Book Review: A Study in Charlote by Brittany Cavallaro 

23272028A Study in Charlotte
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Get it here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Harper Collins and Edelweiss!

Sherlock Holmes and his partner-in-crime is prety ubiquitous in today’s society. Let’s not even account the number of English teachers that assign Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works for their students. There has been numerous movies based upon this popular detective, as well as TV shows that bring them to the modern times (*laments about Sherlock Season 4*). Why is it not surprising that I picked up a Young Adult book focusing on the descendants of Watson and Holmes?

Continue reading “Book Review: A Study in Charlote by Brittany Cavallaro “

Book Review: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

21843165Revenge and the Wild
Author: Michelle Modesto
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
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.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

MAGIC.

COWBOYS.

STEAMPUNK.

Revenge and the Wild not only fuses exciting genres together, but adds in fearsome and courageous characers that have to battle their way to survive in this tumultuous setting. This is not a dainty book. Among humans are creatures like vampires, werewolves, banshees, and scattered  throughout are cannibals as well as the Undying: humans that turn into zombie-like figures after eating creatures. Your worst nightmare can probably be found in Rogue City; however, with the help of the Natives’ magical powers, you’ll probably be safe from them.

But… what happens when those magical properties are running out?
Continue reading “Book Review: Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto”

Book Review: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

24657660Reign of Shadows
Author: Sophie Jordan
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I was provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Harper Collins and Edelweiss!

As always, I am sweeped in by fairy tale retellings. This time we have a story loosely based on Rapunzel, where our main character Luna lives in a world where light is only shown for a couple of hours, leaving it dark the rest of the time. Monsters called “dwellers” plague the area and are predators to the humans. Luna is kept safe in a tower, but from the beginning of the book we feel her yearning to go outside and away from the only place she’s known for the last seventeen years of her life.

Continue reading “Book Review: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan”

Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (The Witchlands #1)

21414439Truthwitch
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

The hype was quite real for this book, ever since during BEA many people waited hours in line to get an ARC. I was lucky enough to borrow one from Nichol at Stacks Waiting, who is an amazing blogger and person. Right off the bat we’re sucked into a descriptive world of witchery and action when we see Safiya and Iseult escaping from their latest escapade. The book is told in limited third person POV, so each section we get a little bit of one of the main character’s thoughts. I really enjoy this choice of style because this way we can learn a little more about characters who I believe will play a larger role later in the story.

Continue reading “Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (The Witchlands #1)”

Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

24751478Soundless
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

While I was really excited to start this book based off my own culture’s folklore, I have to admit that I was quite disappointed. Soundless is a very light read, so light that I found myself floating away while reading. That is, getting bored or distracted. I feel as if not much is going on in the book in terms of action, but instead Mead focuses on world-building and characters.

Continue reading “Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead”

Jennifer Jenkins – Nameless

21843172Nameless
Author: Jennifer Jenkins
Publisher: Month9Books
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Four clans have been at war for centuries: the Kodiak, the Raven, the Wolf and the Ram. Through brutal war tactics, the Ram have dominated the region, inflicting death and destruction on their neighbors.

Seventeen-year-old Zo is a Wolf and a Healer who volunteers to infiltrate the Ram as a spy on behalf of the allied clans. She offers herself as a Ram slave, joining the people who are called the “nameless.” Hers is a suicide mission – Zo’s despair after losing her parents in a Ram raid has left her seeking both revenge and an end to her own misery. But after her younger sister follows her into Rams Gate, Zo must find a way to survive her dangerous mission and keep her sister safe.

What she doesn’t expect to find is the friendship of a young Ram whose life she saves, the confusing feelings she develops for a Ram soldier, and an underground nameless insurrection. Zo learns that revenge, loyalty and love are more complicated than she ever imagined in the first installment of this two-book series.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you Month9Books for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for a review! 

Nameless starts out with Zo, a Wolf, infiltrating the Ram clan as a spy. It’s full of action from beginning to end, and with that is also the inclusion of in-depth characters who really grow. Whether its Zo’s prejudice against the heartless Rams or Gryphon’s apathy towards his clan’s brutal ways, both these dynamic characters change throughout the book.

In the blurb above, Gryphon is the Ram soldier that Zo has “confusing feelings” for. We get to see a little of his thoughts, as this book is written in limited third person in his and Zo’s thoughts. Even though the description of the blurb highlights Zo’s character, Gryphon has an essential role that comes to light in the book. I absolutely loved his character development, and how, throughout the course of events, his eyes are opened to the cruelty in the Ram clan. The best part is the fact that he still has pride in his clan despite that. He doesn’t immediately want to start rebelling against the place and people he was raised with; instead, Gryphon wants to make the necessary changes that might benefit his clan. I found it not only realistic but also refreshing for someone to be set against their people’s traditions, but not want to separate completely away from the group.

Zo, on the other hand, was a strong and courageous heroine. She cares about her sister and throughout the book we can see instances of their love and protection. In my opinion, Zo did a superb job with spying – she wasn’t deterred by frivolous things, including a good-looking Ram soldier.

In fact, the romance in this book is pretty big, but not central. It’s definitely a slow burn as our characters come to realize their feelings and the dangers of them within the gates of the Ram clan. Both Zo and Gryphon were rational about it, and I think they would make a fantastic couple.

Many additional characters add so much flavor to this book! The nameless rebels who want liberty; the Rams who are trying to save themselves from their own clan’s customs; each of them were important to the development and plot of the story, and I enjoyed reading about them. I really can’t wait to see what the sequel brings, because I feel as if the tense situations in this book will be leading up to a big event in the next.

I really want to know more of the world! There are four clans in the story, but we only deal with two. We are given a history of what happened in the past, but I feel like there’s more to it! (Or maybe that’s just me wanting more?) Either way, I really want to explore more of the setting and the life outside the Ram’s gate in the next book.

Nameless had a wonderful cast of characters and a meaningful story that has hidden lessons within it. I would definitely recommend this for readers looking for an adventure that ends up becoming so much more!

One-Way-Or-An-Author-4star

Sherry Thomas – The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy #3)

17410991The Immortal Heights
Author: Sherry Thomas
Series: The Elemental Trilogy
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Get it here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

Synopsis:
In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort….Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

This book throws us right in the middle of the action from the very first page. There’s a war going on, and Thomas doesn’t shield us from the breathtaking action between the characters. I’d recommend readers to pick up The Perilous Sea or at least skim the ending because this one plunges you right where it left off. The last time I reread the first two books was just last year so imagine my surprise when I start the book in the middle of a war.

Screw surprise, I was like, “What the – what?” left and right.

Once I got over the initial surprise, however, I was sucked into the story again. Iolanthe and Titus continued to win me over with their witty dialogue and epic love. Seriously,  throughout the whole trilogy my favorite parts were their interactions. You can tell how much they care for each other through their actions and decisions, even if it meant hurting the other. The prophecy about Titus’s death had me sweating like a sinner in church the whole time while reading the book, and despite the ill omen, Thomas wrote a very very satisfying conclusion to the character’s story. Every chapter was twisting and turning with an unpredictable plot where the characters are up against the Bane.

Let’s just say I loved everything about this book? The characters, the romance, the action, the plot, and obviously – THE ENDING! 110% satisfying and one that I’ll be rereading soon. If you’re a lover of fantasy and haven’t started on this trilogy: what are you waiting for?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-5star

Leigh Bardugo – Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

23437156Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you Macmillan Children for hosting a giveaway for an ARC of this book!

If I had a noise to convey what I thought whenever this book is mentioned, it would be *PTERODACTYL SCREECH* as I throw the book into your hands. Six of Crows is deadly, mesmerizing, and impossible to put down. Despite the amalgam of characters present, I felt like I connected to each and every one of them. I understood their drive to do what they did and I thought they were incredible as a team. Leigh Bardugo paints a candid world where the thugs and thieves of the city join together in order to survive.

Each character had their own reasons to perform the “one impossible heist” mentioned in the blurb. The end result is money – lots of it – but everyone has their own reason for wanting it. This book is not for the faint-hearted. Our characters kill mercilessly; they are bastards; they are gamblers; they don’t give a crap on what you think of them. But all in all, they’re human (despite what some may think). On the outside they may seem tough and impenetrable, but all of them have their weaknesses – if not physical ones, then mentally. Bardugo writes them with such honesty, such frankness that makes it impossible to not like each and every one of them.

Not only does Six of Crows follow these characters’ adventures while they perform the heist, but we also delve into the past. How some of these characters met, and how others came to be the way they are. Those stories really helped in regards to understanding the characters’ motives and the way they act. I loved finding out about how Kaz became the way he is now, or the internal conflict Matthias had within him, or the addiction that Jesper couldn’t let go of.  It made them all the more relatable and human to me. This eccentric cast of characters is one that I won’t be forgetting soon. 

In the midst of all this action going on is also some swoon-inducing romances. Yeah, you didn’t think liars, criminals, and outlaws could have feelings? Think again. Praise the saints (Sankta Alina, ehehe) that there are no love triangles going on. The ships are very straightforward, although still full of angst. More importantly, these romances have the power to change people, to bring out the good parts of these outcasts. And you know how much I love character development with the aid of romance. ❤ While some characters may find it a weakness, others have their eyes opened. And I’m not gonna lie, there are some pretty heated moments in this book. *fans self*

Overall, Six of Crows met my expectations and more. We got non-stop action kicking its way through the pages, romances that make you want to get a fan out while reading, and characters that you just want to put into a box to protect them forever because they are flawed and vulnerable despite their tough exterior. (Although I’m sure Kaz will get them out in no time at all and then we’ll have to pay.) I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel to this book!

One-Way-Or-An-Author-5star

How to Get Over ARC Envy

We all know what it is.

And I’m pretty sure we all have had it at some point.

What is ARC envy? For those of you who don’t know, ARCs are Advanced Reader Copies that publishers give out to reviewers to spread the word about a book, months before its release. It’s like getting to see a highly anticipated movie before the release date!

I mean, I like to say I’m perfect (joking, joking), but in all honesty I’m human. I have faults, and being envious of another person because they have a book and I don’t is one of them. And I have to admit, I have succumbed to ARC envy several times throughout my blogging career.

You see someone post on Twitter an ARC they got. You’ve heard all about the ARC on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and maybe even Myspace. The person’s super happy with the ARC but then you think- “Why not me?” Those thoughts spiral into more and more dark directions until you’re left with a void of envy.

“Why not me? I have enough time to review books, and their pile must be super long! They haven’t even read the first book in the series, while I’m a fan- isn’t it obvious on who should get the ARC?! And look at their reviews, they’re not even that informational! This is ridiculous. My life is ridiculous.”

I’m not proud to say it, but those thoughts were similar to what I thought when I succumbed to ARC envy. But looking back at those silly, petty thoughts and comparing them to my (a little bit) more mature self today, I’ve realized that I’ve grown as a blogger and person. Thus, I want to share some things you should think about when you think you’re spiraling down a sharp path of ARC envy:

  1. BE HAPPY FOR THE PERSON WHO HAS THE ARC. 
    This is probably one of the most important things. How would you feel if you had the ARC? You’d be happy, right? You’d want other people to share the joy too. And you probably wouldn’t want someone fuming over why you got the ARC but they didn’t. So don’t be a hypocrite and let’s revel in other people’s happiness! You’ll find that you’ll end up being happier too.
  2. Take a look at your TBR shelf. That’s right, allllll those books you have to read, or were planning to, or told someone you’d read. 
    Are you looking at that shelf? Are you intimidated by the number of books on it, that at one point or another you were planning to read?
    Look at that poor, (maybe) neglected shelf and first try to knock some of those books before reading an ARC. After all, usually ARC’s aren’t OUT yet, so why don’t you go pick up one that is? There are thousands of books being published each year, and that ARC/book will most likely still be there next month/next year/next decade/next century.
  3. Think about a book you REALLY wanted an ARC of when it wasn’t out yet, and then to the moment when it DID come out. 
    Quick anecdote on this topic:
    Before A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas came out, I was DESPERATE for an ARC. I entered all the giveaways, emailed the publisher, and read a whole bunch of reviews for the book. Every time someone posted a picture of it I would cry inside. That being said, Barnes & Noble shipped the book a couple days before its release (yaaas!) and when I finally got the book, I devoured it in a day. I really enjoyed the book, but I have to confess: every time I look at the hardcover book sitting on my shelf, I get embarrassed at how desperate I was for an ARC. 
    The kind of embarrassment that leaves you also ashamed in a way.
    At this point, I’ve only read the book twice and have no plans on doing so again anytime soon. So I ask myself, “Aila, is it really necessary to behave so shamefully for a book you’ll get but most likely will not read that many times again?”
  4. Go to your local bookstore or library!
    When I’m in the mood for a book or ARC I don’t have (or just not reading anything on my shelf in general), I usually stop by the Barnes & Noble right next to my house or the public library not far off. Chances are if it’s a book, it’ll be there and if I have time I can stick around to read or check it out. If it’s an ARC though, we have a problem since it’s not published yet.
    But go there and look at the NUMEROUS amount of books there. I don’t believe you’ve read all the books there. Stroll around a little and- who knows? You might find something you really like! Either way, it’s a much better way to pass the time rather than patrol the web for something you don’t have.
  5. Do something to occupy your time.
    Like stated above, there are so many things you can do rather than fume for an ARC. Take a jog! If that doesn’t work for you, take a walk! If that doesn’t work for you, watch some TV shows! If that doesn’t work… Well, chances are, it will. I’m always open to giving recommendations so hit me up if you’re thinking about it.
    It’s really, really not the be-all-end-all, and you have to realize that an ARC in the grand scheme of life is pretty miniscule. Unless you’re the author of the ARC. Then- that’s pretty big.

In the end, most people who have ARCs worked hard to attain them, or they’re extremely lucky in giveaways. Like I said in the beginning, I’m human, and I’m pretty sure you are too. It’s not uncommon to be desperately wanting something to the point of petty thoughts, so don’t hold it against yourself. At the same time, you should know what it is and that it’s a waste of time, so why waste your time with it? After all, I can guarantee there’s books out there that you would really enjoy if you weren’t so fixated on ARCs.

If you think there isn’t, I can fix that.

So I want to hear your thoughts! Have you had a bad experience with ARC envy? If so, what have you done to get rid of it? 

Rachael Allen – The Revenge Playbook

23287156The Revenge Playbook
Author: Rachael Allen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Don’t get mad, get even!In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.

I won an ARC of this from Goodreads First Reads, which did not have an impact on my rating at all.

Four unlikely girls band together in The Revenge Playbook to go against the football team at their school. As a high schooler myself, it’s not surprising to see that the football players are treated as kings of the school and are given special attention or leniency in regards to their actions. It’s profoundly unfair and I enjoy the fact that the author focuses on those aspects.

In fact, this book had more serious topics than I thought it would. Overall it’s a fun and light read, but it does divulge into a lot of problems in high schools today, including bullying, hazing, and the social hierarchy at school. Each POV is from a character whose life was profoundly affected by the actions of the football team. Thus, they made it their mission to get back at them.

It was a little tiring keeping up with all four girl’s perspectives, but they had unique personalities that were enjoyable to read about. Another wonderful thing was that although Allen portrays the football team as d-bags, not everyone on the team fits into that stereotype. She writes a diverse cast of characters that is surprisingly realistic and ultimately down to earth in regards to their actions and thoughts.

Although The Revenge Playbook deals with the misconducts of football players and the consequences on other people, Allen delivers a humorous and touching read that focuses on the bonds made through acts of courage.