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!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (76)

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

The Raven King
(The Raven Cycle #4)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Expected Publication Date: April 26, 2016



The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

My Thoughts: .I have always found this series strange and unique.  At times, it has been hard to follow and certainly suspended the realm of reason but I am excited to read the conclusion.  Will blue truly kiss her one true love and kill him?  I am just really interested in how Maggie Steifvater plans on wrapping this weird, wonderful tale up.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Owl Post (65)

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:
This week I managed to get two books!  I am so exited to read/finish them:

Cruel Crown (prequel novella to Red Queen Series) by Victoria Aveyard
The Siren by Kiera Cass

Click on pictures to see books on Goodreads


Jenn's Haul:
I actually got some books this week! A couple of my preorders came in :) 

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer 
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard


Reviews from the last week:

What new reads did you get this week?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Review: Elite by Rachel van Dyken

(Eagle Elite #1)

Author: Rachel van Dyken

Publication Date: October 14, 2014

Publisher: Forever

Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance



For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much-but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be same . . .

The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met . . . and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy -- until it was too late.

My Thoughts: I bought this on a super discount through Book Outlet as part of my "Christmas Haul" (which I actually ended up ordering in January lol).  At first, I thought it was just going to be a quick, easy read and then I would be done and move on to other books.  Boy, was I wrong.

To start off, this is part of a series of books called Eagle Elite.  I, personally, think the series should have had the moniker The Elect, which happens to be the title of the second book but what can you do?

Anyway, this is a series of six books that I know of so far (the sixth is due to be release in May 2016) and a couple of novellas.  Safe to say, as soon as I put down Elite I started right on the second book.  Then the third, and the fourth until I finished the whole series in little over a week.  I really enjoyed this book series!  Even though I don't normally read books where we follow different characters (for the most part) in every book.  But everyone is so entwined it didn't really make a difference to me.

As for Elite, I really enjoyed this read.  The book didn't at all turn out as I expected it would at first glance or by reading the summary. I was expecting a something like Push the Limits y Katie McGarry and I was presented with Nixon, Chase, Phoenix and Tex.  They have so many secrets you could... you know, write six or more books about it.

I loved Trace!  This girl was put through hell and yet she somehow managed (for the most part) to keep herself pulled together and to keep standing up for herself.  That is a common theme in these books and something I love.  The women are not afraid to stand up for themselves, be strong and independent and tell these fierce, and sometimes terrifying, men exactly where to go and how to do it when need be.

Gah!  I just really enjoyed these books and I find it hard to review just the one without touching on them all.  If you like anything to do with the mob or mafia with some romance thrown in for good measure, these are the books for you.  Fair warning though, they do touch more on the New Adult crowd than the Young Adult - mainly for violence and some sexual situations and insinuations.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (75)

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

The Shadow Queen
(Ravenspire #1)

Author: C.J. Redwine

Expected Publication Date: February 16, 2016



Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

My Thoughts: C.J. Redwine meets Snow White.  I am SO pumped about this.  The cover is beautiful and I love this author and this fairytale.  I am excited to see what Redwine does with this, but based on her previous novels I have high hopes.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Owl Post (64)

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:
I got some e-books this week.  The Elite Series by Rachel van Dyken.

Reviews from the last week:

What new reads did you get this week?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Between the Lines

Author: Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer

Publication Date: June 26, 2012

Publisher: Simon Pulse Simon Schuster

Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary



Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

A romantic and charming story, this companion novel to Off the Page will make every reader believe in the fantastical power of fairy tales.

My Thoughts: This is probably closer to 3 1/2 stars for me, but we don't do half-stars here at Owl Read It, and neither does Goodreads (much to my disappointment).  I didn't feel like it deserved to be rounded down, so I rounded up.

This was an unique story with an interesting idea.  What if the characters you were reading about in a book were sentient and went about their own lives when the book was shut?  What if they were just acting out the story like actors in a play?  What if the main character, the Prince, wanted out?

I will admit, the concept of this book was awesome.  I think any reader would agree that it is an interesting idea and the thought of any of our beloved book characters not being confined to the pages that they were written in is enough to make the fanfiction world go wild.

Like I said, I liked the idea and the premise, but I found that the follow through wasn't so great.  There were definitely times where I felt I had to suspend my belief a bit too far.  I also felt that the pacing off the novel was a little off at times.  I did read it pretty fast and there were some pretty awesome illustrations throughout.

I also had a hard time connecting to the characters.  I seemed to be okay with Delilah in general, but every other character in the book I didn't really care too much about.  Even Olly, the Prince in need of rescue, didn't inspire much feeling from me.

All in all, I am glad that I did read it (it has been sitting on my shelf for a while).  If someone was looking for a light, quick read I would probably recommend it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (74)

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

Lady Midnight
(The Dark Artifices #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Expected Publication Date: March 8, 2016



Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.

My Thoughts: This is one of my pre-orders that is coming in and I have been anxiously awaiting it since it was announced in 2014.  I, seriously, LOVE the Shadowhunter world.  Cassandra Clare is the author whose books I own the most of (all in hardcover) and will continue to buy them until she stops writing them.  The Mortal Instruments series and The Infernal Devices series are in my top ten series list and I have no doubt that The Dark Artifices will be joining them soon.

Also, Shadowhunters the TV series makes me super happy.  I don't care if it isn't perfect (except Magnus, who is always perfect), I just like seeing the shadow world come to life.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary



My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. 

 But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. 

 Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Thoughts: This was a book I picked up for my monthly local book club meeting that Jenn and I started a few months back.  Normally, despite the amazing cover, I probably wouldn't have bothered.  I mean, how much could I really read about a "bubble kid" (an immuno-compromised teenager who is living in constant state of quarantine).  Luckily, however, the book club forced this book into my hands and I read it in only four hours.  It's a fast read, but a good one!

Madeline lives in a world of white.  White walls, white clothes, white everything.  Well, everything except her books where she lives her life.  She has SCID, a rare disease that means she is allergic to, well, pretty much everything.  The only outside contact she gets (other than via the internet) is with her mother and her nurse Carla.  That is, until, Olly moves next door.

Madeline hasn't had neighbours in what I could only guess has been years.  She makes it her priority to know what they are doing.  I likened it to watching reality tv, only on her neighbours.  It seems weird and kind of creepy, but when you put it into context of how little human interaction this girl has had in her life and that it is innocent then I though it was just kind of quirky.

Olly notices Madeline watching him from her window and immediately tries to make contact, not realizing the girl from the window next door is incredibly sick.  But it doesn't matter.

Oh boy, did this book throw out some fast ones on me.  It did have a few predictable moments but at about half way through it had me hook, line and sinker.  Not only with the untraditional way the novel was written and set up (both with illustrations, IM messages and emails which all added to the charm) but because I genuinely fell for the characters.

This book would have gotten a solid five owls from me if I hadn't felt like the ended wasn't a bit rushed.  There was some issues with Maddy's Mom that I felt were left unresolved but I was okay with that, given the nature of problems and mothers in real life.  I just wanted to see a more flushed out resolution with Maddy and Olly.  But, the ending was still satisfying and left me smiling.  I would definitely recommend this book to people!