Dec 3, 2016

Review: The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin



Title: The Left Hand of Darkness
Author: Ursula Le Guin
Publisher: Ace
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback, 330 Pages
Published March 1987

Summary: A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can choose -and change - their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. 

I had to read this book for my college anthropology class a few weeks ago, and I wasn't expecting to enjoy it, because I've never been big on science fiction. However, after having to read it for a school assignment, it turned out to be a lot more interesting than I expected.

The story is super complex to explain without you having read it, but it explains the story of a man who comes down to a planet where there is no gender -- a concept that's really difficult to wrap our heads around in today's society. Not the fact that there are more than two genders -- that's pretty understandable -- but the fact that gender doesn't exist at all. So his story is basically him coming down to this planet and experiencing this entirely new way of life while trying to convince the planet's leaders to join an alliance.

I found the whole non-gender thing to be super interesting, even if it gave me a headache from being a bit confusing at times. The theory was that there was a mating season once a month, and people would just assume the roles (and the biological genitalia and such) of either a male or a female, and would mate accordingly. So basically, your mother could be a man a month from now. At one point, the king of the country was even pregnant with a child. It's something that sounds really silly and hard to comprehend for us, but when you sit down and think about it, it really makes you think -- especially about how gender is something that we have socially constructed, not something that is legitimate. 

(However, biological sex is a legitimate thing. That isn't to be confused with gender.)

All in all, the book was weird, but super interesting. It wasn't my favorite read ever, but it held my attention, and I found some aspects of it really intriguing. If you're somebody that's into science fiction and/or fantasy, I definitely recommend giving this book a read. It opened up a lot of deep, intriguing conversations during my class, and it helps you learn to understand others better -- because let me just say, having to read about a culture (granted, it was fictional, but this applies to any culture that is foreign to me in real life) that I view as "wrong" compared to mine really helps to change my world view. 



Nov 28, 2016

Happy Release Day Post & Giveaway to Fire in You by Jennifer L. Armentrout!

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Some are born with fire in them.

✮✮✮SECOND CHANCES, HOPE, & RED-HOT CHEMISTRY…FIRE IN YOU, the final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Wait For You World is here! Don’t Miss Brock and Jillian’s passionate and richly moving story in this standalone contemporary romance!✮✮✮



Let the FIRE IN YOU burn and grab your copy today!







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About FIRE IN YOU:

From the # 1 New York Times and International bestselling author comes a richly moving story about heartbreak and guilt, second chances and hope. Full of familiar, fan-favorite characters and no two people more deserving of a happy ending, Fire In You will burn bright beyond the last page…

Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.

She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.

Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks





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Order a digital or paperback copy of FIRE IN YOU by Jennifer L. Armentrout, writing as J.Lynn, AND fill out THIS FORM by December 3rd, and get an exclusive bonus scene-an Epilogue featuring POVs from all the major couples throughout the Wait For You World!

FIRE IN YOU will be available in paperback and eBook November 28th, 2016!

Just enter your name, age, email address, and the order number from your digitalor paperback pre-order receipt at https://a.pgtb.me/M7KhMC to receive your exclusive FIRE IN YOU bonus scene! All entrants will receive the bonus scene on December 5th, 2016 through email using the email given when the entrant filled out THIS FORM.







EXCERPT:


Making my way through the narrow pathways between the tables, I headed back toward the bathroom. Only once I pushed open the double doors and stopped in front of the water-spotted mirror did I realize I’d left my purse at the table, so there’d be no reapplying my lipstick.


I pumped soap onto my hands and waved them under the facet. Water flowed, washing away the suds as I slowly lifted my gaze to my reflection. Normally when I looked at myself, I didn’t really pay attention longer than was necessary to put makeup on without ending up looking like a tutorial gone wrong.


Standing here now, I really looked at myself, though.


I used to wear my hair up all the time, but I’d stopped doing that every day. My hair now hung in waves and the ends curled over the tips of my breasts. I also used to have heavy bangs, but thank God they were long gone. I’d finally learned how to put on eyeliner. That was another miracle. The slight flush of my face darkened my naturally tan skin. My lips were fuller and my nose straight.


My hair was parted to sweep to the left so it shielded my cheek…and my cheek didn’t look that bad, especially considering how it looked the first time I’d seen it after…after days in the hospital.


Hell, my entire face had been one hot mess.


There was a deep indentation in my left cheek, almost like an icepick had been shoved in there, and as I stared at my right jaw line, I was still amazed by what reconstructive plastic surgeons could accomplish. Half my face had literally been pieced back together with an iliac crest graft with a reconstruction plate and a crap ton of dentistry to give me back a full set of functional teeth.


Plastic surgeons didn’t have magic wands, but they were magicians. If you weren’t looking at me straight on, you’d have no idea that my right jaw was thinner than my left.


You’d have no idea what had happened to me that night.


Now I stared back at myself just like I had done that night, six years ago, standing in a bathroom, mere minutes before my entire life came crashing down.


It wasn’t that I hated the way I looked now. The fact that I was alive meant I was one of those rare, walking and breathing statistics.


But even knowing how lucky I was didn’t change the fact that I felt…deformed. That was a harsh word to use. I didn’t like to whip it out often. Doing so on what was so far a pretty good date was probably not a good idea.


Taking a deep breath, I shook my head. I didn’t need my thoughts going in that direction tonight. So far, the dinner had been amazing. Grady was nice and he was cute. I could maybe see myself going out with him again, to an art exhibit, and maybe coffee.


And that was what had freaked me out.


I was not going to let living freak me out.


Nope.


I could give him a chance and not worry about whether or not I was settling.


Turning from the sink, I dried my hands and then readjusted my hair so it fell forward, over my left shoulder and cheek. I walked out of the bathroom and into the narrow hall, gaze trained on the floor as I took about two steps before I realized someone was standing right outside the door, leaning against the wall. Before I nearly plowed into him.


Gasping, I took a step back. All I could see were finely cut black trousers paired with…with old black and white Chucks? What an odd combination, but those shoes reminded me of…


I gave a little shake of my head and stepped to the side. “Sorry. Excuse—”


“Jillian.”


I stopped.


Time stopped.


Everything stopped except my heart, because it was suddenly pounding in my chest too hard, too fast. That deep, rough voice. I recognized it all the way to my very core. Slowly, I lifted my gaze, already knowing what I was going to see but refusing to believe it.


Brock Mitchell stood in front of me.








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About Jennifer L. Armentrout:


# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.


Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Jennifer has won numerous awards, including the 2013 Reviewers Choice Award for Wait for You, the 2015 Editor’s Pick for Fall With Me, and the 2014/2015 Moerser-Jugendbuch- Jury award for Obsidian. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.


She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.



Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


We'd like to extend a huge thank you to Inkslinger for allowing us to be a part of this tour! We love working with them just as much as we love Jenn Armentrout's books! *heart eyes and grabby hands*





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Nov 27, 2016

Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood



Title: All The Ugly and Wonderful Things
Author: Bryn Greenwood
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 346 Pages
Published August 2016

Summary: As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible "adult" around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.


I received a finished copy of this book from St. Martin's Press way back in July to read and review, and I've been a bit held up getting adjusted to college, but I've been getting through it bit by bit. Now that the semester is coming to an end and classes are winding down, I had the opportunity to sit down and finish this book, and I'm very glad that I did.

This book tells the story of Wavy, a young girl who has a pretty hard life. Her mother is pretty absent, her father is a meth dealer, and nobody really takes care of her or her younger brother. It's only when Kellen, an employee of her father's, wrecks his bike and stumbles upon Wavy that someone finally cares about her. He feeds her, takes her to school, pays for her tuition, and does all he can to keep her thriving.

And eventually, they fall in love. Which would be sweet and all, if Kellen wasn't in his twenties before Wavy was even fourteen. Nevertheless, the love between the two of them was sweet, and throughout the book you could tell how much he loved Wavy, even if he sometimes made some stupid decisions.

So, this book basically follows Wavy throughout her life, from childhood to adulthood, as she grows up in an extremely broken household. She's feared by pretty much everyone she knows for being a "weird girl" -- one that is very tiny, barely speaks, and never eats in front of people. She has some quirks and insecurities and such, things that most people don't understand, but Kellen always seems to get her. He takes care of her and loves her, even when people don't approve and her life is going downhill.\

There are a lot of hard things that go on in Wavy's life, also. It's hard enough being ignored by your parents -- but some of the things she's had to witness were just awful -- people doing drugs and people performing sexual acts on her own father, just to name a few. Before she was even thirteen, Wavy had experienced plenty of things that most college freshman haven't seen yet, or ever plan to see in their lifetime.

Wavy leads a very twisted life, and your heart can't help but ache for the poor girl. But I enjoyed seeing her bravery and her ability to keep a level head throughout all of the things that happened to her, especially with Kellen by her side, loving her and taking care of her.

All in all, I really enjoyed All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. It was a very interesting read, definitely not something I've read before. At times, things got really intense and graphic, so I wouldn't recommend this book for younger readers. Other than that, I really enjoyed Wavy and Kellen's love story. It was something sweet and adorable, something that wasn't common, and something I was rooting for the whole way. 

If you're looking for a different kind of romance story, something that isn't all fluff and rainbows, I definitely recommend giving this one a try. You won't regret it! 

I'd also like to thank St. Martin's for sending me this book a few months back -- I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did, and I'm now so glad that I had a chance to read it! I'd definitely be opened to reading more work from Bryn Greenwood in the future.