ARC Review: Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu

Title: Rules for Stealing Stars
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Publication Date: September 29th, 2015
Add it on Goodreads!
Summary: Silly is used to feeling left out. Her three older sisters think she's too little for most things—especially when it comes to dealing with their mother's unpredictable moods and outbursts. This summer, Silly feels more alone than ever when her sisters keep whispering and sneaking away to their rooms together, returning with signs that something mysterious is afoot: sporting sunburned cheeks smudged with glitter and gold hair that looks like tinsel. When Silly is brought into her sisters' world, the truth is more exciting than she ever imagined. The sisters have discovered a magical place that gives them what they truly need: an escape from the complications of their home life. But there are dark truths there, too. Silly hopes the magic will be the secret to saving their family, but she's soon forced to wonder if it could tear them apart. 
I received an ARC copy of Rules for Stealing Stars from BookCon this past May. It's technically classified as a middle-grade book, but with my experience in YA books I can definitely assure you that reading this wouldn't feel like a middle-grade book at all. (I think it's only classified as middle-grade because the narrator, Priscilla - "Silly" - is eleven. But she's one of those children that act older than their age. She could easily have been a teenager.) So if you're hesitant to pick up this book because it's middle-grade, I wouldn't be.

It was a good book that I enjoyed. Silly is one of four girls in her household, dealing with an alcoholic mother and a flighty dad who loves his girls but does all that he can to keep from acknowledging their mother's problem. So, of course, nothing really gets done. The tension just continues to escalate more and more in the house, and the girls are looking for an escape from their father's blase attitude and their mother's drunken sobbing. So, they find something - something that I won't spoil for you, because you need to read the book yourself to find out! 

Anyway, the girls discover something that can help them escape their rough home life - a place where magic thrives, happiness is everywhere, and the threads of darkness aren't around every single turn. They begin to hope that this world will be able to solve their problems at home, but they aren't that lucky. With this magical escape comes a whole new set of problems - ones that they aren't sure they're able to fix.

I liked reading this book. The idea was definitely something that I'd never read about before - a magical world stumbled upon by four girls that can be an escape from the terrible home life they deal with. There were a couple of plot twists that I didn't see coming - they definitely shocked me and Haydu is good at the element of surprise.

I also really enjoyed the relationship between Silly and her sisters, Eleanor and Astrid and Marla. Each one of them had different personalities, and it was interesting to see them all working together, and it was heartwarming to see what happened when they put all of their minds together to solve a problem.

All in all, I enjoyed Rules for Stealing Stars. It was a heartwarming and interesting story about family, fantasy, and overcoming challenges that life throws at you when you can't rely on your parents for help. Even though this is classified as a middle-grade book, it still felt like YA to me and I think that YA readers would definitely enjoy this book without feeling that it's too "young" for them.


Our 2015 Summer Blogger Promo Tour Wrap Up!

Current Hosts of:

Unfortunately, it looks like the time has come to wrap up the 2015 Summer Blogger Promo Tour! It's been an amazing two months filled with laughs and good times, and we met tons of new bloggers with whom we know we've formed lifelong friendships. This is the last week of the summer and therefore the last post on the tour, which means we're going to be going back and talking about all of the fun stuff we did with everybody this summer! 

Without further ado, here's a recap of the 2015 Summer Blogger Promo Tour!

We talked BookitCon with ReadWriteLove28!
Nori, the blogger behind ReadWriteLove28, was kind enough to let us in on some details about BookitCon, a special book event that she organized to help raise money and book donations for a local library that lost almost all its inventory due to flooding. It was a fun night of food and books and friends and fun, and you can see what she had to say about it here.

We "Waited on Sunday" With The Tattooed Biblio!
Lauren from The Tattooed Biblio was sweet enough to participate in our Sunday version of the popular meme "Waiting on Wednesday" - and she told us all the reasons why she was excited for Illuminae right here!

We discussed co-blogging with The Writing Duo!
Sareena and Sasha from The Writing Duo used GIFs and comedy to explain all of the situations that co-bloggers have to deal with. It was super hysterical and gave us more than a few giggles, and you can check it out here.

We showed some of BiblioSmiles' favorite featured writing!
Danielle from BiblioSmiles shared all about her literature-based website, the submission process, and all of the wonderful collaborations with various writers that she's featured. She even dished on some of her favorites here!

We displayed The Perks of Being a Bookworm's Favorite Book Fancast!
Naomi at The Perks of Being a Bookworm showcased her dream fancast for her favorite book of all time, Throne of Glass. All of the characters she picked (along with some eye-candy pics and great explanations) can be found right here.

We did The Book Scavenger Hunt of Death with The Hardcover Lover!
Erin at The Hardcover Lover accepted our challenge and participated in a bookshelf-based scavenger hunt, and even took home the gold as the winner! It was tons of fun and we ended up finding more books on our bookshelves than we realized we even had - you can see that here.

We took the YA Book Quiz with Uncreatively Zoey!
Zoey strapped on her fangirl helmet with us and took the ultimate YA book quiz, and then we compared our results to see who took home the gold. You can see for yourself by clicking here.

We saw Wonderland Novels' Favorite YA fairytale adaptations!
Alice from Wonderland Novels dished on her favorite YA fairytale stories and retellings, choosing some popular and also some lesser-known books that we definitely will have to check out. You can see them here!

All in all, this year's Summer Blogger Promo Tour was absolutely fantastic. We ran it on a much larger scale this year (with 50+ bloggers) than last year (with 8 bloggers total), and we were worried that things weren't going to work out. We had a few hiccups along the way, but the overall process ran so smoothly and everything worked out wonderfully. Us ladies here at The Book Bratz have made dozens upon dozens of new friends that we can't wait to see around the blogging community! It was a great summer of meeting new friends and coming up with creative icebreakers to get everyone situated with one another.

So, would you chalk up this Summer Blogger Promo Tour as a success? We definitely would. If you've been following the tour all summer, we encourage you to comment down below and tell us what you thought about the whole thing and if you would want to participate next year! Having so many people involved this summer was so awesome but also tons of work - but knowing that so many more people plan on getting involved next year, we'll definitely think up some ways to expand it so that everybody could enjoy it!

What a great 2015 Summer Blogger Promo Tour it's been! We'd like to thank every friend and blogger that helped out and participated along the way - you guys made this possible. You're all absolutely awesome and we hope to see you all on tour again next year!!! <3

ARC Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Title: What We Saw 
Author: Aaron Hartzler 
Genre: Realistic, Contemporary 
Source: Edelweiss 
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 22nd 2015
Add it to GoodreadsPre-Order it on Amazon

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids. But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed? This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.


I am at a lost for words. Hartzler took a tough subject buy the horns and nailed it. I've seen a lot of authors try to tackle rape in their stories, and usually it is just a minor detail and never really expanded upon. Hartzler made his whole book about it. As I reader I like to read things that are going to evoke some form of emotion for me. I was shaking with rage and anger as I read What We Saw. It is based off a true event, Steubenville Rape Case where a young girl was raped at a high school party. 

What We Saw is told from the point of view of Kate. She was at the party, but was driven home early because she had gotten drunk. The next morning she sees pictures of her and Stacey doing shots together. When the weekend is over Stacey doesn't show up for school for the next two days, and on the third day, four teenage boys are arrested and accused of rape, and the distribution of child pornography. Now, you would think people would feel bad for Stacey, right? No. People began horrible rumors, called her horrible names, said she asked for it, claimed it was the clothes she wore, that she was too drunk. Never once did they blame the boys who actually committed the crime. The four boys claim they are innocent even though there is a video going around of them raping Stacey! In a town where everyone believes that Stacey is lying, Kate is set on not letting the boys get away with such a horrible crime. 

Kate is someone I can called a modern YA heroine. She believed Stacey even when no one else did, and did the hardest thing she could have done and made herself hated by her school. In my heart I don't think anyone else would have came forward with that video. Every character in this book was a coward in their own way. 

Here is the thing that gets me: If it would have been any other person other then Stacey that this happened too, people might have actually believed it. But because Stacey dressed on revealing clothes, and liked the party, drink and get high, and her mother was rumored to be a prostitute it made it acceptable in they eyes of her rapists to do what they did. In the video Stacey is beyond wasted that she couldn't even fight them off, no consent was even given. The four boys that raped her were given less then a years jail time, and possibly be on parole a few months after they are arrested. 

What We Saw is terrifyingly real, it is something that happens everyday. It won't be a book for everyone, but I highly recommend that you give it a shot.


Blog Tour: Hunter by Mercedes Lackey {Spotlight + Giveaway}

Title: Hunter 
Author: Mercedes Lackey 
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia, Paranormal
Source: ARC sent by Publisher 
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: September 1st 2015

Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks. Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes. With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.

Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads

About Mercedes:

Mercedes Lackey is the acclaimed author of over fifty novels and many works of short fiction. In her "spare" time she is also a professional lyricist and a licensed wild bird rehabilitator. Mercedes lives in Oklahoma with her husband and frequent collaborator, artist Larry Dixon, and their flock of parrots.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


 Winners will receive a finished copy of HUNTER. US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

8/24/2015- Fictitious DeliciousInterview
8/25/2015- What the Cat ReadReview
8/26/2015- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderGuest Post
8/27/2015- The Book BratzSpotlight (US!)
8/28/2015- Bewitched Bookworms- Interview 

Week Two:

8/31/2015- She Dreams in FictionReview
9/1/2015- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post
9/2/2015-The Book CellarReview
9/3/2015- Mundie MomsInterview
9/4/2015- Supernatural SnarkReview

Waiting on Wednesday: Revenge and the Wild & The Siren

"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!

Amber's Waiting On:

Title: Revenge and the Wild
Author: Michelle Modesto
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Add it to Goodreads! 

The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler. Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways. But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

 2016 is going to be the year of awesome books! Seriously, look at that cover, and then read the summary. I have major grabby hands for this one!

Jessica's Waiting On: 

Title: The Siren
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: TBA (I'm not entirely sure yet!)
"You must never do anything that might expose our secret. This means that, in general, you cannot form close bonds with humans. You can speak to us, and you can always commune with the Ocean, but you are deadly to humans. You are, essentially, a weapon. A very beautiful weapon. I won't lie to you, it can be a lonely existence, but once you are done, you get to live. All you have to give, for now, is obedience and time..." The same speech has been given hundreds of times to hundreds of beautiful girls who enter the sisterhood of sirens. Kahlen has lived by these rules for years now, patiently waiting for the life she can call her own. But when Akinli, a human, enters her world, she can't bring herself to live by the rules anymore. Suddenly the life she's been waiting for doesn't seem nearly as important as the one she's living now.
I'm a huge fan of Kiera Cass's Selection series so I'm definitely super excited to see where another story by her may lead me! It sounds so intriguing and mystical and I can't wait to get my hands on the book - and also to see the final cover! 

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your link in the comments down below so we can stop back!

DNF Review: The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly

Title: The Foxglove Killings
Author: Tara Kelly 
Genre: Mystery
Source: NetGalley 
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: September 1st 2015 
Add it to Goodreads / Pre-order it on Amazon


Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on. I work at Gramps's diner, and the cakes―the entitled rich kids who vacation here―make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He's almost like a stranger now. I can't figure it out...or why I'm having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn't be having. Then one of the cakes disappears. When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her—and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it's up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I've ever known about myself — and Alex.


I've eyed this book for months now, and I was so excited to read it. I was even more excited when it was in the Entangled Teen newsletter and I could request it. I been on a mystery/thriller kick and I couldn't wait to feed this one to that burning monster. 

Reasons why I DNFed it: 

  • I was only up to 35% and Amber just went missing. Plus, no one seemed overly concerned with the fact she just vanished. Her boyfriend was sad, but it was like they broke up. Not that Amber just up and disappeared after a party. 
  • I get you have expectations with your friends. But Nova and Alex's friendship didn't seem like a good one. His sex life is none of her business, and she shouldn't make him feel bad that he didn't want to tell her. She basically told him the things he was doing was stupid, all because he branched out and made other friends besides her. 
  • All the "Cakes" were just assholes and I didn't like a single one of them. Even if Zach was nice at moments. 
  • Nova gets upset that people talk about her, but she doesn't do ANYTHING to shut down the rumors. She keeps let them spread and spread, destroying her image in the town. Plus her actions don't exactly help them at times. She tries to seem all tough but she really isn't. 
  • I was genuinely confused with who had feelings for who, so Alex was hooking up with Jenkia (an enemy to both of them) and Nova was in love with Alex, who at times did things that suggested that they should be more then friends, but once upon a time Nova and Zach has sex and then he broke up with her so she hooked up with Matt and then someone started to spread rumors? It wasn't very clear at moments. I am not even sure that was all correct.
  • I get building up the story and characters, but 25% to do so? I got it at 5% This is the middle of nowhere town that is basically a vacation spot for rich families. 
I am not saying for you not to try this book, it just didn't work for me. My biggest issue was Alex and Nova's friendship, as well as the choices that Alex was making. He basically began to chose the people that made his life hell for years over Nova (Who he knew since the 4th grade) but Nova also acted like a baby about it. Sigh. I really did wish I could have like this one. 

Blog Tour: Locket Full of Secrets by Dana Burkey {Guest Post + Giveaway}

Title: Locket Full of Secrets 
Author: Dana Burkey 
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense 
Publication Date: July 4th 2015
Add it to Goodreads / But it on Amazon 

After over 4 years, Olena comes rocketing back into Claire's life, changing everything for the worse. Picking up the shattered pieces, Claire is not sure who to believe. Is Olena who she says she is, or is she a killer to stay away from? Leaning on her new boyfriend Steven for support, Claire is faced with the choice on who to trust: a friend she barley knows, or a history lesson she barely remembers. Together, the three will begin a journey that will take Claire from the safety of her home to the last place she thought she would ever be: The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. With the wreckage of rector four looming behind her, Claire will have to see Olena's plan through until the end if she wants any chance of making it out alive.

Guest Post:  

My Writing Journey
With Locket Full of Secrets out on Kindle and paperback, receiving reviews and being purchased by readers, I stopped and looked back. How did I get to this point? What really lead to the book being out for people to read, or even what lead me to write this story in the first place?
Looking back I see that everything really started in middle school! That was when I was first encouraged to write thanks to writing prompts giving out by my 6th grade English teacher. It was in that class that I started to write fiction, build characters, and use my mind to create! I wrote often in the years that followed, and when I got to college it was an easy choice to pick Creative Writing as my minor. This was, however, where my writing career de-railed for a while.
My creative writing classes in college were the first time I ever experienced workshops. Each class consisted of reading something written by a classmate and then going around in a circle on by one to review their work. It sounded simple enough, and I was really excited for my first project to be read by the class. On my story day I felt really excited about my work, and was expecting nothing but good comments. Instead, I was told my writing was “childish” and “juvenile,” that my plot was too simple and that the way my characters faced conflict was un-realistic. I left class that day feeling that I had been punched!
After that first class, I took two more creative writing classes, each of them with many of the same people as the first. And each time, people told me my writing was childish! I did not understand. Sure, I was writing about characters that were teenagers, and knew I wanted younger people to read them, but it felt like people were not getting it. It felt to me like I was just not as good of a writer as I always thought and hoped I was. There were some good comments about my writing, my ideas seemed to be creative to some people, and my teacher encouraged me to keep writing and gave me positive feedback on my edits. But, I still felt like something was wrong. Why was my writing not being appreciated or liked? Even when people were saying they liked it, they never said it was “great” or “amazing,” but rather used words like “cute.” At the time, it made me feel like I chose the wrong minor completely.
I graduated college in 2009 and immediately moved to Washington State. It was a whole different world than Ohio, and my job as an intern kept me busy. In fact, for two years I worked and worked so much that I did not have time for much writing at all. I was learning about the full-time camping world, trying new things, and just living life out in the Pacific North West. But, once I was settled into my full time job at camp after my two years of being an intern came to an end, I started to miss writing. I wanted to create again, and knew that if I didn’t I would start to go stir crazy.
Not sure what else to do, I went online and printed out a few writing prompts. I had to do a lot of them in college, so I figured it could be a good way to start my brain working. And boy was it ever! The first writing prompt that caught my eye encouraged me to imagine meeting up with someone I had not seen in years. What would that be like, and how would that meeting go? The second I read the words, my brain began working over time! I remembered my best friend from 8th grade, Simona, and the fact that I had not seen her or heard from her at all since the last day of school so many years ago. But, rather than just imagine what we would talk about, my mind started working overtime. What if Simona, who was from Romania, was actually a spy? What if she HAD to leave Ohio?
As my mind created idea after idea I started jotting down notes. At some point my fascination with Chernobyl, and a Ukrainian friend I had in high school came into play, and I imagined Simona coming back looking for answers and help that would uncover truths about 1986 nuclear power plant explosion. Olena, a high school friend, was suddenly combined with Simona to make a strong character with a dark past and big secret. Sitting down with a paper and pen one day, I wrote four pages front and back, outlining the whole story. Some of the ideas were sketchy, but I felt like it had a flow and theme to it that would be really cool and exciting to read. Once it was all on paper, I stopped. I literally put the paper in a drawer and walked away. Clearly, the timing was not quite right, but the papers were there waiting for their moment.
With the papers in the drawer and forgotten, I spent my time reading. This is a super important fact in the journey for this book, since for the first time in my life I was hearing about this book genre called “young adult.” I did not understand it at first, but as I read more and more books it was like something clicked in my head. This was the type of book I was writing in college! The term YA did not exist yet, but it was clearly the genre I had been writing the whole time! It gave me new ideas and excitement to try writing more right away. So, I wrote a few short things that never went anywhere, and read as many YA books as I could. Then, each night I would lie in bed and think about that outline in my desk drawer. I would imagine the scenes in the book playing out, the characters interacting, and even the dramatic reveal of a secret about Chernobyl.
It was during those late night thinking times that I realized I wrote the outline wrong. In the outline the characters were all in the mid-twenties. They were living lives and had real jobs, but the dialogue I was imagining was much younger. Suddenly, I knew what I had done wrong. The book was meant to be a YA story, the character teens instead of adults. Knowing this, I hopped on my computer and wrote the first chapter of the book. I stopped there, busy with life and distracted with my role in a community theater show. But, I knew I wanted to go back and add more to this story that was growing and changing in my mind.
Just over a year ago, through a long series of random ideas and trial and error, I published my first book on Kindle. It was the start of my real writing career, and it was a bumpy and uphill climb for sure. I did not know much about the indie writing world, so I started making friends on social media. That was when I first heard about NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month takes places in November, in case you have not heard about it before, and it is a time for writers to write! The goal is 50,000 words in one month. It sounded daunting, but I signed up for it right away! Then, I went back to that outline and the ideas in my head and got ready. I made notecard outlines, researched even more about Chernobyl, despite already knowing a LOT, and then counted down the minutes until November began!
The journey was long and tiring, but by the end of November I had the first draft of Locket Full of Secrets complete. It went through two more edits and some help from my older sister “Red” Dawn, but in the end Locket was finished. The day I released it on Kindle I could not help but tear up a little. This was a project that was so many years in the making. So much emotion went into writing each word, fueled by the people that never saw my writing for what it really was. I wanted to prove to myself and everyone that I was a good writer, and that just because my audience was younger than myself, did not mean it was not worth reading.
So now, with Locket being read by readers that love YA books, I am happy for the crazy journey that got me where I am today. I think the time off of writing fueled my need to write this book. I think the negative comments I got in college helped me to make sure the words and stories are not JUST for teens. In fact, if I had to go back and do it all again, I would keep things just the way they are. The journey to where the book is now help made it mean that much more to me when a reader enjoys what I have created. It was not always an easy journey, but looking back I know it shaped and molded so much of who I am as an author. So, after all this time, I am thankful that people said my work was “juvenile.” Without their help, I might have never realized that I was a YA author all along!

About Dana: 

I graduated college from Youngstown State University in 2009 with a degree in theater and a minor in creative writing. I am currently living in Washington State in a little cabin in the woods with my cat Cato. I work full time at a kids camp, and spend my free time doing community theater and adventuring in nature! I am an avid geocacher, and love watching reality TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Project Runway, and Big Brother! I am currently working on my next project that includes a few YA romances and a YA dystopian series!


ARC Review: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

Title: This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Genre: Steampunk, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction 
Source: Edelweiss 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 22nd 2015
Add it to Goodreads / Pre-Order it on Amazon 

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits. His brother, Oliver—dead. His sweetheart, Mary—gone. His chance to break free of Geneva—lost. Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead. But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship. Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…


Steampunk Frankenstein. That was it for me to be like "Huh, this is something that seems good." This book was absolutely amazing. The story is set in 1818 Geneva, men can now live with clockwork parts and the people who help build them are called Shadow Boys. That's what Alasdair and his brother Oliver are. Two years ago after Oliver's death, Alasdair wracked with grief bought Oliver back from the dead using clockwork parts and Dr. Geisler's journals. Now, Oliver looks like a "monster" enough that Alsdair can no longer look him in the eye. After the publication of Frankenstein the city is in hysterics, the police are tightening control and Alasdair is forced the flee from his home and into the refuge of Geisler, who will do anything to get his hands on the miracle that he calls Oliver. 

Alasdair: I really did like his character. His is the main protagonist and bought Oliver back from the dead. He is a talented Shadow boy and worked beneath his father for years. As the story goes on we learn more about Alasdair, and his grief, desperation, and horror of what his brother has now become. 
Oliver: When the people start a revolt Oliver becomes Frankenstein to them. He is the clockwork man. He is no longer the boy that you see in Alaasdair's flashbacks, you can see that when he came back that something didn't fall into place properly. 
Mary: Long story short? She is literally the cause of most of the problems. Frankenstein is written anonymously, but as the reader it is easy to figure out that Mary was the one to write it. No matter how she defended herself she betrayed Alasdair and Oliver both. The little bit in the end where she tried to redeem herself made me laugh. She is a coward. 
Clemence: She is my favorite character, also a Clockwork man (or woman I should say) who was saved by Geisler and now practically his slave in order to work the price of him saving her life, saves and then befriends Alasdair. I wanted to know so much more about her! She reveals to Alasdair when they are talking about their first kiss that her first kiss wasn't with a boy but another girl. I wish that Mackenzi had touched upon that more. But all in all, she is by far my favorite character! 

The plot and the world building in This Monstrous Thing was beautiful. It was easy to picture the time period and everything that was going on. I wish in the ending that we go a little more closure about certain things but for the most part it all wrapped up nicely and left me content enough to know that good things would probably be coming for some people and bad things for others. 

(4.5 Stars) 

Wonderland Novels' Favorite YA Fairytale Adaptations! (SBPT Stop #8)

Current Hosts of:

Welcome to the eighth stop of the 2015 Summer Blogger Promo Tour, hosted by us ladies at The Book Bratz! This is a summer-long tour where we'll be introducing you to different book bloggers and their awesome blogs every Sunday - if you're interested in learning more about the tour, click here.

Today we have Alice froWonderland Novels here to talk about her favorite YA fairytale adaptations and retellings! Since her name is Alice and her blog is titled Wonderland Novels, we felt that this would be the perfect thing to do - so without further ado, here are Alice's favorite YA fairytale retellings and adaptations!

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Alice says: Sleeping Beauty/Aurora was always my favorite of the Disney princesses as a kid, so it's no surprise that this is one of my favorite
adaptations! Despite the name character being a princess named Aurora,
however, it is very different. Aurora, known as Ror in this novel,
dresses up as a boy in order to rescue her brother. It's the perfect
combination of romance (there is a Prince!) and action.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Alice says: Cinder is based on Cinderella; it is set in a future world where
cyborgs and robots ("andriods") exist. Cinder plays a big role in
saving the Commonwealth from the evil Queen Levana and makes for a
great heroine. I also absolutely loved the romance between Cinder and
Kai, which was very believable.

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Alice says: When I first started reading this, I didn't know what fairytale it's
based off of, but after googling it, I found out it was based on
Bluebeard. After reading the synopsis of the fairytale, I was scared
that I spoiled it for myself. This was not the case. Nickerson does an
amazing job creating mystery and suspense and manages to hold the
reader's attention throughout.

So, those were some of Alice's favorite YA fairytale stories! Now it's time to get to know Alice a little more!

About Alice:

I'm Alice, and I'm the co-owner of Wonderland Novels. I had a book blog back in 2010 and 2011, but stopped blogging for a while. However, after BookCon in 2014, I was once again inspired to create a book blog. After all, I love reading and sometimes wrote reviews anyway, so why not? I told Yiling, who attended BookCon with me, and she expressed her interest as well... and so, Wonderland Novels was born! We are called Wonderland Novels because at the time, I liked Alice in Wonderland (still do!), and since it is a book, I figured it'll fit well for a book blog. It was a big bonus that my name was also Alice! ;) Our blog focuses on the Young Adult genre but may very occasionally include some Middle Grade or New Adult content. Wonderland Novels primarily features book reviews, memes, giveaways, and book tours.
You can keep up with Alice on her blogTwitterGoodreads and Bloglovin'

Don't forget to check back next Sunday, when we'll be posting our recap post on the entire tour and reflecting on the experience as a whole! :-)

ARC Review: Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers

Title: Truest 
Author: Jackie Lea Sommers 
Genre: Contemporary, Romance 
Source: Edelweiss 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 1st 2015
Add it to Goodreads / Pre-Order it on Amazon

Silas Hart has seriously shaken up Westlin Beck's small-town life. Brand new to town, Silas is different than the guys in Green Lake. He's curious, poetic, philosophical, maddening-- and really, really cute. But Silas has a sister-- and she has a secret. And West has a boyfriend. And life in Green Lake is about to change forever.


*The review does contain spoilers*

The summary really didn't give me much to go on about this story. It was a book I requested a long time ago, was interested in and then when it came time to read it I didn't want to anymore. I am glad I made myself read it though. I would have been crazy to miss this gem. I am going to mention one important thing though: There is a minor detail of cheating. It isn't bad, but I know a lot of people have no tolerance for it. 

I liked West for the most part. She is from a small town where everyone knows everyone, her dad is the pastor, and her summer car is detailing cars. She is pretty simple. West had been dating Elliot for the past two years, life was comfortable for her. Then she meets Silas, who is new to town and his twin sister who is a little on the strange side. It is pretty much hate at first sight. West couldn't wait to get away from him, to never see his face again. Until her dad offers Silas to be West's detailing assistant. As summer goes on West and Silas grow closer, and Silas's sister comes out of her shell a bit. But suddenly West has all these questions about herself, and the world that she never had before she knew Silas. 

I would have liked West more if she didn't constantly flirt with Silas and lead him on while she was still with Elliot. Poor Elliot, he was planning the rest of his life to be with West when she was making heart eyes at Silas. Imagining how he kisses and ect. Eventually West does end things with Elliot, and peruses Silas. Here is what annoyed me: West made a point to tell us that her and Elliot haven't had sex yet. Which, she explains to being afraid, and her dad being the pastor and all. Which I totally got. But then when the moment arises for her and Silas she dives head first with out any questions. Giving a boy she only knew for a few months her virginity. The moment she mentioned it in the first chapter I knew what was going to happen. It wasn't a shock, more of just "when is it going to happen" sort of thing. I loved the constant banter between West and Silas, there were so many moments where I was laughing out loud at what one or the other said. 

Besides the romance the book takes on a bit of a darker tone. In the summary it says: "But Silas has a sister-- and she has a secret." I wasn't expecting for mental illness to take a part of this book. Laurel has Solipsism disorder which basically means she believes reality is a dream. She created this life, and one day she will wake up and it will all have been a dream. Silas isn't real. West isn't real. God isn't real. It was really heart breaking to read, Laurel was an amazing character and she was obviously in pain. Which leads to this: Jackie managed to wedge a knife in my heart. I haven't cried for a book in a long time. The same night that West and Silas sneak off in the tower and have sex is the same night that Laurel drove her car off the bridge and though she didn't die instantly she did later that night. 

From there I predicted everything that was going to happen (Which was only 17% more of the book). I did how ever expect West and Silas to get back together in the end, which they don't. But I understand how Jackie left everything off for the reader. Truest bought forward a lot of questions about fate, and life, and taught lessons about friendship and family. Overall I will be looking forward to Jackie's writing in the future.