Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. 

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is. 

Amazon Link - http://amzn.to/1VRCX87


4.5/5 STARS

I take pride in searching for the unique reads of the world... The ones that pull you into the words and away from reality. Books that capture your soul and leave you feeling like you left a piece of you behind with the last page. Rebel of the Sands was one of those reads... It was quick to capture my attention and left me craving more long after the final page. What really caught my attention as a reader was the how vivid each scene was. I could really picture the gritty sands, makeshift buildings, and creatures painted in swirls of light and dark. I could feel the air from the horses toss my hair every which way and I could feel the love bloom deep within my heart.

The characters were a huge part of the book and I loved each one in a different way. Amani was a heroine that all will learn to appreciate! She was strong and fierce... Manipulative, but in the best way possible. She knew how to shoot a gun and was able to capture the readers attention with her softer side. Jin was the mysterious guy with an unexpected twist... He had secrets and was on a dangerous journey. When him and Amani meet it turns into a middle eastern "Bonnie & Clyde'ish" scenerio. Together they face mythological creatures and fight for a better world.

For those wondering... Yes, there was romance and no it wasn't instalove. It was a gradual slow burn relationship that fed off of danger. It was passionate and quirky and definitely swoon worthy!

All in all, I really loved this story! I enjoyed the twists and turns and found myself unable to stop turning the pages. For the most part I thought it was an awesome debut... Yeah, some of the story was bit scattered and it did seem a tad rushed towards the end, but those things didn't take away from all of the wonderful things that happened. I thought the Author did a great job at creating a unique world with characters that were captivating and fun to read about. I can't wait for the sequel!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. This deeply moving and authentic debut is for fans of Rainbow Rowell, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, and Benjamin Alire Saenz. Intertwining stories of love, tragedy, wild luck, and salvation on the edge of America’s Last Frontier introduce a writer of rare talent.
Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.
Four very different lives are about to become entangled. This unforgettable book is about people who try to save each other—and how sometimes, when they least expect it, they succeed. 

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock was born and raised in Alaska. She worked many years fishing commercially with her family and as a reporter for Alaska Public Radio stations around the state. She was also the host and producer of “Independent Native News,” a daily newscast produced in Fairbanks, focusing on Alaska Natives, American Indians, and Canada’s First Nations. Her writing is inspired by her family’s four generations in Alaska. 


I received this one prior to it's release and sadly just got to it yesterday! It could have been the title holding me back or the massive TBR pile, but I finally read it and did so in just one day. It was an awesome short read that had powerful words, inspiring metaphors, and a storyline that made me open my eyes, heart, and mind.

Each character played an intricate role in the overall picture. It was intriguing to follow their lives and put the pieces together to see how they were all connected. I felt for each character in a different way... Whether it was the fact they didn't have a strong family structure or that they were left to deal with life on their own at an age you need someone most... Each story pulled me in and captured my heart. 

It's a book filled with emotion, broken hearts, tragedy, hope, and new beginnings. It is rich in Alaskan feels and vivid in overall atmosphere. The Author did an excellent job making me feel like I was in the story. I could feel the bitter cold on my face and the wind rip through my hair as they floated on top of the water. I felt romance bloom, friendships thrive, and families mend. It was truly a unique story that kept me glued to the pages.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and the change of pace it provided. The title was a tad odd to me, but in the end I understood the meaning behind it and could relate in more ways than one. 

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

2.5/5 STARS

I can't believe I'm saying this, but Glass Sword was just not for me... It was one of my highly anticipated reads of the year and it was so painfully boring that it wasn't even funny... Reading should not feel like a chore, but with this one it felt like just that. The plot was underdeveloped... I craved excitement. The romance was basically non existent... I actually wanted Maven back? & the story was so slow paced that it took me two weeks to finish it. I wanted to be blown away and I expected more since Red Queen was awesome, but this one just felt lack luster to me. I'm sure others will eat up Aveyard's words, but I wanted to close the book and mark it DNF.

I did get some good feels in certain scenes, but for the most part it was just a bunch of information that I didn't care about. Mare came off as a royal b* and I actually felt bad for everyone that had to deal with her. In Red Queen she was an empowering leader... Well don't expect that in this sequel. She was the puppeteer controlling everyone around her. She completely disconnected with her family showing no emotion at all and was constantly trying to manipulate people with her words. I couldn't believe how much I disliked her in this book. It was quite sad because I was actually hoping for a new love to get the focus off of her... Maybe Cameron and Cal? Now that would have been an awesome twist.

All in all... This one just didn't do it for me. I hope that other readers love it, but my advice is... If you loved Red Queen, lower all expectations.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.
AMAZON LINK- http://amzn.to/1QCUE98

5/5 Stars

*Thank you for the ARC Penguin Random House*

It's like a game of Jenga... With each word you pull out a block and slowly feel the build up of something big about to happen. The tower starts leaning and eventually it comes crumbling down. More words rebuild the tower and the story finds a beginning from an end. That sums up The Serpent King. It is felt deep within the soul and opens your heart in ways you never knew possible. 

The story is about three friends. Three different individuals, with three different home lives. One is privileged and popular on the internet.  One is abused by his drunk father and one has a tainted name. Together they work through their insecurities and push each other to reach for the stars. It's not always easy though. To be honest, it's punch in the gut. Some of the scenes will grasp your heart and have you gasping for air. I couldn't believe the ups and downs and how real each vivid scene felt. In some twisted way I felt connected to the characters. I could feel their personalities seep from the pages and I could just picture their stance and attitude with each word exchanged. Friendship is the theme, but trust, love, honesty, grief, hope, and anger all play a part in the story of Lydia, Dil, and Travis. 

I applaud the Author because the subjects (bullying, abuse, tough home life, suicide, death, first love) in this story are done a lot, but he took them and made them his own. Each one is thoroughly exposed and touched on with grit and pose. Nothing is sugar coated and for that I am thankful. To say I enjoyed this story is an understatement. I feel like this should be a mandated high school read. It's a book that opens your eyes to the bad and pushes you to find good.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?

Award-winning author Antonia Michaelis moves in a bold new direction with her latest novel: a dark, haunting, contemporary story that is part mystery, part romance, and part melodrama.
Amazon Link- http://amzn.to/1ROjjXh

4.5/5 Stars

This book reminded me of a beautifully crafted mandala. It had intricate details, sharp edges, and was painted in many different colors. I wasn't sure about the fairy tale mixing with reality theme, but in the end I saw with clarity why the Author chose that path. It was inspirational and foretelling. It proved that even the darkest shadow can find light and even the ugliest things can have beauty. It showed that death doesn't have to be the end and that sometimes in order to start over you have to let go. 

Abel is the school mystery from the wrong side of the tracks. Anna is the straight laced girl from the right side of the tracks. Micha is a free spirit with a troubled past. When their lives overlap, a fairy tale begins. A very dark and very twisted fairy tale with many ups and downs. Abel, Anna, & Micha's story ripped my heart out and I'm now suffering from a hardcore book hangover. Did I expect a wild ending? Absolutely, but when I was reading... I had no idea in what way the story would go. I was a tad bored and then all of sudden I felt reality slipping through my fingertips. I was grasping sand and falling into the book heart first. I won't lie and say the experience felt good, but the hurt I felt just made my reading experience that much better. Every gut wrenching word led up to those final moments and so many feels were felt. I've never had such an intense love/hate relationship with a character before. One minute I was swooning over the romance and the next I was sick to my stomach with possibilities. Each character and every piece of evidence played an important role in a sick tragic tale and I loved to hate every minute of it. 

I highly recommend this book to all readers with an open mind. There are some sensitive scenes so be prepared for the worse.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Book of You by Claire Kendal

A terrifying psychological thriller about obsession and power, perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep.

Clarissa is becoming more and more frightened of her colleague, Rafe. He won’t leave her alone, and he refuses to take no for an answer. He is always there.

Being selected for jury service is a relief. The courtroom is a safe haven, a place where Rafe can’t be. But as a violent tale of kidnap and abuse unfolds, Clarissa begins to see parallels between her own situation and that of the young woman on the witness stand.

Realizing that she bears the burden of proof, Clarissa unravels the twisted, macabre fairytale that Rafe has spun around them – and discovers that the ending he envisions is more terrifying than she could have imagined.


3/5 Stars

This book was intriguing, mysterious, and creepy. It's about a crazy one night stand that begins with rape and ends with a crazy stalker. The guy is straight lunatic I tell you! He follows her everywhere and leaves her creepy photos at her doorstep. While she tries to uncover secrets and remain alive, he digs deeper into her privacy. He invades her friendships, her workplace, and her casual day to day life. She can't get away from him. He is always there and it takes extreme measures to finally be rid of him.

While I really liked this story... there was a lot of redundancy that became boring at times. Each journal entry was another encounter of him lurking and her noting. Most occurrences were similar. I think I really craved difference. More action... More intensity... 

All in all it was a well written book with a twisty plot. I recommend it to fans of You by Caroline Kepnes.

Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

This thrilling novel is a remarkable tale of danger and discovery, from debut author Michelle Modesto.

5/5 Stars

Sometimes when I see a cover, I feel an instant connection and get that need read feeling. This one gave me all those feels. I came across the cover and preordered it immediately. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I never would've guessed that I'd love it as much as I did. This is hands down the best book I've read in 2016 so far... A unique debut with a magical/steampunk feel. There were cannibals, creatures, and characters with machine body parts. I mean how crazy cool is that? 

Westie is the main character and though she is frustrating at times, you can't help but love her. She's like a hard candy... tough exterior, soft inside. Her family was killed by cannibals and she has lived a Hunter life seeking revenge. She never expects the killers to come forth on their own and start to run a ruckus in her town, but they do and it takes all she has not to kill them on the spot. She knows she needs to gather evidence and more information before taking action and so with the help of many characters she digs for answers and finally deals revenge.

This story was a wild adventure packed with suspense, romance, and mystery. There were many twists and turns that I never expected and the romance was quite overwhelming. There were so many potential suitors, but only one was true love. 

The overall theme of the story was eery with beautiful aspects. I fell hard for the characters and became entangled in the plot. It was definitely a read that pulled me away from reality and put me in that happy reading world where everything was magical and new. The writing was top of the line and the story had everything I look for in a book. I seriously have grabby hands for more from this Author... Can't wait to see what's next.