Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blog Tour Promo Post: Tore Divided Love


Tore Divided Love
Release Date: 06/06/14

Summary from Goodreads:
A future set in stone.

For eighteen year old Krissa Channing a government ruled pairing with Braiden Connor and a move to Headquarters were her set fate. Until Braiden's sudden disappearance threatens Krissa’s entire future.


After months of endless worry, Krissa has an unexpected meeting with Duke, a perfect suitor that could offer her the future she’s always dreamed of. Just when she begins to regain hope, Braiden returns.


Now, Krissa must find where her heart truly lies. Torn between two loves, she must decide which of their worlds she belongs in. But is such a decision even possible when the choice rests between freedom and love?


Goodreads link to book one:

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Book One:
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About the Author 
K.D. Ferguson is the author of Torn True Love and Tore Divided Love.  Her first book debuted in April of 2013 and she is currently working on the third book in the series.  After receiving an associate’s degree in Fashion Merchandising from the Fashion Institute of Technology she earned a bachelor’s degree in applied science from the State University of Oneonta.  She moved away from her hometown, Oneonta, NY, upon graduation and moved to Concord, North Carolina with her husband where she pursued a career in the retail world.  Several years later, feeling unsatisfied in her career, Kristen dove head first into writing her first book.  She can usually be found with an iced coffee in one hand and a pen in the other.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review: Breaking the Ice by Gail Nall

Breaking the Ice

By Gail Nall

Blurb: Kaitlin has always dreamed of being a champion figure skater, and she’s given up a lot to pursue her passion. But after having a totally uncharacteristic and decidedly NOT figure-skating-approved tantrum after getting her scores at a major competition she’s dropped by her coach and prestigious skating club.

When no other club in town will have her, she's forced to join the ridiculed and rundown Fallton Club, jokingly referred to as the Fall Down Club. At first Kaitlin thinks this is a complete disaster, but after meeting some of the other skaters, including a boy (who happens to have the most perfect hair she’s ever seen) Kaitlin thinks it might actually not be so bad.

But when she’s tasked with learning a whole new program right before Regionals and figures out that almost all the other skaters target Fallton, she thinks joining the Fall Down Club may just be the second biggest mistake she’s ever made.

In this figure skating themed debut, Kaitlin learns that when you fall down, you have to pick yourself up – even if it’s in front of judges and a crowd


Genres: Middle Grade, Realistic Ficton

Publication Date: January 13, 2015

Pages: 320

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 stars 


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love books about figure skating. It's odd, considering I don't do it, and probably never will, but for some reason these books just attract me over and over again. Chances are if I read a book about figure skating, I'll love it. And that's what happened with Breaking the Ice.

I was immediately sucked in to Kaitlin's story. She's a likeable character, and realistic too. One big mistake she makes nearly ruins her, and she has to go do a club that is notorious for being the worst. Her experiences there are fun to read about, and the skaters there were really cool. I loved Miyu, she was the kind of friend that Kaitlin needed. She may have not been the most naturally gifted at skating, but I liked that she still worked hard to improve.

I was rooting for Kaitlin the whole book to overcome the odds and get to nationals. It was relatable; even though I'm not a figure skater, I think that most girls, no matter what the age, can relate to overcoming obstacles and working hard to acheive their dreams.

I did get mad when it came to Braedon. I just could not believe that Kaitlin liked him; he was obviously a horrible influence, and I can't stand characters that are total slackers. I liked that he became more bearable towards the end, though.

I liked the ending of the story. In fact, I kind of wish it had gone on a bit longer so I could see how the rest of Kaitlin's journey played out. (Sequel, please?) It made me happy and basically all that I wanted to happen happened.

This book was inspiring, believable, and most importantly, entertaining. I was sad to see it end. I could totally see this having a sequel, and in fact, I'm kind of crossing my fingers that it does! Definitely recommended.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Review: Birthright by Vivian Eve

Birthright

By Vivian Eve

Blurb: Its king murdered in cold blood by friend and foe alike, the once magnificent kingdom of Arenhed has fallen to its knees. Without a proper heir to assume the throne, the nation concedes to the rule of a cruel and villainous tyrant.

When her village is attacked by the duke and his men, 16-year-old Hedy Odell's simple life is turned upside down. She loses all that is important to her: her best friend, her mother—everything. Unbeknownst to her, she is thrust in the midst of dangerous politics and into a world where everyone—and everything—is not what they seem.

Tormented by nightmares, Hedy must navigate both the treacherous landscape of the noble courts and the conflicted waters of her heart if she is to get her revenge. One misstep, and she may suffer a fate far worse than death...


Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: March 25, 2014

Pages: 316

Series: Talmassa Chronicles (book 1)

My Rating: 3 stars

  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Fantasy and I have had our ups and downs. The genre can be amazing or just plain bizarre. It can be insanely original or a rehash of LOTR. Birthright, however, really doesn't fit into any of these categories, something that doesn't happen very often for me. It was a bit above okay; it had its imaginative moments, but also a lot of strange and rather confusing ones.

My main complaint with Birthright is that half the time it felt like too much happened in to short a time. Now, this is a pleasant alternative to what usually happens to me in fantasy novels--where nothing happens within a very long period of time--so I'll cut Birthright some slack.

Hedy's character was iffy for me. At times, I liked her. She has a sad back-story and is a strong heroine for the most part, but at times her character could also annoy me. And this is going to sound stupid, but I could never figure out exactly why.

Of course, I liked a lot of aspects in this book. Not loved, but liked. Mainly Lukas. He is arguably the most fascinating character in the bung; I found him to be complex, cute, and even though I'm sure many people might think of him as a horrible person after one of the twists to the plot occurs, I labeled him as misunderstood. I didn't think that he was as horrible as the rest of the characters thought he was, simply because of his motivation.

The more fantastical parts in the plot were pretty interesting. I thought they were original, and I liked that they were a bit darker in style than the fantasy that I am used to reading. It was a nice change in pace for me.

This is a quick read, with some good and bad aspects to it. It isn't the best fantasy I've ever read, but it was still okay.



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Review: No Alligators in Sight by Kirsten B. Feldman

No Alligators in Sight

By Kirsten B. Feldman

Blurb: In this coming of age novel, Lettie and Bert squeak by in a tiny town on Cape Cod, one parent an alcoholic and the other absent. After a string of bad decisions on Lettie’s part, their father ships them to their barely remembered mother for the summer, where they will learn hard lessons about themselves, their family, and their future by way of the Florida swamp. Throughout Lettie keeps her biting humor flowing, her razor-sharp pen at the ready, and her eye on her quest for a “normal” life.

Genres: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction

Publication Date: November 25, 2013

Series: N/A

Pages: 232

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

No Alligators In Sight is described a coming of age novel. I haven't read many of those, but if they are all as good as this maybe I should read a few more. Because this was the kind of realistic fiction that I love to read; no pointless fluff in it at all. (Okay, sometimes fluff can be nice, but I tend to not love it.) It could sometimes be a bit depressing, because Lettie's life is not the best for most of the book, but it felt more real to life that way.

Lettie was quite the character. A few times I was borderline annoyed with her, because she was very...moody. But I had to remind myself that with a mom and stepdad like the ones she had--and her dad wasn't all that great either, though he got better near the end--I probably would be quite moody myself. So, I thought the author portrayed her in a realistic way. She could be funny, in a more cynical way, and I liked the relationship she had with her little brother.

I absolutely hated Lettie's mom and stepdad. I wasn't fond of her father either, though I liked that he tried to change later on in the book. I couldn't believe how awful they were. They were characters that I just hated with a passion. They were suppposed to be characters I didn't like, so props to the author for that.

I couldn't help but feel horrible for Lettie and Bert as they went through one bad experience after another in Florida. I wanted so badly for things to get better for them. I was glad that once Lettie left, things started to get better. I was so happy there was a happier ending for her.

This book really was a realistic look at an important summer in one girl's life. It was a pleasure to read.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee by Barry Jonsberg

The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee

By Barry Jonsberg

Blurb: This isn't just about me. It's also about the other people in my life - my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.
Introducing Candice Phee: twelve years old, hilariously honest and a little ... odd. But she has a big heart, the very best of intentions and an unwavering determination to ensure everyone is happy. So she sets about trying to 'fix' all the problems of all the people [and pets] in her life.


Genres: Juvenile Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Humor

Publication Date: September 9, 2014

Pages: 176

My Rating: 3.5 stars
 
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Candice Phee; even her name sounds adorably quirky. If I could only use two words to describe what I most liked about this book, they would be Candice Phee. Thank goodness I can use more than two words so I can describe to you why this character is so delightful.

First, Candice is different. She knows full well that she is different than her other classmates. However, she isn't moody or sad about being the odd one out, and she isn't completely without a care about it either. I had never read a book where a character approached not being like everyone else in the same way as Candice did.

Candice is insightful even when she is not trying to be. There were things that she said in the book that were rather profound, and yet she wasn't a 'wise old owl' sort of character. She was simply a girl with a unique view of the world.

Her life story is not necessarily a happy one. Her home life is less than ideal, and how she tries to go about fixing it is both funny and sad at the same time. Funny, because Candice's methods are unorthodox to say the least an sometimes go haywire, and sad because this little girl feels that her family is so dysfunctional that she has to take it upon herself to fix it.

What I did not like about the book was the way it was organized. Sometimes, books told in the forms of essays work. Sometimes, not so much. In this book, I believe that the story would have been better without it being told through Candice's ABC assignment. I felt that at times the story did not flow as well as it should have.

Still, Candice Phee stole my heart. The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee was a heartwarming middle grade read. It had some structure issues, but in the long run, the protagonist made this book worthwhile.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Madame Tussaud's Apprentice By Kathleen Benner Duble

Madame Tussaud's Apprentice: An Untold Story Of Love In The French Revolution

By Kathleen Benner Duble

Blurb: In 1789, with the starving French people on the brink of revolution, orphaned Celie Rosseau, an amazing artist and a very clever thief, runs wild with her protector, Algernon, trying to join the idealistic freedom fighters of Paris. But when she is caught stealing from none other than the king's brother and the lady from the waxworks, Celie must use her drawing talent to buy her own freedom or die for her crimes. Forced to work for Madame Tussaud inside the opulent walls that surround Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Celie is shocked to find that the very people she imagined to be monsters actually treat her with kindness. But the thunder of revolution still rolls outside the gates, and Celie is torn between the cause of the poor and the safety of the rich. When the moment of truth arrives, will she turn on Madame Tussaud or betray the boy she loves? From the hidden garrets of the starving poor to the jeweled halls of Versailles, "Madame Tussaud's Apprentice" is a sweeping story of danger, intrigue, and young love, set against one of the most dramatic moments in history.

Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Realistic Fiction 

Publication Date: July 31, 2014

Pages: 224

Series: N/A

My Rating: 4 stars


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Edelweiss.

Madame Tussaud's Apprentice has its flaws. Mainly how the romance between Celie and Algernon turned out, but I'll get to that later. Still, this book sucked me in, something that no book had been able to do in three weeks. For that alone, I think this book deserves a good rating, flaws aside.

I will admit that when I started this book, however, I didn't automatically like it. Celie was rather whiny and pessimistic, and while usually I would able to put up with it, (since she doesn't exactly have a happy existence living on the streets of Paris) in this case it came to a point where I got really annoyed with her. I get that her life was crappy, but that was literally almost all she talked about. I felt like I was getting constantly hit over the head with the sorrows of her life. Thankfully, she got a lot less whiny after the first seventy pages or so, and by the end of the book I actually liked her a lot. I thought her relationship with Madame Tussaud and how it grew was very nice to read about, and her views on royalty, and how they changed throughout the story, also kept me interested. She had a rebellious streak to her, and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. I ended up enjoying reading about her a lot.

The setting also fascinated me. There are certain points in history that intrigue me, and the French Revolution is one of them. It's so sad and bleak on so many levels. I loved that this book took place both before and during the Revolution; seeing it through Celie's eyes made it a lot more real than any history textbook ever managed to do for me.

Celie's journey from thief, to Madame Tussaud's apprentice, to practically her daughter, was a delight to read about. The plot and actual history intertwined very well, rather than having the time period just be a backdrop for the story. I barely put the book down, because the plot was so engaging.

The romance, however, was definitely not the book's strong suit, which is surprising seeing as it is actually mentioned in the title. I didn't feel like Celie and Algernon worked together in the first place. And then Algernon went and became a huge jerk, and I thought that (view spoiler)

Despite that one rather big issue I had with the book, I still ended up really enjoying it. It really brought the French Revolution to life, and I think that's a sign that Madame Tussaud's Apprentice was a superb historical fiction novel.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review: All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry

All The Truth That's In Me

By Julie Berry

Blurb: Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. Unable to speak, Judith lives like a ghost in her own home, silently pouring out her thoughts to the boy who’s owned her heart as long as she can remember—even if he doesn’t know it—her childhood friend, Lucas. But when Roswell Station is attacked, long-buried secrets come to light, and Judith is forced to choose: continue to live in silence, or recover her voice, even if it means changing her world, and the lives around her, forever. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last.

Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Realistic Fiction

Publication Date: September 26, 2013

Pages: 274

Series: N/A 

My Rating: 5 stars

 
All the Truth That's in Me is one of the few books where I went in completely blind as to what it was about. All I knew was that at one point I had read the blurb and thought it sounded good. So, though at this point I had forgotten what that blurb had said, I started to read. I guessed from the cover and title that this would be a modern day thriller or something like that.

Well, if you've read this book, you'll know I was pretty wrong. First off being that this is historical fiction. I adore historical fiction, and All the Truth That's in Me really solidified my love for HS by reminding me what makes me so loyal to this genre.

This book starts off with the reader very in the dark as to what has happened to Judith. Not having read the blurb, every revelation that the book gave as to what happened made me want to gasp. Not until the very, very end is the complete story revealed. Even when I thought I knew what had happened, my inferences were wrong. The author gave me a sliver of Judith's ordeal, and then another, and it wasn't until the end that all those little slivers came together.

The second person made the narrative of this story oh-so-much-better than anything I'd read before. I like 'unusual' narratives, and I had almost begun to think that second person narratives didn't exist and were a myth perpetuated by English teachers. It made Judith's love for Lucas more depressingly believable--instead of the sugary, too-sweet, "he's really hot and I love him" insta-love that is so many of the teen books I read, I got an unrequited, hopeless and dreary sort of love. It broke my heart, just like the rest of this book.

The characters in All the Truth That's in Me were exquisite. They were complex, non-formulaic, and well-written. Judith was a character I won't forget soon; I really don't have the words to describe her. I just wanted her to have a happy ending. Lucas made me mad at times, because I just wanted him to treat Judith like he used to--but in time, I liked him a lot. He changed for the better. Maria was a character that I was not expecting to like at all. I thought I would be hating on her the whole book for 'stealing' Lucas; but that isn't how it turned out, and I ended up thinking over as a very sweet friend who I adored. She was probably one of the nicest people in the whole town.

The plot, too, is amazing. There's never a moment that I wanted to stop reading. I was always in suspense; I always wanted to know more about what happened to Judith; from the very beginning I was hooked. There were always mysteries and questions that needed to be answered.

But what really pulled the book into five star territory was the emotional impact it had on me. My throat was perpetually achy; I had misty eyes. I couldn't help but feel sad, or angry, or a combination of both, for Judith. My emotions went a bit haywire while reading her story.

Five stars for this book. I want to give it as many stars as I possibly can, because it played with my emotions; got me immediately hooked; proved, yet again, that historical fiction is not boring; made great use of the second person narrative; and so, so much more.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Stacking The Shelves 8/2/2014


Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is about sharing the books you received in the past week. You can include books you buy, books you borrow, review books, gifts, and e-books!

It has been so long since I did a Stacking the Shelves post, so I am putting one or two books in this post that I actually got a few weeks ago, but I am still really excited about. I like my haul this week; there are a lot of books that I have been dying to read in here, so I think I'll have a nice reading week ahead of me!

Review Copies:
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I actually got a few more, but I already read them, so I will have reviews up for them soon.

What do you think of this haul? Any books look interesting to you? Comment below!




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