March 27, 2015

Stung by Joss Stirling

Stung by Joss Stirling 
Series: Struck #2
Source: Netgalley arc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Children's Books
Publication Date: February 5th, 2015
Age Group: Young Adult
Find on Leafmarks! 
The eagerly-anticipated new novel from Joss Stirling, author of the bestselling Finding Sky series.
Kate's on the run, framed for a crime she didn't commit. Nathan is the boy who must find her and protect her from the people who want to hurt her. Together they will experience a love like no other. But can they keep each other alive?
An electrifying romantic thriller that will make your heart skip a beat.

First of all, I'd like to thank Oxford University Press Children's Books and Netgalley for giving me a chance to read this book ahead of time! As a huge Joss Stirling fan, I can't thank you enough!

I'll start by saying this: I highly recommend Joss Stirling's books. I've read them all, so I can honestly tell you they're all great fun, with swoony characters and engaging plots. You get sucked right into them, and they tend to keep you captive until you're done with them.

Sting is the second book in her Struck series, which deals with teenage spies from the Young Detective Agency also known as YDA. Which makes them Yodas. That amuses me, for some reason. I can't help quirk a smile every time one of the agents says he's a "yoda".
Kate used to be a yoda, until a mission went very wrong. That was one year ago, and ever since then she's been on the run. But now she's back in England, and when the YDA picks up on that, they send a team of yodas to apprehend her and bring her back in to finally find out everything that happened... and why she ran.

Nathan is the leader of that team. A jokester, a happy-go-lucky Wolf. A hunter, in other words. Who used to have a crush on Kate that he thought long over. Of course, he thought wrong, and now all he wants to do is help Kate clear her name and stop those who are after her.

I'll be upfront - their romance was my only major issue with the book. They were extremely cute together, don't get me wrong, but it literally took them a couple of days to fall for each other. For those who don't know me, I hate insta-love. Stirling is one of those author that has managed to make me "buy" it a couple of times, but it wasn't the case here. I felt like there wasn't enough time for them to reach that stage, especially since all they know about each other are from very stressful situation, not their 'normal behavior'.
The only "Too fast" gif I managed to find. Anyone has any to share?
But I'll repeat - they were cute.

Now for two minor issues that didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story, but were nagging at the back of my mind:

#1 - Neither Kate nor Nathan felt like genuine specially trained kids.Yes, they handled the stressful situations very well, and had some unique skills, but I've read book where characters reacted similarly without the covert ops background. I guess I was looking for that edge the training should supply.

#2 I felt like the Scorpions were very nice to Kate, so to speak. I mean, they're a murdering, human trafficking orginazation. And yet, they don't do much to Kate. I felt there should've been more to it, considering the way she spoke of it. Though, I guess I don't wish anything worse had happened...

My favorite parts of this story were probably the Kieran x Raven cameos, and the dynamics between Nathan and Damien, and Nathan and his family. I don't know why, but both really captured me. I am now in debate over which BF I want to get a book first - Joe or Damien? (speaking of Joe... he was sadly absent from the book. I hope he'll get to appear in the next!)

The ending was extremely cheesy, but I admit... I grinned happily. #sorrynotsorry 

So, yeah. I had a few issues with this one. But did I enjoy it? Did I practically read it in one sitting and sneaked pages at work? Yes. Yes I did. 

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March 25, 2015

Tour Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Soulfinder #1/Study #4/Chronicles of Ixia #7
Source: e-arc via Netgalley
Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: March 1st, 2015
Age Genre: Young Adult
Once, only her own life hung in the balance…
When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia.
Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.
Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger.
As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.
Okay, wow. Where do I even start?!

I was a latecomer to the Maria V. Snyder bandwagon. When I read Poison Study last year, all the books in the series were already out. Or so I thought. The announcement over the newest book in the Ixia/Sitia world come soon after I finished Fire Study and I honestly couldn't be happier. I needed more Valek and Yelena.

And then I got approved for an e-arc via Netgalley.  Thank you so much MIRA INK. I've never been happier in my life. Like, ever. And that might be slightly unhealthy, but WHO CARES, MORE VALEK AND YELENA!

Okay. Now to the book.

I will admit, at first I was a bit confused. First of all, let me warn you - the only first person pov is Yelena's. Valek and Janco's are in third person pov, which took a short while to adjust to. Once I did, I was able to fluidly read the book. Or devour it. Semantics.

I was also confused because the book refers to events that happened in the short stories. I haven't read those. I had no idea who these characters were, but Snyder does a good job filling up the gaps so we get the general gist of things. However, it might still be best for you to read the short stories first.

Shadow Study introduces Valek's POV. You know, the swoon worthy master assassin and Yelena's heartmate. Being inside his head was just... incredible. First, we got to see how much Yelena really means to him, and OH THE FEELS. Through Yelena's head we knew he loved her, but we were also affected by her belief that his first priority will always be the Commander. Through his eyes though...

And let's not forget Valek's past. If you haven't been intrigued by the events that turned Valek into the King-Killer, something might be wrong with you. In Shadow Study, Snyder gives us all the juicy details. That means we get to see young Valek. And Valek in training. And the meeting between the Commander and Valek. And the King's assassination. Yep. All great stuff, all around.

Not to mention, the book is kind of heavy on the Valek x Commander relations, a theme that will continue on to the second book at the very least. Very curious to see how it goes from here.

Then there was Janco. If you don't love Janco, then... then... I don't know what to tell you. I don't have words for such a sordid occurrence. Anyways, he stars in this book, alongside a new character called Onora. Their interactions were as fun to read of as Janco and Ari's. Janco and Ari are my bromance OTP in this series. But I'm shipping Little Miss Assassin and the Rhythm Master, I ain't gonna lie.

And of course, there was Leif, and Ari, Opal and Devlen, Reema, Kiki... there was no shortage of awesome characters, awesome interactions, awesome situations, and a great storyline that keeps you guessing and intrigued, with every chapter ending in a way that makes you need the next one.

And that ending... Let's put it like this: I KNEW IT and I am freakin' happy and excited! It's 

For a gif reaction to the book, click here


March 20, 2015

The Woman Who Ride Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

The Woman Who Ride Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
Series: Song of the Lioness #3
Source: Bought paperback
Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers
Age Genre: Young Adult
Challenges: Flights of Fantasy
Challenges: Prequel-Sequel
Challenges: TBR-Cleaning my Shelves
Alanna fights on...
Newly knighted, Alanna of Trebond seeks adventure in the vast desert of Tortall. Captured by fierce desert dwellers, she is forced to prove herself in a dual to the death. Although she triumphs, dire challenges lie ahead. As her mysterious fate would have it, Alanna soon becomes the tribe's first female shaman, despite the desert dwellers' wariness of the foreign woman warrior. Alanna must battle to change the ancient tribal customs of the desert tribes--for their sake and for the sake of all Tortall.
That's me. With everyone else clapping in the background.
Once again, I find myself unimpressed with the Song of the Lioness. It's not that I dislike the books. It's just that they've never blown my mind away. The writing has never felt exceptional to me. And the characters... nothing unique.

In fact, if anything, the characters have always been merely okay to me. Especially Alanna. She grows more and more "merely okay" with every book. Jonathan is turning into a douche. George is pretty great, but I'm not head over heels. The only one I truly adore isn't even human - he's a cat!
I would support you, Salem Faithful!
I truly think these books may be a bit too young for me. Like, if I read it at 12, I would praise the heck out of them, as so many do. As it is, at twenty, I don't find much in them. I don't think they're exciting, I don't think they're overly clever. I mean, J.K Rowling put hints to stuff that would be important in the seventh book in the freaking first book. That's clever. In Song of the Lioness, things just happen, usually without too much warning or hints. 

This book was a bit better on that front - definitely an upturn from the first book, where the last chapter just whacked me in the face because where the heck did that come from? it was like I was suddenly in a different story! Ahem. Anyways...

The plot in this one was... okay. Didn't much like how the romance overtook everything once Jon appeared, or how quickly SPOILER Alanna turned to George once things fell apart END SPOILER and it was definitely less exciting than the last two books. I felt like this book was written just so Alanna would accept her magic, so it could be used in the final installment. Let's at least hope the last one is even a tiny bit epic due to that.

Anyways, I will finish this series. Only one book left, after all, and it's a pretty fast and meaningless past time for me. But I'm sorry - still not the biggest fan...


March 19, 2015

Tuesday Oldie: The Coincidence of Callie & Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

So as you guys know, I just moved here. And that means my old blog now lies abandoned... alongside all my old reviews. But because I feel like some of them don't deserve such an awful treatment, I'm going to slowly move my favorite reviews here, especially if my opinion differs than Megs. (though some editing may occur, as I'm a little OCD about my reviews, and the older they originally are, the more likely I am to have things I want to rephrase). 

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen 
Series: The Coincidence #1
Source: Bought Paperback (after reading kindle)
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: August 6th 2013
Age Genre: New Adult
Originally Published: Dec 27, 2012
For Kayden, suffering in silence was the only way to survive. If he was lucky, he could keep his head down, do as he was told, and make it through the day. But one night it seemed like his luck-and his life-might finally end... until an angel named Callie appeared just in time to rescue him.
Callie has never believed in luck. Not since her twelfth birthday when everything was taken from her. After the worst was over, she locked up her feelings and vowed never to tell anyone what happened. Now, six years later, she continues to struggle with the painful secret that threatens to consume her.
When fate lands Kayden and Callie at the same college, Kayden is determined to get to know the beautiful girl who changed his destiny. Quiet and reserved, Callie still fears letting anyone else into her world. But Kayden is certain that Callie has come back into his life for a reason. And the more he tries to be a part of her life, the more he realizes that, this time, it's Callie who needs to be saved...
If you hop by the original review, you'd see I gave this book 5 stars when I originally read it, which is a significant change from the three displayed here. The truth is, I debated writing this review. I haven't re-read this book, but my feelings of it have considerably changed, once the shock of the ending wore off.

The alarming drop of rating also has to do with the fact I've read many NA books since this one. And I've come to realize... this is not one of the best ones I've read. It's not even close to top ten.

When I first read it, I wasn't used to books dealing with abuse, with the worst kind of human nature. Book where the heroine and hero did not win, were not saved, but lost and got lost in the clatter. The kind of plot where two broken people try to ducktape the broken pieces with each other to create a whole.

And still, it did not move me, unlike other books later on the road. In my review, I tried to excuse the lack of response. I told the readers I couldn't allow myself to connect fully so I wouldn't get hurt. Took the blame on myself, instead of saying - this book just didn't work for me on the emotional level. I even said I did manage to connect later on. And while, yes, I warmed to the characters, I never shed a tear for them. Never felt that tug that let's me know I'm with them, 100%

My whole review back then was a huge cover up, steaming from the fact I wasn't comfortable with not agreeing with the majority at the time, especially considering I just couldn't point my fingers on why I wasn't agreeing with them. I just... wasn't as impressed. I was shocked witless by the ending those.
By all accounts, I should've loved the book. It had good characters.

Callie is a sweet and innocent girl, who only allows those she trusts to see those parts of hers, too afraid and closed off after what has been done to her. For the rest of the world she is a freak, an "anorectic devil worshiper".

Kayden is numb inside, maintaining the facade of the perfect, laid-back jock. The only thing he knows how to deal with is pain. But honestly, he wants to be needed. Needs to be wanted.

Seth is Callie's best friend. He knows her secret, and has a few of his own as well. He was probably my favorite character in the book.

Luke is Kayden's best friend, and he's another great character, accepting Kayden as he is and later on embracing Seth and Callie.

It had a sweet romance, that doesn't develop overnight, but took time and effort on both sides to create. A healing kind of romance. They made me grin despite the horribleness that is their lives, and they had a lot of chemistry.

It had a killer ending.

I mean, seriously. How could Sorensen close the book on that note? It gave me an effing heart attack! But I did think it was kind of bloody brilliant, though I've read this type of endings since then.
The crazy reaction I had to the ending was what made me 5 star the book, even though I planned to give it four stars. (Funny how that works... from four to five to three...)

I will probably never read book two, even though at the time I thought I desperately needed it. I don't feel compelled or interested in it. Maybe one day I'll convince myself to read it just for the sake of crossing it off my lists, but...

March 16, 2015

Is Mediocre Worse Than Bad?

It's been awhile since we did a discussion post, and this time's topic is...
I started thinking on this topic when I read a book I felt was very mediocre, and I started writing in the review "this is the worst thing I can say about a book". Then I stopped, and stared at what I just wrote. Is it the worst thing I can say? Technically, mediocre books usually get between two and a half to three stars from me, which is not the worst rating. I mean, they're not bad, and usually I can enjoy them...

So why did my brain chose to say that sentence? Why did it forget about the one-stars and the rant inducers?

I think it's because the amount of feelings involved. A truly bad book brings out my possibly most passionate side. I can talk about my most hated books far longer than my favorite (aside for Harry Potter, which I can discuss and re-discuss a zillion times and still I'll have more to say).
I can debate (and by debate, I mean rant) my one-stars over and over and over again (for example: Hush, Hush), and never get tired. I'm actually, inadvertently, publicizing the book. I'm subconsciously encouraging people to read it, whether by bashing the name of the book on their brain with how much I'm ranting on it, or just by making them want to see for themselves if it's really all that bad. 

Enter mediocre. 
Another word for mediocre is forgettable. Unremarkable. It's like saying: this book wasn't exactly good, it wasn't exactly bad, it just didn't do much for me.

And those books... they don't normally even get a review from me. Meaning, they don't get any publication from me. Even if I did write a review, I'm not going to really remember the book unless someone asks me about it specifically and I looked at it on GR.

They're never going to be the first to pop to my head (on any side of the scale).

So what's actually worse? Raising a storm of negative feelings to create the rant of the century with, or no feelings at all? 

March 14, 2015

Tsu Appreciation Giveaway!

Hi guys! I really wish I could do a giveaway about any other day, but since I can't, I save them for important things... such as finding an awesome new social media, in which I'd love to connect to you guys!

So, this is a giveaway for that!

The giveaway will run for three weeks, and at the end of these three weeks a winner will be chosen and will get the chance to get a book of his choice from the Book Depository.

Some simple rules:
- The giveaway is open internationally, as long as the Book Depository ships to you.
- Once the winner is chosen, they'll have 48 hours to reply. In case there's no response, there will be another winner chosen,
- No cheating! I do check, and in past giveaways I had to disqualify people because of that, which wasn't fun.

If you want some recommendations - let me know in the comments!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  


March 13, 2015

Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder (Spoilers)

Spy Glass by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Glass #3/Chronicles of Ixia #6
Source: borrowed from library (on wishlist)
Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: Sep 6th, 2013
Age Genre: Young Adult
Challenges: TBR
Challenges: Prequel-Sequel
Challenges: Flight of Fantasy
After siphoning her own blood magic in the showdown at Hubal, student glass magician Opal Cowan lost her powers. Immune to the effects of magic, Opal is now an outsider looking in, spying through the glass on those with the powers she once had. Powers that make a difference in the world.
Suddenly the beautiful pieces she makes begin to flash in the presence of magic and Opal learns that someone has stolen some of her blood. Finding it might let her regain her powers or discover that they're lost forever...
Honestly, I am not 100% certain how I feel about this book. I enjoyed it, no doubt about that--I mean, how can you not enjoy a Maria V. Snyder book? But at the same time, I liked it less than the first two. I liked the characters less. The romance a bit less. The villain was creeptastic though - full points for that!

There were two things that made me enjoy this book less. First, Opal. In the last book, Opal gained an edge that made me love her so much. She was still the same kind, sweet, self-sacrificing person, but she was also a little jaded and bitter. I felt like for most of this book, she reverted back to who she was before. She did kickass things, no one could counter that, but the way her voice worked thorough all those sounded to me more like Old Opal than New Opal, if that makes any sense. I didn't like that.

Second, the romance. If you read my review of the second book in the series, you saw I completely fell for Devlen. Like, it came to the point I was Team Kade for Opal, and Team Devlen for myself. I felt like there was no way Opal would give up the great relationship she had with Kade for Devlen. Especially considering, as much as I adore the guy, he did some unforgivable stuff... didn't he?

Turns out, I was completely wrong. And you can feel that vibe pretty early on, with Ari accusing (well, saying, not accusing, but whateves) Opal of loving Devlen. Now at this point, I was like... what? Cause yeah. They were getting closer. But love? I wasn't feeling that. Not yet anyways.

Which, I guess, is where my issue with this romance comes from. Again, I adore Devlen. I'm actually extremely happy he got the girl. But I didn't feel like the book convinced me Opal truly loved him. Especially not with her track record.

She had Kade. Wonderful, sweet, loving Kade. And she stopped thinking about him completely when Devlen came into the picture, offering her a "sweeter deal", so to speak. Same with Ulrick, in a way. She had a guy she said she loved, but when he changed (i.e: Devlen) she was all for that. And when the deceit was proven, she was running to Kade. And when Kade and her had a few issues, she ran to Devlen. I guess, as a character, I no longer trust her love.
Aside for that, I really enjoyed this book. I loved seeing so much of Valek, specifically the way he was here; among friends, a bit more open. I loved getting more of Nic and Eve, and Teegan and Reema were a really nice addition. I know it soon, but I kind of ship Reema and Fisk. Especially cause she dislikes him so much, lol.

And the villain? My god, how I loved to hate him! I mean, the things he did... and than there's the cult leader *shudder* I.  Hate. Cults. They're so creepy! And Opal's brush with them is one of the creepest things I ever read of!

So, yes. There are reasons to rant in this book. But I had fun reading it and finishing this journey alongside these characters.

March 12, 2015

Who Wore it Better - The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (Vote!)

Who Wore it Better is an original meme I brought with me from Drugs Called Books. In it, instead of discussing fashion or cloths, we discuss book covers from different countries, and who has the best cover. The meme is co-hosted with the lovely Amanda and Stacie from Beautiful Bookish Butterflies and will be featured on her blog every other week, so check her out as well!  

This week we chose the ever popular Mistborn trilogy! I have to admit, I've never really looked at these books, and I have no idea what they're about--but boy, they've got some GREAT covers! This week I actually brought my favorites, so I actually love all of these! It was very hard to number them!

#1: UK - This one kind of took first place immediately. I absolutely adore it. I love the chalk drawing feel to it. I love the splash of color with the blue that makes me think of magic, and fog. Which all is in line of with the synopsis - Ash falls from the sky, fog... Plus, I love how clean this cover is! 

#2: Portuguese -  So, I love the illustration of #3, but I simply adore the colors of this cover. It's so vibrant while still being dark and mysterious. I love the quiet city scene, with the lone girl and her tattered cloak. It could easily be a poster on my wall!

#3: US: Okay, so this is illustration is just so perfect! I love how the girl seems to be almost a part of the background. Considering her post and weapons, she feels like an assassin, a warrior, a silent attacker, so that fits. She looks so fierce, and the drawing is just so beautiful. How can you not love this cover?!

#4: Dutch- Drawing wise, I like it less than the first three (though, that's mostly because of the face. I really don't like the face, and faces are kind of a big deal to me in drawn covers). But you can't deny the captivating swirl of the cloak's tatters, the danger, the way she's part of the rock... The darkness, and slight glow... yep. It's still super pretty, and very easy on the eye.

#5: US 2 -Okay, so, confession: I think this cover is really pretty, but it's the reason I haven't picked up the book. I mean, the drawing is real pretty. But I really don't like the colors. I feel like they swallow the girl, and not in a good way (like coer #3, or #4. There, it feels like she's deliberately part of the background. Here... swallowed is the key word). It's just not a cover that compels me to look at it for long.

#6: Romanian - I actually surprisingly like this cover. I like how it's the only one that doesn't have a face on it; but a mysterious hooded figure, that seems to be part of the fog. However, the typography (or whatever that is) is really bad in my opinion. It just doesn't really blend with the cover and takes over it completely, covering the picture like that. Plus, what's with that pink square on the side?...


Vote For Your Favorite "The Final Empire" Cover!

US #2
Poll Maker

March 11, 2015

Cover Reveal: Scion by Kelly Oram (Excerpt + Giveaway!)

Series: Supernaturals #3
Publisher: Bluefields
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Other books in the series: Chameleon, Ungifted
Russ Devereaux used to have it all—loving father, beautiful best friend, a carefree life in a town he loved, and strong magic. He was the king of his happy universe. Five months ago, that life was taken from him. Do not pass Go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.
He’s spent months fighting back and building himself a new life, in a new city, with new friends he now considers family. But suddenly, his new life might be in jeopardy of getting shot straight to hell just like the last one. Literally, this time.
He’s discovered power inside of him—an ancient, dark power that he shouldn’t have, can’t explain, can’t control, and definitely needs to keep secret. He needs answers, but before he can get them, he finds himself arrested and on his way to face the supernatural council. The same council that stole everything from him the first time.
As Russ struggles to keep his new power under wraps, his old life and he new one are about to collide and it’s bound to be explosive. He may not have all the answers he needs, but one thing is certain: he’ll be damned if anyone is taking his new life from him. That is, if he’s not just plain damned.

The Excerpt:

As we took the elevator up to the fifty-sixth floor my nerves reached an all-time high because of what I knew would be waiting for me when I reached the top. Or rather, who would be waiting. I glance at Duncan, trying not to let my panic show. “Are you taking us directly to the council?”
“Yes.” Duncan eyed me suspiciously. “Is that a problem? It sounded like you guys wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible.”
“We do,” Ethan assured him. 
I did, but that didn’t mean I was looking forward to it. I swallowed back the chunks that were starting to rise in my stomach and asked something I had to know. “Will she be there?”
I avoided Ethan’s gaze and held my breath as I waited for Duncan’s answer.
“She’s a member of the council now Russ, as is the Seer. They will both be there.”
Of course they’d both be there. Because the universe hates me. “Does she know I’m here?”
Duncan took a minute to answer me. “I thought it best not to warn her. She would have just agonized over it unnecessarily.”
“Agonize over it?” That pissed me off. “She has no right to—”
“You don’t understand. She’s been a wreck, Russ. I never even told her I saw you.” 
“She’s had no idea where I was this whole time?” For a second I felt bad. But then I remembered the way she clung to him when she said goodbye to me and I got angry again.
Duncan sighed. “You asked me to keep her out of your life. If she knew where you were, she would have come looking for you. This is going to be very difficult for her. More so than for you I think. You seem to have moved on better than she has.”
“I’ve moved on better?” I couldn’t listen to any more, and since I couldn’t really punch anything I kicked the side of the elevator. “She moved on before I left.”
“Would you like to see her before you’re brought in front of the whole council? I can take you to a holding cell and tell her you’re here. The council would understand the delay.” 
“No.” That sounded like hell on Earth. “I don’t want to talk to her. I was sort of banking on never seeing her again. Lets just get it over with.”
“It might make things go a little smoother if you got it out of the way before you’re questioned.”
I laughed hard. “You think the council cares about questioning us? They’re going to do whatever they want no matter what Ethan and I say. To tell you the truth, Duncan, I don’t really believe they’re going to let us go. That’s why I came. If they’re going to try to kill Ethan, then they’re going to have get through us both.”
Duncan laughed as the elevator doors chimed open. “Nobody is going to kill anybody. You’re always so dramatic, Russ.” 
As Duncan ushered us down the hall, I stopped hearing what he was saying. The consulate was fairly busy. There were people everywhere, but it wasn’t their stares that made my heart pound as I looked at them. I kept waiting for one of them to be a familiar face.
Duncan gave me a sympathetic smile and shook his head. “The council isn’t what you think. They aren’t cruel monsters. Dani was an unfortunate case, so your perception of them is skewed. I promise you they can be reasonable, caring people. They want order and justice, and they will be fair. They’ll listen to your story. I honestly don’t think you’re in any danger.”
“We’ll see,” I grumbled.
I stumbled to as stop as we came to a set of large double doors. “Where’s Grace when you need her?” I gasped. Ethan glanced at me and I nodded at the doors. “Dani’s in there. I can already feel her energy.”
“You want to hold my hand?” Ethan asked, holding out his cuffed wrists to me and batting his eyelashes. “I may not dissolve bonds, but I’m every bit as pretty as Grace.”
I appreciated his attempt to give me crap. I needed the distraction. I was supremely messed up right now and he knew it. Joking might be the only way to get me through this. “Bite me.
”We laughed, but the smiles left our faces the second the doors opened. Game time.

The Giveaway:

Kelly is giving away 10 signed posters of the Scion cover, and one grand prize of all three books in the series so far (signed). The giveaway is international. To enter, help Kelly with her cover reveal by sharing the cover, passing along photo teasers, or making your social media profiles and avatars Russtastic. The more you share the better your chances of winning!

A collection graphics (Cover, photo teasers, avatars, Facebook cover, etc...) to share for this giveaway can be found here: SCION COVER REVEAL GRAPHICS
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have fun and good luck!

Scion is the third book in Kelly Oram's Supernaturals series. Be sure to check out the first two books in the series, Chameleon, and Ungifted.

Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen–a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and loves to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and a cat named Mr. Darcy.

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March 6, 2015

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
Series: N/A
Source: Bought hardcover
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Publication Date: July 23rd, 2013
Age Genre: YA
Challenges: TBR
Challenges: Flight of Fantasy
Find on Leafmarks!
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Oh my. Oh my. I never expected this book to be... this book. I mean, it was on my GR TBR for so long. First, I saw the gorgeous cover, than read the title and found out it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling (duh), and I was sold. But I did not expect this world, which is actually a bit of sci-fi and a lot of magic, or the beautiful writing, or the captivating characters. And I did not expect to feel like calling this a retelling is belittling it.

In Of Beast and Beauty, there is no clear "beast" and no clear "beauty".

Isra is a blind princess doomed to a horrible fate. She is strong, opinionated, kind, but also very much a prisoner in her own city. She thinks herself "tainted" by the mutation her people fears so much, and instead of being Belle enslaved by the beast, she is the one who does the enslaving when she meets Gem, a Monstrous, as he is infiltrating her city and makes him a prisoner.
Gem may be a beast in his appearance, but he is such a good person. He only thinks of the best of his people, can't kill even when his duty tells him he must. He tries to hate and yet he can't. And no matter his motivations, he treats Isra with kindness and attention. The (almost) only person in her life who does.

These two are just... *sigh* I mean, seriously, the shipping is crazy. They just... work! They bring the best in each other, they encourage each other to be better, they open each other's eyes. They're also HAWT like lava and so very delicious. And the best part? It takes time for their relationship to grow. They start as semi enemies, then reluctant partners, then friends, then... more. It's beautiful!
Then there's Gaston--I mean, Bo. Occasionally, we get a glimpse into his pov. That was smart, because Jay lets us see Gaston Bo is not a bad person. He is a product of years of prejudice and false information. He truly believes what he's doing is right, and he does have a heart and a sense of right and wrong. He just can't look past all he's been told to see the truth.
okay, Bo is no monster, but how was I supposed to resist?
Another character worth mentioning is Needle, Isra's maid. I love this girl, and I kind of really really wanted to see her happy with someone. I'm all for Jay writing a sequel for Needle, maybe with Gem's brother? I feel like she could really teach him compassion and love...

The ending of this book was so amazing! And quite different than the Disney ending.

Honestly, I don't have enough words to recommend this book with. Just read it, please. It deserves more love!


March 5, 2015

Thursday Oldie: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Source: Bought paperback
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Original Post: Nov 20, 2013
Age Genre: Young Adult
Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.
Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.
Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.
The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.
The Sea of Tranquility is a powerful, heartbreaking, painful story about two broken individuals who find solace in one another. It was definitely one of the more unique and emotional books I've read last year... but I don't regret it for a second.
"I hate my left hand. I hate to look at it. I hate it when it stutters and trembles and reminds me that my identity is gone. But I look at it anyway; because it also reminds me that I'm going to find the boy who took everything away from me. I'm going to kill the boy who killed me, and when I kill him, I'm going to do it with my left hand."
The Sea of Tranquility took me by surprise. It had a completely different and unique feel than anything I've read so far. Love is not treated in it like in most books, with vows of undying emotion and grand gestures. It's understated, it grows over time, it sneaks up on both participants, it moves slowly but surely. It's told through actions, between the lines, rather than outright confessions.

It's the best kind of romance, in my opinion.

I don't think there could ever be any doubt in your heart that Josh and Sunshine (or Nastya, whatever) belong together.
“We're like mysteries to one another. Maybe if I can solve him and he can solve me, we can explain each other. Maybe that's what I need. Someone to explain me.”
They are both irreversibly damaged. Josh has lost everybody he ever lover, and Nastya lost herself. Though you don't actually know what happened to either of them for a long while. In fact, the journey to figuring out both these individuals is piled on shock upon shock. I didn't see all that was coming.

Just like Josh is trying to piece what happened to Nastya, she's trying to figure out why people treat him the way they do. And we're right there together with them, which is what makes the book so incredible.
"Bad things happen all the time; they don't wait until after dinner"
And both of these characters, despite being so inherently broken--or maybe because of it--are captivating. They make you love them. They make you swoon. They make you pray everything will be okay--good, even. Great. They make you love their friends, too, like Drew and Clay.
“I can be your other hand when you need it.”
The only reason this book is not a solid five star is because of how I felt confused and thrown all over the place at the beginning of the book, with all the time jumps back and forth. I had a hard time figuring what came before what, and understanding all that was going on. Wasn't she just walking into the English building? How is it the end of the day--wait, now we're back at shop?
It took time for the book to find a rhythm I could follow. After that, it was damn near perfect.
"Your garage."
The "punchline", so to speak, the very last line of this book, is utter perfection. I didn't see it coming before it was asked, but when he did, the answer was suddenly obvious and I wanted to hug the author for creating such an absolutely right ending for these two.