Allison: Ink | Amanda Sun | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Allison: Ink | Amanda Sun | Book ReviewInk by Amanda Sun
Published by Harlequin on 2013-06-25
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 369
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
Ink is in their blood.On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn't know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks and she can't seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.When Katie meets aloof but gorgeous Tomohiro, the star of the school's kendo team, she is intrigued by him…and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they're near each other, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life.Somehow Tomo is connected to the kami, powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan—and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions, and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.

Initially, I didn’t really know very much about Ink but it quickly drew me in with its beautiful cover, mysterious story, and of course, the Japanese setting. Having a book with a Japanese setting was like a time-warp and reliving a part of my childhood for me. You know that part of my childhood/adolescence when I was constantly watching Japanese anime and trying to learn everything I could about the culture? Yeah, it brought me back to those days especially since the book has a very strong dramatic push-pull feel to it.

[click to continue…]

three-stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Book ReviewThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Macmillan on 2014-04-10
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
five-stars
Kestrel lives the lavish lifestyle of a Valorian General s only daughter, and such riches come at a cost for Valoria s captives and for her. As the Herrani face death or slavery, Kestrel s destiny is shaped by her father. He gives her two choices: join his army or get married. Desperate to realise her own future and knowing that it will invite scandal, she pays a small fortune for a handsome Herrani blacksmith at a slave auction. Arin not only plays Kestrel s power games, he understands what she needs and soon she is torn between loyalty to her people and her feelings for him. But Arin is not all he seems and Kestrel will learn that the price she paid for him is much higher than she ever could have imagined. The first novel in a stunning new trilogy, The Winner s Curse is a story of romance, rumours and rebellion, where dirty secrets and careless alliances can be deadly and everything is at stake.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski was a whirlwind read for me. I had no idea what to expect except that I had placed it on my pile of 40 books to read by BEA and pretty much every single person I know was all like YOU NEED TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW. And I was like, oh but it’s been on my pile forever, what if the hype isn’t true. Then I was like, hey brain, shut up, everyone likes this book. And then I picked it up and 100 pages later realized, hey, it’s like bed time for me, but oh man just going to brush my teeth and read one more chapter and THEN one more chapter and oh man, who cares if I look whacked out at work the next day from reading this all night. Or at least, that would be the plan if Tony wasn’t quite so strict on sleeping. Truthfully, I read this book in what felt like the blink of an eye. Friends, I have not had this totally absorbed feeling with a book in a very long time. And to think, this feeling lasted through the book I read after The Winner’s Curse, but that is neither here nor there. Instead, I am here today to tell you why you need to read The Winner’s Curse too and why we need to fangirl over it together.

Kestrel is the daughter of the general who essentially conquered the Herrani for the Valorian empire. Her dad is very, very powerful. The Herrani have been enslaved by the Valorians. When Kestrel is walking about with her friend Jess, she passes a slave auction where she ends up bidding on and buying a slave named Arin because he allegedly sings very well and she has great love for music. Also, Arin has blacksmith skills. Unfortunately, Kestrel may have overspent on Arin and has fallen prey to what is known as the Winner’s Curse which basically means that you win an auction by paying more than what anyone else would value the product at. It’s interesting to apply this concept to the book. Anyways. Kestrel is busy trying to impress her father and trying to avoid making the choice of marriage or becoming a warrior. Meanwhile, Arin is kind of a thorn in her side. He’s not the sort who is meek and humble and ends up causing some drama. Okay, now I want to take a break from how I normally write reviews so that I can fan girl more easily.

Reasons I Am In Love With The Winner’s Curse:

  • Kestrel – Listen up, this girl, you all are going to be like yes, she is brilliant and awesome and please stop making her choose mr. general dad. She’s got such a tactical mind and oh man, I love that. I love that she has to fight her feelings for a certain character. And she is self-sacrificing. And ugh, she’s the type of character that I totally could not stop reading about.
  • Arin – Hello swoons my old friend. But no seriously, he’s all let’s start a revolt and it’s kind of inspiring to see him as a leader. Also, he has an interesting past and you can’t help but feel for his character. He also does not hold back from telling Kestrel what he feels which is basically that it’s jacked up that his people are slaves to such barbarians as the Valorians.
  • World building – The society and sociology of this book are rendered perfectly. It’s really like the Romans versus the Greeks. The Valorians are totally Romans and they have an empire that is almost too large for them to control. They are way more into militarism and fighting than they are culture. The Herrani are the Greeks in that they are into art and music and stories. They actually have gods unlike the Valorians. They are quite clever too. Oh and at first they are not at all like the Spartans. JUST WAIT THOUGH. Because there’s totally a 300 moment in this book.
  • Romance – LET US BE REAL FOR A MOMENT. This is the reason I am head over heels for this book. There are pretty much all of my favorite romance tropes here. First off, slow burning yes m’am. It takes Kestrel and Arin a long time to realize that they were kind of made for each other. You see, they have the love-hate thing going on at first. They kind of antagonize each other and like perceive each other as really different even though they have a lot in common. And then, they do fall for each other and it’s a love against all odds because society does not at all approve of a slave and master falling in love. AND THEN THERE IS THE TURNING POINT and there is much sad and sacrifice and omg. JUST OMG. That is how I can describe this, by becoming a gibberish spouting mess.
  • Friends – Kestrel has two close friends, Jess and Ronan who are siblings. Jess is kind of air-headed, but she’s also a solid and good friend and willing to stand by Kestrel’s side when she disobeys society’s rules. Ronan is sort of a love interest for Kestrel in that he is pursuing Kestrel but she’s not interested even though they would be a good match because you know, reasons. Also, Ronan talks to Kestrel through flirtation and it’s kind of funny and awkward to read.
  • Revolution - I will forever and always LOVE when the oppressed rise up against tyranny and overthrow the yoke of their oppressors. ALWAYS. But in the case of The Winner’s Curse I wasn’t sure who I wanted to win, because slavery is whacked, but I loved Kestrel and her dad and Jess and Ronan. But then I was like, I feel bad for the Herrani and they should not be subjugated by the Valorians. But yo, this revolution is totally bloody and awesome and brilliantly maneuvered.
  • Writing – This book has no boring or dull moments. I thought it would feel slow at certain points, but it never did. I was never like, goodness when do we get to the good? Instead it was like I was panting to read this when I had to do other things instead. This is the kind of book that absorbs you heart and soul and that’s due to the perfect blend of writing and characterization and world building. Basically this is another favorite of 2014.

Who Needs To Read This Book:

  • Fantasy fans
  • People who have taste that is shockingly similar to mine
  • People who want to try fantasy but have no clue where to start
  • Revolution lovers
  • Romance fans
  • Girls who like reading about strong girls
  • Boys who like reading about strong girls
  • People who are down for well imagined societies
  • EVERYONE EVER OKAYYYYYYY

five-stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Republic Of Thieves by Scott Lynch | Book ReviewThe Republic Of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastard #3
Published by Random House LLC on 2013-10-08
Genres: Action & Adventure, Epic, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction
Pages: 672
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
five-stars
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER“A bright new voice in the fantasy genre” (George R. R. Martin), acclaimed author Scott Lynch continues to astound and entertain with his thrillingly inventive, wickedly funny, suspense-filled adventures featuring con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. And The Republic of Thieves is his most captivating novel yet.   With what should have been the greatest heist of their career gone spectacularly sour, Locke and his trusted partner, Jean, have barely escaped with their lives. Or at least Jean has. But Locke is slowly succumbing to a deadly poison that no alchemist or physiker can cure. Yet just as the end is near, a mysterious Bondsmage offers Locke an opportunity that will either save him or finish him off once and for all.   Magi political elections are imminent, and the factions are in need of a pawn. If Locke agrees to play the role, sorcery will be used to purge the venom from his body—though the process will be so excruciating he may well wish for death. Locke is opposed, but two factors cause his will to crumble: Jean’s imploring—and the Bondsmage’s mention of a woman from Locke’s past: Sabetha. She is the love of his life, his equal in skill and wit, and now, his greatest rival.   Locke was smitten with Sabetha from his first glimpse of her as a young fellow orphan and thief-in-training. But after a tumultuous courtship, Sabetha broke away. Now they will reunite in yet another clash of wills. For faced with his one and only match in both love and trickery, Locke must choose whether to fight Sabetha—or to woo her. It is a decision on which both their lives may depend.PRAISE FOR SCOTT LYNCHThe Republic of Thieves   “Fast paced, fun, and impossible to put down . . . Locke and company remain among the most engaging protagonists in fantasy.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)   “The Republic of Thieves has all the colorful action, witty repartee, and devious scheming that fans of the series have come to expect.”—Wired   “A fantasy world unique among its peers . . . If you’re looking for a great new fantasy series this is one you won’t want to miss. . . . In a word: AWESOME!”—SF RevuRed Seas Under Red Skies   “Lynch hasn’t merely imagined a far-off world, he’s created it, put it all down on paper—the smells, the sounds, the people, the feel of the place. The novel is a virtuoso performance, and sf/fantasy fans will gobble it up.”—Booklist (starred review)“Red Seas Under Red Skies firmly proves that Scott Lynch isn’t a one-hit wonder. . . . It’ll only be a matter of time before Scott Lynch is mentioned in the same breath as George R. R. Martin and Steven Erikson.”—Fantasy Book Critic   “Grand, grandiose, grandiloquent . . . No critic is likely to fault Lynch in his overflowing qualities of inventiveness, audacious draftsmanship, and sympathetic characterization.”—LocusThe Lies of Locke Lamora   “Right now, in the full flush of a second reading, I think The Lies of Locke Lamora is probably in my top ten favorite books ever. Maybe my top five. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, you should probably read it again.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the WindFrom the Hardcover edition.

I read the current Gentleman Bastards books in a bit of a fever pitch and now I have a quandry. What do I do with my reading life now that I have no more Gentleman Bastards books left to read? Apparently the next book, The Thorn Of Emberlain comes out Fall 2014 which feels like forever. I feel as though my life has been consumed with Locke and Jean in the best possible way. The Republic Of Thieves by Scott Lynch is the cream of the crop. It is a book that has some how given me the magical power of devouring a 651 page book over the course of three days. I must be under a bondsmagi spell because I could not set The Republic Of Thieves down. When you pick up The Republic Of Thieves after you have hopefully spent some time with The Lies Of Locke Lamora and Red Seas Under Red Skies prepare to be stunned and captivated and taken in by Lynch’s meticulous plotting. [click to continue…]

five-stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

After The End by Amy Plum | Book ReviewAfter the End by Amy Plum
Series: After The End #1
Published by HarperCollins on 2014-05-06
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Nature & the Natural World, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
four-stars
Michael Grant's Gone series meets M. Night Shyamalan's The Village in this riveting story of one girl's journey to save the very people who have lied to her for her entire life. Amy Plum, internationally bestselling author of the Die for Me series, delivers a fast-paced adventure perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Robison Wells.Juneau grew up fearing the outside world. The elders told her that beyond the borders of their land in the Alaskan wilderness, nuclear war had destroyed everything. But when Juneau returns from a hunting trip one day and discovers her people have been abducted, she sets off to find them. And leaving the boundaries for the very first time, she learns the horrifying truth: World War III never happened. Nothing was destroyed. Everything she'd ever been taught was a lie.As Juneau comes to terms with an unfathomable deception, she is forced to survive in a completely foreign world, using only the skills and abilities she developed in the wild. But while she's struggling to rescue her friends and family, someone else is after her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about her secret past.

If you have a readathon coming up, like the April Dewey 24 Hour Readathon, it would behoove you to put Amy Plum’s After The End on your stack, if you have it in your possession. After The End has all the hallmarks of a perfect readathon book: first chapters, exciting story, consistent action, and a relatively short page count. Friends, I really gobbled After The End up. I was entranced by Juneau and Miles, the two main characters and their journey. [click to continue…]

four-stars

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch | Book ReviewRed Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastard #2
Published by Random House LLC on 2007-07-31
Genres: Epic, Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 558
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
five-stars
In his highly acclaimed debut, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch took us on an adrenaline-fueled adventure with a band of daring thieves led by con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. Now Lynch brings back his outrageous hero for a caper so death-defying, nothing short of a miracle will pull it off. After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long—and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves. This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele—and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior…and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire. Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors…straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb—until they are closer to the spoils than ever. But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough.… PRAISE FOR SCOTT LYNCH   “A bright new voice in the fantasy genre.”—George R. R. Martin   Red Seas Under Red Skies   “Lynch hasn’t merely imagined a far-off world, he’s created it, put it all down on paper—the smells, the sounds, the people, the feel of the place. The novel is a virtuoso performance, and sf/fantasy fans will gobble it up.”—Booklist (starred review)   “Red Seas Under Red Skies firmly proves that Scott Lynch isn’t a one-hit wonder. . . . It’ll only be a matter of time before Scott Lynch is mentioned in the same breath as George R. R. Martin and Steven Erikson.”—Fantasy Book Critic   “Grand, grandiose, grandiloquent . . . No critic is likely to fault Lynch in his overflowing qualities of inventiveness, audacious draftsmanship, and sympathetic characterization.”—Locus   “The kind of witty romp that reminds you exactly how much fun heroic fantasy is supposed to be.”—SFXThe Lies of Locke Lamora   “Right now, in the full flush of a second reading, I think The Lies of Locke Lamora is probably in my top ten favorite books ever. Maybe my top five. If you haven’t read it, you should. If you have read it, you should probably read it again.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the WindFrom the Hardcover edition.

Reading two books from an epic fantasy series that is not on my review copy TBR in one month feels like a giant indulgence. Yet, Locke Lamora, Jean Tannen and the other Gentleman Bastards are worth the time away from obligation. With each addition to this series I grow more and more convinced that Scott Lynch is an author to watch. I will admit to a feeling of apprehension for Red Seas Under Red Skies, several people told me it was slow and then a few reviews were not entirely favorable. I must be the odd duck out because I think that I loved Red Seas Under Red Skies more than The Lies Of Locke Lamora. This book is not it’s predecessor. It is not the same as the first book in the series. Red Seas Under Red Skies goes in an entirely different direction and I personally cannot help but admire what Lynch has accomplished. These books have added a much needed variety to my reading life and I think that before we go any further you need to pick up The Lies Of Locke Lamora, add variety to your reading life and then come back and talk with me. [click to continue…]

five-stars

The Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch | Book ReviewThe Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastard #1
Published by Random House LLC on 2007
Genres: Epic, Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 722
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy the BookGoodreads
five-stars
In this stunning debut, Scott Lynch delivers the thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his tightly knit band of tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part "Robin Hood," one part Ocean's Eleven, and entirely enthralling....

An orphan's life is harsh--and often short--in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld's most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly.

Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game--or die trying..

I love it when you are reading a fantasy book and there’s all these different little threads and pieces and things that don’t make sense and then it ALL comes together and the ending is like painful and awesome and epic. Basically I love The Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. You see, this is a book that I was bound to read eventually. My most trusted blogger friend recommender, Allison at The Allure Of Books, has been pushing Locke Lamora on me since pretty much 2009. And, essentially, it took me five years to get to it. Apparently persistence and a also a required Vine review of the third in the series pays off. I have finally read The Lies Of Locke Lamora and LOVE IT and am regret filled at not reading it sooner, but you know, at least I get to experience it for the first time in 2014 and that is something special.

The plot of The Lies Of Locke Lamora, first of the Gentleman Bastard series, is a bit hard to describe, tangled webs being weaved and all. So, okay, there’s this orphan kid named Locke Lamora who is small and scrappy and cheeky and no one knows how old he is. He’s living in Shades Hill along with other orphans being trained by this sketchy guy called the Thiefmaker. Until one day when Locke does something so outrageous that the Thiefmaker gets so mad that he sells Locke to an old priest named Chains. Chains is in the Order of Perelando and serves the Crooked Warden. Also, he has other orphans in his gang, twins named Calo and Galdo Sanza, Sabetha, and Jean Tannen.

That’s just the past plot line, now let’s bring it to present day. Locke and his merry gang of Gentleman Bastards have been thumbing their nose at the Secret Peace aka this rule about only thieving from merchants and commoners, not the nobility, for quite some time. They keep their heads low and run scams and cons using a delightful amount of costumes and backstories and carefully built identities. This time, they are running a scam on the Salvaros, a stupid married noble couple. However, Locke Lamora, the Thorn of Camorr, has caught the attention of the Duke’s Spider as well as this man called the Gray King. Will Locke pull off his scam and live to tell the story? Are you totally confused right now? Really what I am saying is that you need to drop whatever you are reading and pick up The Lies Of Locke Lamora.

If you are looking for a book with a captivating main character look no further than The Lies Of Locke Lamora. Scott Lynch writes an interesting, flawed, multilayered character with Locke Lamora. We aren’t given everything about Locke in this book, we don’t even know his real name. We just learn his backstory beginning with Shades Hill, and that’s not even his FULL beginning. What I like about Locke is that he’s a smug bastard and basically spits in the eye of reading tropes. He’s not infallible. He’s not a great fighter. He’s not a fountain of morality. He has no magical powers. He’s not the most clever bastard that ever lived. Yet, he’s got this certain special leadership essence. He’s charismatic and the sort of character I’d follow anywhere. Also? His improvisation skills are certainly up to snuff. If you want a complex character, you need to meet Locke Lamora.

Speaking of Locke, I can’t even write about him without writing about his bromance with Jean Tannen. Y’all, Jean is Locke’s partner in crime. He’s big and pretty much the muscle behind the operations. He’s also incredibly intelligent. His looks are deceiving in that people look at him and think, oh, he’s not that smart, but really he is more intelligent than Locke. He also gets Locke out of most scrapes and troubles. He essentially plays the straight man in The Lies Of Locke Lamora and is a necessary contrast to Locke. Really though, he’s probably one of my favorite characters ever. And, FYI, as I am in the process of finishing the third book I can say that he gets better with each new book in this sequence.

The really great thing about The Lies Of Locke Lamora is that it is peppered with richly drawn characters. First off, there’s Capa Barsavii, who runs the criminal underground and keeps the thieves in check and holds them to The Secret Peace. Then there is his daughter Nazca who is just as scary, fierce, and sharp as he is. If you like your female fantasy characters strong, you will be well pleased with Nazca. Then there’s Father Chains, the Gentleman Bastards’ mentor and garista. FYI, garistas are leaders of gangs. Father Chains is so unexpected and awesome that I relish each section that he is in. Then there are the Sanza twins who provide much needed comic relief. Also, the newest addition to the Gentleman Bastards, Bug, who gets all the crap jobs including doing barrel rolls. I’d also be remiss if I did not mention the Duke’s Spider which was a pleasant twist and surprise.

I kind of think that fantasy books don’t quite have enough sharks in them. Luckily, The Lies Of Locke Lamora and Scott Lynch fill that niche need. You see, this book is set in a country with deep naval ties, Camorr. In Camorr one of the ways that they punish criminals is by making them fight hungry sharks. Usually the criminals lose. You totally do not want to go swimming in the water near Camorr. But more than that, there’s this huge world that Lynch has made up with different countries and customs and languages. Like, there’s this thing called Austershalin brandy and it’s rare and part of the book is that the Gentleman Bastards devise a scam wherein they tell nobles trouble is brewing but they can invest and make out like profiteers. Also. There are these people who wield magic called Bondsmagi and they are very expensive to hire and Locke has crossed one and it’s bad news bears. OH OH OH and there is RELIGION. Okay, so there are thirteen gods and part of the Gentleman Bastards’ training is internships with each order. Like, there’s a goddess named Aza Guila who is the goddess of death and an interlude that concerns her that is interesting. And also the Crooked Warden. And Locke’s priesthood. Really, what I am saying is that this book is complex and deep and interesting and all encompassing.

The Lies Of Locke Lamora is written in dual plotline style – there are chapters and chapters within chapters and then there are these things between the chapters called interludes where we learn about Locke’s past. The story can be kind of confusing and you might not get why there are two different plotlines, but trust Lynch knows exactly what he is doing. It is riveting to see what made Locke who he is now and to see him grow into this master con artist and leader. The pacing is solid. I mean, yes this book is long and it takes awhile to read, but holy moly if you want a book that will take over your life and make you feel like the characters are real people and the world is someplace you can perfectly imagine, you came to the right place. The Lies Of Locke Lamora basically has reinforced why I love epic fantasy books and has the full force of my recommendation.

five-stars

Stacking The Shelves (56)

I am kind of really in love with three day weekends. I wish we had one EVERY week. But in all seriousness, it has not been a bad week. It has been a pretty busy one, but I am thrilled with how fast it went by. I have read 7 books so far in my books to read by BEA stack, which means 33 to go and I am thinking I can finish my current book today and get that stack down to 32. We shall see! How about you guys? Do you have any books that you are dead set on reading before BEA? Let me know!

For Review:

Thorn Jack by Katherine Harbour (Edelweiss) – I accepted and downloaded this book because of the comparison to Melissa Marr and Erin Morgenstern, I love those authors and their atmospheric writing. This is a retelling of Tam Lin and I have to say that cover is kind of really perfect.

Gifted:

From Jenuine Cupcakes (twitter - click to follow her BECAUSE SHE IS AWESOME)

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour – Hey what do you know, twitter panhandling for books works! Thank you so so so so so so so so much Jen! All the cupcakes for you! AND! You guys my heart is fit to bursting with excitement for this book! All these exclamation points can’t be wrong!

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

City Of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn | Book ReviewCity of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn
Published by Harlequin on 2014-03-01
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
five-stars
Set against the lush, exotic European colonial outposts of the 1920s, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn delivers the captivating tale of one woman who embarks upon a journey to see the world—and ends up finding intrigue, danger and a love beyond all reason. Famed aviatrix Evangeline Starke never expected to see her husband, adventurer Gabriel Starke, ever again. They had been a golden couple, enjoying a whirlwind courtship amid the backdrop of a glittering social set in prewar London until his sudden death with the sinking of the Lusitania. Five years later, beginning to embrace life again, Evie embarks upon a flight around the world, collecting fame and admirers along the way. In the midst of her triumphant tour, she is shocked to receive a mysterious—and recent—photograph of Gabriel, which brings her ambitious stunt to a screeching halt. With her eccentric aunt Dove in tow, Evie tracks the source of the photo to the ancient City of Jasmine, Damascus. There she discovers that nothing is as it seems. Danger lurks at every turn, and at stake is a priceless relic, an artifact once lost to time and so valuable that criminals will stop at nothing to acquire it—even murder. Leaving the jewelled city behind, Evie sets off across the punishing sands of the desert to unearth the truth of Gabriel's disappearance and retrieve a relic straight from the pages of history. Along the way, Evie must come to terms with the deception that parted her from Gabriel and the passion that will change her destiny forever….

Deanna Raybourn writes such delightful books. If you have not read her books yet, I recommend that you start with her Lady Julia Grey series, so that by the time you get to City Of Jasmine which is unconnected with the Lady Julia Grey books you are already a solid fan. I began reading City Of Jasmine on a dark spring day where the weather can’t decide if it wants to snow or rain. Instantly, I was transported to the 1920s when aviation was becoming a “thing” and when rich people had the leisure of traveling throughout the British colonies instead of working. If you are looking for escapist romantic historical fiction, get your hands on City Of Jasmine. [click to continue…]

five-stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Orphan Of Awkward Falls | Keith Graves | Book ReviewThe Orphan Of Awkward Falls by Keith Graves
Published by Chronicle Books on 2011-10-19
Genres: Horror & Ghost Stories, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
three-half-stars
When thirteen-year-old Josephine moves to Awkward Falls she can't help but snoop around the dilapidated mansion next door. Inevitably, she is captured by the house's strange inhabitants: an ancient automaton who serves as a butler, a cat patched together with a few odd parts, and most surprising of all, a boy named Thaddeus Hibble. Meanwhile, Fetid Stenchley the most feared patient in the Asylum for the Dangerously Insane is on the loose after making a dramatic escape, and there is only one thing on his mind...revenge. Unfortunately for Josephine and Thaddeus, he's headed their way. Can these unlikely friends stop Stenchley before it's too late? With a penchant for spooky details, surprising twists, and haunting illustrations, Keith Graves delivers a suspenseful and engaging first novel.

Mad scientists, automatons, and lunatics abound in Keith Graves’ The Orphan Of Awkward Falls, a fun speculative fiction middle grade book. I was totally over the moon to read The Orphan Of Awkward Falls because A) I love books that have orphans in them and B) The Book Smugglers gave it a good review. Hopes were high you guys. Although this book is not making my favorites list any time soon, I did have a good experience reading it. I would not hesitate to recommend that middle school librarians and teachers add this book to their collections, it truly is a fun, bizarre sort of read. [click to continue…]

three-half-stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rome by Jay Crownover | Book ReviewRome by Jay Crownover
Series: Marked Men #3
Published by HarperCollins on 2014-01-07
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads
five-stars
Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .

Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed "bad boy" friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won't let herself get burned again. She's waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He's stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he's returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome's used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he's just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . . .

I really totally do not regret my binge read of the Marked Men series, I think that it only has enhanced my enjoyment of each book. Rome, Crownover’s third book in the series, showcases the fact that the Marked Men just get better and better with each addition to the series. This is the story of Cora, the receptionist and pierce person (is that the proper term?) at the Marked and Rule’s older brother, Rome. There’s enough drama here to fuel the plot of an episode of Gossip Girl and I ate it all up with a spoon. I know people get all hot and bothered and offended at the term guilty pleasure, but friends, these books are my guilty pleasure. I feel guilty at being sucked away from my TBR pile of obligation and doom and MUST READ NOW to binge read a series that’s not totally my number one priority. It was worth it to me, though. [click to continue…]

five-stars

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