Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword
Red Queen #2

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Publisher: Harper Teen

Genre: YA/Dystopia



If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

My Thoughts: First, I want to say that I love this series.  Neither of the books went where I expected them to and this one certainly lived up to the high expectations that the first one set!

We pick up Glass Sword where Red Queen  left off.  Mare and Cal are tired and shattered from the events at the end of Red Queen and are just trying to survive at this point.  Both seem to be looking for a purpose and neither one want to stop and take a breather, or rest.

Mare, I feel, really steps it up in this book.  She really is stuck between a rock and a hard place for most of the tough decisions she has to make.  Unlike Cal, she was never trained to be thrust into a leadership position and this is where she unexpectedly finds herself.  All of her moves, all of her decisions and non-decisions are questioned and scrutinized and I feel that in the middle of the book she just kind of loses herself.  I honestly don't blame her.

Cal feels like a lost floater sometimes.  He always had a clear path of who he was, what he was, what was expected of him and where he was headed.  Now that all of that has been ripped away from him and he is on the run with people he formerly saw as the enemy seems to have caught him up.  Luckily, he doesn't stay that way completely.

I have to say, there is a lot less romance and a lot more action in this book than the previous, which is to be expected.  In the first book, it was all about political intrigue and palace life.  How best to save people and still work within the confines of the castle.  Now, to put it blunt, all hell has broken loose.  Cal and Mare are constantly looking over their shoulders while at the same time trying to save people like Mare, regular Reds and even Silvers.

This book was fast paced and awesome.  The cliffhanger ending (much like the first book) was awe-dropping and not at all what I would have expected.  I am eagerly waiting at the edge of my seat for the next book - it can't come quick enough!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (81)

Waiting on Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly awaiting.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
(Harry Potter #8)

Author: J.K. Rowling

Expected Publication Date: July 31, 2016



Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

My Thoughts: If this is not on every single Waiting on Wednesday at least once, I would be surprised!  I can't even begin to express my anticipation to get my hands on this book.  I was incredibly sad thinking that this would only live in play form in London, where I wouldn't be able to see it.  BUT I AM SO EXCITED!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland
White Rabbit Chronicles #1

Author: Gena Showalter

Publication Date: September 12, 2012

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Genre: Young Adult/Horror



She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

If anyone had told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

My Thoughts: I actually liked this book a lot more than I thought I would.  Normally, I hate anything to do with zombies.  I feel like they are overdone and, quite frankly, disturbing.  So, I was pleasantly surprised when I found this new take on zombie-kind.

Now, be forewarned, this is no where near a clear adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, if that is what you are looking for.  There are definitely throw-backs to the books and Easter-Eggs if you know the original series, but this is definitely it's own story with it's own plot.

Regardless, I really enjoyed this book.  Ali (or Alice) really surprised me a lot with her fortitude.  She was very reminiscent in a way of the Alice from Alice in Wonderland in that she sucked it up and didn't let people intimidate her or push her around.

I feel like the climax in this book may have been rushed a little and could have maybe been drawn out a bit more.  However, considering the fact that it is a multi-book series I am not surprised by the way it all went down.  I feel it has most likely set up for a more dramatic climax in other novels when we deal with the big bads of the series again.

I really enjoyed reading this book.  It was one of the ones that once I picked up I could hardly put down for anything.  I am typing this review up with the second book sitting next to me, begging me to crack it open and devour it.  I would totally recommend this one to any YA reader, especially the paranormal-loving ones - even if you hate zombies!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (80)

Waiting on Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly awaiting.

The Beauty of Darkness
(The Remnant Chronicles #3)

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Expected Publication Date: August 2, 2016



My Thoughts: I am in love with this series!  I read the first two books in two days and now I am eagerly awaiting the third one.  This series has everything I could want in a book series.  Runaways, hidden identity, massive fighting scenes and awesome romance!  Auhust 2 can't come soon enough!!

Don't believe me?  Read my review of the second book here

Friday, March 11, 2016

Review: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

The Royal We

Author: Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance



"I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they'll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next."

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book a lot more than I initially thought I would.  Some have toted it as a glorified fan-fiction of Kate and Will, but I honestly don't care.  There were a lot of similarities between Bex and Nick and Prince William and Duchess Catherine's stories - that's for sure.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed the book regardless.

Rebecca Porter, or Bex, was just a regular American college student on a study abroad term to Oxford.  She only wanted to go and enjoy the art, to take in the architecture and have fun in the UK.  She wasn't looking for romance, and she certainly wasn't aiming to find love with the second in line to the throne.

I love that we get to follow their eight-year romance to the alter.  We get to see the highs and the lows and friends come and go.  Sometimes, I found myself stopping and remembering how their romance started and drawing lines on how the young 20 year olds with a brand new love story became 26 or 27 with all of these new responsibilities and stresses.  In that way, I was glad we got to see the whole span, which we very rarely get in books.

Neither of the main characters is anywhere near perfect (nor the side characters) and I think that is what I loved the most about this book.  We get to see them both do very well and mess up spectacularly throughout their relationship.  This book broke my heart in more than one spot and had me almost yelling at both or either Bex and Nick on more than one occasion.

The ending did leave me wanting a little more.  I felt it ended a little abrupt and would have liked to see a nice epilogue from two years later, even if it was just a quick snapshot of their life.  But that certainly did not dissuade me from rating this 5 stars/owls.

So, whether you feel this is some sort of fan-fiction on Wills and Kate or not, this book was an excellent read for me.  I hated when I had to put the book down for something.  If you are fascinated by all things royal or you just love a good love story I would definitely recommend this one.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (79)

Waiting on Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly awaiting.

(Eagle Elite #7)

Author: Rachel van Dyken

Expected Publication Date: May 31, 2016



I have lost everything.
My purpose
My love
My soul
Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I reach for the handle -- the promise I made her brings me back.
So I breathe.
I live.
I hate.
And I allow the anger to boil beneath the surface of a perfectly indifferent facade. I am broken, I don't want to be fixed.

But the Empire is crumbling and it's my job to fix it.
My job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty years ago.

A trip to New York, only one chance to redeem a lost part of our mafia family.
The only issue is, the only way to fix it, is to do something I swore I'd never do again.
An arranged marriage.
Only this time,
I won't fall.
Or so help me God, I will kill her myself.

My name is Sergio Abandanoto, you think you know my pain, my suffering, my anger, my hate?
You have no idea.

I am the mafia.
I am the darkness.
Blood in. No out.

My Thoughts: OMG I can't wait for this!  I love this series!  Fair warning, it is New Adult, not Young Adult.  Just that summary is enough to make me squeal a little bit.  I love following the Abandonato family and all of their associates and friends. *sigh

Monday, March 7, 2016

Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen

That Summer

Author: Sarah Dessen

Publication Date: January 1, 1996

Genre: Contemporary



The more things change... As far as Haven is concerned, there's just too much going on. Everything is changing, and she's not sure where she fits in. Then her sister's old boyfriend shows up, sparking memories of the summer when they were all happy and everything was perfect... But along the way, Haven realizes that sometimes change is a good thing.

My Thoughts:

I read my first Sarah Dessen book in 2013 and man did I ever get sucked in. Finally, I found out what everyone else was talking about when it came to this author. This book was my 7th book that I read by her, all the previous ones were 4-5 stars, how could I go wrong? Well I went wrong. So, so wrong. This book is NOT like the rest of her books. It was a horrible struggle to get through, and at a mere 198 pages, took me 4 days to get through, when I was expecting a quick one day read.

Now, That Summer was written in 1996, so it's quite possible that it's not aged well. Young adult was not even a thing back then, it was just Children's books and Adult books. So we've come a long way. Now, it wasn't my only issue with the book. Sarah Dessen's writing style has changed a lot since her early days, unfortunately, it was easy to tell that this was her first book. I really do like her writing, but I'm more used to her new stuff I guess. This book just never sucked me in like her newer ones. It was slow and I slogged through it.

I think one of my problems was that I just couldn't sympathize with the main character, Haven. Her problems didn't seem like they were that bad. Sure, she was going through a crazy growth spurt and was getting really tall and felt awkward. Everyone goes through puberty and we all get through it. Sure, we don't all have our parents going through a divorce and getting remarried and an older sister getting married at the same time. But to me it just felt like Haven was getting upset because she wasn't getting all the attention. Her mom was concentrating on her sister's wedding and trying to distract herself from her ex-husband getting remarried (to someone only a few years older than their oldest daughter) by going out and trying to meet people. Yes, her father was getting remarried, it was over a year after her parents divorce. So the attention was on other people this summer, not her. I don't remember getting all that much attention. I was my mom's easy kid and it didn't bother me that I was left on my own to do my own thing.

I kind of have to agree that she chose the wrong time to have her flip out, the day before her sister's wedding? Yeah. I didn't get the whole thing that was going on with Sumner either. I guess she just wanted things to go back to the way they were when he was with her sister? But that obviously wasn't going to happen. I thought it was a little weird that she kept running into him and having all these heart to hearts, but I guess no one else was talking to her because they were all busy, so it kind of makes sense in a way.

Overall, this book just didn't do it for me. It wasn't faced paced like I'm used to with Dessen. I'm very glad that this isn't the first of her books that I've read. It doesn't change that I love her other books, so I will continue to read her stuff. It's too bad that this one fell flat for me, but it did. I think if you're planning on trying out some of Sarah Dessen's work, or have tried some of her newer stuff already, pass on this one. I mean, it's not the worst thing I've read, and it was okay, but it was hard to get through.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Review: Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

((Kanin Chronicles #1)

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publication Date: January 5, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy



Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

My Thoughts: I was so excited when I managed to get this book series from BookOutlet at a massively discounted price.  I really love Amanda Hocking and have read all of her series thus far and own most of the books from the series.

One thing I love about this book is that it is set in a universe I have already fallen in love with, the world of the Tryll.  If you haven't read the Tryll series, it is a definite must.  I absolutely adored the whole thing.

In this series, instead of following the Tryll Kingdom, we follow the Kingdom of Kanin.  They are another species of troll that live in West Canada.  So, yay for that!  Woot, Canada!  (I am from Eastern Canada).   It follows Bryn Aven, a Kanin tracker whose job it is to bring Changlings home safely.

Hocking has created another strong, independent female character.  Bryn shows that she doesn't need to rely on anyone to get the job done.  She is dedicated, strong-willed and willing to do what has to be done to get the job done.  In fact, it almost becomes a flaw on how stubborn and independent she can be.  But I like that.  I like when strong characters have obvious flaws.  No one is perfect.

The men in this book definitely take a back-seat to Bryn.  She has two "love" interests, but given that she isn't buying into the whole getting married having babies propaganda she tries really hard to just ignore it and move on in life.  Bryn is more focused on her career and advancement.

All in all, I really loved this book.  There was intrigue, mystery, a kick-ass female lead and just enough romance to give it flare.  I would recommend any Amanda Hocking book to anyone who enjoys reading Young Adult Fantasy.  I can't wait to pick up the next book in this series and delve in.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (78)

Waiting on Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly awaiting.

The Crown
(The Selection #2)

Author: Kiera Cass

Expected Publication Date: May 3, 2016



Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you...and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

My Thoughts: The final book in the Selection series.  I will admit, I am not really the biggest fan of Eadlyn.  Even after reading The Heir I was pretty ambivalent about her, which is not something that you want to feel about the heroine of your story.  However, it was worth it to catch up with America and Maxon.  I will read this and complete my collection and hope that Eadlyn grows on me in this one.  If not, I still have America and Maxon to look forward to!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: Halfway Bitten by Terry Maggert

Halfway Bitten
((Halfway Witchy Series #2)

Author: Terry Maggert

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.



Take a bite out of evil.

The circus came to Halfway, and they brought the weird.

When clowns, vampires, and corpses start piling up in town, Carlie has to break away from her boyfriend, Wulfric, to bring her witchy skills to the table- or grill, as the case may be.

When the body of a young woman washes up in the lake, it unleashes a spiral of mystery that will bring Carlie, Gran, and Wulfric into a storm of magical warfare.

Spells will fly. Curses will rain. Amidst it all, Carlie will make waffles, protect her town, and find out if a man from the distant past can join her in happy ever after.

With love and honor at stake, Carlie has no peer.

My Thoughts: This series of books, Halfway Witchy, was definitely an interesting find that I may not have necessarily picked up myself if I hadn't had a request for a review.  The series, to me, is very reminiscent of the Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris with the exception that there is less gore and this series seems targeted for a more PG audience.

In this book, the circus is in town and it is up to Carlie, her grandmother and her half-vamp/half-human boyfriend Wulfric (a Viking of old) to figure out why people are ending up dead. Since it is Carlie's family who protects the area in which they live, it is up to her to solve the supernatural murders and bring peace back to her town.

Carlie is a pretty kick-butt waffle chef who also happens to be a witch.  I really like her and I like that she wasn't some girl in need of saving - Carlie does the saving.  She is short, powerful and in charge.
I also LOVED Carlie's Gram.  She oozes power, intelligence and just all around badass witchery.  It seems the women in this family line are just amazing.

I have to admit, I had a hard time reading this story.  It wasn't because I didn't love the characters or the plot, but the writing style kept throwing me off.  I'm not saying that the writing is terrible, because it isn't.  Just all writing styles aren't for everyone and this one definitely is one of the kind that I have difficulty with.  There were a lot of paragraphs and a lot of the dialogue was within the paragraphs instead of on it's own separate line, which is something that throws me off when reading.

All in all though, I really enjoyed the story and the characters within.  It did take me a little longer than usual to read because I had to adjust myself to the writing style, but it was worth it to take the extra time.  I would definitely recommend this book series to anyone who enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse series or to anyone who likes seeing short witches kick some major behind.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (77)

Waiting on Wednesday is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly awaiting.

A Court of Mist and Fury
(A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Expected Publication Date: May 3, 2016



Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two.

My Thoughts: .I was introduced to Sarah J. Maas through A Court of Thorns and Roses.  I instantly became obsessed, totally and completely.  I then went on a Sarah J. Maas reading spree and read all of the Throne of Glass series.  So, to say I am excited about this book would be the understatement of the year.  Maas can do no wrong in my eyes.

Also, I am a proud member of the Rhysand fan club so I CAN'T WAIT to see his court and what he can do when not being dictated by Amarantha.  Plus, what will Rhysand and Feyre do about this crazy attraction between them while she is forced to stay a week a month in his court, away from Tamlin.  Ooooohhhhhh I am already on the edge of my seat!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Vlog Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Sometimes I like to review books on my vlog, so here is an attempt at a review for The Martian by Andy Weir. I'm so rusty at reviewing, since I haven't done it in awhile. So if you can watch, thanks!

If you're unable to watch, the TLDR is that I love this book and if you haven't read it and decide to, I highly recommend the audiobook!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Owl Post (66)

Owl Post is a weekly feature at Owl Read It where we show you what books we've gotten this week, as well as recap reviews posted during the week.

Kristal's Haul:
Not the best picture in the world, but I did get books this week:

Crystal Kingdom by Amanada Hocking
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

I also got an ARC e-book copy of Halfway Bitten by Terry Maggert

And I went to the library and got this library book haul:
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
The Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter
A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter
Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter


Reviews from the last week:

What new reads did you get this week?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave
(The 5th Wave #1)

Author: Rick Yancey

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Publisher: G.P. Putnuam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction



After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My Thoughts: I read this one for my monthly book club.  Well, I listened to the whole thing on audiobook rather than physically read it but same difference to me.

At first, I wasn't sure how I would like this book.  I usually tend to stay away from Science Fiction novels and especially alien-type SciFi books - they just aren't my shtick.  I must say that The 5th Wave left me with a pleasant surprise.

I instantly liked Cassie.  She comes of as a paranoid hard-ass most times but I was like: "Yeah, I would be like that too, given the circumstances!"  The book shows her descent from a regular, high school teenager to one of the few survivors of the human race after the "Others" decide that the human race was something that was unnecessary to Earth (to say the least).

Personally though, as a mother, this book really hits you hard and in the heart and gut (the movie too - if you haven't seen it, you should!).  A sister who is willing to do anything to get to her little brother and save him from his fate, the "others" planned use for the human children and everything else in this book is just terrifying and terribly, terribly sad.

The author, Rick Yancey, certainly knows how to weave a tale.  This book was enough to have me paranoid of every character in the book (and I still am, a little bit).  The thought of an alien race making it so that humanity couldn't even trust another human really freaks me out.

All in all, this was a pretty amazing book (even if I hate aliens in general).  I definitely enjoyed the whole story and it had me on the edge of my seat.  I would most definitely recommend this book and I can't wait to sink my teeth into the sequels!