Oct 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! Most-Loved Chilling Reads by Yours Truly

Happy Halloween!

In honor of today being Halloween, we here at The Book Bratz decided to put up a Halloween-themed post by scouring both of our Read, Currently Reading, and TBR shelves on our Goodreads accounts and picking out some of our favorite Halloween reads! 

Plus, we want YOU to do a Halloween reads post and put the link down in the comments below! You can choose any creepy, vampire, monster, horror, fantasy, dark reads that you want!

Jessica's Favorite Halloween Reads:

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Amber's Favorite Halloween Reads:


   
   
   


Recognize any of our reads? Have some of your own to share? Comment down below with your favorite Halloween reads - we'd love to hear them!

HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN!




Oct 28, 2014

Chasing Luck by Brinda Berry (Excerpt + Giveaway)








Title: Chasing Luck
Author: Brinda Berry
Genre: New Adult, Romance 
Publisher: Sweet Biscuit Publishing LLC
Publication Date: May 1, 2014

Summary:
Sometimes surviving doesn’t feel lucky. Especially when you’re a sole survivor... 
At the age of seven, Malerie walked away from a bombing that left hundreds dead—including her mother. When a crazed gunman kills her guardian on her eighteenth birthday, Malerie suspects there may be more to her survival than luck. A mysterious code holds the key to her future, and a reluctant white knight holds the key to her heart. 
A loner wearing emotional armor… 
Ace is a twenty-year-old entrepreneur focusing on two things in life: financial security and a life without ties. A life that doesn't risk losing the ones who matter. When Ace is hired to secretly act as a bodyguard for Malerie, he faces an unwanted attraction that threatens to sabotage his heart. Can Ace find the courage to love a girl with a death wish?

Want to Buy Chasing Luck?
Amazon / B&N / Kobo

Book Trailer: 


Excerpt:
“My attraction to you runs fiery hot. It consumes my every waking thought. I burn for you, baby. Don’t stop this attraction, baby.” ~ Jelly Bean Queen

The text from John Toombs directs me to a table near the center of the main room. I enter and can't believe my mixture of good and bad luck. Good because Ms. Smokin' Hot is with Toombs. And bad because Ms. Smokin' Hot is with Toombs.
He looks up at me and nods as he rises. I lean across to shake his hand and I can smell the girl. Something subtle like stuff from the bath shops. A sweet, vanilla scent advertising innocence.
But she can't be innocent hooked up with somebody old enough to be her father. He has money and she's too young to be whoring herself out. My stomach clenches at the thought of them together in bed.
"Ace, I'd like to introduce my niece, Malerie." Toombs waves a hand in her direction.
The scales definitely tip in the direction of bad news. She's not his trophy wife or barely-legal mistress. She’s his niece — the number one spot on the dateable-but-off-limits list. The girl looks at me and her gaze makes a slow run down the length of my body. I'm beyond screwed. Goodbye Miss Innocent, hello Miss Seductress.
The air sparks between us and her eyes say she feels the electricity, too. "Hi, Malerie. Nice to meet you," I say, wishing she'd given me this look earlier instead of the one like I was some psycho perv who hangs out near restrooms.
Malerie has an exotic look that I can't place. Her honey-brown eyes, huge in her pale face, remind me of some hot anime character with bottomless eyes and dangerous curves. The chick probably has guys lining up to take on her rockin' body and the attached load of money.
I tear my gaze away from her and meet the Clint Eastwood glare of John Toombs. With one look, Toombs gives me the hell-no warning. It's a warning that rubs me like running a hand against the fur up a cat's back. I don't like it, but I'm not stupid.
I can almost hear the whomp-whomp of his protective radar. If I were him, I'd bar the door and clean the rifle.
"Have a seat," Toombs says.

I pull out the chair closest to Malerie and avoid looking in her direction. The way she looked at me in front of her uncle spells defiance on steroids.


About the Author: 

Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.  She doesn’t mind being called a geek or “crazy dog lady”. When she’s not working the day job or writing a novel, she’s guilty of surfing the internet for no good reason.

Giveaway:
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Oct 26, 2014

Halloween Treats Giveaway!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN WEEK!

Halloween's only a week away, and we plan on celebrating in style - with an AWESOME Halloween Treats Giveaway!

Here at The Book Bratz, we teamed up with Little Brown Books to offer up a fantastic giveaway for this Halloween - TWO (yes, we said two!) prize packs of FOUR (yes, we said four!) books each! Not only are they four books - they're four new, chilling books that everyone's dying to get their hands on.

That's right, we're giving away ALL of these babies:

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Prize Pack Includes:

*ONE hardcover copy of Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
*ONE hardcover copy of Unmarked by Kami Garcia
*ONE hardcover copy of Blood of my Blood by Barry Lyga
*ONE hardcover copy of The Young World by Chris Weitz

And yes, we're giving away TWO prize packs, so there will be TWO winners!

Giveaway ends on Sunday, November 9th. US Only! To enter, submit your entry on the Rafflecopter below (and follow us on Twitter, on Google Follower Count, & Tweet the automated Tweet about the giveaway to get more entries!):
Best of luck (and Happy Halloween) to everyone!

Oct 25, 2014

Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Amy Dellaira


Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Amy Dellaira
Rating: ★★ (2/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 327 Pages
Published April 2014
Add it on Goodreads!

Summary: Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven't forgiven? It's not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.

I'm deeply disappointed that I had to give this book two stars, since I've been waiting to read this book since its publication in April and was sad to find out that Love Letters to the Dead was not all that I expected it to be. With the amount of hype this book conjured up, I was, like I said, really excited. At first. Now I'm left sitting staring at the book and saying to myself, "That's it?"

I feel like Laurel's narration was the biggest problem for me. She's supposed to be in high school, correct? I feel like at some points she was narrating as if she was five years old (and this is during present-day scenes, not the flashback scenes) and then other times she got so deep and philosophical that it was hard to believe she was only in high school.

And it happened so randomly, too. It wasn't just one chapter of Laurel seeming immature and the next Laurel seeming deep and profound. In the middle of a sentence about trading juice boxes and Nutter Butters or lettuce-and-mayo-on-a-kaiser-roll sandwiches, a deep, philosophical comment would slip out. Huh?

I just felt like Laurel wasn't developed the right way, in my opinion. It was hard to get into her head because her mentality seemed to shift from five-year-old to twenty-five-year-old in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, back to what the story was about. As the summary explains, Love Letters to the Dead is a story by Amy Dellaira about a high school freshman named Laurel who's mourning the loss of her sister May (and it hasn't been determined if it was suicide or an accident), the divorce of her parents and her mother running away to California to avoid her problems, her Aunt Amy and her sad longing for a Jesus Man...and also a coming-of-age high school story. All told in letters to famous dead people such as Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Judy Garland, Amelia Earhart, etc. 

At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about reading a book told entirely in letters. However, as the story went on, I found that it wasn't that hard to follow, because it just seemed like an average first-person narration to me. Except for the fact that, like I said a million times already, the mentality thing bothered me a lot.

However, this book wasn't all bad, because I decided to give it two stars instead of one. The one factor in this story that I actually enjoyed reading about was watching Laurel and her family come to terms with the loss of May. Especially the way the tale of May's death unfolded - Dellaira didn't just come out and say it right way. Piece by piece we got a background on May until the inevitable night was explained - and it broke my heart. I couldn't fathom losing my sister (as annoying as she may be sometimes), and watching Laurel lose may was devastating but I felt that it was executed excellently. It was the one part of the book that didn't irritate me totally.

All in all, Love Letters to the Dead was an okay read. I was expecting a lot more and was thoroughly disappointed that I did not get it. I thought that all of the positive hype about this book would lead me to love it just as much as everyone else did, and I'm sad to say that didn't happen. However, I'm still eager to read more of Amy Dellaira's work and to see what other stories she could come up with! 




Oct 24, 2014

Book Blitz: Puppet by Pauline C. Harris


Title: Puppet
Author: Pauline C. Harris
Release Date: October 24th, 2014 (*TODAY!*)

Summary: Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.

When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.

As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.

As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.


Get the book:



Don't forget to check out the release day Twitter Chat!
The Patchwork Press team will be hosting a release day chat today with Pauline and would love for anyone interested in the book to stop by. Just be sure to follow Pauline and Patchwork Press!

About the author:

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Pauline C. Harris is a ninteen-year old author living in Northern Idaho. She started writing short stories when she was eight, and after she self-published her first book when she was fourteen, moved on to write the Mechanical Trilogy. She loves anything that has to do with science fiction, including Star Trek, and her main hobbies are writing and playing the violin in various orchestras and quartets.

Mechanical is her first professionally published novel. She is currently studying in both high school and college and hopes to achieve her AA degree alongside her high school diploma.


She is also working on another series of YA science fiction novels.



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Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Title: Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction
Format: e-Book
Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Add it to Goodreads / Buy it on Amazon 

Summary: 
To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it. 
Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her. 
As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again. 
As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive. 
With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.
~~~ 

When I finished The Madman's Daughter I had no doubt that I was going to love Her Dark Curiosity as well, and I did. But the story was a bit slower then The Madman's Daughter. All considering though Megan Shepherd still left me biting my nails in suspense, avoiding sleep to know what would happen next. 

In Her Dark Curiosity Juliet is back in London, trying to rebuild her life after the events on her Father's island, and loosing Montgomery. But since her return Juliet has only been getting sicker, and in order to keep her body from shutting down and rejecting all the foreign organs and tissues she must find a new cure. Soon London is being plagued by a serial killer, whose victims are being killed the same way as the the islanders from The Madman's Daughter. Now Edward is back and desperate for Juliet's help, his Beast side is winning, slowly taking over Edward and Juliet is determined to save herself and Edward before they run out of time. 

I am going to blame Juliet's characterization in Her Dark Curiosity on what had happened in The Madman's Daughter, that she is traumatized, hurt, betrayed and heart broken. Otherwise Juliet made making bad decisions and trusting the wrong people a new habit of her's. I am hoping she becomes stronger by the end of this book, because in The Madman's Daughter I had described her as an awesome kick ass herione and this one I feel like she just lacked in that department. 

I did how ever like to see her struggling with that dark side of her, the side that is curious about experimentation and in her father's work. (Though she will not admit that) It left me curious in what she was going to do next because she didn't exactly seem stable at times. 

This love triangle is going to kill me. I am praying it some how gets resolved in A Cold Legacy because if not I may pull my hair out. I do not like Edward. I don't trust him, he has given Juliet no reason to trust him, yet she is still attracted to him and his Beast side. (I think?) Though she repeatedly tells Edward how much she still loves Montgomery, she still sleeps with him. (I wasn't very happy about that.) So I wasn't a fan of the romance in this book until Montgomery's return. Then I was frustrated again because there is literally no trust between them and it always results in them fighting. 

I think if it wasn't for the love triangle being as frustrating as it is I would have gave Her Dark Curiosity five starts instead of four stars. The  ending how ever has me itching to start A Cold Legacy. 

RATING: ★★★★

READ MY REVIEW FOR THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER BY MEGAN SHEPHERD BY CLICKING ON THE COVER BELOW! 






Oct 23, 2014

Review: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title: The Vault of Dreamers 
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Genre: Science Fiction 
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Add it to Goodreads / Buy it on Amazon

Summary: 
From the author of the Birthmarked trilogy comes a fast-paced, psychologically thrilling novel about what happens when your dreams are not your own. The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success:  every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.
~~~

I was disappointed in The Vault of Dreamers. I expected a lot more then I actually got. I was expecting more science fiction to it then, there was. The whole reality TV show was interesting but it wasn't enough to hold my attention. Sadly, I had high expectations of this book that were not met. 

I wasn't a huge fan of the romance. It was cute, I can agree with that but I didn't think there were sparks. Rosie and Linus worked well with each other, they each held a quality that the other didn't. Rosie and Linus's on screen kiss is what kept Rosie in the top fifty ranking. But then there are trust issues and tons of unanswered questions that left me frustrated. 

The whole dream harvesting / brain surgery idea was awesome! It really was and I got excited when I first read it because I thought that the book was going to take a turn. It did, for about five pages. Everything got predictable from there. Plus there are tons of unanswered questions! What happens to Linus? Is Burnham alive? Who is Numa and how is she involved? 

I expected for a book that took place after 2045 to be more scientifically advanced then it was. It was like today's world, only slightly more advanced. Also, there is still Facebook in 2045? I was hugely disappointed in The Vault of Dreamers, I excepted something epic and attention grabbing but I got a bunch of blah and confusing details instead. 

RATING: ★★



Oct 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #13: The Girl at Midnight

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



Title: The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1)
Author: Melissa Grey
Genre: Paranormal
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Add it to Goodreads / Pre-order it on Amazon

Summary: 
Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known. 
Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.
Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it. 
But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.
~~~

What are you waiting on this week? 




Oct 21, 2014

Seizing the (Rainy) Tuesday - #LetsAllGetLost!

Seize the Tuesday is a book blogger meme created by author Adi Alsaid and the Let’s Get Lost Buddies Street Team, to share stories about how we’ve seized the Tuesday, with a special focus on the particular book we’re reading. We’ll share our posts online with the hashtag: #LetsAllGetLost
The idea is to share little ways in which you may have embraced Bree’s motto of seizing the Tuesday. To relate it to books, you can talk about what book you’re reading, and how you stole some moments from the day to enjoy reading. It doesn’t have to be about reading, but we all know that a well-read day is a day seized. The idea is not just to help spread the word on LGL, but also to remind people to live fully, even/especially if that means spending a part of your day reading.

First off, you can read my review of Let's Get Lost here!
Now, onto how I've been seizing the Tuesday. Today was nothing special - a typical rainy, drizzly Tuesday in the day of the life of an average high schooler. When I got home from school, drenched and shivering from the chilly rain and exhausted and miserable at the thought of all of the homework I had waiting for me, I decided to...just not. 
That's right. I, the 4.0 GPA nerd who's a stickler for rules and doing the right thing, put down my homework and took a nap. After that was accomplished and I felt much better than before, powered through my homework and my blogging/NaNoWriMo duties, and then moved on to the best part of my day: reading.
Right now I'm currently reading Love Letters to the Dead by Amy Dellaira, which I've been excited to read for the longest time. (For those of you who don't know, it's a novel told solely in letters to famous (and some not-so-famous) dead people from a girl named Laurel struggling to cope with loss of her own.) It's a really good book and I totally recommend it to anyone looking for another interesting read!
Reading is my favorite part of the day by far, especially when it's a chilly, gray, rainy fall day like this. I have a whole ritual, too, being an OCD book nerd and all...I come in, light my Pumpkin Cupcake scented candle (oh my gosh it makes my room smell fantabulous and sweet and amazing but that's a story for another time), change into comfy clothes, and curl up on my bed with my little beagle Lola Belle (although, sadly, she's illiterate and just joins me for the company, not the story), and I take out my book and read. And read. And read. I can read all the way through my afternoon, through dinner, and up until I have to go to sleep. It's the most blissful way to unwind and relax. I can't imagine anything better. 
While we're still on the topic of seizing small moments of the day, another way I enjoy sneaking time to myself in is during class. (I know, I know, this makes me sound so horrible and I can already hear the chorus of Oh my gosh Jessica you're a 4.0 Ivy-League bound student who doesn't pay attention in class?!, and you can just relax with that right this second because I don't waste my entire class period not paying attention.
See, since I'm a writer and us writers tend to get inspiration at the oddest of times (some of my favorite personal experiences were while food shopping, at mass, in a corn maze and at 3:00am on a weeknight (weekmorning?)), I've made a habit of carrying around a tiny pocket-sized marble notebook in my bag and jotting down ideas when the time is right. Today in class, (trigonometry, to be exact), I finished my work early and was wasting my time staring out the window when I had a brilliant idea for a plot point in my 2014 NaNoWriMo story. (And let us just reflect on the fact that NANOWRIMO IS TEN DAYS AWAY AND I'M STILL PROCRASTINATING YIKES.) 
So, I managed to take some time in the silence of the classroom to reflect and think and work on my story. It was definitely a productive way to use my time, because as much as we all don't want to think so, staring outside of a window daydreaming in class is super counter-intuitive.
Oh my gosh, I didn't realize I've been rambling. WHAT HAVE I DONE? DID I DO THIS RIGHT?
Oh gosh, I'm a failure.
Oh no.
Well, before I embarrass myself any more, I'm going to call it a day. This Seize the Tuesday reflection post was exactly what I needed today, and I'll definitely be contributing to more of them!
What did you do today, and how did you seize your Tuesday? Comment down below or put up a post of your own and Tweet it with the hashtag #LetsAllGetLost!



Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz & Micheal Johnston

Title: Frozen (Heart of Dread #1)
Author: Melissa de la Cruz & Micheal Johnston
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile 
Publication: September 17, 2013

Summary: 
Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows. 
At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.
But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.
~~~


This is the point where I kick myself for judging books by their covers...again. When I was scrolling though NetGalley I spotted Frozen and was immediately intrigued by the cover. I knew I was going to have to request it. What I didn't realize was that Frozen was downloadable to everyone. So I downloaded it. This is one of those books that I want to say I loved but I can't. It was meh. The idea was interesting but that is all this book had to it. 

Frozen took me a week to read. I want to say that I was busy (which I was) but when I had time to sit down to read I could only get through a couple of pages. It didn't grab a hold of my attention, which wasn't a surprise because I wasn't a fan of Melissa's Blue Bloods series either. 

I found the plot of Frozen was scattered and didn't stay in one place long. The characters were a bit flat and hard to relate to, and everything bad that could happen, happened! I would groan each time something came up because I knew it was going to have a negative outcome. When the ending came it was quick, and hard to follow. The overall ending though? I predicted it. Frozen didn't surprise me. The world frozen in ice did, but the story kept me hanging. 




But I am going to read the next book in the series because I want to know what will happen. Sigh... 

RATING: ★★