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I Belong

Review: Dream of You by Jennifer L. Armentrout

July 4th, 2015 Kristie Posted in Review No Comments »

1001 Dark Nights Dream of YouTitle: Dream Of You

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Wait for You (#4.5)

Publication Date: June 23, 2015

Format: eBook, 131 Pages

ISBN-10: 1940887399 (1001 Dark Nights)

ISBN-13: 978-1940887395 (1001 Dark Nights)

Reviewed by: Kristie

Synopsis:

Abby Erickson isn’t looking for a one-night stand, a relationship, or anything that involves any one-on-one time, but when she witnesses a shocking crime, she’s thrust into the hands of the sexiest man she’s ever seen – Colton Anders. His job is to protect her, but with every look, every touch, and every simmering kiss, she’s in danger of not only losing her life but her heart also.

Quick & Dirty: Dark storyline interspersed with steamy and fun romance and characters that are likeable.

Opening Sentence: You’d be really hot if you’d just lose some weight.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Dream of You is a novella set in the Wait for You series and it features the hunky detective Colton Anders. If you like hot, steamy romantic scenes than you will love Dream of You. This novel is loosely a mystery/thriller but heavy on the romance. This is definitely for the mature reader. I am a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing. She is able to write such steamy/tension filled scenes and Dream of You was no exception.

Abby Erickson witnesses a violent crime and it taken to the police station to file a report and identify the men that she saw commit the horrific act. One of the detectives who helps her just happens to be an old classmate of hers, one that she had a huge crush on but since she was with someone else at the time, she never acted on it. Heck, she didn’t even think Colton even knew who she was from school.

Life had just gone on in a different direction for Abby and not a very happy one either. Instead of dwelling on it, she pretty much just drowns herself in work. She doesn’t quite realize it until she meets Colton again. He spurs a fire in her that she hasn’t had in years.

Colton doesn’t want to miss out on an opportunity with Abby so he shows up at her house. He wants to check up on her and connect with her after all these years.  He also believes that Abby’s life may still be in danger so he partially uses that as an excuse to see her.

The love/lust connection is pretty instant in Dream of You since it is a novella, partially explained by the fact that they had a past “connection”. I liked it and I think it did work for their story.

One thing about this series is that Abby’s job is as a book editor so there is a lot of name dropping. As a reader it is kind of fun in the beginning, especially the inside look of being an editor for some great authors, but after a while it did become a little annoying.

Abby is kind of complicated for me. I felt like she should have been more of a nutcase with all the tragedy happening around her. She manages to keep it together and notice what her shortcomings are so she tries to make an effort to fix them. I still think she could have freaked a little more. She does have a self-esteem problem that to me is pretty realistic.

Colton is quite open about why he wants to be around Abby and I am amazed at the fact that he does give her space even though he is pretty sure her life is in danger. He is sweet, comforting and masculine. He doesn’t want to push Abby too much.

Overall, the story was dark but the romance was quite steamy and fun. I liked the characters and would love to see their story expanded or at least mentioned in the future stories in this series. I haven’t read anything from this series before but I eagerly look forward to reading this series.

Notable Scene:

Colton kissed me once more. “There’re a few things I want to get straight.”

“Does that require talking?”

His answering chuckle brushed my lips. “It does.” There was a pause as his mouth brushed the corner of my lips. “But I can multitask.”

“Thank God,” I whispered.

His body shook with another laugh and then his mouth was moving along the curve of my jaw. “You’re not pretty.”

My eyes flew open and widened. “Excuse me?”

“I don’t think you’re pretty,” His mouth found my pulse. “I think you’re fucking beautiful.”

Wait for You Series:

1. Wait for You

1.5 Trust in Me

2. Be with Me

2.5 The Proposal

3. Stay with Me

4. Fall with Me

4.5 Dream of You

5. Forever with You (September 29, 2015)

6. Fire in You (TBA)

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FTC Advisory: Evil Eye Concepts/InkSlingerPR provided me with a copy of Dream of You. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Inked by Eric Smith

July 4th, 2015 Zed Posted in Review No Comments »

InkedTitle: Inked

Author: Eric Smith

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: N/A

Publication Date: January 20, 2015

Format: eBook, 217 Pages

ASIN: B00OZP5VSC (Bloomsbury Spark)

IBSN-13: 978-1619638594 (Bloomsbury Spark)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis

Sometimes your only chance to survive, and what you most fear… is to be INKED.

Tattoos once were an act of rebellion.
Now they decide your destiny the moment the magical Ink settles under your skin.

And in a world where Ink controls your fate, Caenum can’t escape soon enough. He is ready to run from his family, and his best friend Dreya, and the home he has known, just to have a chance at a choice.

But when he upsets the very Scribe scheduled to give him his Ink on his eighteenth birthday, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that sends the corrupt, magic-fearing government, The Citadel, after him and those he loves.

Now Caenum, Dreya, and their reluctant companion Kenzi must find their way to the Sanctuary, a secret town where those with the gift of magic are safe. Along the way, they learn the truth behind Ink, its dark origins, and why they are the only ones who can stop the Citadel.

Eric Smith takes you on a fast-paced fantasy adventure, perfect for anyone who has dreamed of being different…only to discover that destiny is more than skin deep.

Quick & Dirty: Inked was not my kind of dystopian read. It was unrealistic and lacked the crucial connection between the reader and the characters.

Opening Sentence: Three days.
My thin leather shoes slapped softly against the dirt leading away from grandmother’s cottage as I made my way across our stretch of farmland located at the edge of Frosthaven.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Another dystopian story but regrettably, not a very good one.

Inked contained elements of the Insurgent series by Veronica Roth. In Insurgent, individuals are shown a simulation that encourages them to choose a faction, which essentially defines how they spend the rest of their lives. Simiarly, in Inked, the ink is used to determine each person’s fate, with the government having the ultimate control of everyone’s ambitions.

The story is told from Caenum’s perspective and I felt sorry for him when his world turns upside down following the entrance of the scribes for his inking but I couldn’t connect with his character or the story. I couldn’t understand how he was planning to leave his grandmother and Dreya when he claimed to love them both so much and they were the only family he had just because he was scared of being inked. Actually, I take that back. I understood him leaving, I just couldn’t take him seriously.

Caenum and Dreya’s almost-romance would have been cute if there was anything remotely romantic involved. Instead there were assumptions of being each other’s soul mates without admitting it out loud, which was really weird.

“Rausch,” I started, trying not to look too pathetic.
He noticed immediately.
“What is it with you people and these sad good-byes?” he scoffed. “Go fight the good fight, and make your way back to this one. And yes, I promise to marry her if anything happens to you, as we agreed.” He winked and reached between the bars of the gate to give me a nudge.

I liked Kenzie’s character though, he seemed crazy enough to be real and apart from that I can’t think of much else I enjoyed about this book. There was a lot of taboo first about not getting inked, then about those that were inked, it was rather silly really. If it is a series, it’s not one I will spend my time reading.

Notable Scene:

“The Citadel tries to force people into roles, into walks of life. Gives them assignments based on what they are born with,” Dreya said, as Ryst knelt down and gingerly touched the vines that wrapped around Rausch’s body. “But leaders aren’t born. They are made. All of your confusion, all those questions, they brought you here. According to the Citadel, you might have been born to work the land. But according to the fate you’ve made for yourself, you were meant to save it.”

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FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury Spark provided me with a copy of Inked. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

July 4th, 2015 Zed Posted in Review No Comments »

Fan ArtTitle: Fan Art

Author: Sarah Tregay

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Series: N/A

Publication Date: June 17, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062243152 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062243157 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis:

A sweet contemporary romance about a boy who falls in love with his best friend, and the girls who help them get together.

Jamie Peterson has a problem: Even though he tries to keep his feelings to himself, everyone seems to know how he feels about Mason, and the girls in his art class are determined to help them get together. Telling the truth could ruin Jamie and Mason’s friendship, but it could also mean a chance at happiness. Falling in love is easy, except when it’s not, and Jamie must decide if coming clean to Mason is worth facing his worst fear.

In Fan Art, Sarah Tregay, the author of the romantic Love and Leftovers, explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most. Fan Art is perfect for fans of contemporary romances as well as novels like Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan and Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg.

Quick & Dirty: An excellent story about a teenage boy who is in love with his straight best friend.

Opening Sentence: “Nah,” I say about the brunette at the next table.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Fan Art is unbelievably adorable and given the recent announcement in America, this is the perfect time for my review. Without sounding politically incorrect, this is the first book, let alone love story, I’ve read from a gay guy’s perspective. There’s probably plenty of them out there but because this was my first it’s set a very high benchmark for future books on the same topic. In recent years most YA books incorporate a gay character, usually the best friend, so he (it’s hardly ever a lesbian) is usually side lined. Reading the story from a gay teenage boy who is ‘in the closet’ was a unique experience.

The author doesn’t use the stereotypical version of being gay: overly feminine, very organised / super smart, excellent fashion taste and lots of female friends. Jamie isn’t feminine, squirms when girls come near him and his best, and only, friend is Mason.

“Oh,” she says, suddenly interested in the menu. “Sorry, I just thought we had something in common. I can totally relate, you know?”
This is why I don’t date girls. They’re weird. They talk about everything and assume you want to too. I don’t get it. It’s as if their bras are filled with words.

Jamie’s trepidation in coming out, more importantly, in coming out to his best friend came across so clearly that I felt Jamie’s emotions as my own. His confusion, the hurt he felt when seeing Bahti and Mason together, and the emotions the graphic art brought out were palpable.

Eden squeezes my hand back and says, “Sometimes I wish things weren’t so complex.”
“Like, so I wouldn’t have to come out? Yeah?”
“Like, if people didn’t care, if love was love.”
“Love is love,” I say, more to myself than to Eden, as I scan the room for Mason.

Although we think that our society has become more open minded and people are more accepting of our differences, this book highlights that we have a long way to go. The book isn’t just about Jamie’s dilemma of falling in love with his ‘straight’ best friend, it looks at other characters facing problems because of their sexual orientation. Eden, like Jamie, had come out to her family but not at school. Unlike Jamie’s supportive mother, Eden’s parents are trying to change her mind into becoming straight by encouraging her focus on religion. It pains me to think how others can judge someone else’s feelings and I hope that more people read this book to increase awareness and obviously because this is a fantastically awesome read!

Notable Scene:

No. No, no. No.

I did not just do that. I can’t believe I just did that! Mason and I have been friends since third grade, and I have never looked at him like that. Other guys, yeah, but not him. It should be in the Bible. Thou shalt not check out thy best friend.

I wait a minute to catch my breath and the last shred of my sanity before I follow Mason into the locker room. I head for the sinks and splash water onto my face in an attempt to straighten out my thoughts. I’m okay with my bent thoughts-I have them all the time-but checking out Mason? That’s going too far. He’s my best friend. And everyone knows best friend crushes are the worst-even guy-girl friend crushes-drama, angst, broken hearts, you name it. It’s bad-real bad. And straight-guy-gay-guy friend crushes? I don’t even want to think about that apocalypse.

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FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Fan Art. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: Finding Paris by Joy Preble

July 4th, 2015 Zed Posted in Review No Comments »

Finding ParisTitle: Finding Paris

Author: Joy Preble

Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery

Series: N/A

Publication Date: April 21, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 272 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062321307 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062321305 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed

Synopsis:

An evocative and compelling story of two sisters who would do anything for each other—perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Speak. Joy Preble’s stirring new novel explores the lengths to which sisters go to protect each other, and the winding road that brings two strangers into each other’s lives.

Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love. But Leo isn’t going anywhere right now, except driving around Vegas all night with her sister.

Until Paris ditches Leo at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared? When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold inside.

Quick & Dirty: A long-winded mystery about a girl searching for her missing sister.

Opening Sentence: My sister leans over me as I am trying to sleep.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

This book was a passable read but I wasn’t too impressed with how long it took me to finish. When I start reading a book and then pass it up to read something more interesting, and then later keep reminding myself to finish reading it, then there is definitely something wrong. That is exactly what happened when I read Finding Paris.

The story is told from Leo’s perspective, Paris’s little sister who is following the clues to find her missing her sibling. There’s suspense and adventure, and some romance thrown in but the story dragged. It was only 272 pages but it felt like a hell of a lot more, and I’m sure it could’ve been told in half of that. I found myself skimming paragraphs several times, and not because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next, but because my attention was wandering.

Sometimes I think people do things only because they’re afraid of not doing them.

Leo’s character has some spark but I didn’t form any connection with her or anyone else in the story. Perhaps it was the secrets that set them apart but all the characters seemed very distant. In fact, it had been a few days since I had picked up Finding Paris to read and I was three quarters of the way in when I had to jog my memory to remember who Max was. (Btw, Max is the guy that’s been helping Leo find her sister from the start so he should have been more memorable!)

“Are you saying Einstein was sorry about figuring out the theory of relativity? Because I don’t think that-“
“I’m saying that people do horrible things and sometimes there’s no making it better.” The pain in his voice swells around us.

Overall, an okay-ish read, nothing spectacular to report.

Notable Scene:

My sister has this grand sense of how the world works. Misguided, but grand.

Me? I am a math and science girl. Rules are everything in math and science. One of them is this: life is untidy and ugly. People mess up. Boys named Tobias break up with you because you won’t screw them. Or maybe you break up with them because you did. People hurt each other and make mistakes and shatter promises. Even people we love. Not to mention the ones we don’t.

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FTC Advisory: Balzer+Bray/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Finding Paris. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Early Review: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

July 1st, 2015 Bridget Posted in Review No Comments »

Silver in the BloodTitle: Silver in the Blood

Author: Jessica Day George

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Silver in the Blood (Book #1)

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 1619634317 (Bloomsbury Children)

ISBN-13: 978-1619634312 (Bloomsbury Children)

Reviewed by: Bridget

Synopsis:

A New York Times bestselling author brings dark secrets to life in a lush new YA perfect for fans of Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare.

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate . . . or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.

Quick & Dirty: Action packed story filled with adorable romance, loveable characters, and great humor. I enjoyed every minute of this story and would highly recommend it to all young adult fans!

Opening Sentence: Dacia picked up her book and put it down again.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Cousins Dacia and Louisa grew up in the wonderful city of New York. It is the year 1897 and both of these girls dominate the social scene in New York. Both girls have just recently turned seventeen and they can’t wait to tour the beautiful country of Europe where there is sure to be handsome gentlemen, wonderful shopping, and enchanting parties.  But instead of going on a dream vacation like they planned they are sent to Romania, the country where both of their mothers were born and raised. This is their first time visiting their ancestral home and they have only met a few of their relatives from their mother’s side of the family.

Upon arriving in Bucharest both of the girls learn that their family is very different. It turns out that their family has the ability to shapeshift into one of three creatures. Some are members of The Claw and have the ability to change into a wolf, others are of The Wing and can change into bats, and finally there is The Smoke where they can basically change into a form of smoke. There is a prophecy that states Dacia and Louisa will lead their family to greatness, but to do so they must commit the most horrendous of crimes. Will they have the courage to defy their destiny or will the temptation of power and acceptance tempt them into doing what their family wants?

Dacia is a very spirited girl that doesn’t have a care in the world. She is blunt, witty, and loves a good adventure. I instantly loved Dacia and found her to be a very entertaining character. She has no problem using her charms to get what she wants and she is very good at everything she sets her mind. She is a terrible flirt, but she is also a very loyal friend. Her fiery attitude was so much fun and she added a lot of great humor to the story. There was one moment in the book where I found her to be a little frustrating but it was very short lived and I quickly fell back in love with her! She is a great heroine and I really look forward to seeing where her story goes next.

Lou is a much more reserved person. She has what they call a tender disposition and she has always felt a little awkward in her own skin. Everyone tells her what a beautiful girl she is, but that’s not how she sees herself. She is the perfectly obedient daughter that does what she is told. What I have described probably sounds pretty boring compared to Dacia, but I actually ended up liking Lou even better than I did Dacia. There is something about her tender personality that just pulled at my heart strings and as the story unfolds she grows so much. She discovers so much about herself and in the end she becomes a much bolder person. She doesn’t shy away from a fight and she is very resourceful. I felt an instant connection with her and it just continued to grow throughout the story.

There is a fairly large cast of secondary characters and I found each one of them so interesting. I loved learning all their stories and to be honest I can’t wait to learn more. I especially want to find out more about the girls mothers and aunts. I actually would love it if George wrote a sequel telling us how the 3 sisters ended up in America and their whole journey. I doubt she is going to write this but I personally would love to read it if she ever does. Then of course I loved the boys in the book as well. I’m not going to go into any detail about them because I don’t want to spoil anything. But I can tell you that they are very swoon worthy and I loved both of them! The romance was pretty subtle, but I felt that it was a great setup for the next book in the series which I am now dying to read!

Silver in the Blood is an amazing story that completely blew me away! I loved everything about this book, the rich atmosphere, the witty characters, the adorable romance, and the suspenseful plot made this an epic book that is easily the best book I have read this year so far. From the very first page I was hooked and I kept trying to find time throughout the day to read this because I just had to know what happened next. I ended up finishing it in just a day and now I wish I would have taken more time to read it because I am going to have a serious book hangover now. Jessica Day George is such an amazing storyteller and her writing is exceptional! I have read many of her other books and I have enjoyed every single one of them. This book was just pure fun and had everything I love in a great story. I found myself laughing many times throughout the story and there was also tons of great action. As you can tell by my review I can’t say enough good things about this book and I would highly recommend this to all young adult fans.

Notable Scene:

22 May 1897

Oook la-la! Whatever shall I do? There are far too many beautiful young men in the world, and I am just one girl. First there was Will Carver in New York, then Lord Johnny in London, and now I have just met the most delicious of them all. And it seems that he is a prince. Prince Mihai of Wallachia, if you please! It’s an old title, and one that (sadly) does not mean much anymore. Still. A prince! A prince with beautiful long lashes and thick curling hair. A prince who wears perfectly tailored suits and speaks seven languages, who likes to go to plays and concerts and read popular novels!

If anything, I would day that he is too perfect for words! Yes, yes, diary, I can hear Lou’s voice in my head right now asking me about Will Carver and Lord Johnny. Well, I’m sorry, but neither of them are here at present. Surely it can’t hurt to amuse myself a bit in Romania? When I return to New York, dear Lord Johnny will be but a memory, and Will Carver will be back from France, eager to dance with me once more. Until that day, however, Prince Mihai and his beautiful eyes are here to entertain me, That is, if Aunt Kate will let him!

Silver in the Blood Series:

1. Silver in the Blood

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FTC Advisory: Bloomsbury Children provided me with a copy of Silver in the Blood.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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