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I Belong


New Releases for January 25th – January 31st

January 25th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Bridget under New Releases Tags: A Cold Legacy, All Fall Down, Beautiful Redemption, Bound by Flames, Chaos, Cut Me Free, Deadeye, Fairest, Falling for Jillian, Foolproof, Geek Girl, I Was Here, In Charm's Way, Love Lucy, Pacific Fire, Playlist for the Dead, Pretty Smart Girls, Risking it All, Tear You Apart, The Devil Takes a Bride, The Empty Throne, The Mime Order, The Originals: The Rise, The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy, Unveiled, Viper Game, We Can Work it Out, Woven, Zombified

It is already the final week of January and it is an amazing week for new releases! There are tons of great young adult books that I am really looking forward to, and there are also some great adult books as well. Let us know what books you are most excited about in the comments.

New Releases for the week of Jan 25th- Jan 31st

    

    

    

    

    

   

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Review: Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

January 24th, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: High Fantasy, Princess of Thorns, Review, Stacey Jay, Young Adult

Princess of ThornsTitle: Princess of Thorns

Author: Stacey Jay

Genre: YA High Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: December 9, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 400 Pages

ISBN-10: 038574322X (Teens@Random)

ISBN-13: 978-0385743228 (Teens@Random)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

Quick & Dirty: Gorgeous, unique retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale. I loved everything about this book and would highly recommend it to everyone!

Opening Sentence: Having discovered the secret to eternal life, and jealous of his throne, the immortal king summoned a witch to the castle and ordered her to curse his eleven sons, ensuring none would live past their eighteenth birthday, the age at which a Kanvasol prince may become a king.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Aurora may look like a normal girl, but she is anything but normal. Not only is she a princess in hiding waiting for the right time to take back her kingdom, she is also fairy blessed. She has been blessed with all the skills to be an amazing warrior, but she has also been cursed with the ability to destroy the free will of any man that kisses her. She is seventeen years old and has spent most of her life hiding from the evil ogres that stole her kingdom from her. But recently the ogres caught Aurora’s brother and the only way she has any hope of saving him is to enlist the help of Prince Niklaas. One little catch is that Niklaas thinks that she is a boy and she’s not about to tell him the truth till she gets the help she needs to save her brother.

Niklaas has been cursed just like his ten brothers. He has an evil immortal father that never wanted any of his sons to come of age to take his throne from him. So his father ordered a witch to curse the boys. On their eighteenth birthday they turn into swans and live out the rest of their life as a bird.  Niklaas will be eighteen in just a few weeks and he has managed to figure out a way to break the curse. The only problem is he needs to marry a princess. He plans to purpose to Princess Aurora, but he has to find her first.

Aurora is a very likeable heroine and I loved her right off the bat. She is not your average princess that can’t take care of herself, which was one of my favorite things about her. I don’t mind a female character that needs rescuing but I will admit that my favorite type of heroine is one the can take care of herself. Aurora was raised to be a warrior that will lead her people to defeat the ogres and take back the kingdom that is rightfully hers. She is tough, resilient, stubborn and determined to fulfill her destiny. But at the same time she is sweet, caring, and has all the insecurities that most girls have, so she was very easy to relate to. Not only is she a character you can look up to and respect, she is also someone that you can learn from. I loved reading her story and honestly I didn’t want it to end.

Niklaas is everything I could want in a hot prince. He is charming, confident, and very good looking. But he is also sweet, honest, and noble. His situation is not ideal, but he refuses to give up which I really admired. His relationship with Aurora was perfectly done and it developed at a very believable pace. Because he thinks Aurora is a boy for most of the book he is way more open with her then he normally would have been, and that made their romance so much cuter. You get to see so many different sides to him and I loved that. He is far from perfect and he proves that time and time again, but that’s what made his character so believable. I loved him from the very beginning and my affection for him just continued to grow throughout the book.

Princess of Thorns is a gorgeous unique retelling of sleeping beauty. From the first moment I started this book, I honestly couldn’t put it down until I finished it. The world that Jay created was fascinating and so creative. I loved how she included all the different types of creatures in the world, it added an extra element that made the story that much more enjoyable. There were amazing characters that were so likeable and easy to relate to. The romance was adorable and developed perfectly. The entire story was full of great humor and awesome adventure. The plot was surprising and very intriguing. Pretty much this book was the whole package it had everything I want in a great high fantasy story. I loved absolutely everything about it and I know that there has been much controversy with the author on whether or not there will be a sequel, but personally I hope that there is. If there isn’t that is fine as well because the ending of this one was very satisfying and it can easily be read as a standalone. I would recommend this to anyone that loves high fantasy, retellings, or if you are just looking for a great book, pick this one up you will not be disappointed!

Notable Scene:

I realize what he intends to do, but before I can turn my back, his pants slide off his hips, and Niklaas, eleventh son of the immortal king, is as naked as the day he was born.

I freeze—jaw dropping, blood draining from my face—unable to tear my eyes away, though I know I should. But, warrior’s clothes be damned, I’m a seventeen-year-old girl, and what seventeen-year-old girl could look away from a sight like that?

Niklaas may have the face of a golden god, but he has the body of a devil, a creature sent from the Pit to tempt a girl to abandon everything she holds dear for one night, skin to skin, with a creature designed for pleasure. The sort of pleasure that, since the day I kissed Thyne, I’ve known I must forever do without.

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FTC Advisory:  Delacorte Press/Random House provided me with a copy of Princess of Thorns. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Early Review: Pretty Smart Girls by Shae Ross

January 23rd, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Pretty Smart Girls, Review, Shae Ross

Pretty Smart GirlsTitle: Pretty Smart Girls

Author: Shae Ross

Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

Series: N/A

Publication Date: January 26, 2015

Format: eBook, 290 Pages

ISBN-10: 1633751376 (Entangled Embrace)

ISBN-13: 978-1633751378 (Entangled Embrace)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Team Ryan
Ryan Rose and her fellow Spartans are finalists in a high-profile entrepreneurial competition. They’re competing for life-changing money and for their futures. They have a solid plan to win. All they need to do is trounce the competition: rich frat boys from an archrival university. Easy, right?

Team Jett
Jett Trebuchet’s first mistake was not realizing that Ryan and her friends were the competition. His second was expressing his unabashed confidence in his team’s ability to win. After all, everyone knows the only thing MSU does better than U of M is produce beautiful, easy women…oh, and he almost forgot to say “dumb.” And boy, does his team pay for thatone.

Game On
As each side tries to game the other, something else seems to be getting in the way—attraction. Now Ryan and Jett must keep their teams from getting distracted by the opposite sex…and each other. All is not fair in love and war when it comes to winning this game.

Quick & Dirty: Adorable new adult romance filled with great humor, steamy romance, and fun characters. This was a great read and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun romance.

Opening Sentence: “I can’t believe I let you guys talk me into this,” Devi says.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Ryan Rose knows how to win and this spring break she is going to win something big. With her two best friends she is competing in a high-profile entrepreneurial competition where the prize is $100,000 and a chance to work for a fortune 500 company. This is the opportunity of a lifetime and there is no way the girls are going to lose. They have to beat the other team, which is made up of three frat boys from a rival university. But Team Ryan does have one slight advantage: people tend to underestimate three beautiful college girls.

Jett Trebuchet’s has never had a problem with getting what he wants. He is smart, driven, rich, and talented, so things tend to come easy for him.  That doesn’t mean that he hasn’t worked for what he has, but when it comes to winning he really doesn’t know how to lose. So when he finds out that the competition is a group of girls he is pretty sure that his team will win. What he doesn’t expect is the instant attraction he feels towards the other team’s leader, or the fact that the girls will do anything to win!

It is kind of pathetic how much I adore Ryan. She is someone that I am nothing like, but wish I was more like. Her confidence shines whenever she is under pressure and she is never one to back down from a challenge. Losing is never an option and she will do whatever she has to to win. I loved her sassy attitude and how she always seems to have a comeback for everything. But she also has insecurities like any normal girl would, she is just better at hiding them from others. I instantly liked Ryan and as her story unfolds I developed a deep connection with her character. She is someone I wish I was friends with in real life!

Jett is a gorgeous frat boy who turned out to be way different then I originally thought. When you first meet him he seems like your average rich college boy with a major competitive streak, but as you get to know him you see that he is so much more than that. He is actually a really sweet guy that has worked extremely hard for everything he has. He is very respectful, giving, and just an all around great guy. It was really fun to watch the relationship between him and Ryan develop. They are both ridiculously competitive, but obviously crazy attracted to each other. I thought that they had amazing chemistry and in all honesty they are perfect for each other. Jett is a boy you easily fall for and he was a great addition to the story.

Pretty Smart Girls is an adorable contemporary romance with lots of humor, sexy times, and likeable characters. When I read the synopsis for this book I was already cracking up so I figured it was going to be a funny book and I was not disappointed. I found myself laughing out loud plenty of times throughout the story, but I did feel that there was more humor in the first half of the book versus the second half. That’s not to say that there wasn’t any funny parts in the second half because there was, I would have just liked to see a little bit more. The romance was really cute but it did develop very quickly. Personally, this didn’t bother me at all and in many ways real relationships develop quickly as well, but I imagine some people won’t love this aspect of the book. I adored all the characters and I hope that we get to see more of them in future books. I also loved how Ross ingrained emotional moments throughout the story. Not everything was all fun and games, which gave the story a lot more depth than just a fluffy romance. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and would highly recommend it to anyone that it looking for a fun new adult contemporary read.

Notable Scene:

Her index finger presses to her lips, and with a wideeyed expression she hisses out a slow shhh. “I was having a perfectly relaxing morning until you showed up.” She turns her back to me but her mouth is still moving. “it’s bad enough we have to spend the day together. I know you Wolverines like to hear yourselves talk.”

In the time it’s taken her to finish her sentence, I have stepped up behind her and am hovering over her shoulder, as close as I can get without spilling coffee on her.

“Did you just shush me?”

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FTC Advisory:  Entangled provided me with a copy of Pretty Smart Girls.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Early Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

January 22nd, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: An Ember in the Ashes, High Fantasy, Review, Sabaa Tahir, Young Adult

An Ember in the AshesTitle: An Ember in the Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Genre: YA High Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 28, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages

ISBN-10: 1595148035 (Penguin Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-1595148032 (Penguin Teen)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Quick & Dirty: Epic high fantasy that will leave you breathless. I will admit I struggled a little getting into the story at first, but once things picked up I couldn’t put this down!

Opening Sentence: My big brother reaches home in the dark hours before dawn, when even ghosts take their rest.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Laia is a seventeen year old girl living in an Empire with brutal rulers. Her people are known as the Scholars and they were defeated by the Empire many years ago.  Now they live among their enemies but as peasants and are treated very poorly. The Empire can do whatever they like without cause to anyone they feel deserves to be punished, and they are always looking for traitors to the crown. There is a resistance that has risen against the Empire but anyone that is known to be a part of it or help in any way is branded a traitor. One night Laia’s only brother is taken by the Empire and the only way she will be able to free him is by asking the rebels for help. The only way that the rebels will help Laia is if she becomes a slave at Blackcliff, the most dangerous military academy, and spies on the woman that runs the school. It is a brutal mission that many have failed before, but Laia will do anything to save the only family she has left.

Elias is the best at everything inside the walls of Blackcliff. He is at the top of his graduating class and has proven time and time again that he is everything a solder should be, but secretly he hates everything about his life. He never wanted to be a solider but once you are chosen there is no backing out unless you want to pay the price, which is death. Elias has wanted to desert for years but he has been smart and bidding his time until the most opportune moment. But on the eve before he is planning to run away he is chosen to participate in a ruthless competition to become the next emperor. With his plans destroyed his only option is to fight in the competition or die trying!

Laia is a very interesting character that grew so much throughout the story. When you first meet her she is a timid girl that has never done anything to bring attention to herself, but once her brother is taken she becomes determined to get him back. She will do whatever it takes, even if it means becoming a slave for one of the cruelest masters alive. I really respected Laia and how much she was willing to give up to rescue her brother. I didn’t develop an instant connection with her, but as the story progressed, I grew to really love her character. She is a smart and resourceful girl and she grows to be a very courageous person that I really admired. I can’t wait to continue her story and see who she becomes.

Elias was not at all what I was expecting. Ever since he was six years old he has trained to be a special solider for the Empire. His kind is known as Masks and they are the elite of the elite when it comes to fighting. Their training was brutal and they are taught to show no mercy of any kind. Elias has always hated the person he was trained to be, but there is no leaving the Masks alive. It is a lifetime commitment and most see it as an amazing honor to be given the privilege to become a Mask, but not Elias. As you get to know him you see how torn he is between who he wants to be and what he is suppose to be. At first I didn’t know if I was going to like him, but he grew on me. As his story unfolds you realize how much he has been through and you can’t help but feel sorry for him. Eventually, I grew to respect him and in the end I really loved him.

An Ember in the Ashes is a gorgeous high fantasy set in a brutal world with non-stop action, interesting characters, and a fascinating plot. I did have a hard time getting into the story at first, which I think was due to trying to get to know all the characters and the world that Tahir created. This is a very complex story that was full of surprises and at first it was difficult to get a grasp on everything that was going on. But once I finally started to understand everything better, I honestly couldn’t put the book down. It was such a unique story that captivates you until the very last page. I think my favorite thing about the story was all the gray area that was present with all the different characters. You are never quite sure who is good and who is bad, which I really loved. There is very little romance in the story, but I think that there is potential for much more in books to come. The ending was pretty crazy and left me dying to know what happens next. I would highly recommend this to all fantasy lovers, this book is definitely one you should pick up.

Notable Scene:

The slaver nods a greeting to the guards stationed at the gates and pulls my chain as if I’m a dog. I shuffle after him. Rape…disfigurement…branding. I can’t do it. Darin. I can’t.

A visceral urge to flee sweeps through me, so powerful that I slow, stop, pull away from the slaver. My stomach roils, and I think I’ll be sick. But the slaver yanks the chain hard, and I stumble forward.

There’s nowhere to run. I realize as we pass beneath Blackcliff’s iron-spiked portcullis and into the fabled grounds. There’s nowhere to go. There’s no other way to save Darin.

I’m in now. And there is no going back.

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FTC Advisory:  Razorbill/Penguin Teen provided me with a copy of An Ember in the Ashes.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

January 21st, 2015 @ 12:01 am
Posted by Bridget under Review Tags: High Fantasy, Livia Blackburne, Midnight Thief, Midnight Thief Series, Review, Young Adult

Midnight ThiefTitle: Midnight Thief

Author: Livia Blackburne

Genre: YA High Fantasy

Series: Midnight Thief (Book #1)

Publication Date: July 8, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 376 Pages

ISBN-10: 1423176383 (Disney-Hyperion)

ISBN-13: 978-1423176381 (Disney-Hyperion)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life.

Quick & Dirty: Gripping high fantasy that is impossible to put down.  With amazing characters, a gorgeous world, and wonderful adventure this is a must read for all high fantasy fans!

Opening Sentence: This  job could kill her.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Kyra has been an orphan ever since she can remember and for years she grew up in the streets. Eventually she learned how to provide for herself by stealing what she needs. She never takes more than she needs to survive, but sometimes it would be nice to have more. When she is offered a place with the Assassins Guild, she doesn’t know if she will be able to refuse — even if it is the right thing to do. Working for the Guild will provide her with more money than she would ever need and the opportunity to help kids that are less fortunate like her. But even though the Guild’s intentions are honorable, the way they go about it to fulfill their goals isn’t always the best, and joining them would mean that Kyra would have to do things that go against everything she believes in. But the leader of the Guild is very persuasive and the reward might be too great to pass up.

Tristam has always known that he would be a knight.  All his brothers, his father, and even his grandfather were knights.  Tristam is almost finished with his training and he plans to move back out to the country and join the road patrols. But his plans change when one of his closest friends is brutally murdered by Demon Riders. Instead of retiring to the quite countryside he asks to be assigned to work under the Ministry of Defense in hopes of catching the killer of his best friend. His new job brings him into the city and face to face with a thief that has extraordinary talents.

Kyra is such an amazing heroine. She is witty, interesting and a very well rounded character.  Having grown up on the streets she has always had to steal to survive.  She is an amazing thief and can do things that most other people would think impossible.  I think my favorite thing about Kyra is that even though she doesn’t always follow the law she tries to always do the right thing.  She has made some terrible mistakes in her life and there have been some pretty dire consequences because of those bad decisions. But Kyra takes responsibly for her choices and she tries to make amends whenever it is required.  She has many amazing qualities, but she also has lot of realistic flaws that made her a very believable character. She was a very easy character to connect with I loved reading every minute of her story.

Tristam is an adorable guy and I instantly loved him.  He has lived a somewhat sheltered life until very recently and I really respected how loyal and honest he is. He is also really intelligent which is always a very attractive quality to have.  He is a soldier and therefore is suppose to follow whatever he is commanded to do, but I love that he has a rebellious streak whenever it comes to doing the right thing. He is someone that you can cheer for and easily fall in love with.  His relationship with Kyra is very subtle and develops very slowly throughout the story. For the most part their relationship isn’t romantic, but I there is hope that it could turn into that in future books. Overall, I totally adored Tristam and think that he is a great male character.

Midnight Thief was an exceptional story that I loved from start to finish. Going into this book I had heard a lot of good things about it so I had pretty high expectations and it did not disappoint.  The world that Blackburne created was gorgeous and descriptive! There was great adventure and tons of suspense that definitely keeps you intrigued throughout the entire book. Surprisingly the story also really pulled at my heartstrings as well. There were lots of emotional moments intermixed with all of the action that was constantly streaming through every page, which made me love the story even more. There is very little romance in the book but there was just enough to satisfy me and leave lots of room for more in future books. I loved all the characters and seriously can’t wait to be inside their heads again. The ending wrapped things up very nicely but it also left you wanting to know more about this world and the amazing characters that reside in it.  I can honestly tell you that after reading this, Daughter of Dusk, has jumped to the very top of my most anticipated reads of 2015! This book was a total home run for me and I would highly recommend it to every young adult fantasy fan!

Notable Scene:

The stonework didn’t begin at ground level, but there was a ledge above the first floor. Using a nearby barrel as a step, she jumped and caught the ledge, pulling herself over. She stood for a moment, belly to the wall, probing it with her fingers. The rock would support her weight. She took a breath and dug her fingers into two of the deeper carvings. One foot went up next, and then she pushed herself up as she reached for a higher handhold. Soon, she had worked out a rhythm and climbed steadily up the side of the building.

Her spirits lifted as she climbed. This was what she could do, and do well. Kyra was aware of her audience and, after the day’s frustrations, couldn’t resist showing off a little. Her swings were higher than usual, and her final jump from the stonework to the window perhaps more dramatic than it needed to be. Finally, she hung from the window, her hands clinging to neighboring slots. With another breath, she pulled herself up and slipped an arm in. From there, it was a quick scramble to squeeze her head and torso through, and the rest of her body followed.

The bell tower was strangely peaceful. There was a platform where the bell was supposed to be, and everything was covered with a thick layer of dust. From there it was easy to find the stairs back down, and it was indeed about a quarter hour after she started when Kyra turned the bolt and opened the front door. She caught different expressions as the men passed by. Some regarded her with appreciation. Rand stared at her as if seeing her for the first time. More than one looked at her with fear in their eyes, and she caught Alex making a sign to ward off evil spirits. Bacchus’s gaze still wasn’t friendly, but it didn’t hold his usual sneer.

Midnight Thief Series:

0.5 Poison Dance

1. Midnight Thief

2. Daughter of Dusk

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FTC Advisory:  Disney-Hyperion provided me with a copy of Midnight Thief.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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