Blood of the Prophet, Kat Ross – Book Review

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30228183Visionary. Alchemist. Savior. Saint.

The Prophet Zarathustra has been called many things. Now he spends his time drawing pictures of weird-looking goats. That’s what happens when you’ve been stuck in a prison cell for two hundred years. But the man who might be mad, and is definitely supposed to be dead, has suddenly become very valuable again…

It’s only been a few weeks since Nazafareen escaped the King’s dungeons with her daēva, Darius. She hoped never to set foot in the empire again, but the search for the Prophet has led them to the ancient city of Karnopolis. They have to find him before Alexander of Macydon burns Persepolae, and Darius’s mother with it. But they’re not the only ones looking.

The necromancer Balthazar has his own plans for the Prophet, and so does the sinister spymaster of the Numerators. As Nazafareen is drawn in to a dangerous game of cat and mouse, her newfound powers take a decidedly dark turn. Only the Prophet understands the secret of her gift, but the price of that knowledge may turn out to be more than Nazafareen is willing to pay…

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*Review copy received in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

I cannot express in words, the amount of love I have for this series. I absolutely LOVED THE FIRST BOOK and dove right into the second one, not giving myself a chance to come out of the world of The Fourth Element Series. I’m glad that I had all the books before I started reading because I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS!

The world building is insanely amazing. I have no words. Really. I’ve blabbered about it in the review for the first book, but I don’t have words as to how much I love it. It’s so good. And the characters. My, my! Such good characters. They’re understated in the best way and they’re so different and complex and you don’t realize just how multi faceted they are in the first go. They’re constantly changing, growing and building. I love that!

I love that there was no love triangle. Thank you, Kat! Seriously, I LOVE THAT FACT. SO VERY MUCH. Love triangles are a sort of pet peeve of mine and I don’t like them, but they’re sort of given in most books and I brave through them because I like the other aspects of the book. But, here, it was just Darius and Nazarfeen and no unwanted third players and I really like that. I also like that the romance was not overtly done. While it’s a huge part of the story, it’s not everything. Many a time, the romance tends to overshadow the rest of the plot, but that didn’t happen here. And, the characters didn’t go about declaring their love for each other constantly or making any grand gestures, but the ove they felt for each other was visible in the way they cared for each other, in the way they were always around each other. I admire that.

The story was a little slow in the beginning, but it was still good and the end left me with no complaints. I really liked the way it was written and all the situations and all the plots and sub plots were great!

All in all, it is an absolutely amazing read and it does complete justice to the first book in the series! I can’t wait to start reading the next one in the series which I’m gonna do as soon as I’m done posting this!

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I’ve always loved to read more than anything in the world, especially so-called genre stories—mysteries, fantasy, sci-fi, thrillers, horror. I like books that take you by the hand and lead you out of the mundane. That ease back the curtain and show you the wondrous and dark and unexpected lurking just around the next corner. I worked in journalism for a long time before I returned to writing fiction. Guess which is more fun?

The Midnight Sea, Kat Ross – Book Review

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29670787They are the light against the darkness.

The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.

And they use demons to hunt demons….

Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.

Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.

As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake.

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Top Ten Tuesday (#3) – Top 10 Debut Authors of 2017 I’m Excited For!

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This week’s prompt for TTT by The Broke & The Bookish is 2017 Debuts! And let me tell you, I AM EXCITED FOR A LOT OF THEM!

 

1. The Color Project, Sierra Abrams

2. When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon

3. Caraval, Stephani Garber

4. Gilded Cage, Victoria James

5. You’re Welcome, Universe, Whitney Gardner

6. #famous, Jilly Gagnon

7. Textrovert, Lindsey Summers

8. Definitions of Indefinable Things, Whitney Taylor

9. Geekerella, Ashley Poston

10. Poison’s Kiss, Breeana Shields

The Heir of Thunder, Karissa Laurel – Blog Tour

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32070020The Lord of Thunder’s sudden death leaves his daughter, Evelyn Stormbourne, unprepared to rule Inselgrau in his place. Weeks before Evie’s ascension to the throne, revolutionaries attack and destroy her home. She conceals her identity and escapes under the protection of her father’s young horse master, Gideon Faust. Together they flee Inselgrau and set sail for the Continent, but they’re separated when a brutal storm washes Evie overboard.

In her efforts to reunite with her protector and reach allies on the Continent, Evie befriends a band of nomads who roam the world in airships fueled by lightning. She also confronts a cabal of dark Magicians plotting to use her powers to create a new divine being, and she clashes with an ancient family who insists her birthright belongs to them.

If she’s to prevail and defeat her enemies, Evie must claim her heritage, embrace her dominion over the sky, and define what it means to be Heir of Thunder.

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Heir of Thunder is the story of Evelyn ‘Evie’ Stormbourne and her struggles to get her kingdom back from the lords who are trying to invade it, owing to the untimely death of her father.

The story opens with explosions throughout Evie’s kingdom and her running away with Gideon, a trusted employee of his father. They begin their journey to Dreutch, where Gideon says are people who will help Evie in fighting against the revolution in her country. During the way, she runs into her fair share of troubles that change her, for the better, or so I believe.

Evie, I think, is a very strong character. She has much to learn and has a lot of growing up to do before she can take over her kingdom. I thought that she was too naive and trusting for more than half the book, which led her into difficult, life threatening situations more than once. Yes, she needed to trust some one but trusting every person she met along the way but she seemed to think that every other person walking on the road was trustworthy. Yes, some of them were, but not all. Despite Gideon telling her, repeatedly, not to trust anyone, not even Gideon himself, she still did. But, she was strong and brave and resilient and I like that. She never gave up without a fight and had the ability to think on her feet. Which, saved her from a lot of dangers. So, yeah, she’s a multi faceted character and I like that about her. She has a lot of room to grow in the next installments of the book.

I liked how her character developed through the course of the book. The plot was intriguing and fast paced. I was never bored, so yay! It was relatively short, which made it easy for me to read the book in almost 2 hours. 😀

All in all, it’s a great story! I’m looking forward to the next installment!

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Chapter 1

A rumble of thunder woke me. I shifted under my quilts, turned towards my window, and searched the sky for clouds. Storms always made me smile; made me feel a little less lonely. Black clouds, lightning, and rain reminded me of better times, when thunder was a regular event in our household. My father used to make the loveliest thunder—more like percussion in a heavenly orchestra than cannonade and ordnance. I had never mustered the necessary energy to expulse that kind of force. My attempts always sounded more like the blast of a large pop gun.

Another report rippled through the air, but it sounded wrong this time—a little too sharp and cold for something as organic as thunder. A third, angry blast proved the source was nothing harmonious with nature. The clamor had a cadence, a rhythm, and when I slid out of bed, the vibrations from it quaked through the stones under my feet.

Boom!

“1… 2… 3… 4….” I counted off a half-minute and—Boom!—another explosion. I counted a half minute again, which concluded with another detonation.

My bedroom door flew open, and Gerda rushed in still wearing her rumpled nightgown. The braid she wore for sleeping had slackened during the night, and stiff rust-colored curls sprang around her face. Fear and worry crackled from her like static from a wool blanket. “Evie, my dear, you’ve got to get dressed.” She pulled me to my feet and yanked my sleeping gown over my head.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Gideon was just at my door. He told me have you out to the stables as quickly as possible.”

“Did he say why?”

“He did not, but I won’t be the one to contradict him. The look on his face was murderous.”

“How is that different from any other day?”

Boom!

Gerda didn’t laugh, and that worried me more than the persistent racket. “What in the world is making all that noise?” I asked.

“I haven’t had the time to look, but whatever it is, it can’t be good.”

“I figured out that much for myself,” I said under my breath.

If she heard me, she chose to ignore it and tossed me a pair of wide-legged trousers disguised as a skirt.

I slipped them on while she scurried to unearth my boots. “I take it we’re not using the carriage?”

“Gideon said you would be riding.”

“What about you?”

Gerda backed out of my wardrobe, wide rump first, and turned to face me. A stern expression hardened her face as she clamped her hands to her hips, and in a sharp tone said, “You are our main concern, Evie. Let’s get you safely away, and then I’ll worry about myself.”

“Safely away from what?”

Boom!

Glass shattered in a room somewhere below us and the whole house shuddered.

“From whatever is making that horrible clatter. Quit asking questions and get dressed!” Gerda rarely lost her temper, especially not with me.

Her abnormal temperament stirred me into action. I wrestled a high-collared blouse over my head, buckled on a wide belt, buttoned up a short suede waistcoat, and laced up my favorite riding boots.

She shoved me onto a stool beside my vanity and yanked my hair, forcing it into a tight braid. “Your hair’s straight as a stick and slick as a snake. I can never seem to weave it into a proper plait, even when I have plenty of time and my hands aren’t shaking.”

“Forget it. I’ll twist it up like usual.” I reached back to take over the familiar routine, but Gerda smacked my hands away.

“No, I’ve almost got it.” She grunted once and yanked again.

I winced but had the sense to keep my protests to myself.

“There.” She retrieved a ribbon from one of her ubiquitous pockets, wrapped it around the end of the braid, and double-tied the knot for reinforcement. “I don’t want any of it coming loose while you ride.”

I reached back and patted the careful arrangement. “Thank you, Gerda. Now, you get dressed and we’ll go.”

“No!” She stomped a stubby foot. “Gideon was clear. He only wants you. You must go. Now.”

Another explosion rocked the floor, and Gerda stumbled against the wardrobe. She leaned on the heavy piece of furniture until she regained her footing. The house shook and groaned as something structural gave way. Yells and shouts carried up from the lower floors.

“Are you going to meet us?” I asked. My heart raced, dancing a flittering beat. “Do you know where we’re going?”

“I don’t, but Gideon will take good care of you.”

Tears welled in my eyes, but the steely look on her face kept them from falling. “What will you do?”

“I’m going to get dressed and gather up Stephen and our boys. We’ll be out the door a short bit after you.”

“Then why can’t you go with me?”

“Now’s not the time for whining, Evelyn. Be a good girl. Do as I say.” She used the same mother-hen tactics she had employed when I’d proved to be a tempestuous child. It set the proper tone to rouse me from my panic.

“Hug me,” I said. “I’ll miss you.”

She threw her thick arms round me and pressed me into her abundant bosom. “I’ll miss you too, my girl.”

I inhaled her scent—a mixture of all the herbs in her garden, and especially comfrey, her favorite cure-all.

She squeezed me again and broke away. “Gideon will keep you safe, if you’ll listen to him and not let your impetuousness get in his way.”

She gathered my raw silk cloak from its hook by the door and tossed it at me.

I snapped it from the air and swirled it over my shoulders. When the cloak caught a beam of sunlight streaming from the window, the fabric shimmered with rainbow swirls like a soap bubble.

“Go now. Hurry.” Gerda yelled her final command over the screaming of tortured metal, as if a giant-toothed creature had bitten into the soul of the house.

I hugged her again and dashed out the door.

In the hallway, several of the house’s other occupants hurried past me in various states of dress. Tolick, the all-purpose houseboy, ran toward the stairwell. He had managed to button on his trousers but had neglected to remove his nightcap.

On the bottom floor, I turned for the kitchen.

The cooks had abandoned their breakfast preparations. A large porridge pot bubbled over on the stove, and thick strips of bacon burned on a griddle. A babble of excited voices drifted in from distant corridors, but no one came my way as I scurried toward the rear door of the kitchen. Beyond the exit, my route led me through Gerda’s garden, a sanctuary of herbs and vegetables protected by a stone wall enclosure rising high overhead. Thick vines of ivy and budding wisteria climbed the tops of those barriers. She would need to prune them soon, but we were all running, fleeing these familiar walls.

Would we return before the ivy took over? Would the house survive long enough for it to matter?

I ran past the garden’s iron gates and my breath puffed in thin, vaporous spurts. Spring had arrived less than two weeks ago, and the mornings still lingered in the recent days of winter. I pulled up my hood and wrapped my cloak tighter around me as a shield against the cold.

At that moment, I could have turned around for an unobstructed view of my house, but that would have meant witnessing its destruction. The house cried to me, but what relief could I offer? A feeling of helplessness settled in my gut like curdled milk. Father would have known what to do, but I was merely his daughter, his masterwork left incomplete by an untimely death.

I hacked a derisive cough at that thought. As if death ever comes at an appropriate time.

Curiosity overrode my fear. I slowed, stopped, and turned on my heel. As I wheeled around and looked up, my heart plummeted to my feet.

The house stood ablaze, smoke billowing from several of the first floor windows. Its wooden floors and beamed ceilings would surely feed the flames and turn the billows into a monstrosity of acrid, black plumes. The exterior might survive the fire—an ancestor had constructed Fallstaff from large granite blocks that had withstood tide and time for hundreds of years—but it wouldn’t survive the volley of explosive fodder from the trebuchet now installed on the front lawn.

One of my father’s war manuals showed illustrations of that vicious machine, but I had never seen one in reality. Someone with a brain for engineering had rigged this one with a system of levers, pulleys, and gears. A steam engine automated its processes, and every few seconds a conveyer belt fed another iron missile into a waiting bucket attached to a long wooden arm. From this distance, the trebuchet looked like an assemblage of toothpicks and hungry metal teeth, yet its ammunition tore holes through Fallstaff’s stone and mortar like a moth devours a wool sweater.

A group of men stood around its base, guarding the machine with rifles and crossbows. No one tried to engage them or fight back, as all were too concerned with escape. From that distance, they appeared as little more than stick figures.

I stepped closer in hopes of recognizing their uniforms or gear.

“Evie, what are you doing?” Gideon’s unmistakable bellow interrupted my thoughts. My father’s young horse master waited at the gate of the small paddock beside the stables, clutching two reins in his fist. One leather line led to his giant black stallion, Gespenst—a Dreutchish name meaning specter, or ghost. The other tether led to my horse, Nonnie, a gray-coated mare with a dappled rump.

“Gideon, what’s happening?” I jogged toward him. Something exploded behind me, and the aftershock sent me stumbling, but Gideon’s free hand shot out and latched around my elbow. I locked eyes on his stoic face and refused to look back.

“This is no time for an explanation,” he said. “Mount up, we’re riding south.” He tossed my horse’s reins in my direction and slid onto Gespenst’s back with an ease that demonstrated his familiarity with the saddle.

Nonnie snorted and rolled her eyes, announcing her displeasure over the noise and brusque treatment she had inevitably received from Gideon as he’d arranged her tack.

Nonnie and I managed most of our adventures on nothing more than wild oats and a few apples lifted from the larder. This journey would undoubtedly last longer than any we had taken in all our years together, and she must have felt some of the same trepidation as I. She stomped an eager hoof as I mounted, and when I nudged her forward, she fell into a canter behind Gideon and his horse.

Gespenst bore saddlebags stuffed to the brim. The tip of Gideon’s compact repeating crossbow, Sephonie, poked from the edge of the flap.

I thought of my own crossbow, which I’d never felt a need to name, and wondered if it had made its way into Nonnie’s packs. Gideon could take a stag from horseback with one shot; I could shoot a slow moving rabbit… if I had time to focus and plenty of solid footing.

I had no idea where we’d go, but at least we wouldn’t starve on our way there.

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The Heir of Thunder Blog Tour Schedule

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13801450Karissa lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky. Some of her favorite things are coffee, chocolate, and super heroes. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. She loves to read and has a sweet tooth for fantasy, sci-fi, and anything in between. Sometimes her husband convinces her to put down the books and take the motorcycles out for a spin. When it snows, you’ll find her on the slopes

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Top Ten Tuesday (#2) – 10 Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly prompt hosted by the amazing people over at The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s prompt is Top Ten Things I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree. The list is in no particular order.

 

1. Throne of Glass Series by SJ Maas

23599075When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.

Do I even need to explain this one? I mean, SJM! ‘Nuff said.

 

2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

23395680

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

This book has also been making lots of rounds on my Twitter TL and I think it would make for an interesting read.

3. Knitting In The City Series by Penny Reid

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There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn’t know how to knit.

After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can’t help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can’t afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can’t refuse.

Anybody who knows me, knows that I’m complete Penny Reid trash. I would read grocery lists and be happy if they were written by that lady. (Kidding. I totally wouldn’t, but you get the idea.) So, yeah, I love her work. Though I have all her books in the e – format, I would kill to own paperbacks. Preferably signed ones. So, yeah.

4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

11408650Mara Dyer believes life can’t get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

I’ve heard so many good things about this series! I mean, so very many! But, I haven’t read it. So, I wouldn’t mind these in the least!

5. A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

22055262Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Victoria Schwab. Do I need to say more? I mean, gah! She’s so good (or so I’ve heard) and I would love to read her books!

6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

17675462Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Gansey is different. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been told by her psychic family that she will kill her true love. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

The amount of longing I have to read this book is unparalleled. I mean, really unparalleled.

7. The Six of Crows Dualogy by Leigh Bardugo

23437156Ketterdam: 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

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

The thing that intrigues me most about this is the variety of characters in this book. I mean, so very many. And it’s Leigh Bardugo. Can you ask for more?

 

8. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

22910900What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

The premise of this book is something that thoroughly entices me. I mean, what if you aren’t the Chosen One? I want to know about that life. Because that is the life I lead.

9. The Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor

8490112Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

I have read some of the first book in this trilogy and it was absolutely beautiful. But, I would love to own the set and finally finish this series because it is going to be glorious!

10. The Aryavarta Chronicles by Krishna Udayasankar

15823163HONOUR. DESIRE. VENGEANCE.

Aryavarta – the ancient realm of the noble.

For generations, the Firstborn dynasty of scholar-sages, descendants of Vasishta Varuni and protectors of the Divine Order on earth, has dominated here. For just as long, the Angirasa family of Firewrights, weapon-makers to the kings and master inventors, has defied them. In the aftermath of the centuries-long conflict between the two orders, the once-united empire of Aryavarta lies splintered, a shadow of its former glorious self.

Now, the last Secret Keeper of the Firewrights is dead, killed by a violent hand, and the battle for supreme power in the empire is about to begin.

As mighty powers hurtle towards a bloody conflict, Govinda Shauri, cowherd-turned-prince and now Commander of the armies of Dwaraka, must use all his cunning to counter deception and treachery if he is to protect his people and those whom he loves.

But who holds the key to the fantastic and startling knowledge of the Firewrights, which in the wrong hands will bring doom upon the empire? And does Govinda have it in him to confront the dark secrets of his past and discover the true meaning of being Arya, of being noble?

History? Mythology? Retelling? COUNT ME IN! I need to read this ASAP!

Honourable Mentions

The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

The Magnus Chase Series by Rick Riordan

The GameWorld Trilogy by Samit Basu

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

What are your most anticipated reads? What would you like this Christmas? Please drop in the comments and let me know! I would love to see what everyone here wants for Christmas! 😀

Happy Reading!

 

The French Impressionist, Rebecca Bischoff – Blog Tour

 

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The French Impressionist
Rebecca Bischoff
Publication date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Rosemary is fifteen and gloriously free, on her own for the very first time. Part of an exchange program for aspiring artists, she arrives in sunny southern France with a single goal: she doesn’t plan to leave, ever. She wants a new life, a new family, and a new identity. But her situation, crafted from lies big and small, is precarious.

Desperate to escape haunting images from her past and a stage one helicopter parent, Rosemary struggles to hide her lack of artistic talent and a communication disorder that has tormented her all her life. She believes her dream of a new start will come true, until she unwittingly finds herself enveloped in a decades-old mystery that threatens to ruin her only chance for success. Determined to stay, Rosemary must choose whether or not she’ll tell the biggest lie of all, even if it means destroying the life of someone she cares about.

Dramatic, heartwarming, and full of teenage angst, The French Impressionist perfectly captures the struggle of those who feel they have no voice, and also shows the courage it takes to speak up and show the world who we really are.

EXCERPT

 

 

 

 

 

 

I look around. My room, my beautiful new room, has forests and oceans and mountains painted all over the walls. It has stars and planets on the ceiling. A mustard-colored rug spattered with paint sits on the floor. On the bed is a vivid quilt that’s a kaleidoscope of colors. The room has a window that looks out over redtiled roofs and palm trees. It even has a cat! Amber eyes glow up at me from the puff of grey fluff resting on the rug. I was never allowed to have a pet. I stare at the pile of grey fur for a second, not sure what to do. Will it chase me from its territory? But the puffball simply closes its yellowy eyes and goes to sleep. I turn back, close the blue-painted door, and stare at the knob. There’s no lock. On this side or on the other side. It’s perfect. A couple of tears spill down my face, but I swipe them away. My new life just started, and I’m going to live it. I’m going to head back down to the shop and get to know my new family. But when I grasp the doorknob, I stop. I don’t want to leave just yet. I turn to check out the room one more time, straining a little to see the murals as the light from the window changes from bright to dim. Outside, clouds cover the sun and a summer storm spatters rain onto the glass. I don’t bother to turn on the light, though. I know this room well already. I walk along the walls, tracing the paintings with a gentle finger. The photo of this room on Sylvie’s blog was what started it all. It’s part of the reason that I’m here and why I chose Sylvie and Émile to be my new family. The mural at the head of the bed is my favorite. A trail curves through a forest, then up the side of a steep canyon, where it angles back and forth in sharp switchbacks. Every so often, along the trail is a boy who carries a backpack and walking stick. The boy, lanky and brown like Sylvie, gradually grows taller. It’s their son, Ansel, now gone. He painted himself somewhere on the trail each year for his birthday. The figure at the very top of the cliff is Ansel at eighteen, heading to Paris. He’s smiling and pumping a fist into the air. I kiss my fingers and touch them to the painted boy’s tiny head. “Thank you, Ansel,” I whisper. I couldn’t be here if he weren’t gone. “I promise I’ll take care of the room for you.” A gleam of light glows on the wall a few feet away. I jerk my hand back in surprise. Painted on the other side of Ansel’s cliff is a wide expanse of stormy sky over a dark ocean. Streaks of bright lightning cross the gloomy haze, but one line of lightning extends downward in a straight line, cutting through sky and cloud until it plunges into the ocean. I move closer until my nose is practically against the paint and stare. The straight line, of course, isn’t painted lightning. It’s a crack in the wall, one so deep that light from the next room shines through it. Then, before I can even begin to wonder, the crack disappears. What just happened?

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Author Bio:

Rebecca Bischoff currently resides in Idaho with her family and works as a speech-language pathologist. She loves helping others, especially kids and teenagers, discover their own unique voices and learn to share who they are with the world. When she isn’t writing, she loves to read, spend time with her kids, and make awkward attempts to learn foreign languages. She is drawn to all things both French and Italian, used bookstores, and anything made out of chocolate.

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Hero High, Mina Chara – Blog Tour

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31439265Reality TV meets Superhero High School in this intriguing story about friendship, fame, and what it means to be a hero.

In Icon City superheroes save the day every day on the quarter hour. Led by Captain Fantastic, scores of superhero celebrities do their best to train the next generation. Seventeen year old Friday Fitzsimmons and Jake her childhood friend are their latest starstruck recruits. When Doctor Dangerous returns from the dead and the Figure in Flames decimates the city, Captain Fantastic is betrayed by one of his own.

Torn between Jake, Ashley and her feelings for Doctor Dangerous, Friday must decide if her childhood friend is worth fighting for, and if the worlds most famous super-villain is worth saving, all while learning how to be a hero.

 

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Hero High is an amazing story about superheroes and reality TV. Yes, actual, real superheros who got their powers in a very Barry Allen like way are on reality TV which documents their life at Superhero School. Uh huh, there is even a school. Cool, eh?

The thing I love most about this is the main lead. Friday or as I like to call her Fitz is awesome. She is so good. She’s funny and sarcastic and stands up for herself and doesn’t take shit from anyone. Role model, anyone? She’s always ready to help and actually takes the whole superhero business very seriously, unlike most of the students at school, even though her power isn’t much help to the masses. She can slow her mind to spend more time thinking and people outside believe that no time has passed. Which of course makes her a math genius. I mean, if a problem took me say, 10 minutes to solve, but my professor thought I answered it in the time it should have taken me to read the problem, I’d be hailed as a math genius too. And I’d love it. Just like Fitz does.

But, there’s more than that. I love that even before she was officially a superhero, she was still going out of the way to help people, even if it was just her family. She really had no childhood to speak of and the only friend she had was Jake who turned out to be pretty darn shitty in the end. I mean, the amount of hate I harbor for that boy is so huge.

Of course, there’s the love interest, Ashley. He’s all dark and mysterious and pretends to hate Fitz because he thinks she likes Jake (which is so not true). He’s there for Fitz when it counts and he’s always helping her. But, he’s also harboring a secret which will tear them apart because in the end, Fitz will have no choice but to leave him. I feel for the boy, I do, but I don’t know if what he’s doing is right or not. I mean, I still love him, tortured soul that he is, but still. Some of the things he does are pretty questionable.

Which, brings me to the cliffie ending. I mean, oh God, what was that? I gotta know who it was in the end, lady. I will die otherwise. I mean, I gotta know. Is it someone we’ve met? Is he not introduced yet? Is it Ashley? (Yes, this question is as much of a cliffie as the ending because we don’t know if what I’m talking about is good or bad and I LOVE THAT!)

All in all, this is an amazing read and you should definitely pick it up if you like superheroes and angst and action and falling for someone you aren’t supposed to. So good. Really.

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I ran as fast as I could until I heard the little girl cry. “Mrs Mine!”

I froze, and looked back. “Who’s Mrs Mine,” I asked.

“My bunny,” the little girl replied.  As a small child I had a stuffed bear and stupid as it was, I knew how she felt. That bunny was a member of the family. I dropped the little girl and pushed her forward.

“Run!” I yelled. “I’ll get your bunny.”

Lisa scooped up the girl and reached out to drag me back but she was too slow.

“Fitz!” Lisa screamed as I ran back towards the car, blocking out every sound, not letting myself think. I dropped to the floor and grabbed the toy like it was a baton in a relay race with no seconds to spare. I could hear each drop of fuel hit the road like the pounding of my pulse. Something blurry in the sky was speeding towards us and Lisa made a run for me again. Just as my fingers whispered across hers a voice boomed from above.

“Get down!” A man in a super skeleton suit flew down from the sky and wrapped himself round the two of us, deploying a shield from his back. It wasn’t a moment too soon. The car erupted in an awesome display of fire and the crowd oohed and awed at the spectacle as though they were watching New Year’s fireworks. I opened my eyes to the masked, super-suited figure above me.

“Partner Kisaragi, it’s good to finally meet you.” Lisa turned away from his face, only inches from hers, and mumbled something under her breath that might have been “show off”.

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Hi! I’m Mina Chara, I’m a student, an artist, a daughter, sister and companion to my two furry friends, Gimli and Gwynne. This blog is here because I’ve just written a book called Hero High: Figure In The Flames.

This is My Story:

Being dyslexic isn’t so much of a problem, the hard part is not letting it dictate what I like, and what I can do. For years I was scared of reading, but then I discovered YA fiction, real books with main characters I could relate to because most of them were girls.

When someone criticizes my writing, I feel like crying, because I feel like that I’m back in English class getting yelled at again, just wanting to go home, but I’m not a kid anymore, I’m an adult, and as an adult, I wrote a book, and you can too.

Author Links:

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The Whizbang Machine, Daniella A. Vann – Blog Tour

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After years of running from his tragic past, Jack Yale books a flight home. With him is a typewriter that is intended to be a gift for his granddaughter, Elizabeth. The minute Elizabeth’s fingers cradle the large black and cream keys the machine responses: popping, sizzling, and roaring to life with a Whiz-Whiz-BANG!

Elizabeth quickly discovers the typewriter has powers beyond anything she has ever seen. The more she types, the more the machine spells out guarded secrets. Each secret leads them deeper into a haunted past. Each secret must be revealed in order to set history straight and remove a curse that has been on their family for centuries.

To solve the mystery, Elizabeth Yale, alongside Jack, will have to crack the code of the Whizbang Machine. What they find challenges their most basic assumptions of their family, the history of the typewriter, and even Elizabeth’s father’s death. The ultimate goal is to remove the curse.

The question is: will Jack and Elizabeth be able to carry out their mission?

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The Whizbang Machine is the story of a girl and her grandfather and their great adventure. It’s a great read with lots of suspense and intrigue and fantasy.

Things haven’t been all that great in Elizabeth’s family for eight years now. Her grandmother and her father died in quick succession of each other which made her grandfather up and leave because he couldn’t handle all the painful memories, leaving her and her mother alone. But, now, eight years later, he’s back home with a truckload of gifts for the two of them from all the countries he’s visited while he was away. One of those gifts is a typewriter which whizzes life to everytime she touches it and tries to harm both Liz and her grandfather, Jack. Solving the mystery of the typewriter sends them on a wild chase.

The story is extremely well written. I like how Vann has described everything that’s happening in the book. It’s utterly captivating. The characters are really good, even if Jack is questionable as a guardian. They’re multi faceted and almost come alive. I love that.

The plot is extremely captivating. It was fast paced and well distributed. I wasn’t bored once during this story. Neither did I ever think that it was moving too slowly or that there wasn’t interesting or exciting stuff happening because it was. All the time. I liked the fact that the author didn’t insert an element of romance in the story. It was just Elizabeth and her family. Nobody else. And I think that’s great. And amazing. And awesome.

All in all, The Whizbang Machine is one interesting read that you should definitely pick up.

 

 

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Everything changed the sweltering summer of 2007. Literally everything. I was eight; up until then life on Downhill Lane, on the outskirts of New York City, was well, exceptionally normal. The inner workings of our little house were about as predictable as the golden sunrise peeking its head over the eastern sky. That is until death struck.

“Elizabeth, sweetie?” my mom, Laurel, called from downstairs. “It’s almost five o’clock.”

I suppose you could say that is when my mundane, little life took an unusual twist.

Black ink smeared across the pristine white page with each push of the space bar. I closed my eyes and listened to the hum of the light blue electric typewriter and the chatter turning over in my mind. There was still so much left to type. I listened for a minute longer and then pressed my

fingers down to cradle the keys.

“Lizzy?” Mom called again, “Your grandfather will be here any minute. Are you coming downstairs or not?”

“Yes, Mom, I’m coming,” I shouted back.

Click, clack.

This is the story of my family eight years later.

“Elizabeth! Take your fingers off that typewriter right now! Jack will be here any minute. Please come downstairs,” Mom whined in a panic.

“Okay, okay, I’m coming.”

The machine sighed to sleep with the flip of the red off button. I drew in a deep breath, stuffed Jack’s last postcard in my front jean pocket and stood eerily still. Jack, I thought. After all this time, he would finally be standing inside my house. The place he used to treasure before the bomb went off in both of our lives. It didn’t seem like today would ever come. The lump that has sat in my throat for more than two days somehow grew bigger when I allowed my mind to utter his name.

“E-l-i-z-a-b-e-t-h!”

My mother’s tone shook away the heaviness of my memories and propelled me forward. “Okay, okay! I’m coming—relax,” I called, thundering down the stairs, “I was working on my English paper I’ve got to finish before school lets out. Oh, and by the way, my typewriter is smudging the page again. Maybe we can take it to Mr. Sherry’s shop tomorrow.”

“Or you could use the laptop instead of fighting that archaic heap of junk,” she countered.

“It isn’t a heap of junk. Besides, there is something romantic about writing on an old typewriter.”

“You’re fifteen,” Mom laughed.

“I’ll be sixteen in less than a month,” I interjected.

“Still, what do you know about romance? I love that you have an appreciation for old things, particularly typewriters, but I’m tired of spending my hard-earned money to repair that thing. So, maybe, just maybe, it’s time to step into the modern age, dear. Now, before Jack arrives, look around. How does the house look, Lizzy?”

 

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Danielle A. Vann lives to write. When she was small, she spent endless days writing and crafting wild characters out of thin air. As Danielle grew, that love for writing sparked a career in journalism. She began her career as a scriptwriter and then moved into a flourishing career as a news reporter, food reporter, and morning/evening news anchor. That career earned her an Associate Press Award.

After becoming a mother, she was inspired to write children’s books for her three adorable children. While she holds children fiction especially close to her heart, she also loves to write books for all ages. These genres include Young-Adult Fiction, Adult Fiction, Young Reader Fiction, and Non-Fiction.

When she isn’t writing you can find her doing “mom” things, digging in her organic vegetable gardens, running, finding her Zen in yoga, or playing chef in the kitchen. She currently lives in Mansfield, Texas.

Danielle is also the author of Gracie Lou and The Bad Dream Eater, November 2016 release The Whizbang Machine, and September 2016 release The Very Tall Tale of Ranger, the Great Pyrenees, and his Adorable Friend, Miss Keys, and October 2016 release Building Faith Through A Carpenter’s Hands. To learn more, visit www.authordanielleavann.com.

 

#TheLateLateReviews – Holding Up The Universe, Jennifer Niven

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28686840Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

 

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*ARC provided via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

I do not have enough words for this story. I just love it so much. So very much. The story is absolutely beautiful, the characters so good and the writing flawless. I mean, this book has it all. Total points to Niven for writing such a beautiful story.

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Libby, the female lead, was dubbed America’s Fattest Teen. She had an eating disorder which came into picture after her mom died. She ate away her sorrows and then she was so huge she couldn’t leave her house. They had to cut her out. Then, there was the news and the hate mail and everything went to shit, excuse my French. But, Libby remained headstrong and now, two years later, she’s lost almost 300 pounds and is ready to go back to school for her senior year. In school, she meets Jack, a fellow senior with problems of his own. After a rocky start, they start becoming friends when doing community service as part of detention.

What I like about this story is that though Jack and Libby share their fears with each other, they overcome it own their own. Yes, finding a person who understands them helps, but everything isn’t sunshine and roses because they’ve met that one person. The problems don’t disappear. They’re still there. They’re still gnawing in the back of their mind. And, through the course of the story, Jack and Libby overcome them. Without each other’s help. That sends across a huge message. You don’t need anyone else to fight your battles for you. You shouldn’t need anyone. You are enough.

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That is the best part about the book, but the story in itself is amazing as well. The struggles that these two 18 year olds face and the way they deal with everything is beautifully written. High School can be vicious and this shows how much. People will bully you but it is necessary to not let them affect you. Libby did that. She came on top despite being bullied, despite people putting “you are not wanted” notes in her locker. If she did it, so can we. She’ an amazing character and watching her finally let go of her insecurities is great. She’s making so much progress and it’s great to see throughout the story. I love that even though she’s fat, she doesn’t shy away from dancing and running (as many of us do. I’m fat and  I hate to dance or run in front of people). Not only does she do it, she’s bloody awesome at it. I’m in awe of her. The way she handles herself is truly beautiful. She’s amazing!

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(Excerpt from a letter that Libby passes around her school to everyone.)

Jack is frustrating and annoying in the beginning. He is in an on again off again relationship with a bitchy girl and you wonder why that is because Jack isn’t like her. But, as the story progresses, we find that Jack is with her because he’s trying to find the fourteen year old girl he liked. One that doesn’t exist anymore. Add to the fact that she’s safe. And she’s like a bad habit Jack can’t let go. But, then, Libby comes into the picture and his dwindling feelings for his ex start fading even more. Through the course of the book, he falls for Libby. I absolutely love that he associates Libby with sunshine. It’s the cutest thing ever. He loves his family and even though he isn’t brave enough to tell him suffers from prosopagnosia, he tries his best. Things aren’t always great with is brothers and his father is an asshole, but, they’re his family and he loves them. He’s there for them when it counts. There have always been issues and there’s stuff that’s bad, but there’s also stuff that’s good and he make do – s with what he’s got. His family dynamic is another thing that I love about the book. It shows how you can dislike (even hate) people for things they’ve done but still love them. I think Jack is an amazingly written character. Really good.

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This a story that I would definitely recommend people to read because it’s real and it’s about people who are bullied, who are fat, who have suffered depression. There are many of us out there. Many of us who feel unwanted because of whatever life has thrown at us. It is not true. You matter. What you think matters. You are wanted. It is important that we remember that.

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PS: The quotes are from Holding Up The Universe and the pictures and GIFs are not mine. Thank you, Google.

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45592By the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson (“If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win”), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.

In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven’t stopped… I’ve written nine books (#9 will be out Oct 4, 2016), and when I’m not working on the tenth, I’m writing the screenplay for All the Bright Places, contributing to my web magazine, Germ (www.germmagazine.com), thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing.

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Liar, Liar, L. A. Cotton – Blog Tour

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Liar Liar

by L.A. Cotton
Liar, Liar #1
Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks

For eighteen-year-old Becca Torrence, the chance to finish high school in a new town, where no one knows her or the secrets of that night, should be a dream come true. But when the first day of school rolls around, something is wrong.

Instead of being greeted with warm smiles and reassuring hellos, Becca finds herself on the receiving end of icy stares and cruel whispers. Putting it down to her status as an outsider, she holds her head high, because they can’t know.

They can’t.

Can they?

Determined to make her new life in Credence work, Becca is willing to do whatever it takes to fit in. Even if it means losing herself in the process.

A white lie can save you … Too many lies will break you.

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I don’t have a lot of thoughts about this. I mean, the blurb is really promising and I was really excited to read this, but for some reason, I didn’t really like this story as much as I thought I would.

All through the story, the main lead, Becca is talking about how this new town is her fresh start. She’s saying it, her parents are saying it, but we don’t know from what. There are only vague implications of a boy being involved and him ending up in the hospital for xyz reasons. I mean, if I don’t know this girl’s story, how am I supposed to root for her? How am I supposed to want for her to have a better life when I don’t even know what was wrong with her old one in the first place.

To top that, she’s in a secret relationship with this boy and only a few of her friends know about it, which is stupid, all things considered because something like this got her in the mess the first time around.

So, yeah, plenty of stuff to not like.

Though, I really, really like the writing style of the author. This book was so promising when it kicked off and it ended in a killer cliffhanger and I LOVE THAT! The story flows so easily and it’s just written in an amazing tone. I like that.

I like Becca’s friends – Scarlett & Lilly especially and I abhor Kendall, the bully of the school who had it out for Becca for reasons unknown. Their characters were really well thought out and their arc was interesting. I like Evan, the love interest too. He’s moody and shit, but when it counts, he’s always there for Becca and his baby brother is the cutest thing in the world!

All in all, it was an okay read, I guess. I’m sure I would have liked it a whole lot more if Becca’s past was explained. But, that’s why we have the sequel! So, yeah.

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Contemporary romance and romantic suspense
… written with feeling

L.A is an author of contemporary romance novels ranging from sweet with just a hint of steam, to suspenseful reads full of angst, tension, twists, and turns. Home is a small town in the middle of England where she currently juggles being a full-time mum to two little people with writing. In her spare time (and when she’s not camped out in front of the laptop) you’ll most likely find L. A immersed in a book, escaping the chaos that is life.

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