Oct 29, 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Gabriel (The Styclar Saga, #2) by Nikki Kelly


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Scheduled Blog Tour Post:

Title: Gabriel (The Styclar Saga, #2)
Author: Nikki Kelly
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 384 Pages
Publication: October 27th, 2015

Summary: The handsome Angel from Lailah gets center stage in this continuation of Wattpad sensation Nikki Kelly’s romantic and action-packed series about mortals, vampires, and angels. Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He's also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?
Let me just say that I am a member of the Styclar Street Team, and I'm also a good friend of Nikki Kelly herself. So when she said that I was getting an ARC of Gabriel, I was practically over the moon. I loved Lailah, and I was Team Gabriel from the start. So long story short, I was super excited. And as soon as that ARC got into my hands, I dove right into it.

The book takes you back to all of the characters that you loved from Lailah. You get to see Gabriel, Jonah, Brooke, Rudhan, and Lailah (obviously), plus a whole bunch of new characters that you will come to both love and hate. I ended up liking a lot of the new characters, such as Iona, and a few others that seemed alright to me.  But as the story went on, Nikki Kelly, who is officially the new queen of plot twists, ended up throwing in some massive twists.

I won't spoil anything for you guys, but I will say this: Some characters that you know and love end up surprising you big time, in all different ways. I experienced a lot of swooning, shocked gasps, and even dismayed cries. A lot goes down in this book, so you don't have to worry about running out of interest. Something is always going on, and something is always shocking you.

If you read the previous book, Lailah, you would know that at the end of the first book, Lailah discovered that she is half angel and half vampire. It's a tough pill to swallow, because Gabriel - the Angel that she loves - is having a difficult time accpepting the vampiric side of her. (Minor spoiler incoming!) Jonah, on the other hand, accepts both sides of Lailah...but there's one problem.

She doesn't remember him. At all.

As soon as I found that out, I freaked out. (And that isn't really spoiling much for you guys because you find that out pretty much right away.) I was Team Gabriel from the get go so I still wanted Lailah to be with him, but when I found out that she looked at Jonah and didn't get even the tiniest spark of recognition, I was a bit heartbroken.

This book takes you through a whole bunch of ups and downs, intense fights, steamy scenes, bloody scenes, and a whole bunch of heartbreak. You need to fasten your seatbelts, because you're definitely going to be taken on an interesting journey! I'm kind of shocked myself to be admitting this, but after reading this book...I may be leaning a bit towards Team Jonah. O.O (If you can't believe it, don't worry. I can't either. But some of the things that go down in this book may make you want to reconsider what team you're on.)

All in all, Gabriel was a great book that I really, really liked. Nikki Kelly is such a sweetheart so I was so honored to get a chance to read an ARC copy of this book, and I love the Styclar Saga so much that I'm definitely going to be eagerly awaiting the third and final book! (Which, I'm assuming, may be called Jonah...but I'll let you know as soon as I get those deets verified! :D)

I'm so glad that I got an opportunity to be on this tour, and now I'll eagerly be awaiting the third and final book in the Styclar Saga! Also, shoutout to Nikki Kelly for being so darn awesome all of the time. Love you! :-)

And what would a gushing review be without a giveaway! We're giving away a copy of GABRIEL to celebrate its release!



Keep up with the rest of the tour!

Rating: 
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Oct 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die, #3) by Danielle Paige


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

This week, Jessica's Waiting On:

Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die, #3)

Title: Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die, #3)
Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: March 15th, 2016
Hardcover, 432 Pages
Summary: In this third book in the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, new girl from Kansas Amy Gumm is caught between her home—and Oz. My name is Amy Gumm. Tornadoes must have a thing about girls from Kansas, because—just like Dorothy—I got swept away on one too. I landed in Oz, where Good is Wicked, Wicked is Good, and the Wicked Witches clued me in to my true calling: Assassin. The way to stop Dorothy from destroying Oz—and Kansas—is to kill her. And I’m the only one who can do it. But I failed. Others died for my mistakes. Because of me, the portal between the worlds has been opened. And if I don’t find a way to close it? Dorothy will make sure I never get to go home again. Now it’s up to me to: join the Witches, fight for Oz, save Kansas, and stop Dorothy once and for all.
 Jessica Says: I have been a huge fan of the Dorothy Must Die series from the moment that I received a signed copy from Danielle Paige at BookCon 2014! I loved The Wicked Will Rise and all of the other stories that came along with the boo, and I'm so excited for Yellow Brick War that I hope that I can survive the wait until March! This series is so funny and gripping and great and I have nothing else to say other than that I can gush about Danielle Paige and her amazing work all day long. I can't wait to get my hands on this one - I'll be one of the first people in line!!


What are you waiting on this week? Tell me down below and give me the link to your Waiting on Wednesday so I can stop by and check it out!

Oct 27, 2015

The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Title: The Sister Pact  
Author: Stacie Ramey 
Genre: Contemporary  
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: November 3, 2015
Add it to Goodreads! 

Summary: 
Who holds your secrets? Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide- and it’s not just because she missed her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they’d always be together, in life and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why. Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief. But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie’s not sur which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister’s death or facing her new reality without her.

Buy it:  Amazon / Apple / B&N / !ndigo / IndieBound

Excerpt: 


Liquid inspiration from the Nyquil bottle makes me feel like I should paint something for Leah. Let her know I get it now. Maybe I didn’t always when she was alive. Maybe I didn’t listen when she tried to tell me things.

I open the door and look out into the hallway. Lights off, TV on downstairs. Mom’s check-out gives me the clear shot I need. In the garage I find the white paint from the trim in my room and the tools and brushes. Everything seems really clear right now. And brilliant. I feel sort of brilliant. Like every part of my brain is working.

Back in my room I shake the can of paint and open it with a screwdriver and hammer, trying hard not to spill it on my hardwood floors. Too late.

My curtains are in the way, so I rip them off the rod. I have to stand on my window bench to reach as high as I need. I start to paint, not knowing what I’m doing until the image forms on the wall, like magic. By the time I’ve painted the point of convergence on my window where the pink diamond goes, I recognize it. I painted it like it was burned into my brain. But I guess I knew all the time even as it materialized. I’ve made Leah’s ring.

I sit back and admire my work. I hope wherever she is, she sees this and knows I’m sorry. A shooting pain goes through my head and my eyes try to adjust to the blinding light the sun throws as it sets. Spiky rays of light come from the sunburst that flashes through my painting, making it seem like it’s alive.

I blink away the brightness and try to let my eyes settle. When I open them again I’m confused. Because I see Leah standing there. Really standing there. I steady my gaze and look again. I’m not imagining it. She’s there, surrounded by light, kind of outlined in it. Like one of my rendering sketches.

I want to reach for her, ask her if she’s really here, but when I blink again, her image disappears and I know it’s just my guilt and my need that’s bringing her to me. Even if she can’t stay.

I close up the paint cans and take them and the medicine bottle downstairs. The paint and tools go back into the garage and the brush gets washed in the sink and left to dry on a bottom shelf of the garage. I turn the water on in the sink and run my hand over its stainless steel surface, careful to wash all the remnants of my painting party down the drain. Finally I wrap the medicine bottle in newspaper and push it to the bottom of the trashcan, making certain that it’s completely covered. One thing Leah taught me was how to hide your party.

When I’m done, I walk back up to my bathroom, and brush my teeth, trying not to look in the mirror too long. As if my crazy would show somehow. I crawl into bed, setting my alarm for the morning. First day of school. I put my hands together in the prayer position and put them under my cheek.

I think about what I just did and try not to worry about what it means. It’s too much allows the headache to creep back in, crouching and ready to spring. I’ll close my eyes and go to sleep, and hope that tomorrow will be okay. I know it’s not what I should be doing. I know I’m copping out, but I can’t help it.

I’m living my life in tiny squares. Checker board moves. I go forward. I go backward. I jump. Each play means something. Each turn matters. The most important thing is to keep moving. To not get jumped. Sometimes a little Nyquil helps that. They don’t call it medicine for nothing.



About the Author: 

Stacie Ramey learned to read at a very early age to escape the endless tormenting from her older siblings. She attended the University of Florida where she majored in communication sciences and Penn State where she received a Master of Science in Speech Pathology. When she’s not writing, she engages in Netflix wars with her children or beats her husband in Scrabble. She lives in Florida with her husband, three children, and two rescue dogs.

Connect with Stacie: Website / Twitter


Giveaway:  

U.S. and Canada only!

Oct 25, 2015

ARC Review: Diamonds are Forever (The Secret Diamond Sisters, #3) by Michelle Madow


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Title: Diamonds are Forever (The Secret Diamond Sisters, #3)
Author: Michelle Madow
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Paperback, 368 Pages
Publication Date: October 27th, 2015
Add it on Goodreads!
Read my review of:
Book #1: The Secret Diamond Sisters
Book #2: Diamonds in the Rough
Summary: The Diamond sisters jet to the mountains for spring break, and Savannah's flirt-mance with an international pop star heats up as her pursuit of stardom succeeds. But is this romance meant to be, or has the right guy been in front of her all along? Meanwhile, Courtney takes the next step with her secret boyfriend—and future stepbrother—and as their parents' wedding approaches, the pressure's on to reveal their relationship. Peyton's figuring out a plan for her future, but she still feels guilty about getting her former bodyguard fired and wonders if she can get over him in the arms of someone else. But the biggest bombshell will change everything once again, because Madison's ready to tell the huge secret she's uncovered. And with the boy who betrayed her but who could be the love of her life fighting for his own life, she might need the Diamond sisters more than ever.
I received an ARC copy of Diamonds are Forever from author Michelle Madow in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited about this because I'm a huge fan of The Secret Diamond Sisters series and couldn't believe that Michelle selected our blog as one of the exclusive twenty blogs that would receive ARC copies of the book before its publication!! (Which is now about two days away!!)

So if you've read the series up until this point already, this book follows sisters Peyton, Courtney and Savannah - three girls who came from nothing only to find out that their father was one of the wealthiest hotel moguls in the world - as they deal with a whole bunch of struggles in their recent life. Courtney is dealing with the fact that she's falling deeply in love with her soon to be step-brother, Peyton is beating herself up over the fact that she got her cute bodyguard fired, and Savannah is trying to juggle her rising YouTube singer career and the attention of two gorgeous boys that she can't choose between.

So, yeah, lots of drama.

I've said this before in my reviews for the first two books in the trilogy - this book is like a reality TV show in the best way. Not in the crappy, "oh my god what is this" sort of way, but in the "oh my goodness I can't tear my eyes away from this book because the drama is just too addicting" kind of way. This book gave me a serious case of "One More Chapter Syndrome" and I was able to finish it in less time than it normally takes me to read lately because I brought this book with me everywhere! I couldn't stand not knowing what was going to happen next so I just brought it with me to school and work and everywhere so I could read every spare minute I had.

(There are some minor spoilers ahead so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) Okay so the one thing about this series that bothers me a little tiny bit is the whole thing with Brett and Courtney. I don't know if it's how I was raised or where I'm from (us damn close-minded New Yorkers) or anything like that, but the fact that Courtney and Brett's parents are fine with them dating and hooking up while they're becoming STEP-SIBLINGS extremely disturbs me. Like...how? How is that okay?! Isn't that at least some form of twisted, legal-wise incest? What would happen if they stayed together and got married? Had kids? The kids would be step-cousins and siblings and that's just really, really freaky and weird. It threw me for a loop and kind of nagged at me for the duration of the book, but that's really my only complaint. 

All in all, however, I really enjoyed Diamonds are Forever. I'm super sad to see this series go because I was getting super attached to all of the Diamond sisters (Mads included!) and loved all of their stories and the drama of their daily lives. It was incredible to step into their shoes and live the life that so many people can only dream of having, myself included. And watching the times when these girls didn't appreciate that made me a little sad, because I know that there are so many people in the world that want what the Diamond sisters had, and they weren't always grateful for it.

Like I said, I'm super sad to see this series go, but I will definitely be reading more work from Michelle Madow in the future - especially if it's anything like this! I never thought I would be so enamored by The Secret Diamond Sisters, but here we are, and I'm about to cry because the final book in the trilogy is over and I don't know what I'm going to go do with myself.

Probably cry and pick up another book and wish I had a Blamex.

LOL, so that's all I really have to say about this book because this series is just so good that my only real recommendation is to pick up the first book in the series and get yourself started! (Seriously, go do it!) I'd like to extend another huge thank you to author Michelle Madow and Harlequin Teen for providing me with this review opportunity - we love working for you guys here at The Book Bratz! :-)

Seriously guys, GO PICK THIS BOOK UP RIGHT NOW.

Rating: 

Oct 24, 2015

Review: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera


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Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Soho Teen
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 293 Pages
Published June 2015
Add it on Goodreads!
Summary: n the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. Why does happiness have to be so hard?
I went on a book-buying spree a few weeks back, and More Happy Than Not was one of the first books that I added to my cart. I'd heard nothing but good things about it, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and give it a try myself. Once my copy came, I hurried through what I was currently reading so it could be this book's turn. And I can successfully say that I managed to read this book in a little under 24 hours - because it was so good that I just kept wanting to read more. 

To be entirely honest, I was expecting this book to just be a feel-good, coming-of-age story about a teen boy who all of a sudden realizes that he's no longer into his perfect girlfriend and is instead into guys -- and the struggle he has to face after that realization. I did not expect this book to have as much depth and crazy plot twists as it did, and I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised. When I hit one of the major plot twists (which I will not spoil for you although I will discuss it lightly later in this review), I was actually sitting next to Amber in class and burst out in shock and started rambling. It seriously blew my mind (and she will attest to that).

So, a brief summary for everyone - Aaron is a young teen growing up in the Projects, so his life isn't necessarily fine and dandy. He still has a roof over his head, some family to love, and some friends that have his back, so although life may not be absolutely perfect, it's pretty decent. He even has a beautiful and funny and super creative girlfriend, Genevive. Life's good for Aaron. It could be better - especially after the loss of his father to suicide - but it isn't nearly as bad as it could be.

And then one day, Aaron is fooling around with his friends when he bumps into Thomas. Thomas is everything that Aaron's friends are not - passionate, driven by dreams, creative, and seemingly otherworldly. They instantly click, and suddenly, inexplicably, Aaron feels a desire for something more. But he's a straight teenage boy with a super hot girlfriend that he loves spending time with - right? That's what he keeps trying to tell himself.

Running alongside this plot the entire time is this company called Leteo, which is a memory-suppressing company that deals with helping people forget traumatic experiences in their lives. Aaron has no need for one (at least he doesn't think he does), but it's still something that is important throughout the story as a whole, as Aaron's friends and neighbors all undergo procedures. So although this book definitely struck me as realistic fiction, there was a slight tough of science fiction woven into it as well, which gave the book a unique aspect.

I can definitely attest to the fact that I have never in my reading history ever read anything like this book, and that's super refreshing and I really enjoyed it.

One thing that made me laugh a lot in this book is that there is a lot of cursing and a lot of sexual content. But Silvera created such a charismatic and witty narrator in Aaron that instead of making me uncomfortable or turned off towards the book, it amused me. I laughed a lot - sometimes in my head and even more times out loud. The book kept me on my toes and engaged at all times. Plus, being that the story is centered around the Projects, that's just bound to be the kind of dialect you deal with. It definitely gave me a glimpse into the tough lives of the people in the Projects (which I always knew about from living in New York City but I never really experienced myself). But what I also saw is that the people from the Projects have harsh and sometimes scary lives that they have to deal with to keep themselves alive and afloat, so it opened my eyes to a whole new type of life that I never really contemplated much about before.

(There are some spoilers ahead, so skip to the next paragraph if you have not yet read this book!!) Okay, so I'm going to talk about that big plot twist for a minute without spoiling too much or giving it up, because I feel like it's the kind of thing that you need to read yourself and shock yourself with rather than hearing about it secondhand. Anyway, I kind of knew what was going to happen right before it happened, so I wasn't really let down that I figured it out myself. I was elated that I got it right. And let me just say, I absolutely, positively did NOT see that plot twist coming. It completely floored me and it was so absolutely brilliant that I wish I could find Adam Silvera in person and give him a high five for being so epic. That twist was really so great and I wasn't expecting it and I was super shocked and loved how much the story picked up from there! (Even if there was a whole lot of sex. LOL.)

All in all, More Happy Than Not was an amazing read about love and loss, finding yourself and remembering those who are closest to you. This story taught me a lot about people I didn't know much about, as well as how hard life can be for people who feel trapped and think that there's no way out for them. This book is a great, emotional read that everybody needs to pick up. It teaches you so much and it's definitely one of those life-lesson books that everyone needs, as well as a humorous pick-me-up kind of book. I really, really enjoyed this one and I'll definitely be reading more work by Adam Silvera in the future - he's just gained another fan! :-)

Rating: 

Oct 22, 2015

ARC Review: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

Title: The Revolution of Ivy
Author: Amy Engel
Genre: Dystopia
Source: Publisher 
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
Add it to Goodreads / Pre-Order it on Amazon

Summary: 
Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty--forced marriages and murder plots--for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall's borders. But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy's life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she's fought for. 

Review: 

*This review contains spoilers from book 1 and minor spoilers from book 2* 


When Entangled Teen reached out about me reviewing The Revolution of Ivy I was all over the opportunity. I mean, it has been 6 months since Amy broke my heart, and mine needed to be repaired. I will admit, I would have loved this one a whole lot more if I got the chance to reread The Book of Ivy but nonetheless The Revolution of Ivy was a strong end to an incredible duology. 

When the first book ended Ivy was no longer in Westfall, but beyond the fence. Stuck in war ravaged land Ivy has no choice but to teach herself to survive. But after being attacked and injured she is rescued by two strangers: Caleb and Ash. Ivy's saviors teach her how to survive in this new harsh world, as well as taking her in as one of their own. Just when Ivy can function on her own again, she is reunited with Bishop. 

Ivy spent most of time in the first half of the book accepting the fact that Bishop would no longer be a part of her life. Then he is flung back in and it is a shock to her system. I didn't expect for her reunion with Bishop to be painful for her, but it was. It sure wasn't the reunion I was expecting, but it fit well with the book and made the moments that Ivy and Bishop have together sweeter. Bishop is fierce in proving he still love Ivy despite everything that happened. Honestly, I didn't think I would fall in love with him anymore then I already have, but I did. 

"I don't understand how the pain of losing him can be a pale shadow in comparison to the pain of finding him again." -Ivy
When Bishop arrived at the camp, he brought news about how things in Westfall are starting to fall apart in President Lattimer's hands. Despite what happened with her father and sister in book one, Ivy decides to get back to Westfall and try to save her sister from execution and possibly her her father from the same fate. The ending wasn't unexpected. It made sense though. The Lattimer's time was running out. But it left the reader content to what was going to happen after the story ended. 

I am sad that my time with this series is over. I will be coming back to reread it again soon. Amy did a brilliant job in wrapping up everything, leaving me content to Ivy and Bishop's life long after this story ends.

Rating:





Oct 21, 2015

Blog Tour: Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall



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Today at The Book Bratz we were invited to participate in the Signs Point to Yes blog tour! Today we'll be talking about a guest post and also an awesome giveaway, so I won't be reposting my review. But if you want to see Jessica's ARC review of Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall, click here! Without further ado, time to talk about Signs Point to Yes!


About Signs Point to Yes:

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Title: Signs Point to Yes
Author: Sandy Hall
Publisher: SwoonReads
Paperback, 288 Pages
Published October 2015
Summary: Jane, a superstitious fangirl, takes an anonymous babysitting job to avoid an unpaid internship with her college-obsessed mom. The only problem? She’s babysitting the siblings of her childhood friend and new crush, Teo. Teo doesn’t dislike Jane, but his best friend Ravi hates her, and is determined to keep them apart. So Teo’s pretty sure his plans for a peaceful summer are shot. His only hope is that his intermittent search for his birth father will finally pan out and he’ll find a new, less awkward home. Meanwhile, at Jane’s house, her sister Margo wants to come out as bisexual, but she’s terrified of how her parents will react. In a summer filled with secrets and questions, even Jane’s Magic 8 ball can’t give them clear answers, but Signs Point to Yes.

About the Author:

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Sandy Hall is a teen librarian from New Jersey where she was born and raised. She has a BA in Communication and a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University. When she's not writing, or teen librarian-ing, she enjoys reading, slot machines, marathoning TV shows, and long scrolls through Tumblr. A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT is her first novel.

Guest Post from author Sandy Hall:

If you could take the place of one of your characters, who would it be and why?

The moment I saw this question, I knew it was one I wanted desperately to answer.

I would love to switch places with Inga from A Little Something Different. She’s a thirty something creative writing professor, with a home and a partner she loves. She has fun with life and she doesn’t take herself too seriously. I could definitely imagine myself shipping students and trying to get them together for my own entertainment.

Most of all I really admire her zeal for teaching. Inga has my dream job. I know I would enjoy teaching creative writing at the college level. I don’t have the education to teach at that level so this really does feel like a dream to me, since it would take years to get there. My master’s degree in library science isn’t exactly a big draw for teaching in general. But it sounds like such a great gig to me. Getting to discuss the process with students every day. Watching a new generation of writers find their voices.

So I would definitely choose Inga, definitely in the world of A Little Something Different. Because while I love all of my characters, there aren’t many I would want to switch places with, particularly since they’re all so young. I kind of like the confidence I’ve developed in my mid-30’s and wouldn’t really want to go back to being high school or college aged. There’s too much pressure and indecision at that time of life.

Which is what my main character Jane is dealing with in my latest novel Signs Point to Yes. She has a lot of uncertainty about her future and everyone wants her to make plans that she doesn’t have any interest in.

But now that I think about it, I’d like to hope that Jane could someday have a successful career much like Inga’s. I think Jane has a real passion for writing. If she were to apply herself and gain confidence, she could really make a difference in her student’s lives.

***GIVEAWAY***

Thanks for sticking around this post all the way to the end! You're in luck - because one lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall, courtesy of Xpresso Book Tours! All you have to do is use that Rafflecopter down below and do what it tells you to enter to win the copy we're giving away! Good luck!!


We'd like to once again thank Xpresso Book Tours for allowing us to be a part of this blog tour - and also for allowing us to give away a copy of Sandy Hall's latest novel!


Oct 20, 2015

Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold


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Title: Mosquitoland
Author: David Arnold
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Publisher: Viking Children's
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Published March 2015
Add it on Goodreads!
Summary: After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland. So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
This book was equal parts hilarious, crazy, and emotional, and I liked it. I wasn't sure what to expect, and after a few chapters into the book I was definitely more than a little weirded out and confused. "Mim" Malone is clearly a girl with some neurological problems, so the book gets a bit hard to follow at times because her narration gets fuzzy and you can't really tell what really happened and what didn't. (*SPOILER:* I was actually under the impression that the bus crash was one of her weird little imagination stints and that it didn't really happen at first, so I was really confused when I found out that it did.)

Anyway, the story follows Mim, a young girl whose entire life is falling apart. Her parents are divorced, her dad is marrying the waitress from Denny's, and nothing feels right for Mim. She feels totally fine, but is being told that she's going crazy - that word being the one thing it takes for her father to want to shove pills down her throat and cart her away, apparently.

I thought that this book was going to be just about a young girl on a journey to get to where she wants to go, so I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that Mosquitoland tackled mental health, too - another important aspect of life that is becoming more and more normal to talk about. Mim's adventures were entertaining and hilarious, and she definitely met a bunch of interesting (and some very weird and some very dangerous) people along the way. Reading the entire story from her point of view was also really entertaining, because she has a bunch of random outbursts and sarcastic commentary that kept making me want to turn the page so I could see what other outlandish things she said.

The one thing that I didn't really like about the book wasn't anything that was technically wrong with it - I just didn't enjoy it all that much. Like I mentioned earlier, I know that Mim has some problems mentally and that the narration is obviously going to be affected by that because her thought process isn't exactly the same. But at some points the book just felt so weird to me - I couldn't really differentiate between what she was imaging and what she was really experiencing. I had to go back and reread a couple of times. (Some big spoilers ahead so skip to the next paragraph if you don't want the book ruined for you!) I also didn't really like that all of the important information was kept from the reader until the very end of the book. I know that as an author you want to keep some plot twist stuff until the very end, but there were some parts of the ending that knowing in advance would've helped me understand the story more. For example, all of Mim's letters to Isabel. She writes to Isabel from virtually the beginning of the book, and the reader has to trek through 330 pages of these letters and things without even knowing who Isabel is. There are some brief references to her aunt, but that isn't who it ends up being. Maybe knowing who Mim was writing to from the very beginning would have made me less confused.

I loved meeting all of the characters in this book - especially the trio that Mim forms halfway through her journey. (But I won't tell you who they are - read the book and find out yourself!) Watching her open up about her life and form such a close bond with such unique and caring people warmed my heart after knowing the hardship she'd been facing up until she met them. Definitely a little bit of laughs and some happy tears there. :-)

All in all, Mosquitoland was still a good story that I enjoyed. It reminded me a little bit of The Wild Girls (especially with all of the War Paint scenes), which brought a smile to my face because that was one of my favorite books growing up (and still is) and it's also one of the very few books that I've ever gone back and reread several times over. This was a story full of laughs, love, emotions and learning to leap over any hurdle that life may try to throw your way. The touch of humor and sarcasm in Mim's outward personality gives the story a whole new, lively feel, and that's what made it an enjoyable read for me. I'll definitely be reading more of David Arnold's work in the future!

Rating: 

Oct 19, 2015

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Gabriel (The Styclar Saga, #2) by Nikki Kelly


Hello everyone! We are so excited for today's book blitz! As many of you may know, we are some of the official Styclar Street Team Founders, so we've organized a fantastic blitz for everyone today! If you've read Lailah by Nikki Kelly and loved it, then you're surely going to fall in love with the second book in the series, Gabriel! Today, author Nikki Kelly sat down and answered some interview questions for us to coincide with our blitz!



About the Book

Title: Gabriel
Author: Nikki Kelly
Series: The Styclar Saga (Book #2)
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: October 27th 2015 

Synopsis: 

The handsome Angel from Lailah gets center stage in this continuation of Wattpad sensation Nikki Kelly’s romantic and action-packed series about mortals, vampires, and angels. Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He's also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?
Once again, Nikki Kelly looks deeply into the heart and soul of good and evil to create a
romantic, action-packed reading adventure.



Check out the Styclar Wattpad page for preview chapters of Gabriel!


Interview with Nikki Kelly!


What did you do on your research trip to France? 

Mainly, I visited all the locations used in the book! I also spent some time writing while I was there of course! I think the nicest thing about my research trip was that I ended up using my Auntie and Uncle's barn conversion as a base for the property our gang find themselves staying in! Everything in the story form the barn, the village itself and various locations (including the snowy mountains) are completely real - you could even go and visit them all yourself!

Was the writing process for Gabriel a lot different than Lailah? 

The writing process for GABRIEL was shorter, because this time around I was writing full time! But the actual 'writing' part was much the same. I start with a premise, have an idea in my head of the beginning/ the ending/ a specific character etc etc. and start writing! I only ever do rough outlines, it's all pretty much in my head, which is another reason why I have often said I feel like this story was implanted in my brain sometimes and I am the mere mortal who gets to put pen on paper to bring it to life!

What can we expect from Gabriel (the novel) ? 

Gosh, A LOT! The story picks up right where it left off, and continues to be told form Lailah's POV - The main cast is back, but we get to meet some lush new ones too! I am still a great fan of the twist - suffice to say, just when you think you know, really you have no idea! ;) Oh, and also, did I mention... #NoMercy ;)

Would you say that you’re similar to Lailah in any way? 

Naturally, Lailah and I have a few of the same traits, I think every character in my stories have a little something piece of me, whether intention or not! But I think we can all relate to Lailah's plight, I think most of us go through a time in our lives where we are working out who we are and making choices that carve out who we ultimately end up becoming.

What are you currently reading? 

I have a new baby, so my hands are a little tied at the moment! But I can tell you what I will be reading next *grabby hands* Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!!!

Any advice for aspiring authors? 

If you have a story to tell, don't stop until it's told... and Never.Ever.Give.Up

How much of your personal experience is tied into this series? 

A very large percent! A good example — In GABRIEL Ruadhan tells Lailah 'You only fail, if you never try.' That is the very advice my Mom gave me, and one of the reasons I am living my dream today... I think it all goes back to that great advice you hear again and again about writing - about writing what you know. So in this case, for example, I know very well the true meaning and the importance of that message...  Even down to the mythology in the story -- it's all based loosely on my own belief system (you'll see plenty more of that in Book 2 and especially in Book 3)


And if you haven't read Lailah yet... 



About the Book

Title: Lailah
Author: Nikki Kelly
Series: The Styclar Saga (Book #1)
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Synopsis: 

The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel. On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely ally – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel. In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom? Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

NIKKI KELLY was born and raised only minutes away from the chocolately scent of Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. Lailah was first launched to Wattpad, an online readers and writers community. Within six months, the novel had over one million reads. Lailah is Nikki’s debut novel, and the first book in The Styclar Saga. Since then, The Styclar Saga has gone on to pick up a traditional deal with Feiwel & Friends. She lives in London with her husband and their dogs, Alfie (a pug) and Goose (a Chihuahua). In her own words: "These days I spend my time balancing my amazing job of writing fantasy fiction, with my other, very important role of Chocolate Connoisseur. I like to multitask and do the two together. It makes me happy."

**GIVEAWAY**



We'd like to thank everyone (especially Ri at Hiver et Cafe and author Nikki Kelly and the rest of the Styclar Street Team) for helping to make this book blitz a success! Check back on the blog next week when Jessica posts her review of Gabriel as part of the release-week blog tour!

Oct 18, 2015

I'm Back! (Amber Talks About WHY She Went on A Hiatus)

I'm Back!



You guys, it has been a few weeks since I left the blogging word with a short twitter message and a lot going on in my life. It was a hasty decision in my part, and at the moment I wasn't proud that I had to do it. But now coming back I am glad I did. Here is the message: 



Mental Health:
I've talked about my mental health struggles on twitter before to a few followers. At the end of August I felt myself slipping back into a dark hole. For a few weeks I was alright, I was just tired and lost interest in some things. Then school, college apps, and work started and I couldn't handle it. I was snapping at the smallest things, crying for no reason and I felt like everyone was against me. I am also working as a cashier at a grocery store, and that was a whole new stress with in its self. When people don't know you they can say very rude things with out it bothering them. I was at a point in my life that I just didn't care anymore. I been a work in progress the past few weeks, I been getting myself help all along since I was younger. So it was a change in medications and learning new ways to deal with it. I'm still not 100% but I am feeling better then I was. 

Blogging was becoming a competition to me: I am ashamed to admit this part. I LOVE blogging. I love the people. I love the books. I love it all. But it was becoming a big competition to me. I would get upset when I saw another blogger with a galley I requested and didn't get. A little competition is okay, but it was starting to become a little unhealthy about how mad and disappointed I would get when things didn't work in my favor. I've done one BIG reality check during my hiatus. I don't blog for the books, I blog because I LOVE talking about books and promoting them. It really isn't a big deal if I don't get them. 

I just want to send huge hugs and kisses to everyone who helped and supported me during my hiatus. You are all beyond awesome! *Huge hugs* And thank you to Jessica for not killing our baby while I was gone. 



Oct 17, 2015

ARC Review: Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young


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Title: Hotel Ruby
Author: Suzanne Young
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: ARC sent by publisher 
Hardcover, 288 Pages
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2015
Add it on Goodreads! 
Summary: When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she’s grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief. Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past. The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She’s torn in different directions—the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between life in a place that is so much more than it seems…Welcome to the Ruby.
Oh my God. I need a minute. I just finished this book today and my head is still spinning, and I absolutely loved it and it's the first book that I've given a five-star rating in quite a long time. I'm still reeling because OH MY GOD THAT BOOK WAS FANTASTIC.

*makes an attempt to collect myself* Okay, onto the review. If there's anything I could say in a short phrase to describe this book, it would have to be "Hotel California." That's right. Like the Eagles song. There were so many parallels between the song and this book that it was downright creepy in the best way. It's the story of Audrey, a young teenage girl who is still mourning the loss of her mother. She responded to her grief by acting out, and her father is unable to take it anymore, so he's bringing her and her brother to their grandmother's house (whom they are not very close to) to live with her because seeing his children every day is just a painful reminder of the wife he lost.

(In case you were wondering - this is very crappy parenting.)

While he's driving Audrey and her brother to their grandmother's house, he gets so exhausted that he has to pull over and stop. So they all wind up at the Hotel Ruby, a glamorous building seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Their intentions are only to stay for one night, but life at the Ruby becomes intoxicating, and nobody wants to leave. For the first time in forever, Audrey's family starts to feel like an actual family again, and nobody's willing to close the curtain on that production.

But the Ruby is famously haunted, and everyone's wondering just when they'll run into these infamous ghosts that keep being talked about.

I really, really, really, really, really enjoyed this book. I devoured it in all of two days, reading over 200 pages in a single school day (much to my teachers' dismay) just because I couldn't put the book down and I kept wanting to know what would happen next. I fell head over heels in love with Eli, I'll admit that without a single ounce of shame. He was everything perfect about a guy (in real life and in books, which makes me fall in love with them every single time): classy, elegant, sharply dressed, witty, flirty and romantic. He is literally the perfect book boyfriend. And of course Audrey thinks so too, because she falls for him, hard and fast, more in love with him than she'd ever loved anybody before.

A smart decision. I think I would do the same in her case. 

There are definitely some elements of the plot that I suspected, but the way that Suzanne Young pulls everything off still shocks you in all the best ways. I sort of suspected that big ending plot twist, but when I was hit with it I was still floored and absolutely shocked and it was GREAT! I actually texted Amber as soon as I finished this book because my feels were all over the place and I just didn't know what to do. It didn't really help that I finished this book in the middle of my photography class so I had to go back into the real world right away - I had virtually no time to recover from my book hangover.

All in all, Hotel Ruby was a chilling, emotional, creepy book that gave me all the thrills, chills and feels! This book takes you on a roller coaster of romance, horror, grief and more and I'm so happy that I was able to review this book for Simon Pulse. This book is a standalone, which I definitely agree with (some perfect things just can't be rushed), but I wish I could follow everyone in the novel even further, because I loved them all! (Also, that ending sentence seriously messed me the heck up.) I'm not a fan of throwing five-star reviews around, so when I give a book (Such as this one) a five-star rating, it really means that I thought it was fantastic!

That's all I really have to say - I've got nothing else except that everyone definitely needs to get their hands on a copy of this book as soon as possible!! Another thank you to Simon Pulse for this opportunity!


Rating: