Sunday, 2 August 2015

Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

Title: The Next Together (The Next Together #1)
Author: Lauren James

Release date: September 3rd 2015
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Pages: 356

Source: Pansing

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different...

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.
"Matthew, I'll let you in on a secret. I don't think there are any true heroes. Just people who ignore their survival instincts long enough to do something incredibly foolhardy."
The Next Together is definitely one of my top books of the year so far! And I have a good feeling it's going to stay up there. This book is magical, guys. It's sweet and funny and sad and exciting all mashed together. It's nothing like anything I've read before, and I'm so stoked about that. I loved every second of this!

This book is split into several different 'time landscapes', all of which feature Katherine and Matthew. The two of them are brought together and then torn apart over and over again, only to be reborn in another time to do the same thing all over again. But why does this keep happening? They need to figure it out so they can stop the cycle once and for all.

I've got to admit, this novel is nothing like what I expected. The synopsis is kept vague on purpose, I've realized, so that we can go into this with a fully open mind. And you're going to need that open mind while reading this, because man is it complex! Super confusing at times, and we still don't even get all the answers in the end. But it's oh so amazing to go on this journey with Katherine and Matthew. The time landscapes are spread out pretty well, with two being very historical and two in modern times. My favourite, I think, is the one in 1854. I just liked those versions of Kate and Matthew the best.

Speaking of our protagonists, these two are the star-crossed lovers everyone roots for. We see them in so many different stories, and in each of them they're drawn to one another like magnets. And in the modern timelines, these two just felt so real to me. The way they act with one another is hilarious, and their constant good-natured banter made me laugh out loud at times. I love how courageous and spunky Kate is, and how sweet and goofy Matt is. They complement each other perfectly.

I really don't want to say too much about what happens in the book, because I want everyone to go in with the same anticipation I did. Because of course there is something that ties all the timelines together, and the ending will just about blow your mind. I was left reeling by the end, and I just want to sit down with Lauren James for about an hour and ask her everything I possibly can about this book. She's created a truly incredible story, and I just can't emphasize enough how much I loved it.

So bottom line - read this as soon as you get your hands on it. You will not regret it. The Next Together gave me chills every time something big happened, and got my heart racing at each action scene. I cannot wait to see what we're going to get in the sequel, but I sure hope it'll be just as fantastic as this one.

*Thank you to Sasha at Pansing for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Release Day Blitz: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Epic Finale in Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Dark Elements Series...

Who Will She Choose?


ELB Teaser 3

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Don't miss the conclusion to this stunning Young Adult Paranormal series filled with danger and romance published by HarlequinTEEN.

Grab your copy today!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo | BAM




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Some loves will last ‘til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…


“Armentrout is a major talent…I just can’t stop reading!”
--New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter

“Armentrout works her magic with swoon-worthy guys and a twist you never see coming.”
--#1 New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines on White Hot Kiss

Excerpt

Roth cleared his throat. “Shortie, look…look at your hand.”
Look at my hand? Why in the world would he be asking me to do that in the midst of all the cray?
“Do it,” he said quietly and too gently.
The dread exploded in my gut like buckshot, and my gaze dropped to my left hand. I expected to see the weird marbling of black and gray, a mixture of the demon and Warden that existed inside of me and a combination I’d become almost familiar with by now. My nails had lengthened and sharpened, and I could tell they were hard enough to cut through steel, as hard as my skin, but my skin…it was still pink. Really pink.
“What the…?” My gaze traveled to my other hand. It was the same. Just pink. My wings twitched, reminding me that I had shifted.
Zayne swallowed. “Your…your wings…”
“What about my wings?” I almost screeched, reaching be‑ hind me. “Are they broken? Did they not come out—” The tips of my fingers came into contact with something as soft as silk. My hand jerked back. “What…”
Stacey’s watery eyes had doubled in size. “Um, Layla, there’s a mirror above the fireplace. I think you need to look in it.”
I met Roth’s gaze for a second before I spun around and all but ran to the fireplace I was sure Stacey’s mom had never used. Clutching the white mantel, I stared at my reflection.
I looked normal, like I did before I shifted…like I was going to class or something. My eyes were the palest shade of gray, a watered-down blue. My hair was so blond it was almost white, and a mess of waves that went in every direction like usual. I looked like a colorless china doll, which was nothing new, except for the two fangs jutting out of my mouth. I wouldn’t show them off at school, but that wasn’t what caught my attention and held it.
It was my wings.
They were large, not as massive as Zayne’s or Roth’s, and normally they were almost leathery in texture, but now they were black…black and feathered. Like legit feathered. That soft, silky thing I’d felt? It had been tiny feathers.
Feathers.
“Oh my God,” I whispered at my reflection. “I have feathers.”
“Those are definitely feathered wings,” Roth commented.
I whipped around, knocking over a lamp with my feathered right wing. “I have feathers on my wings!”
Roth cocked his head to the side. “Yeah, you do.”
He was absolutely no help, so I turned to Zayne. “Why do I have feathers on my wings?”
Zayne shook his head slowly. “I don’t know, Layla. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“Liar,” hissed Roth, shooting him a dark look. “You’ve seen that before. So have I.”



image2

And don’t miss the first titles in the Dark Elements series!

BITTER SWEET LOVE

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | BAM | Kobo

WHITE HOT KISS

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BAM | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo

STONE COLD TOUCH

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo | BAM



About the author:

JLA_Author-photo#1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Find Jennifer on:


Giveaway!


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Review: Another Day by David Levithan

Title: Another Day (Every Day #2)
Author: David Levithan

Release date: August 25th 2015
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: eARC
Pages: 217

Source: NetGalley

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

Another Day is basically just Every Day in Rhiannon's POV, but there's quite a bit that wasn't in the first book. I read Every Day ages ago, around the time it first came out, so I don't remember too much about it. I'm glad I didn't reread it before starting this, though, because I probably would've found things pretty repetitive. I liked Every Day, so it was nice getting back into this world when I picked up Another Day. Though A is a much better protagonist than Rhiannon, I think this book was still just as moving as A's story.

Rhiannon's life is pretty dreary before A comes along. Her boyfriend, Justin, doesn't treat her the way she deserves, but she doesn't even have a problem with it. Not really, anyway. Not until one day when she and Justin skip class to hang out at the beach, and it's a perfect day for her. It's only later that she finds out she spent the day not with Justin, but with A. And she finds herself falling in love with someone who's in a different person's body every day.

You can't help sympathizing with Rhiannon because of her situation, both with Justin and with A. But I can't say I like her character. Rhiannon puts up with a jerk like Justin because she doesn't think she deserves any better, and even her friends can't convince her that he's wrong for her. She has pretty low self-esteem, but come on. If your boyfriend treats you like you don't matter and you're okay with that, there's something wrong with you.

It's cool seeing Rhiannon and A's relationship once again, from the girl's perspective. It's a lot to take in, and I think Rhiannon wraps her head around it all quite well. She has an issue with certain bodies that A inhabits, like girls for example. But I think that's justifiable, because all she sees is the body, even though she knows A is inside. It's got to be insanely hard, to see the one she loves as different people every day.

To be honest I'm not entirely sure of the point of this book, since all it's doing is giving us Rhiannon's POV. Sure, it's interesting to know her side, but there isn't really anything new. The book ends at about the same time Every Day ended. Except that Every Day had a hopeful, open ending. This ending is really abrupt, and it feels like there will be a sequel to it, though I doubt that will happen. So the ending definitely wasn't what I was expecting, and was kind of disappointing because nothing is resolved.

On the whole, I enjoyed reading Rhiannon and A's story again from a different angle, but I just wish we got some answers about A's condition. If there were new plot threads in this book, that would've been great. But it's exactly the same as Every Day, so I can't say I was captivated by this.

*Thank you to Random House for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

Friday, 24 July 2015

Review: Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Title: Rogue (Talon #2)
Author: Julie Kagawa

Release date: April 28th 2015
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Format: eARC
Pages: 459

Source: NetGalley

Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant.

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?

Rogue delves right into the intense action of the plot. I read this right after reading Talon for the first time, so it was a really smooth transition for me. So much happens in this sequel, and there really isn't a dull moment at all. High stakes all around, with loads of emotion-invoking scenes too.

Ember, Riley and Wes are on the run from both Talon and St. George. But Ember can't forget about Garret, the St. George soldier who saved her life. And so she in turn will save his. Ember and Riley sneak into St. George headquarters with the help of Wes, but getting Garret out is going to be one hell of a challenge. All of them are also in grave danger from the Vipers, assassins of Talon. The cherry on the top of this little drama cupcake? Ember's twin brother, Dante, leads the search to bring her and Riley back.

Since the title of this book is called Rogue, I guess you can tell there's quite a bit of focus on Riley/Cobalt. We get several different POVs in this - Ember, Riley, Garret, Dante, and Cobalt from twelve years ago, when he was still working for Talon. We get to find out how Cobalt realized what Talon really is, and how he got out. I loved getting to know more about his character, because there's so much about him that's complex and intense and just really intriguing. Since the next book is called Soldier, I'm excited to find out more about Garret's story in that one!

Usually, love triangles annoy me, but in some cases when they're done well, I enjoy them. This is one of those cases. Both Riley and Garret are amazing guys and I still can't choose between them. So how can Ember? She loves both of them in different ways - her dragon leaning towards Cobalt while her 'human' side towards Garret. I'm curious to know how Julie Kagawa plays this out in the rest of the books. Either way, I hope it'll be a good outcome for everyone.

I love that this series focuses both on the plot and on individual characters. Dante, though he betrayed his sister, isn't as bad as he's made out to be. In my opinion, at least. He's been led astray and things aren't that black and white. Dante's just as complex as the rest of the characters, and though he's been thoroughly brainwashed by Talon, I think there's hope for him yet.

The action is always at the centre of the storyline, since Ember and her companions are running for their lives while also trying to figure out how Talon and St. George keep finding Riley's safe houses. Ember is really a force to be reckoned with! Though she makes some stupid decisions in this book and I really wanted to yell at her at those times, she's as tough as ever, and stays strong in her goal to remain out of Talon's clutches and also to find her brother and knock some sense into him.

There are quite a few plot twists too, and the danger just keeps increasing. Rogue is a pretty long book, but Kagawa's writing sucks you in so much that you won't even notice the time go by and you'll reach the end of the book before you know it. And I'm now super excited to see what's in store for us in Soldier!

*Thank you to Harlequin TEEN for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #105: Their Fractured Light

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

My pick for this week's WoW is...


Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner


Title: Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3)
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Release date: December 1st 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

These covers are always so pretty! Though I gotta admit in this one the people look like Barbie dolls or something. Less real than the previous ones. I wonder if that's on purpose? Oh well. The final book in the Starbound series is coming, and I can't wait to see all six of them working together to take LaRoux Industries down!


Monday, 20 July 2015

Review: Until the Beginning by Amy Plum

Title: Until the Beginning (After the End #2)
Author: Amy Plum

Release date: May 5th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Pages: 321

Source: Publisher

When Juneau's clan disappeared, she lost so much more than her friends and family. She soon discovered everything she thought she knew about her life was a lie. Her people's gifts were actually secret abilities that others wanted, desperately enough to kidnap an entire village.

Juneau and her new companion Miles's cross-country journey to find her clan has led them to a game preserve in New Mexico. Now Juneau's people are finally within reach, and she will stop at nothing to save them. But she has a target on her back too, because unbeknownst to her she is the key to unlocking everything. To rescue her people - and herself - Juneau must discover what she, and her abilities, are truly capable of.




This conclusion to Amy Plum's sci-fi duology was just as enjoyable as I was hoping for. Juneau finally gets the answers she's been searching for, and she discovers a lot about herself and her clan. Until the Beginning is a great follow-up to After the End, and I was sucked right into this world all over again, thanks to the great characters and intriguing plot.

The first book left me pretty confused about what Juneau's abilities really are, but everything's cleared up in this book. Juneau and Miles travel across the country to find her clan, and when she does, she finds out why her clan was kept separate and why she's somehow more special than the rest of them.

I loved the dynamic between Juneau and Miles in the first book. We don't get as much of that in this, but some of it is still there. Miles is unconscious for a while in the beginning, since he just went through the Rite. And now he's got similar abilities to Juneau, except that he doesn't share her beliefs about the Yara and nature. The two of them grow closer, but other issues also rise up, the primary one being that Juneau needs to use all her abilities to rescue her clan, and Miles kind of slows her down. I'm glad there weren't any fights or anything - the two of them know to focus on the bigger picture, which is rescuing Juneau's clan. But I wish there were more moments between them, where they talked or connected the way they did in the first book.

There were some parts while Juneau and Miles were traveling together that dragged a little, but once they reach New Mexico the pace picks up again. Plot-wise, though, there wasn't too much going on until the last quarter of the book. It was great to see the growth in both characters during the course of this novel, but considering the fact that they're the only major characters, there really could've been more development.

I liked the little plot twists towards the end, when Juneau is told the entire truth. She's a tough heroine and can take anything, but hearing that everything she believed in her entire life was a lie? That's got to be crushing. But Juneau powers through it all, never losing sight of her goal to rescue her friends and family. And Miles really steps up in this book as well - he's come so far from what he was in the beginning of After the End.

Overall, a satisfying conclusion to the duology and a great mix of action, romance, and general badassery (I know that's not a word but it really fits in here). Juneau is an awesome protagonist, and Miles is the best sidekick ever. He has these awesome show-stealing moments that are my absolute favourites of the series. Bottom line, read these books even if it's just for the characters you'll meet. They're fantastic.

*Thank you to Megan at HarperCollins International for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, 18 July 2015

In My Mailbox #43


In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren which allows us to share the books we’ve bought, borrowed and received.

Not too much this week, I'm mostly trying to get some older reads out of the way right now, because I only have one review book left to read! Yes, it's weird for me too. I hope some new titles I want show up on Edelweiss or NetGalley soon!

Borrowed


Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
The Pretty App by Katie Sise
Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
Captive by Aimée Carter

I'm glad I finally got the chance to read these! I had got eARCs of the first three up there, but didn't have time to read them during college, and then they expired. So I just had to get these from the library so I'd actually get to read them. I really liked The Pretty App! Crimson Bound and Etherworld were good but not as great as I'd expected. And I still have to get to Captive. Hopefully that'll be amazing!

For Review


Bounce by Noelle August (eARC from Edelweiss - thanks HarperCollins!)

This is currently my only review book! It still feels strange to say that. I'll probably read it this weekend and then have nothing in my review pile after. I'm excited for this, since I liked the previous books in the series, and this is supposed to be the final one.

So that's all for this week! My internship starts next week, so less time for reading from then on. But at least I'll have something productive to do! I was planning to get a head start on next semester's classes but I just can't bring myself to focus. So yay for forced productivity! Have a great week, everyone :)