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Monday, March 27, 2017

LETTERS TO THE LOST // Review and Giveaway

Review by Andye

LETTERS TO THE LOST
by Brigid Kemmerer
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (April 4, 2017)
Language: English
Goodreads

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

Guys, I don't read a lot of contemporary books. Especially ones that have "issues". I mean, I read to escape and be happy, so this was what I considered a risk. But a good friend of mine, Jen, just raved about it, so I decided to pick it up. I am SO glad that I did.

This book reminded me a lot of You've Got Mail (Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks) with angsty teens. I love stories like this where two people are connecting in different ways, and they don't even know who the other one is. It just gives me SO many feels! But I'd say that this book dives so much further, emotionally, than other stories that are similar. The things that Juliet and Declan have had to deal with in their lives, have brought them to this broken place, and they're learning to navigate their lives as completely new people.

One of the things that I adored about this book was the relationships of all the characters, whether good or bad. Their families are complex, and sometimes painful. The friendships are multidimensional and loyal. My favorite connection, besides Juliet and Declan of course, is the one between Declan and Rev. I just LOVE them! Their friendship is goals, and I can't wait to see more of Rev when he gets his own book (IT'S HAPPENING!!)

Of course with all the ups and downs of this story, what I enjoyed the most was the developing romance between Juliet and Declan. They both are dealing with so much pain, and they begin to help each other, without even realizing who they are. What makes the tension crazy, though, is the fact that they really don't like each other in real life. They have to get over their misconceptions and prejudices. Although in real life, I think maybe Declan might need a little therapy before he starts a relationship (haha), in this fictional world, I just wanted them to save each other, and for them to live happily ever after.

Giveaway:

3 Finished Copies of LETTERS TO THE LOST (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT BRIGID KEMMERER:

BRIGID KEMMERER is author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

3/27: Reading Teen - Review
3/28: Teen Lit Rocks - You've Got Mail Feature
3/29: Love Is Not a Triangle - Review
3/30: Lost In Lit - Bookish Inspirations
3/31: The Irish Banana Review - Review

Week 2:

4/3: Addicted 2 Novels - Guest Post
4/4: Alexa Loves Books - Review
4/5: Novel Novice - Top 10
4/6: Bookhounds YA - Review
4/7: Pure Imagination - Review

Friday, March 24, 2017

STRANGE THE DREAMER // Review and Blog Tour

STRANGE THE DREAMER
by Laini Taylor 
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

(March 28, 2017)Goodreads Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Timesbestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.
I can't even explain to you how excited I was to learn that Laini Taylor had written a new book. I absolutely adore her writing, and her ability to tell completely engrossing and complex stories. If you haven't read LIPS TOUCH THREE TIMES, or her DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE series, I highly recommend getting on that right now! 

I'll admit that it took me a bit to really get into STRANGE THE DREAMER, but that isn't unusual for me. That said, I loved the writing from the start. Laini's ability to craft beautiful sentences is unquestionable. But it's her genius at creating captivating worlds with complicated characters that truly captures me.

One of the things that Laini does that I absolutely love, is blurring the idea of good vs. evil. There is no right side or wrong side, or I should say, those things aren't exactly what you normally see in stories. Both sides have people who are good, and who are bad. Everyone has a history and valid reasons that have brought them to the place they are now. 

Lazlo and Sarai are fantastic and unique characters. Their stories begin so differently, but the way they come to know each other is out of their similar desire to look beyond what the people around them are saying and to find the truth. The history of Weep is tragic and horrifying. There are truly monstrous people on both sides of that tragedy. So many of the characters are both victim and perpetrator. But there is also beauty and hope in Weep, and the journey to that is the thing that binds Lazlo and Sarai. Oh, and the kissing :)  Laini gets an A++ in writing kissing scenes!

STRANGE THE DREAMER is a mystical, magical, stunning, and, yes . . . strange, adventure, full of imagination, romance and mystery. I can't wait to read more of this amazing world.

"It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?"



ABOUT LAINI TAYLOR:

Laini Taylor is the New York Times bestselling author of the global sensation the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, and Dreams of Gods & Monsters, and the companion e-novella, Night of Cake & Puppets. She is also the author of the Dreamdark books Blackbringer and Silksinger, and the highly acclaimed Lips Touch: Three Times, a National Book Award finalist. Her newest book, Strange the Dreamer, is the first in a stunning new epic duology. Laini lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter Clementine.

LINKS: Website | Twitter


Tour Schedule:
Week 1:

3/20: My Friends Are Fiction - Review
3/21: Alexa Loves Reading - Bookish Style Files
3/22: Mundie Moms - Review
3/23: What Sarah Read - Review
3/24: Reading Teen - Review

Week 2:

3/27: No BS Book Reviews - Makeup Collage
3/28: YA Bibliophile - Review
3/29: The Irish Banana Review - Review
3/30: Quite the Novel Idea - Review
3/31: Fiction Fare - Review




Monday, March 20, 2017

STRANGER THAN FANFICTION by Chris Colfer // Giveaway: Book + $25 Giftcard #StrangerThanFanfiction

*Prizing and samples provided by Little, Brown & Co.


Stranger Than Fanfiction
By Chris Colfer
Release: February 28, 2017
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer comes a funny, heartbreaking, unforgettable novel about friendship and fame.

Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television show Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime – but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he's been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship.

In this touching novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer takes us on a journey full of laughter, tears, and life-changing memories.


A Life-Changing Adventure Awaits!



One (1) winner receives:
  • A copy of Stranger Than Fanfiction
  • $25 Visa gift card to put towards gas on road-trip of your own
*Giveaway open to US addresses only.
*Prizing and samples provided by Little, Brown & Co.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Official Site + Social Media
About the Author
Chris Colfer is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and Golden Globe-winning actor. He was honored as a member of the TIME 100, Time magazine's annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world, and his books include Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, Stranger Than Fanfiction, and the books in The Land of Stories series: The Wishing Spell, The Enchantress Returns, A Grimm Warning, Beyond the Kingdoms,and An Author's Odyssey, and the companion books A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales, The Mother Goose Diaries, Queen Red Riding Hood's Guide to Royalty, The Curvy Tree, and Trollbella Throws a Party.
(photo credit: Brian Bowen Smith)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A HUNDRED HOURS OF NIGHT \\ For New York Lovers

Review by Krista

A HUNDRED HOURS OF NIGHT
by Anna Woltz
Hardcover: 242 pages
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (May 10, 2016)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

Part love letter to New York, part portrait of a girl and a city in crisis as Hurricane Sandy hits New York City.

When Emilia de Wit ran away to New York City, she planned everything to a T. Plane ticket, purchased. Cute apartment, rented online. Subway map, printed and highlighted. This was no ordinary trip -- this was Emilia's declaration of independence. Her chance to escape the life her parents were ruining. To get away from the horrible scandal that had rocked Amsterdam, the scandal that was all her dad's fault. To see if her mom, the glamorous, world-famous artist, would even notice.

New York steals Emilia's heart at first sight -- even though absolutely nothing goes to plan. She didn't plan to end up homeless on a stranger's doorstep. She didn't plan to make friends with Seth, Abby, and Jim. And she could never have known that Hurricane Sandy would be barreling up the coast, straight for the city.

All she wanted was to get away from her parents, her problems, her life . . . and when the storm hits and the power goes out, Emilia feels farther from home than she could have imagined.

I felt this story really focuses as the city as it's own character. I agree that it is very much a love letter to New York as the publisher has indicated and it's written in a way that you really do feel like your there, visualizing the streets, smells and weather as it takes place.

Emilia runs away from home, sneakily getting onto a flight to New York she lands only to discover the place she thought she had rented to stay at turned out to be a scam and the current residents are not going to let her stay. Finding herself in a complex situation she is able to find a place to stay the night and soon makes friends with them, they let her stay.

This is not only Emilia's story but those of the three people she meets while in New York and becomes good friends with. During the days of Hurricane Sandy in which power is down and stores, transportation and wi-fi are hard to find. These three get close and learn about each other, their quirks, their differences and especially their comfort in finding each other during a difficult time.

I'm not sure if this book is for everybody, but I believe that young readers that have an interest in New York may enjoy the story, it was a cute story with interesting characters. I thought there would be more drama in the fact that Emilia runs away...from another country...to NEW YORK..alone. But this story takes a less intrusive (lighter) reflection of her family life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

BREATH OF EARTH by Beth Cato // An Exciting Read! @amazonpub

Review by Krista

BREATH OF EARTH
by Beth Cato
Series: Blood of Earth (Book 1)
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (August 23, 2016)
Goodreads |
Amazon
In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation—the Unified Pacific—in an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer Wardens who have no idea of the depth of her power—or that she is the only woman to possess such skills.


When assassins kill the Wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose Earth’s powers to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming the city into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . .


Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her powerful magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.
As the story does take place in a alternate United States I felt a bit confused in some places with our connection to other countries and the current political leaders. There is a lot of focus on the San Francisco area specifically because of the setting, but as far as what the world situation was I didn't quite get a good grip on who was ruling and where.

What I can tell you that I loved was the constant movement throughout the story and how during a time of war, the author does not shy away from being a bit, grotesque. My mouth literally fell open at one part that caught me off guard, yet really gave a good visual. As Ingrid is running for her life she goes on a wild adventure, there is constant action from the ground, the sky and under water. The way her abilities are able to save her and others during different situations was always interesting to see. I also really enjoyed the fact that the love story takes a bit of a twist, yet it all turns out very exciting. Although Ingrid is far from being a girl in distress she finds herself in several situations where her companions must help save her life. All four of them become a great team and I really enjoyed each person for their own unique person.

Even though I did get a bit confused, I really enjoyed where the story went and how much we learn about Ingrid and her family. It is really the characters that kept be going during the story, and they are the reason I am looking forward to reading the next book. This is one that I do recommend, it's an exciting read.