Tuesday, May 31, 2016

6 Beach Reads

Hello everyone! Welcome to another Top "Ten" Tuesday! This week's topic is everything beach related. I'll be super quick in this post because I have so much work to do (yay procrastination) so I'm only going to mention 6 for the sake of aesthetics instead of my usual 9. Alright, let's get started!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I didn't exactly fall in love with this book like everyone else did, but it was still a fun contemporary. I won't get into my feeling persay but since it's so popular I thought I'd put it on the list.
Slammed by Colleen Hoover - I absolutely adored this book and it's definitely my favorite CoHo book so far. It's got the fun aspect of contemporary but with that extra punch that makes it memorable.
The Piano Man Project by Kat French - This is a book I picked up on a whim because I thought the cover was adorable and the title had the word piano in it. It turned out to be a really fun and sweet novel and definitely something I can envision myself reading on the beach.

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout - This one doesn't exactly fall into the fun and light category but it's definitely fun. The Dark Elements trilogy was one of my favorites from last year because it was action packed and had a ton of great one liners that just made me crack up. 
Kissing Madeleine by Lex Martin - I was scrolling through Goodreads and stopped at this novel and after reading my review I decided to throw this one in the list as well. It's fun and sweet but also has the same heart wrenching effect that I tend to like in contemporaries.
Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner - Since we're by the beach, I thought I'd include this one which takes place on the ocean for a majority of the story. To be honest, I don't think the oceans in this story are the best option when it comes to relaxing since there are man-eating mermaids but it was a thrilling story that literally blew my mind when I first read it. (BTW where is that sequel??)

So that's my list! Let me know in the comments what books made it on your list that I should check out! Thank you so much for reading!

Monday, May 30, 2016

TOUR: The Broken Crown

ISBN: 978-1500736873
Pages: 342
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Publication Date: May 23, 2016
Initial Reaction:

Princess Emilia Aurelius was only seven when she watched her mother die at the hands of her father—martyred for believing in the God of the Atlas Empire’s Insurgo rebels. At seventeen, exiled to a military outpost where no one knows her true identity, she’s vowed to leave her royalty behind and explore the truth of the Insurgo rebels her mother loved. 
When the Emperor of Atlas summons the princesses from each of the provinces to the imperial city to choose a wife for the crown prince, Emilia must leave her military life behind to join a royal court rife with cunning and intrigue. Navigating the waters of court politics and budding love are treacherous on their own, but Emilia fears for her life should anyone learn of her Insurgo sympathies. 
With an unlikely ally in the captain of the emperor's guard, Emilia must uncover the truth of the Insurgos, start a revolution, and learn to become the princess she’s vowed never to be, all while protecting her heart from a prince who could sign her death warrant. 
This book brought back so many memories for me! Anyone else grow up reading The Princess Academy and absolutely wished they could be part of that? The Broken Crown follows Princess Emilia who watched her mother get executed for worshipping the rebels' God rather than following the religious cult that dominates the other kingdoms. She was exiled by her father to grow up in a military camp where she is trained and grows the believe in the faith that killed her mother. Then she is summoned by the Emperor of Atlas to arrive at the imperial city in order to join a "friendly competition" to become the wife for the crown prince. Life in the imperial city is more dangerous than the frivolous balls and she has to learn to become a princess again while keeping her faith a secret.

Okay, I don't know how I should begin but this book gave me major Princess Academy vibes. Emilia is thrust back into the world of royalty and there is a lot of scheming, rumors of rebellion, and jealous princesses. As if relearning all the rules of etiquette isn't enough, someone is planning on overthrowing the king and the rebellious Insurgos might be behind the plot. I absolutely adored following Emilia as she navigates her way through court and tries to figure out where her loyalties lie. 

I'll admit, there were some moments that made me want to face-palm myself. Emilia is such a kickbutt character but she only gets a couple of moments to really show off her skills. Also, whenever she comes in contact with the prince, she kind of loses her mind just a bit. She is definitely less ditsy than some of the other girls there but she loses the "strength of a soldier" that she has which sets her apart from the rest. Regardless, I still really loved her character.

We can't talk about this book without mentioning the "competition" itself. To be honest, it's not even close to a competition but rather it's an opportunity for the Emperor to pick a girl that will be submissive and provide the best alliance for the future. Prince Ronan doesn't really have a voice in the final decision. On the topic of the prince, he was a decent guy but my ship for this book puts Emilia with a certain Captain of the guard (Felix). I don't dislike Ronan, but I just love the relationship that she has with Felix and how they share more common interests.

The big issue of this novel centers around religion and politics which I found really fascinating. The Empire worships a group of gods while the rebellion called the Insurgos worship one god in a religion that resembles Christianity. It addresses the issue of a theocratic government and the lengths people will go to for power.

There were moments that just broke my heart and made me want to throw something but that just shows how much I enjoyed this book. I will definitely be keeping my eye on the sequel when it comes out because I need to know what happens next! 

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A tomboy with southern belle roots, Amryn Cross was born and raised in Tennessee where she learned the importance of God, family, Southern hospitality, and football. She’s loved the written word from the time she was a child, convinced the squiggly lines on top of the Hostess cupcake really spelled out a secret message. Amryn is a proud momma to two adorable puppies–Argo and Luna–who provide lots of laughs and kisses. She is also an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and My Book Therapy (MBT) and answers writers’ forensic questions at Jordyn Redwood’s Medical Edge blog.
Author Links:
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4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Review: Dark and Twisted Games

ISBN: 978-1530835171
Pages: 330
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Publication Date: April 1, 2016
Initial Reaction: 

Nothing ever happens in the small town of Copake Falls, and no one knows that better than sixteen-year-old Eden Day. Her life is a mundane carousal, rotating between caring for her alien obsessed aunt and dealing with her freak status at school. Until two brothers move into town and turn her life completely upside down. 
Golden boy, Cardelian Foster is the talk of the town, and it seems his sights set on Eden. However, she finds herself drawn to the dark and elusive Jaxson instead. Caught between her fear of what he might be and her attraction to him, Eden makes it her mission to find out exactly who or what Jaxson Foster is. 
Eden begins to dig for the truth, but the deeper she looks, the more her life seems to be in danger. Everyone around her thinks she’s going crazy, and Eden begins to agree until she finds herself pulled into Faeylon—a world that nightmares are made of. Caught in the center of a dark game, Eden realizes there can only be one winner, and she is the prize.
This book fits the title so perfectly it's kind of scary. I have absolutely no idea how I'm supposed to put my emotions into words after reading this book because I'm literally just in a state of shock. Dark and Twisted Games follows Eden Day who is an outcast at Copake Falls. She spends her days dodging insults and hateful stares and loses herself to the stories she create. Her life gets turned upside down when two brothers move into town with the foster parents. Cardelian is the golden boy and brings the dying football team to unexpected victories while Jaxson is the dark bad boy who slips under the radar. Eden finds herself drawn to Jaxson while Cardelian starts to show interest in her. The more she learns about the brothers draws her deeper into a world she didn't quite bargain for.

There are so many things I need to say about this story so let's start off with tropes. This has the typical outcast girl caught between two polar opposite brothers who seem to be harboring a secret. What I didn't expect what how Heidi Acosta would set these tropes into motion throughout the story. There were moments where I thought I knew what was going to happen and then my theory gets blown up in my face (literally). The story telling is really well done and has this gripping pull to it that makes you want to keep reading.

I'll admit that I didn't exactly like Eden because it seemed like half the time, she didn't know what she was doing and what was going on. I won't fault her because honestly, her life gets pretty messed up throughout this book, but sometimes I wished she could have handled things a bit more calm. As for the brothers, I don't want to say much without giving things away but let's just say what happened was like a punch through the stomach.

This story has so many unexpected things happening that I almost wished we could have gotten more. I wanted to know more of Faeylon even though it seems like a terrible place to be. I want to know more about Eden's writing because frankly, that's the only part of her that interests me. There are just so many things that I wanted more explanations of because this book left a ton of questions. I guess I'll just have to wait for the next book to see if I get some answers. 
3.5 out of 5 stars

Friday, May 27, 2016

TOUR: Memories of Ash

Pages: 363
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Publication Date: May 30, 2016
Initial Reaction:
In the year since she cast her sunbolt, Hitomi has recovered only a handful of memories. But the truths of the past have a tendency to come calling, and an isolated mountain fastness can offer only so much shelter. When the High Council of Mages summons Brigit Stormwind to stand trial for treason, Hitomi knows her mentor won’t return—not with Arch Mage Blackflame behind the charges.
Armed only with her magic and her wits, Hitomi vows to free her mentor from unjust imprisonment. She must traverse spell-cursed lands and barren deserts, facing powerful ancient enchantments and navigating bitter enmities, as she races to reach the High Council. There, she reunites with old friends, planning a rescue equal parts magic and trickery.
If she succeeds, Hitomi will be hunted the rest of her life. If she fails, she’ll face the ultimate punishment: enslavement to the High Council, her magic slowly drained until she dies.

Sunbolt (Book 1) Amazon
The first book in this series ended on a note that left me wanting more. Memories of Ash picks up with Hitomi living with Brigit Stormwind and honing her magic under the High Mage's guidance. The peaceful environment is disrupted when Stormwind is charged with treason and convicted by the Arch Mage Blackflame who played a key role in Hitomi's experience in the first book. Hitomi decides to travel to where the High Council of Mages resides to try to save her mentor and regain the memories she lost after she cast her sunbolt. 

Sunbolt gave us a glimpse of the Eleven Kingdoms and in Memories of Ash gives us a wider tour of the Kingdoms from the desert to the Mage School where the council is currently residing. We are also given more insight into the structure of mages and the Council as well as the sheer power of Blackflame. On the topic of Blackflame, he continues to embody the role of the greedy, power hungry villain and continues to terrorize every opponent he has.

Hitomi really gets an opportunity to re-develop her character and recover her memories. She strengthens her inner resolve and power and comes into contact with so many different people who are equally as complex. It was really interesting to see how Intisar Khanani made the villain of the story sort of flat and typical and created these three dimensional characters that contributed a lot to the story. You're constantly left guessing to see who will help or hurt her because each character has a place where their loyalties lie and you don't know what they will do.

I have to admit that my favorite part of this novel was being reunited with some of the old characters because Sunbolt did a great job in just giving us a glimpse of the characters and leaves you wanting more develop in those relationships, especially since she lost her memories. When Kenta showed up I was so happy and then Val. I really loved how Intisar Khanani just developed those relationships and the characters. 

While the first book ended on a note that left me satisfied but intrigued to find out more, Memories of Ash leaves me desperately wanting more. With all the events that happened in this book, I'm so interested in finding out more and exploring more of the Kingdoms.

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Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. She has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar's current projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, featuring the heroine introduced in her free short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

ISBN: 0545424968
Pages: 391
Source: Library
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Initial Reaction:
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. 
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. 
The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.
Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.
What is the meaning of life anymore? I have no idea after reading this book because my mind is floating somewhere in space and my heart is shattered. This book is just pure genius. When I first read The Dream Thieves, I wasn't too blown away because it just felt like a lot of planning and not a lot of happening, but all that planning was worth it because Maggie Stiefvater takes everything and sets it into motion. The quest to find Glendower begins to pick up speed and everything from the three sleepers, Mauara's disappearance, and Greenmantle's appearance just made the whole story so gripping.

“Humans were so circular; they lived the same slow cycles of joy and misery over and over, never learning. Every lesson in the universe had to be taught billions of times, and it never stuck.Maybe it was good that the world forgot every lesson, every good and bad memory, every triumph and failure, all of it dying with each generation. Perhaps this cultural amnesia spared them all. Perhaps if they remembered everything, hope would die instead.” 

I don't think I've ever loved so many characters with so much passion at the exact same time. Every single Raven Boy is so incredibly precious and beautiful and I'm literally terrified of what the ending is going to bring. Blue's relationship with each boy is so heartbreaking and I don't know what is going to happen and it scares me so much. This book also introduces some new characters who immediately stole my heart, in particular Jesse Dittley who talks in ALL CAPS and that small detail literally made my day. Maggie Stiefvater just brings these characters to life and makes them so unique and beautiful that it's impossible not to love them.

“It kills Dittleys and does terrible things to my friend." (Blue)
"That's not his fault. Why didn't you say you could see him?"
"But I'm not dead."

The ending of this book nearly killed me. It was so unexpected and scary because so many things could happen and the way Maggie Stiefvater ended it nearly gave me a heart attack. With that being said, I have the Raven King and I've started it. Well, I've read the prologue and almost cried with the first sentence. I loved this book so much and I'm afraid to continue but I need to know what happens and I just hope my babies stay alive.

4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

9 Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

Hello everyone! Welcome to this week's Top Ten Tuesday or in my case Top Nine because I never come with ten responses. In my defense, nine just looks more aesthetically pleasing but anyway, I had to really scroll through Goodreads to find my answers to this and I think I have a good variety :)

207340021208427822544764The Weight of Feathers by Anna Marie McLemore - I picked this book up because a lot of people made comparisons to the Night Circus which is also on my list. At first glance, this book was definitely interesting but it took a while after I finished reading to really get the full impact.
City of A Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster - This book and its sequel was one of those stories that I didn't really find interesting at first but there was that one moment at the end that just got me. I honestly could not stop thinking and talking about this book for weeks after finishing it.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik - I really enjoyed Uprooted when I read it but I cannot stop thinking about it. The writing it just so incredibly amazing and the plot is so complex that I'm constantly trying to figure things out.

A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon - This book dragged on forever in the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I loved the vivid descriptions of everything but it seemed like nothing was happening. And then everything exploded and I could not stop thinking about this, I still can't stop talking about it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - When I read The Night Circus, I was in the mood for something with a bit more action and I confess that a lot of the beautiful words just drifted over my head, but since then I've gone back and read excerpts and taken the time to appreciate the beautiful writing style.
The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe - I read this such a long time ago and at the beginning I was confused out of my mind and honestly a bit bored as well but there was that twist at the end that just blew my mind apart. I really need to continue this trilogy, I got the second book for review and I really need to get to it.

Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin - To be honest I haven't finished this book yet. When I started the Inheritance Trilogy I got swept up in the world of servant gods and messy politics and I loved it. The second book was a bit of a let down but I was determined to love the last book. I got maybe a hundred pages through and I just had to put it down but I planned to get right back to it. Now...I don't think I'm interested in reading and I'm probably going to move on to another one of her series because she's still one of my favorites. 
Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks - This is another one that I didn't finish and honestly I was so disappointed. I loved the first two books even though it's a lot darker than I'm used to. This book, I could not finish because the main character just got on my nerves and I had no investment in anything that was going on. I still want to pick up Brent Week's other series but as for this one, I think I'm letting it go. 
The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter - This is unintentional but this book is also the third in a series BUT I did finish it. I started the Goddess Test trilogy for a readathon and at first I was really enjoying it. Then the main character did a complete 360 and I could not understand anything she was doing. I have review notes for the entire trilogy but I haven't had the interest to write it out yet...

So that's my list! Let me know what books made it on yours and which ones you ended up loving or hating as time went on!

Foreverly Obsessed,