Aug 31, 2014

Our #SummerBloggerPromoTour Wrap-Up!

Current Hosts of:

Sadly, August 31st has finally rolled around...which means that not only is summer drawing to a close, but so is our first ever Summer Blogger Promo Tour. It was nine weeks filled with interviews, meeting new bloggers, quizzes, creative ideas and fun. So to top it all off and end on a good note, us ladies here at The Book Bratz decided to highlight everything from this past summer that we enjoyed about the tour! 

First, here are the links to all 8 bloggers we covered here at The Book Bratz throughout the summer: 

*Sunday, July 6th (Stop #1): Talking BookCon with Dana Square
*Sunday, July 13th (Stop #2): Introducing Andrew from Endlesslyreading
*Sunday, July 20th (Stop #3): Guest Review by Ana Loves
*Sunday, July 27th (Stop #4): The YA Club Guest Post: Why They Blog
*Sunday, August 3rd (Stop #5): Waiting on Sunday with Caught Read Handed
*Sunday, August 10th (Stop #6): What Genre Are You? Quiz with Ink on the Shelf
*Sunday, August 24th (Stop #8): The Ultimate YA Quiz with SJ Bouquet

And now, some highlights!

This summer, we did a whole bunch of things to introduce you all to eight awesome new bloggers that you should follow and take interest in. We talked about BookCon with our good friend Dana, introduced you to a cool guy book blogger named Andrew, hosted a guest review by an awesome girl named Ana, asked the YA Club why they blogged, hosted a Waiting on Sunday with Stefani from Caught Read Handed, took a genre quiz with Jen, hosted a guest post by Mily, and even took The Ultimate YA Quiz with SJ Bouquet!

This summer has been a fantastic way to meet new people--we went into this knowing only one blogger (Dana from Dana Square), and we came out of it knowing seven more. The idea behind this tour held true--not only did we do what we were supposed to and cover these people on our blog, but through talking to them and planning and learning more about who they are as people and not just as bloggers, we made tons of new friends. The tour helped us branch out and meet new bloggers that we probably would not have known otherwise. We met big bloggers, small bloggers, girl bloggers and guy bloggers!

And we all bonded over our mutual love for books.

What are our plans after the tour? We're definitely staying in touch with everyone we met (we've already nominated a couple of them for some upcoming blog tags *wink*)--and we definitely want to work with them again in the future. As for our plans for next year's tour? It's hard to release details right now because we're still working on it, but we plan on expanding the tour so that pretty much everyone that wants to take part can do so. (We have a few ideas on how we're going to work this.) Everyone who took part in this year's tour is willing to do it again next year, and it's going to be on a much grander scale and it's just going to be so awesome! 

It was a fantastic summer and we had an awesome time working with everyone--be on the lookout for a new, improved Summer Blogger Promo Tour (which we want EVERYONE to take part in!) next July! :-)

Here are everyone else's wrap-up posts:
Dana Square's Wrap-Up Post
The YA Club's Wrap-Up Post
The YA's Nightstand Wrap-Up Post

Thank you all (the bloggers who took part and the readers who took interest) for a fantastic summer!

 

Aug 30, 2014

Review: The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass



Title: The Selection (The Selection, #1)
Author: Kiera Cass
Rating: ★★★ (3/5 Stars)
Paperback, 327 Pages
Published April 2012
Book #1 of 3 in The Selection Series]
Add it on Goodreads!

Summary: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Amber read this book awhile ago and recommended it to me, and I'm glad that I finally got the chance to read this book! The Selection was equal parts romance, drama, and heartbreak. Plus, it's only the first book in the trilogy (although, however, Kiera Cass recently announced that two more books will be added to The Selection series!), and I'm eager to get my hands on the next one to find out who America chooses.

America Singer is in love with a boy named Aspen, but he is a caste below her and marrying him would only upset him (for bringing her down a caste) and her family and society (for lowering herself). From what I gathered, the woman takes the man's caste when they get married--so, marrying Aspen, her absolute dream, would be marrying down...and her family just wouldn't accept that.

Through a series of twists and turns, America gets wheedled by her family (and Aspen) into entering her application for the Selection. Prince Maxon is ready to marry, and therefore 35 girls will be living in the royal palace until he falls in love with one of them.

Hmm. Sounds a bit like forced, fake love to me. I was naturally curious about what would happen with this book, which is why I decided to pick it up, and it definitely drew me in. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cass is definitely creative when it comes to names for characters in her book, and I also was drawn in by the fact that even though this story technically takes place after the "Fourth World War" (yikes) and is, in a way, a semi-post-apocalyptic story (although there wasn't really an apocalypse--just a deconstruction of the countries as we know them), society was still running along smoothly, for the most part.

Very interesting. (Kiera Cass's acknowledgements page even made me chuckle. She's pretty funny.)

The ending of this book left me in wonder--and I need to get the next one, stat! I don't know for sure whose side I'm on yet, but I feel like I'm definitely leaning towards Prince Maxon. There's something about Aspen that I just don't like, although I can't quite put my finger on it yet.

All in all, The Selection was an interesting read that I enjoyed and was sad to finish. However, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of The Elite as soon as I possibly can!




Aug 29, 2014

The TBR Tag!


The To Be Read Tag was created by Dana @ Danasquare and her co-blogger Rachel @ A Perfect Called Books because they are curious of our TBR lists. As book bloggers, our TBR lists sometimes reach crazy heights. So they want to know how we keep up! 

QUESTIONS:

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

Amber: Goodreads. It is the easiest. 
Jessica: Goodreads. It's the only way I can keep myself organized!

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

Amber: Well, ARC wise my TBR on my kindle is huge. But I also own 25 books that I have not read yet. I prefer my print books though.
Jessica: Print

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Amber: I am horrible at this. Especially when it comes to ARCs because I have a few that would be coming out the following month but I would want to read one that doesn't come out for another four months. I am very impulsive so pretty much what ever appeals to me at the moment. 
Jessica: I go to my library and just search for books in their search system one by one, going through my TBR list. The first 3 books in my list I find available, I get. Then of those 3, I kind of just pick what I feel like reading first. I try to stick to books that were on my TBR list the longest, though. I feel like I need to get those out of the way.


A Book That's Been On Your TBR List The Longest?

Amber: 
Whoa. That was a long time ago.

Jessica: Seven Minutes in Heaven (The Lying Game, #6) by Sara Shepard. *sighs because I can't find a copy of that book anywhere.

A Book You Recently Added To Your TBR?

Amber: 


Jessica: 
Red Queen

A Book In Your TBR Strictly Because Of Its Beautiful Cover?

Amber: 


Jessica: 
20801166


A Book On Your TBR That You Never Plan on Reading?

Amber: 


Jessica: 


A Book On Your TBR That Basically Everyone’s Read But You?

Amber: 

Jessica: 
17383918

A Book On Your TBR That Everyone Recommends To You?

Amber: There really isn't one. Dana recommended Jennifer L. Armentrout's New Adult books to me five thousand times before I read them. I ended up loving them.
Jessica: Definitely Isla and the Happily Ever After. I need to pick this one up!

A Book On Your TBR That You’re Dying To Read?

Amber: Oh boy. Well all the ones I am dying to read aren't published yet. The biggest ones are Stay with Me by J. Lynn, Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins, and Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Pretty much anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout I am dying to read.
Jessica: The Wicked Will Rise, which is the second book in the Dorothy Must Die trilogy. Super excited for this one to be published! 


How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf? 

Amber: 516. I originally had 1,134 but I cleaned a lot of it out. I impulsively add books.
Jessica: Only 74. I tend to only add books that I'm positive I'm going to read at some point.

Thank you to Dana and Rachel for tagging us! We tag...

1. Stefani @ Caught Read Handed
2. Jen @ Ink on the Shelf
3. Ana @ Ana Loves...
4. Nicole & Sophia @ Quality Fangirls
5. Stephanie @ Ohana Reads






Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2) by Stephanie Perkins



Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Rating:  (3/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 338 Pages
Published September 2011
Book #2 of 3 in the Anna and the French Kiss Series
Add it on Goodreads!

Summary: Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

I loved Anna and the French Kiss, and I was glad to see that Anna and St. Clair made constant reappearances in this book--because at first, I was worried that they weren't going to. As the summary explains, Lola has a gorgeous, older, rocker boyfriend named Max (that her dads don't approve of), she's great at designing, and she feels like she's doing well in love. Then Cricket Bell, the former love of her life, moves back into town.

And makes it clear that he feels something for her. Which isn't the biggest problem of all...Lola thinks she may feel something for him, too. And Max notices. What's a girl to do?

I enjoyed this book, as well as the charisma between Lola and Cricket (not so much Lola and Max). Perkins created another funny, witty, heart-warming romance that left me feeling all tingly and satisfied inside by the time I got to the last page. Each character (except Max, because there's just something about him that I don't like) was developed perfectly and the plot was sweet and not too difficult to follow-love triangle wise.

The only reason that I gave this book 3 stars (liked it) instead of 4 stars (really liked it) was because I felt like Lola bounced between being super-mature and kind of childish throughout the book, a little bit too frequently. I caught myself reading lines where Lola would sound more mature and educated than her parents, and then a paragraph later, she was whining like she was two. It was probably intentional as a way to describe teenage personalities, I get that. I just wasn't too big on that.

After all, it's a little confusing when you can't tell the age of the main character's mindset when it fluctuates every two paragraphs, right?

All in all, Lola and the Boy Next Door was a refreshing read that I enjoyed breezing through, and I'm super excited to see everyone again (hopefully) in Isla and the Happily Ever After! Thumbs up to Stephanie Perkins for another sweet read. :-)





Aug 28, 2014

#TeaTime Rewind: Favorite YA Series (Episode #73)


Hello there, crumpets, and welcome back to our second #TeaTime rewind blog post! For those of you who don't know, #TeaTime is a weekly YouTube livestream with two of the most awesome girls from Epic Reads, Margot and Aubry. In addition to running the Epic Reads blog, they also take time out of their week to host the livestream videos where they cover all sorts of topics such as book boyfriends, books that changed your view on the world, and our personal favorite...Theo James Appreciation Day. 

This week on #TeaTime (Episode #73), the topic was FAVORITE YA SERIES. (You can watch the episode by clicking here!) A lot of fun stuff went down in today's episode, so we decided to share our thoughts on all of it:

*What we're reading this week:

Jessica: I actually just finished Playing With Matches by Suri Rosen earlier today, and I'm going to be starting Famous in Love as a part of a traveling ARC group tomorrow. :-)

Amber: I am in between books right now so I am not sure what I want to read yet. I have to go browse through my book shelves. 

*Our favorite places to buy books:

Jessica: I'm probably going to get glared at by numerous indie bookstore lovers here, but...Barnes & Noble. There aren't really any indie bookstores nearby anymore, and I just love Barnes & Noble in general. *heart eyes*

Amber: There is a book store a few miles away from where I live called Book Revue. It is pretty cute. I also like ordering off of Book Outlet. 

*Favorite zombie book-to-movie adaptation:

Jessica: Definitely Warm Bodies! I read the book first and then watched the movie, and although I still enjoyed the book a lot more, the movie was cute and definitely held up the standards as well.

Amber: I haven't read any if you want me to be totally honest. I have read plenty of zombie books, just none of them had been made into movies...yet. *crosses fingers and hopes*

*Favorite series that has recently been completed: 

Jessica: Currently, I'm not actually reading an ending to a series...so I'll say the Anna and the French Kiss series, because I have one more book left to go and it's been a cute and enjoyable read so far for the first two books, Anna and Lola. :-)

Amber: Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout. 

*Our thoughts on series in general:

Jessica: I have nothing against reading a series, but there are two in mind that I fell in love with in the beginning but need to end, NOW. Those two are the Pretty Little Liars and the House of Night series. I loved them both, but they're prime examples of why a series can't go on for too long--readers get frustrated. When you're left with a constant cliffhanger, you stop getting shocked. If a series goes on and on forever, readers get frustrated and instead of looking forward to the final book for the right reasons, they're looking forward to it solely so the series could end. That's not something you want to instill in your readers, right?

Amber: I love them. I hate stand alone books, because I always want the story continue. Like Jess said, the story can't go on for too long. Though I wish it could. But most endings are pretty good so leaves me happy. Then you always have those few....

The next episode of #TeaTime is Wednesday, September 3rd @ 3:45PM, so we hope to see you all then!


ARC Review: Winterspell Claire Legrand

Title: Winterspell 
Author: Claire Legrand
Genre: Historical Fiction, Retelling
Source: Edelweiss
Format: eARC
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 30, 2014 
Add it to Goodreads

Summary: 
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums. 
New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.
Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes. 
Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all. 
Inspired by The NutcrackerWinterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear
~~~ 

I had high hopes for Winterspell and they just weren't met. To begin with I am not a fan of historical fiction, but reading the summary of Winterspell I figured I would try it. I really tried to get into this book, and I did at one point. The beginning was interesting but as it went the more and more I was getting confused. 

Clara was extremely hard to relate with. She lacked so many characteristics, determination was a big one. Also, she was weak in a sense. Her Godfather trained her with weapons to protect herself, and in all honesty she did an okay job with protecting herself, but when it came to her father being abducted she just watched them take him! She wasn't a very good protagonist. Then she has this attraction to a statue. A sexual attraction that is...
The stole a lingering glance at the statue’s arm, muscled and savage, covered with spikes and foreign etchings. Her heart beat practically off its hinges. She had touched the statue many times, but never had there been such...heat to it.
Then she compares the statue to Dr Victor is who just gross and makes his lustful desires for Clara clear to the girl....
The truly great thing was that no matter how shocking her fancies grew, the statue never did a thing. He stood there, unmoving, and he did not lick his lips or pin her with hot, uneasy stares.
I am not one to get uncomfortable easily with books. This though, I took me five days to read up to 25%. Mainly because this damn statue.  But then the statue comes to life, and Clara stares at him in his full naked glory! Yup, stare at the naked man/statue while your Godfather stands there. Good idea Clara... 
She could not stop herself from looking lower than that, eyes sliding down the man’s lean white belly—too hungry, too sharp—and down, a bit more...Her eyes flew shut, her cheeks flaming.
Alright I am done with that statue thing now. Oh, his name is Nicholas by the way! 

The plot confused me. The prologue made me think that the story was going to be set in Cane. Not, New York City in 1898. At first it made sense, then you involve Godfather, the statue, Dr. Victor, and Plum and you get one big mess that you can't decipher. I ended up putting the book down at 32% into it. I knew I wasn't going to like it and my review wasn't going to be a positive one. Which sucks because I wanted to like this one a lot. I wish I did. I really do. Plus it is a stand alone so I'm not going to be curious about how the second book would be and ect.

RATING: ★ 
(I am actually giving it 1.5 stars. Considering that I did like it in the beginning.)


***All quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof and may change***





























Aug 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#10): Stay with Me (Waiting for You #3)

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine.


Title: Stay with Me (Waiting for You #3)
Author: J. Lynn
Genre: New Adult, Romance 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks 
Publication Date: September 23, 2014

Summary: 
At 21, Calla hasn't done a lot of things. She’s never been kissed, never seen the ocean, never gone to an amusement park. But growing up, she witnessed some things no child ever should. She still carries the physical and emotional scars of living with a strung-out mother, Mona—secrets she keeps from everyone, including her close circle of college friends.

But the safe cocoon Calla has carefully built is shattered when she discovers her mom has stolen her college money and run up a huge credit card debt in her name. Now, Calla has to go back to the small town she thought she'd left behind and clean up her mom’s mess again. Of course, when she arrives at her mother’s bar, Mona is nowhere to be found. Instead, six feet of hotness named Jackson James is pouring drinks and keeping the place humming.

Sexy and intense, Jax is in Calla’s business from the moment they meet, giving her a job and helping her search for Mona. And the way he looks at her makes it clear he wants to get horizontal . . . and maybe something more. Before Calla can let him get close, though, she’s got to deal with the pain of the past—and some very bad guys out to mess her up if she doesn't give them her mom.

~~~
Amber's Thoughts:

I finished Wait for You and Be with Me in less then forty eight hours. I loved them. So it made my heart hurt when I realized that Stay with Me wasn't out yet. Honestly (and I am about to sound stupid) I didn't read the full description of Stay with Me until I set up this post and now I am just: 


Good news is, I got a job (well sort of. I am working on Labor day. For just that day. But it is money) and I am going to pre-order this as an "You survived the first few weeks of junior year" kind of thing. 



What are you looking forward to this week?



Review: Toxic (PLL, #15) by Sara Shepard



Title: Toxic (Pretty Little Liars, #15)
Author: Sara Shepard
Rating: ★ (2/5 stars)
Hardcover, 323 Pages
Published June 2014
Book #15 of 16 in the Pretty Little Liars Series
Add it on Goodreads!

Summary: One A has been captured…but the most dangerous A of all is still out there in the penultimate installment in Sara Shepard's #1 New York Timesbestselling Pretty Little Liars series. High school seniors Aria, Emily, Spencer, and Hanna barely survived their most recent encounter with A. And it's not over yet…. The police don't believe there's another, deadlier, A out there, but the girls know what-and who-they saw. If they don't track down this final tormentor soon, A will silence them forever.

I had high expectations for this book, since I've been a fan of this series for a long time, and it was sad to have all of my high hopes shot down. This is book #15 in the Pretty Little Liars series, a series which I've loved from the start...and I just want it to end already. It's getting tiring reading this series when you know that another book is coming and all you'll discover in the book you're reading at the moment is that A is still tormenting the girls and getting away with it, but you won't find out who A is. Isn't Sara Shepard tired of writing these, too?

I love this series. I really do. I'm not trying to write a bashing, nasty review--but I love this series way too much to just gloss over the fact that this book didn't cut it for me. If I could sum it up in a single word, the word would be "Meh." This book was just that. Meh. I want Ali to be caught, and I want to know who A is! It also kind of sucks that every character that these girls come in contact with is pretty much someone seedy in one form or another.

Even the cliffhanger didn't wow me anymore. There were so many of them throughout the series that I don't even register them anymore. (However, the ending of Deadly was really, really good.)

As much as I love the Pretty Little Liars series, this needs to end! The girls need to get their justice, Ali needs to be caught, and we need to find out the logistics of how she's been tormenting these girls and ruining their lives for so long (far too long, in my opinion). 

However, there were some parts of this book that I enjoyed, too. Ali got more and more sloppy throughout the book with the way she tormented the girls (however, that may always be her intention. You never truly know with Ali). She didn't use her little mind games and clues and giggles this time--she's out for blood. Specifically, their blood. No matter who she has to take down in the process.

All in all, Toxic was an okay read for me. I'm looking forward to the final book in the series and finally (hopefully!) having all of my years-long questions answered, as well as seeing the Liars finally get the justice that they deserve.




Aug 25, 2014

Dead Girl Walking by Ruth Silver {Book Blitz + Giveaway}



Title: Dead Girl Walking (Book #1)
Author: Ruth Silver
Genre: Paranormal 
Publisher: Patchwork Press 
Published: April 25, 2014

Summary: 
Princess Ophelia Dacre sneaks out of the castle to visit her boyfriend in secret. A perfect night cut short when she’s brutally murdered. 
Ophelia is given the rare chance to become a grim reaper. She must become Leila Bele, cut ties with her old life, and follow the rules of the reapers. Her greatest adventure begins with death. 
~~~

Author Interview: 

Where did you get the idea for a story about grim reapers?


I absolutely loved the show Dead Like Me that was on Showtime many years ago. It was quirky but offered a different perspective on death. That’s what I was going for when I wrote Dead Girl Walking.

If you had the chance, would you want to become a grim reaper?


No thanks! I’d probably struggle a lot with following the rules. Actually, I’m positive I’d be kicked off (if that’s an option).

Can you tell your readers a secret about writing your Royal Reaper series?

Originally the story was going to take place in the 1300’s during the Black Plague along the Silk Road. It became overly complicated with where the story took place and there not being a kingdom nearby to have a princess actually exist. I wanted it somewhat to follow history, but it was too complicated (not to mention the archaic language). So, I opted instead to make it a paranormal fantasy, put the characters in a fantasy world and still have historical events parallel our past.
Do you think book endings should be HEA (happily ever after)?

I prefer to read stories with happy endings. I’m okay if it’s a series and you’re going to torture my favorite characters and cause them lots of heartache at the end of book one or book two, but by the end of the series/story, I want a satisfying conclusion.

What other paranormal novels do you like?

Recently I was reading CC Hunter’s Shadow Falls series, which I’m in love with. I also love The Mortal Instruments series which falls between paranormal and urban fantasy.


Excerpt


“Listen, kid, I don’t care what you believe in. It’s not for me to say what’s true and untrue, real or unreal. My assignment was you. You get to be one of us, if you want it. Otherwise, you move on, life is over, kaput.”

Ophelia backed away from the stranger. For the first time, she realized she didn’t feel cold and wasn’t shivering. Is this what being dead was like? “One of you?”

“A grim reaper.” He held out his hand to properly introduce himself. “Edon Montgomery, head reaper and old soul.”


About the Author

Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of Aberrant. The Young Adult/New Adult Romantic Dystopian Adventure, Aberrant is the first in a trilogy, released April 17th, 2013. Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories. Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA/NA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She also enjoys photography, traveling and of most of all writing.




Giveaway:











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