archive: 2015

6:35 PM

hgl The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.3)

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

If there’s one thing that can be said about Margaret Atwood’s writing, it’s that it’s poetic and dreamy and is just a gorgeous spot in literature. I’ve always particularly enjoyed the feminist themes to her work and admire the voice that comes with it. The Heart Goes Last promises to be exactly what you’d expect for a look into dystopian by Atwood, except maybe a little weirder than usual and rough around the edges.

As for Atwood, she’s one of the best authors out there and I’ve always believed I could probably read a variation of the phone book by her and still enjoy it. But now I can’t help but think that maybe I’m wrong.

It’s just that while I love her mind, I love her words and I love what she creates when combining the two, she is bound to not hit the target from time to time. I mustn’t put that sort of pressure on an author.

Although The Heart Goes Last isn’t her greatest work to date, it’s not a total lost cause and I think it will reach a pretty large audience and satisfy their needs. There’s plenty that happens in it and its dark tone; while it wasn’t always my cup of tea, longtime fans will enjoy it regardless.

archive: 2015

5:13 PM

dom The Dominant (The Submissive #2) by Tara Sue Me | Rating: ★★★★☆

I could be much more than the world thought. We could be much more than the world thought.

There are two sides to every story. In this trilogies case, there are two steamy sides to every story: Tara Sue Me takes things up a notch from the already scorching hot BDSM novel The Submissive, which is the first in a planned trilogy and originally published online; tuning readers into the thoughts of the ever mysterious Nathaniel West and his romance with Abigail “Abby” King.

I have had a long time attachment to her story and am more than satisfied with how fun they are to read. So while it isn’t typical for me to enjoy retellings of a novel from another POV, I was thoroughly excited for this new take–it really and completely works with The Dominant.

It pulls us in the direction of an already familiar story but a fresh, new spin on it–it’s just what the story needed. Although the previous POV is a delight, The Dominant fills in the gaps for us and reminds us that there are two sides to every story. We walk away with a better understand of Mr. West, just as we walked away with awareness on who Abby is in act one.

archive: 2015

4:51 PM

mc The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins | Rating: ★★★★☆

The Library at Mount Char, penned by Scott Hawkins, was at the top of my to-read list this year due to its intriguing and dark description. It sounded completely mental and just the right amount of creepy. Who can resist something like that, right? Summaries can often be weak and lack that spark to captivate your interest, but this one will surely catch readers eyes instantly.

Plus, how cool is that cover?

Something about it made my skin crawl in all the right ways and basically sealed the deal for me. It was like I couldn’t look away and I hadn’t even read it yet. The Library at Mount Char was calling me from the very start.

So listen to that gut instinct that tells you “read this, read this!” if the description intrigues you–it’s totally worth it.

The Library at Mount Char was dark, mysterious and yes–a little weird; but this is what made reading it such a joy. I was on the edge of my seat constantly; confused, frightened, thrilled and all that good stuff. I didn’t quite know what to expect from it, at times I resembled a very confused emoji, but I did know I was enjoying myself immensely.

archive: 2015

4:25 PM

ch The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, a printed copy of this novel was sent to me via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

The Curse of Crow Hollow is one of those stories that you find yourself with the desire to curl up in your favorite blanket and indulge in a little story telling. Perfect for the autumn season and a nice cup of something hot to drink–it’s just in the feel of it, you know?

Billy Coffey draws readers into the setting of a small town in the mountains, Crow Hollow; which is a delicious setting and atmospheric tone that hints to what is to come in the story. He sets up something special right away and holds you in his grip until the stories final pages.

Needless to say, readers, that Billy creates a vivid and dark story to tell, with a certain level of character in the narration. I’m not sure what to tell you if you say your skin doesn’t crawl at one point or another in these chapters. Think: southern campfire stories and twists and turns of curses and mystery.

archive: 2015

1:29 PM

Sub The Submissive by Tara Sue Me | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

“You were the goddess I longed to worship. My unobtainable dream. The relationship I could never hope to have.”

You may recognize this little guy by its title or even by the authors name–especially if you once frequented anywhere from 2007-2009. That would be because; once upon a time, before Fifty Shades of Grey made its splash and earned itself some notoriety as a pop culture phenomenon, there was another immensely popular Twilight fanfiction by the name of The Submissive.

Although each have similar characteristics and plots, their stories are entirely different. I obviously prefer this one and always have. Don't let their similarities sway your judgement, however: they simply mirror one another given their conception–and that’s okay.

Like countless other readers, I adored it at the time of its original release. I waited patiently for updates and counted down the days until its next chapter. I was always itching to get my hands on more fanfiction and The Submissive snuck up on me one day while I scrolled through a friends favorites list. It was everything I could have asked for.

Its sexual content was only a plus for a then-teenaged (but still legal) me. Who could resist some smutty goodness, am I right? I’m totally right.

archive: 2015

1:16 PM

twc The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski | Rating: ★★★★★

“Sometimes you think you want something,” Arin told him, “when in reality you need to let it go.”

Marie Rutkoski is a force to be reckoned with in the realm of action packed fantasy in young adult literature. She captures this fantastical and dangerous world of her so vividly, her characters so crystal clear and romantic. It’s easy to see the hype beyond this world and all the sparks that come with it–Marie has a talent of drawing you in within the first few pages and her characters refuse to let you go.

The Winner’s Crime has been on my most anticipated reads since finishing the first installment in the trilogy, The Winner’s Curse, and I’ve been taking my sweet time reading it. And because the previous book was such a massively captivating read, The Winner’s Crime had a great deal to live up to.

Because let’s face it, when you have such a solid start to a promising series, there’s a certain level of difficulty in capturing the magic of the previous book and expanded onto it. Sequels can be very hit-or-miss.

After such a delightful introduction, I wasn’t so sure that it could get any better–but Marie knocked me right off my game multiple times and proved that yes, it can get better, and yes–she was only just getting started.

archive: 2015

12:12 PM

tcd The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell | Rating: ★★★★★

The world is full of people who all want the same thing, and you have to do a little something extra to make them remember you.

In the prequel spin off series of Candace Bushnell’s now-iconic novel Sex and the City and its main character Carrie Bradshaw, readers can expect a fluffy, stylish, intelligent and thoughtful coming of age story as Carrie experiences quite a lot of firsts in her teenage years.

Everything that one has come to expect in Bushnell’s work is more than present in this first installment–The Carrie Diaries delivers and is a delightful read for everyone, including those who have never watched or read Sex and the City.

It’s important to note, as well, that this is a prequel to the novel and not the show. And it’s also nothing like the prequel show that the CW aired a few years back. You know the CW and its “adaptations”–is it even fair to call them such? Phew, that was a lot to say and bordering on bitter–but I needed to remind everyone such details before beginning my review.

Before the City, before the Bradshaw audiences know and love, this leading lady was just like everyone else in a suburb in Connecticut. The Carrie Diaries is full of realistic plots, humourous moments and a whole lot of questionable styles from teenagers in the 1980s.

archive: 2015

3:19 PM

grey Grey by E.L. James | Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Join me, she whispers, but she’s moving backward, getting fainter… disappearing before my eyes… vanishing… she’s gone. No! I shout. No! But I have no voice. I have nothing.

I went into Grey having no real expectations or hopes for the series because realistically, I’m not the biggest fan of the romance between Anastasia and Christian. I say that with the utmost respect to its fandom and the author; so please do not take my words as something of hatred.

I was curious enough to see where E.L. James went with this take on the series and it’s a rare thing for me to never finish a book series. Which is why I chose to read it and finish it in one final sweep. Curiosity fueled interest, s’all there is to it.

I was, admittedly, a bit unsure about stepping into the mind of Christian Grey, as he is perhaps one of my least favorite fictional characters ever and I’m not normally big on retellings of a story from another point of view. Let me put it this way, though: Christian is like a train wreck that I apparently couldn’t look away from at this point.

My expectations were low and perhaps this is what made reading Grey all the more bearable. Low expectations are hard to dash, plus the story is already familiar. How much worse could it get? This is perhaps the way I should have approached the series to begin with, because it made reading it simpler.

amy thomas

Cover Art Spotlight: Paris, My Sweet

2:53 PM

“But sometimes you want things just because you think you’re supposed to.  And sometimes it’s the things you never even knew you wanted that give your life the most meaning.”  
 ― Amy Thomas, Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light          

Who can resist a novel with gorgeous cover art? I know I can't. Yes, yes, never judge a book by its cover. I know! Sometimes you just can't help yourself--which is precisely why I purchased Amy Thomas' novel Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Lights. It's an absolute dream; even looking at my crappy photographs of it I'm swooning

Truly, I'm swooning. I've yet to read the novel itself, as it was a (very) recent purchase, but I can't stop looking at it. And who could?! Sigh. It's just so beautiful.

Now my question: readers, what novel--in your opinion--has the prettiest cover design? Feel free to shout out more than one answer.

archive 2015

11:58 AM

wish One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot | Rating: ★★★★★

Outside, the city was turning into a winter wonderland; inside, there was an avalanche waiting to happen.

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a weakness for stories that feature holiday themes or New York City–One Wish In Manhattan happens to have BOTH! Can you see where I’m going? If you said yes, then you have been paying attention. I loved the summary so of course I tripped over myself to request a copy.

Of course. I really did love this one. I had an inkling that I would enjoy it, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I did. It was full of so much holiday cheer, pop culture references, love and one woman’s search for her daughter’s father and maybe something for herself as well.

One Wish In Manhattan is light and heavy all at once, with twinkling lights and city streets so vivid you feel like you are there; it is packed with emotions and plots that play with us like a good story should. I felt cheerful while reading it and felt myself wanting to sit back and enjoy it with a cup of hot coffee or chocolate.

archive: 2015

11:14 AM

cby Captivated by You by Sylvia Day | Rating: ★★★★★

“He didn’t see in himself what I saw— a generous soul who wanted so much to belong to something greater than himself. He didn’t recognize what a miracle he was. When he didn’t know what to do in a given situation, he let instinct and his heart take over. Despite all he’d been through, he had such an amazing capacity to feel and to love. He’d saved me, in so many ways. I was going to do whatever needed to be done to save him, too.”

Knowing that I have to wait for the next installment, I went slow with the fourth book in the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day. There’s just something undeniably fun about reading this erotic romance and although it has its flaws, it has earned its place on my shelf and in my heart. It was a total bitch to not finish Captivated by You in one sitting, but I managed to stretch it out for a little while.

I’m a sucker for the romance of Gideon and Eva’s, in spite of its at times unhealthy nature, and I love that Sylvia makes it more than just a story of lust and love. I love the sarcasm and humour in it, I love the dynamic of the two and Eva’s friendship with Cary.

I love the themes of survival in all three of these characters who suffered abuse years and years ago. And I especially love that each of them have different ways of coping. I think the raw human emotion in it is beautifully crafted and it’s just an overall fun yet emotional read.

archive: 2015

11:56 AM

beach Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?: True Stories and Confessions by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I’ll admit it, my initial interest in this collection of stories was based solely on the title. How could it not be? I’m weak! I’m sarcastic! I love it! Nothing says humour quite like “Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?”–I was chuckling all day after reading the title for the first time and promptly requested a copy.

Fortunately the humour inside the book matched the title and perhaps put it to shame at times. There were very few misses in it and when there are, it’s easy to overlook it for the rest of its pages.

It’s just that it’s a very humorous read with a massive heart. It’s quirky, it’s warm, it’s observant, it’s a delight and it’s easy to slip into and out of if you are short on time. In all the topics we touch, there’s a certain level of honesty that balances out the humour which is always a massive plus and it’s interesting to see how they put their emotions into each thought.

archive: 2015

11:30 AM

Smiley face Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica | Rating: ★★★★☆

“But there was something telling about that photograph, I thought; our protective glass frame shattered and now here we were, punctured with microscopic holes that might one day tear. Those holes all had names: mortgage, adolescent child, lack of communication, retirement savings, cancer.”

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Mary Kubica’s newest novel, Pretty Baby, was an unexpected surprise for me. I have never read anything by Kubica up until this point, however, I’d heard many great things about her previous release. Pretty Baby has a summary that borders on Lifetime cheesiness at the hand of a mystery-thriller and while it incorporates many elements that parallel movies from Lifetime, the end product is far more chilling and intelligent than you’d expect.

It is a pretty solid release that touches a lot of topics that may be triggering to readers. But for the most part, readers will find themselves easily hypnotized by her haunting story. Mary Kubica doesn’t shy away from the gritty, raw, texture of life and human emotion–there are many moments in which your skin will crawl in the most typical of ways because of the way she portrays it all.

archive: 2015

6:21 PM

leila Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales | Rating: ★★★★☆

"Hurting people, really, deeply hurting them - that isn't something you do on purpose. It's just a by-product of living.”

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is a sweet, heartfelt, thoughtful and fascinating addition to every young adult’s contemporary shelf. The novel is the genre at it’s finest; a coming of age story that will capture adults and teenagers alike. And it is without a doubt a wonderful inclusion to anyone’s library and was at the top of my to-read list for 2015.

And it should be on yours, too. Luckily for you, readers, it comes out tomorrow–September 15th, 2015. If you are a fan of the genre, and looking for a new contemporary to read, or a fan of Leila Sales: this book is absolutely for you!

Leila Sales writing is quick paced, poetic, witty and embraces raw human emotion perfectly. It just has a perfect flow to it and warmed my heart for some reason. And while this is my first experience within one of her stories readers will fondly remember her as the woman who penned This Song Will Save Your Life.

I cannot compare it to any of her previous work, but I can say that it was a wonderful read and I’m so thrilled and honored to have been given the chance to devour it.

archive: 2015

1:51 PM

crossfire3 Entwined with You by Sylvia Day | Rating: ★★★★☆

If souls could be mated with wishes, ours would be inextricably entwined.

I’ll admit it: the Crossfire series has become something of a guilty pleasure for myself. An absolutely perfect sultry and dramatic beachy read. Oh, who am I kidding–I’m not one to believe in guilty pleasures, but if I were, Sylvia Day’s worldwide bestselling erotic series would be #1 on said list.

Let me just admit it now: I am total Eva and Gideon trash. Together, apart, whatever–I love these two beautiful survivors and lovers. They’re realistic and flawed and while I’d never want a relationship quite as unhealthy as theirs, it’s fun to read and neither let each other get away with bullshit

It’s steamy, it’s fun, it’s full of heartbreaking emotion and rich characters that can captivate just about any reader. Sylvia takes what we’ve learned about the characters and builds onto it, flipping us back and forth in our own conflicting emotions. As usual, she makes the emotion behind each character and their relationships jump out of the pages and hit your heart right where it hurts.

Entwined with You emphasizes the usual sexiness and obstacles our couple is faced with, it barely makes mention of certain tings but still continues on with a lot.

archive: 2015

1:17 PM

fw Firewalker by Josephine Angelini | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

Love is being willing to become the villain so that the one you love can stay a hero.

As most of my readers already know Trial By Fire, the starting point of the Worldwalkers series, was one of my favorite 2014 releases. It was full of everything that makes a fantasy novel good and captivating. Needless to say, I was excited to see the expansion of the planned-trilogy with this years release in Firewalker.

(I’ve been waiting to just throw my money at Josephine Angelini. JUST. TAKE. IT. ALL!)

For me, my reasoning for checking it out to begin with was simple: I am, and always will be, attracted to stories that center around witchcraft. But what made my attention never stray was that Trial By Fire was smart, fast paced, romantic and the world created was just breathtaking and mysterious.

It was a magical read in more ways than one.

Fortunately for readers, Firewalker was all that and more. And for readers looking for more action packed sequences than the last, you’re in luck! In place were the mystery, the fantasy, the power and the romance. Josephine simply builds onto what we already know with changes, heartbreak and new mysteries and memories.

archive: 2015

12:47 PM

dare me Dare Me by Megan Abbott | Rating: ★★★★☆

That’s what people never understand: They see us hard little pretty things, brightly lacquered and sequin-studded, and they laugh, they mock, they arouse themselves. They miss everything.

Let's get down to business. You've seen the buzz. You've been urged to check this one out. If you frequently use sites such as Tumblr and glimpse into its massive book community, of graphic makers in particular, you’ve probably found yourself hearing the buzz behind Megan Abbott’s novel Dare Me and the oh-so-overused yet absolutely truthful quote:

“There’s something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.”

There’s also a chance that this quote and the trope that springs from it has either turned you off of the novel or captured your attention, without even reading it. I must say, it caught me right away because of the honesty behind it.

It’s such a simple statement, but it is right… mostly. I had high hopes for how Megan Abbott could incorporate this theme into her writing through Dare Me, a story about high school cheerleaders and something of an introduction into adult lives. It has a premise that would certainly make a solid coming of age adaptation and continue to generate buzz.

archive: 2015

11:58 AM

noir Noir by Jacqueline Garlick | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

...sometimes magic trumps logic. Especially when love is involved.

Continuing with the next of the series, The Illumination Paradox takes things up a notch with Noir and will leave readers in a haze of disturbing occurrences with their hearts racing. And although I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book, it was still an action packed treat.

Jacqueline Garlick toys with our emotions from the very start; picking up nearly where the first installment left off and taking us right to the core of things. I loved the little things about this installment, I loved the exploration of romance and the darker tone everything took on.

We left with Urlick and Eyelet being, sadly, separated and the dangerous tone set. This is where things get tricky. And where they go next, how they approach anything from this point, is a massive risk for both characters and their world as they do their best on various rescue missions. It flip-flops between looking for ways to get Urlick from his prison and Eyelet out of the so-called Loony Bin.

The main focus in Noir for a good chunk of the novel is split between these two rescue missions and discovery of oneself. Oh, and messing with our minds/hearts but I mean I think that's a given at this point.

archive: 2015

2:03 PM

smih Seven Minutes in Heaven (TLG #6) by Sara Shepard | Rating: ★★★★★

I understood then. We were a constellation. We would always be together.

I was so not ready for the finale of The Lying Game but here we are. Fresh on the heels of Nisha’s untimely death, Seven Minutes in Heaven opens with Emma as she struggles through the passing of her friend and can’t help but to wonder what the girl wanted to tell her in her final hours. It sounded so urgent and as if someone wanted to shut her up, for good. Could she have somehow figured out that Sutton’s dead?

Did she discover who killed her sister?

Or who she really is?

The Mercers and Sutton’s friends now have the knowledge, as well, of the existence of a twin sister. Sutton’s parents are more determined than ever to track the mysterious girl down to complete their family–little do they know she has been living with them the whole time and their daughter was dead.

Just as Emma begins to grow more and more devastated and concerned, with only Ethan to confide in; her suspect list seems to be growing shorter. Who killed Sutton Mercer? Emma fears the only logical suspect could be Sutton’s ex-boyfriend and his temper.

archive: 2015

12:56 PM

cmh Cross My Heart, Hope to Die (TLG #5) by Sara Shepard | Rating: ★★★★★

“The best you can do is be honest with the people you love and hope that they’ll care enough about you to listen.”

I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to figure out how I want to start my review for Cross My Heart, Hope to Die. I’m still horribly intrigued and HEARTBROKEN. Sara Shepard, how could you do this to me? Better yet, how can I continue to let her plots fuck me up?

If anyone knows the answer, let me know. I guess I just like the pain, he-he. Anyhow, we are nearing the end of The Lying Game series and I’m going to be so sad to say goodbye to the characters. I’m nowhere near ready, yet incredibly ready at the same time. I need answers!

Emma Paxton has transformed herself into a grand impersonator of her long lost and tragically dead twin sister, Sutton Mercer, and has been walking in the girls luxurious shoes for months. So far, she has convinced her sisters friends and family that she is Sutton; but things are growing more and more tricky.

Emma’s gig is almost up and her life is thrown in jeopardy once more–you can feel her getting closer to solving Sutton’s murder and know that things will be heating up fast. And now, a new girl at school somehow is able to see right through who she is.

archive: 2015

12:13 PM

ill Lumière by Jacqueline Garlick | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

In a small way, he's right: this isn't so terrible. It's quite divine, actually. My back pressed up against his chest, his heart beating a vibrant concerto at my spine. All the blood in my body tingles. Not in the cool, metallic way it does when I'm falling into an episode but warm and cursive, like fancy handwriting over fine parchment paper, all loopy and beautiful, seeping in and out of every pore.

I’ll be honest: I’ve never read a Steampunk book before. In fact, I had little to no idea what it was that made the subgenre exist. But I knew right away that relatively new series, The Illumination Paradox, penned by Jacqueline Garlick, had something unique and fun to offer to my shelf. After reading the blurb, I was completely intrigued and ready to check it out. I just knew I had to pounce and score myself a copy.

Boy, am I glad that I did.

I had a feeling I would enjoy Lumière; I just didn’t know how much until I devoured the novel. I loved its uniqueness, its bizarre moments, its plot and the mysterious plotting of its history. As a whole, it was rich with descriptive locations and well-developed characters.

archive: 2015

12:16 PM

Smiley face Hide and Seek (TLG #4) by Sara Shepard | Rating: ★★★★★

Hide and Seek, the fourth novel in The Lying Game series, is just as fast paced and mysteriously chilling as the first of the series. Fortunately for readers, it picks up right where the last book left off and is perfect for binge reading. Sara Shepard once more makes its terror and the luxury of Sutton's life blend together in a dark and fascinating way.

There’s no path of safe return for Emma Paxton at this point, who has taken the place of her long lost twin sister to solve the teenage girls murder. In order for Emma to do this, she must put on a successful front and impersonate a girl she hardly knows. Sutton Mercer was the girl to be at Hollier High; now no one knows she died weeks prior to this.

She was no saint, she was shallow and spiteful in a way that only rich teenagers can be. It isn’t an easy front for Emma to put up, but so far so good. And with every week that passes, the further Emma dives into her sisters shoes, the higher the stakes are for her.

Emma has fooled Sutton’s family; Kirsten and Ted Mercer as well as Sutton’s little sister Laurel. She has even fooled Sutton’s friends, her classmates and secret boyfriend. Emma has become Sutton in order to bring her sisters killer to justice and risks what little she has to do so.

As a matter of fact, the only people who know her true identity are the killer and Emma’s new boyfriend, Ethan Landry.

archive: 2015

11:51 AM

ds Daemon Seer by Mary Maddox | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

I had no power. Not as long as he and the others nested inside my head. I needed a way of shielding my thoughts. Talion said daemons couldn't possess Rad and Psycho Cop because their nature prevented it. Both men were psychopaths who enjoyed hurting people. It was their nature. What if I smothered my conscience? Maybe the daemons wouldn't be able to hurt me anymore.

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Going into Daemon Seer, I had high hopes–the summary showed promise of mystery, danger and intrigue just as much as the lingering remains of tragedy from the past. I looked forward to meeting Luanda and Lisa; seeing just how much the past had changed them and what danger remains.

I can’t image the pain and trauma the two girls suffered as teenagers by the hands of a sadistic serial killer named Rad.

Daemon Seer will seem familiar in all its horror and fantasy; these characters have been around before in a story telling the tales of their time having been captive and their first experiences with the darkness that follows. I haven’t read the novel in question, so I cannot speak on that one.

amazon publishing

12:29 PM

aylinAlyin by Ayşe Kulin | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

"No one actually listens. People have to find happiness through their own trials and errors."

Aylin, at times, may be a bit difficult to follow–this is something you must know right off the bat. I don’t want you to misunderstand me, though, because while it isn’t the easiest thing to follow it is still a wonderful read. It’s beautifully written but it is not a novel that you can fully appreciate unless you are focused.

I don’t even have to say this next bit, but I will just to make my point: Aylin is not going to be for everyone. If you cannot devout your time to such a story, if you have a bit of difficulty following along, this novel will not connect with you.

But if you are up to it, this novel will be just what you are looking for–I knew within the first few chapters that the story was special.

Be prepared to get lost in its words, be prepared to take your time and embrace the story as it unfolds and most importantly you must be sure to let it get into its groove. Ayşe Kulin is a phenomenal voice in literature and that is what makes the story intimate and vivid.

alloy entertainment

11:58 AM

tsbhb The Space Between Heartbeats by Melissa Pearl | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Originally released under the title Betwixt, and now repackaged through Alloy Entertainment as The Space Between Heartbeats; Melissa Pearl crafts a comforting, painful and truly beautiful story of a young girl caught between life and death. It is a story about maturing, about loss and about making a positive change in life before it’s too late.

It reminds us that life is beautiful and full of second chances to those who need only ask. The Space Between Heartbeats is a triumph on many levels; capturing raw human emotion and teenage angst perfect, all the while giving off the power to cry and laugh on many occasions.

Melissa is able to tie all the good and bad traits of life together and create a hopeful and mysterious tone that will leave fans of If I Stay, The Lovely Bones and The Lying Game enjoying themselves. The Space Between Heartbeats is oddly similar to all three but ultimately a different story and very uplifting.

We follow teenage party-girl and overall wild child, Nicole Tepper, in her half-ghostly form as she struggles to better herself and find her body with help from the only person who can see/hear her: Dale Finnegan. It’s good old fluff to watch these two try and piece together what happened to Nicole and search for where her broken body lay.

a.s. king

12:24 PM

Smiley faceI Crawl Through It by A.S. King | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

"We're alive. We have words and shapes and ideas. We will throw them at you when you do not believe. We will throw our love and our hate and our failure and success. We'll split in two right in front of you and be our best and our worst. We'll lie and tell the truth."

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.  

A.S. King’s latest published work relies heavily on surrealism and the complexities of human emotions; tying everything together gracefully and making the experience of reading it both fun and full of depth.

I Crawl Through It isn’t my usual sort of read, and while it isn’t my favorite release of the year, it is still something I’m glad I read. There's just something about it that spoke to me in the long run. Long story short: it’s an engaging read that started off slow but really kicked your ass the longer you read, the more you learned and the more you got used to all its quirks.

It’s entire prose is something you don’t see often in young adult fiction and what it creates is something that will be interpreted different amongst its audience. King’s characters everything that strong leads should be: relatable, sarcastic, brave, intelligent, fun, secretive and full of the horrors of life.

Most importantly, they are alive and crawling through life for solutions of their own. Their problems are real, their thoughts are colorful, the way they are developed is unique and dark and beautiful.

academy girls

4:39 PM

ag Academy Girls by Nora Carroll | Rating: ★★★★★

“Words once memorized came back to me: the more things stay the same, the more they change. A line among many lines I was led to believe would be worthwhile to remember. But that was a long time ago, when I was a girl in a circle of girls. When all of us believed that words mattered as much as money, flesh, and blood.”

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Ah, yes. Academy Girls, in spite of its borderline cheesy name and a summary that doesn’t do itself justice, it has earned a slot on my top reads of 2015–and of all time. Prepare to get swept away. There’s something realistic and dark and sweet about it that just makes you feel something you can’t explain.

So get your tabs or highlighters ready before reading this one, you’ll find yourself making note of a lot. I’m confident that it will catch many readers eyes more than once.

But how can I describe Academy Girls? Beautiful, brilliantly crafted, surprising, long lasting and full of genuine human emotion. It’s likely that it will haunt me in the days that come and it will take me a while to shake this story.

august 2015

July/August 2015 Roundup

2:03 PM

Hang on–what do you mean that August is over? And in just a few short months it’ll be 2016? I’m in denial. Where has the year gone? I feel like it’s still March or April and it’s like I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath. What more can you expect from someone who still thinks 2007 was a couple of years ago.

I must admit it was surprising to look at the calendar and see the month ending. Summer is over and autumn is just around the corner. I am so excited to leave behind the ridiculously hot temperatures and feel the breeze. It’s time for me to ditch finding some shade to read outside in, and embrace the ability to sit comfortably on the porch with the dogs and enjoy the crisp and cool air.

Goodbye, sundresses, unbearable heat and glaring sunshine; hello sweater weather, tasty fall/winter flavored drinks and playing in the leaves with my dogs!

If you couldn’t tell, autumn is my favorite time of the year and just thinking about it is giving me the warm and fuzzies. It’s almost time to grab some pumpkin spice coffee, a pumpkin muffin for good measure, wait patiently from the new season of American Horror Story, reread some good old Harry Potter and of course make plans for Halloween parties.

I know what you’re thinking: Jessica, you’re getting ahead of yourself. And you’re right, but the truth is it feels good to be this excited again. I’ve been in a bit of a slump this year, especially in April after my Grandfather died and it’s just nice to be looking forward to something again. While it may seem small, it’s a huge deal for me.

That being said, this is my first real roundup on my blog. That’s right: I’ve been a book blogger since 2007 and this is my first time posting a monthly roundup. I had planned to do one in July, but the thing is July was a weak reading month for me. And to make up for that, I’m going to be combining both July and August in this roundup.