Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Fever by Megan Abbott ~ Review

Title: The Fever
Author: Megan Abbott
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Pages: 320
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Thriller

Rating: 3 stars

Summary: The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hocky star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community. 

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security. 

*Disclaimer* This novel was provided by NetGalley for an honest review! 

My head is on two different levels with this book. On one hand, I'm like whoa! This is great. Then again, I'm thinking wtf? What is wrong with this book?! Here's a couple things I wrote down while reading:

wtf is going on?
Who the fuck are you?
Who the fuck is this?
this is really chaotic
Fragmented sentences, why?
Skewed POVs

And that was only the beginning. 

So, yeah. It's kind of confusing to get into. One of the problems was I never found a rhythm to this book. I'm not sure if this was purposeful for the author. Things are getting crazier and freakier in the book, but shoving me in different directions only made me mad, not panicky. 

But then again, I liked the idea of different POVs. I just think it could have been written better. I also noticed that quite a few characters sounded the same. They didn't have their own voice, so to speak. (eheheh.) Sure, every once in awhile there'd be this moment where I'd think to myself, yes that character would say/do/think in response to whatever just happened, but these were as rare as my momma's favorite sirloin. And she likes her steaks bloody. 

I think the lack of voice for our MCs also had a lot to do with the form. Now I like it when an author goes out and does something different, dramatic. Ellen Hopkins was a favorite for a long time because of this. However, I do believe that if you want your form to be skewed, and look more like a train of thoughts, then the POV needs to be in first person. Not third. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the thought process soo much! And the writing too! Things were blurred but also clear cut.... if that makes any sense. It was kind of like focusing on one thing only, like a blade of grass, and the rest of the world was in a hazy fog. Having the novel in third person just made this a bit confusing and, for me, frustrating. 

Something I really enjoyed was the plot! I realize that a lot of the surprises and twists in here could not have been possible without the shifting POVs. That being said, OMG the twist!!!! Near the end!!! AHHHH! Crazyness, I tell you. I can't say anything though, because then you won't read it. Once we hurtled over the climax though, and things were starting to wrap up I was left vaguely disappointed. The loose ends weren't secured for me. Oh, the author tries to tie things up nice and neat. But there were a few holes poking through the gift wrap. 

And so I give this novel a solid 3 stars. Writing, plot (except the very, very end), I loved them. The rest, I felt needed some work. Breathe some more life into these characters, give them a voice. Make them stand out from one another please!!!! I feel that would really bring this novel up and up and up!

As always, thank you for joining me as I review! Let me know your thoughts below!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Motley Monday the IV

I just finished watching Gladiator so right now my blood is pumping from unused adrenaline rushing around in my veins. I need a sword! And I need to learn how to use it! 

But let's get started.(I'll admit now that Russell Crowe's rippling biceps and forearms preoccupied my time and that's why this post is late. Sorry, not sorry!)

First of moxie motleys (motlies? motlies?) is ...

Great by Sara Benincasa
Expected publication: April 8, 2014

I know that you know you loved The Great Gatsby. Okay, I just know it. Which is why you'll will love Great. Here's the summary:
Everyone loves a good scandal.

Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason for drawing close to Naomi-to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. But Jacinta's carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Based on a beloved classic and steeped in Sara Benincasa's darkly comic voice, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.

Also, did you SEE that cover?! Did you?! It's freaking gorgeous! I cannot handle the perfection that is on this cover! And am I sensing some lesbian vibes here? Not usually my thing, but I'll take it!

I honestly don't know what can be better than this, I am so stoked! But another book I'm excited for is ...

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Expected publication: April 8, 2014

Did you do a double take there? That's okay, I did too. Great and The Here and Now will be coming out on the same day! (I have a feeling I will be broke in April.) Here is the summary:
Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.
Meet seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins. 
Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan Jarves.

Who remembers The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants? Who's been wanting another novel by that fabulous author? Well, today is your lucky day!!! Because here it is and it's almost here now! (See what I did there? You liked it, c'mon!) I really did love the Sisterhood though, my favorite being Bridget. No, she's not anything like me, but I wished I were more like her! So sporty and outgoing. Plus gorgeous. (And yes, I think Blake Lively was perfect for the part.)

Moving on another read I am looking forward to is...

The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy
Expected publication: July 1, 2014

Winter books in July? It's almost like Christmas! I'm hoping I will still get the chills when reading this in the Florida heat, maybe it'll help cool me down. Summary coming at you now:
Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn't forgotten their warning to "stay away." For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the "special gifts" that must be left at the back of the property.

Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, his interactions with Salome take her life in a new direction. A direction where she'll have to decide between her longtime crush Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop. An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.

Winter fae? I'm hoping this will lean more towards the white walkers found in Game of Thrones. Only time will tell, I guess. In the meantime let me just drool over that cover...

Oh, wait. I have more to show you! Next one is called

Mayday by Jonathan Friesen
Expected Publication: April 10, 2014

Another April book! But don't worry, I have a summary that will make you fall (in love or not, I'm not sure. Can't read minds!)
Why’d I do it? I suppose it’s the only question that really matters. 

Seventeen-year-old Crow will stop at nothing to protect her younger sister—even if it costs her her own life. But then she’s given a chance to come back and make things right. There are a few catches, though. First, she won’t come back as herself. And before she can set things straight, she’ll have to figure out what’s what—and things aren’t exactly as clear-cut as she remembered.

Teeny, tiny summary but I am hooked. It reminds me a little of Before I Fall. I guess just the coming back part is really all they'll have in common. But still, I interested to see where this will take us. 

Last of the motleys (I'm just going with it) is ...

Tsarina by J. Neal Patrick 
Expected publication: February 27, 2014

I guess this post is all about the girls. (Sorry for any guys looking for something to read!) I'll be honest here, it's not the cover or the synopsis that's pulling me in. I really wasn't looking forward to this one until a few days ago when I read a few reviews that LOVED this book. So that has swayed me. Here's the summary:
Natalya knows a secret.
A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.
But it's not in the right hands.

Like I said, not much going on there. Nothing to really hook or grab my attention. If anything, I am mildly confused and irritated. Thanks for nothing, ass of a synopsis. You are of no use to me. Okay, maybe it's not that mild. However, I am willing to overlook my initial reactions and give this book a try. 

There you have it. The 4th Motley Monday is coming to a close. So tell me, what are you looking forward to? Any thoughts on what I have here? And finally, thank you for stopping by! Til next time.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lingering Echoes by Erica Kiefer ~ Review

Title: Lingering Echoes
Author: Erica Kiefer
Publication Date: October 30, 2013
Pages: 388
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Rating: 2 stars

Summary: She's broken with guilt. 
He harbors a chilling past. 
It's safer if they keep their distance... 
But, the echoes that linger connect them. 

Returning to Hidden Pines is the last thing Allie Collins wants to do during her final summer before college. For her, the family cabin she spent her youthful summers in, now holds a dark memory that has haunted her every day for the last year. 

While struggling to forget her past, Allie runs into Damien, a local rebel with secrets of his own. He's dark, dangerous and he keeps showing up when Allie least expects him to. She has every reason not to trust him. So why does she find herself opening up to him in a way she hasn't been able to with anyone? 

As pieces of Damien’s identity emerge, answers to a rumored mystery begin to unfold. By the time Allie unearths the secrets of Damien’s past, she realizes just how intricately they are connected. Now she is caught in a dangerous battle that threatens her life and those she loves.

Insert Bella Swan, Edward Cullen and Jacob Black sans the boys' super abilities. I apologize but Twilight in contemporary format does not work. And the writing wasn't even as good as Stephanie Meyer's. 

While I liked the first 70% of this book, I have to admit it was a bland liking. I could take it or leave it. The romance seemed blahhh and the attempted love triangle was just annoying. (I do give props for Allie's honesty and maturity in handling the situation though! Finally a MC that has no indecision.) But even the one romantic moment between Allie and Damien was short-lived. There was always some thing in the way. Be it Allie or Damien's demons, or outside forces. Nothing just was, if you get what I mean. While these obstacles helped move the story along, it hindered our MC's relationship. And you should never forsake MC needs for plot twists. Never, never, never! 

I'd like to point out that there were more relationships being developed than just our MC's. Allie was also forging a bond with her own father, new step mom and new step brother. But I felt like these also took a back seat compared to the plot until it was conveniently needed. 

One last thing I'd like to talk about is the demons Allie and Damien were forced to confront. Both of our MCs carried some deep scars. Each took the blame for these instances that were so out of their control. It was heart-breaking especially in Damien's case. And while Allie's was not less unfortunate in any way, I do feel like it was too easily overcome. She hates the water and then one trip, just one measly little swim, and all of the sudden she's unstoppable? Come on now, let's be real here. Ain't no way that would really happen.

So to sum things up, this was a blah read for me with no real connection or care towards the characters. Plus the last bit of the book just seemed completely unrealistic to me. I'm sure these situations really do happen somewhere in the world. But it just doesn't come out of nowhere with a bang like how this book presents it! 

Has anyone else read this yet? Let me know your thoughts!

This book was provided by NetGalley for an honest review. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Motley Monday the third!

Gather 'round, boys and girls! It's time for your favorite Monday treat! Motley Monday!!! Woo, yeah, al-righhht! 

Fine, I'll stop. I'M JUST SO EXCITED!! I've been excited about a couple of these titles since last Monday but I just didn't have the space to include them!! *tears* But! Thank god it's Monday again (I know, weird.) and I can reveal them to you!! Let's go!

Our first act for tonight is 

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough

Expected publication of July 22, 2014 

Here's the summary:
A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . . 

Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.

I freaking can not wait for this to come out! I love jinnis/genies (whatever floats your boat). However, a Freaky Friday between a human and a jinni! Yes, yes, YES! Genius, I tell you! I'm not 100% on our main characters' names. (I know, I know.) But I'm still really excited for this debut!

Next we have...

Wild Ones by Kristine Wyllys

Expected publication: January 13, 2014                 Yes, my lovelies! It's already out in bookstores. Go, go, go, go, go!

Oh wait. Maybe I should give you the summary:

Bri Martin likes her skirts too short, her heels too high, and trouble close at hand. So when big, brooding underground boxer Luke Turner comes into the bar where she works and starts a fight before she brings his first drink, she can't help being intrigued. Luke is everything she never wanted and everything she can't resist.

Soon, Luke is showing up everywhere Bri is, and she can't break free of his hold on her, nor does she want to. When her best friend turns on her, it's Luke who is there. When Luke's opponent comes after her to send Luke a message, it's he who comes to her rescue.

Before Bri knows it, she's caught in the midst of a rivalry between her boyfriend and her boss, both of whom are not content to settle their scores inside the ring. She swore she'd never live this life, so like the one she once ran from. But only by confronting her past can she decide where her future lies…and whether Luke can be a part of it.

What I think I enjoy the most about this summary is that Bri is not our Miss Prim and Prissy. She's down with the dirty and embraces it as a part of her identity. Hopefully that's how it goes down in the book too. 

Third in our motley-ness is

The Headhunters Race by Kimberly Afe 

Expected publication: January 3, 2014           HAHAHA! Yes, this one is already out and doing very well review wise, might I add.

Summary, go!

Sixteen-year-old Avene was sentenced to prison at thirteen for a crime she didn't commit. Now she has a chance to win her freedom back – if she enters the Headhunters Race. Second prize isn't so bad either, an upgrade to the Leisure Prison if you make it to the finish line. To win either prize, Avene and the other prisoners must navigate one hundred and fifty miles of dense forest, desert, and worst of all, cannibal territory.

With a mechanical collar timed to strangle the prisoners if they're not back in nine days, Avene allies herself with seventeen-year-old McCoy, another prisoner that insists on helping her at every turn and a boy she's trying hard not to fall for. Together they battle nature, other prisoners, and the timed death collars to win the coveted prize. But when Avene is tested with one deadly conflict after another, she realizes there is more at stake than winning her freedom – first she has to survive.

I'm really getting a Battle Royale vibe here, and I'm down with that. Mainly because of the collars. Regardless, I loved Battle Royale and The Hunger Games. Kids fighting to the death may be horrific and gruesome, but I like it. Just call me loco Shayna ba-nayna. (By the way, check out the link because goodreads is hosting a giveaway for this little number! Seven winners!!!)

Following the children death book is a nice little tale all about ...

Just kidding! This one is about Bloody Mary herself, the age old tradition of summoning this gory ghost, and how it can all go wrong. The cover hasn't been released yet but I am seriously expecting an awesome, gory, scary theme. Expected publication is September 2, 2014. Here's the spooky-fied summary:

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her. 

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go. 

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror. 

Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late? 

Chills ~~~~ September can not come fast enough, let me just put that out there. After the epic failure that is Mara Dyer, I've been jonesing for a good scary story.

Last of our Motley assembly is

Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

 Expected publication: March 2014

Now I know you've heard of white and black magic. But what about RED magic? This is my first time ever hearing about it (not that I go out of my way to learn about witchcraft but eh) so I'm very interested to see where this tale takes us.

Here's the summary:

There comes a time in every witch's life when she must choose her path. Darlena's friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it's too late?

Little bit of background for all of those in the un-known. Hecate is an ancient Greek goddess. A quick wikipedia search will describe various witchy things about her. Crossroads, sorcery, plant life, the moon. You know, the works. So now we have Hecate, the queen of all witches making other witches choose a magic to learn and live by. I really hope we get to meet Hecate in this series. Please, please, please, pretty please! And please make Darlena a badass and not a wimpy witch. Thank you, gods and godesses.

Well, looks like that's all the time we have for tonight's blog post. So glad you could make it! Again, I urge you to comment and let me know what you're excited for! Thank you and see you next time! :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Tyrant's Daughter by J.C. Carleson ~ Review

Title: The Tyrant's Daughter
Author: J.C. Carleson
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Rating: 5 stars

Summary: When her father is killed in a coup, 15-year-old Laila flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, and a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She’s conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can’t bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations? 

J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl—and a country—on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics. 

I want to talk a little bit about the author before I get into the book itself. J.C. is a former CIA officer. She's got the low down on espionage and thrillers because that was her life. At the end of this book, she talks about how she met the inspiration for her characters and story. She met Bastian (our main character's younger brother) through her own son, and her inspiration for the "royal" family came from a tour of Bin Laden's desolate palace. J.C. has an experience and insight that many other authors lack. There's some truth when they say write what you know. 

The Tyrant's Daughter is told in Laila's POV. I was hesitant at first when the summary stated she was 15 years old. I have a problem reading about kids 16 and under. Don't get me wrong, I love my YA fiction. There's only so much immaturity I can handle though. Thankfully, this is not the case. Laila is wise beyond her years and she's dealing with so much more than petty bickering with friends and if the mysterious hot guy wants her as much as she wants him after one freaking day.

No, Laila is smart, her curiosity comes with a price, and she's ready to confront her own naivety. In short, she's the 15 year old I wish I could've been. Albeit without the torturous circumstances. 

I was so wrapped up in this story. Flipping my little e-pages so fast to get to the next bit and the next bit. Laila's heart and virtue, her torn love for her home and America had me debating the merits of my home. It's very difficult to experience culture shock on your culture, but I could empathize with Laila's fascination and revulsion at America's ways. Just as I could reciprocate the feelings her friends felt when Laila spoke of her home.

And J.C.'s writing! My god, her descriptions and voice were captivating. I felt like I was right next to Laila as she faced off with the world around her. 

I highly recommend this to everyone when it becomes available in February!

Free read provided by NetGalley for an honest review. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Motley Monday the second!

Welcome back to another Motley Monday! Sorry for the late post, I had my first day back at college and well, we all know how that can go!

I'm very excited for this batch of misfits, so lets get started!

First up is….

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Expected publication: July 8, 2014

Oh, come on. You can't tell me you didn't see that one coming if you read my last post!
Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs. 
But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

After reading the novella and falling in love with James myself, how can I not continue?! For those who don't know (because it's not mentioned above) James is the leader of the Assassins Guild. Also "bloodthirsty wildcats"? Uh, yes please!

Next is …. 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Expected publication: January 28, 2014      IT'S SO CLOSE!

The summary:
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite, and Belle is my favorite princess, closely followed by Rapunzel! They're brave, kick-ass, and they READ! What is not to like love? Back to Cruel Beauty though. Any retelling of Beauty and the Beast is a good book in my book. Yes, even Beastly. Movie? eh. Book? I enjoyed it.

Our next title is 

Half Bad by Sally Green

Expected publication: March 25, 2014

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

So another love of mine is male narrations. Has anyone read Witchlanders? The Maze Runner? Seriously, I love me some strong male leads and I can not wait for Nathan! Especially for the confrontation with his father that I am hoping happens in this book and is not dragged out as a trilogy.

Coming up next we have… 

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller 

Expected publication: January 23, 2014

Welcome to the world of the fabulously wealthy in London, 1909, where dresses and houses are overwhelmingly opulent, social class means everything, and women are taught to be nothing more than wives and mothers. Into this world comes seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling, who wants only to be an artist—a nearly impossible dream for a girl.
After Vicky poses nude for her illicit art class, she is expelled from her French finishing school. Shamed and scandalized, her parents try to marry her off to the wealthy Edmund Carrick-Humphrey. But Vicky has other things on her mind: her clandestine application to the Royal College of Art; her participation in the suffragette movement; and her growing attraction to a working-class boy who may be her muse—or may be the love of her life. As the world of debutante balls, corsets, and high society obligations closes in around her, Vicky must figure out: just how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

Okay, this book I am extremely excited for. I mean historical fiction with a woman incredibly ahead of her time as the MC and she poses naked?!?! Give it, give it to me now! Thank goodness I found out about it when it's only a week and a half away from hitting my local bookstore. 

The last of my motley crew includes…

Gilded by Christina L. Farley

Expected publication: March 1, 2014

The summary:
Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she's next.

But that’s not Jae’s only problem.

There's also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae's heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae's been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she's always been looking for.

I want you to stop for a second, and reread that first sentence. That's right. Did you read it? Black belt, steel-tipped arrows, Korea. I think I just peed in my excitement. Just kidding. But really, I think I might of been sold with just the first line. But a little further down you'll find what hooked me. Korean. demigod. My, oh my, aren't you guys just learning so much about me today. I love mythology. I don't care what it is. Greek, Indian, Chinese, it's alllllll good. An introduction to Korean mythology sounds fantastic so I can't wait to read it.

Thanks for joining me this fine Motley Monday! Let me know your thoughts, your feels, and what you're excited for! 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Poison Dance: A Novella by Livia Blackburne ~ Review

Title: Poison Dance
Author: Livia Blackburne
Publication Date: 09-12-2013
Pages: 86
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Rating: 4 stars

Summary: James is skilled, efficient, and deadly, a hired blade navigating the shifting alliances of a deteriorating Assassin’s Guild. Then he meets Thalia, an alluring but troubled dancing girl who offers him a way out—if he’ll help her kill a powerful nobleman. With the Guild falling apart, it just might be worth the risk. But when you live, breathe, and love in a world that’s forever flirting with death, the slightest misstep can be poison.

Poison Dance is the prequel to Midnight Thief, a highly anticipated read coming out this July!  I was given this e-book by the author after adding her upcoming novel on goodreads in exchange for an honest review and I am so happy that I accepted. The anticipation is now killing me for Midnight Thief!

I'll admit now that not only is this the first prequel I've ever read, but it's also the first novella I've ever read. Thank you, Livia, for popping two cherries in one go! I think Poison Dance was an excellent first for me, even if I was dreading those last few pages. I wanted more! So much more! Thalia and James, our main characters, had so little time. My suggestion if you read this: SAVOR IT! I know you'll want to rush and get through it so you can find out what happens next, but don't! Don't do it!!!

As the reader, we are mostly with James and his thoughts. Thalia is an enigma to begin with, she approaches James with understandable reservations. She presents to him an answer to his current predicament but there's strings attached. Neither of them realized that their hearts were on the line as well. 

I've read a couple posts from the author and if James is anything like this in Midnight Thief, then I can completely understand the need to give him his own story, even if it is short. Much, much too short. 

Thank you so much, Livia, for a glimpse into this fantastic world. July better come quick because Midnight Thief needs to be on my bookshelf and fast!!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover ~ Review

Title: Hopeless
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: 12-19-2012
Pages: 327
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Rating: 2.5 stars

Summary: Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies… That's what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she's never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he's nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn't at all who he's been claiming to be. When the secrets he's been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky's life will change forever.

*** Strong trigger warning: depression, suicide, rape ***

You never know what might set a person off, so before I begin my review I wanted to express that this book contains many triggers and my review will go into some of it.

I really wanted to love Hopeless. Or even be in live with it. No, that's not a typo. You'll see if you read it. However, I found the plot - how do I say this- too convenient? I'm not sure if that's the right word. Different elements of the story just blended a little too well. I guess that would be convenient... hm... Regardless, I wasn't a fan of how everything played out. Not only was it convenient but heart-breakingly so.

This story wasn't short on heart ache. I could feel my heart being ripped to shreds as Skye and Holder got to know each other and themselves. Maybe that's the reason I didn't like the plot. It caused too much pain! Skye was a character I really enjoyed, even if she made hair-brained decisions and too many assumptions. Despite it all, she was a strong, willful person who I wanted to root for. And even when Skye wasn't strong, when she fell apart it felt real. 

Now Holder. Holder was a different story. I didn't like Holder. I was a good 200 pages in before I started to like him. He was an ass, presumptuous, and needed to learn the difference between affection and stalking. It did not matter if his dimples were so nice they were lick-able. No matter how cute the dimples, stalking is stalking and there is no excuse for it! Skye was so close to having a natural, smart reaction to Holder's stalking tendencies. She was creeped out, defensive, and thought he either had multiple personalities or was on drugs. This, my fellow readers and writers, is a phenomenon called rational thinking! Something rarely found in YA heroines and sorely needed! She did, however, fall for the hot looks and lick-able dimples and let herself be swept up in this dysfunctional "romance." 

But the more I read, the more I wanted to look over these faults. I was tempted, so tempted! Colleen's writing sucked me in, her story was engaging and never let up. But the faults mentioned above and a couple other things wouldn't stop gnawing at me. For instance, there are a few people in the world who go by their last name. Holder, as in Dean Holder, is one of these people. It irritated me to no end when Skye would call Holder by his last name. I don't think she ever once just called him Dean. When you're intimate with someone and feel this great bond or whatever with someone, then maybe you should call them by their given name! I'm sorry, but it's a pet peeve for me. Now that's a small thing to get upset over and I get that.

Something else that bothered me was the sex in this novel. I expressed a trigger warning above, and I'm going to discuss some aspects of it now. I'll try as much as I can to keep the spoilers to a minimum. 

A lot of situations regarding rape and other equally bad things came up in this novel. These hard topics are called hard for a reason. In all honesty, there isn't a right or wrong way to cope when they happen to you or someone you love. While intimacy can help, it is not the answer to every situation like you'll find in here.  Oh, Skye finds out about what? Well then, time for some good ole barneymugging. That should help. Oh, wait, what happens with Holder? Let's bump uglies and then everything is a-okay. No. Just no.  Sex is a beautiful, wonderful thing, but it is not a cure-all. Especially in regards of rape. That's probably the number one issue that I have with this book. Holder's stalking is on the back burner compared to this. As I said before, there is no right or wrong when coping, but there are more ways than one to handle the issues many children, teens and adults face on a daily basis and I really wish the author had implemented them in her story.

Other than that, I really did enjoy Hopeless. The writing and characters really won me over, while the plot and subject matter twisted me up inside. In good ways and bad. There is a companion novel to this called Losing Hope, which is basically the same story but told in Holder's POV. I haven't made the decision to read it or not. Honestly, I don't think I can handle anymore heartache, so probably not for a little bit.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through. Let me know your thoughts!