Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Problem with Forever Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway


From #1 New York Times Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER-a young adult title about friendship, survival, and finding your voice being released on May 17th, 2016! Read more about this stunning new novel below and be sure to pre-order your copy today to receive an amazing FREE fan pack while supplies last!

Check out my review of The Problem with Forever below, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Title: The Problem with Forever
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release date: May 17th 2016
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: eARC
Pages: 492

Source: Inkslinger PR
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Indiebound

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

The Problem with Forever reminds me why I love Jennifer Armentrout's books. I normally don't read much YA contemporary, especially with premises similar to this, but I wasn't nervous at all going into this book because it's written by one of my favourite authors. And I wasn't disappointed at all! Armentrout's writing will make you fall in love with her characters, no matter how flawed or broken they are.

After everything she'd faced as a child, Mallory has been homeschooled for the past few years, but she's decided it's time to rejoin the real world by spending her senior year of high school in a public school. She's terrified, obviously, but her emotions get all jumbled up when she meets the last person she'd expected to see at the school - her best friend and the boy she grew up with, Rider. They'd been through a lot together in the foster home they'd lived in, but after the incident that brought Mallory to her current adoptive parents, she'd never heard from Rider, until now. They begin to reconnect, and as Mallory gains the confidence to fight for herself, she realizes that she wasn't the only one affected by her past, and along with Rider being her rock, she may have to be his, too.

Mallory is very different from Armentrout's other female protagonists, and also very different from any YA female protagonist I've read about, really. She takes quite to a whole new level - to the point where people are actually speechless when she does end up saying something to them. But Mallory has reasons for it. Her entire childhood depended on her ability to stay quiet. She was conditioned to never make a sound. Of course that impacts who she grows up to be! I'm amazed at the steps she takes in this book to come out of her shell and change who she was forced to become. It's a very different kind of bravery, but just as important as anything else. Mallory doesn't need anyone to stick up for her anymore, she does just fine on her own, and I was proud to see that happen.

Rider is also pretty different from most YA protagonists. We don't get his point of view in this book so it's a little harder to figure him out, but I loved him. I loved seeing how much he cared about Mallory, and about his adoptive brothers. Rider is a good guy, no matter what he thinks or feels. He's kind and compassionate and though he has a lot of issues to work through, he's strong-willed. I found it a little annoying at first how he'd keep trying to protect and coddle Mallory when what she really needed was to be able to stand up for herself without anyone's help. But Rider understands later, and gives her space.

I wouldn't say there's much romance in this book - it's mostly about Mallory and Rider discovering themselves and becoming the people they want to be. There is romantic tension, for sure, and the slow-burning connection between them is really sweet. What I found interesting is that the story would've worked out great even if there was no romance between them at all! They already have such a deep connection, which definitely would've been enough. But it's a YA contemporary so I guess romance is inevitable. Not that I'm complaining - I really liked it!

There are quite a few shockers in the book, and a few emotional moments too - especially towards the end. I won't say anything about the specific details, but we do find out what happened in Mallory's past. Not as much as I'd expected to know, but still enough. To anyone who enjoys JLA's books - you need to read this one! And also anyone who liked YA contemporary in general. The Problem with Forever is one book you most definitely cannot miss out on. It's touching, captivating, and just overall a great story.

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

Rating: 4/5


Register your preorder of THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER by May 20th to receive a FREE fan pack! Includes inspirational wall art, a colorful poster, and flag-as-you-read stickers. You will also get immediate access to an extended excerpt from the book.


“The intensity between Mouse and Rider is palpably sizzling… romance aficionados [will] lose themselves in Mouse and Rider’s smoldering glances and steamy kisses.” -Kirkus

“Armentrout’s effort to gradually coax her protagonist from her shell via a supportive, loving community succeeds, and readers looking for an inspirational comeback story will find Mallory’s to be satisfying and hopeful” –Publishers Weekly


About the author:

Author Photo--JLA_J. Lynn# 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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Be sure to check out all the stops on THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER Review Tour!

May 9
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Saturday, 7 May 2016

Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

Title: And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1)
Author: Kiersten White

Release date: June 28th 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 336

Source: NetGalley

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

I can't speak for any historical aspects of this book because I'm not familiar with it, but I really enjoyed the direction the story took! And I Darken is a re-imagining of sorts, where Vlad the Impaler is a girl - Lada. Kiersten White takes us through Lada's journey of growing up and becoming who she's meant to be.

Lada isn't at all like other girls of this time period. She's not demure or soft-spoken or feminine in any way. She's the complete opposite! Lada is more like a feral animal than anything else, at least she was as a child. That definitely made it hard to connect with her, even later on in the novel when she's older. All Lada wants is the approval of her father, who, as it turns out, doesn't really care about his children. At least, not as much as a father should. Lada and Radu only have each other, and they need to stick together to survive in an enemy empire.

I liked the world-building in this book, and loved that White included everything we need to imagine the scenes in our heads. I truly felt like I was there with them, and that's why I love White's writing. We get to see how the royals of the Ottoman Empire lived, as well as the complications and politics going on throughout.

The book started off quite slow for me, though. When I said White takes us through Lada's years of growing up, I really meant it. We see her at age five, and twelve, and thirteen, and some in between. I think it took about half the book for us to finally see Lada as a young adult. That's when things got really interesting, but it was annoying that it took so long to get there. I mean, it really shouldn't take half the book for the actual important parts to begin! If I wasn't such a huge fan of White's books and of fantasy in general, I might've even stopped reading about a third in.

Everything in Lada and Radu's lives changes the moment they meet Mehmed. Mehmed is the son of the sultan, and the heir to the throne. The three become fast friends immediately, but after they grow up their relationships start becoming complicated. There is romance and I quite liked it, but that's all I will say.

My favourite character, surprisingly, turned out to be Radu instead of Lada. He's Lada's younger brother, but only by a year, and he's everything Lada is not - gentle, calm, soft-spoken, and kind of a wimp when he was a child. But Radu grows up to realize he has a life of his own that doesn't have to revolve around Lada, and the relationship between the siblings changes too as they get older.

This is really a novel mostly about the characters' growth and personalities. The plot does progress quite a bit, and the ending was well done with no cliffhanger but still with that feeling that I needed the next book. It was interesting to read about the family dynamics in this period, especially how patriarchal the society was. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about these three great characters and how things turn out!

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

Rating: 3.5/5