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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday \\ WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER by Rae Carson

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Pick of the week:

Walk on Earth a Stranger
The Gold Seer Trilogy # 1
Author: Rae Carson
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Never Ever EVER Say This To A Reader...

From Becs...

Okay, so usually I do Top Ten on Tuesdays, buuuuuut I kind of got sidetracked and ended up posting this week's topic last week and last week's topic the week before that. I have no idea where my head was at when I was writing those up. So if you want to check out The Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If I Taught YA Fantasy 101, then you can with the link, or you could totally check out this personal post below, and then go check out TTT, mkay?

I'm a pretty simple person, although there are layers to me like there are with anyone; My personality boils down to a few things. I work constantly, I read constantly, and I post about both of those things on social media quite often, because that's what is going on in my life. I mean, that is what social media is for, right? That's what I thought. I don't do it for the likes, or the comments, or the shares. I do it because I want to look back when I'm 26 (or any age, really) and see what I was reading and loving, what quotes were hitting me right in the freakin' feels, what jobs I was hating, and what was generally going on in my life way back when. My facebook/twitter/instagram is for me. But something happened the other day that I thought was pretty crappy. It still just rubs me the complete wrong way, and frankly, this should NEVER be happening to ANYBODY, no matter what their age is, just because they like something. I don't care what it is....gaming, exercising, writing, yo-yo-ing, whatever. Just don't. 

Never. Ever. EVER. Say this.

This is what I'm talking about:

I posted this as my status on facebook the other day, because I genuinely love this quote and have never come across it before. (I'm actually considering it for a tattoo now.) "I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else."

That's it. A simple, lovely quote by Neil Gaiman (who I admit to never having read anything by. I know.).

This was the comment I received on that post: "Yeah, that is very good, but you also need to live in reality as much as it sucks. lol. it will only make you appreciate everything else that much better and make you that much better....sorry about my grammar you know what I mean."

You know what? I actually DON'T know what you mean. This is a comment that I heard a lot when I was younger. Maybe not the exact words, but always something along those lines. "Becca, you need to get a life", "Becca, you read too much", "Becca, you're missing out on the greatest years of your life", "Becca, you have way too many books. You should spend your money on something better", "Becca, put that book down and go out", "Becca, it's no wonder you don't have a boyfriend; you read way too much", and on and on and on. I think I can say that most of my readers have probably heard the same type of stupid comments too at some point in their life.

But here's the thing, I thought I had passed that point in my life. My family and friends, heck even random people that barely know me, know that I am a reader, and they accept my love for reading without chiding me about it like it's something to be embarrassed about. But I guess I was wrong. It's sad that anyone thinks that they have the right to go and tell someone that they need to live more in the real world, like I'm a child who still believes the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are real.

Why should anyone ever be ASHAMED about something that they love to do? THEY SHOULDN'T. If it makes you happy, then you should sure as heck do it! You don't live on this beautiful planet to make anyone else happy. Your heart and soul beat with this profound joy of *insert whatever hobby here*, and for me, it's reading.

Books have always been there for me. They have never screwed me over. They have never lied to me (okay, most of them haven't). They have never cheated on me. They have never stabbed me in the back. They have never turned their backs on me. They have been my best friends when I didn't have any. Books, words, authors, readers, bookstores, libraries, reviewers.....they have been my life for the past twenty-three years. 

But just because I enjoy spending my time with books more than I enjoy spending it with other people, doesn't mean that I'm not living in reality. It also doesn't mean that I don't appreciate everything just as much as people that don't read. And it sure as hell does not mean that I'm less of a 'better' person. 

I think... No. No. I KNOW I appreciate real life just fine with my nose in a book all of the time. I have lived the lives of many people, simply because I am a reader. So to counter my "friend's" comment, I would say...

I actually live more in reality than anyone I know. I live in the reality where I don't chide someone for their hobbies or their passions. I live in the reality where I've toppled corrupt governments, fallen in love with a sparkly vampire, received my acceptance letter from Hogwarts by an owl, survived the 75th Hunger Games, and so on. I think my life in this reality has been more fulfilling and enriching more than most people's, and for that, I am proud to say that I am a reader. Being a reader has actually made me a much better person. Being a reader has actually made me appreciate things that much more. But, hey, thanks no thanks for your unwanted opinion on how I should live my life. I could be out living the reality of dating unfaithful people or forgetting the real world by indulging in alcohol and/or drugs, but instead I choose to do what makes my real world so amazing, and that's reading. Sorry, not sorry.

THE SCORPION RULES \\ The Sting is Real (but not in a good way)

by Paola

by Erin Bow
Series: Prisoners of Peace
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (September 22, 2015)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

In the future, the UN has brought back an ancient way to keep the peace. The children of world leaders are held hostage—if a war begins, they pay with their lives.

Greta is the Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy, a superpower formed of modern-day Canada. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. The hostages are Talis’s strategy to keep the peace: if her country enters a war, Greta dies.

The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered.

Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. Greta is furious that Elian has disrupted their quiet, structured world. But slowly, his rebellion opens her eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power.

Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to mete out punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed...unless Greta can think of a way to save them.
To minimize the risk of war, each ruler must send a son or a daughter to join the Children of Peace. These children are kept safe in a isolated school as long as the world is at peace. If war is declared, the children that represent the countries in the conflict are killed. As you can see, this book sounds somewhat interesting. In reality, The Scorpion Rules is so dull that I'm actually shocked that I finished the entire thing. I thought that struggling through it might be worth it at the end, but I was wrong.

This was torture, from start to finish. I'm not exaggerating. The world building had a let-me-dump-all-this-information-and-maybe-it'll-make-sense vibe to it. Every aspect of this future world was heavy and boring instead of fascinating and brilliant. The idea is cool but I can't say the same about the final product. I just didn't care about any of it. I didn't connect with the characters or the story so I practically wasted a couple of hours of my life on something that left me completely disappointed.

There's a love triangle in this book and, even though I loathe them, it had a ton of potential...but it doesn't matter because the execution was terrible. The main character (a girl named Greta) is attracted to a boy and a girl. This could've been a highlight since not a lot of dystopians deal with this kind of love triangle but everything about it was so awkward and unnatural. The relationships moved too fast and didn't make a lot of sense. The love in this book is the kind of love that grows overnight and feels forced rather than natural. I'm not entirely sure if the love triangle served a purpose or, like everything else in this novel, it was just there for no good reason at all.

Basically, take the boring plot, add the terrible love triangle and the fact that the characters are all flat and unlikable and you get one of the worst books I've read this year. I can't get back the time I spent reading this but I hope some of you make a better choice and either give up while you're ahead or choose a better book to begin with.

Monday, August 24, 2015

WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler \\ Standing Ovation!

Review by Leydy 

by Aaron Hartzler
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (September 22, 2015)
Language: English
Goodreads | Amazon

The party at John Doone's last Saturday night is a bit of a blur. Kate Weston can piece together most of the details: Stacey Stallard handing her shots, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early. . . . But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills's shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn't have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate's classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can't be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same questions: Who witnessed what happened to Stacey? And what responsibility do they have to speak up about what they saw? 
Mark your calendar! September 22nd is the day to purchase this book. And you don’t want to miss out! Not only does this book has solid story but it provides a powerful message about rape. The way is told, it will captivate you from beginning to end. I LOVED how everyone tried to look the other way, but it took ONE person to stand and make a difference… Well yes, our heroine of this book was OUTSTANDING. Kate is such a wonderful protagonist. In just the fact that she did not follow the crowd, the way she stood up and said no – not only to her friends but her parents - the way she followed her guts, well bravo Kate. Bravo. It takes one person to make a HUGE differences. And What We Saw is the perfect example. So make sure you read it!

As you know, I am a sucker for covers. I tend to not read the premises of novel and go by the cover. This one was no exception. I wanted to read this book because I honestly believed it would be a scary movie with some mystery behind it (according to the cover and title). Well, this book is not THAT KIND of terrifying. No, instead this book shows you how a community can stereotype a person by the way they dress and/or act. By their “social class”. The fact that looking away and not getting involved, is just another way of not caring. I was horrified by the actions of many characters in this book. Yet it took ONE person – our main character, Kate, to make an impact. Kate’s concerns and anger throughout the book makes this story very realistic. Is like stepping in her shoes and seeing injustice unraveling. The ignorance of this community is very painful to read – and you will experience this along with Kate. Read this book and trust me you will shocked how this book will cause you many reactions.

To say the least, What We Saw is a story of a young girl that was raped. A girl that every believed she was “asking for it”. There is no such thing as “she was asking for it”. When someone says no, IT MEANS NO. It doesn’t matter if this person acts flirty, it doesn’t matter if this person dresses in a provoke manner, the answer is still no. Let alone if this person is not in the right state of mind. It was irritating to read the reactions of the students. Worst, how Kate’s parents told her to stay out of it. To look the other way and pretend this never happened. Thankfully, Kate couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off. The will to discover the truth – and not follow the rest of the crowd. This is a true hero. A person of courage. A person who took her time to research and to take actions that matter. Oh you clever girl.

What We Saw is a must read. I recommend this to everyone. I applause Aaron Hartzler for this outstanding story. Trust me you won’t be disappointed. Go and pre-order.

Peace, Love + Twilight,
Leydy Baltodano
Blogger & Book Reviewer, Once Upon a Twilight

Saturday, August 22, 2015

{Indie Spotlight} THE ARCHANGEL PROPHECIES by Monica McGurk

Today we are featuring an interview with Hope Carmichael, the heroine of The Archangel Prophecies trilogy—including Dark Hope and the newly released Dark Rising—and her guardian angel, Henri.

The Archangel Prophecies ask: Can one person upend a prophecy as old as time? Hope Carmichael is on the run. The only question is, from whom? The mark on her neck has branded her as part of an ancient prophecy, the Bearer of the Key. But the Fallen Angels have misunderstood and think Hope is their long-awaited way to regain Heaven by force. Now Hope is chasing down the artifact that could open Heaven's Gates, while seeking to destroy it before the Fallen catch up with her. Will the Triad crime ring track Hope and exact their punishment before she gets the chance? Is the ragtag band of angels surrounding her now there to protect her, or imprison her? And will Michael, the Archangel sworn to defend Heaven at all costs, be forced to deny his love for Hope and take her life instead, so that the artifact won't fall into enemy hands? Hope crisscrosses some of the most ancient sites in Europe and plumbs the depths of history in search of the truth about the Key, herself, and love. Exploring themes of identity, fate, jealousy, trust, and forgiveness, Dark Rising’s mythological scope and moral urgency deepen as we come to understand the choices and consequences faced by a young woman determined to follow her heart and chart her own destiny. And through it all, her guardian angel is at her side, to help. Let’s learn more about them in Reading Teen’s exclusive interview.


RT: You two seem to have a unique relationship. How would you describe it in one word?

HOPE: Testy.
HENRI: Exhausting. Despite my good advice, she seems to keep getting into trouble, from which I then have to extract her, of course.
HOPE: (Rolling eyes) Did I say “testy?” I think I meant “annoying.”

RT: Henri, tell us—is it normal for a human to be aware of, and in dialog with, his or her guardian angel?

HENRI: Not at all. If it hadn’t been for that meddling Archangel, Michael, Hope would have remained blissfully ignorant of my existence—which is how I prefer it. By revealing his own identity, Michael triggered her realization that the “voice in her head,” as she likes to call it, was actually me.

RT: Why was your anonymity important to you, Henri?

HENRI: Teens are notoriously prone to defying authority, Hope more so than most. Having her think my brilliant advice was her own idea certainly greased the wheels to her acceptance of my counsel.
HOPE: Oh, please. Your counsel? More like your Monday morning quarterbacking. You tend to be conveniently absent when the real trouble goes down.

RT: Hope is raising an interesting point, Henri. She does seem to face an awful lot of dangers on her own. As her Guardian Angel, how do you respond to allegations that you are falling down on the job?

HENRI: (Sputtering) I absolutely deny those allegations. Look at her—she’s standing before you, having survived run-ins with crime lords and human traffickers on two continents, not to mention having outrun a bevy of Fallen Angels. Do you think she could have done that without a little help from me?
HOPE: (Sarcastically) Right. The other angels surrounding me had nothing to do with it.

RT: Hope, why do you think Henri disappears? What do you think he is doing?

HOPE: I think he remains jealous of how close I am to Michael. Not that Henri has a romantic interest in me, far from it. He is jealous of his prerogatives and doesn’t want me to listen to anyone else. So I think he disappears out of frustration with me. (Pauses) Then again, at the most critical moment, he actually comes through. So I may be a little harsh in my judgment of him.

RT: Henri, what is Hope’s best quality?

HENRI: By far it is her persistence. She is a dogged little girl.
HOPE: That would be woman to you, Henri.
HENRI: (snorts) Let’s compromise with young lady, then, shall we?

RT: Hope, what is Henri’s best quality?

HOPE: He’s nothing if not consistent. Consistently annoying, consistently pessimistic, consistently sarcastic . . .
HENRI: Very funny.
HOPE: You know you love me.
HENRI: (Gruffly) Right back at you, kiddo.
HOPE: I would add that he has an excellent grasp of history. He is like the Angelic Wikipedia. My quest for The Key would have been much, much more difficult if not for some of the insights Henri was able to share with me.

RT: I guess that is what comes from millennia of experience! Thank you both for your time today. Before we let you go, what can readers expect from the final installment of The Archangel Prophecies, Dark Before Dawn, which is set to be released in 2016?

HOPE: Readers might be surprised to learn there is no job security for angels. So there will be some personnel changes, so to speak.
HENRI: Oh, please spare me. You already received my resignation.

RT: There you go, readers! We hope you enjoyed this exclusive interview with Hope and Henri from Dark Rising.

Find DARK RISING on Amazon and GoodReads

Author Bio:

Monica McGurk loves nothing better than to craft thought-provoking, multilayered stories, showcasing strong girls and women overcoming big challenges. Already a fan favorite, she received the 2013 TwiFic Fandom Undiscovered Gem award for Morning Star, her alternate ending to the Twilight series, written before the release of Breaking Dawn. Her first novel in The Archangel Prophecies trilogy, Dark Hope, was published in 2014. Dark Rising is the second novel in this series. The final installment, Dark Before Dawn, is expected in 2016.

Readers can learn more about Monica’s work and passions on her website at
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