Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Sunset Rising

Sunset Rising by S.M. McEachern
(Sunset Rising #1)
Publication date: November 12th 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

Blurb: February 2024: Desperate to find refuge from the nuclear storm, a group of civilians discover a secret government bio-dome. Greeted by a hail of bullets and told to turn back, the frantic refugees stand their ground and are grudgingly permitted entry. But the price of admission is high.

283 years later… Life as a slave in the Pit had never been easy, but for seventeen-year-old Sunny O’Donnell it was quickly careening out of control. Her mother was killed in the annual spring Cull, leaving her alone with a father who decided to give up on life.  It’s not that she blamed him for grieving, but if they didn’t earn enough credits to keep their place inside the Pit, they would be kicked out into a world still teeming with radiation. That left her to earn the credits for both of them.  It didn’t help that her boyfriend, Reyes Crowe, was pressuring her to get married and abandon her father.

Sunny didn’t think life could get any worse, until she was forced upstairs to the Dome to serve and entertain the elite at a bachelor party. That's where she met Leisel Holt, the president's daughter, and her fiancé, Jack Kenner. Now Sunny is wanted for treason. If they catch her, she'll be executed. 

She thought Leisel's betrayal was the end for her…but it turns out it was just the beginning.

Sunset Rising is Book One of a series.




S.M. McEachern (also known as Susan) comes from the rocky shores of Canada’s East Coast.  As a resident of Halifax during her early adult years, she attended Dalhousie University and earned an Honors

Becoming an author has been a lifelong dream for Susan. “Sunset Rising” is her debut novel and the first of many she plans to write.  

Author links:
Degree in International Development Studies with a focus on ocean development.  Throughout her academic studies and early career, Susan had the privilege to work with many developing countries on resource management projects. 


Excerpt from “Sunset Rising” (Book One)

“Oh, Summer. If you weren’t so picky, you could have been married by now. But whenever a boy is interested in you, you’re suddenly not interested in him. I think you like flirting more than actually having a boyfriend.”
“That’s not true. I just haven’t met the right one yet.”
“Though you do bring up a good point. You’re running out of time.”
Summer could have had her pick of any boy in the Pit. A full head shorter than me, her small stature and delicate limbs gave her an elegant, feminine quality. I always felt large and clumsy next to her.
“You know, we’re always talking about me,” Summer said. “How are you? How’s your dad?”
She might regret asking that question, but I gave her an honest answer. “Dad lost his job yesterday because he didn’t show up for work.”
“Oh, Sunny. What are you going to do?”
I heard sympathy in her voice, and exasperation, too. My father had always been a little self-destructive. My mother had done a fairly good job of protecting me from it, but without her, I was on my own with him. “I told Reyes last night I couldn’t marry him until after the next Cull.”
“You’re postponing? Again?” she asked. “That’s a bit drastic. I’m sure your father can get another job. He’s had a lot of experience in the mines.”
“He’s barely been eating since Mom left, and now he’s too weak to get out of bed.”
“But you’ve put your marriage on hold once before, and I can’t imagine Reyes is happy with postponing again. And you’re not getting any younger, Sunny. You’re almost eighteen. Aren’t you afraid Reyes is going to get fed up with waiting and move on to someone else?”
I had never thought about Reyes being with someone else. We had been together forever. And at our age, it was getting kind of late to go looking for a new partner. Of course he would wait for me. If I gave him enough time, he would eventually understand that my father needed me right now, and I couldn’t leave him.
But there was wisdom in her words. At seventeen, I was middle-aged, and that didn’t bode well for getting approval to have a child. Population control in the Pit was getting stricter all the time. Reyes really wanted a child, but if I was being honest with myself, I didn’t. I guessed that was why I didn’t feel an urgent need to get married right away.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 3/29/14

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves. You can include books you buy, books you borrow, review copies, gifts, and ebooks!

This week was much better than last week as far as the number of books I got: last week I only had one book in my StS post! I recieved three books for review:

I also borrowed three books from the library: 

The cover of my copy of Legacy is actually completely different; it's red and not nearly as pretty as the redesigned one, so I added the one I liked better instead.

What do you all think? Have you read any of these? Comment below!

Friday, March 28, 2014

My Name Is Rapunzel by K.C. Hilton

My Name Is Rapunzel 

By K.C. Hilton

Blurb: My tale has been told again and again, and I’ve heard each one. Except for my hair, I barely recognize the pitiful renditions. Muddled versions, crafted to entertain laughing children…but the children wouldn’t have laughed if they’d known the real story. It wasn't their fault. They didn't know the truth. Nobody did.

My name is Rapunzel. I will tell you my story. I will tell you the truth.

Publication Date: November 22, 2013

Genres:  YA, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings

Series: N/A

Pages: 322

My Rating: 3 stars

So, it had been a log time since I had read a fairy tale retelling. I'd decided to take a break from them because I was reading too many. So, when I picked up My Name is Rapunzel, I was really excited, ready for a truly fantastic story about one of my favorite fairy tales. The story was good, I'll admit. But...I can't say it was written as well as it should have been.

First, apparently this story takes place around or in Denmark, but the reader really has no way of knowing that. Aside from the fact that Rapunzel mentions meeting the Grimm brothers once and there being a castle in the story, you wouldn't even know that they lived in Europe.

Second, Gretta. Sometimes she seems downright evil, other times just a misunderstood motherly figure. It was weird. Perhaps the author was trying to give a Mother Gothel flair, where she's mean, but she seems nice and caring. I am not sure, because that's not exactly how it came off.

Lastly, the ending. (MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH) we find out that Henry kills Luke. Rapunzel's beloved son was burned to death, albeit accidentally, by Henry's dragon self, when Luke tried to protect his wife from the flames. Reason? Henry thought it was Gretta and was trying to take revenge. First, that doesn't make sense. How did Henry mistake Anastasia, an apparently beautiful young woman with flaming red hair, for Gretta, an old woman with hair that is definitely not red?? But that's not even the start of it. Rapunzel forgives him easily, saying she's only sorry that Luke and he couldn't have known each other. Umm...I don't have kids, but I know that if someone killed your son it would be harder to forgive them. A LOT harder.

However, I did find myself caught up in the story despite the flaws. I liked that the author showed Rapunzel's life from the time she was cursed until present day. I thought there were some interesting reveals, ones that made the story much more fun to read.

My Name Is Rapunzel is the kind of book to read on a lazy day, the kind where you really don't want to think too hard about the storyline. It's not the masterpiece I hoped for, but it wasn't terrible either. I'd recommend other retellings before this one, but if you have nothing else to read, sure, go for it.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Medusa by Tony Talbot


By Tony Talbot

Blurb:  Lissa Two is a thief of the ocean cities, struggling to make enough money to clear her debts and take care of her traumatised sister, scratching a meagre living as best she can. So she has enough worries without her life getting more complicated...but when a boy named Hattan literally falls from the sky, she can't just let him drown. It's a decision she comes to regret, a decision that will change not only her life, but the lives of everyone she loves. If they survive...

Genres:  YA, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Publication Date: February 11, 2014

Series: N/A

Pages: 264

My Rating: 4 stars

A free copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't really sure what to expect going into Medusa. The cover was what initially drew me to the book, and the blurb sounded fantastic, but Tony Talbot was a new author to me, so I was a bit nervous at the same time. My fears quickly dissipated. After reading only a few lines, I knew this book would be good!

The plot:

The plot is really great. It's original, which is always a plus. When I say original, I mean original. The only book that came to mind when reading this was The Search for WondLa, simply because the main character in that book was called Eva Nine, and the main character of this book was called Lissa Two. If that is the only connection I can make, I think it's safe to say that this book was original.

It's also really, really exciting. There's pirates, betrayal, and killer clouds. Does that not sound awesome? I think part of the reason I liked it so much was because it's science fiction and I don't think I've read a "real" science fiction book in a while.

I liked that there was no over excessive romance; there was a bit, but I mean a miniscule amount. I was afraid that the relationship between Hattan and Lissa would turn into a case of insta-love, but that's not how it plays out at all...I won't give anything away though...

I got sucked into the world of Medusa almost immediately. Technically, it's what happened to the Earth after an apocalyptic event, but it doesn't feel like that. It feels like stepping into a completely new world, due to how changed the Earth has become.


The author made me like a ship. Connie, aforementioned ship, may be the most complex characters in this book. I'm not saying that snarkily. She really is a well-thought out character. She has a past that she would rather forget, so much so that she walled the memory away. And even though she is not technically a person, she has emotions, really well-written emotions.

Lissa Two is a perfect heroine. She's fierce and kick-butt, but she has a soft side as well. She really loves her sister and would do anything to protect her. I loved their relationship.

There are a couple typos, but they are easily overlooked and they don't interfere with the overall reading experience.

I enjoyed every second of Medusa. I am really curious to see if there will be a sequel, because Goodreads doesn't say anything about one but it seemed like there might be one. Either way, it was a great book!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Before They Find Us


Before They Find Us 

by Michelle A. Hansen 

Blurb: I’m going to make you wish you were dead.

Just a text. Seventeen-year-old Rebecca Hales tries not to worry. Probably a wrong number. Not really meant for her, and definitely not related to the crime she witnessed six years ago. Right?

Then two states away, a bomb goes off in her best friend’s locker. Soon Ryan is labeled a terrorist and runs to the safest place he knows—Rebecca’s house in small-town Wyoming. It doesn’t take long for the FBI to show up asking questions. Rebecca lies, of course, and says she hasn’t seen him.

Now she’s neck-deep in it with him, whatever “it” is. The only way out is to return to Vegas, where Ryan is a wanted man. The city of lies and illusion tests Rebecca’s wits as she struggles to find the person who framed Ryan and why.

Is Rebecca’s text linked to the bombing? And what does it have to do with a six year old murder? Rebecca needs to find out before she loses Ryan—and her own life.

Publication date: November 2013

Genres: Romantic Thriller, Young Adult

Series:  N/A

Pages: 334

My Rating: 4 stars

Before They Find Us was a treat to read. It's a book that gets more fast paced with each page turn.

The best part of the book is by far the mystery/thriller aspect of the story; I was addicted. I had absolutely no idea how the book would turn out, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was reading as fast as I could because I needed to know what would happen next. The author always managed to stay one step ahead of the reader with the plot.

The characters are fantastic, especially Rebecca, the main character. As some of you might know, I love when a character has a backstory that significantly adds to the plot. Rebecca has one, all right. She witnessed a murder when she was eleven and identified the killer, Kyle Rasmussen. He was sent to jail, and later died there. This isn't just a plot device, though; throughout the plot, you see her struggling with this. In addition to Rebecca, there are a number of other great characters. Each one has a distinct personality, and they all really add something to the plot.

I liked how the author portrayed Beck and Ryan's relationship a lot.  They are a bit more than friends, but not a couple. I love that the author didn't make them real boyfriend and girlfriend at the beginning of the book, because it really added something to the story.

This book is the kind of story you will finish in a day because you won't be able to put it down. I liked it a LOT.


Michelle A. Hansen was raised in southeastern Washington. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in

Michelle loves Pepsi and Doritos more than chocolate. She loves summertime and hates to be cold. She has

Author links:

had three near-death experiences. She’s addicted to office supplies and has an irrationally large stash of pens and notebooks.
English teaching from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and taught high school English for six years.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

The Titan's Curse

By Rick Riordan


But when you're the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh and guess what. The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive...

Genres: Juvenile/Young Adult, Adventure, Fantasy 

Publication Date: May 5, 2007

Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (book 3)

Pages: 320

My Rating: 5 stars


Wow. This book is the best out of the series for me so far...I haven't read the next two so that will most likely change, but I feel like there was a lot more depth to this one than the others.
I'm not saying the first and second book were not good, of course. I really liked them, but they were like...Harry Potter meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I loved all the action, but there was a lot of humor and the main plot was still taking off. I feel like in Titan's Curse, the storyline made tremendous leaps. Plus the ending made me tear up, so there's that.

First, I loved the new characters. Rick Riordan always manages to make the new characters super interesting, which is nice, because I sometimes don't really like a bunch of new characters coming in and would rather focus on the originals. With Percy Jackson, I HOPE that we get to meet new characters! I loved that we got to know Thalia in this book (I would like to say that I just knew at some point she was going to come to life again. I just knew it!) However, Nico and Bianca were really cool too. And Zoe...don't even get me started. Her backstory was so sad.

Second, plot. Like I said before, it felt much more important to the storyline than the first two. The first, I felt, was more of an intro to the series, then came the second, which was more important but still a bit light, and then came this one. It was great. There are so many twists and turns that you just DON'T see coming. The end is a 'weepy' kind of ending, but really, those are the best, aren't they?

These books have taught me more about Greek mythology than any history teacher has. They aren't only a blast to read, they're educational, which is awesome! These books are perfect for almost anybody.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

After Summer by Hannah Harvey

After Summer

By Hannah Harvey

Blurb: Everything changes for Arianna when she loses one of her best friends in an accident, suddenly everything that felt happy and safe, is no longer there, and she can't handle it.
It used to be Ben, Summer and Arianna, always together, and now it's just Ben and Arianna left, and she needs to escape.
After Summer's death she pushes Ben away, cutting of her connection with who she used to be, but she can't keep running forever, not when the past is always ready to catch her up, especially since it's more than just Summer's death that she's running from.

Genres: YA, Realistic Fiction 

Published: March 1, 2013

Series: N/A

Pages: 290

My Rating: 2 stars

<i>A free copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.</i>

This review will change drastically someday--if the book is ever edited. The story itself is amazing. However, the grammar mistakes, mostly run-on sentences, jarred me out of the story too frequently for me to get fully immersed in After Summer

Out of all grammar errors, I hate run-ons the most. These are the ones that are the hardest to ignore, because I read them like they are written. Sadly, After Summer has a lot of run-ons, and they take away from a wonderful and poignant story.

Here's one example from the book:

You've got to be kidding me, it's summer it's meant to be bright, hence why my parents called me Summer, because I'm also bright, my dad says I'm bright and bubbly, which brings me to my next line of conversation...

Also, the book is written in third person present tense; it takes a while to get used to this. I think it would be better if the book had been written in past tense. After a while I started to block it out, though, so it wasn't as big of a problem as I feared it would be.

The story itself, as I have stated before, is WONDERFUL. The author is extremely talented. I probably would have been crying multiple times if it hadn't been for the run-ons. The characters are wonderful; I love that the story mixed in some humor with the sadness, to make the book not be too depressing. I loved the characters; Ben, Arianna, and Fletcher are really well written.

So, if this book is ever edited, I think it might have five star potential. I would definitely re-read this book as well as re-write this review if that happens. I would still definitely recommend this book to people, but only if they are able to block out grammar mistakes.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I'm joining Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hi people! So, as some of you may have noticed, GFC is not letting people follow new blogs. Which sucks, because that's what I use to follow people. So, I am officially joining Bloglovin! I have held out on getting an account long enough. If you guys would like to follow me on Bloglovin, the link is up at the top of this post! Thanks!

Stacking The Shelves 3/22/14

 Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Well this week is simple to do. I purchased one book. However, it is a book I have been waiting since last year to read, so I'm satisfied. Plus, I got to go to Barnes and Noble, and I love it there.

 United We Spy by Ally Carter

So, what did you get this week? Hopefully it was a bigger haul than mine? Comment below!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Blitz + GIVEAWAY: Impervious

Impervious by Heather Letto
(Ascension #1)
Publication date: April 29th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult

The residents of Impervious are the remnant—survivors of the War of Annihilation. And though the city is chockfull of pleasures to tantalize and entertain, a beast lurks in its corners haunting the residents with its presence. The Beast—a mysterious and terminal illness--has killed off most of Generations One, Two and Three. And as Gen-Four prepares to take the stage a provocative, yet questionable, new method to avoid an untimely death becomes a cultural rage.

But Fran is counter-cultural. And living off the grid in true rebel fashion, her life is far from opulent. Scurrying through dark tunnels, searching for hot meals and ditching the holographic security team encompass most of her day. However, she views it as a healthy trade-off. Unaccountability means The Council can’t steal her sliver of hope--a belief that she’ll see The Epoch arrive before the beast can pull her into its fetid embrace.

After losing her mother and then her Rebel mentor, however, she grasps painfully onto the splintered sliver, until a new hope is born. First through Pete. And then through a miraculous discovery.

But the question still haunts her…

Can she outrun The Beast?



Heather considers herself but a worker in the field with a desire to share truth through the art of good story.  In real life, she’s the proud mother of two grown sons and lives part-time in Northern Illinois with her husband, but scurries off to warmer climates when the mercury takes a dive on the thermometer. As well as The Ascension Series, Heather contributes to WHOAwomen magazine, The Fit Christian, Tween Girls and God, Devotion Magazine as well as Swagga for Christ Ministry.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse

By Marie Rutkoski

Blurb: Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Dystopia

Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Series: Winners Trilogy (Book 1) 

Pages: 355

My Rating: 4 stars

The Winner's Curse was like nothing I have ever read before; the world building was awesome, the romance was awesome, almost everything was awesome. (Okay, this review is starting to sound like the Lego Movie.) I am betting this book will become really popular as it becomes more well known, though technically you could say it already is, having 1500+ ratings on Goodreads after less than three weeks of being in bookstores.

Worldbuilding: huh. I went through half this book thinking of it as a Dystopian kind of setting, which is somewhat true, but not in the traditional sense, because this isn't really our world gone bad. It's a totally new world that was really well thought out and I loved that it was rooted in Greco-Roman history. It's just really wonderful, and even though I wouldn't want to live in this society, I loved to read about it.

Writing: The author knows how to use metaphors that don't seem over the top and describe characters so well that I felt like I actually knew Kestrel and Arin. I am definitely reading the rest of Marie Rutkoski's books after this literary delight, I can tell you that! But seriously, people, the metaphors. If this hadn't been a library book I probably would have highlighted some of them. 

Characters: Can I just say I SHIP KESTREL AND ARIN. Which doesn't happen a lot--I am not someone who gets caught up in the shipping side of books.I will be "Team this" and "Team that", but really it's usually because I simply hate the other guy. When there isn't a love triangle and it's just one romantic interest? Well, sometimes I can get really passionate about the character's relationships (Day and June, guys, Day and June) but usually I simply just go along with it for plot's sake. This book? NO, THEY MUST BE TOGETHER OR I WILL CRY IN MY PILLOW FOR TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT. Arin and Kestrel are pretty much the perfect bookish couple. 

Separately, I still love the characters. Kestrel is a kick-butt heroine who isn't afraid to take charge of the situation. She's super smart and good when it comes to strategy, not so good when it comes to fighting. (Yay, a protagonist who is nonathletic...though in Kestrel's case I suppose it isn't exactly non-athleticism, but I'll take what I can get.) Arin is an enigma. I love mysterious characters, they make the book automatically 23.55% more interesting. And that's TOTALLY an exact number, by the way. The fact that he has a sad past? Make that another 13.05% more interesting. ANOTHER really exact number. (Pssh, me just hitting random numbers on the keyboard? Pah-lease.) Both of them are well-developed and likeable. Two thumbs up from me!

The plot was amazing and unique. (This paragraph will probably seem a bit vague because I really want to keep you from learning anything that could spoil the book. You'll thank me later.) Partly, this was due to the world building, but honestly, it would have been a good story--possibly not great, but good--even if the worldbuilding had been lackluster, because the storyline was just that good. I needed to know what happened next. This book is nearly un-put-down-able; not exactly the greatest when you need to go to bed because you have to get up early the next day, but still, I admire that.  The major thing I loved about the plot was that the romance didn't happen right away, and even when sparks finally started flying, things were 'complicated'. That just made the book more interesting. 

So four stars? How could you give a book four stars if you seem to gush about it? Well. Honestly, the plot did slow down a bit for me nearer to the end. Also, I have extremely high standards for five stars; they have to basically be one of my favorite books, and The Winner's Curse, while great and probably a 2014 favorite, didn't live up to my most favorite books, though it was great and definitely a highlight of my recent reading choices. (This is probably why I gushed so much about it!) Still, it was really good, and I would definitely be recommending it.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cold Calls by Charles Benoit

Cold Calls

By Charles Benoit

Blurb: In the vein of the teen suspense classics I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Face on the Milk Carton, Cold Calls is a chilling thriller, an unsettling mystery, and a provocative exploration of bullying, culpability, and the cost of keeping secrets.

Three high school students-Eric, Shelly, and Fatima-have one thing in common: "I know your secret."
Each one is blackmailed into bullying specifically targeted schoolmates by a mysterious caller who whispers from their cell phones and holds carefully guarded secrets over their heads. But how could anyone have obtained that photo, read those hidden pages, uncovered this buried past? Thrown together, the three teens join forces to find the stranger who threatens them-before time runs out and their shattering secrets are revealed . . .

This suspenseful, pitch-perfect mystery-thriller raises timely questions about privacy, bullying, and culpability

Genres:  YA, Mystery, Thriller, Realistic Fiction

Publication Date: April 1, 2014

Series: N/A

Pages: 288

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 
I could not put this book down! It was so flipping good and suspenseful.

At first, I was a bit confused as to why this was happening. I wasn't sure exactly why someone would randomly blackmail kids to bully others; just for their own sick enjoyment? As soon as the kids actually find out why this is happening, the plot got more realistic, though, and I literally could not stop reading. 

The characters are so good. My favorite character was Shelly, but I liked that all of the characters acted realistically. I was truly rooting for them during the whole book.

But really stands out for this story is not the characters, it's the suspense that goes on for the entire book. It never lets up. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading this; I simply had to know what would happen next. There are few books I've read that were this thrilling to read.

I loved how the book ended...with a cliffhanger that could possibly open the door for a second book, but not necessarily. I will definitely read the sequel if there ever is one, and I'm crossing my fingers if there is! This book was a riveting, suspense-filled story, and I would definitely recommend it to teens and adults alike.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Willow by Tonya Cherie Hegamin


By Tonya Cherie Hegamin

Blurb: In 1848, an educated slave girl faces an inconceivable choice — between bondage and freedom, family and love.

On one side of the Mason-Dixon Line lives fifteen-year-old Willow, her master’s favorite servant. She’s been taught to read and has learned to write. She believes her master is good to her and fears the rebel slave runaways. On the other side of the line is seventeen-year-old Cato, a black man, free born. It’s his personal mission to sneak as many fugitive slaves to freedom as he can. Willow’s and Cato’s lives are about to intersect, with life-changing consequences for both of them. Tonya Cherie Hegamin’s moving coming-of-age story is a poignant meditation on the many ways a person can be enslaved, and the force of will needed to be truly emancipated.

Genres: YA, Historical Fiction, Romance

Published: February 11, 2014

Series: N/A

Pages: 384

My Rating: 3 stars

Willow was a conflicting book for me, because I think that this is an important subject, but the way it was written wasn't so great, and I didn't think the romance was necessary at all. It ended up being somewhat mediocre of a read for me, which was disappointing since I'd been looking forward to this book.

Something that really bugged me was the way Willow wrote as opposed to how she spoke. In her diary, there would be grammatical errors like putting 'glare' instead of 'glared', but she does not talk this way. When she speaks in the book, there is not one grammatical error to be seen. This inconsistency confused me. What confused me even more is that sometimes her writing would be one hundred percent grammatically sound, and the next entry would not be. 

Secondly, there were characters I didn't like, first being the Rev. Sometimes he would be nice and rather fatherly to Willow, other times he was racist and awful. I didn't know what to think of him at all. I also did not like Cato all that much; I suppose I would have if there had not been the awkward romance between him and Willow. Quite frankly, I don't know why it was necessary, except for the fact that the book is Young Adult and it seems like romance in YA is just expected. Also, it happened so quickly, I couldn't even tell when they fell in love. On one page, Willow slaps Cato and is furious at him, and it basically seemed like the next time they met they were kissing and in love. I've read my fair share of unrealistically quick romances, but it seems like a worse offense to me when it makes its way into historical fiction for some reason.

At the beginning, there were times when I felt I was reading out of a textbook talking about women's rights. However, this issue didn't come up for the rest of the book. 

I appreciated the fact that the author wrote about slavery, since it seems to be a topic that doesn't get mentioned a lot in the YA genre. The other books on slavery I have read were middle grade. Still, I am not sure I would recommend it or not. I suppose it really depends on the person.

Stacking The Shelves 3/15/14

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
This week, I received three books all for review. (Which is the same number as last week.) They all look great and I can't wait to read them!


I am also going to the library later on, but since I'm not sure what I am picking up there I won't be able to include it. What did you guys get this week? Comment below!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Dorothy Must Die

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick this week is Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. 

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

This sounds AH-MAZING. I love retellings, but I've started to get bored with all the Fairy Tale ones out there, which is why I am so happy that retelling classics is getting more popular! I've seen Wicked, but as far as books go I've only read one other Wizard of Oz retelling,and it was more of a prequel than a sequel, so this will be a new bookish experience for me and I can't wait! I am thinking of buying it when it comes out, which I usually don't do for an author who's new to me, but I just can't wait. 

What about you guys? Are you anticipating anything this week? Comment below!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams

Down the Rabbit Hole

By Peter Abrahams

Blurb: Welcome to Echo Falls, home of a thousand secrets.

Ingrid is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or at least her shoes are. And getting them back will mean getting tangled up in a murder investigation as complicated as the mysteries solved by her idol, Sherlock Holmes. With soccer practice, schoolwork, and the lead role in her town's production of Alice in Wonderland, Ingrid is swamped. But as things in Echo Falls keep getting curiouser and curiouser, Ingrid realizes she must solve the murder on her own -- before it's too late!

Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Realistic Fiction

Published: January 1, 2005

Series: Echo Falls (book 1)

Pages: 407

My Rating: 2 stars

Stephen King blurbed this. And then compared it to Harry Potter. This book is not comparable to Harry Potter. 
First, I did not think that Ingrid was *ahem* particularly smart. She does not tell the police that she was talking to a murder victim right before they died. Then, when she realizes that she left her shoes at the victim's house, what does she do? She sneaks into the crime scene and removes the shoes, not realizing until later that the police just might find this suspicious. Oops. Because of this, I had a hard time sympathizing with our heroine throughout the entire book. 

Second, I was under the impression that perhaps, well, there would be a bit more Sherlock and a bit less soccer/play rehearsals throughout the book. Alas, Mr. Holmes is barely mentioned in the story, even more of a shame when I considered that my copy was nearly four hundred pages. Sherlock Holmes really doesn't play that key of a role in the book at all, when I think about it. I am not sure why they made it seem like he was a significant part of the story in the blurb. 

Third, I didn't find there was much mystery in the plot when all was said and done. I didn't find there to be much suspense or major clue hunting until the very last 50 pages. Again, this is a 400 page book. That means that only an eighth of the book was spent truly investigating what happened. The other seven eighths included Ingrid: 
-Playing soccer/attending play practice
-Hiding her secret from the cops
-Wondering what is up with Vincent Dunn
-Interacting with characters that didn't really add anything to the plot but were still featured a lot.

In regards to that last point, way too much focus was put on these characters. I don't care about the rivalry with Chloe Ferrand if there is a murder I could be reading about. I don't care about Ingrid's whacked up brother if there is a murder I could be reading about. I don't care about Ingrid's crush if there...well, I suppose you get the point.

Not that it isn't good to have a wide range of characters instead of only featuring two or three in the whole book. It's just that they added next to nothing to the overall plot and nothing was really gained by learning about them.

The reason it is getting two stars is because the ending was not totally expected. I saw a lot of it coming but there were things that I didn't expect either. It wrapped up nicely.  (Also, if I am being honest, I have read way worse than this book. I couldn't put it in the league of those books, it wouldn't be fair.)

So, I probably won't be reading the rest of the series since this book failed to impress me, but who knows? I didn't find this a great mystery book so I will not be recommending it to people interested int this genre.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom and the Challenges of Bad Hair by C.C. Payne

Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom and the Challenges of Bad Hair

By C.C. Payne

Blurb:  While Lula Bell Bonner tries desperately to fit in by not standing out, her wise and irrepressible Grandma Bernice says: Let your light shine! It's Grandma Bernice who provides the joy that balances Lula Bell's difficult school life, but when this balance is upended, when Kali Keele turns up the heat on her cruel teasing, and when the talent show -- that she should NEVER have signed up for-- is about to happen, how in the world can Lula Bell cope?
This funny, heartfelt novel exploring friendship, family, and forgiveness, introduces an unforgettable hero, lost in the wilderness of 5th grade, searching for her own shining light.

Genres: Juvenile, Realistic Fiction, Humor

Publication Date: October 12, 2012

Series: N/A

Pages: 266

My Rating: 5 stars

Oh, Lula Bell. I love you, but I am a bit peeved too, because I know that after reading you I am going to start reading a bunch of Juvenile fiction again, even though I had previously stopped reading this genre, because you have showed me that not all books in the juvenile genre are babyish.

You see, people, Lula Bell is undoubtedly middle grade. But it isn't a book that only middle schoolers can enjoy. There are many people who could read and be truly delighted with this book:

-Anyone currently alive.

See? Many, many different people.

What makes this story so powerful? Well, the first is the wonderful writing. C.C. Payne really captures Lula Bell's voice.

The second is the wonderful characters. They're so awesome. Lula Grandma Bernice, Kali. No, not all of them are likeable--Kali was downright nasty--but they are all amazingly well written.

The third; all the emotions you will feel when reading this book. I was happy, I was sad, I was angry, etc, etc.

The last is the sprinkling of humor that I personally think every book should have. It really lightens up the whole feel of the book, and I liked Lula Bell even more because of it.

I usually have some summary of my review here, but all I am going to say is read the book. Please.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Counting To D by Kate Scott

Counting To D

By Kate Scott

Blurb: The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem. Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.

Genres: YA, Realistic Fiction, Romance

Publication Date: February 11, 2014

Series: N/A

Pages: 227

My Rating: 4 stars

A free copy of this book was received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't sure what exactly I would be getting into when I started Counting to D. I'd never read about a book where the main character was dyslexic, (or if I did, I don't remember, in which case it must have not been very good) and I was a bit nervous. But I took a chance, and I was pleasantly surprised on how much I liked it.

First off, you can tell just by reading that the author knows a lot about dyslexia. I wasn't surprised at all when I learned that Ms. Scott has dyslexia, because the book really gets into Sam's struggles, and I don't know if someone who hadn't had experience with this could have captured it half as well.

Sam didn't have the voice of a stereotypical teenage girl. That's probably what I liked best about her. Yes, she goes through things that a lot of teenagers will relate too, even those that don't have dyslexia, but in YA lit there seems to be this bubbly, perky teenage voice that gets used a lot for female main characters, and that's not really how it is with Sam.

Also, like I mentioned before, Sam deals with stuff in addition to her dyslexia, like friend troubles and her father leaving. This succeeds in making the book even more believable, because a lot of teenagers understand what she's going through.

I love that the secondary characters had a lot of depth too. For example, Kaitlyn, one of Sam's friends, at first seems like that typical mean girl that shows up in pretty much every high school realistic fiction book ever printed, (okay, exaggeration...but most of the time, there's a character like that) but underneath we find out that she's a real person who just has some problems, and she and Sam end up being really great friends. Another example is Sam's crush Nate, who isn't the typical uber-hot jock. He's got issues of his own, he's emo...he's not the norm as far as crushes go, but I really liked his character.

Would I recommend this? Yep! Definitely. If you like realistic fiction, this is great. It deals with real issues, but it's also simply the story of a girl navigating her way through high school. I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

At Your Service by Jen Malone


At Your Service

By Jen Malone

Blurb:  Thirteen-year-old Chloe Turner wants nothing more than to follow in Dad’s footsteps as a respected concierge in a posh NYC hotel. After all, living at a hotel is heaven, and perks like free concert tickets and all-access passes to boutiques, restaurants, and attractions aren’t too shabby either.

When the spoiled brat child of an important guest is only placated by some quick thinking on Chloe’s part, Chloe is awarded the role of Junior Concierge. But she might be in over her head when tasked with tending to the every whim of three royal guests: a twelve-year-old princess who can’t stand Chloe, a cute fourteen year-old prince(!), and their ten-year-old sister, who has a nasty knack for getting herself lost. After the youngest princess slips Chloe’s care, Chloe and the remaining royals must embark on an event-filled hunt for her through NYC’s best tourist spots.

Genres: Juvenile, Realistic Fiction 

Publication Date: August 26, 2014

Series: N/A

Pages: 272

My Rating: 3 stars

A free copy was received from the publisher via Edelweiss for an honest review. 

At Your Service was not my favorite M!X Book. I liked it, but there were things that I didn't enjoy about it as well. It was still a super cute book I would recommend to a middle school girl in a heartbeat, though!

Chloe, the main character of At Your Service, had a well thought out personality. She was basically your average thirteen year old girl...except for the fact that she lives at an upscale New York hotel. Let's be honest, almost any kid who watched The Suite Life of Zach and Cody (which is, I guess, outdated now, but they still show reruns) has dreamed of living at a hotel. It's just cool. Plus, the girl had some really funny lists.

This book also has a nice message, and I appreciate that it wasn't in your face like some books. (All the M!X Books I have read are pretty good about not making their books 'preachy.') This one was about not being scared to ask for help when you need it, and also, to an extent, about not judging a book by its cover.

Things I didn't like were:

A.) The book has lots of little asterisks and then notes on the bottom, which started to annoy me after the bit.  It ended up disrupting from the overall flow of the story.

B.) The secondary characters ended up being a bit stereotypical. Chloe's best friend, Paisley, was the outgoing sidekick to the main character that everyone seems to love. Alex was the totally hot prince from a foreign country that can steal hearts with a single glance. Sophie was the preppy, somewhat prissy sister. Ingrid was the youngest sister who seems sweet but is a bit spoiled.

C.) Like Chloe says, lists always seem more complete with a C option. Also like Chloe, I do not have anything to list for C.

I would still recommend it to girls, in the range of 9-13 years old. It was a cute story and I liked it, it just wasn't my favorite!

Stacking The Shelves 3/8/14

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves.

I have been cutting back on the amount of books I get per week, so this is a bit short, but I am really excited for all of the ones I did get!

For Review:


So that's what I got this week? How about you guys? Comment below!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling


Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

By J.K. Rowling

Blurb: The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girl's bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble beings, and someone--or something--starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself.

Genres: Juvenile, Fantasy, Classics, Adventure

Publication Date: July 2, 1999

Series: Harry Potter (book 2)

Pages: 352

My Rating: 5 stars

Do I even NEED to write a review for these books? I think their reputation should speak for itself. If I just said, "I loved it, a must read for anyone who hasn't actually read these," I think I would say enough. I feel like I'm just going to be repeating what so many people have already said about this amazing series in this review, so if you don't want to read things you already have heard, just know I loved this book. As it is, I will keep this review brief, even though I could really go on and on about how much I loved the book!

First, is there any book series more imaginative than Harry Potter? It certainly would be hard to imagine. I have read a fair share of books, but the Harry Potter series is certainly unique. Sometimes I would just read in amazement, wondering how J.K. Rowling was able to think up such things. She certainly has a huge imagination, and I loved that!

  Also, there is never one dull moment. I simply could not put this book down, nor did I want to. I have a sneaking suspicion that given the oppurtunity, I could have probably just sat on my couch and finished this book in one sitting. 

This book is obviously intended for someone younger than I am, but it really doesn't matter. If a book is good enough, I don't care that a book is a bit young for me, I just want to read it. Besides, I have been told that the stories get a bit more 'mature' as they go on, so I have an excuse. 

Well, I loved it, and this is a book that is highly worthy of a re-read someday. So, if for some odd reason you haven't read this series, do so immediately!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Spark by Melissa Dereberry


By Melissa Dereberry

Blurb: "I know what you’re thinking, so let me be clear: I am not an angel or a demon. I’m not a vampire, an alien, or a ghost. I’m not even a wizard. Good. Now I have your attention. I am none of these things . . . I am something else..."

What if you lost four years of your life? Worse, what if you found out that your deepest fears are true: You really are different than everyone else . . . but would have never dreamed how? And finally, if you could change the past, would you?

Tess Turner wakes up in a hospital bed, and discovers that she’s been in a coma for four years after a freak accident at her 13th birthday party. Confused and overwhelmed, her situation gets even worse when her parents deliver the devastating news that her best friend Dani was killed that day.

Even though many of her classmates are still around, Tess must learn to navigate a new school and make new friends. When she feels drawn to the mysterious, handsome Zach Webb, none of her friends approve. Zach claims to know untold details about her life and Tess is suspicious, yet she is unable to resist his charm. Playing along to see if he really knows “everything about her,” she finds herself drawn into the adventure of a lifetime that will compel her to make an important choice. Given the opportunity to change the past, she must face the consequences her actions would have on the future.

Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction 

Publication Date: June 25, 2012

Series: N/A

Pages: 198

My Rating: 2 stars

This was kind of bad. Not terrible, but not...good. Which is sad, because when I started reading the book, it was pretty well written and really captured my attention. 

However, the love interest in this book, Zach, comes off more as a stalker than romantic, a trend I have been seeing way too much of in the YA genre. I don't know when this weird obsessed boy thing became considered romantic, but can we just put an end to it right now please? Even if he hadn't been creepy, the notes he sent the main character, Tess, sounded very unrealistic. Also, the love between them blossoms much too quickly. They go on basically one date (I am not even sure it could be considered an official date, really) and suddenly he is declaring his love for her and she is declaring her love for him and I am banging my head against a wall. 

Also, when Zach claims he 'knows everything about her,' and then sends tries to prove it to her by sending an e-mail telling her that on her thirteenth birthday, she was swinging and then went into a coma because a freak electrical storm hit, she (literally, this is a quote) thinks, "Maybe Zach was some sort of alien, someone with supernatural abilities."  That is not what I would conclude if someone claims that they know everything about me. First, that would have been all over the local news, both when she went into the coma and when she miraculously came out of it four years later. I would probably think that he was just trying to mess with me and had heard that from a local news station. Worst case scenario, I would suspect him of stalking me. I would not automatically think that he was an extraterrestrial. 

The plot was okay, but nothing that truly blew me away. All of the plot twists I could see coming very early on. There were blatant hints throughout the storyline.

So, I will not be recommending this book. If you want a time-travel story that is really good, you could try The Root Cellar, which is more historical fiction, but still really fun to read.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn

Third Daughter Tour

Third daughter   Third Daughter 

by Susan Kaye Quinn  

Skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue... and, of course, kissing. The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she'll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince's proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince's proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love. Third Daughter is the first book in the The Dharian Affairs Trilogy (Third Daughter, Second Daughter, First Daughter). This steampunk-goes-to-Bollywood (Bollypunk!) romance that takes place in an east-Indian-flavored alternate world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue. And, of course, kissing.   From the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, The Dharian Affairs is a new series filled with equal doses of action-adventure and romance, meant to appeal to fans of Mindjack.   NOMINATED for the Illinois Librarian's "Soon to be Famous Author Project" wherein librarians hope to discover local authors whose "work will jump off the page for readers."
 "Third Daughter is vividly breathtaking. Quinn delivers royal intrigue, exotic locations, and sweeping romance. Not to be missed!" - Pavarti K. Tyler, author of Shadow on the Wall
  "Susan Kaye Quinn writes characters that leap off the page... Incredibly well written, the vivid setting was crisp in my mind... As the plot raced on, I was cursing real life for not letting me just sit glued to my kindle, punching the touch screen to get to the next page." - Tiffany on Goodreads

Genres: Adult, Romance, Steampunk, Adventure

Publication Date: December 12, 2013

Series: The Dharian Affairs (book 1)

Pages: 346

My Rating: 4 stars

This book was GREAT! I went in this not sure what to expect; it was steampunk, but it was adult steampunk. I am a YA person, so I was a bit nervous. However, I had faith after reading Open Minds by the same author that Ms. Quinn would come through. And yes she did! 

First, the setting is so unique, even for a steampunk novel. The blurb is NOT lying when it describes the story as 'steampunk goes to Bollywood.' That is really what it felt like! I haven't read a book with such a cool setting in a long time.

Secondly, I loved Ash and Aniri! They were both great characters. Aniri is a main character that you can't help but like; she's brave even when it is hard to be, she's a bit flawed, and she doesn't wait for people to do things for her, she does them herself. Ash has a bit of a Prince Maxon flair à la the Selection, which is partially why I enjoyed reading about him so much. He is a very enjoyable character as well.

The story is NOT predictable, and that's something I just love! No matter if you think you've totally gotten it figured out, you never have until the very end. The author hints something will happen, and then she's like, "Nope, that's not right! Think again, readers!"

Definitely something I would recommend. It's a very fun book, and I loved every minute of it!
susan quinn Author Susan Kaye Quinn Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy, which is young adult science fiction. The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap. It's possible she's easily distracted. She always has more speculative fiction fun in the works. You can find out what she's up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!).
    Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/24/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway