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Friday, January 30, 2015

Follow Friday #46

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Hard print (real thing) or Kindle/Nook, which is your favorite? - Suggested by The Realm of Books. 

I'm so torn with this answer. I enjoy both. I love the feeling of the paper between my fingers, how gorgeous black ink looks against the ivory pages. The unforgettable smell that you know is a book. But then I enjoy the convenience of the kindle on my tablet, where I can read in the dark or download books from my library from my bedroom instantly. And my actual kindle device that I can read outside in the summer and there be no glare. Do you see why I'm torn? I enjoy both, but I know I would like to have the real thing in my hands. But I wouldn't be too picky about it. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: Little Peach by Peggy Kern

Little Peach by Peggy Kern
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Balzer & Bray / HarperTeen
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 208
Genre: Contemporary • Realistic Fiction

        buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
What do you do if you're in trouble?

     When Michelle runs away from her drug-addicted mother, she has just enough money to make it to New York City, where she hopes to move in with a friend. But once she arrives at the bustling Port Authority, she is confronted with the terrifying truth: she is alone and out of options. 

     Then she meets Devon, a good-looking, well-dressed guy who emerges from the crowd armed with a kind smile, a place for her to stay, and eyes that seem to understand exactly how she feels. 

     But Devon is not what he seems to be, and soon Michelle finds herself engulfed in the world of child prostitution where he becomes her “Daddy” and she his “Little Peach.” It is a world of impossible choices, where the line between love and abuse, captor and savior, is blurred beyond recognition. 

      This hauntingly vivid story illustrates the human spirit’s indomitable search for home, and one girl’s struggle to survive.
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review* 

A short but gripping read. One that throws you into the pit of reality, one that is easily glossed over. The truth of human trafficking, sex, the harsh truth of the sex trade and child prostitution. The destitute, the impoverished. The story of a young, innocent girl looking for a home, for love and a family, after her grandfather passes away and her mother has her leave the only home she's ever known. My heart fell for Michelle as she ventured to New York looking for her friend, and finding a different sort when there were no roads left to take. Where love and affection from a man who we hear Michelle call "daddy" the entire rest of the novel is not only warped, but so close to sounding sincere. The manipulation on these girls, innocent and naive and oblivious to the broken world around them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (69): The Sin Eater's Daughter

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.
        She’s the executioner.
        As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.
        But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.
        However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

I'm a little bit worried about the love triangle here, and this book's premise reminds of the back of the Shatter Me series, but the idea that the main character is literally the embodiment of a goddess and a death goddess at that seems like it's going to be interesting.  What will be her perspective on death? Will she have become desensitized to it, or she a mopey goth looming around the castle? Again, I'm a little worried about the love triangle, but The Sin Eater's Daughter seems like it's going to be an interesting read and I can't wait to read it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Release Day Blast, Expert & Giveaway: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

I am so excited that A COLD LEGACY by Megan Shepherd releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an excerpt from the book!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Megan Shepherd, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blast also includes a giveaway for a signed copy of the book and swag courtesy of Megan and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
Series: The Madman's Daughter #3
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
A fter killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with  Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.
        Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.
        With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity. 


Top Ten Tuesday (1): If Courtney was a part of a book club

*This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish*

This Week's Topic: Ten Books I'd Love to Read With My Book Club/If I Had A Book Club (or you could pick a specific kind of book club -- like if you had a YA book club or an adult book club or a science fiction book club etc.)

If I were to be in a book club there would be the top ten books I'd want to read in no specific order :)

1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I've been meaning to jump into this world for a while, having heard many great things. I think these books would made for a fantastic rendition in a book club if I were ever to join one.

2. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. This one hasn't come out just yet, but Eirini absolutely adored it, so I think I would as well. I have a review copy on hand, but I would love to read this with other people and get their perspectives and opinions.

3. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I've started this one numerous times, but just never had the time of day or night to every finish the story. Would be fun to actually have a deadline on my hands so I could actually get through the novel.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen by
Series: Red Queen #1
Publication Date:February 10, 2015
Publisher: Orion
A Young Adult novel
Genre: Dystopia • Romance
   buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

It's all fun and games until someone starts bleeding silver.

I was wary of Red Queen. I thought publishers were pushing it too much and there was no way that it would ever be able to live up to all the hype, that it was going to be a disappointment.

I was totally wrong. Red Queen is utterly amazing.

While the book doesn't really pick up until about 15%  of the way into the story, Red Queen has an interesting world, which is insanely detailed and completely understandable, an awesome magical element that will drive your imagination wild, deep plot that constantly throws curve balls and beautifully full characters that will completely shock you. These characters were possibly my favorite part of the entire book (aside from the super cool variety of magical powers). Some side characters completely blew my mind with how deep they were, particularly Cal, who had a lot more to him than an average hero. I loved reading about him and it's my vain hope that the next book will have some of his point of view.

Not to say that Mare, our main character, isn't great; she's witty, brave, noble and a little naive, a tad bloodthirsty (okay, more than a tad) and, best of all, Mare is a selfish for her cause.This all gives her the necessary tools to move the plot along, so we never have to rely on a side character to carry the burden of the scene. Honestly, there wasn't really a point in this book where I was screaming at Mare not to do something really stupid. Everything was very thought-out and made sense, which makes the climax more powerful because the reader is along for the ride.

While I am giving this book five targets, there was one problem I had: Red Queen missed an opportunity to do something in our world. This book could have reflected on the problems of our reality, problems of class distinction and race, and Red Queen completely fell flat.  While Red Queen was a great book, don't pick up this book with any hope for another Hunger Games. Red Queen is completely focused on it's own world, not ours. Not to say there isn't layers to this book, there is, but I can't say anything without major spoilers, but this book has the kind of depth college papers get written about at 3 am. It's great, but there could have been more. This book could have caused the change the characters beg for, and it just never comes out.

 Regardless, if you are coming down from a Hunger Games high, looking for something to hold you over until House of Cards starts a new season, or dying for a book with action, romance, magic, family, backstabbing and bloodshed, I highly recommend Red Queen for your reading pleasure.

Five Targets, and not a drop of red blood spilled

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (31)

Welcome to the Stacking the Shelves, a feature by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews, post for this week. All weekly updates that have happened around the blog will take place below as well as the books that I have received this week for review. Please don't forget to leave a comment on this post and link me to your Stacking the Shelves so I can see what you've gotten this week and comment back. Thank you!

Recent Events & Past Reviews:

Ebooks for $3.99 and less
Featuring books like Cinder, Cress, The Fault in Our Stars, and more

For Review:
Really excited to start reading all of these(:

Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
After Hours by Claire Kennedy
Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn #1) by Lori Goldstein
Shadow Scale (Serephina #2) by Rachel Hartman

Friday, January 23, 2015

Follow Friday #45

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Do you post your reviews anywhere besides your blog? Where else do you post reviews? - Suggested by A Great Read.

I do, I post reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and also part time blog at Me, My Shelf, and I

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #2
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopian 

       buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery 
The Selection began with thirty-five girls.
Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon's heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America's chance to choose is about to slip away

First book finished in the new year, and Kiera Cass's The Elite was a easy-going, fun read to start the new year off with.

I liked The Selection mostly because of how leisurely of a read it is. And The Elite doesn't really deter from that same leisurely air. More dresses and cat fights from the remaining girls. But mostly, the fickle heart of America takes the stage.

Unfortunately for this series, there isn't much that really differentiates the remaining six girls—Celeste, Elise, Natalie, Kriss, Marlee, and America—most of the girls range from the radical grade-A beyotch or they are just very conservative, meek, and forgetful. And as for America, since the whole book is narrated from her point of view, life inside the palace is limited. I was hoping for more lies, more deceit, and much more backstabbing since the stakes are much higher for the crown. One would think that the first novel would be the skeletal structure of the world-of-story and the conflicts, and the second novel would dig much deeper into plot, sub-plot, character development, and the works. 

The Elite remains a skeleton.

There is no depth in the remaining SIX girls. Besides the surface level attributes and the physical features that America comments upon, none of them scream depth that they deserve especially this late in the game. The outside world of poverty and rebellion is completely divided from America's newly sheltered world in the Selection competition. Any talk of rebels comes and goes like the wind. The sub-plot of the active rebellion in the North and the South is overshadowed by America's fickleness and her inability to make a outrageously clear decision on whether she wants to be with Prince Maxon or Aspen. Even the raids on the palace by the rebels is undermined by the shallow conversations and the jealous glares from America and the other girls. There was promise with the rebel sub-plot, and it was nonexistent once again.

Final Summation: A series I'm finding more and more to be one that is read for fun and for fawning over the gorgeous covers. The Elite had promise for potential, to expand on sub-plot and character development, and fell flat. America's limited view and fickle nature over her new-found life of limited luxury overpowered the story. But I will still read on for fun, and for those beautiful covers.

Three stars slayed  for fickle hearts, unnecessary love triangles, and light reading

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (68): All the Rage

All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Release Date: April 14, 2015
The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous.But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 
          With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out,All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?
 With everything happening in America in the past few years, I think it's amazing and very important that books like All the Rage are coming out.  Hopefully, this will be a book of strength, and not one of misery and self-loathing.  I'm excited for this book, but also apprehensive of what it will be like.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopian • Romance

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

I started this book and already knew what was going to come in the next two books, but that didn't deter me from reading. The Selection was a fun, light read. Something to just lay down on the couch and read in one sitting. This book series and Aimee Carter's The Blackcoat Rebellion run in the same circles, but The Selection has more elaborate dresses and drama among a group of girls from different castes.

So, what is young adult without the internal struggle between the affections towards the hometown sweetheart and gorgeous royalty? The Selection hosts just that. America struggles between holding onto her love for the boy back home, Aspen, while new affections blossom for the heart of the beautiful prince. And, America, is stuck in a rut between the two of them. Typical. Cue the eye-rolls. But because I wasn't really reading for depth, I bypassed the love triangle and just focused more on America and Maxon, the drama between the girls, and the background story with the rebels.

I've seen castes before in young adult novels--The Hunger Games, Divergent, Pawn--and The Selection is no different where tiers determine your livelihood, your occupation, and how destitute or wealthy you are. Yet the Selection allows for different young people in ranging castes at a chance to win the heart of the prince. A chance of a lifetime to exit the gutter and enter the world of opulence. Or to break away from routine and establish change with the power of the monarchy.

America is a difficult character to find yourself adoring. She is stubborn, gullible, and unable to make a decision, afraid of the commitment. Yet, she is compassionate to those around her. She treats her maids like people rather than slaves. She is worried for their well-being during rebel attacks. And her connection with her family is not only grounding, but it is refreshing and adorable. While her narrative can be a bit deterring to read, America can still come across as a likeable character from time to time when she is not looming on her affections between Aspen and Maxon or too deeply swayed with the luxury rather than the life and the loved ones she left back home in poverty and poor conditions under the law.

Final Summation: I really enjoyed The Selection, and I found it to be a quick, light weekend read. I liked the bachelor aspects brought about in the book, the drama that ran rampant, and the blooming romantic feelings between America and Maxon. I know America's attitude and the love triangle is going to get on my nerves, but I still look forward to the second installment in this series.
Four targets slayed for ripped dresses and a handsome prince