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Book Review: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

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13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough will be available for purchase on October 3, 2017.

Pre-order a copy through the links below:

 Amazon.com – 13 Minutes: A Novel by Sarah Pinborough


Barnesandnoble.com – 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Flatiron Books, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

Plot: Natasha’s sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn’t try to kill her?

Natasha doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart.

Opinion: *Sigh*…do you feel it guys? October is coming. Oooooh the leaves are beginning to fall; the air is starting to smell like brisk air and dying trees! Girls are buying pumpkin spice lattes, and those lovely goths and wickens are patiently waiting for Halloween. So here I am, giving the gift of words to put you in the mood of October…if you haven’t yet transitioned. A story with drownings, blindsides, almost decapitation (I’m exaggerating) and skanky girls!

AH! Nothing puts me in the holiday spirit quite like attempted/actual murder and scandal! Oooooo…spirit fingers!

It was a shock to everyone when the body of Natasha Howland was found washed up on an embankment, but an even bigger shock to find her alive. With no recollection of how she ended up in the water that night, Natasha tries desperately to find out what happened to her. With the return of her former best friend Becca, they work together to try and make sense of what the police have found out thus far. But with Natasha’s best friends Jenny and Haley acting strange, she begins to think that they might have something to do with what happened to her. Only time will tell what really happened that night, and only Natasha knows the truth.

I must say Ladies and Gents, this one will keep you guessing. This read will pull you in and keep you interested, in more ways than one! The obvious is the mystery of how poor Natasha ends up in the freezing water that night, which caused her to die for 13 minutes. But little does the reader know that s**t is about to get REAL. This book has it all! Some light drug use, a reenactment of Mean Girls, psycho girlfriends, stoners, adults behaving VERY badly, manipulation at its FINEST, and a dose of that good ol’ murder! Oh! Can you feel the tingles?! I sure can. I love a bundle of characters that makes me yell and curse out loud. I found myself rooting for every character at one point, but suddenly…everything began to shift. But just when I was about to shout “AAHHHHH HAH”, it all shifts AGAIN! These b****es are sneaky guys, very sneaky.

After Natasha wakes up in the hospital, the doctors report that she can’t remember the events that led up to her accident. We start to see her best friends, Haley and Jenny, acting strange and secretive, and Natasha even asks for Becca while in the hospital. This starts to feel as if everything is being set up and made too obvious from the very beginning, but thankfully that isn’t the case AT ALL. The author made sure to have the reader suspect each character for at least a moment, and I found myself being suspicious of EVERYONE. I couldn’t help but think the worst, but even I wasn’t thinking bad enough. I was NOT expecting any of these things to happen, and I loved it!

Characters. Well, to put it simply. Natasha is Queen Barbie for a reason, Becca is acutely annoying and desperate, Aiden is just a pansy, and Haley and Jenny are interesting…especially Jenny when she goes a little nutty. There are a few other characters who have some roles that I could mention, but they just don’t really seem to matter much (sorry guys). This story flips back and forth between Becca and Natasha, obviously our lead female characters in this story. Becca and Natasha used to be best friends, but Natasha dropped Becca a few years prior. Becca is considered a bit of a loner at school, while Natasha is in the popular crowd. She seems to have a decent head on her shoulders, meaning she doesn’t seem like the typical conceited popular girl. I started out favoring Becca, but halfway through the story that changed. As soon as Becca started acting needy and psycho, I just couldn’t stand her. The girl needed to CHECK herself. Pull in those emotions sweetheart, they’re all over the place!

Overall, this book really surprised me. I was expecting a flimsy YA read with some drama and overzealous characters, but what I got was so much more! I am so impressed with how this author was able to trick me so many times, and it kept me interested and reading. These characters are all VERY twisted and insane in their own way, but strangely normal at the same time. How the book unfolds itself is truly something special. I am SO glad I requested to read and review this one. Please keep in mind that this is for an older YA group of readers, as there is a lot of adult themes and situations that happen. This is not for a preteen! This is a great story to get you into the mystery/thriller stories as we get closer to Halloween, enjoy!

4-stars

 

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Book Promo · Book Reviews · Books · Netgalley · New Releases · Pre-order · Reviews

Book Review: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

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Blood Rose Rebellion is available for Pre-order, and will be available on March 28, 2017. Please see the links below:

Amazon.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Goodreads.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Barnesandnoble.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Bookdepository.com – Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Disclaimer: This ARC copy was sent to me by the publisher, Random House Children’s, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Plot: Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romani, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

Opinion: As soon as I requested this book on Netgalley.com, I had my fingers crossed for DAYS in the hopes that I would be accepted to read and review it. After seeing quite a bit of hype about the release of this book on Goodreads and Bookstagram, I read the description and immediately felt the gut-wrenching yearning to get my hands on an ARC copy! Not only did I get that ARC copy, but I became absolutely enthralled as soon as I started reading.

In Anna Arden’s world, the high society figures referred to as Luminate wield magic and power.  Anna, even though her family is of high society and nobility, was pronounced barren at her Confirmation at the age of eight. But one thing Anna can do is unintentionally break the spells that others cast, which is exactly what she does on the most important night for her sister. Without knowing what to do with her, Anna’s family sends her off to Hungary with her grandmother. In the hopes that Anna will return a proper and civilized lady, Anna sets off to a new life. But things in Hungary turn from bad to worse as a rebel tracks Anna down, begging her to use her ability to break spells to destroy the binding – which restricts the use of magic to only Luminate. Soon Anna finds herself stuck in the middle of a rebellion, unsure which side to stand with and against.

Sometimes with such a hyped up book, I worry that once I start reading I will lose interest or it won’t be as amazing as everyone claims. I can happily admit that this story turned out to be WONDERFUL! I loved the imagery that the author used, especially how she turned our world into a place with magic and strange creatures. The idea that Anna is barren and cannot wield magic like the rest of her family and fellow Luminate jump-starts the quest for Anna to find out who or WHAT she is. The reader follows Anna through different countries where she meets people of different walks of life, and becomes entangled in wanting to assist the rebels in Hungary. Anna finds herself in a compromising position: help break the binding and let magic be free to anyone that possesses the ability, or to side with her fellow Luminate and let magic be “given” to nobility and those “deserving”.

I personally liked the character of Anna, but I felt that she lacked a bit of substance. I didn’t quite make a connection to her and to the emotions that the author was trying to portray…as a matter of fact, I don’t really recall making a strong connection with any of the characters. I felt curious about what might happen to them and hoped that they wouldn’t die, but I wasn’t too chocked up about it when some of them actually did die. The relationship between Anna and Gábor starts out cold and prickly but soon turns into the romance of this book. Because Anna is Luminate and Gábor is Romani (gypsy), their love is forbidden and would be frowned upon. I found it interesting that at the end of the story, their relationship suddenly doesn’t seem to be THAT forbidden. This felt rushed and thrown together to me. What will her parents say?? Where were they?

This story has a very unique blend of historical and fantastical elements. The characters do a lot of traveling in the world, which obviously brings the use of different languages. After Anna travels to Hungary, the language barriers start to rise. There is A LOT of words that get thrown around that most of us won’t be knowing, so it makes reading a little confusing. I was getting lost at times when Gábor would say “gadzhe” or when the names of a castle or town would be said. Little did I know that there was a glossary of the words and of Luminate orders in the back of the book… *sigh*.

Those tiny things aside, I loved this story and where the author took it. Though the ending felt a little rushed to me, I think that such an extravagant story is always going to be hard to wrap up into one book. I am VERY excited to read book 2 when it is released and to see where the author is going to take Anna. I really recommend this story to anyone that loves a YA story that involves fantasy and adventure!

4-stars

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Book Review: ONE MOMENT by Kristina McBride

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This is a Reprint edition that will be available on January 17, 2017. Links for Pre-order are below:

Amazon.com – One Moment by Kristina McBride

BarnesandNoble.com – One Moment by Kristina McBride

Goodreads.com – One Moment by Kristina McBride

Disclaimer: This was sent to me by the publisher, Skyhorse Publishing/Sky Pony Press, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: YA/Fiction

Plot: This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

McBride delivers a novel of secrets that packs an emotional punch, perfect for fans of Sara Zarr and Gayle Forman.

Opinion:

Well S**t, that was depressing.

After a traumatic accident that leaves her boyfriend Joey dead, Maggie finds herself unable to remember the final moments that lead up to his death. Maggie remembers spending the day at the gorge with her childhood friends and boyfriend Joey, and she even remembers climbing up the trail with him to jump off the cliff together. But for some reason, everything else is a blank. As the people closest to Joey try to pick up the pieces after his death, Maggie starts to unravel deep secrets about Joey and starts to realize that he might not have been as perfect as she thought.

I feel like it has been quite a while since I have read a true YA Fiction story that hasn’t had to do with magic or the underworld. I couldn’t have asked for a better book to bring me back into the “real life” stories that I have always adored. If you are a big reader like me, which I hope that you are, then this book will probably be pretty enjoyable for you, but also fairly predictable. This story is formatted in a way where the reader gets a basic idea for what the book is about, but they are really on the quest to find out HOW Joey died and what he was like. Though I had figured this story out at the beginning, I was still happy to find that there were few unexpected moments in this story. I think the author could have given the “mystery” behind Joey’s death a little more pizazz though (that sounds horrible when I say that out loud, I know).  Maggie literally tells the reader that she was running hand in hand with joey towards the cliff and stopped. Now he’s suddenly dead at the bottom. Well gee, I WONDER how THAT could have happened?! You mean he didn’t make the leap off the cliff correctly after you abruptly stopped?!? I just can’t believe it.

*Insert extreme sarcasm here*

Other than THAT, I really liked this book. It was a quick read and the pace just clipped right along, which meant that I finished it in one day. I didn’t get a strong connection to the characters in this book, but I don’t really find it to be that necessary with this story. Usually I am a big advocate for character development, but I find the amount of facts about the characters to be enough. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s not like you feel a complete disconnect from them or anything. They are just the basic normal teenagers going through their adolescent years…not the most complex creatures, if you catch my drift. I did really like the characters of Maggie and Shannon the best though. Maggie is going through a very traumatic experience, and I found that she held herself together fairly well. What I like about Shannon is that she is a COMPLETE b***h most of the time. I love a sassy character that just blurts things out without a care in the world, so you go girl! Of course deep down I actually hate her because other ruthlessness, but still.

All I can really say about this book, without giving too many secrets away, is that it is a really quick YA read. It brings the reader back to the nostalgic moments that came with being in high school around your childhood friends, while also pulling our tender heartstrings. Some things that happen in this story feel brutal, and it makes you sympathize for the characters and hope that everything will turn around for them. I definitely recommend this book for a lazy day read or for those cold Winter months ahead…this story about summer is sure to warm you up and get your blood boiling!

3 Stars

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Book Review: ROSEBLOOD by A. G. Howard

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RoseBlood will be available to purchase on January 10, 2017, links for Pre-order are below:

Amazon.com – RoseBlood by A.G. Howard – Pre-order

BarnesandNoble.com – RoseBlood by A.G. Howard – Pre-order

Disclaimer: This ARC copy was sent to me by the publisher, ABRAMS Kids, via NetGalley for an honest review.  

Genre: YA/Romance/Fantasy/Gothic Romance

Plot: Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past.
 
Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery boy she’s seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn’t have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the phantom, the only father he’s ever known.

Opinion: Usually when I come across a book that focuses on music, I normally avoid ever reading it. Due to RoseBlood being written by A.G Howard, and considering how much I LOVED the Splintered Series, I knew I had to go for it and request it from Netgalley. I am honestly so happy I branched out and decided to read this, because it was a really creative take on The Phantom of the Opera.

When Rune was the age of 4, her father played an opera song on his violin that changed her life forever. Now, many years later, anytime a new opera song is played around Rune she has the overwhelming urge to burst out singing…no matter how much she resists. In the hopes that Rune will get help, her mother sends her to a school called RoseBlood that focuses on Opera. Here they hope to help Rune control her gift, but the history of the institution begins to frighten Rune.  With thoughts that RoseBlood is the home of the famous Phantom of the Opera, Rune also comes into contact with the mysterious boy named Thorn that lurks around the grounds. As the relationship between Thorn and Rune starts to strengthen through music, the plans that the real Phantom has for Rune forces Thorn to choose sides between his love and his father.

So obviously this is a fantastical spin-off of The Phantom of the Opera, where the original characters names are used and the past events are more or less the same. The reader is reintroduced to the original Phantom Eric, but also given a new character named Thorn (Etalon). Thorn is rescued by the Phantom at a very young age from a child human-trafficking ring (dark stuff I know), and makes the decision to go live with the Phantom and learn from him. Our female lead character, Rune, has the voice of Christine and the Phantom desperately wants her for her voice. I really liked how the author took this very famous story, kept most of the facts the same, and completely made an entirely new tale for readers to fall in love with. The story has strong gothic romance undertones in it, which was an absolutely perfect setting for me to get lost in. I love anything dark and eerie like that, so as soon as Rune stepped into her new school I knew that this was going to be something special.

I will say that the story can drag on a little at certain points, like in the beginning for example. That was SUCH a long and drawn out introduction of Rune and her mother sitting in the car, and I found myself tentatively rolling my eyes and skimming the “blah blah blah”. I also feel as if I didn’t get enough out of the character of Rune. I wasn’t very connected to her character as much as I was to Thorn. The troubled past that Thorn had gave me a sense of compassion for his character, but I really liked how put together he was all around. Rune’s character came off as boring to me most of the time, and I would have liked a better description on her singing. When Thorn sang as a child, he was described as an avenging angel that’s voice could force a person to face their most unforgivable sins. The description of the power that Thorn held over people with his voice was beautifully explained, but Rune’s voice wasn’t. Seeing as how this story centers around Rune and her voice, I think the author could have gone the extra mile to ensure that the reader felt how important and amazing her singing was.

With those small points aside, I overall really liked this book but felt that the character of Rune could have had more. The romance between Rune and Thorn was heartwarming and sweet, and I was constantly wanting more for these characters. I think that this is a really creative take on The Phantom of the Opera, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the original story. Even if you are not familiar with the original, the reader is given enough explanation to understand the past events and be able to dive into this world.

3 Stars

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NEW BOOK PRE-ORDER TEASER!!! FALLEN SOLDIER, RISEN PRIDE by Layla Stevens & Rhonda Reuther

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➹⁀☆҉ ✨☆҉‿➹⁀AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ➹⁀☆҉✨☆҉‿➹⁀

✨Coming Veterans Day✨

#solider #military #pride #honor #dedication

Fallen Soldier, Risen Pride 
ByLayla Stevens&Rhonda Reuther

Taking a deep breath, he reached in his back pocket and said, “This came for you today. It was certified. I signed for you and I’ve held it all day but you need to read it.”
“What is it dad?” 
“It’s from the Department of Defense, honey. I didn’t tell your mother. She’s so excited that you are finally home. I hope it’s your final discharge papers but I have a gut feeling that it’s not.” He said as he handed me the envelope.
Taking the envelope, I’m not sure if I wanted to open it or just chuck it in the trash. However, my military instincts kicked in and I opened it. Unfolding the letter, I immediately sat down next to my dad and hung my head. He takes it out of my hands and reads it himself. 
“Can they do that?” he asks with a strain in his voice.
“I guess they can dad. I’m not sure. I know of a few fellow soldiers who have had this same letter. I just hoped I would never get one.”

Amazon.com Link: http://buff.ly/2fAkuwE

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Book Promo · Books · New Releases · Reviews

THE BROKEN ONE by Christine H. Bailey

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This book is available now for Pre-order here on Amazon.com

It will become available for purchase on April 30, 2016.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, Vinspire Publishing, via NetGalley for an honest review.

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult

Plot: Sixteen-year-old Farris is picking up the pieces after the untimely death of her best friend. But even one year later, she can’t seem to find “normal” again—not until Lane Evans pops back into her life and pushes her to face reality.

When he offers her the chance to find the truth, Farris fears what will surface. Is it too much too soon or just what she needs to move forward?

Opinion: WHAT a book description we have up there, am I right? So. Descriptive.

From this book description above, I came to the obvious conclusion that this book was going to be about a boy helping a girl find out what really happened to her friend. That’s a pretty fair assumption given the “When he offers her the chance to find the truth…”, right? WRONGO. This is not as much a murder/mystery, as it is a about a young girl finding acceptance in the face of loss and confusion.

One year after the death of her best friend, Farris still cannot come to terms with the death of her best friend Kelsey. With the police ruling Kelsey’s death as a homicide, and Kelsey’s former boyfriend Garrett being thrown into prison; Farris’ only question is why? After a year of isolating herself from her friends, and everyone else for that matter, Farris is finally forced into having to come to terms with her loss. As Lane Evans, her crush before everything changed, comes back into her life with a letter from Garrett, she finally gets a chance to figure out what really happened to her best friend. But soon Farris realizes that sometimes answers are never truly enough, and that she only needs to learn how to let go.

So, as I said above, this is not a “search for who-done-it” story. I came into this book assuming that it was, so naturally I was a little surprised at the ending when I realized it OBVIOUSLY was not. This story perfectly captures the essence of a character that has been so emotionally distraught by tragedy, that she starts to obsess over the death of her best friend. She soon makes herself an outcast and the “weird girl” around her peers due to the fact that she will not let Kelsey’s death go. I feel like the author did a good job with the character of Farris. She has a beautiful and inspiring mind, and wonderful traits that slowly start to become known as you read. I think she is very relatable, but I do wish she was bit more spunky and stood up for herself in regards to her peers.

Her relationship with Lane Evans is the epitome of innocence. They have an obvious inkling towards each other, but past events has resorted in Farris putting distanced between them. Now with Lane Evans moving on to someone else, his sadness of the situation starts to really dawn on Farris throughout the story as she tries to work things through. I honestly wish this story had turned out to be a mystery or a hunt to find the real killer. At the end of this story, the reader is still left with questions and an unsure answer of what actually took place. In one way, I can understand how this mimics real life events; in which nobody ever really knows the truth in certain situations. However, I think the story would have been THAT much better if there was a little more to it. In the end, it’s an enjoyable read but nothing too memorable in my opinion.

3 Stars

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