Friday, May 27, 2016

Mini Review: Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

Title: Autofocus
Author: Lauren Gibaldi
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Harper Teen (June 14, 2016)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:

It’s always been a loaded word for Maude. And when she is given a senior photography assignment—to create a portfolio that shows the meaning of family—she doesn’t quite know where to begin. But she knows one thing: without the story of her birth mother, who died when Maude was born, her project will be incomplete.

So Maude decides to visit her best friend, Treena, at college in Tallahassee, Florida, where Maude’s birth mother once lived. But when Maude arrives, she quickly discovers that Treena has changed. With a new boyfriend and a packed social calendar, Treena doesn’t seem to have time for Maude—or helping Maude in her search.

Enter Bennett, a cute guy who lives in Treena’s dorm. He understands Maude’s need to find her mother. And as Bennett helps Maude in her search, she starts to find that her mother’s past doesn’t have to define her own future.

Lauren Gibaldi has crafted a beautiful and timely coming-of-age story that poses the question: Is who we are determined at birth, or can we change as we grow?

I have always been a sucker for a great well told coming of age story that can hit you in the feels. Leave you nodding your head in agreement in parts, teary eyed in others, and always, with a warm feeling in your heart when that very last page is turned and the story told. 

Autofocus is one such story. A story that is at times is raw, real, hard, but also one that is hopeful and beautiful. 

A story that I think anyone can relate to regardless of their circumstances and one I think a lot of teens will relish and finally feel like someone else out there “get's it”. 

One about finding oneself, coming to terms with other things, and most importantly what matters most in life of living, loving, and letting go. 

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review: Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

Title: Lean Mean Thirteen
Author: Janet Evanovich
Series: Book Thirteen in the Stephanie Plum Series
Published By: St. Martin's Press (June 19, 2007)
Source: Purchased
Genre: Mystery
My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:
New secrets, old flames, and hidden agendas are about to send bounty hunter Stephanie Plum on her most outrageous adventure yet!


Dickie Orr. Stephanie was married to him for about fifteen minutes before she caught him cheating on her with her arch-nemesis Joyce Barnhardt. Another fifteen minutes after that Stephanie filed for divorce, hoping to never see either one of them again.


Doing favors for super bounty hunter Carlos Manoso (a.k.a. Ranger). Ranger needs her to meet with Dickie and find out if he's doing something shady. Turns out, he is. Turns out, he's also back to doing Joyce Barnhardt. And it turns out Ranger's favors always come with a price...


Going completely nutso while doing the favor for Ranger, and trying to apply bodily injury to Dickie in front of the entire office. Now Dickie has disappeared and Stephanie is the natural suspect in his disappearance. Is Dickie dead? Can he be found? And can Stephanie Plum stay one step ahead in this new, dangerous game? Joe Morelli, the hottest cop in Trenton, NJ is also keeping Stephanie on her toes-and he may know more than he's saying about many things in Stephanie's life. It's a cat-and-mouse game for Stephanie Plum, where the ultimate prize might be her life.

With Janet Evanovich's flair for hilarious situations, breathtaking action, and unforgettable characters, LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN shows why no one can beat Evanovich for blockbuster entertainment.

It truly is hard not to fall in love with this series. It is so outrageous so chaotic, and so much darn fun. 

With a cast of crazy laugh out loud lovable characters and danger and mayhem lurking around every corner, this series is my go to series when I need out of a book funk or just plain and simply need a good hearty laugh. 

Stephanie has a way of getting herself into trouble regardless of the situation and why it is ridiculous, it also can't help being hilarious at the same time. And the best part is, she has a crazy cast of friends to help her through it all not to mention two hunky guys vying for her attention. 

And while most books with a love triangle drive me crazy, this one some how seems to work for me and manages to add something to the series that probably wouldn't be the same without it. 

Laughs, danger, great friends and co workers, and a mystery that is always fun, this is a series that anyone that loves to laugh and still get some depth, will enjoy. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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 isn't my typical pick because I think it might be middle grade or if not, then a young YA, either way, it still looks so good I just want to read it. 

I read this author's first book in her False Prince series and really liked it so I'm hoping the writing style will be very similar. 

Book Description:

As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor's wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge -- and quarantine colony -- for the ill. The Scourge's victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn't know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She's been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on. 

But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Release Day Review: The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

Title: The City of Mirrors
Author: Justin Cronin
Series: Book Three in the Passage Trilogy
Published By: Ballantine Books (May 24, 2016)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Fantasy/Dystopian
My Rating: 5 Stars!

Book Description:
In "The Passage" and "The Twelve", Justin Cronin brilliantly imagined the fall of civilization and humanity s desperate fight to survive. Now all is quiet on the horizon but does silence promise the nightmare s end or the second coming of unspeakable darkness? At last, this bestselling epic races to its breathtaking finale.

"The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?"

The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy – humanity's only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate. 

This review is probably the hardest one I've ever written. Ever had to contemplate, compose, and try to convey just how great the story was and not just this book, this book of genius, but the whole trilogy as a whole. 

Cronin is truly talented. I know I've said it before but the man is brilliant, hand downs a master at his craft. 

Words, my words, my simple non masterful words, can not do this series, this book justice. 

Honestly, I don't even know where to begin. So much was woven together, carefully plotted, planned, and executed and it showed in every single sentence, paragraph, and page. 

This book was like a magical journey to another time and place that you get so immersed in, so caught up in that you lose time while in it. The real world around you disappears and there is nothing but the world that he has created for you and thrown you into. 

It isn't like other books in its genre. It stands out. It's unique, creative, imaginative, and well designed and I couldn't of been happier with the way it all came together and came about. The way information, facts, and details slowly all came together, made sense, and most of all, was brilliantly laid out. 

It was both bittersweet and satisfying to have this trilogy end and one I soon won't be forgetting or recover from. 

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Title: My Lady Jane
Author(s): Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Harper Teen (June 7, 2016)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Historical (with a twist)
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

I already knew liking this novel wasn't going to be hard, I mean, with a line up of brilliant authors like this one has, how could anyone not like it right?

What I was expecting, was to fall in love without even having finished the prologue. Yep, seriously, so. Much. Fun.

Truly a tragic tale retold, re-imagined, and with so many other news, it will make your head spin in the very best ways.

Told in the point of views of both Jane, “G”, and Edward, this was such a hoot. Witty, entertaining, (somewhat) historic, and always interesting, these authors know how to retell them. 

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Review: All Fixed Up By Linda Grimes

Title: All Fixed Up
Author: Linda Grimes
Series: Book Four in the Ceil Halligan Series
Published By: Tor Books (May 24, 2016)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:
The hilarious adventures of human chameleon Ciel Halligan continue in the fourth installment of this original urban fantasy series from Linda Grimes, All Fixed Up.

Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire, has a lot of experience filling in for her clients--as them. A rare genetic quirk gives her the ability to absorb human energy and project it back out in a flawless imitation. She's hard at work, posing as a well-known and celebrated astronaut, about to make a stunning announcement on behalf of the space program...when the photographer documenting the job sees right through her aura. Worse, it soon becomes apparent that he not only knows Ciel’s not who she's supposed to be, but means her harm.

When Ciel's elderly Aunt Helen—also an aura adaptor—is murdered in Central Park, and the same photographer shows up at the funeral, Ciel starts to feel even more exposed. Then more adaptors are killed in the same way, and she becomes terrified her friends and family are being systematically exterminated ... and it's starting to look like she's the ultimate target. She turns to Billy Doyle, her best-friend-turned-boyfriend, for help, but when an unexpected crisis causes him to take off without a word, she's left to rely on her not-so-former crush, CIA agent Mark Fielding.

Staying alive, keeping control of her romantic life, and unraveling the mystery of why adaptors are being pursued becomes a harder balancing act than ever in this new Ciel Halligan adventure from Linda Grimes.

This series is so much fun. So different from most urban fantasies,  with humor interwoven along with mystery and romance and of course a very unique aspect of adaptors. 

You won't find witches, or demons, or vampires or werewolves here, instead, you will find magic of a different sort. 

This series has been fun and entertaining from the beginning and this latest release wasn't any different. While it is packed full of action and adventures it is also more family and romance oriented. It truly is a nice balance and a lighter one as well even amidst all the danger Ciel manages to always get herself wrapped up in. 

I was reminded all over again why I love Ciel, Billy, Mark, and the whole Hannigan gang, even if I did want to shake Billy more times than I could count. In fact, my opinion of him changed a bit in this and sadly, not for the better. This has always been a love triangle that worked for me which I don't say often but this time, this time I found myself rooting for the underdog more often than not. And while I love both guys and that will never change, it was hard seeing Ciel make some of the choices she did.

Nonetheless, this was still a fun outrageous read full of laughs, danger, and action, and it didn't take me long to once again get completely wrapped up in Grimes' writing and in her characters. 

Overall another outstanding novel in 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, May 19, 2016

Review: The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Long Game
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Series: Book Two in the Fixer Series
Published By: Bloomsbury (June 7, 2016)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Tess Kendrick, teen fixer extraordinaire, returns in a pulse-pounding thriller about a deadly conspiracy at the heart of Washington.

For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate's campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess's guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can--and cannot--be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she's about to discover first-hand that power always comes with a price.

Perfect for fans of Harlan Coben and Ally Carter, the second book in this thrilling series will leave readers breathless.

It's easy to forget sometimes in between releases, especially with a new series, how much fun it is and how memorable the characters are. And let me tell you, when it comes to Asher and Vivvie, they are two characters (secondary characters at that) that stand out. In fact, this whole series is filled with memorable fun characters.

I was laughing out loud after the first couple of pages and had a smile on my face so big, that my cheeks hurt and because of it, I was immediately pulled right back into the story and was reminded once again why this series and really all her series, are always so much fun. 

There were so many things that took place throughout this book. Things I didn't see coming and never expected to happen and it was wonderful. It is so refreshing to have a YA mystery that isn't transparent. One that is entertaining, keep me on my toes, and keeps me guessing and above all, highly additive. I ended up reading this in a matter of hours and I hadn't even planned on getting so caught up in it, I truly love it when that happens. When you open a books and what is one the pages is so magical and captivating that before you know it, hours have passed and you are done and left wanting more. 

Barnes hands down has always been that author for me and it is why I will always pick up her books without hesitation and know that I am in for a treat when I read them. This was an amazing sequel, every bit as fast paced and wonderfully done as the first, if not better. I can't wait for more.

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