interested - not to mention Marvel seems to be a bigger deal than usual recently (or maybe that's just me). Either way, I couldn't stop myself from picking this one up as soon as I saw it at the library, and I definitely don't regret it. This was a really fun read, even though it's not my usual genre. I like that this is one of the few times the main character isn't white, which brought a lot of diversity into the graphic, but other than that, I don't see the big deal about the comic. Even so, it's completely possible I'm just being a rather large pessimist, so if you're a fan of Marvel and/or their comics, then I suggest you get on this graphic as soon as possible if only because it's so different - I sincerely hope that it doesn't disappoint.

A Study In Charlotte
by Brittany Cavallaro
Rating: ★★★★
Series: Charlotte Holmes #1
Genre: YA, Retelling, Mystery
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 336 pages

It took me a loooong time to read this one, as I was pretty sure that I would hate its guts - or its words, I guess. I was very excited for this one before reading it, but after reading Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty, I became dissuaded from the notion of this novel.  I realized that me and Sherlock retellings don't usually work, the exception being Jackaby by William Ritter. Unfortunately, I despised this book for the first forty percent or so - the gender-bending didn't really work for me at first - but one night I finally forced myself to finish the book, and what do you know, not only did I begin to enjoy the characters, but the plot as well. This will go down as one of the only two Sherlock Holmes retellings in the entire world that I do not despise at the moment, and I am oh so very glad that this one made the list.

Not If I See You First
by Eric Lindstrom
Rating: ★★★★
Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 320 pages

Ever since I first heard about this novel, I've been crazy ridiculously obsessed with it. I mean, a romance between a brilliant, snarky blind girl and the boy who betrayed her and whom she is determined to ice out? It doesn't get better than that for a romance junkie like me.  I was disappointed by the story because the love interest is barely in the novel, but in the grand scheme of things, it didn't matter. The main character, her friendship and growth, and just the essence of the romance, even without the love interest playing an integral part of the plot, was brilliant all on its own. The main character's relationship with running and the unique ending to the story made this book special and different from many other contemporary romance novels out there. This book may not be what I had originally expected when reaching for the novel, but what I got was just as good.

It's good to be back. Happy reading, everyone!

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

A "Yeah, I'm Still Alive" Review: Lois Lane: Fallout (Lois Lane #1) by Gwenda Bond

I'm not a Superman fan - or at least I haven't had the opportunity to become one, yet - but after reading this I definitely want to become one! Lois Lane is basically Nancy Drew, and I may or may not love them both a lot. Like, seriously. A lot. I'm not even kidding. I want to watch Man Of Steel now just so I can see 1) Superman's relationship with Lois Lane, and 2) Lois Lane's detective prowess. What I love about this book is that it's basically a prequel to what their relationship is, and it's absolutely wonderful. I loved every moment of their romance, and let me just tell you that it wasn't super cliché like you'd expect - it's surprisingly well developed, and it isn't something that finished by book one either. Not only do I love the with that prompted the author to make Superman's username SmallvilleGuy, but he's super protective and yet so not perfect. It's also super fun knowing who he is while Lois doesn't: it's neat being able to comprehend the allusions and references in the novel that even the non-Superman fan can understand. So yeah the romance was amazing, but guess what? THE MYSTERY WAS BRILLIANT.

I knew as soon as I saw this book at the library that I needed to give it a chance, and I'm so happy I did because it was perfect. The mystery aspect of the story honestly kept me reading more than the romance did, surprisingly enough. If you enjoy watching Doctor Who, then you'll most assuredly enjoy the mystery present in this story - they both have the same feel to them, and they're a blast to experience. Once you start reading this, you won't be able to stop. The mystery is realistic and fantastical and utterly amazing. Also, it's not predictable in the least, which only makes it that much more exciting! I have so much more to say on the mystery, but I don't want to spoil anything by accident so I just hope you believe me when I say it's worth the read.

The next best thing about the novel would have to be the gang of friends Louis makes in her new school - they are pretty much the dream team. I mean, I really wish I made friends like that without even trying. Each friend had a completely different personality, and I loved each and every one of them, though possibly some more than others. In addition, the pacing of the book as a whole was well done. I was in a bit of a book slump when I started reading this one, and then boom, I finished the novel in under three hours and bye bye, book slump. If anyone is looking for a quick, easy, memorable read, then I highly recommend this. Even if you hate superheroes with every gut feeling inside of you, take a chance on this book; it'll be worth it.

It's kind of crazy how excited I am for the second book to come out considering this book wasn't even on my radar until I picked it up off of the library shelf. To be honest, I'll probably end up watching Man Of Steel during the wait just so I'm more prepared for the next book - maybe I'll be able to catch more references next time around! Anyone who hasn't encountered this book yet or maybe decided that it wasn't your thing, I really hope it does turn out to be your thing because it's so. good. It has the perfect blend of humor, well-developed characters, romance, and mystery, as well as a gorgeous cover and a nice, heavy weight (yes, I do tend appreciate when books are heavier than they look...it's not weird). So what this all gets down to is that this book was incredible and you need to go buy it or check it out. I insist.

Book Synopsis: Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

Source: Borrowed a copy from the library.

Title: Lois Lane: Fallout
Author: Gwenda Bond
Publication Date: May 1, 2015
Publisher: Switch Press
Genre: YA, Mystery, Superheroes
Pages: 304 pages

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Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

This book didn't work for me. Like, at all. Which is why I've decided to make a list of all the things that did not work for me about this book, because I'll be honest, nothing did. Mechanica wasn't so abhorrent that I had to burn my Kindle in the fireplace to cleanse it of the story, but I came pretty close to deleting the book from my device with glee. To keep you from such an experience, here are reasons you should stay far, far away from this book.

• The book starts out with Nicolette, the main character - later called Nick, then Mechanica - describing her past, starting from when both her parents were alive. Neither her mother nor her father seemed to get along well, and so right from the start, this book becomes depressing. It seemed to me that Nick's mother didn't love her besides for the mechanical talents she had, and her father seemed very prejudiced and yet wouldn't dare stand up to his wife. By taking away what was supposed to be Nick's happy family, the author guaranteed that I would hate this "retelling". What's so magical about going from one sad life to another?

• I liked steampunk, but at the same time I'm not anywhere near a hardcore fan of the genre. All the mechanical bits usually whizz right over my head, and so imagine my dismay when the author spent an inordinately large amount of time going into detail about Nick's mother's mechanical figures and devices. It's not that I didn't understand it, but that it was so awfully dull. Nick's story was unfortunate and unpromising enough to begin with, but add to that the slow, careful description of mechanics readers are hit with at the beginning of the novel, and nearly everyone would find themselves hard-pressed to continue reading the book.

• I didn't understand the necessity of adding Fey to the story. At the start of the story I was led to believe that it would play an important part in Nick's story, but it never really played a part in the novel. Sure, the race was scattered here and there, and they came up in insults and beliefs and even Nick's mechanics, but it never played a part in the book. I'd understand if there was a sequel or something that would put it into further play, but as far as I know, this is a stand-alone. I guess you can't really know due to the open-ended epilogue, but all/most of the curiosities brought up about the Fey went unexplained.

• People are referring to this as the "feminist Cinderella", and it irks me. Mechanica is a feminist story in that Nick gets herself to the ball without a fairy godmother, but with hard work and with the help of her new friends. However, I hate how most "feminist" retellings end up with the female character independent, and yet also all on her own without a guy by the end of everything. That's not to say that this book specifically didn't have romance, because it did (unfortunately), but in general, that seems to be a presumption several people make, and I, for one, don't appreciate it. Why can't a feminist get the guy?

• On a related note, why did this book have to have romance? I love a good romance at any time of the day, but this one was just depressing - like the rest of the book. I could see what was coming from the very beginning, and seeing Nick pining after a guy was honestly annoying. And even the part of the romance that I did ship, it didn't have a definite ending. We readers are left to assume what happens, which defeats the entire purpose of this novel. Going from end to beginning, I feel like there was no point to any of this. The same story could have been told in a couple of sentences.

• The ending was the most anticlimactic thing ever; even the main character points it out. Again, there is literally nothing to be gained from reading this. And I mean, what's the point of the epilogue? It tells us nothing!

This book could have been great, if only the author had made this a story bigger than Mechanica's love life, and maybe more about, say, the role should could have had in the upcoming war between her people and the Fey. This was an utter disappointment, and I'm sorry to say I saw that coming.

Book Synopsis: Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home. 

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

Source: A copy was received from the publisher for review.

Title: Mechanica
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre: Steampunk, Retellings, YA
Pages: 304 pages

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

SBPT15 - All Good Things Must Come To An End

The 2015 Summer Blogger Promo Tour is hosted by Amber and Jessica at The Book Bratz, and it's a fun tour where book bloggers collaborate with other book bloggers, become besties, and introduce one another on each of our blogs. The added benefit is if you've gotten bored of me, you get to meet some awesome people you may not have been introduced to before!

This week you're meeting:

Or should I saw re-meeting...everyone!

It seems not too long ago that we started this Sunday special called the Summer Blogger Promo Tour, and finally, we've come to the very last stop of the tour. When I first started, I thought it'd be uncomfortable talking to new bloggers and coming up ways to introduce ourselves on other blogs. However, it soon became apparent that book bloggers are just such nice people in general and what might have been a chore ended up being surprisingly fun! Sure, sometimes I almost forgot to write up my post and ended up with fingers rapidly flying across the keyboard a few hours after midnight on the day of the tour stop, but hey, we've all been there. I gained so much from this tour (though clearly not anti-procrastination), and by that I mean I got so many new blogger friends! Without a doubt my favorite part of the tour has been all the new people I've met and been able to present to you all - one of the best parts of being a book blogger is meeting new people, and the SBPT was a great opportunity. Bloggers, I highly recommend you participate in it next year if you haven't already: it's a wonderful experience.

For anyone who missed any of the tour stops or would like to go back to some of the posts, below is a summary of the tour schedule plus links to each individual blogger's post!

If you've missed any of the above bloggers while the tour was running, I highly encourage you to go check them out since these bloggers are so much fun! I hope some of you have reached out to them and/or said hi; I'm sure they'd be glad to hear from you! Unfortunately, it's the last full week of summer, so the SBPT is saying goodbye, as is my happiness/laziness :(

So what did you guys think of SBPT15? Did it introduce you to some great new bloggers? Would you like to see it again next summer? Are you interested in taking part? Let me know!

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: Reawakened (Reawakened #1) by Colleen Houck

Going into this book, I had so so so so so much excitement for it. Considering that the author's last series, Tiger's Curse, is very likely my one favorite series, I had unreasonably high expectations for this book. Luckily for me, the author met them. Of course, I still prefer Tiger's Curse more due to several reasons, but Reawakened was a very enjoyable read with a great plot. There were some things that I would have preferred happen that didn't, but it didn't deter my interest in the novel in the least. It's just now that I have to wait for the next book to come out, and you all know that me and patience don't get along very well.

What I was mostly looking forward to in Houck's new series was the love interest. Ren and Kelsey from Tiger's Curse is my OTP, and I couldn't wait to see who the two lovebirds in this book would be. As soon as I started reading this, I was hooked. Lily is a great main character and had me interested before we even meet the ex-mummy, Egyptian prince aka Amon. And once I met Amon, well, let's just say I was done for. He had many of the same qualities Ren did - kindness, chivalry, etc. - and duh, he was hot hot hot! He's also a demigod of sorts, which had me feeling all The Kane Chronicles feels. He had me swooning while bald and wearing a white skirt, so just imagine how I felt when he donned some lean jeans and a t-shirt that stuck to his abs, plus a full head of hair. I didn't realize until that moment how completely I could fall in lust love with a book character.

Even better than the man's attractiveness, however, was his personality. He was fiercely protective of Lily and made it clear several times over that he would sacrifice the world for her if he had to, but at the same time he blew kind of hot and cold. He was worried about keeping her safe, of course, but it definitely made for an interesting relationship between the two - there was a lot of angst. There is, however, no love triangle, at least not in the first novel. While yes, there are three brothers, and one is an incorrigible flirt, Lily doesn't have eyes for anyone except Amon. Even so, I kind of predict a triangle in the next installment. While both of Amon's brothers like her as one would like a friend, I get the feeling that one likes her a bit more...

The plot of this book was really fun while at the same time being intense, and I liked how much the romance played into that plot. For once, the love and storyline aren't two separate entities fighting to be on top; they seamlessly combined to form a story that makes sense and has one heck of an ending. Again, Houck shows exactly how much research went into this book with all the details on Egyptian mythology and history, which ultimately makes for a rich reading experience. I have't read a book on Egyptian mythology since the Rick Riordan series, but it was nice revisiting Set and Anubis in a different background.

I did see quite a few similarities between this and Tiger's Curse - not that you'll get any complaining from me there - but Reawakened is still distinctly it's own thing. Several of the characters seem like they have counterparts or were based on those in Tiger's Curse, but the plot remains very different from the older series. The main discrepancy between the two books that bothers me is that I wish this one had more romantic moments. Don't get me wrong, the entire book is filled with Lily and Amon moments and cute banter, but there isn't enough breathtakingly romantic moments, in my opinion. I need more :P I'm hoping the next book will make up for that.

Overall, this book is an amazing read and thrilling adventure, and the boys are just as swoon-worthy as the author usually writes them. Oh and did I mention there's a killer cliffhanger? I really didn't take kindly to that part: I may have sobbed over the book a little. And wait for it, there's an epilogue too. That part had me smiling through my tears, but now I'm like GIMME BOOK TWO. All I can really say is, Colleen Houck lovers, you won't be disappointed.

Book Synopsis: The first book in a new multi-book series from New York Times bestselling author, Colleen Houck, about a teenage girl entangled in an epic Egyptian quest full of romance, adventure, and mythology!

When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification. 
And she really can’t imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe.
But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world. 
From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.

Source: A copy was purchased for my collection.

Title: Reawakened
Author: Colleen Houck
Publication Date: April 11, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Mythology, Romance, YA
Pages: 400 pages

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

ARC Review: A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell Mystery #1) by Deanna Raybourn

Guys this book is by Deanna Raybourn, so you already know how much I love it, right?? I don't even need to write out what I thought of it all because I can just tell you all that you need this in your life and you'll go buy it, yes? I can all count on you to just trust me. No? Really, you need a reason? Well fine, I can give you a ton, but by the end you'll just be wanting to buy the book anyways, so...here we go.

I've been a Raybourn fan since I first read her Lady Julia series, and when that series ended I had a good mental cry about it. And then all of the sudden I saw that she had a new book and series coming out, and I cheered for ages. I was beyond ecstatic when my request got accepted on EW, and even more ecstatic when I started reading the book and it was so like Lady Julia in some aspects, but so different in others - I raced through this one like there was no tomorrow, and I finally finished the novel amid a storm of tears and laughter. This book, you guys. It's beautiful.

Being a fan of Raybourn and possibly a bigger fan of one of her old characters, Nicholas Brisbane, I'll admit it was hard to stop myself from comparing him to Stoker, the male lead in the this book. It was actually really surprising to realize how different the two are. They're both societal outcasts, but in different ways. Their base personalities are relatively distinct, and yet what do you know, I love them both. Stoker is half roguish pirate and half gentleman, and I loved seeing the relationship grow between him and Veronica without them even realizing it. It was a really well done slow burn, and I can't wait to see where it will go. But like always, the romance isn't the major aspect of the story - nope, that was the mystery.

Raybourn’s novels always combine a just right amount of romance and mystery (to my immense pleasure), and her latest story is no different. The author has a special skill in the art of writing mysteries, so if you're a fan of the genre, you really want to check her out. The mystery in this novel was enthralling, and my cup of tea especially since it involved the queen, an illegitimate birth, etc. etc. While the conclusion to this mystery wasn't quite as hard to guess as maybe some of her other books, it was very enthralling, and didn't hinder the surprise factor in any way. In fact, when I finally got to the mystery's conclusion, I'm pretty sure there was this large grin stuck on my face that just wouldn't go away, but that may have been because I was watching Stoker be all protective-like.

The main character Veronica is so different from many characters in the time period. Veronica screams feminism and isn’t afraid of facing anything, which makes her story all the more interesting. She’s very forthright and confident, and I loved reading about her adventures/time abroad. Seeing her clashing with Stoker's more gentlemanly behavior was a blast. At the same time, she clearly knew how to take care of herself. Not only was she a bit of a neat freak, she went and solved a few legs of the mystery on her own, much to Stoker's ire. She's a very independent person, and watching her develop new relationships was wonderful. Oh, and did I mention her witty banter, because it was nothing short of beautiful.

I particularly liked that some of the mysteries were left unsolved - I can’t wait to see what will be solved and how many more questions will appear in the second novel. I also love where Raybourn left Stoker and Veronica off at the end of this novel. I won't tell you what happens, but where they are in their "friendship" by the end of book one is not where I imagined they would be (I'll leave that cryptic sentence to speak for itself). If you're already a fan of the author or regularly read mysteries and/or adult romance, or even if you don't, I definitely recommend giving this a try.

Book Synopsis: In her thrilling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, returns once more to Victorian England…and introduces intrepid adventuress Veronica Speedwell.

London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

Source: A copy was received from the publisher for review.

Title: A Curious Beginning
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publication Date: October 2, 2015
Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 320 pages

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