Monday, 29 June 2015

Review: Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil

Title: Get Dirty (Don't Get Mad #2)
Author: Gretchen McNeil

Release date: June 16th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Thriller
Format: eARC
Pages: 268

Source: Edelweiss

The members of Don’t Get Mad aren’t just mad anymore . . . they’re afraid. And with Margot in a coma and Bree stuck in juvie, it’s up to Olivia and Kitty to try to catch their deadly tormentor. But just as the girls are about to go on the offensive, Ed the Head reveals a shocking secret that turns all their theories upside down. The killer could be anyone, and this time he—or she—is out for more than just revenge.

The girls desperately try to discover the killer’s identity as their personal lives are falling apart: Donté is pulling away from Kitty and seems to be hiding a secret of his own, Bree is under house arrest, and Olivia’s mother is on an emotional downward spiral. The killer is closing in, the threats are becoming more personal, and when the police refuse to listen, the girls have no choice but to confront their anonymous friend . . . or die trying.

I was super hyped to read this sequel after the amazing book that was Get Even. Well, I'm glad to say I enjoyed this even more than the first book! This is a duology, and I didn't know that going into this book. So everything is all wrapped up by the end of Get Dirty, and I loved the numerous twists that I never saw coming.

Margot is in a coma after she was attacked during the production of Twelfth Night. Bree is sent to juvie, and is then under house arrest after being released. That leaves Olivia and Kitty to try and figure out who the killer is, and also who the new copycat DGM is. Because there have been incidents where a potential DGM target is humiliated, except that it wasn't the real DGM that did it. The girls' lives and loved ones are being threatened, and they need to do everything in their power to stop the killer before someone else gets hurt.

Oh gosh, the amount of twists and turns in this book! There's so much suspense, so much at stake, and the clock is ticking. Things are way more dangerous right from the beginning, and the members of DGM have so much to deal with. Margot really isn't in the book much since she's in the hospital, so the rest of them rely on new members to help them out - Ed and John. They're sworn in when things start getting rough. Ed's technological abilities are super useful to them, and John becomes Bree's eyes and ears while she's under house arrest.

The plot is really the main focus of these books, but I felt we did get to know the characters more in this one. I liked Kitty and Olivia a lot more, and I also really liked the ones we didn't get to see much in the first book, like John and Ed. There are even more character to keep track of, but it was pretty easy since all of them were introduced in Get Even.

As for the mystery aspects, I did not see any of the twists coming. It was incredible! The race to find out about the mysterious Christopher Beeman, the threatening notes left with each of the DGM members, even the new ones... The climax towards the end was the explosion I'd been waiting for. Trust me, this book will exceed your expectations.

So many incidents got me at the edge of my seat with my heart pounding. I knew that literally anything could happen, and Gretchen McNeil is fantastic in her delivery of this plot. No obvious clues, not many little ones either. In fact, I kind of want to go back and read this one to see if I can catch anything I might've missed the first time. That's the kind of mystery/thriller book I love! And I have no doubt anyone who enjoys this genre will love it too.

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

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Review: Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan

Title: Maid of Wonder (Maids of Honor #3)
Author: Jennifer McGowan

Release date: August 25th 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 328

Source: Edelweiss

“Death comes to Windsor.”

Sophia Dee, the most unusual spy of Queen Elizabeth’s Maids of Honor, has run out of time for her psychic skills to fully manifest. A terrible new prophecy now haunts Windsor Castle, and the Queen demands answers before the next doomed soul dies.

Thrust into a dangerous and horrifying competition to solve the deadly prediction, Sophia finds herself pitted against the most celebrated mystics of Europe: John Dee, her devious uncle and the Queen’s personal astrologer. . . and Nostradamus, the renowned prophet-seer of France.

In a court where whispers of witchcraft, poisonous plots, and grim assassins threaten her at every turn, Sophia needs answers fast. But does she dare trust Marcus Quinn, her uncle’s striking and over-ambitious assistant? Or, instead, should she turn to the tortured dark angel of the spirit realm, who whispers to her only of sorrow and death?

As new dangers surface and dire prophecy sweeps toward its final victim, the five Maids of Honor prepare to do battle. Only then will the girl who so often sees the future finally discover if she can save the Crown—and herself.

So for starters, I love everything about this series - the history, the danger, the mystery. Maid of Wonder is no exception, and though it wasn't as fast-paced or riveting as the previous two books, I enjoyed it a lot.

Sophia's gifts have developed quite a lot since the last book, when they were just emerging. Now, she sees visions of the future and can communicate with the angels. But Sophia is still a novice, and her increasingly frequent visits to the other side of the spectral plane have consequences. She also sees that the Queen is in grave danger, but cannot gather enough proof to be taken seriously. On top of that, she has to deal with the return of her uncle whom she despises for the lies he told her, and the arrival of Marcus, her uncle's assistant and a man she feels a real connection to.

Sophia has always been the most elusive of the five spies. After all, the others have very distinct characteristics - Meg is sharp and witty, Jane is tough and dangerous, Anna is intelligent and prudent, and Beatrice is beguiling and seductive. But Sophia? I can't really describe her. So it was an interesting journey to get to know her in this book. We see that she has just as strong a character as the other maids. She's naive, yes, but also stubborn and curious and defiant. Though I didn't warm to Sophia as much as I did to Meg in the first book, I like her.

My favourite parts of the book were the times when Sophia would use her gift for scrying or to contact the angels. There is one in particular, the one she calls her dark angel, who is the most interesting. At first he scares Sophia, but she realizes he's protecting her. But why? And how is he different from the other angels? I was really eager to find out all the answers. The main plot, though, dragged a bit in my opinion. I don't care much for the Queen portrayed in this novel, so I didn't care about her impending danger at all. She's petty and can be quite cruel, and though I sympathize with her situation, I can't bring myself to like Elizabeth much.

I did really like Marcus. He seems like the perfect match for Sophia, and not just because of their shared abilities. Marcus is gentle and kind, and just the guy Sophia can count on and trust in this castle with betrayal at every corner. I also loved seeing all the other maids again, and even Master James from the circus. He and Jane still have a weird thing going on, and I wonder if those two come together at some point in Jane's book.

There wasn't much action in this novel since the focus is on Sophia's psychic powers, and I guess that made things feel slow to me. I prefer the more fast-paced environment we saw in the previous books. Regardless, I liked getting back into this historical world and I'm excited to see whose story comes next!

*Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #103: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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...

Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release date: July 28th 2015
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

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…

Though I'm not a fan of the cover change, I'm so freaking excited for this book. It's the final book in the series, and I'm so stoked to see what side Layla finally picks. Also, Jen's writing just sucks me in so there's that too!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Review: Seed by Lisa Heathfield

Title: Seed (Seed, #1)
Author: Lisa Heathfield

Release date: April 16th 2015
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: ARC
Pages: 331

Source: Pansing

Seed loves you. Seed will never let you go.

Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed. A darkness from which she must escape, before it's too late.

Okay so I read a few reviews of Seed before going into it, so I know it's about a cult society, focusing on a girl who has no idea she's living in a cult. I've never read a premise like this before, so I was pretty intrigued. And the plot definitely kept me interested! Though I have to admit - things get really, really weird.

At Seed, everyone worships Mother Nature and their leader, Papa S. Yep, that's what they call him. It's isolated from normal civilization, and there is no contact with Outsiders other than the occasional market visit. Because of this, the only knowledge Pearl has of the outside is the lies told to her and some twisted truths. The children in Seed are clearly brainwashed into believing everything their elders tell them. But something out of the ordinary happens - three Outsiders come to live with them. And Pearl realizes how different Seed is from what she always believed it to be.

I want to say I loved Pearl and her innocence, but I really didn't. At first I did sympathize with her and her situation, because it's not her fault that she's kept in the dark. I felt anger on behalf of her, because of the normal life she's deprived of. But really, her naivety got on my nerves at times. After Ellis, the boy from the outside, tells her what's wrong with Seed and even shows her, she refuses to believe it. Even her best friend Kate has begun to realize that Seed is wrong. But Pearl, despite being old enough to make her own decisions, spends most of the book in firm denial of the facts. If everyone around her felt the same way, I would understand. But if her best friend is smart enough to understand what's going on, why isn't Pearl?

It was really interesting reading about the lives they lead at Seed, though. Don't get me wrong - it angered me a lot. Especially the convoluted traditions put in place by Papa S. The other men at Seed also made me furious with their actions. But what I liked reading about is Pearl, Kate, Jack and Ellis. The three best friends accept Ellis into their little group, and it was nice that the four of them got a substantial amount of freedom to relax, as they should, being kids.

The plot picks up about three-quarters in, when Pearl begins doubting her faith in Seed and Papa S. And the budding romance between her and Ellis was cute. I wish they'd explored it more! I had an issue with the ending, though. Things happened way too fast, with no explanation, and suddenly I had reached the end. My mind was still reeling from the overload of action in just a few pages. I'm glad there's a sequel coming, because I really need some answers! But overall, I enjoyed Seed and how different it is from anything I've read before.

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

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, 20 June 2015

In My Mailbox #41

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.

It's been ages since my last IMM so I thought it was time to start it back up again! I just went to the library today, and got a bunch of YA books I've been meaning to read. It feels so good to finally have time to read! I also received a couple of HarperCollins ARCs a little while ago, so those are featured here too.

(the ARCs and library books)


Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Parallel by Lauren Miller
Talon by Julie Kagawa
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Guardians by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan

I just read Nobody, and I've already started Parallel. I'm excited to read all of these books I didn't have time to read when they came out! I'm especially excited to start Talon, because I absolutely adore Julie Kagawa.

For Review

The Replaced by Kimberly Derting*
Until the Beginning by Amy Plum*
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch^
The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas^
Rogue by Julie Kagawa
Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan^
Descent by Tara Fuller
Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen
The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant^
Reckless Hearts by Sean Olin^

*ARCs sent by HarperCollins International (thanks Megan!)
^ARCS from Edelweiss (thanks HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster!)
†ARCs from NetGalley (thanks Harlequin TEEN, Entangled Teen, and Angry Robot!)

I know I've missed a few out because I can't remember everything I've got since my last IMM. But these are the most recent ones. I'm so stoked to read Ice Like Fire and The Immortal Heights! Both series are among my top favourite YA fantasies. I've read a few of these already, of course, and I enjoyed them. I hope I'll get to the rest of them soon!

Well, I clearly need to do these posts more often. I promise to do another in two weeks, and then maybe every two weeks until the summer ends. Hope I stick to it! Let me know if you've read any of these and if you liked them :) And also what you got this week!

Friday, 19 June 2015

Review: Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

Title: Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood #2)
Author: Victoria Scott

Release date: February 24th 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Pages: 313

Source: Publisher

What would you do to save someone you love? What about risking...everything?

In Fire & Flood, Tella Holloway faced a dangerous trek through the jungle and a terrifying march across the desert, all to remain a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed for a chance at obtaining the Cure for her brother. She can't stop—and in Salt & Stone, Tella will have to face the unseen dangers of the ocean, the breathless cold of a mountain, and the twisted new rules in the race.

But what if the danger is deeper than that? How do you know who to trust when everyone's keeping secrets? What do you do when the person you've relied on most suddenly isn't there for support? How do you weigh one life against another?

The race is coming to an end, and Tella is running out of time, resources, and strength. At the beginning of the race there were 122 Contenders. As Tella and her remaining friends start the fourth and final part of the race, just forty-one are left...and only one can win.

I absolutely adored Salt & Stone! It's quite rare that I enjoy a sequel more than the first book, but that definitely happened in this case. This is the perfect follow-up to Fire & Flood, and after that ending I'm super excited to see what Victoria has in store for us next.

The first book followed the Contenders as they went through the jungle and desert. This one shows them trying to survive the ocean and the mountain, the final two sections of the race. We're introduced to a few new members in Tella's little group, and they're just as mysterious as I expected. As Tella gets through the obstacles, she discovers more and more about the elusive people behind the Brimstone Bleed. The end of the race is near, and she needs to do everything she can to win, even if she harbours doubts about the organization.

Tella was fantastic in this book. Her character has developed quite a lot, and she's no longer dependent on others. She can hold her own, and she's smart enough to make decisions for the group. I liked seeing that newfound independence and strength. What makes it even more admirable is that Tella was never an athletic or adventurous kind of girl before the race. In my opinion she was as girly as they come. Throwing someone like her into a race like this would be disastrous, but it's amazing how far she's come. Tella is the kind of strong-willed and kickass survivor that any girl would want to be.

Tella's not just kickass, she's also really really compassionate. She cares about the other Contenders, and about all the Pandoras. In fact, Pandoras that don't belong to her are drawn to her because of her kindness towards them. In a race where survival is key, Tella still cares immensely about the others in her group, and though that's dangerous for her, I thought it was really admirable. Her moral code is as strong as ever, and the race hasn't changed that one bit.

I've got to say Guy pissed me off a little in the beginning. He still sees Tella as the girl who needs saving, even though she's proving him wrong, and that got on my nerves. Guy is used to being the leader, and having Tella challenge his decisions irked him. I would mentally cheer when Tella wins in any of these challenges. It takes Guy a while, but he does come to accept Tella as she is now. And though of course there isn't time for romance at all in the race, Guy and Tella do have some intimate moments. He opens up to her more, and hopefully we'll see an even more open Guy in the next book.

Apart from Tella and Guy, I really love Harper. She's back to help Tella win, and she's as badass as ever despite what happened in Fire & Flood. I loved seeing her in action! I won't say much about the newcomers, but I didn't warm to any of them. Hopefully if we see more new characters in the next book, they'll be likeable!

There's just as much action and suspense and twists in this sequel as there was in Fire & Flood, if not more. Honestly, I never see most of them coming. With Victoria's writing, I felt like I was there in the race with them, and the climatic scenes really got my heart pounding! The book isn't without tragedy, but it's all worth it, trust me. And I loved the Pandoras (especially Madox) even more in this. If this is any indication of what's to come, I'm so incredibly excited!

*Thank you to Scholastic Press for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Release Week Blitz: Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Scorched RWB banner

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Jennifer L. Armentrout's SCORCHED! SCORCHED is a standalone New Adult Contemporary Romance and is a part of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Frigid series. And be sure to grab FRIGID, the first standalone in this amazing series!

SCORCHED Synopsis:

Sometimes life leaves a mark…

Most days, Andrea doesn’t know whether she wants to kiss Tanner or punch him in the gut. He is seriously hot, with legit bedroom eyes and that firefighter body of his, but he’s a major player, and they can’t get along for more than a handful of minutes. Until now.

Tanner knows he and Andrea have had an epic love/hate relationship for as long as he can remember, but he wants more love than hate from her. He wants her. Now. Tomorrow. But the more he gets to know her, the more it becomes obvious that Andrea has a problem. She’s teetering on the edge and every time he tries to catch her, she slips through his fingers.

Andrea’s life is spiraling out of control, and it doesn’t matter that Tanner wants to save her, because when everything falls apart and she’s speeding toward rock bottom, only she can save herself.

Sometimes life makes you work for that happily ever after…

Praise for SCORCHED:

“Armentrout’s latest new adult offering tackles substance abuse and mental illness — and, thankfully, the love of a good man is not going to be what heals this heroine.” – RT Book Reviews

Scorched Excerpt

              Aw, shit.
              I watched Andrea walk into the living room, the normal twitch of her hips absent. No one swayed ass like Andrea, and seeing it gone from her step was answer enough. Our normal whatever-the-fuck-it-was between us had gone further than I intended. No doubt what I’d said had cut her, but shit, it was no different than any other day.
              My hand tightened on the neck of the bottle. For the life of me, I had no idea what the hell Andrea Walters’s problem was. Honestly. No fucking clue. One minute, sweet and sugary words parted those pouty pink lips of hers. Next second, she was a fire-breathing dragon from hell—a hot, fire-breathing dragon, but still. Her moods flipped more quickly than cups did during a game of flip cup.
              Maybe it was because she was a redhead?
              I smirked.
              She’d always been this way with me, and the most fucked-up think about it, there was a part of me that actually looked forward to whatever was going to come out of her mouth. Twisted as fuck. It was like a game between us, to see who could hit the hardest without lifting a finger. If nothing else, it was damn entertaining—or at least, it had been until now. Now, I wasn’t too sure about it.
              Those pretty doe eyes of hers had looked suspiciously damp right before she’d looked away, and yeah…that didn’t sit right with me.
              Kyler shot me a look as he walked past me and grabbed a beer out of the fridge, but I watched Andrea sit on the edge of the couch, her posture unnaturally rigid.
              Sydney leaned against the arm. “We’re thinking about leaving early in the morning, around six.”
              My gaze flicked to Andrea, expecting her to make some kind of crack about not getting up that early, but she was abnormally quiet. My spine stiffened.
              “That should put us at the cabin between nine and ten in the morning, depending on traffic.” Kyler stood beside me as he screwed off the cap. “Then we’ll be heading back the following Monday.”
              “Sounds good to me.” I didn’t take my eyes off Andrea as she fiddled with a strap on her sandals, slipping them onto her feet.
              Sydney glanced at me, smiling softly. “You’re definitely off from the fire department?”
              I nodded. Kyler had mentioned weeks ago about wanting to hit up the cabin before everyone headed back to class, and I’d requested the time off then. Which had meant I’d pulled a lot of doubles, but I hadn’t minded it. Wasn’t too different from the twelve-hour shifts we worked in the first place, and I’d only be there until February of next year, and then I was off to the academy. Not that I was in any hurry to leave the fire department, but being a cop was in my blood. Except I wanted to be a good cop. I’d probably still volunteer at the fire hall once I knew what kind of schedule I was looking at on the force.
              “It makes sense if we drive up together.” Sydney toyed with a strand of her hair. “Kyler and I can pick you two up.”
              Andrea had twisted toward Sydney and started to protest the whole idea of taking one car. I zoned out, staring at her as the bottle of beer dangled from the tips of my fingers.
              Damn…she was a cute girl. Nah, she was more than cute, and it wasn’t like this was the first time I’d noticed that. From the first time I’d seen her at the bar with Sydney, she’d done more than just poke my interest. Hell, anyone with eyes knew she was a very pretty girl. Lush lips. Freckled cheeks and thick, dark eyelashes. Come to think of it, she reminded me of a girl I’d had a crush on in middle school. Hell, couldn’t remember that chick’s name, but she’d had freckles and red hair. I think I used to pull on her braids or some annoying shit like that. My lips tipped up in a small grin as I lifted the bottle to my mouth. Andrea was a motherfucking firecracker, though, not the kind of girl who was easily tamed.
              Hell, not the kind of girl you even wanted to tame.

And don’t miss the first standalone book in the series…



Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks

Scorched RDL Teaser 2

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:

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Review: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Title: Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy #2)
Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Release date: June 2nd 2015
Publisher: Angry Robot
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 421

Source: NetGalley

Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

Stolen Songbird was a great introduction to this series, and Hidden Huntress gets right into the plot from the beginning. This book was really quite long - even twice as long as some YA novels I've read - but it didn't drag anywhere and I felt everything in it was necessary for us to know.

Cécile is in Trianon, away from the trolls and desperate to find the witch Anushka. She's living with her mother and performing on stage like her mother always wanted, but she feels guilty for leaving Tristan in danger. But there's nothing she can do except try her best to find Anushka. Meanwhile, Tristan has his own plans to make things right in Trollus. But can Cécile use her magic and find Anushka before Trollus falls into ruin? And what will she do even if she does find the witch? She has a choice to make, one that will affect every human as well as the trolls.

The book is told from two points of view - Cécile's and Tristan's. This was a great idea, because the two of them are apart for most of the novel. And both of them have really interesting things happening to them, so the alternation between the two POVs kept my attention focused on the pages.

From the first book, we know that magic is new to Cécile - moreover, she's only just discovered that she has some of her own. In Trianon, she enlists the help of her friends Sabine and Chris to hunt down any witches in the area, hoping one of them will lead her to Anushka. I liked seeing Cécile's powers develop, and that she's getting used to being without Tristan, knowing he's in pain.

How I hate her mother, though. I honestly don't know how Cécile can live with a woman like that. Unnecessarily cruel and unkind even to her own daughter. She's such a bitch to everyone. No wonder Cécile's brother despises her. And it annoyed me that Cécile is still desperate for her mother's love and approval even though the heartless woman doesn't deserve a sweet daughter like Cécile.

And oh gosh, Tristan. I felt so terrible for him as I read about the condition he's in. And his own father doing those things to him... It's horrible. Pretty much all the trolls have turned against Tristan after the events of Stolen Songbird, and apart from his few close friends, he has no one to trust. But Tristan is smart and resourceful, and he slowly develops a plan to stop Trollus from getting destroyed thanks to his father's stupid orders.

There's never really a boring moment since something big is always happening, either with Cécile or with Tristan. What I didn't like was that the plot twists were so easy to figure out. Big ones as well as smaller ones - I basically knew it all before the big reveal, and it was ridiculous that Cécile is oblivious when things are so obvious even to the reader. There were just too many clues everywhere - anyone reading the book with a good amount of focus could figure stuff out.

Overall, an enjoyable book but with plot issues. And the length didn't sit very well with me, either. The ending was big, though, so I'm definitely looking forward to the third and final book in the series. I'm anticipating a lot of action and fighting and destruction!

*Thank you to Angry Robot for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #102: Six of Crows

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...

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Six of Crows (The Dregs #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo

Release date: September 29th 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Game of Thrones meets Ocean's Eleven in this brand-book in the world of the Grisha by New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Game of Thrones meets Ocean's Eleven? Sounds incredible! I would read anything Leigh Bardugo writes, and I love heist-type plots. This is set in the Grisha world, so it'll be great to revisit some familiar things as well.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

Title: The Leveller (The Leveller #1)
Author: Julia Durango

Release date: June 23rd 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 174

Source: Edelweiss

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

Though it's a short read, The Leveller definitely got my heart pumping faster and left me turning the last page hoping there would be more. It gets straight into the plot, no beating around the bush or anything - I loved that. The plot captured and held my attention throughout, which is really saying something. So yeah, this was great - I just wish it were longer, though!

The MEEP is a virtual reality world into which anyone can escape. Only their minds, of course; their bodies remain in a comatose state in the real world. Nixy Bauer uses the fact that teenagers spend too much time in the MEEP. She is a Leveller, which means she goes into the virtual world the kids escape to, and brings them back within the hour. And she gets paid a good amount by their parents, so it's a pretty great job. But when the developer of MEEP himself asks Nixy to do a Levelling job for him, she knows it's huge. Why? Because it's his son, Wyn, who's escaped into the MEEP leaving behind a suicide note. Can Nixy find and bring Wyn back before it's too late for both of them?

I love the concept of virtual realities, and the MEEP is one of my favourites so far. I like that we get more detail about how it works than I've seen in other novels with similar concepts. It also somehow seems more realistic to me. Though most of the book takes place in a virtual reality, everything felt incredibly real, like Nixy and Wyn were actually going through all those obstacles and danger.

I adored Nixy. She's my favourite kind of YA heroine - smart, tough, sarcastic, and and all-round badass. Nixy prides herself on her abilities as a Leveller, and finding Wyn is her greatest challenge yet. But how was she to know Wyn would also bring out feelings in her that she'd never experienced before? Nixy doesn't shy away from anything, though, not even her feelings. It was adorable seeing her and Wyn get closer together in the MEEP!

Since this book is quite short, we don't get to delve deep into the characters, other than Nixy of course. I did like Wyn after I got to know him a little more, but it didn't seem like enough. Wyn is cute and smart and a great guy - I just wanted to see more of his character and his personality, if you get what I mean. Other than Nixy and Wyn, we barely see any characters, so it's not too much to ask for that the male protagonist be more 3D.

Overall, The Leveller is a good sci-fi read for anyone - regardless of whether you prefer other genres. It's short enough to capture your attention but long enough that you get sucked into this world. I'm hoping to see more from Julia Durango in the future!

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

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Review: Crash by Eve Silver

Title: Crash (The Game #3)
Author: Eve Silver

Release date: June 9th 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 231

Source: Edelweiss

A thrilling action/suspense novel for fans of The Fifth Wave about contemporary teens pulled in and out of an alternate reality where battling aliens is more than a game—it's life and death.

Miki’s life is falling apart around her. Her dad and best friend are lying in the hospital. The Game is glitching, making missions more frequent and more deadly. And someone close to her is waiting for the right moment to betray her.

Miki feels like she’s hanging on by a thread and the only thing keeping her tethered is Jackson’s hand in hers. Yet telling him how much she needs him, how much she loves him, feels like the biggest challenge of all. And if Miki really wants the missions to end for everyone, she’ll have to let go and be ready to fight when the walls between the Game and reality come crashing down. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that she’s got a whole lot left to lose.

Crash is the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Game trilogy fans won’t want to miss.

Crash was everything I'd been hoping for in a finale! We finally get all the questions answered, and a lot of things become clear in this book. After two amazing action-packed books, I assume it must've been quite hard to make this final one as riveting as the previous ones, but Eve Silver certainly accomplished it.

The plot picks up pretty much right after the end of Push, where Miki discovers that her dad and best friend Carly have been in an accident and are fighting for their lives in the hospital. Miki and the others are pulled again, but this time something is different. Things are changing in the Game, and Miki gets closer and closer to the horrifying truth about it all, with the help of Lizzie, Jackson's sister. Things aren't what they seem, and loyalties are tested to the limit in this heart-pounding finale.

I've always loved Miki throughout the series, and this one is no different. She's smart and resourceful, and I love the way her mind works. She's toughened up a lot thanks to the Game, but she's also unfailingly compassionate. Miki really cares about others, and instead of being her undoing, it's her strength. It was awesome seeing her and the team in action again!

The ever-elusive Jackson opens up more in Crash, and we get to see just how much he cares about Miki. I loved seeing their relationship develop! They become closer, and though they aren't always on the same page, it's obvious that they're meant for each other. They also work so well together - the perfect partnership. There are sides of Jackson that we didn't get to see before, that Miki helps reveal. And despite the incredible danger throughout the book, there are some really cute scenes between them!

This book isn't without tragedy, though. That's all I will say about that. The stakes are as high as they can be, and the team is literally fighting to stay alive during most of it. I liked the turns that the plot takes, and the eventual outcome of it all. I think it was the right one and I have nothing negative at all to say about it. It's a good solid ending, with the insinuation that things aren't over yet.

Overall, this book was the bomb. I loved it even more than the previous ones, despite it not having as many missions. All the sci-fi lovers out there - if you haven't started this series yet, you really really need to! It's something all sci-fi fans and gamers will appreciate. And even those who are neither, I'm pretty sure.

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

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #101: The Iron Warrior

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...

The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #3)
Author: Julie Kagawa

Release date: October 27th 2015
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

The Iron Prince—my nephew—betrayed us all.

He killed me.

Then, I woke up.

Waking after a month on the brink of death, Ethan Chase is stunned to learn that the Veil that conceals the fey from human sight was temporarily torn away. Although humankind's glimpse of the world of Faery lasted just a brief moment, the human world has been cast into chaos, and the emotion and glamour produced by fear and wonder has renewed the tremendous power of the Forgotten Queen. Now, she is at the forefront of an uprising against the courts of Summer and Winter—a reckoning that will have cataclysmic effects on the Nevernever.

Leading the Lady's Forgotten Army is Keirran himself: Ethan's nephew, and the traitor son of the Iron Queen, Meghan Chase. To stop Keirran, Ethan must disobey his sister once again as he and his girlfriend, Kenzie, search for answers long forgotten. In the face of unprecedented evil and unfathomable power, Ethan's enemies must become his allies, and the world of the fey will be changed forevermore.

Finally! I've been waiting so so long for this one. I adore The Iron Fey series and this spin-off too, and after that cliffhanger at the end of the previous book, I need to know what happens! As far as I know this is the end of the series and there are no more spin-offs, so saying goodbye to this world will be pretty hard.