Book Review: The Beast by Lindsay Mead (The Hunter Legends #1)

17205118The Beast
Author: Lindsay Mead
Series: The Hunter Legends #1
Release Date: June 22, 2015
Self-published! 
Get it Here: Amazon Kindle (for only $2.99!)

Synopsis:

Demon possession has swept through Glace’s neighboring kingdom, turning humans into hellhounds. These great, fanged wolves are wild, desperate, and hungry. Only the sworn Hunters have kept them back for five long, bloody years.

At the young age of fifteen, Belle LeClair became a Hunter. She no longer remembers how many hounds she’s killed, or how many friends she’s buried. Still, Belle leads the hunt till a tragedy forces her deep into the dark kingdom. Her heart will be turned, her loyalty tested— and fate will intervene.

Amid a backdrop of Steampunk inventions and a harsh winter landscape, The Beast is a re-imagining of the infamous love between a beauty and a beast.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Many of you probably know that I’m a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings. Like, you insert those words into a blurb and I’m automatically in for the story. It was the same with this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! There were some common tropes that were used, but it worked well in the story, and overall you get a very delicious, action-packed steampunk version of Beauty and the Beast. While Belle maintains her name, the author adds a little twist to the others’ names: Gastone is a substitute for Gaston, Mrs. Tops instead of Mrs. Pots, Lumiere is replaced by Laramie, and General Kogsworthe instead of Cogsworth. So we get to see all these familiar characters and within a similar plotline, but also with little additions that made this one worth the read.

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A Close to A Hiatus | But Where Have I Been?

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Hey guys!

I’m really happy to be typing this right now. Since going to China and traveling a bit and coming home to America and getting swamped by work, seeing the blog and going on Twitter has gotten me a bit… anxious.

Suffice it to say, I’m well on the path to getting back on track. It’ll probably be a slow and steady transition, though. I just wanted to use this time to give a quick update on where I have been these past months!

On July 1 I headed to Beijing, China to visit my family. I met my dad at the airport and it was so great to see him! For those of you who don’t know, my dad is the person who got me into reading in the first place. I remember coming home and seeing his surprise gifts for me, which were usually books. They were also usually fantasy, and usually not the first book of a series. (Oh dad.😛 ) So it was really great to see him! I visited the school in the mountains of Wulian where I teach a couple of classes to some primary kids, took my senior pictures with him, and overall had a very relaxing month.

Then the last week we went to Bali, Indonesia with my uncle and cousin to do some more vacationing. It was so beautiful there! I was honestly not up to reading at all during the time because I wanted to savor the feelings I experienced there. Definitely would go again.

(Not to mention the delicious food!!! In both China and Bali – local food is the best food to be honest.)

But now I’m glad to say I’m back! I had a feature planned for August for indie authors, but I might move that back a bit because I’m just not ready (and I like to have things prepared and scheduled rather than last minute). Watch out for me hopping on blogs for the next couple of weeks! Slowly but surely guys, slowly but surely.

So! Thank you guys all for being very patient with me and my sloth-like abilities to do things in the blogosphere this past month. I’ll see you guys soon!

ALSO. I have some very cool graphics and posts planned later on in the year already. I also opened up a Society 6 shop and Redbubble over the summer so watch out for that! Woohoo! I’m so bad at self promotion! Bye!

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Blog Tour: Gifted by HA Swain Review + Giveaway!

Gifted Banner

I’m absolutely delighted to feature this spectacular book on my blog for today! Gifted sends us to the near future, where Taylor Swift recently died while she was ~100 years old and the entertainment industry is DOMINATING. We get to explore what it really means to be “gifted,” and who exactly deserves the music that is made in the world. Because even though it seems like music is free, we see all these copyright laws surrounding it. This is all under an adventure with two characters that you can’t help but like.

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Book Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)

27015399A Promise of Fire
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thanks so much Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for the review copy!

I can certainly promise you that A Promise of Fire delivers both a magnificent fantasy that’s filled with fire and other elements, as well as a scorching romance. Bouchet’s writing is equally hilarious and captivating, from the magnetic characters to the intriguing world that she builds in this book. Either way, I’m highly looking forward to the rest of this trilogy, and see what other adventures lay in store for these wonderful characters!

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Book Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)

23308084The Rose and the Dagger
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #2
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: GP Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Disclaimer: Will contain slight spoilers for the first book. Because if you haven’t picked up The Wrath and the Dawn yet, what are you doing?

“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone.
It was about belonging together.”

I held myself from writing this review for so long because for me, the book was close to perfect. (Which I know many people would disagree with, but I stand by my love for this book) Ahdieh continues on from where we left off in the previous book, with Khalid and Shazi separated. Rest assured that it does not last long, and of course this determined couple ends back together to plan how they will save the city.

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Book Review: How To Keep Rolling After A Fall by Karole Cozzo

25901548How To Keep Rolling After A Fall
Author: Karole Cozzo
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance.

The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That’s all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl’s suicide. Now Nikki’s been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can’t look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates – almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it’s like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance… and everyone deserves to be loved.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you Brittany from Book Rambles for sending me this review copy!

This book came as a surprise for me because the main character is a bully. It’s a bit different from being bullied, which is pretty common in YA. The thing that makes this story different though, is not only the main character’s remorse of the incident but also the lessons she learned from it. It’s her story of rising up from the mistakes of the past and letting go of the bumps in her life before looking forward. It’s a story that really inspires the reader to keep on going… even after you take a fall.

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Book Review: Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

25320766Love, Lies and Spies
Author: Cindy Anstey
Release Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I think the one word that resonates with me after reading this book is adorable! Anstey provides a simply charming tale of an unconventional heroine in a historical England setting. The history is all there, and the intrigue definitely provides sufficient twists to keep readers entertained. I love how straightforward and honest the characters were, too. Drama level was at a minimum (as you know I appreciate in my books), and the light tone throughout the story just made reading this book almost like bouncing on a fluffy cloud. (Or maybe reading on my bed helped add to that mood aha). Continue reading

Book Review: Frankie by Shivaun Plozza

27193294Frankie
Author: Shivaun Plozza
Release Date: March 23, 2016
Publisher: Penguin
Get it Here: Book Depository

Synopsis:
Frankie Vega is angry. Just ask the guy whose nose she broke. Or the cop investigating the burglary she witnessed, or her cheating ex-boyfriend or her aunt who’s tired of giving second chances…When a kid shows up claiming to be Frankie’s half brother, it opens the door to a past she doesn’t want to remember. And when that kid goes missing, the only person willing to help is a boy with stupidly blue eyes … and secrets of his own. Frankie’s search for the truth might change her life, or cost her everything.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

A thousand thanks to Jenna from Reading with Jenna for bringing me this OZYA title to share!

The first thing that stood out to me in this story was the narrative’s voice: it’s hilarious, down-to-earth, and relatable on all accounts. Told in first person POV by Frankie, this book first starts off with her meeting her half-brother named Xavier. It’s awkward, but cool at the same time. I mean, who wouldn’t bond over their deadbeat mother right? After that we get a little glimpse of Frankie’s messed-up life. She’s taking a break from school after punching some jerk’s nose for something he said, yet she doesn’t say anything when given the chance to explain to the principal. It’s almost as if she sets herself up for failure because of her background – a mother who leaves her, and a father who overdosed when she was a toddler. Basically, she never really had parental influences and was instead raised with love by her Aunt Vinnie. Frankie definitely shows the more rough side of life while following the escapades of a soulful girl who just wants to find acceptance in the world.

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How Should I Categorize This… | A Discussion on Why Labeling Genres Is Important

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In regards to the question in the title: maybe the right category, perhaps?

Oftentimes I read books that are advertised as one genre, and are actually another. Or maybe they’re supposed to overlap in genres, yet don’t. I understand that books are marketed to capture the best audience, but I don’t think people realize just how detrimental placing it in the wrong category is. I know that “genre” can be a broad term and in a way, no two genres for one reader are the same for another, but there’s definitely a divisive line that can be seen. And I as a reader am influenced by which categories these books are placed in, and my reading can also be affected by it.

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