Sunday, July 31, 2016

REVIEW: The Rose & the Dagger by Renne Ahdieh

Following the dramatic events at the end of The Wrath and the Dawn, the land is on the verge of war and Shahrzad finds herself separated from Khalid, the man she's grown to love. She's determined to save him from his curse. Now, although she's reunited with her family in a desert refuge, she discovers there is an deadly force planning and assault against Khalid--determined to set his empire ablaze and led by Shahrzad's childhood sweetheart.

Shahrzad feels trapped between her loyalties but is driven into action. Using her newfound magic, she plans to tackle her challenges together, lifting the hated curse and ceasing the brewing war. To do so, Shahrzad will have to evade enemies at every turn, learn who to trust, and make some hard choices.

The story comes to a stellar conclusion in The Rose & the Dagger. Fans of the first book won't be disappointed in this adventurous, well written sequel.  It is certainly high on magic, romance, adventure and intrigue.  Readers will laugh and cry during this action packed narrative.  There are bittersweet moments, great tragedies and a great message.

My favorite part was perhaps the realization to the Big Bad that all his callous plans were toppled by three beautiful, intelligent and strong women.  Loved that part!

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: 



#TheRoseandtheDagger #TheWrathandtheDawn #fantasy #romance #YAlit #magic

REVIEW: The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Imagine a far off kingdom ruled by a murderous king. Eighteen year old Caliph of Khorasan is known as a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have her murdered, strangled by a silk cord each morning. After her best friend is killed in this horrific manner, sixteen year old Shahrzad vows vengeance at any cost. She not only volunteers to marry the Caliph but to also discover the truth and enact revenge.

The Wrath & the Dawn begins to weave the tale of One Thousand and One Nights. Shahrzad tells enchanting stories, ensuring her survival night after night. However, what she doesn't count on is growing to care for her new husband, especially after learning the truth behind his tragic curse.  In a nod to Beauty and the Beast, Shahrzad must then struggle with the fate of her best friend while also helping to break the curse and weather the storm of rebellion and unrest swirling around the kingdom.

I really enjoyed this book and its unique retelling of some classic tales.  Shahrzad is spunky and an admirable heroine. I liked the juxtoposition of Ahdieh's characterization of women in the story as opposed to how women we considered (and still are) amongst middle eastern society (both fiction and IRL).

Overall, this is well written with strong characters and good world building.  There is certainly more appeal to a female reader, especially with the emphasis on romance.  While not graphic, Shahrzad and Caliph's relationship includes sexual intimacy, so when recommending the book make note.

As I continue on to book 2, I'm interested to see how the magical element plays out, especially Shahrzad's abuse of power and a possible fallout and how that might translate to our heroine herself.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter:  @rahdieh


#TheWrathandtheDawn #reneeahdieh #shahrzad #romance YAlit #beautyandthebeast #1001nights

Monday, July 18, 2016

REVIEW: Chasing Impossible by Katie McGarry

Fans of McGarry's Pushing the Limits series have waited for Abby's own story. We've grown to love this tough, sassy and independent 17 year old.  Few crack her inner circle but those who do realize that there is much more to her than her status as a drug dealer.

Daughter of the infamous Mozart, Abby retains a certain status and must weather other expectations; however, she'd like nothing more than to have a normal life, yet circumstances and money constantly pull her back in. When a deal goes south and Abby finds herself in real danger, she must learn to rely on daredevil, Logan, whose own restless spirit just might match her own.

Readers first met Logan in Dare You To, as Ryan's best friend. Always looking for a new thrill, he has issues of his own, namely hiding his diabetic status from even his closest friends. He never expected that his mutual attraction to Abby would mean finding the one person that might help him come to terms with his own demons.

Together they have to decide if what they might have together is worth fighting for.

McGarry's true strength is writing characters with diverse backgrounds who have to go through strife as they mature and ultimately find their way.  These characters and their stories hypnotize readers from start to finish.  Abby's story is no different and I am please that she finally found the love and acceptance she deserves.  Likewise, I love that McGarry explores diabetes through the eyes of a handsome and athletic teenage boy.  It is a disease which affects so many and it is important that readers who might be dealing with a similar situation see that a normal life is possible and that having diabetes is not a dirty little secret.

If I had one suggestion, I wish there was a bit more build up to Abby and Logan's friendship and attraction. I know they'd met in another book but I'd like to see the progression a bit more.

I feel that there is a sense of closure to the series; however, I'd be happy if we got even more from Abby, Logan and the rest of the gang!

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @KatieMcGarry


#chasingimpossible #pushingthelimits #YAlit #teen #romance #realisticfiction

Monday, July 11, 2016

REVIEW: Exposed (Retribution) by Judith Graves

Thank you to Orca Book Publishers for a review copy on behalf of my ROYAL membership!

Exposed: Retribution is the third in a high interest YA trilogy which can be read in any order. Nearly sixteen-year-old Raven is aggressive, street smart and cunning after spending years defying dangerous situations as part of a large car theft ring.  She feels that she owes Diesel her loyalty, especially since he saved her from a life of hell.  Now she wants out but the only way is to train her successor to master her uncanny urban climbing skills.  When Raven learns that her boss and mentor is responsible for the senseless death of her "apprentice", she finally sees Diesel for what he is and sets out to bring him down with the help of some unlikely allies.

Characteristic of most high/low readers, the action starts from the first page and doesn't stop.  Raven is a kick-butt female heroine who is redeemable in spite of her flaws.  The supporting cast of characters are engaging as well even if some (i.e. Diesel) are a bit one note. 

The book is perfect for what it is intended to be.  A reluctant reader will be hooked on the action and the story.  For someone like me, the writing feels all too rushed and I wish there was more development and pacing because the concept is great. I was left wanting more and may actually pursue the next installment just to find out what happens with these characters and the promised next adventure to bring about justice. 

Recommended for purchase for school and public libraries. Audience appeal ages 12 and up for both male and female readers.  Action based, mystery thriller with a splash of romance and friendship. Readers will like the urban climbing element.

Final rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @judithgraves



#judithgraves #ocrabook #exposedretribution #YAlit #teen #highinterest #urbanclimbing #books #ROYAL

Friday, July 8, 2016

REVIEW: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Following on the heals of events in A Court of Thorns and Roses, Feyre, survived the horrors of Amarantha's faerie court in order to return to the Spring Court and free her love, Beast Lord and High Lord of Spring, Tamblin.  However, the cost of such freedom is much steeper than she could have ever imagined. Saved from death and now gifted with powers from all 7 High Courts, Feyre cannot escape the trappings of her still human heart and the guilt she feels following the violent deeds that will forever haunt her.

Nor can she forget the bargain with Rhys, High Lord of the Night Court too spend one week with him every month.  Despite the initial dread of acknowledging this bargain, Feyre yearns for this escape when her time at the Spring Court begins to feel like a prison as Tamblin ignores her new powers, pleas and debilitating nightmares.

As Feyre learns to navigate the Night Court's dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. only if she can harness her new gifts, heal her fractured soul, decide who to trust and how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

I'm reviewing A Court of Mist and Fury on the teen blog because it is still technically cataloged as YA lit; however, I have some strong reservations.  I loved everything about the book but the romance and included sex scenes are STEAMY and graphic to a point that this probably isn't for every YA reader seeking romantic fantasy.  The scenes are pretty detailed with provocative vocabulary and pretty graphic detail. So beware, this is probably more at home in the adult science fiction and fantasy sections.

That being said, I LOVED THIS BOOK! Feyre's character development is profound. Maas' use of guilt, trauma and PTSD to take the storytelling to new heights pointed the book in a direction I hadn't anticipated.  I never realized how much I didn't like Tamblin until his actions in this book made me hate him.  I adore Rhys and his ramble of friends who are loyal outcasts who accept Feyre and provide what she needs to embrace her destiny and heal her wounds.

I adore the new romantic development and it is in part what I predicted or hoped would happen. Certain parts remind me of the whole Buffy, Angel Spike dynamic of the past.  I was never a huge Buffy/Angel relationship fan. Sure it was first love, but Angel always wanted to save the day and stifle Buffy's spirit.  Lot of people hated the Buffy/Spike romance and yes it was certainly flawed but grew in spite of all that happened.  However, Spike ended up encouraging her to embrace all parts of herself and didn't try to put her in a box to keep her safe. Rhys is like that with Feyre.

The ending was stellar and I cannot WAIT for the next book in 2017!


Final rating: ALL THE STARS!

Follow the author on Twitter: @sjmaas



#ACOMAF #ACOTAR #faerie #romance #fantasy #AMAZING #books #review

REVIEW: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On is an ode to Harry Potter.  The main character Simon Snow is the Chosen One much like HP but can't seem to do anything right, failing spells right and left as well as setting things on fire. During his last year a school, his girlfriend has dumped him, there's an evil doppelganger wearing Simon's face, and his nemesis Baz isn't even around to pick a fight.

What can I say? Carry On is the novelization of the Simon and Baz fanfic featured in Rowell's Fangirl. These parts were my least favorite aspect of the aforementioned novel since I preferred the narrative regarding Cather and her development despite the fact that a huge part of her identity was wrapped up as the author of this fan fiction and general fandom.

Regardless for my love of pretty much anything Rowell does, this just wasn't my cup of tea and I found it unnecessary. That being said, for readers who are huge fans of the author or who want a Harry Potter-esque type story that pushes more relationship boundaries then this is for you. There's plenty of magic and fantastic elements plus humor and romance.

Rowell continues to display stellar writing with good plot and interesting, description characters.

Personal rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Story/Character/Writing rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Follow the author on Twitter: @rainbowrowell





#fangirl #carryon #rainbowrowell #fanfiction #harrypotter #YAlit #teen #books

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

COVER REVEAL: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry


"An intoxicating and unforgettable story that kept me glued to the page."
Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on Walk the Edge



Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.
Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

Add it to your Goodreads Now!



LONG WAY HOME Pre-Order Links:

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/29e4z8v
IndieBound: http://bit.ly/29aLSkP

And Don’t Miss the First Two Titles in the Thunder Road Series!

NOWHERE BUT HERE

WALK THE EDGE


Katie McGarry Bio:
Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

Links:

Twitter: @katiemcgarry

Friday, July 1, 2016

RELEASE DAY: Chasing Impossible by Katie McGarry

Tough and independent, 17-year-old Abby lets very few people into her inner circle. It’s common knowledge in her Kentucky town that she deals drugs, but not even her closest friends know why. But when a deal goes south and Abby’s suddenly in danger, she finds herself reluctantly forced to lean on daredevil Logan—a boy whose restless spirit matches her own.

Logan has his own reasons for wanting to keep Abby at arms’ length. But he never expected to find in her the one person who might help him face the demons he’s tried so hard to run from.

Together, Abby and Logan will have to make a decision: let their current circumstances weigh them down forever…or fight for the future they both thought was impossible. 

BUY LINKS:


And don’t forget to read the first books in the Pushing the Limits Series…


EXCERPT:
Abby
People near the stage scream and clap and I’m about ready to throw my cell against the wall. Stupid, stupid boy and stupid me for stupidly somewhat liking him and him thinking he can get away with not answering me.
“Give it up for our boy Logan.”
My eyes rip up, go for the stage, and my mind shifts into reverse, fast-forward, rewind, and then that smile that’s associated with the devil slides across my face.
Logan stands strong on the stage. Guitar strapped across his chest. Baseball cap backwards on his black hair. And when he strikes the strings of the guitar, those biceps flex beautifully.
That chord just struck a lot deeper than anyone could have imagined. Past my bones, past my muscles, and it’s created a nice warmth that’s curling around my belly. Liquid warmth.
The logical part of my brain demands that I walk away, but he’s the one that scared me by not answering back. He’s the one that’s causing all these alien emotions stirring in my veins.
Yeah, I shouldn’t kiss Logan. I should definitely leave a boy like that alone. But he returned and he’s the one that climbed onto the stage and is looking addictively sexy with that guitar.
Yep, shouldn’t kiss him, but I already told Rachel, I’m going to kiss the guitarist tonight. Wouldn’t want that one to be a lie, now, would I?
About Katie McGarry:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

Links:

Twitter: @katiemcgarry