Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review: The Twistedly True Guardian Tale

Pages: 210
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Publication Date: August 9 2015
Initial Reaction:
In the small town of Woodsville, Ruby Hood is settling into her role as Guardian of the Wood. In the blink of an eye, her monumental high school graduation comes and goes without her attendance. There are too many other things on her mind.
Her mom, Christine Wood, has just returned from caring for Ruby's ill grandmother. Kent Wolf finally gets released from the hospital and Kayla Wolf is desperate to make amends, while Dylan Hunter works to hone his Huntsman skills. Everything seems like it’s going to work itself out, until Ivy Snow shows up on Ruby’s front porch with an RV filled with seven dwarfs.
As a new darkness casts a shadow over Woodsville, Ruby is unsure where to turn when turmoil erupts in the Wood, and finds herself aligned with an unusual cast of characters. As Guardian of the Wood, Ruby worries that she can’t save everyone, but what if she is the one who needs saving? 
The Twistedly True Guardian Tale brings us back to the world of Wood where Ruby is the newly appointed Guardian. After the events of the first book, everything has been turned upside down and Ruby is struggling to grasp her new role. When she meets Ivory Snow and her RV of seven men who have been unfortunately turned into dwarfs, she sets off to help them reverse the spell.

The first book was full of cliched tropes and lots of eye rolling but at the end, I was pleasantly surprised with how everything turned out and I found that I actually quite enjoyed it. The Twistedly True Guardian Tale follows the steps of the first one, but I found myself struggling to get back into the world and with the characters. It wasn't that there was a large gap between books, I read the first book in February, but I felt out of place with the world.

Regardless, I still enjoyed the plot and delivery of the story. Sure there were still a handful of eye rolling moments and sections where I wanted to groan in frustration, but overall it was still a fun story to read. My main problem with this book lies with Ruby herself. I confess that I didn't really have an opinion of her in the first book but I didn't dislike her. Her character in this book just irritated me at random moments from the choices she made to her overall personality.

Ivory Snow on the other hand I really liked. I swear I'm not biased because she shares the same name as my bunny. I find the Disney version of Snow White really annoying so I've always been wary of the Snow White story but Ivory portrays her part of the story really well. The other characters sort of remained the same for me, I didn't really change my opinion on them which I guess is good.

As much I liked the premise of the story, I found myself fighting with Ruby throughout the book. Nevertheless, this is a really unique spin on the classic Little Red Riding Hood tale and something to keep an eye on.
3 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: Angel in Training

ISBN: 1502592096
Pages: 312
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Publication Date: February 17, 2016
Initial Reaction:

After a night out turns fatal, a misunderstanding with the Archangel Michael presents Angel with a chance at Eternal Life: the opportunity to earn her wings and one day become an archangel herself.
Angel is given the task of protecting her charge, trainee detective, Joshua Walsh. There's no denying the attraction between Angel and Joshua, only Michael has pretty strict rules: no drinking, no drugs, and certainly no relationships with humans. Thankfully, she's got other things to deal with, like trying to convince Joshua New Orleans has a serial killer who is preying on other angel potentials like herself.
Angel must quickly learn that when keeping someone safe, doing the right thing is not always the easiest, especially when you've got an archangel looking over your shoulder.
This cover gives me major apocalypse vibes so I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into with this book. At first, I was a bit wary because I don't love apocalypse story lines (it's just so scary and depressing) but I was pleasantly surprised. The novel follows Angel who ironically dressed up as a devil on her 20th birthday when she brutally murdered. As she is dying, the Archangel Michael gives her a change at Eternal Life and she agrees without knowing what she's getting into. She's given the task of protecting Joshua Walsh who is currently working on the case to find the serial killer who is targeting other angel potentials.

Angel in Training takes the commonly accepted knowledge of guardian angels and archangels and completely flips it around. Our main character Angel is an angel potential meaning that her aura has something that sets apart from everyone else and draws the attention of other angels. (Let's see how many times I say the word angel in this review...) After her murder, she finds herself thrust in this world that she didn't know existed and she certainly didn't remember signing up to be part of. Angel is pretty much your average heroine: beautiful, snarky, naive. Well, she's naive because she didn't expect angels to actually exist.

I can't tell if there's a love triangle in this novel or not but there are definitely hints of one. As her charge, Angel is not supposed to fall in love with Joshua but there's definitely a lot of chemistry between the two. Same goes in her relationship with Michael. I'm not sure at this point who I ship her with because both men prove themselves to be very different from her and compliment her in a variety of different ways.

Final note before I finish, I have to give a shout out to Cupid who is quite possibly my favorite character in the entire novel. He's hilarious and so much fun to be around. He has this "strict archangel" moments but he and Veronica (cherubim) just added so much comic relief to the novel at points where I started losing some interest. 

3.5 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: Trial by Charm

ISBN: 9780996842839
Pages: 209
Source: Author/Elephantine Publishing
Publication Date: April 27, 2016
Initial Reaction: 
Seventeen-year-old Julia Wright doesn't understand her friends' obsession with boys. She's never even had a crush, and proudly maintains her composure no matter who is in her presence. In fact, the hotter a guy is to her friends, the more annoying he seems to Julia. When she is blackmailed into being the manager of the men's swim team, she finds herself face to face with the worst of them all.
Team Captain Vander Thelxinoe is the typical self-assured jock, with a not-so-typical ability to change people's minds at will. It's a talent he uses often to get what he wants--only his charms don't work on Julia. Now he is anxious to figure out why, and the closer he tries to get, the more desperate she is to stay away--especially when he somehow awakens a side of her she never knew existed.
Their quite unexpected friendship puts Julia in the middle of a quest she doesn't quite understand. As her familiar world starts to unravel around her, Julia must partner with the one person who knows how to push her buttons--and, in doing so, discovers the unbelievable truth about who she really is.
Can Julia and Vander survive the trial set before them, or will they succumb to a more terrifying fate?
Trial by Charm is a fun novel following Julia Wright who has no interest in boys and doesn't understand why her two best friends are constantly obsessing over them. When she gets blackmailed to be the manager of the man's swim team, she finds herself stuck with one of the most self absorbed jerks her school has to offer. Vander Thelxinoe has the ability to charm people's minds and is shocked when he finds himself unable to work his powers on Julia. The two form an uneasy alliance as Vander introduces Julia to the world he is from and the upcoming quest he must embark on.

This novel combines teenage angst with Greek mythology and the result is a witty novel that covers a wide range of interests. Julia and Vander are as opposite as day and night and they manage to compliment each other so well despite Julia's initial dislike to Vander. The whole idea behind Vander's ability and where he comes from was really interesting and well done. I don't want to say too much but it definitely added a lot to the overall story.

Reading Greek mythology growing up, I always liked Demeter and pinned her as one of the nicer Olympians but this book threw me in a loop. I guess it teaches that regardless of their character and nature, you shouldn't mess with a mother especially if she's an Olympian. The whole quest and pre-quest brought the story from a typical high school drama to one that was a bit more thrilling. To be honest, I still don't understand the rhyme, but the delivery of the pre-quest was really interesting.

The ending was hella confusing and definitely piques my interest for the upcoming books. As a novel alone, I enjoyed the story and it definitely sets the stage for the future books.

*I was sent a copy from Elephantine Publishing for review. All opinions are 100% my own.*

3.5 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: Adrenaline Rush

ISBN: 978-1523632039
Pages: 239
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Publication Date: January 3, 2016
Initial Reaction: 
For velocity addicted Shelby Carleton, driving a high-powered ride is an adrenaline rush that dares her to exceed the speed limits of her safe, new world . . .
Shelby has left behind the painful memories of her dark past by attending a specialized driving school in Detroit that teaches police officers the art of high speed chases. With fast cars, pedal to the metal intensity, and super hot guys—what more can a girl ask for? But even here, Shelby still secretly craves the acceptance of a real family that she never found back home.
Then a harrowing phone call brings her new life to a screeching halt.
To protect her brother and save the family business, Shelby is forced to revisit the turbo-charged streets of rural Michigan on a quest to pay off thugs, harassing the local businesses. While back in her neighborhood, Shelby is reunited, albeit begrudgingly, with her gorgeous ex-boyfriend Logan Edwards, who mysteriously skipped town without a trace.
With Logan’s help, Shelby finds herself torn between obeying the law she’s sworn to uphold and reentering the dangerous world of illegal street racing to expose a deadly extortion scheme. But if Shelby hopes to fulfill her dreams and repair her broken relationships, she must first get behind the wheel again and go full-throttle down a dangerous road that will ultimately cause her two very different worlds to finally come crashing together. . .
This book is basically Fast and Furious with less action and more drama. Shelby is the only female trainee at a specialized driving school for police officers and she works her butt off to prove that she is not only equal to the guys but better. Being the first one in her family to experience a college education, she's not willing to let anything stand in the way of achieving her dreams. Everything's going smoothly until she gets a call from her brother Travis who is in big financial trouble. 

I will be completely honest and say that I can't remember what drew me into the story in the first place. Maybe it was the adrenaline filled summary (and title...I fail at being funny) but this is definitely not a book I would normally pick up. I've watched all Fast and Furious movies and this one gave me major vibes but at the same time, it didn't hook me in the same manner. I loved the races at the beginning from the staged speed chases at the police academy to the illegal races in Shelby's hometown, but towards the end when stakes rose, I found myself losing interest.

Shelby embodies the strong independent female who has pulled herself out of her desolate situation and grabbed the chance for a better life. There were times where I questioned her choices especially her dedication to dig her brother out of the mess that he got himself into. She starts off the novel being romantically connected with Bishop, another trainee, but when she makes her way home and comes face to face with her old flame she realizes that anything with Bishop was purely physical. I don't exactly know how I would characterize her relationship with Logan...I didn't feel butterflies or anything but just through the way they acted it was clear they were the perfect fit.

Adrenaline Rush is more than just a romance and a thrilling car chase rolled into a neat little package. I didn't think that police drama would play a role beyond Shelby's career choice but it does and there's bit of small town gang activity going on as well. While this novel didn't necessarily blow me away, I still enjoyed reading something completely out of the ordinary for me.
3 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

BLITZ: The Vengeful Half

The Vengeful Half 
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: March 10th 2016

This novel contains interior comics and art by the author.

Olivia might look human, but she’s grown up with a heavy secret: her mother is a potion-maker from a parallel world, the Hidden Lands.
Alfred is the blind, charismatic young heir to the illegal potions trade. When Mom is kidnapped by the magic dealers with whom shea once made a bad bargain, Olivia has no choice but to trust Alfred's offer of help. They travel to a strange new world of bootlegged American pop culture, lifelike doll people, and reincarnation. Alfred finds himself putting his position on the line to defend Olivia against his family’s conniving plans. Maybe he has morals…or maybe he’s just falling in love.
When Olivia escapes from an attack by a curiously familiar sorceress, she learns that potion dealers weren’t the only thing Mom was hiding from. Dark secrets lurk in Olivia’s past, and now Olivia must kill or be killed by the girl with whom she once shared everything... 

The Vengeful Half is on sale for $0.99 from April 25th to 29th!
Buy Links:

“Hmm.” She sounded vaguely dismissive, like she thought he was being stubborn. “I’ve never actually met a blind person before.”
 “I get that a lot. We’re pretty collectible.”
She laughed. “I didn’t mean it like that! Do you have any blind friends you could ask for advice or something?”
“I’ve never met a blind person before either,” he said, thinking suddenly that this might be strange. Was it strange? Well, you couldn’t exactly check out an advice-giving blind person at the library. “The thing is, for my parents, it isn’t really about the physical condition. It’s a matter of pride.”
“I suspect pride is a bad reason to make a decision,” she said.
“Then Atlantis must be founded on bad decisions. What do you make decisions based on?”
“Honestly? I hardly ever get to make decisions, because my mother says ‘no’ to everything worth doing. Logic, mostly.”
“I’ve never been good at logic,” he said. “At least, not when it goes against my gut feeling.”
“What does your gut feeling say?”
“It says…I’m fine as I am.”
She had stepped a little closer to him. Close enough that he could easily reach out and touch her. “I think you are,” she said.
He imagined what it would feel like if she touched him when she said that. Her touch must be so different from Thessia’s. Everything about her was a little sharper. She wasn’t timid in the same way, even though her situation made her nervous. He knew she didn’t mean to be brusque; she was just being American and Miralem. But—she was brusque. And he didn’t feel like he had to dance around anything when he spoke to her.

He couldn’t be too honest. He’d blow all their plans. 

About the Author
Jaclyn Dolamore has a passion for history, thrift stores, vintage dresses, David Bowie, drawing, and organic food. She is the author of six YA novels, including Magic Under Glass and Dark Metropolis. She lives in western Maryland with her partner and plot strategist, Dade, and three weird cats. To keep abreast of new releases, sales, and extras, please join her mailing list!

Author Links:
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: Wink Poppy Midnight

ISBN: 0803740484
Pages: 247
Source; Library
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Initial Reaction
Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.
Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.
What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.
I've come to accept that I will never fully understand April Genevieve Tucholke's writing. I read her debut novel Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea in 2014 and I was confused out of my mind. Tucholke has a beautiful writing style that weaves this mysterious and haunting aura around the story. As much as I loved her writing, I could not understand what was going on in the story. I don't think I've had a lot of exposure with unreliable narrators and this one has three which threw me for a loop.

Where do I even begin with this novel? There are three characters whose names are Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. If you couldn't tell from their strange names, these are pretty strange characters. Poppy is a bully and she revels in her ability to dominate the people around her. Wink is the eldest daughter of the Bell family who is known for being strange and not right in the head. And finally we have Midnight who is the only slightly sane person in the story but lacks a serious backbone as he becomes caught up in this strange game.

The story rotates between three different narrators, each telling you a small portion of the whole story and you're stuck trying to figure out who is telling the truth. A hero, a villain, and a secret - those words seriously messed me up. Wink tells you from the start that Poppy is the villain and Midnight is the hero, but you don't know what her role is in this "fairytale" that she is explaining. She was the character that set up the story and gave it its haunting and mythical feel. 

When I decided to pick this up, I was really excited to give Tucholke's writing a second try and I decided to not get started right away. For some strange reason, I decided to start reading this book at 11pm on a Sunday morning and since it's so short, I finished it in one sitting. First of all, this book has an eerie feeling that surrounds it and reading alone downstairs on the couch was not a good idea. Secondly, I was already exhausted from everything so my mind was functioning even less which made the story seem so bizarre and incomprehensible. 

So that brings me to my initial conclusion, I will never fully understand this book. I did enjoy this more than her previous book and I appreciate its unique style as a story, but my brain is still scrambling to figure out what happened.

3 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Review: Crimson Bound

ISBN: 9780062224767
Pages: 441
Source: Own E-book
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Initial Reaction: 

When Rachelle was fifteen, she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless—straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.
Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her hunt for the legendary sword that might save their world. Together, they navigate the opulent world of the courtly elite, where beauty and power reign and no one can be trusted. And as they become unexpected allies, they discover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?
Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding HoodCrimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.
Holy smokes, this book surprised me on so many different levels. When I read Cruel Beauty back in 2014, I was so excited going into the book but it just got so confusing and I couldn't wrap my head around what was going on. For the simple reason, I avoided Crimson Bound for the longest time. I knew that it wasn't set in the same world as Cruel Beauty but the covers looked so similar so I decided to wait a bit. I honestly can't pinpoint what made me decide to pick up this book, but I was feeling a bit slumpy so I just started reading.

I think one of the reasons I ended up loving it so much is because it has a similar concept to Uprooted which was one my favorite books that I read in February. There's a big ominous forest being that is striking fear in the hearts of everyone. The forest has these people called the forestborn and they're basically immortal human shaped things who have given up their soul to the forest. They go around "marking" humans and that's what happens to Rachelle. She then has three days to decide if she's going to kill an innocent life or die and if she kills, she'll become a bloodbound. 

In all your life, your only choice is the path of needles or the path of pins.” 

I can't remember a bunch about Nyx from Cruel Beauty but I remember enough to know that Rachelle beats her as my favorite main character. Rachelle has trained to with her aunt to protect her village from the Forest and one small encounter alters her path forever. She ends up joining the king's army of bloodbounds and fights alongside his most trusted warrior Erec. For years, she been trying to figure out a way to defeat the Forest and her opportunity arises when she's given the job to guard Prince Armand who was infected by a forestborn but cut his hands off to prevent himself from killing. As much as she hates him, he helps her navigate the world of the court and magic.

This is the human way, she thought. On the edge of destruction, at the end of all things, we still dance. And hope.”

I was expecting a bit of a love triangle but thankfully this one didn't overwhelm me. Erec and Rachelle have a relationship that's grounded on having each other's back in battle and Erec has been chasing Rachelle for years but she's never yielded because he's a bit of a womanizer. Armand on the other hand is someone she despises but he turns out to be the one who understands her struggle as a bloodbound the most. There were so many moments where I wasn't sure what was going to happen but at the end I ship her with Armand the most.

“If I'm damned, what's the point of pretending that I'm not?” 

The ending - where do I even start with this? My heart was taken on one crazy roller coaster ride and I think I nearly had a heart attack. The crazy plotlines that emerge and begin to take place, the revelations that happen, the heart pounding battle scene, everything just flew full force at me. I think that's all I can say without giving away major spoilers but after reading it, I ran to my friend and just started incoherently blabbing. 

Rosamund Hodge has definitely solidified herself as a writer whose books I will continue to keep an eye on after Crimson Bound. She has a wonderfully unique writing style and a beautiful talent for creating these beautiful worlds that is so incredibly enchanting and thrilling.

4 out of 5 stars

Foreverly Obsessed,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

BLITZ: Adorkable

Release Date: March 31st 2016
Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.
Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she's done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There's only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.
Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.
Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally's best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He'd do anything for Sal--even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she's "more than pretty," and expertly kissing her at parties.
The problem: Sally's been in love with Becks all her life--and he's completely clueless.
This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:
Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

About the Author
Cookie O'Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE will be released in 2016.

Author Links:
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The ADORKABLE Challenge

I wanted to do something special and fun to celebrate the release of my debut novel ADORKABLE.  Since the book is all about the dorky, the awkward, and embracing your inner-nerd, I came up with the ADORKABLE Challenge!

Here's how it works:

1) Take a picture of yourself being adorkable.

2) Post that picture on social media (facebook, twitter, instagram etc.) with the hashtag #AdorkableChallenge.

3) Enter the link to your picture in the Rafflecopter and earn as many extra entries as you can.

4) Sit back and relax while 4 adorably dorky winners are randomly chosen :).

3 winning runners up will each receive: $10 Amazon gift card.

The ADORKABLE Challenge Champion will receive: $50 Amazon gift card.

 And that's it!  If you're adorkable and you know it, this is your time to shine.  I can't wait to check out all of your pictures.  Now, show me your ADORKABLE!

Cookie O'Gorman