Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review/Blitz: Infini

Infini

by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Aerial Ethereal #2
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

“Don’t have a best friend that’s a girl” — this was the advice from my older cousin. I didn’t take it. Because he followed with, “friends don’t f*ck friends. And you’ll want to f*ck her.”

It was terrible advice.

My cousin should’ve told me that being best friends with Baylee Wright — since she was twelve — would be the best and worst decision of my life.

He should have told me to protect her from what was coming.

He should have told me that when a darkness crawled towards us, there’d be no safety net.

Now I’ve signed back on to the same Vegas acrobatic show as Baylee, working together for the first time in years. And she tells me that she’s having trouble in a certain “area” of her life — because of our past.

“You can help me fix it,” she says.

And then she hands me a list.


Review

I'm not crying, you're crying! This book is full of emotion and I absolutely love it.

If you haven't read Amour Amour already, you should totally do that before reading Infini. It's not *necessary*, but it is. Haha. Seriously, though. Read it. It's amazing. Amour Amour brings the circus to life in a way that astounded me. The circus is present in Infini, too, but it feels different here than it did in the first book. Not bad, just different. I think you'll understand if you've read both books.

The romance in Infini is just so (I really struggled to find the right word here and still failed) lovely. I don't want to go into much detail here because I don't want to spoil anything. Please go in blind! However, I will say that this is a beautiful romance between friends. The love between Luka and Baylee was palpable.

Throughout all of Krista & Becca's books, there's an overwhelming theme of family and surrounding yourself with people that love you. No one else I've ever read has ever touched on family like they do. Yes, they write romance, but they also write about powerful familial love. It blows me away in a completely different sense.

Krista & Becca write characters like nobody's business. From their main characters to their side characters (and there's a lot of these in this book), every single one is fleshed out and developed. They always leave me wanting stories from other characters and that's what I love to see in writing. By the way, totally down for a Katya or Dimitri story!

One more thing I want to touch on that really made stuck out for me. Baylee deals with depression. As someone that has battled with depression for a decades, thank you to Krista & Becca. You handled Baylee's depression in such a realistic and thoughtful manner. I could connect with her in a way that I really didn't expect. Her feelings and how her depression affected her, I got that. I intimately understood exactly what she felt. It might not seem like a big deal to some, but seeing that representation in Infini meant a lot to me.

Infini was an amazing book. It was everything that a reader could have hoped for after Amour Amour.

Trigger warning (taken from book): This book contains adult language and graphic scenes, including situations that may cause trigger reactions. Such situations include: grief & loss, bulimia, depression, kleptomania, and various forms of abuse. This story is meant for readers eighteen years or older.

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from the authors in exchange for an honest review. *

About Krista & Becca Ritchie


Picture

Krista & Becca Ritchie are New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors and identical twins—one a science nerd, the other a comic book geek—but with their shared passion for writing, they combined their mental powers as kids and have never stopped telling stories. Now in their early twenties, they write about other twenty-somethings navigating through life, college, and romance. They love superheroes, flawed characters, and soul mate love.

They are the New Adult authors of the Addicted series and Calloway Sisters spin-off series, and you can find them on almost every social media, frolicking around like wannabe unicorns.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Tour: The You I've Never Known


Title The You I've Never Known
Author Ellen Hopkins
Release Date January 24, 2017

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

The You I've Never Known Teasers

Review

Written in both verse (mostly) and prose, The You I've Never Known is another winner from Ellen Hopkins. No one does verse like Ellen Hopkins does. She can convey emotion through verse in a way that some have trouble accomplishing in prose. It's a beautiful thing.

Firstly, the blurb, in my opinion, gives off way more information than it should. It spoils a major part of the book (though people would likely guess it anyway). It didn't affect my enjoyment of the book, but I can see it how it might for some others.

The You I've Never Known, much like all of Ellen Hopkins's work, hits on some real life issues. There's kidnapping, abuse, sexual identity, and forgiveness. As always, she tackles these issues in a real and honest way that keeps you reading and wanting more.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received in exchange for an honest review. *

The You I've Never Known Playlist

Ariel's

"Bring Me to Life," Evanescence
"Uprising," Muse
"Sweet Dreams," Marilyn Manson
"Hang Me Up to Dry," Cold War Kids
"Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," Cage the Elephant

Ellen’s

"Still Breathing," Green Day
"Oh No," Bring Me the Horizon
"Snow Cats," AFI
"Sweet Disaster," Dreamers
"Numb," Linkin Park

About The Author:
Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and five NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to winegrowing. Ellen mentors other writers through her position as a regional adviser for the Nevada chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is a regular speaker at schools; book festivals and writers conferences across the US, and now throughout the world.
Event Hosted by:

Monday, January 23, 2017

Book Review: Everything You Want Me to Be

Title Everything You Want Me to Be
Author Mindy Mejia
Release Date January 3, 2017

Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront...and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer, but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

Evocative and razor-sharp, Everything You Want Me to Be challenges you to test the lines between innocence and culpability, identity and deception. Does love lead to self-discovery—or destruction?
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29276588-everything-you-want-me-to-be
Review

Who killed Hattie? Is Hattie as innocent as people think? Most importantly, who is Hattie Hoffman?

I totally get all the positive reviews that this book is getting. Everything You Want Me to Be is a compulsively readable book that keeps you engrossed until the very last page.

The three points of view and the time jumps work so perfectly for this book. It all helps the story unfold in way that keeps you wanting more. Just when I thought I had it figured out, I was wrong. Perfect ending to a brilliant story.

One thing I'd like to add, I see many people liked Hattie. I'm not so sure I did. She's one of those unlikeable heroines for me. Definitely fascinating, but ultimately the cause of her own demise.

Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#22)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event that's hosted by Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on...

Title Allegedly
Author Tiffany D. Jackson
Release Date January 24, 2017

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30037870-allegedly

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Share your links in the comments below and I'll be sure to drop by!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Book Review: Bad Mommy

Title Bad Mommy
Author Tarryn Fisher
Release Date December 24, 2016

When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it's not because she likes the neighborhood, or even because she likes the house. It's because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31415712-bad-mommy

Review

I love Tarryn Fisher's books. Her writing is phenomenal. Her stories are the kind that stick around in my mind long after I've read them. Unreliable narrators and twists in the story are exactly what I've come to expect when reading her books.

However, Bad Mommy is different. The writing was still amazing and I had a hard time putting down the book, but something seemed... off, for lack of a better word. While the unreliable narrators were exactly what I expected, I was left waiting for a twist that didn't come. The crazy twist I was expecting (and not just because this is a Tarryn Fisher book either, a twist felt inevitable for the majority of the book) could have easily pushed this book into 4 or 5 star territory.

I'm unsure how I feel about the different points of view throughout the book. Fig's PoV felt stronger than the other two. During the entirety of the book, though, I was intrigued by these characters. I'm a sucker for flawed characters and this book has them in spades.

Overall, Bad Mommy is a good book that just fell short of spectacular. Perhaps it's because I have such high expectations of Tarryn Fisher's work or maybe this one just missed the mark for me. Either way, I'm not disappointed that I picked it up.

Rating

3.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#21)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event that's hosted by Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on...
Title Exploited
Series Zero Day, book 1
Author A. Meredith Walters
Release Date June 27, 2017

In this pulse-pounding novel from the bestselling author of Butterfly Dreams, a vigilante hacker plays a seductive game with the agent who’s chasing her online—and sharing her bed in real life.

At first glance, I’m nothing out of the ordinary. I am a daughter. A sister. A friend. When you look at me you won’t see anything that warrants suspicion. I don’t look like a criminal.

My name is Hannah Whalen, but most people know me as freed0mov3rdr1v3, or “Freedom Overdrive”—one of the world’s most prolific and notorious hacktivists. My goal—my purpose—is to shed light on the evil that lurks behind the corporate and government lies we have been force-fed for too long.

My story begins with the best possible intention. Devoting my life to exposing the corrupt. The dishonest. The unethical. For that, they label me a cyber-terrorist. Wanted by the FBI, I’ve always been one step ahead.

Until I fell in love.

Because I’m sleeping with the man who’s hunting me. And he has no idea that I am his prey. Now I have to decide what’s more important: my freedom or my heart.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29496080-exploited

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Share your links in the comments below and I'll be sure to drop by!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book Review: Tell Me Three Things

Title Tell Me Three Things
Author Julie Buxbaum
Release Date April 5, 2016

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25893582-tell-me-three-things
Review

Originally, I wasn't sure if I wanted to buy this book. Nothing about the blurb really drew me in. It sounds fine enough really, but it didn't grab me and demand that I read it. There are tons of good reviews on Goodreads, though. Plus, it was on sale at the time. What did I have to lose?

Tell Me Three Things was fine. That's just it. It wasn't fantastic and it wasn't horrible. Nothing stood out about the story or the writing, good or bad. After all the really good reviews, I was let down.

The book just wasn't what I expected. The first few pages of the book felt familiar. Had I read a sample of the book before? Was it just reminding me of a different, but similar book? I'm not sure, but it didn't bode well for what was to come. I felt bored throughout most of the book, but I kept reading to confirm that I knew who Somebody/Nobody was (I was right). I found myself skimming a lot, especially towards the end. To top it all off, if there was supposed to be some cute wit and humor in here somewhere, I didn't find it.

Rating

2 out of 5 stars

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Spotlight: Rarity from the Hollow

Note: I read this book in December of 2015. You can see my review here. When I originally wrote my review, I said the book was bizarre and really strange. It was certainly unique, but I'm afraid that bizarre might have been a strong word that could have possible scared some readers off. In fact, I meant it as a compliment. Rarity from the Hollow was a very good read and it stuck with me long after I read it.

Since my original reading, the author has changed a few things. In his own words, "some of the stronger language was toned down, the political allegory was strengthened, and a formatting error which affected the internal dialogue in the first edition was fixed." The book also received a new cover and blurb. While I haven't had a chance to read the book since these changes have taken place, I hope to fit this book into my 2017 schedule.




Rarity from the Hollow

Robert Eggleton



Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage -- an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.

Purchase Links


Praise for Rarity from the Hollow


“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”
Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”
Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. "…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them… profound… a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy."
Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.”
Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.”
Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.”
The Baryon Review

About the Author

I recently retired after 52 years of contributions into the U.S. Social Security fund so that I could write and promote my fiction. I’m a former mental health psychotherapist in West Virginia. But, after coming home drained from working with child abuse victims, I didn't have the energy left to begin its self-promotion. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program in my home state (see here). A listing of services that are supported can be found here.

Author Contact Links

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
LinkedIn

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (#14)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because everyone loves a good list, don't they? We love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Top Ten Debuts I'm Excited for in 2017

In no particular order, I can't wait to get my hands on these debuts...

Click on a cover to visit the Goodreads page for each book.





Which debuts are you excited for this year? Be sure to leave a link to your Top Ten Tuesday down below and I'll stop by!