Monday, March 2, 2015

Review: Strange Sweet Song by Ari Rule

Title: Strange Sweet Song
Author: Ari Rule
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: St. Martin's (March 11, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 3 Stars

Book Description:
A young soprano enrolls in a remote music academy where nothing, not even her mysterious young vocal coach, is as it seems.

Outside Dunhammond Conservatory, there lies a dark forest. And in the forest, they say, lives a great beast called the Felix. But Sing da Navelli never put much faith in the rumors and myths surrounding the school; music flows in her blood, and she is there to sing for real. This prestigious academy will finally give her the chance to prove her worth—not as the daughter of world-renowned musicians—but as an artist and leading lady in her own right.

Yet despite her best efforts, there seems to be something missing from her voice. Her doubts about her own talent are underscored by the fact that she is cast as the understudy in the school's production of her favorite opera, Angelique. Angelique was written at Dunhammond, and the legend says that the composer was inspired by forest surrounding the school, a place steeped in history, magic, and danger. But was it all a figment of his imagination, or are the fantastic figures in the opera more than imaginary?

Sing must work with the mysterious Apprentice Nathan Daysmoor as her vocal coach, who is both her harshest critic and staunchest advocate. But Nathan has secrets of his own, secrets that are entwined with the myths and legends surrounding Dunhammond, and the great creature they say lives there.

Lyrical, gothic, and magical, Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule will captivate and enchant readers. 

This is one of those wonderfully strange but frustrating reads.

The ones that actually keep you up at night wondering what you just read and leave you scratching your head going. “Huh?”

This has a very definite almost goth feel to it. The atmosphere is dark and strange and very mysterious, almost too much so at times.

I admit, it took me awhile, a long while (about half way through) to truly warm up to this book and that might have something to do with the fact that the jump between Sing, the Felix, and George was somewhat confusing. It took me awhile to place them and really catch on. I still am not sure if this was initial or if I am just really slow but it made the first half of the book feel slightly disjointed and me feeling disconnected. 

Once I got “it” then the story got a little more interesting and I settled into it much better. I still don't think this will be a book for everyone however, I think it might be one of those, you either love it, hate it, or are completely indifferent to it.

As for which one I am? I still am not sure. I was however, intrigued by it after I got past the rough patch. Did I love it? In a way yes I did. The writing was beautiful and the storyline unique and even lived up to its title as being strange but at the same time, I wish I would have connected with it more. I think if I would have from the very beginning this would have been such a wonderful beautiful story and truly stand out.

Sing was a hard character to love. I wanted to feel for her and all that she was going through but instead I found myself not really caring. The main love interest was...nothing special and certainly not swoon worthy and that didn't help either. I wanted so much more from this story. 

It had potential though and in the end I did end up liking it and feeling something for the story other than indifference. In fact I think I felt more for the Felix and Nathan than anyone else and I am not sure if that is what the author intended or not. Again, I am sort of left wondering if I read this right. If I truly got all this story had to offer.

Would I try something else from this author in the future? I think I would because like I said, I see the potential there and I really did want to love this, flaws, confusion in the beginning, and all. 

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

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March TBR Pile Challenge Line Up!

As some of you know I am once again participating in Kimba's TBR Pile Challenge and it is time now that March is here, to start that challenge so I thought I would start off with a potential list of those must reads for the month. Before I do that though, I would like to thank Kim again for hosting this challenge. It is the perfect motivator someone like me needs to put a dent (however small that may be) in my TBR pile. I had so much fun doing this last year, I just couldn't say no to doing it this year.

To see my initial post about the challenge, please go HERE. It lists all the rules and where you can go to sign up for the challenge. It is never to late to start! 

Let me tell you this wasn't an easy list for me to make this year for some reason. I have no idea why but I just couldn't decide what needed to be read. I have so many great wonderful books in my TBR pile that have come highly recommended to me that it didn't make this as easy choice. But the ones I choose (and will hopefully read) are all ones that have been recommended to me either more than once or I have been wanting to try anyways for more than a year now (yes I really said it has been over a year since I added some these babies to my pile and still haven't read them). 

First on my list and also probably the longest book in terms of page numbers (433 pages) , is this series that has also been recommended to me numerous time. In fact I almost read it for last year's challenge but ended up running out of time and of course put it on hold again. Well, I think that hold has been long enough. 

I am so hoping this darn book lives up to all the hype. Or I just might cry.

Second up is an author I just don't read enough. I have loved every single thing I have read by her and I even think I own all her books but the problem is, I have read very little of them so I am going to be ambitious and actually try to read two of her books and these two made the cut.

And this one (again I have had this since the release in 2012!):

I also plan to get caught up on some series I have been neglecting, namely the Kate Daniels series so these two are also on the list:

I also thought maybe it was about time I tried this author so On Dublin Street also made the cut (and can I say just for the record, I don't care for that cover at all. Something about it just bothers me):

Another series I desperately want to get caught up on but I still have a whole lot of books to go so at least throwing one into the mix will help right?

Okay this author I tried a long time ago (his debut I believe) and didn't love but I really want to try his latest book so I am giving him another go.

Keeping my fingers crossed I like it!

Another author I adore after last year reading her book Puddle Jumping (which also made it unto my top reads of 2014) is Amber Johnson and her new-ish release looks perfect for me:

Even though I shouldn't be starting a new series, this is one I have been meaning to start for a really long time now:

Another author and series I have wanted to try since its release in 2012:

And last but certainly not least I so want to try this book! So many of my friends (blogging and otherwise) have loved this series so I think it is about time I saw what all the fuss is about:

So these 12 books are high on my to read list. Last year I read 22 books for this challenge and I am hoping I can come close to that again. I want to leave the rest open because some days I just don't feel like reading anything I had plans to so I wanted a little wiggle room for those on the whim reads. I am sure a few dystopians and YAs will make it into this list along the way.

I even set up a shelf on Goodreads that is all ready to be used. How organized am I? :P

So are you going to tkae part in this challenge this month? If so, what do you plan on reading?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

We Bundle It Book Bundle Deal!

By now, you've probably heard of "bundling" where groupings of books by different authors are sold together for one amazing price. Often, bundles are organized by a theme or genre, and they usually feature one or two very well known authors alongside some lesser known or indie authors.

Well, today, I'd like to present to you the incredibly awesome Legends and Dreams Book Bundle, featuring eight amazing books, all by fantastic female fantasy authors (and one token dude who can write too).

Legends Bundle

One great feature of this bundle is that YOU, the buyer, get to CHOOSE WHAT PRICE YOU'LL PAY for it, with an extremely low $3 minimum. For that amount, you get five books (a real steal) but at a second tier of $13, you'll unlock THREE MORE and get all eight books. The full bundle of eight includes a book by best-selling author team, Rebecca Moesta and Kevin J. Anderson, as well as the newly redesigned cover of GHOST HAND by Ripley Patton, the first book of the acclaimed YA paranormal thriller series, The PSS Chronicles.

If that isn't enough incentive, another great aspect of this Bundle is that 10% of the profits goes to Stories for Students, a non-profit providing books for K-12 classrooms.

So, what are you waiting for? Go grab this bundle now, but don't delay as this OFFER ENDS MARCH 3rd.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

Title: Dead Heat
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Book Four in the Alpha & Omega Series
Published By: Ace (March 3, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Book Description:
For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way...

Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire. 

Have I mentioned that I love this series?

Yes? Okay, well just in case I hadn't I thought it bared repeating, I love this series!

It is just so much fun and Anna and Charles and just..the best were couple out there. I just love their growing relationship and their love for one another. It truly is sweet and just something special.

Once again Anna and Charles find themselves in the middle of chaos and a sup war, or almost war at any rate. Tension is rising as not only the weres have come out but the fae as well and nothing good ever happens from playing with fairies. 

Do these two ever get to rest and have fun?  

But, it's okay because no matter what they are tangled up in, they learn and grow stronger together and as individuals each new adventure and I think I love that most about this series. 

I love that once again Agent Fisher is in this! I loved her from book three and it was so nice to see her again and I loved that this delved deeper into Charles's past before Anna. It was nice seeing a slightly different side of him that not many get to see, including Anna.

I loved how truly nasty the fae are in this series. Very few of them are good and I like that side of them. I enjoyed seeing Jacob and all of his family. I am really hoping we get to see more of them in the future as well. 

I loved the ending. It wasn't a cliffhanger by any means but it was a tease and a very good one at that. I love what it means for Charles and Anna and I can't wait to see what happens with it and how it will all come about and unfold.

Once again, this was a delight to read and a great addition to the series.

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Title: The Start of Me and You
Author: Emery Lord
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Bloomsbury (March 31, 2015)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:
Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live? 

It is funny how you can go into a story not expecting anything and end up loving a character so much that they just made the whole book for you.

This is what Max did to this story. He took an ordinary story and breathed life into it. This story wouldn't have been the same without him in it. In fact, I don't even know if I would have liked this story as much as I did if it wasn't for him. I did like the other characters, in fact I adored Ryan and Tessa, Grammy (especially Grammy!), and Paige but Max, he stole the show.

I never have been able to resist the cute, funny nerdy type and in books it is just the same and Max definitely fits this description but he was so much more than that. I don't even know how to describe him other than he was amazing. To Paige, to Ryan, to the girls, and to complete strangers. 
Smart, honest, kind, and truly a heart of gold. He is the type of friend and boyfriend you hope your daughter will bring home and love and be worthy of.

This was an excellent coming of age story that wasn't just about growing up and moving on but about grief, friendship, and choices as well. The choice to move on. The choice to be better. The choice to truly live and the choice to love and be happy. 

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

Cover Reveal: Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

We’re dreaming of summer—feet in the sand, soaking up the sun, taking a dip in the pool—but what we’re most excited about this summer is the release of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s third novel, MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE (on sale July 7, 2015). While we (impatiently!) wait for the book, today we’re giving you a first look at the gorgeous cover! Plenty more information below…

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college, but on the heels of a disastrous breakup, she has finally returned to her hometown of Los Angeles. To celebrate her first night back, her best friend, Gabby, takes Hannah out to a bar—where she meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

It’s just past midnight when Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. Ethan quickly offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay.
Hannah hesitates.
What happens if she leaves with Gabby?
What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into surprisingly different stories with far-reaching consequences for Hannah and the people around her, raising questions like: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?
Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.
 Purchase Links:


Taylor Jenkins Reid is an author and essayist from Acton, Massachusetts. She is the author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alex, and her dog, Rabbit. You can follow her on Twitter @TJenkinsReid.

Atria Books/Washington Square Press Paperback | 352 pages | ISBN:  9781476776880 | July 7, 2015 | $16.00

eBook: Atria Books/Washington Square Press | 352 pages | ISBN: 9781476776897 | July 7, 2015 | $11.99

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WoW Pick of the Week!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is a chance to share those new releases were are super anxious to get our hands on and read.

This weeks choice was an easy one, already being a fan of the author's. How could I resist a new series from her?

Release Date: June 9, 2015 (Delacorte)

Book Description:
Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her. 

So what do you think? Sound like something you would like as well? Have you tried her other series?