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


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


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.
“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.”


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


Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | BAM | Kobo


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


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:


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!


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 :)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #104: Unforgiven

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...

Unforgiven by Lauren Kate

Title: Unforgiven (Fallen #5)
Author: Lauren Kate

Release date: November 10th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

It’s the book FALLEN fans have been waiting for: Cam’s story, the brooding, bad-boy dark angel readers love.

High school can be hell.

Cam knows what it’s like to be haunted. He’s spent more time in Hell than any angel ever should. And his freshest Hell is high school, where Lilith, the girl he can’t stop loving, is serving out a punishment for his crimes.

Cam made a bet with Lucifer: he has fifteen days to convince the only girl who really matters to him to love him again. If he succeeds, Lilith will be allowed back into the world, and they can live their lives together. But if he fails…there’s a special place in Hell just for him.


Spread your wings and cry as bad boy dark angel Cam finally reveals his anguished heart in the epic new FALLEN novel, UNFORGIVEN.

YEESSSS. It's been forever since I read the Fallen series, but I remember that Cam was always my favourite. And he was so enigmatic in the series, we never got to know much about him. And now we get an entire book about him? Yay! Needless to say I'm so so pumped for this book.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Review: Invaded by Melissa Landers

Title: Invaded (Alienated #2)
Author: Melissa Landers

Release date: February 3rd 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 356
Source: Borrowed

The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe...until a threat to both their worlds reunites them.

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

I don't know why it took me so long to get to this! Invaded is a fantastic sequel to Alienated, and though I don't think there are more books planned in the series, the ending definitely leaves room for more. I was sucked into this book right from the beginning, and I loved every second of it.

Cara is now on L'eihr to finish the exchange program, and Aelyx is on Earth with Syrine to help fix what they did wrong. Both of them are outsiders on the planets they're living on, and that makes them a target for attacks. Cara and Aelyx are both in danger as unknown people are trying to sabotage the alliance. But from what Cara discovers, maybe a peaceful co-existence isn't the only thing The Way is working towards.

We still get a dual POV from Cara and Aelyx in this book, but it's different this time because they're separated for most of the book. I feel like this is becoming a thing in YA series with dual POV now - that the protagonists are apart for almost the entire sequel, and then get together towards the end, and spend the next book together. Except in this case, there isn't a next book. Nevertheless, it was great getting to see how Cara and Aelyx adjusted to their living situations. Cara's was more interesting because it's her first time on L'eihr, and I was intrigued to see how Melissa Landers would portray an alien planet and their habits.

We get to know a few new characters, both on L'eihr and on Earth. There's Elle, Aelyx's sister who is rooming with Cara. She's basically the only ally Cara has, other than her brother, Troy - who returns to Earth quite soon. We also see Jaxen quite a bit - the creepy guy who's part of the Way and who seemed to be hitting on Cara a little at the end of Alienated. I really sympathized with Cara in this book, because she's practically all alone, surrounded by hostile beings. She's out of her depth, she missed her family and Aelyx, and she's being framed for crimes she didn't commit.

Aelyx is in a similar situation. There are attempts on his life, and so he and Syrine are stuck with a bodyguard, David. Well, stuck is a little harsh. David is about their age, and is another new character we meet. And he and Syrine seem to have a thing going on. Yeah, totally unexpected, am I right? It was hilarious to see Syrine getting all hot and bothered over a human guy! But apart from that, Invaded has quite a serious tone. It's not humans that are the problem this time - it's the L'eihrs. And they're an unknown entity to Cara, so trying to find the truth is dangerous as hell.

There isn't much room for romance since Cara and Aelyx are literally galaxies away. They do spend quite a bit of time talking through their com-spheres, but other than that they miss each other a lot. Cara wasn't pining away on L'eihr like some YA heroines would, so I liked that. She still stays strong despite everything thrown at her, and she remains the upbeat and amusing girl we saw in Alienated.

A lot of things happen towards the end, and things and people are all over the place. There's a shooting incident again, but more serious this time. There's heartache, and still a few unanswered questions by the end. It felt like there was going to be another book, but at the same time it was a satisfying ending to the series. These books work well as a duology, and though I'd be ecstatic to see a novella or something to tie up the loose ends, I'm glad Landers left things like this.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Release Day Promo: Mania by J.R. Johansson

MANIA (The Night Walkers #3) is out today! I'm really excited to read this one, and I'm definitely going to grab it soon. If you haven't started this series yet, go ahead and do it! It's an awesome YA thriller series that'll definitely get your heart pumping.

Jack and his half-brother Parker have no time to mourn the loss of their father, Daniel Chipp. With an attack by the body-stealing Takers imminent, the pair must put aside their grief and track down the ingredients of Daniel’s formula—one that will rein in the power-hungry Takers—to keep their family and friends out of danger.

Their only hope lies in a puzzle their father left behind, a riddle where each brother unknowingly possesses a piece of the solution. The puzzle sets them on a deadly path, spiraling between reality and the world of dreams where nothing and no one can be trusted entirely. And when Parker finds himself deep in the fray between the Takers and the other Night Walkers, it’s up to Jack to complete the formula and save his brother’s life.

Release date: July 8th 2015
Publisher: Flux
Purchase links: Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | The Book Depository | IndieBound | Amazon | The King's English

About the author: 

I have two young sons and a wonderful husband. In fact, other than my cat, Cleo, I'm nearly drowning in testosterone. My family is a handful, but they always keep me busy and happy.

My B.S. degree is in public relations and I have a background in marketing. My abnormal psychology minor inspired many of my characters.

When I'm not writing, I love reading, playing board games, and sitting in my hot tub. My dream is that someday I'll find a way to do all three at the same time.

Find J.R. Johansson on:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Guest Post: J.R. Johansson (The Nights Walkers series)

Hi everyone! I'm thrilled to welcome author J.R. Johansson to City of Books today. MANIA, the final book in her Night Walkers trilogy, will be released tomorrow, so don't forget to grab a copy! Check out the awesome guest post Jenn wrote about writing YA thrillers below :)

Writing Free

Writing a scary book is something every writer should try at least once. I say that to aspiring authors all the time and I hear the same responses, “I don’t think I could” or “I’m not sure I have that in me.” Let me tell you why that shouldn’t matter.

I’ve been in your shoes. I never thought I would enjoy writing anything in the horror arena. I’m a happy, normal, well-adjusted person. Don’t you have to be dark and disturbed to want to write that stuff? Why would someone like me have it in them to write something with the direct intent to scare my readers? My instinct was that I wouldn’t, it wasn’t even on my radar.

The very first book I ever wrote wasn’t scary. It was more of a sci-fi action-adventure than anything else. Still, I kept getting the same feedback from my critique partners: the high-tension/high-action scenes were where I really excelled. The other parts, I could manage and even make good with some work…but the scary scenes, the dangerous parts, they came naturally to me.

So, when I decided to finally shelve my sci-fi, I thought I’d try something really different. Why not follow my strengths and see if I could work with a darker genre—maybe one that would allow for more action and more tension throughout? I honestly had little faith that I could write something like that at all…let alone that I would enjoy it so much. Now, I can’t imagine writing something that doesn’t have at least a healthy dose of scary as a part of it.

For me, writing is very much like reading. I need to be entertained to keep the story going. If it’s slower, I tend to get bored and start writing something more exciting. With thrillers, I discovered that as long as I’m on the right track, I never get bored. I work hard at improving my craft all the time, but it always helps to have some part of it that feels natural.

My point with all of this is to say that it’s honestly very difficult for me to imagine working without these elements in my stories. And I never thought I would end up loving to write what I do. Learn from this common mistake, all you wonderful aspiring authors out there, don’t bind your own hands. Write big and be up to give anything a go. Take other genres out for a spin. You can’t know what you may love until you try it.

Don’t let your idea of yourself confine your creativity.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this, Jenn! I hope all you aspiring authors reading this can take something away from this post.

If you haven't already started the Night Walkers trilogy, do yourself a favour and grab the first book!

Insomnia (The Night Walkers #1)

Her eyes saved his life.
Her dreams released his darkness.

After four years of sleeplessness, high school junior Parker Chipp can't take much more. Every night, instead of sleeping, he enters the dreams of the last person he's made eye contact with. If he doesn't sleep soon, Parker will die.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. But what starts out as a chance meeting turns into an obsession; Parker's furious desire for what he needs pushes him to extremes he never thought he'd go. And when someone begins to terrorizing Mia with twisted death threats, Parker's memory blackouts leave him doubting his own innocence.

About the author:

I have two young sons and a wonderful husband. In fact, other than my cat, Cleo, I'm nearly drowning in testosterone. My family is a handful, but they always keep me busy and happy.  

My B.S. degree is in public relations and I have a background in marketing. My abnormal psychology minor inspired many of my characters.

When I'm not writing, I love reading, playing board games, and sitting in my hot tub. My dream is that someday I'll find a way to do all three at the same time.

Find J.R. Johansson on:

Monday, 6 July 2015

Review: The Replaced by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Replaced (The Taking #2)
Author: Kimberly Derting

Release date: April 28th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Pages: 354

Source: Publisher

Romantic and action-packed, The Replaced is the gripping second installment in the Taking trilogy.

Kyra hasn't been the same since she returned from her mysterious five-year disappearance. Now, on the run from the NSA, Kyra is forced to hide out with others who, like her, have been Returned. Yet she is determined to find Tyler, the boy she loves who was also abducted—all because of her. When her group intercepts a message that Tyler might still be alive but is in the hands of a shadowy government organization that experiments on the Returned, Kyra knows it's a risk to go after him. What if it's a trap? And worse, what if the returned Tyler isn't the same boy she lost?

Perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the Body Finder series, The Replaced is both chilling and explosive, with creepy, otherworldly elements and twisty, psychological thrills that will have you questioning what exactly it means to be human.

Plot-wise, this was a great follow-up to The Taking. We finally get some answers, and I like where the story is going. The only thing I'm iffy about is the romance aspect of the book, so my feelings about the book overall are quite mixed.

It's been twenty-five days since Tyler, Kyra's dad, and Agent Truman disappeared. Kyra is in Silent Creek camp, still looking for evidence that the vanished have returned. When they get a lead, a group of them decide to follow it. Kyra's desperate to find Tyler, but she can't know if the boy returned is the same as he used to be.

The pace of this one was great, with an introduction to the new characters in the first few chapters, and then right into the action in the next few. I liked getting to know the characters in this book - Simon, Jett, Natty, Thom, and Willow. They're all very different from each other but somehow, along with Kyra, they work great as a team. I especially liked Simon in this book, and I'm glad we get to know more about him. He's a leader, but he's not ruthless or dispassionate. He's kind to Kyra, and he empathizes with her despite the fact that he's pursuing a girl in love with someone else.

And that brings me to the romance. Why, why, why was a love triangle introduced in this book? Not that I really liked Kyra and Tyler together, but now that Tyler's missing, Simon has to make a move? And then begins the clichéd girl-can't-pick-between-two-amazing-guys plot thread. Ugh. Simon deserves better, he really does.

I love the characters on their own, though. Simon's awesome, and Kyra really steps up in this book too. She's trying to get a hold on her newfound powers while doing everything she can to find the people she loves. She's stubborn and badass and doesn't take no for an answer. What she wants, she makes sure she gets. Kyra's strong personality really started to grow on me. I hope it remains the same in the next book!

There are, of course, a few twists in this. One involving Kyra was pretty big, and I'm curious to see how that plays out in the next book. There's another one that's again very clichéd, and I was disappointed by that. Regardless, it works well with the storyline, so the plot is redeemable. The next book is the finale of the trilogy, so it's got to be jam-packed with action and of course answers to all our questions. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

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

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, 4 July 2015

In My Mailbox #42

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.

Firstly, happy 4th of July to all the Americans! I hope that next year I'll be in the US at this time to celebrate with everyone, but for this year I'll stick to scrolling through my friends' Facebook pictures and Snapchat stories. Book-wise, I haven't got much since my last IMM but here they are anyway!

For Review

The Next Together by Lauren James*
Another Day by David Levithan^
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell^

*ARC sent by Pansing (thanks Sasha!)
^ARCs from NetGalley (thanks Random House and Disney!)

I'm really excited to read The Next Together, since it mashes so many different genres together. I'm curious to see how that plays out. I've read Another Day, and quite liked it. Look out for my review this month! I attempted A Whole New World, but it was sadly a dnf for me, and I'm really disappointed about that. I hadn't read any review before requesting it, which I now see I should've done. Oh well, I'll remember that for next time.

So that's my haul this week! Leave a comment if you've read or are looking forward to any of these :)

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Review: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

Title: The Cemetery Boys
Author: Heather Brewer
Release date: March 30th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Thriller
Format: ARC
Pages: 273

Source: Publisher

When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head.

Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them.

Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.

The Cemetery Boys is pretty different from most of the YA books I read. I'm still not entirely sure if this is paranormal or not! After reading about the legends of the Winged Ones in this book, there's still no proof that they actually exist. It's a nice change that Brewer left things to the reader's imagination.

Stephen hates that he has to uproot his life and move to Spencer, his father's hometown. Just him and his father, because they've admitted Stephen's mother in a mental facility. Gosh, I felt so bad for her and for Stephen... Especially since Spencer is such a dull, dreary place. Stephen soon meets kids his age and is pulled into a group of boys he's not sure he should be hanging out with. Devon, their leader, is charismatic, confident, and scary as hell. His sister, Cara, is scary too but in a different way. Stephen finds himself attracted to her in a way he's never been before, but his happiness hangs in the balance after discovering there's more to Spencer and the urban legends surrounding the town than he'd thought.

The only character we really get to know is Stephen. Devon and Cara are present quite a lot, but we never get to know much about them, so they remained very two-dimensional to me. Not just Devon and Cara, but the other 'cemetery boys' too. They just seemed to be there for the sake of it.

Stephen's search for the truth was pretty interesting to me - my favourite part of mysteries is the protagonist's process of figuring stuff out. And the description of Spencer was great; I definitely know that I would never want to live in a town like that! Its creepiness factor is pretty high, especially if you add in the Winged Ones legend and the 'sacrifices' that have occurred to placate them.

The biggest thing in this book is the climax towards the end, where there's basically a showdown and everything is revealed. There's a twist at this point, but I had my suspicions about it so it didn't really come as a surprise to me. I guess that was a little bit of a letdown. I was hoping to be appropriately shocked at the climax. This book is a fun quick read, and I'm glad it's a standalone because thriller books like this are best that way. Even though I wish there had been more depth to the characters, the plot was enough to keep me invested in the novel.

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

Rating: 3/5