Saturday, April 19, 2014

Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Title: Fire & Flood
Author: Victoria Scott
Series: Book One in the Fire & Flood Series
Published By: Scholastic Books (February 25, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Given To Me By A Friend
Genre: YA Dystopian
My Rating: 3 Stars

Book Description:
A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own. 

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

I have to come right out and say this up front and first before I discuss anything else about this book because it needs to be said and quite frankly, I just know it will come up in other reviews, or at least, I suspect it will. This book has some similarities to the Hunger Games. They are there, they are very much real and yet, this is a totally different book so don't be turned off by others saying it is a copy cat of sorts, because it is and it isn't. 

There, I said it, now on to the good side of this book and the writing. 

This is a fun read, it really is, similarities and all. Tella is no Katniss, she isn't bad ass and strong and hardened, quite the opposite. She is somewhat a girly girl (okay and a little crazy, the way her mind works and wonders had me cracking a smile more than once throughout the story) and has had a very soft and pampered (read rich) life. She is kind and loving and has great compassion for those around her but she isn't a hunter and she certainly wasn't cut out to be in this crazy game the author created. In fact the only thing she has going for her is love. The love she has for her brother and the sheer determination and will to win.

Those are the qualities that make her kick butt. So yeah, she isn't Katniss, not at all. 

And Guy is no Peeta, not even a Gail, well, maybe a little Gail. He is a fighter and he is roughened and all hard edges and badness but he isn't ...well I'm not going to say anymore about what he isn't. He is however, smart and wise and he too, is compassionate and that combined makes him a fabulous Contender. He isn't a bad boy and he isn't a good boy, he just is. And that 'is” is pretty fabulous in the end. Maybe not swoon worthy but worthy enough.

This was a good start to a new series. Lots of questions still left unanswered and there is lots left to learn and discover but I will definitely be along for the ride. I am really hoping the world will be explained just a little more in the next installment but overall, nicely done. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Friday, April 18, 2014

Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik

Title: The Last Best Kiss
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Harper Teen (April 22, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:
Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too....

With her signature wit and expertly authentic teen voice, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic tale of first loves and second chances.

Even though I own a couple of her books this is my very first official LaZebnick novel and I have to admit, I really enjoyed it. So much so that all those others just sitting there in my TBR pile are certainly going to get a dusting off and finally have their spins cracked open.

This was such a cute story. It has Jane Austen written all over it, woven into the very pages and storyline itself without have to be labeled a retelling or remake. It is very much it's own story. 

Even though I am very familiar with where the storyline was going to go with having read Persuasion numerous times in the past, I still really enjoyed this. Even if Anna isn't Anne, she did a great job putting a modern spin on her character. In fact, she did so well that I wasn't even sure I liked her in the beginning. She was self centered and selfish and all be it a little cruel to Finn and I didn't like her for it. I wanted to not like her. But as in all cases like this one, she grew on me and even redeemed herself over time in my eyes.

I loved Finn and while he was no Mr Wentworth, he was a worthy opponent. It was pretty hard to resist his nerdy side and even harder his more “grown” up side. 

This was a fun retelling with a very modern twist that I am glad I took time out to read and enjoy. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review: Camp Payback by J.K. Rock

Title: Camp Payback
Author: J.K. Rock
Series: Book Two in the Camp Boyfriend Series
Published By: SpencerHill (April 29, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 4 Stars!!

Book Description:
Alex has big plans for camp this year, starting with making it the best summer ever. Having fun and breaking some rules will get her the payback she wants against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. Because of his disgusting texts, she's headed to a super strict all-girls school in the fall. Then she meets Javier and revenge doesn't seem nearly as important as getting to know the troubled loner determined to keep a low profile at camp. But Alex's trouble-magnet personality and Javier's need to stay in the background don't mix nearly as well as their irresistible chemistry. With her home life eroding under her feet and her last year of summer camp speeding to a close, Alex wants to make her mark on the world and squeeze every bit of fun out of her time with Javier. Too bad her old plans for revenge turn back on her just in time to ruin everything. Will she lose Javier too?

This is such an incredibly cute series. One that holds true to adolescents, the pains of growing up and trying to find who you are, who you want to be and all the struggles and firsts that come along with it.

So far I have loved every single book and novella that has been released and I am happy to say this second addition to the series is no different. Gosh, I really loved Alex and Javier. Maybe even more so than I have the other characters so far.

Their story was such a heartfelt one. I loved how rough and tough Javier was. The bad boy exterior with a heart of gold. It seems I am a sucker for a bad boy whether that is in YA novels or NA or even adult, I just can't resist them. 

I have said this before but it bares saying again, I just love the camp dynamic is this series. The camaraderie, the friendship all of it. The authors make you want to go to camp, to be there and experience it all yourself, the good, the bad and even the ugly. I think that feeling is what really makes this series stand out and make it so much fun to read.

All of the friends are different from one another, each bring a unique and complex dynamic into the bunch and each stand out in their own way. 

Alex has always been one that stood out for me since starting this series and I was eager to get her “wholesome” view on things. I was eager for her story. Throw in a new hot troubled boy into the camp and you have one fun story, maybe even my favorite yet.

I love how real these books feel. They all have a very realistic insight into what it means to be a teen today. The struggles with friends, family and even ourselves and I think that is yet another thing that makes this series so great. It is real. It isn't all carefree camp fun but instead very much so a coming of age story and all the good and bad that comes with that. With growing up and finding our own, standing up for ourselves and not letting what is “in” or “popular” rule our life but instead what is right and best for us.

This was very well done and I really do look forward to continuing on with this series until all the girls stories are told.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this  review.*

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we can share those books we are most excited about releasing in 2014.

It is so hard finding which memes to follow and take part in and so far I am really liking this one. Hopefully you aren't sick to death of me posting a new book each week already. 

As most of you that follow already know, I love books about witches, I always have, which is why when I saw this one I just knew it was one that I would have to pick up and read when it came out.

Book Description:
If high school is all about social status, Indigo Blackwood has it made. Sure, her quirky mom owns an occult shop, and a nerd just won’t stop trying to be her friend, but Indie is a popular cheerleader with a football-star boyfriend and a social circle powerful enough to ruin everyone at school. Who wouldn’t want to be her?

Then a guy dies right before her eyes. And the dusty old family Bible her mom is freakishly possessive of is stolen. But it’s when a frustratingly sexy stranger named Bishop enters Indie’s world that she learns her destiny involves a lot more than pom-poms and parties. If she doesn’t get the Bible back, every witch on the planet will die. And that’s seriously bad news for Indie, because according to Bishop, she’s a witch too.

Suddenly forced into a centuries-old war between witches and sorcerers, Indie’s about to uncover the many dark truths about her life—and a future unlike any she ever imagined on top of the cheer pyramid.

Doesn't the synopsis of this one sound great?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: Search by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Title: Search
Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy
Series: Book Two in the Empire Chronicles
Published: April 17, 2014
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: NA Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Casey isn't human. The revelation should terrify her, but it doesn't. Instead it excites her. Too bad not everyone is as excited as she is.
Torn between two lives, the only one she's ever known and her life as a paranormal princess, Casey has to decide whether she can trust the man she loves.
Sometimes being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be.

It is no secret that I love Ivy's work, she is just an amazing author that's writing never ceases to whisk me away to another world where there is so much possibilities and where anything can happen. Her writing is captivating and flows so nicely that from the moment you pick up one of her books until you set it down, it seems like no time at all has passed and yet, so much has happened. 

I was dying to get my hands on this book, with the way that Soar ended there was just no way I wasn't eager to start this and find out what happened next.

I would be lying though if I didn't go into this with a little trepidation. Some things were revealed at the end of book one that changed everything and I still wasn't sure how I felt about it all. 

What would it mean for Casey? Jared, Toby, Levi and Allie? Their whole world was about to change and I wasn't sure it would be for the better. 

This was...well, it was a fabulous addition to the series. It reminded me all over again why I trust Ms. Ivy with this series and her characters. She never ceases to amaze me with the new twists and turns she can take the storyline to. 

Just when I think I might have something or someone figured out, she hits me with something new that completely blows me away and makes me question things all over again. 

Just when I think I finally have a handle on who I love most, again she comes from left field and sends another curve ball my way. She is a master at suspense, at keeping me on the edge of my seat dying for more.

I am so excited about book three and I simply can't wait for it.

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: Book One in the Shatter Me Trilogy
Published By: Harper Teen (November 15, 2011)
Source: Purchased
Genre: YA Dystopian/Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars!

Book Description:
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

After much persuasion and maybe even a threat or two by friends and fellow bloggers, I finally decided it was time for me to pick this series up and see what all the fuss was about.

Can I just say that I am an idiot for waiting so long to do so? Other than the advantage that I don't have the agonizing wait for the next book to be out since they are now all out, (the only positive to having waited so long to start this series) I can't believe what I have been missing this whole time! This really is one series that lives up to all the hype and then some.

Oh my gosh, I love Adam. Where has he been all my life?

Waiting or no, I really am kicking myself for stalling so very long before starting this series. I don't even know where to begin to describe the barren almost desolate feel to the world that Mafi has created. It screams dystopian in every way possible but there is so much more to this story than a harsh dying world. This is a love story ever bit as much as it is a dytopian or a fantasy. It truly is everything good. 

This has all the elements I love in a story, it is captivating,  it stood out not only with it's beautiful writing and at times lyrical prose  but in the voice and feel that Mafi choose to give Juliette. She really is quite the unique character in every way imaginable. Her voice is innocent and child like one minute and insightful and deep the next. She has so much goodness inside of her with her ability to see the good in people and to care about a world that has been nothing but harsh and cruel to her. 

Juliette is one character that you won't soon be forgetting. 

And Adam is definitely one you won't forget. In fact I dare you to not fall madly in love with him after only the first book, heck the first few chapters he is in. He is sweet and caring and just fabulous. 

Oh my gosh, I can't believe how much I loved this. I will definitely be making time for all the other books. This is one series I don't want to wait to read. I want to read them all, right. Now. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

~This meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~
It’s a chance to share blog news,  to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. 

So I am loving this meme, it gives me a chance to catch up on my week and to play my next week.

Thanks Kim for hosting this!

This week on the blog there were a lot of cover reveals, I am not going to post them all here but check them out if you missed them, lots of eye candy to be had. ;)

This is what I featured for review or guest posts:

Next Week on the Blog:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Search by Alyssa Rose Ivy
My WoW Pick for the week
Camp Payback by J.K. Rock
The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

A slower week for me this week for review books which is actually kind of nice. 

I also received a $10 Amazon gift card from Kim fro my birthday this week! A huge thank you to her because I know just the book I will be picking up with it. ;)