Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Title: Reawakened
Author: Colleen Houck
Series: The Reawakened #1
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Source: Borrowed from Ash :)

Summary from Goodreads:
When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.

From New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck comes an epic adventure about two star-crossed teens who must battle mythical forces and ancient curses on a journey with more twists and turns than the Nile itself.


Review

Reawakened was a bit on the slow side and I was unfortunately a bit distracted while reading it. I think that is why, if anything, I didn’t LOVE this book because  I can easily recognize that it was very, very well done.

I happen to be OBSESSED with everything that has to do with Egypt so this story was right up my alley. It was very detailed as it wove the story of three brothers who are reawakened every 1000 years to keep the God of Chaos at bay but I absorbed it all with fascination. And I never felt that the world-building was info-dumpy for those with less of an obsession to carry them through. It was just thorough. This isn’t a fast-paced Fantasy, if that’s your thing, but it was a rich and well-crafted one with enough excitement sprinkled throughout to keep the plot moving. I do agree with others that the second half is stronger than the first but I was never bored during the first half. Everything flowed nicely.

The characters in this book are really quite exceptional. They were thoroughly developed and Lily and Amon continued to evolve throughout the story. But I was most impressed by how Lily reacted to everything that happened to her. She didn’t immediately accept all of the bizarre things that started happening when Amon showed up. Instead she tried really hard to rationalize everything she was seeing and when that failed she assumed she was crazy. I imagine I would have reacted similarly in her shoes. (Or maybe after reading so many books I would have jumped to the conclusion that Amon was a vampire. I guess I don’t really know.) This rationalization also translated to her feelings toward Amon. She was obviously attracted to him but questioned her feelings in the beginning and whether or not they had any substance. I do still think that she formed extremely deep feelings for how little time they knew each other but all things considered it was a more natural progression of feelings than I am used to seeing.

The interactions between Amon and Lily were quite entertaining. Amon, having been dead the past 1000 years, is obviously a little flabbergasted at the modern world. Being half-god and all that, he's got some tricks up his sleeve to help him cope, but he still needs Lily to help him adjust and blend in. And Lily was quite sassy when it came to Amon, and everything else for that matter. She was a fun MC. The secondary characters were also strong. Amon’s brothers, Asten and Ahmose were welcome additions to the story, attributing both humor and a steady dose of bromance. They would also make some serious eye candy were this book to ever become a film. I enjoyed their presence a lot and I hope to see their their characters explored more in the sequel.

I thought the story ended appropriately, if a little puzzling. There is a little promise of something to come but that we don't quite know the significance of. I can't wait to find out though!

This is my first experience with Colleen Houck's work but I can guarantee that it won't be my last. It was atmospheric, inventive, memorable and extremely well-written. I definitely recommend this one, especially if you love Egypt.

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Stacking the Shelves (139) - Aug 29th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

What I'm Reading


What books are stacking your shelves? 


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Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger
Author: Rae Carson
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Source: eARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review (thanks HarperCollins!)

Summary from Goodreads:
The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.


Review

Walk on Earth a Stranger was every bit as amazing as the synopsis promises.

Leah’s character was the first thing to pull me into the story. She’s another extremely capable and selfless young heroine who was easy to like. When we first meet her, she’s off hunting to feed her family and her deeds only get more impressive as the story progresses. When her parents are murdered, she’s forced to flee her home and decides to meet up with her childhood friend going west to California to seek Gold. She disguises herself as a boy so as not to attract attention and she keeps up the ruse for most of the book. I always love when girls pretend to be boys (and do it well) so I thought this part of the story was fun. She didn’t fool everyone but for the most part, she was damn convincing.

I’m usually not a big fan of road trip books but this one worked for me. I think the Oregon Trial and Gold Rush era backdrop helped a lot with that. I’ve never read a book with this setting before so it was both new and exciting. There was a steady stream of events related to Leah’s journey that helped keep my attention although I will note that none were really related to her ability. Although her magic has a steady presence in the book and does come into play once or twice, it wasn’t really explored or utilized in the way I would have expected. This is something that I hope we get in the second book (and expect we will). But nevertheless, I enjoyed reading about the trials that Leah and her group did face. It was definitely enlightening to see what conditions on the trail might have been like and what people had to overcome in the pursuit of gold. I always loved glimpses into the past.

There wasn’t a whole lot of romance in this book, which is fine with me, but I wanted to make note of it for you romance fans. Leah does have a love interest but she assumes his interest lies elsewhere and so, if anything, it’s a source of angst for her until the miscommunication is cleared up. But either way, their relationship wasn’t a strong focus. I believe that will change though in the second book so romance to come!

I am definitely looking forward to the sequel. I think this book did a good job of setting up the characters and the world but still leaves a lot more to be desired. I can’t wait to see what Rae Carson has in store for us. This is definitely a worthwhile read!

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Dead Upon a Time by Elizabeth Paulson

Title: Dead Upon a Time
Author: Elizabeth Paulson
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: August 25th 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher (thanks Scholastic!!)

Summary from Goodreads:
It's a fairy-tale nightmare . . .

One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she's given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles -- and if she pricks her finger, she'll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter. . .

A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate's world. She's not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother's house in the woods -- and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can't get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what's happened.

Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention -- even though the girl's stepmother would rather he didn't. It's up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that's far from happy.



Review

Dead Upon a Time is an imaginative, dark, and creepy blend of classic fairy tales in a page-turning thriller.  The main character while like-able is a town outcast.  She is constantly turned away even when truly in need.  The reader quickly feels sympathetic for the young girl.  She is alone with no parents and now has a missing grandmother (**see the hints of Red Riding Hood**).  These small hints and traces of other fairy tales were so fun to pick out and find throughout the book.  Some of the more subtle ones took me much longer to notice.  It was a great addition to the mysterious story line.

The dark mood kept me on my toes, I was surprised all the way up to the end of the book; a trait I look for in my mysteries.  The romance while typically prominent in fairy tales, was not a major factor in Dead Upon of Time.  Speaking of the romance, Jack's character was a welcome addition to the plot.  While there were hints of a developing romance it never overshadowed the suspense of the plot.

This short book is a quick read, weaving a combination of fairy tales to create an unpredictable and enjoyable book.  I definitely wish the story continued; the writing was unique, descriptive, yet concise.  I recommend Dead Upon a Time if you are looking for a creepier blend of fairy tales.  I look forward to reading more from Elizabeth Paulson.  

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Blog Tour: Bounce by Noelle August | Review & Giveaway

Title: Bounce
Author: Noelle August
Series: Boomerang #3
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Source: eARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review (thanks HarperCollins!)

Summary:
This final chapter in the fun and steamy New Adult trilogy by Noelle August (authors Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger) features two aspiring musicians who must choose between their careers…and their sizzling attraction for each other.

Playing the occasional club gig just isn’t cutting it for twenty-two-year-old cellist Skyler Canby, who’s trying to support herself and her mother back home in Kentucky. Persuaded by her best friend Beth to accompany her on an audition for the first feature film launched by Blackwood Entertainment, she figures why not? Beth’s a shoe-in for the lead, but maybe Skyler’s newly dyed pink hair will help her stand out enough to score a small speaking part.

Never in her wildest dreams does Skyler imagine she’ll land the lead role or that she’ll have her shoes knocked off her feet by the kiss her audition partner, Grey Blackwood, plants on her—a kiss that feels very real and not at all “acted. ”

After throwing a party that causes thousands of dollars of damage to his older brother’s home, reckless musician Grey Blackwood gets roped into working off his debt on the set of his CEO brother’s newest project. Grey spends his days fetching coffee and doing odd jobs around the studio, but he lives for nights when he performs with his band. He knows if he can stay focused, success as a singer is just around the corner. But that’s tough with a distracting pink-haired girl occupying his every waking thought.

Skyler and Grey have every reason to resist each other. But, like a song neither of them can get out of their minds, they have no choice but to go where the music takes them.


Review

Let me start by saying that I LOVE this series. I tend to shy away from most New Adult books because many of them read the same to me – two damaged characters saving one another - but when Boomerang was first released it was like a breath of fresh air – light, sexy, HEALTHY, and fun. This series has gotten a little heavier since the first book, first Adam and Allison and now Grey and Sky, definitely have had more issues than Mia and Ethan did, but it still has maintained that sexy, fun vibe that I can’t get enough of. I think the dating site company and now production studio setting really help with that. So much potential in those two backdrops.

When Grey was briefly introduced in Rebound, I was instantly attracted to him. I pictured him as a tall, dark, and handsome bad boy with a mysterious air about him and I needed to know more. When I learned that he would be the focus of Bounce, I was giddy with excitement. He’s definitely a troubled guy – he’s got Mommy issues and is weighed down by the expectations of his family and the achievements of his brother. He has a habit of running from his problems or making them worse and he made a lot of mistakes in this book. But you could tell he was just struggling to find his way and that he really was a GOOD guy with GOOD intentions. He also did some of the SWEETEST things and was SO GOOD to Sky. I think I love him the most of any of the men in this series so far.

The romance was a little frustrating because Sky believed Grey was too young and too unstable to be a suitable match so she resisted her attraction to him and instead wasted time dating Brooks. Meanwhile, Grey avoided Sky because he didn’t want to/know how to be just her friend. So they weren’t together a whole lot but it was obvious every time they were (to everyone but themselves) how right they were together. But I guess there had to be SOME obstacle to create tension and I did appreciate that they formed some sort of friendship before taking things to the next level. And of any relationship so far, I think Grey and Sky were the most relatable. I’ve loved all of the couples in this series but I definitely connected with these two the most. Maybe because they felt the least perfect... Sky with her curvy figure and money-problems and Grey with his uncertain future and habit of pushing people away. They were very real. I also loved that they shared a passion for music and were both really talented. I always love the presence of music in books.

I also appreciated the message about feeling comfortable in your own skin and having healthy habits. Sky definitely felt the pressure of the movie business and the need to lose weight but in the end (after a scare) she realized that nothing was worth her health and happiness and that those around her  loved her for her she was.

I could go on and on about the things I loved in this series but I'll wrap up by saying that the characters are just so wonderful. I love that we still have moments with the previous couples and continue to meet new and exciting secondary characters. There are some wonderful friendship and sibling dynamics in this book. We really see a whole slew of different relationships and they all shine. There were so many good moments to appreciate.

I have had so much fun reading each and every book. I will truly miss this series but I am hoping that Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger team up again and give us new couples to  swoon over. If you haven’t given this series a shot yet YOU MUST. And I think this is a good gateway-NA book if you tend to avoid the genre like I do.

About the Authors

Question: What do you get when friends pen a story with heart, plenty of laughs, and toe-curling kissing scenes?

Answer: Noelle August, the pseudonym for renowned editor and award-winning writer Lorin Oberweger and New York Times bestselling YA author Veronica Rossi, the masterminds behind the Boomerang series.

You can visit them at NoelleAugust.com, @Noelle_August, and facebook.com/NoelleAugustBooks.

Don't miss the first two in the series! Boomerang and Rebound.

Giveaway

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Stacking the Shelves (138) - Aug 22nd

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

Upcoming Reads



What books are stacking your shelves??


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The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender

Title: The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall
Author: Katie Alender
Publisher: Point/Scholastic
Release Date: August 25th 2015
Source: eARC from Publisher (thanks Scholastic!!)

Summary from Goodreads:
Asylum meets Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, in this riveting tale of ghosts, secrets, and family, from master of suspense Katie Alender.

Delia's new house isn't just a house. It used to be an insane asylum, a place to lock up "troubled" young women long ago. And a restless, wicked spirit is still at play--and it doesn't want defiant girls like Delia to go anywhere.

So the house kills her.

Now Delia is a ghost, trapped in her creepy home forever. As she meets the other ghost girls who haunt the narrow hallways, as well as the handsome ghost boy on the grounds, she learns shocking truths about the house's history. Delia also realizes that her alive and grieving sister might be the house's next target. Can Delia unlock the mystery of the old asylum, save her sister, and free herself?



Review

Wow, I really enjoyed this book, there were so many unexpected twists and turns, it had me flying through the pages. There was such a perfect balance of creepy horror and crazy ghost action. Delia inherits her great aunt’s property but little does she know she has inherited a super haunted abandoned asylum. This asylum was home to many women; women who range from being just opinionated to a tad bit unstable. Back when the site was at full capacity many women were unjustly admitted into the asylum. Now in its vacant state there are lingering spirits both friendly and malicious. Delia has to solve the puzzle through clues from her dead aunt and with the help of her ghostly friends.

Without giving away some twists in the story, friendship and team work is a huge factor in the book. I love each ghost’s quirky personality, their background on what led them to the insane asylum, and their role in the overall plot. Delia is a fighter, she grows throughout the story to care for others and really be a strong leader, a true friend, and loving sister. There is a good bit of lighter horror aspects; nothing too scary to give you nightmares but the writing is descriptive enough for you to picture some pretty intense images. I thought the amount of horror was just right. The plot weighs heavily on the scary mysterious evil presence, if you are looking for some romance blended into it, this is not the book.

Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is a creepy, haunting, page-turning thriller. I highly recommend this book; the surprising adventure Delia has to embark on is a whirlwind, haunting good versus evil battle. I hands down plan to read more from Kate Alender.


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Battle of the Books (2) - Battle of the Perkins' Boys

Battle of the Books is a (new) periodic feature that will pit two books against each other based on some commonality (characters, settings, relationships, etc.). The competitors will battle each other by way of theme-related standards, and readers (you!) will vote on the winner! This is solely for fun.

This week's battle is....

Battle of the Perkins' Boys!

So it's actually been over a YEAR since I posted this feature and I've even had this post half drafted for MONTHS. That is really embarrassing, especially since I have SO MANY IDEAS for this feature and love creating these posts. But alas, that is life. And I'm going to try really hard to not let that happen again. Anyway, for the second ever Battle of the Books I thought it would be fun to battle the swoony gentleman from Stephanie Perkins' beloved Anna and the French Kiss series because they are all amazing and I'm evil like that. But really, I'm kind of wondering if there is an overwhelming favorite. I guess now we'll find out! 

Etienne St. Clair

Source

Looks

Messy hair, big brown eyes, short, 'English French American Boy Masterpiece'

Personality

Funny, confident, charming, flirty, friendly

Favorite Quotes

“For the two of us, home isn't a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.”

“You're the most incredible girl I've ever known. You're gorgeous and smart, and you make me laugh like no-one else can. And I can talk to you. And I know after all this I don't deserve you, but what I'm trying to say is that I love you, Anna. Very Much.”


Favorite Moments

“I trail my fingers across his cheek. He stays perfectly still for me. “Please stop apologizing, √Čtienne.”
“Say my name again,” he whispers.
I close my eyes and lean forward. “√Čtienne.”
He takes my hands into his.Those perfect hands, that fit mine just so. “Anna?”
Our foreheads touch. “Yes?”
“Will you please tell me you love me? I’m dying here.”
And then we’re laughing. And then I’m in his arms, and we’re kissing, at first quickly—to make up for lost time—and then slowly, because we have all the time in the world. And his lips are soft and honey sweet, and the careful, passionate way he moves them against my own says that he savors the way I taste, too.
And in between kisses, I tell him I love him.
Again and again and again.”


Cricket Bell

Source

Looks

Dark hair, blue eyes, extremely tall and lanky, stylish, cute, boy-next-door

Personality 

brainy, quirky, inventive, patient, sweet, graceful, energetic

Favorite Quotes

“I know you aren't perfect. But it's a person's imperfections that make them perfect for someone else.”

“Lola?" Cricket is on his knees at the side of my bed. I feel it. "I'm here," he whispers. "You can talk to me or not talk to me, but I'm here.”





Favorite Moments

So you believe in second chances?" I bite my lip.
"Second, third, fourth. Whatever it takes. However long it takes. If the person is right," he adds.
If the person is . . . Lola?"
This time, he holds my gaze. "Only if the other person is Cricket."

“I'll only say this once more. I like you. I've always liked you. It would be wrong for me to come back into your life and act otherwise.”
'And I pull him down into me, and I plant my lips against his, which are loose with surprise and shock. And I kiss Cricket Bell with everything that’s been building inside of me, everything since he moved back, everything since that summer, everything since our childhood. I kiss him like I’ve never kissed anyone before.'

Josh Wasserman

Source

Looks

Brown hair, hazel eyes, slender, tattoos, dimples, smells like citrus, sexy

Personality

Artistic, introspective, sensitive, romantic, witty

Favorite Quotes

“It doesn't matter. I'm with you. I'm happy to be anywhere with you.”

"Artists are inspired by blank canvases."
My smile grows wider.
"A blank canvas," Josh continues, "has unlimited possibilities."





Favorite Moments

“Just give me your hand.”
“W-what?”
“Your hand,” he repeats. “Give it to me.”
I extend my shaking right hand. And–in a moment that is a hundred dreams come true–Joshua Wasserstein laces his fingers through mine. A staggering shock of energy shoots straight into my veins. Straight into my heart.
“There,” he says. “I’ve been waiting a long time to do that.”
Not nearly as long as I've been waiting.”

“What are you working on?" I ask.
"The last page." He gestures towards the table, where a pencilled sketch is being turned into inked brushstrokes. It's a drawing of us, in this café, in this moment.
I smile up at him "It's beautiful. But what comes next?"
"The best part." And he pulls me back into his arms. "The happily ever after.”

So Who Do I Pick?

THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE. WHY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF. Writing this post made me realize how much I do love all of these boys pretty equally. But since I am forcing you all to choose it is only fair.... I guess if I had to choose one it would be Etienne Bell Wasserman (kidding). Ok, here goes.... *deep breath* (please don't hate me Etienne and Josh)

Cricket Bell


Why? Because he's patient and kind and knows how to dress is oh so smart and will likely take over the world someday. Plus, I tend to like them tall and lanky. And did I mention his piercing blue eyes, yet? ;)

Your Turn to Choose!

Who is your favorite Perkins boy?

Etienne St. Clair
Cricket Bell
Josh Wasserman
I'd rather die than choose
Poll Maker


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Bright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond

Title: Bright Lights, Dark Nights
Author: Stephen Emond
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: August 11th 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher (thanks Macmillan!!)

Summary from Goodreads:
A story about first love, first fights, and finding yourself in a messed up world, from the acclaimed author of Happyface.

Walter Wilcox has never been in love. That is, until he meets Naomi, and sparks, and clever jokes, fly. But when his cop dad is caught in a racial profiling scandal, Walter and Naomi, who is African American, are called out at school, home, and online. Can their bond (and mutual love of the Foo Fighters) keep them together?

With black-and-white illustrations throughout and a heartfelt, humorous voice, Bright Lights, Dark Nights authentically captures just how tough first love can be...and why it's worth fighting for.



 Review

Well written, provoking and current

Bright Lights, Dark Nights is a strong contemporary book that focuses on the friendships and relationships of a group of high-school students. Walter, a police officer’s son, lives in a rougher part of the city and attends a more diverse school. A major theme of the book is race. Walter wants to date one of his friend’s younger sisters who happens to be black. (Walter is white). Not only does his friend not approve of their relationship but neither do kids from school or even Walter’s family. To complicate things even further, a law enforcement issue evolves as well that also focuses on race.

The book does contain very well done black and white sketches painting the city and various scenes. While the pictures were a nice addition, I felt they did not push the story forward or really impact my reading experience, which was a bit disappointing. Bright Lights, Dark Nights addresses a very controversial and current racial issue. The author does an excellent job of incorporating both the social media and the news’s role in that racial issue. Personally, even though I thought the story was well written, the characters had a lot of depth to them, they felt like true high schoolers, and the romance felt young and real; the overall mood and theme played a larger part than I enjoyed.

The book reminded me so much of current news stories, focusing heavily on race and its role with law enforcement. After finishing the book, I just felt heavy. All that being said, do not let that deter you! If you are in the mood for a deeper looking into a young man’s life as he faces racism, first love, and family struggles, Bright Lights, Dark Nights is well worth the read.

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Top Ten Of Our Auto-buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is
"Top Ten Of Our Auto-buy Authors"

Nicole's Top Five

Pretty much all of my favorite authors are auto-buy authors, and there are definitely more than just 5. But here are a few that I don't even think twice about before clicking that pre-order button.

1. Melina Marchetta - In my eyes, there is no one who even compares to Melina Marchetta. I pretty much hold her on a pedestal and worship her books. She is the Queen B.

2. Sarah J. Maas - I am team SJMaas ALLL the way. Whatever she writes, I will read and fall in love with. IT'S ALMOST QUEEN OF SHADOWS TIME. #MaasThirteen

3. Kasie West - For only being on my radar for 2 years, Kasie West has already left a mark on my shelves. My collection is going to be pretty impressive one day if she keeps pumping out books this fast.

4. Victoria Schwab - Victoria is brilliant and her books are EXACTLY MY KIND OF BOOKS. They are all must buys. In fact, I think A Gathering of Shadows is already pre-ordered.

5. Marissa Meyer - Even though she's still publishing her first series, her talent is so obvious that I know whatever she writes will be amazing. You bet that Heartless will be pre-ordered! In Marissa Meyer I trust. 

Ashley's Top Five

1. Maggie Stiefvater - I read her books before I was a blogger and continue to love them more and more every book! 

2. Rainbow Rowell - I have really enjoyed every one of her books so far, both YA and adult.  I cannot wait to read Carry On since it sounds a bit different from her other books! 

3. Marissa Meyer -  I am with Nicole on this one, I trust Meyer's next series will not disappoint.  I have had Winter pre-ordered for months now. 

4. Cora Carmack -  Having just discovered her last fall, I have devoured two of her series so far and plan to continue to auto buy her books.  

5. Sarah Rees Brennan -  Even though I have only read the Lynburn Legacy series I have no doubt her next work will be amazing and plan to buy it right away.  

What are your top ten?


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Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Title: Lair of Dreams
Author: Libba Bray
Series: The Diviners #2
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Source: BEA

Summary from Goodreads:
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities...

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?


Review

When I first read The Diviners, I was blown away by the atmosphere and storytelling. I feel in love with 1920s New York City. Naughty John gave me nightmares (still does). And I couldn’t get enough of Evie and her antics. It was an instant favorite of mine with very few books even coming close and that is why I have waited with bated breath for this sequel. To give you an idea of how much I’ve been wanting to read this book, I actually cried when I got an ARC at BEA. Dreams became reality for me that day. But seeing as I loved it, it was well worth the wait (and tears) and I would happily (albeit anxiously) wait another 3 years for the next book if it can be this good (but I hope I won't have to). For the record, there will be 4 books.

One of the first things to pull me into The Diviners, and later Lair of Dreams, was the setting. Libba Bray makes 1920s New York City come alive and it is magical. It is also the perfect setting for this story – that time period and that city was filled with so much life, death, hope and uncertainty. It was a time of change and a place where anything was possible. And Libba Bray captured this feeling and exploited it perfectly. I loved this mix of Historical Fiction, Paranormal and Thriller. It was brilliant.

In The Diviners we are introduced to a wonderfully vibrant cast of characters. Evie, who I’ve already mentioned, is one of the most memorable and entertaining characters I’ve ever met, even after 3 years and so many books later. She was a bit selfish in this book but I still adore her. She has to share the spotlight with a few others – Theta, Jericho, Sam, and Memphis to name a few. And that list only grows bigger in Lair of Dreams when we add Henry and Ling to the mix. But I never felt overwhelmed by the amount of POVs present. And I cared about every single perspective I read. All of these characters were wonderful and had a story to tell, which tied together seamlessly. I think that is another testament to Libba Bray’s talent.

We might have left Naughty John behind in The Diviners but Libba Bray gives us plenty of new monsters to fear in Lair of Dreams. The way Bray introduced the Sleeping Sickness that slowly swept through New York City was just as horrifying and creepy, maybe even more so because it could get to anyone. There is also a new player in the game – The King of Crows – that will surely play a bigger role in future books. And we also learn about a secret government organization that has something to do with The Diviners, Evie’s Uncle and Sam’s mother. I really felt the story expand in this sequel and I am excited to see what unfolds in the next two books.

For complete transparency, there was a bit of a love triangle in this book. In fact, many of the relationships are quite messy and complicated. But since it wasn’t a large focus of the book, I didn’t mind.

If you thought The Diviners was a monster of a book, Lair of Dreams tops it by about 100 pages. But don’t let the size of these books deter you from reading them. They are so , so good and no amount of words will do them justice. I don’t know if I can say that Lair of Dreams is BETTER than the Diviners but they are both so far above your average book that it’s not fair to compare them to each other. I also recommend the audiobooks because January LaVoy is dazzling. But I don't care what format you choose, just read this series!!!

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Stacking the Shelves (137) - Aug 15th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.

What I'm Reading



What books are stacking your shelves? 


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Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews

I recently posted a Thoughts for Thursday on my new enjoyment of graphic novels.  I read and loved I am Princess X which has a web comic throughout the story of the book. I then followed that up with The Cute Girl Network which was also enjoyable.  I wanted more so I went to the library and just picked things off the shelf.  I plan to continue checking out graphic novels, so if you have any suggestions let me know!

The Cute Girl Network

By M.K. Reed, Greg Means Art:Joe Flood


This was my very first full graphic novel. The Cute Girl Network is about a social network where girls can let other girls know about guys that are not worth dating or guys they have had bad experiences with. It was a very interesting premise and at the end I really like the message the author left with the reader.



El Deafo

by Cece Bell


El Deafo has a very different kind of art, it has a much younger feel to it which compliments the character very well. The overall message is a great one; this graphic novel addresses living with a hearing problem. The story is told through a young girl. Her emotions and reactions to things felt very honest and heartfelt.  I definitely recommend it (just be aware it is also geared for a younger audience).


Through the Woods

by Emily Carroll


The illustrations and the artwork were so dark and creepy. This book was a collection of short graphic novels/stories. While I thought the overall mood and setting was creepy with some hits of horror, I thought the stories themselves felt a bit short. I would flip to the next page and be like uhh, that was it and that happened a couple times.



Lumberjanes

by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen


Lumberjanes was a cute story, focusing on girl power and strong friendships. I really enjoyed the crazy adventures the girls embarked on. Some of my favorite artwork. I do feel like the story was cut a bit short and should be read back to back with Lumberjanes #2 (out this fall!)




Nimona

by Noelle Stevenson


I really really enjoyed this graphic novel, it is probably my favorite so far. I love the villain and sidekick dynamic. The artwork was awesome but so was the plot. There was a solid conclusion plus there is humor and action as well! I highly recommend Nimona!



Will & Whit

by Laura Lee Gulledge


This one is a bit heavier of a story line, cool art with quite a few whole page spreads. Focuses more on the plot and character development. There is an overall theme of feeling good in one's own skin and coming to term with inner ghosts.




Page by Paige

by Laura Lee Gulledge


This one I think feel a bit flat. I thought the underlying story was a boring. The main character, I found to be a tad unlikeable. I do not have much to say about it besides, meh.  Overall, I would just pass on this one.




Ms. Marvel #1-3 

by G. Willow Wilson Artists: Adrian Alphona, Jacob Wyatt, Takeshi Miyazawa, Elmo Bondoc


I love the diverse characters and female super heroes! While I have been enjoying the series, it does have a tendency to get a bit slow at times. I do really enjoy the cameos from other superhereos.
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Blog Tour: Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine: Why in 5 (+Giveaway)


Being the HUGE Sarah Fine fangirl that I am, I am thrilled to be taking part in the Blog Tour for Of Dreams and Rust, the follow-up and conclusion to Of Metal and Wishes. I would recommend all of her books to anyone anytime but this duology is one of my all-time favorites. Since I already shared my 5-star review here, today I am sharing 5 reasons why you should read this book. And don't miss the opportunity to win copies of both books at the end of this post! Thanks for stopping by!

The Book


Title: Of Dreams and Rust
Author: Sarah Fine
Series: Of Metal and Wishes #2
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: August 4, 2015

Summary:
War erupts in this bittersweet sequel to "Of Metal and Wishes", inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and called “relentlessly engrossing” by The Romantic Times.

In the year since the collapse of the slaughterhouse where Wen worked as her father’s medical assistant, she’s held all her secrets close. She works in the clinic at the weapons factory and sneaks away to nurse Bo, once the Ghost, now a boy determined to transform himself into a living machine. Their strange, fragile friendship soothes some of the ache of missing Melik, the strong-willed Noor who walked away from Wen all those months ago—but it can’t quell her fears for him.

The Noor are waging a rebellion in the west. When she overhears plans to crush Melik’s people with the powerful war machines created at the factory, Wen makes the painful decision to leave behind all she has known—including Bo—to warn them. But the farther she journeys into the warzone, the more confusing things become. A year of brutality seems to have changed Melik, and Wen has a decision to make about him and his people: How much is she willing to sacrifice to save them from complete annihilation?


BUY LINKS: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound

5 Reasons to Read Of Metal and Wishes/Of Dreams and Rust

1. Phantom of the Opera retelling set in a slaughterhouse
Is that not the best mash-up you've ever heard? It was the second thing to draw me to this series (the first being Sarah Fine's name of course). I personally LOVE Phantom of the Opera and Fine manages to take the best elements of that story and make it her own. The execution is quite brilliant and unlike anything I have EVER read. It's reason enough to read this duology!

2. Wen, Melik and Wen AND Melik.
Perhaps the THIRD thing I love most about this series is the romance. Sarah Fine writes some of the BEST romance. I know some of you are concerned about a love triangle but I personally don't think there is one. This duology, but especially book 2, was all about Wen and Melik and although their relationship was far from simple, it always had such a strong presence in both books. I think this can be largely contributed to the strong presence of each of these characters. The were both extremely brave, kind-hearted, and willful.

3. Non-stop action
Sarah Fine always manages to balance character and plot development perfectly. These books don't slow down for a minute but I never feel any of the action was at the expense of the characters. Of Dreams and Rust was an especially tense book with so many ups and downs. Fine does not go easy on our hearts but she makes sure to give us plenty of happy moments too. It's a real heart-wrencher. 

4. Important Themes
I always love when authors shed light on social issues. In this book we see sexism, classism, racism, and more but the important thing is that Wen and Melik battle and rise above all of it. We see  examples of hate and love, freedom and oppression, strength and weakness, and evil and kindness all around them. But they protect one another and unite their people and it's really quite relevant and beautiful.

5. Everything else
Basically, there are more than 5 reasons to read this book so I am cheating and saying that reason number 5 is everything else I haven't mentioned. Like the fact that the writing is brilliant and the characters are wonderfully complex (there is NO ONE like Bo and you all need to meet him). And that this is only a duology and let's be honest, there should be more of these. Also, Sarah Fine EXCELS at world-building. And these covers are GORGEOUS. And on and on....

SO READ THESE BOOKS.

The Author

Sarah Fine is the author of several books for teens, including Of Metal and Wishes and its sequel, Of Dreams and Rust, and the Guards of the Shadowlands YA urban fantasy series. She is also the co-author (with Walter Jury) of two YA sci-fi thrillers: Scan and its sequel Burn. Sarah is also the author of the adult urban fantasy series, Servants of Fate, with the third book in the series, Fated, releasing September 2015. When Sarah’s not writing, she’s psychologizing. Sometimes she does both at the same time. The results are unpredictable.


Website | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest



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A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

Title: A Curious Tale of the In-Between
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: Pram #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's USA
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Source: BEA

Summary from Goodreads:
Pram Bellamy is special—she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

Lauren DeStefano is beloved by critics and readers alike, and her middle grade debut is lyrical, evocative and not to be missed.


Review

I don't read a lot of Middle Grade but occasionally I make an exception if a book piques my interest enough, and A Curious Tale of the In-Between did just that. I was hearing a lot of buzz for this book, and after having really enjoyed some of DeStefano's YA books, I wanted to give it a shot. And I am happy that I did!

A Curious Tale is a quick, sometimes creepy, always heart-warming book about a girl named Pram who has the ability to see ghosts. In fact, her best friend Felix is one and Pram spends most of her days playing with him much to her Aunts' chagrin. In an effort to introduce Pram to some real friends, they send her off to school where she meets Clarence, an equally charming boy that I also just adored. Pram eventually tells Clarence about Felix and the dynamic between these three characters was absolutely delightful but a little complicated because Felix pines for Pram and doesn't really want to share her.

During Clarence's search for his mother's ghost, Pram and her gift are discovered by another spiritualist named Lady Savant who soon after kidnaps Pram to use for her own personal gain. Around this point in the story is when things became especially creep-tastic. I won't give any hints lest I spoil things, I'll just say that DeStefano had me effectively spooked. Lady Savant made a good villain and did some truly horrible, fear-inducing things. But fortunately, Pram had some awesome people on her side who went above and beyond to help her out.

A Curious Tale read easily and simply, but I don't mean that negatively. The story was uncomplicated but that allowed me to enjoy Pram's adventures without distraction. And I did enjoy Pram's adventures and can't wait for more. So if you are in the mood for a cute but chilling ghost story with some truly endearing characters, I'd definitely recommend this one! I'm smitten!

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