Category Archives: NetGalley

REVIEW: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kate has just returned to the Underworld after spending the last six months traveling around the world with James. When she gets back home, she expects to pick up her wifely and Queen of the Underworld duties, but that does not happen at all. In fact, Henry is more distant than ever, and then, chaos strikes.

With Henry and many of the other gods in danger, it’s up to Kate to find a way to help them. But to do this, she has to face things and people she really was hoping to avoid entirely.

After finishing this book, all I could do was let out a big loud SIGH. I wanted to love this book, I really did. I was a big fan of The Goddess Test and I was looking forward to the next chapter of Kate and Henry’s life together. But sadly, I had a lot of issues with this book.

I liked that Kate and Ava have maintained their friendship, and each have the other to lean on. I also love that Kate took up some responsibility when her man was in trouble. The plot was mildly intriguing. That’s pretty much all I liked.

I really, really wanted to smack both Kate and Henry more than a few times. Kate was so whiny and insecure, which MAYBE I can understand, since she is still so young. But Henry, acting like such a self-pitying jerk, when he is as old as the world? Geez, I just though maybe he would be a little more mature.

Most of the book is centered around their relationship, miscommunication, and lots of jumping to conclusions. There was also a lot of going around in circles: she wanted him to love her but she didn’t want him to do anything he didn’t want to do; he wanted her to stay but he did nothing to prove that to her. This was quite a dysfunctional relationship.

In the end, the action (what little there was) of the plot was not enough to make me love this book, when there was so much negative emotion going on. I’m glad the ending left us with a cliffhanger, and I sincerely hope the next book is much better. I honestly don’t know what could be left for Kate and Henry to fight about.

View all my reviews

I reviewed this book courtesy of Harlequin Teen and NetGalley.

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO THE IMMORTAL RULES!!

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the not so distant future, most of humankind has been wiped out by the Red Lung virus. The world is now made up of far apart cities run by powerful vampire overlords. Outside the walls of the cities, another kind of undead creature reign: zombies. Alison Sekemoto (Allie) barely scrapes by as an unregistered human on the outer limits of a vampire city. She hates the vampires so much, that she refuses to be monitored by them and have her blood taken in exchange for food.

Until one night, Allie is attacked and on the brink of death. She is saved by a mysterious vampires, who gives her the choice of becoming like him. She chooses to become a vampire, and a new chapter of her life begins.

Though Allie swears she will never become like the vicious bloodsuckers in the city she left behind, she cannot keep away the Hunger for blood. This becomes even more difficult when she meets up with a group of humans who desperately need saving. Allie must fight to retain what little humanity she has left.

I’m writing this review on a crappy hotel internet connection, so I’m gonna try my best not to make it too long.

First thoughts–this book was way too long. I am not sure what it is with authors and 500 page books lately, but I think it’s unnecessary. Parts of this story definitely dragged for me, and I think the book could have been cut by dozens of pages.

I like Allie. I liked her when she was human, and I don’t really think she changed that much when she became vampire. Either way, she puts in a tough front and tries to tell herself that she is the only person she cares about, but she lets people in whether she wants to or not. First with Stick, then with Zeke.

I really liked that the hints of romance in the story were not overdone. Allie is an undead creature, and before that she was an untrusting human. So to see her fall for someone was interesting to see play out. I sincerely hope Allie and Zeke can meet again in the future…but I’m not sure in what direction that can go as long as Zeke stays human.

My favorite parts of this story were the action scenes…I loved the idea of a badass lady vamp hacking up zombies with a katana. (But then I always have been a big Blade fan :P) Maybe the fight scenes were gory, but hey, that’s dystopian zombie lit for you.

I am definitely looking forward to going forward with Allie’s story. I would love more background on both Kanin and Jackal. I also hope to learn more about the vampire race itself. While I wouldn’t describe this book as an unputdownable read, I enjoyed it and loved the combination of supernatural elements.

View all my reviews

Thank you to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for allowing me to review this book.

REVIEW: Starters (Starters, Book 1) by Lissa Price

Starters (Starters, #1)Starters by Lissa Price

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the Spore Wars, the only people left living in America are those under the age of 20, and over the age of 60. Sixteen year old Callie is barely scraping by, living in abandoned buildings and taking care of her sickly younger brother, Tyler.

Until she hears about an opportunity to make a lot of sorely needed money. Callie goes to a place called Prime Destinations, and finds out she can be handsomely rewarded for the task of “renting” her body out to senior citizens (called Enders–young people are called Starters) who relish the chance to get back a taste of their youth.

With the hope of securing a better future for her little brother, Callie becomes a donor. But then during one session, something goes wrong. Callie wakes up in her own body but can communicate with her renter. And what the old woman wants her to do is unspeakable. Will Callie go through with it once she knows the truth about the body-renting operation?

I really enjoyed this book. Lissa Price has brought a great new heroine to literature in the form of Callie. She is tough and street-smart, and does what she has to in order to provide for her brother. I really appreciated the fact that even when she met a guy, she didn’t weaken and turn to mush.  I thought Callie was a fantastic and likable main character.

This being a dystopian novel, the plot may be a little out there as far as the body renting, but I could see it happening. In a society where people are living well past 100 or even 150 years old, it would be all to easy to forget what being young was like…and those who have the money would probably want to experience it again.

There were only a couple of issues I had with this book that made me give it 4 (well, let’s say 4.5) stars instead of 5. First of all, the villain, “Old Man.” I felt like the story was trying a little too hard with him–his name, and the way you never saw his real face, but he had an ever-changing arsenal of digital faces. I don’t know. It irritated me for a reason I can’t really explain…maybe it felt a little too Bond-villain-y? Second, the way things fell together at the end with Blake. Without trying to give anything away, I’m just gonna say I felt like that was a little bit of a reach.

All in all, I really loved the action and mystery this book provided. I tore through it rather quickly, and I will definitely be reading the next in the series. Although I’m not entirely sure what direction it could go in–up until the book was approaching its’ last pages I thought the author had wrapped up everything nicely. We’ll just have to see what happens next!

View all my reviews

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale by Tamra Torero

Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale

by Tamra Torero

Book Description

“A brief moment of disappointment washed over me as I approached Jace’s lifeless body. Here I was, about to kiss a boy on the lips for the very first time, and he was completely comatose—possibly paralyzed—and would never even know or remember the experience. This was not how I’d envisioned my first kiss—me invisible, him unconscious.”

Shayla Witherwood is not exactly normal. First of all, she’s spent her entire life being homeschooled, traveling in an RV around the country with her grandparents. And second, there’s the kind of inescapable fact that her mom was a genuine faerie.

But now that she’s starting a real life in a regular high school, Shayla desperately needs to stay out of trouble in both worlds because even her faerie powers might not be enough to protect her from what’s coming.

In her latest novel, Tamra Torero spins a magical tale filled with laugh-out-loud sarcasm, surprising twists, and spell-binding romance. Perfect for fairytale fans of all ages, this is one story you won’t want to miss!

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shayla has been traveling the USA in an RV with her grandparents for the last several years. But, now that she’s 15, her grandmother decides the park the camper and enroll Shayla in a normal high school. But, normal is very hard for Shayla to do, since she’s half-faerie.

As the school year goes on, Shayla makes friends, makes enemies, and finds out a little more about just what she can really do. She will also learn a few secrets her grandma was hiding from her–but will they be good or bad?

I thought this was a very cute book! Shayla is a very relatable and real teenage character. I like it when the characters in books actually act (and speak) their age.

This book had more than a few moments that really made me smile–Shayla is woefully uneducated when it comes to just what she can accomplish with her magic, and this makes for some pretty funny and awkward situations at school.

I really liked the author’s writing style. Sentences flowed easily and once I sat down with it I breezed through this book rather quickly. The bit of mystery kept me intrigued, though the “villain” who was revealed wasn’t a total shocker to me.

Overall, I thought this was a great read! I took away one star because some of the events were I kind of saw coming, and the ending was a bit too unrealistic for me–I won’t say why for spoiler reasons. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Torero’s work!

View all my reviews

Cedar Fort Blog Tours

REVIEW: Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser

Pieces of UsPieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a story about 2 brothers, and 2 sisters who have known each other their whole lives, but only see each other during the summer. During the summer they each vacation with their grandparents, and it’s only there they are allowed to become different people–or maybe their true selves.

Katie (Katya) and Julie (Yulya) are sisters living in New Jersey. Katie, a beautiful cheerleader with a hot jock boyfriend, is doted on by her mother, and Julie, who gets no attention at all hates her for it. But one night, something horrible happens to Katie, and she withdraws while her world crumbles around her.

Alex (Sasha) and Kyle (Kostya) are brothers living in Philadelphia with their stripper mother, who is never home. Alex is demeaning to women and uses them only for sex. Kyle is quiet but seethes with resentment at his mother, whom he blames for his father’s suicide, and his brother, who never can seem to leave him alone, and often encourages him to join in when he’s with a girl.

During the summer, Katie, Alex, Kyle, and Julie come together and easily slide back into their familiar roles, leaving behind the issues from home. But as things get more serious, they learn the truth never really can stay hidden–especially if you’re supposed to trust someone.

This is labeled as a YA book, but in my opinion it really shouldn’t be read by anyone under the age of probably 17. There is lots of sex, drinking, curse words, and abuse of all kinds.

I flew threw this book rather quickly once I sat down and really started to read it. The characters were all well done, and were all multi-dimensional. That does not mean that any of them were likable, however. The only one who slightly was is Kyle, but only because he wasn’t as terrible as the others and I had more pity for him than anything else.

The way events unfolded was compelling. I didn’t really have a hard time seeing them as believable at first, because I know horrible things like what happened to Katie happen to girls far too often then they should. But the way Katie handled things was a bit unrealistic. But I don’t know, every person has a different response to trauma, and I’m not a teenager anymore so I can’t say what I would have done in her same situation.

I was hoping the characters would grow a little bit more than they did. In fact, Alex and Julie seemed to regress, while Kyle stayed the same. I also wish the ending would have been a little more fulfilling. Don’t read this book if you are bothered by physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

View all my reviews

 

I was able to review this book courtesy of Flux and NetGalley.

REVIEW: Wonder by RJ Palacio

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

August (Auggie) Pullman is a 10 year old boy who is much the same as other kids his age–he loves Star Wars, playing with his dog, and his XBox. But he has one very important thing that makes him different: his face. Auggie was born with a severe craniofacial deformity that even several surgeries have not been able to fix.

But life has been mostly OK for Auggie, because he’s lived with his loving sister and parents, who homeschooled him. But then they tell Auggie something he is not prepared for: He will be going to regular school as a fifth grader.

I can’t even tell you how much I enjoyed this book. It’s so rare that a book has you feeling a gamut of so many emotions. I laughed, smiled, cried, and felt tinges in my heart for some of the things Auggie was going through. I am a mother, and I cannot imagine having to be in that situation to have a son so different.

The best thing about August is that he has such a great sense of humor through it all. He laughs at himself more than anyone else does. In fact, he is the one who makes others feel comfortable around him. In spite of the lot he’s been given in life, once you get to know him he makes friends easily.

I really enjoyed the use of the different narrators throughout the book as well. It was great to get each person’s different perspective on life with Auggie and see where they were coming from. The only thing I wish I could have seen was maybe a chapter from each of Auggie’s parents.

It would have been easy to make a book about a “deformed” boy and overcoming adversity very sappy and eye-roll-inducing. But RJ Palacio has done a great job with making lovable characters and plot lines that a reader can really get into. I can’t wait to read more from her.

View all my reviews

 

I was able to read and review this book courtesy of Random House and NetGalley.

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Emerald City by Alicia K. Leppert

Emerald City by Alicia K. Leppert

Book Description:

One city of 600,000 people.

One broken girl.

One mysterious boy.

One fateful night,

Two worlds collide.  

Seattle, Washington. The sprawling, industrious city set in a blanket of pine. I have never known a day that wasn’t spent inside this concrete jungle. It’s my home, and for that I love it. But it’s also the setting for the tragedy called my life, and so I loathe it.

I live alone in a cold, empty studio apartment. The tiny square room closely resembles a cell. That’s my life: solitary confinement.

Here, in this desolate place that perfectly reflects my soul, my story begins.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Olivia, who is only 20 years old, feels she has already reached the lowest point in her life. So low, in fact, that she’s decided to end it. But luckily for her, she is not successful.

Her rescuer is Jude, an impossibly handsome neighbor who caught her just in time to get her to get her to the hospital and save her life. As Olivia struggles to overcome the physical and emotional fallout from what happened to her, she finds that Jude will become much more than her life saver.

But can Olivia, who has been left by everyone she’s ever loved and trusted in her life, open herself up to someone long enough to form a legitimate relationship? And can Jude let her know the truth about him, without breaking her trust all over again?

I can’t say too much in this review because I don’t want to give away the main plot points…you can discover those for yourself.

Olivia is an empty shell of a girl who has already been through so much in her short life. It saddens me so much to know that there are so many people in the world who get to the point where they think their life is so horrible that they have to take it. This book was an eye-opener in terms of suicide and learning to deal with extreme situations, and losing hope.

I’m glad Olivia grew throughout the novel, but I hope it was not only for the sole reason that she was with Jude.

Jude is the quintessential perfect guy of course–model handsome, polite, not pushy when it comes to sex, sensitive enough to talk about emotions. I wish I could have seen a little bit more from him–but I know that would have been difficult, given what he is.

I was wondering why the setting was Seattle–I guess I felt it could have been anywhere. But the more I think about it, I have to guess that the somber mood and constantly unpleasant weather may have had an affect on Olivia–it was just another ugly thing that she couldn’t control.

I liked the author’s writing style, but I feel like some of the book was just filler. I think it could have been at least 50 pages shorter. Nonetheless, it did give some things to think about, and I always appreciate when a book can do that for me.

View all my reviews

About the Author:

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, ever since Career Day in first grade when I walked around carrying a notebook and pencil. Twenty-some odd years later, after a short stint in high school where I dreamed of being an actress, a whirlwind Internet romance including a blind proposal that led to a fairytale wedding and two pretty-near perfect kids, my lifelong dream came to fruition with my first novel, Emerald City. I live with my small brood in my beloved hometown of Pasco, which is located in the only part of Washington state that isn’t green. When I’m not writing, I can be found decorating novelty cakes and taking naps–my other two passions.

Alicia’s Website

Alicia’s Twitter

Alicia’s Facebook

PREORDER EMERALD CITY

Be sure to click on the tour banner at the top of the post to see all the Cedar Fort Tour Stops!

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Lightning Tree by Sarah Dunster

 

 

Lightning TreeLightning Tree by Sarah Dunster

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Young Magdalena (Maggie) Chabert has come across the plains to live in Provo. During the trip, she lost her parents and baby sister, so she and her younger sister Giovanna have been taken in by the Alden family, where they have been cared for during the past 4 years.

Then, Maggie starts to have startling dreams. She’s seeing visions which, from what she hears, may actually be true. When she has her most disturbing dream yet, she knows she must find out the truth. But will it destroy her, or set her free?

Although this book is quite different from anything I have ever read, I still found it enjoyable. Maggie is a nice protagonist. She is a bit headstrong and proud, but I feel like most everyone who lived during the pioneer days was–or, they had to be. She is also fiercely protective of her little sister, which I can relate to, being the oldest of 3 siblings.

Since this book is set back in the 1800’s, the language and style did take some getting used to for me. But once I did, I found it refreshingly different. Not too many books I read regularly use the words “reckon” and “confound it.” (There were also several typos and grammatical errors that made reading stilted sometimes–but as the copy I read was a NetGalley ARC, I’m not sure if the book will be edited before distribution.)

What I really liked the most about this book was the sense of community. Back in those days, everyone relied on everyone else just to get by. If you had anything extra, you shared with those who had none and you didn’t think anything of it. I know our modern world would be a much better place if this was still the attitude mankind adopted towards our neighbors.

There wasn’t much action in this book, but there was a bit of suspense. I also was rather taken aback by the twist at the end–I definitely didn’t see it coming, and I enjoy that in a book.

This book would be a great read for anyone who wants to escape into the past for a while–I’m not even really sure if it could strictly be classified as a Young Adult book. I think readers of all ages could take something from this book.

View all my reviews

REVIEW: Where We Have to Go by Lauren Kirshner

Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to review this book.

 

Where We Have to GoWhere We Have to Go by Lauren Kirshner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lucy Bloom is 11 years old, and she loves Alf, and her cat Lulu. Her life is simple but soon gets more complicated. Her family is drifting apart before her, and there’s nothing she can do to stop it.

The book continues to tell the story of Lucy throughout her teenage years. She has more than enough problems to face in a lifetime, let alone just those few precious years. As Lucy moves towards adulthood, she learns the truth is not always what is seems, and learns to look at her parents as real people–not just parents.

I didn’t really enjoy this book that much. First off, literally NOTHING good ever happens in Lucy’s life throughout the course of this book. Her entire teen years–not one good thing? It made for a really depressing read.

While I liked the author’s style and the imagination she gave Lucy, I found most of the characters very flat, including Lucy herself. I didn’t really enjoy her voice and the perspective she had on some things.

The plot was not really driven by anything. There are no real climactic events to speak of, just a series of things that Lucy happens to go through. The story definitely did not pull me in and make me want to finish it as quickly as possible.

The book got better towards the end, but I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to have taken away from it. If this was a coming-of-age story, I’m not sure what the significant events were that were supposed to have changed Lucy. She never really acted like anything affected her too significantly. I wasn’t really able to view her actions and emotions as being a result of her parents’ problems.

Basically, I felt the entire book was just Lucy’s life going along from point A to point B. I’m sure she was somehow supposed to be shaped by the things that happened in her teenage years, but to me, there was no one important thing that stood out.

View all my reviews

REVIEW: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for allowing me to review this ARC 🙂

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Greg Gaines has worked hard to be a totally neutral, sort-of friend to all and enemy to none throughout his entire high school career. As he goes into his senior year, he fully hopes to make it through as easily as possible in just the same way he has been doing it for the last 3 years.

This is changed when his mother tells him that Rachel, a girl he kind of dated for a week or so in middle school, has been diagnosed with leukemia…and wouldn’t it be nice if he could go spend some time with her?

Greg does what his mother wants him to do, because that is the only way to get her off his back. He visits Rachel a few awkward times and discovers that he is good at making her laugh. Then, he visits her and brings along his only close friend/coworker, Earl.

Earl lets Rachel in on a secret: he and Greg are filmmakers. Since Rachel is sick, they agree to let her see the films that only they have seen. As Greg and Earl spend more time with Rachel, the dynamic becomes interesting. And just maybe Greg can learn something from his time with Rachel.

So, I read this book in about 4 hours, even though it is over 300 pages. It was just that awesome. I LOVED everything about it.

First of all, Greg as a narrator is awesomely and awkwardly hilarious. It is so different to be about to see into the mind of a teenage BOY for once. And I loved what I saw. His thoughts are random but coherent. He tells the truth about how things are, even if he is a bit self-deprecating.

Earl is also great. At first I took a little offense to why Greg would be speaking properly while Earl, the black kid, spoke ghetto slang and improper sentences. But as the book neared its’ end, I completely understood why Earl and the author did things this way. I won’t say why, so I don’t spoil things for you, but it was something fantastic.

Even though this is technically a book about a dying girl, Rachel is not characterized too much, and she’s not really in that much of the book. I can also understand the reason for this, also sometimes I think I may be reading too deeply into things.

The plot was very believable–every only son wants to please his mother, right? Not to mention that the Gaines family is Jewish, so if we’re being a bit stereotypical that makes him want to please her even more.

This book made me laugh out loud countless times, and I still can’t believe how fast I read it. Basically I knew as soon as I started it, I had to finish it. If this is the first novel for Jesse Andrews, I cannot wait to see what improvements, if any can be made, come with experience.

View all my reviews