Saturday, 20 September 2014

Review: Ghost Heart by Ripley Patton

Title: Ghost Heart (The PSS Chronicles #3)
Author: Ripley Patton

Release date: September 30th 2014
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format: eARC
Pages: 170

Source: Author

In the aftermath of a brutal tragedy, Jason and Passion are on the run. Marcus is lost beyond reach, and The Hold is in shambles. If that weren't enough, Olivia Black has been taken by the CAMFers to be used as Dr. Fineman's personal lab rat in his merciless quest to uncover the mysteries of Psyche Sans Soma once and for all. But only if he can break her.

They are scattered.
They are devastated.
They are ruined.

Their only hope is Olivia's stubborn determination to thwart her captors and unlock the secrets of her ghost hand before Dr. Fineman can. Will she finally find the strength within herself to embrace the full power of her PSS?

And will it even matter if Marcus has already betrayed her?

Ghost Heart is the third installment in The PSS Chronicles, and I'm definitely glad it's not the last! Though the book isn't particularly long, there is a lot packed into it, and so many twists and surprises. I was honestly shocked at so many of them! So I applaud Ripley for all the unpredictability.

We get three POVs in this book - Passion, Marcus, and Olivia. Which is a change from the previous two books. I liked seeing things through different eyes, but I was pretty impatient in the beginning waiting to find out what's going on with Olivia! I definitely liked getting to know Passion better, though. There are so many things I want to say but I can't because of spoilers! But trust me, this book will really take you on a roller coaster.

I missed Olivia and Marcus's interactions, because they're one of my favourite YA couples - they click so well together and their banter is amusing. But I feel like the events of this book needed to happen so we can get to know them individually as well. If you've read Ghost Hold, you'll know there's more than one cliffhanger at the end. Well, things aren't going so well for Olivia, or Passion and Jason, or Marcus. And it's also still hard to read the book knowing Yale and Nose aren't in it.

There's definite heartbreak in Ghost Heart, I'm not going to lie. So many emotions in this! I like how deeply I'm getting involved in this series, and I love the characters. Olivia, though in a precarious situation, is still standing strong, and I really admire her willpower and ability to stay calm and keep a clear head. Passion's pretty awesome too, I've come to realize. I admit I didn't love her previously, but in this book I really did. I don't want to say much about Marcus since he goes through a lot (and also spoilers) but I will say that though things are still murky with him I believe he's a good guy and it's amazing how much he cares about the people he loves.

Again, there isn't much more I can say without giving something away. Regarding the plot, we get to know more about the Hold, and more about how it originated with Samantha's dad. We also find out a little more about the CAMFers and their relationship with the Hold. It was cool getting all this background, and I'm sure it'll all play a big role in the next book. We also get to know more about PSS powers! Not just Olivia's, but others as well. Although hers are the most detailed, of course.

So all in all, I was really happy with this. Though goshhh it's going to be hard waiting for the fourth book! Especially with the way this ended. It was a powerful ending, and a great one, but more cliffhangers! To all the YA readers - if you love paranormal and you haven't picked up The PSS Chronicles yet, what are you waiting for? Go grab it!

*Thank you to Ripley Patton for sending me an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

Friday, 19 September 2014

Review: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Title: Kiss Kill Vanish
Author: Jessica Martinez
Release date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Thriller
Format: eARC
Pages: 280

Source: Edelweiss

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Kiss Kill Vanish definitely isn't what I expected. Well, not that the synopsis tells you all that much, but there are a lot of surprises along the way and so many twists everywhere. The premise is definitely interesting, and the plot is well-paced. It's just the characters I had a problem with.

Valentina comes from a pretty luxurious life. Her father deals art, and makes a lot of money selling valuable paintings. Valentina was happy with her life, especially with Emilio, her boyfriend who also works for her father. That's how they met, actually. But when Valentina witnesses Emilio killing a man her father told him to, she can't stay there any longer. She runs away with practically nothing, and tries to make a new life. But as her old life begins blending in with her new one, Valentina realizes just how messed up everything around her used to be; she just never knew it at the time.

The first half of this book is very different from the second. I really loved the second, but the first annoyed me most of the time, and my rating would have been lower if the plot hadn't changed and picked up later on. If only it were amazing from the start! Then this would have made an awesome book. Basically, get through everything that happens in the first half (this is just an estimate, I'm not sure if it's actually half or not), and immerse yourself into the rest of the book. It's totally worth it!

The protagonist, Valentina, annoyed the hell out of me. She's a complete idiot. I mean, she's what, seventeen? How can she run away to another freaking country carrying only her passport and a stupid musical instrument she stole from her boyfriend. No money, no clothes, no nothing. She has to resort to almost begging on the streets of Montreal before an 'artist' finds her and gives her a job. And she's so unbearably naive, it's insane. Stop being so dependent on your asshole boyfriend, gosh. It's obvious Emilio isn't being honest with her, and she still sticks by him loyally. Ugh, I really hated Emilio... There's really nothing to like about him and it's impossible for me to imagine what Valentina sees in him.

Then there's Lucien, a.k.a. the 'artist' who gives Valentina a job. He's sleazy and weird and Valentina really doesn't like him, but he pays her a shitload of money to pose for his paintings. No nude ones, don't worry. Just Valentina (or Jane, as she is known in her new life) dressed up in weird costumes. Valentina has no friends in Montreal, not even her three roommates. She talks to Lucien of course, and to Lucien's younger brother, Marcel. Who is a druggie and almost as sleazy as Lucien.

So the first half passes by kind of uneventfully. Until something big happens, and then BAM everything starts to change. I loved seeing how Valentina develops a friendship with Marcel. He changes a lot - he stops using, he's a lot more alive, and he quits the weird sleaziness. Marcel and Valentina's conversations are hilarious most of the time, and some lines really did have me laughing out loud. I loved the banter! And of course I loved it when their friendship became something more. That takes quite a while, though.

Like I said, there are a lot of twists so I really can't say anything else about the plot. Just that it's intense and dangerous and I loved seeing where it was going. Valentina becomes less of an idiot, which I was thankful for. Thinking about the book now reminds me once again of how different the first and second parts are! I like to thing of it as a before and after, though of course I won't mention the event that splits the book into those categories.

Kiss Kill Vanish is a standalone, so it ends well with no loose ends. I liked that, because open endings really bug me. There's an awesome climax/fight scene kind of thing near the end, which totally had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Jessica Martinez's writing is amazing! I loved her dialogues especially, and I would totally go back and read all the scenes with Marcel and Valentina, primarily the road trip ones. The writing also really drew me in. I just wish the beginning/middle hadn't bored me that much, otherwise I would've love this book. I'd definitely say give it a try, though! It's thrilling and humourous and sweet and dangerous all at once.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #80: Talon

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...


Talon by Julie Kagawa


Title: Talon (Talon #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release date: October 28th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

One of my most anticipated books this year! I adore both Julie Kagawa and dragons. So combining the two is like... wow. I have no doubt this will blow my mind, and I can't wait to dig my claws into it. NEXT MONTH!


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Book Blitz: Take Me On by Katie McGarry


Release Date: 05/27/14
Harlequin Teen

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

Bonus novella included: Crossing the Line.



Available from:

 photo 9F3EE1AE-B1F5-45EB-87E4-5D28630C7FC5-7157-000003FF9121E113.jpg  photo 6682AA0B-74D4-4387-95A5-8FF5F06129C8-7157-000003FF90EF4A11.jpg  photo kobobuyicon_zpsb933c957.png  photo C5192E77-11AB-4F0C-A100-1152CA3C5DBB-7157-000003FF90C02846.jpg  photo A2DA65FC-B90B-467F-AF60-4D7E604A5611-7157-000003FF907102DD.jpg  photo bookdepositorybutton_zps03c7c0bd.jpg


Excerpt from West’s Point of View

“Look, it’s me or them.” I motion toward the thugs with my chin. “And I’m telling you, I’m not the bad guy in this scenario.”
She laughs. And if it wasn’t such a beautiful sound, I’d be insulted.
“Because a guy driving an Escalade in this neighborhood is the equivalent of a Boy Scout.”
The right side of my mouth tips up. Did she call me a drug dealer?
“From the looks of you—” she glances at my knuckles again “—well, let’s just say you must have your own baggage and I’m not a baggage claim type of girl.”
“No, you’re the type that runs into traffic.”
She smiles and I like it. The anger racing through me moments before vanishes. I rub my jaw, then lean my hand against my open car door. Long light brown hair with waves, dark eyes that sure as hell suck me in as they sparkle, a tight body and a kick-ass attitude. Truth be told, I like more than her smile. Too bad I almost killed her by running her over. It’ll make asking her out awkward.

“Get into my car and I’ll drive you home.” I hold up both my palms. “I swear. No drive-bys on the way.”

Books in the series:

(covers linked to Goodreads)

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About the author:

KATIE MCGARRY was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, and reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie would love to hear from her readers. Contact her via her website, katielmcgarry.com, follow her on Twitter @KatieMcGarry, or become a fan on Facebook and Goodreads.

Find Katie on:

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Book Blitz Organized by:


Monday, 15 September 2014

Cover Reveal: Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout

We are so excited to bring you the cover reveal for Jennifer L. Armentrout's WICKED! WICKED is a New Adult Paranormal Romance and is a part of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wicked Trilogy. It is being released on December 8th, 2014.

Wicked

WICKED Synopsis:

Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

Release date: December 8th 2014
Publisher: Self-published
Purchase link: Amazon


About the author:

Author Photo#1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY 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, working out, 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.

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

Find Jennifer on:


Review: In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis

Title: In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink #2)
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Release date: September 23rd 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: eARC
Pages: 237

Source: Edelweiss

The only thing bigger than the world is fear.

Lucy’s life by the pond has always been full. She has water and friends, laughter and the love of her adoptive mother, Lynn, who has made sure that Lucy’s childhood was very different from her own. Yet it seems Lucy’s future is settled already—a house, a man, children, and a water source—and anything beyond their life by the pond is beyond reach.

When disease burns through their community, the once life-saving water of the pond might be the source of what’s killing them now. Rumors of desalinization plants in California have lingered in Lynn’s mind, and the prospect of a “normal” life for Lucy sets the two of them on an epic journey west to face new dangers: hunger, mountains, deserts, betrayal, and the perils of a world so vast that Lucy fears she could be lost forever, only to disappear in a handful of dust.

In this companion to Not a Drop to Drink, Mindy McGinnis thrillingly combines the heart-swelling hope of a journey, the challenges of establishing your own place in the world, and the gripping physical danger of nature in a futuristic frontier.

Okay so I didn't love the first book, Not a Drop to Drink, but I was willing to give this one a chance, mostly because I wanted to see how Lynn and Lucy were living after the events of that book. After reading this, I can definitely say I liked the previous book better. This is a good book, just really slow-paced and some of the content gets pretty shocking at times, which I really did not like.

This book is set about 10-11 years after Not a Drop to Drink, but we don't even get to find that out until like a quarter of the book I think. And that was annoying because it was always in the back of my mind - how old are these two now? Though in all fairness it's kind of easy to guess. In a Handful of Dust is told in Lucy's POV, though it's still third person. Lucy and Lynn are part of a thriving community near the pond, but when it's hit with a nasty bout of polio, and Lucy is a suspected carrier, she and Lynn set off to keep the rest of the people safe, as well as to find someplace else.

This book is mostly a journey - a walk from Ohio to California. Yes, you read that right. Lucy and Lynn walk across the entire United States. How crazy is that? Plus they barely have any water and limited food, and everywhere they go is like a desert. They do meet a few people along the way; some good, some bad. It's all very slow and honestly I was bored out of my mind in the first half at least. Things do pick up later, but I couldn't bring myself to really get into the book.

I loved Lynn in the first book, and I was glad to see she hasn't changed much in this one, even though she's older. Which brings me to another really annoying thing I found - the amount of times the phrase 'older woman' is used to describe Lynn. I mean, we get it the first time! Also, it makes Lynn sound like some old grandma when she's actually only twenty-six or twenty-seven. But regardless, I still adored Lynn's badass attitude. Though her coldness is more prominent in this book.

Lucy was harder to warm to, because we didn't really know her in the previous book, and since she was only five then, she seems like a whole new person here. There also weren't any significant attributes about her. She kind of lives in Lynn's shadow, and I guess that's a underlying theme throughout the book. Lucy can witch water though, and that's an ability which is really precious in these times.

What I wanted was to find out more about the Shortage and how everything got to the way it is. We don't get to see any of the causes, just all the consequences. And if you thought things back at the pond were bad, think again. Lucy and Lynn come across some really nasty stuff in this book, and some parts towards the end were quite horrifying. I was kind of detached towards it all, though. By that point I just wanted to finish the book.

For those of you who need romance in your YA books, you might want to skip out on this, because there isn't any here. Sure, there's a hint in the beginning, but that's snuffed out later. Which makes me wonder, because the girls here are really unlucky when it comes to romance, aren't they? I won't say any more about that. But this book basically focuses on Lucy and Lynn's journey across the country, and their relationship with each other.

The ending is a hopeful one, like most dystopians are. I was happy about that, especially after everything these two have been through. I wish we could've seen more of Stebbs in this book, because he was interesting in the first one. But of course Lucy and Lynn just had to go and leave everything, and we're stuck with Lucy's thoughts throughout the book. In a Handful of Dust was an okay read, and frankly a little disappointing. But I guess if you loved the first book, you'll enjoy this too.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 2/5

Friday, 12 September 2014

Review: Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang

Title: Echoes of Us (The Hybrid Chronicles #3)
Author: Kat Zhang

Release date: September 16th 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: ARC
Pages: 354

Source: Publisher

To change the world, I may lose everything.

All Eva ever wanted was the chance to be herself. But in the Americas, to be hybrid—to share your body with a second soul—is not tolerated past childhood. Now Eva and Addie, her sister soul, are constantly on the move, hiding from the officials who seek to capture them. But the tide is changing. A revolution is brewing, and people are starting to question the hybrids' mistreatment.

Then Marion, an ambitious reporter, offers Eva and Addie a daring proposal: If they go undercover and film the wretched conditions of a hybrid institution, she will not only rescue them, she'll find a way to free Jackson, the boy Addie loves. It's risky, and Eva will have to leave Ryan and her friends behind, but if she succeeds, it could also tip the scales forever and lead to hybrid freedom.

As Eva and Addie walk into danger, they cling to each other and the hope of a better future. But the price they might pay is higher than they ever could have imagined.

Echoes of Us is the final book in The Hybrid Chronicles, and it's a nice hopeful ending to the series. It was great seeing Eva and Addie again, as well as some of the other hybrids we'd met along the way. Though I do still have questions left unanswered, most things are tied up perfectly.

So in this book, the hybrids are left in an even worse situation than before, especially after Sabine and co. just up and vanished, and Jackson got captured. Addie needs to find him, and Eva can't stop her. They get the perfect opportunity when a reporter asks a favour from them, in return for Jackson's location. But the favour? Entering an institution pretending to be a girl called Darcie, and sneakily taking footage of the conditions. But Eva and Addie have no choice if they want to rescue Jackson, and even Ryan won't be able to convince Eva otherwise.

I liked seeing where the plot went, and that things get even more intense. But I felt that it got a bit slow when Eva and Addie were in the institution, and a large part of that was unnecessary. We don't get to know too much about the actual conditions, just the routine mostly and the interactions between the hybrids. Which is intriguing, yeah, but I thought there was too much focus on it.

I'm glad I liked Jackson more in this book. Because I really didn't in the previous one! Underneath the cocky attitude and the jokes, he really does care for Addie, and she deserves someone like that. It was also great seeing more romance with Eva and Ryan. They're so perfect for each other, and Ryan is like the sweetest guy ever. It still surprises me how different he is from Devon, his twin soul. Speaking of Devon, we don't get to see more of him like I'd hoped. Nope, Devon is still the broody enigmatic guy we met in the first book. He's the most interesting to me, though! So I was disappointed that he's treated like a side character while Ryan gets pretty much all the spotlight.

There are quite a few shocks in this, some tragedy too. But of course that's inevitable with this war going on. Echoes of Us reads really well as a dystopian, with the unrest highlighted perfectly. I wish we could find out what happened to the hybrids that disappeared, though - even though I hate their guts. It's like they fell off the face of the Earth and there's almost no mention of them in this book.

The ending is left a little bit open, but not so much that you're left hanging. Most loose ends are tied up, and our characters will always 'keep hope', as Jackson says. I'm glad I came across this series, and I will miss Eva and Addie. And Ryan and Devon and Jackson and... you get the picture. This is a really well-written trilogy, one that I would definitely recommend to fans of this genre.

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

Rating: 3/5