Friday, November 25, 2016

Review: The Indigo Stone


In the ‘Old World,’ a gifted race known as the Laxens evolved, bringing new creativity and innovation to a primitive world. The group lived together with people for centuries in relative peace, until the year that Eine was born and a mysterious order called the Indigo took over a thriving trade center and began to hunt down all the Laxens. Seventeen years later, Eine - a half-Laxen in hiding - scrapes together a meager existence in the alleys of the once great city of Thela, where the oppressed people are terrorized by giant guards and cut off entirely from the outside world. Stoic Eine barely dreams of a different kind of existence until she stumbles across someone else hiding out: a nameless but charismatic soldier sent as a spy from a foreign city, where politicians and scholars are investigating the Indigo’s power. Together they join Noname’s fatherly companion in an escape under the Thelan walls and travel to the beautiful but aging city of Enahala, where the ruling order must decide how best to prevent the Indigo’s destruction from spreading beyond Thela. In The Indigo Stone, by Simone Snaith, Eine discovers that the world holds wonders of which she’s never dreamed, including technology, legends, romance, and a power she never suspected was hers, one that will be the Indigo’s downfall.

Rating: 4 Stars

Book Title: The Indigo Stone

Author: Simone Snaith

Release Date:November 26th, 2014

Pages: 215

 

 

            The Indigo Stone by Simone Snaith starts off in the town of Thela, where the protagonist, Eine, is hiding on the streets and barely getting by.  The premise of this book initially reminded me of The Maze Runner by James Dashner and I think fans of this series will fall in love with The Indigo Stone as well. Like the Gladers, Eine and the rest of the citizens of Thela are cut off from the rest of the world, so much so, that many of them have lived their whole life in Thela and believe that this city is all there is.  After Eine meets Noname she starts to realize just how ignorant she is.  She’s never had an actual bath or seen a plane, and she starts to find out the extent to which the leaders of Thela have been withholding information from its denizens and keeping them in the dark. In doing so, many of them think there is nothing else out there for them, which keeps them from trying to escape or lash out.

Favorite Bits:
o   The Laxen and the Magic: Eine is half Laxen, but other than her ability to carry more weight than a girl her age or build should be able to, she doesn’t realize just how powerful she can really be.  I loved her journey with Noname because she does things that demonstrate some of the perks of being half Laxen, such as when she pulls Noname out of the quick sand as if he were a bag of feathers, or when she moves as if she weighs nothing.  All of these things are second nature to her, but it’s not until others point out the oddness of these strengths that she begins to see just how different she is.  I loved how humble Eine was when finding out all of this and not letting it get to her head. She’s naturally inquisitive and when she meets another Laxen for the first time she has a hard time containing her curiosity, which I thought was adorable.           
o   The Romance: Even though there was the occasional bit of mind games going on, which I typically hate, I thought the romance was done really well in the book.  It was cute, but it didn’t take away from the main plot and it wasn’t overdone.  The only time I found myself irritated with what was going on between Noname and Eine was when he attempted to make her jealous and flirt with other girls. It was inevitable because HELLO, he’s a guy, but at the same time it was a little ridiculous because Eine lived such a sheltered life up until this point that she didn’t even know what jealous was, let alone have any past dating experience.  All in all though she handled herself well and despite being a orphan and on her own all her life she STILL was a boss and didn't depend on others to take care of her.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Book Blitz: Home by Eleni McKnight

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Hello Readers! Welcome to the Book Blitz for
Home by Eleni McKnight!
Celebrate this release by entering the giveaway found at the end of the post!
 
Happy Release Week, Eleni!
 
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Knowledge is a dangerous commodity in the Home commune, the last beacon of civilization against the fallen outside world. As Suzannah Commons begins to secretly read forbidden books, she jeopardizes her future for the forbidden love of the boy who supplies her new, dangerous habit, Silas Maars, and his family. Will her new-found knowledge be her destruction?
Suzannah is in training with the rest of the unmarried teenage girls in the Handmaiden House and Home’s laundry to become a bride when she accidentally comes upon a naked boy in one of the family quarters, Silas Maars. To see a naked man before marriage is an unforgivable sin in Home and a challenge to her precious status as a virgin, her only aspect of worth. This compromise to her purity would earn her an automatic exile in the Hard Labor Camp, a death sentence until the commune leader, Parson, sentences her to the punishment of serving Silas and his unusual family as a housekeeper. As she works for the Maars family and is isolated from the rest of the commune’s population, she discovers the frightening, threatening outside world is not as dangerous as she has been led to believe. The Maars family reveals to her that Deacon controls the population of Home by keeping them all ignorant, denying them education and books so he can teach his own twisted, corrupt, self-serving version of religion from the pulpit. As she learns the truth and begins to fall into a star-crossed love with Silas, her fate as a childbride to one of the lecherous Elders or a worker in the hard labor camp is drawing nigh.
Published: WordCrafts Press, LLC. Publication Date: November 22, 2016
Available for Purchase: AMAZON
   
excerpt
 
As I gathered Silas and Noah’s laundry, I heard a click behind me. I whirled around to see Silas standing there with a satchel in hand the door shut.
“Silas, no! Open the door!” I cried.
“I’m not going to do anything,” Silas said. “Except give you this.” He reached into the satchel and produced a book entitled Jane Eyre. “Well, not give it to you, but Papa can read this next. It’s one of Mother’s favorites.”
“What’s it about?”
“A girl who grows up to be equal with her husband,” he said.
“Like your mother?” I whispered.
He nodded.
“It’s kind of… dangerous then, isn’t it?”
He nodded again. “Yeah. This is one of the books that Deacon doesn’t want everybody knowing about. I borrowed another book.” He got out another book and showed it to me. I opened it to see the handwriting in it. It was hand-made. “It’s a book by a Deacon from years past.”
 
About-the-Author2
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Eleni McKnight is a Murfreesboro, Tennessee native and graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a degree in Theatre with an emphasis in Literature. This left her with a wild passion for creating costumes and doing make-up in her freetime, along with her intense passion for reading from her childhood. She started writing at age eight when she had read all the Baby-Sitter's Club books she had brought along for a road trip at age nine, and wanted something new to read. It's never quite left her over the years.
These days, you can usually find her working backstage or costuming in local community theatres, reading a book, walking/exercising, at a concert, drinking a craft beer with friends, knitting, embroidering, or taking a dance class.
 
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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
 
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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday (21)

Waiting on Wednesday is a featured post hosted by Breaking the Spine that discusses upcoming releases that bloggers are excited about. 

This week's book I am looking forward to in 2017 is:  


Title: After the Game (The Field Party #3)
Author: Abbi Glines
Expected Release Date:August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse


The third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Field Party series—a southern soap opera with football, cute boys, and pick-up trucks—from USA TODAY bestselling author Abbi Glines.

Two years ago, Riley Young fled from Lawton, Alabama. After accusing the oldest Lawton son, Rhett, of rape, everyone called her a liar and she had no option but to leave. Now she’s back, but she’s not at Lawton High finishing up her senior year. She’s at home raising the little girl that no one believed was Rhett’s.

Rhett is off at college living the life he was afraid he’d lose with Riley’s accusation, so Riley agrees to move back to Lawton so she and her parents could take care of her grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. But the town still hasn’t forgotten their hate for her, and she hasn’t forgotten the way they turned on her when she needed them most.

When town golden boy Brady Higgens finds Riley and her daughter, Bryony, stranded on the side of the road in a storm, he pulls over and gives them a ride. Not because he cares about Riley, of course, but because of the kid.

But after the simple car ride, he begins to question everything he thought he knew. Could Brady believe Riley and risk losing everything?


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday (25)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Books/Series I Am Thankful For
1. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
-I read this book in high school and I can't explain how perfect the timing was.  This book showed up in my life when I needed it the most and the book and film adaptation are still my favorites to this day. 

2. Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls series #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
-Basically this whole series is my favorite, but I am exceptionally thankful for these books by Stiefvater because they taught me the true meaning of love at a young age. I didn't truly realize how much I didn't understand about love and loss until I read this book and I loved the simplicity of Sam and Grace's relationship and how they spent their time together.

3. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
-I was so thankful for the chance to dive back into the wizarding world and experience the magic all over again! So cheesy, but I mean every word! I read it for the first time this summer and it was the best gift ever! 

4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
-I know I'm beating a dead horse talking about this one again, but Inkheart is hands down most-read book ever. This story was what really started my love of fairy tales and I will be forever thankful for this book and for the rest of the ones in this series by Funke.

5. Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2) by Stephanie Perkins
-Lola's story made me realize I wasn't alone and that some of the things I was going through in high school were similar to how others felt growing up. Lola is quirky and downright cool, and this book helped me love myself and my own oddities when I hated them the most. I owe Stephanie Perkins more than I can explain for writing this one!

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
-Like Lola's story, Fangirl helped me deal with self-deprecation and learn to love myself for the things I considered "uncool" for years. I still have high hopes that I'll get to meet Rowell one day and thank her in person for this wonderful story.

7. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson 
-This is one of those books I read at a young age when reading was still new to me. I still love this story to pieces and I can't wait to read it to my own kids one day.

8. #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso
-This book is FANTASTIC for girls in the business field (or any ladies entering the job market).  Sophia is such a good role model for hard work and doing whatever it takes to work your way up in the industry. I needed this book to reassure me when I was struggling with being a woman in the business field and being the "minority" in my college classes. 

9. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
-Say what you will, but I still love this book (and whole series) and it's what started my love for YA books back in the day so I owe this book a lot. 

10. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
-WELL DUH. This one goes without saying!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Book Blast: The Surrendered

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Hello readers!
Are you looking for your next read?
Well, let us help make things easier for you!
 
Welcome to the Book Blast for
The Surrendered by Case Maynard
presented by Blaze Publishing!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
 
Looking for more books to read? Read on and find a book that’s waiting for you to devour!
 
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After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.
Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty. Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.
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The Surrendered by Case Maynard Publication Date: September 20, 2016 Publisher: Blaze Publishing
 
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
 
"a story that grabs you by the throat in the first chapter and refuses to let go" - H.E. Edgmon
 
"full of action, a fast read and really hard to put away." - Nadja, Fit & Beautiful Heart Reads
 
"strong heroine, with exceptional supporting characters, add in a non nauseating romance, and this book has it all." - Leah, Leah's Bookish Obsession
 
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With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.
 
YOU SHOULD ALSO CHECK OUT…
 
Asleep EBook (1)
 
Seventeen-year-old Rose suffers from terrifying, painful nightmares that leave her bruised, exhausted, and questioning her sanity. Desperate to hold on, she makes a choice: Trust her doctor who claims he can cure her, or listen to another patient who swears the asylum will kill them.
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Asleep by Krystal Wade Publication Date: February 16, 2016 Publisher: Blaze Publishing
 
Because I Love You
 
When Sixteen-year-old Andie Hamilton discovers she’s pregnant, she also learns the truth of her adoption. Overwhelmed, Andie must choose what’s best for the baby, but after hearing the heartbeat for the first time, she doesn’t know how she’ll ever be able let go.
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Because I Love You by Tori Rigby Release Date: May 17, 2016 Publisher: Blaze Publishing
 
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Crescenzo never would’ve thought his father’s figurines were modeled after real people, but when his loved ones start vanishing from his life, he must unite their real life counterparts and seek their aid to save his family.
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The Carver by Jacob Devlin Publication Date: July 19, 2016 Publisher: Blaze Publishing
 
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Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
 
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Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: Our Chemical Hearts


John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again.

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.

Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.


Rating: 5 Stars

Book Title: Our Chemical Hearts

Author: Krystal Sutherland

Release Date: October 4th, 2016

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 320

 


“Love doesn’t need to last a lifetime for it to be real. You can’t judge the quality of a love by the length of time it lasts. Everything dies, love included. Sometimes it dies with a person, sometimes it dies on its own.”
            I’ve always held the belief that we don’t give high schoolers/teens enough credit. How many times have I heard parents and adults speaking about their kids as if they don’t have a clue about what’s going on or how hard life is when really, they actually do! I don’t want to even limit this to outside the book community because it makes me sad to say it but one of my pet peeves is when bloggers comment on the unrealistic personalities of protagonists in YA books.  They’ll make comments regarding how so and so is an “old soul” and it wasn’t befitting of a person that age. Come again? Teenagers are deep, and what they feel shouldn’t be lessened by how old they are. What I loved about Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland is that it didn’t belittle the impact of relationships and loss that young adults go through.  This quote, although a little cynical for my tastes, was one of my favorites by Suds because she was one of the first people in the book who didn’t patronize Henry’s feelings for Grace just because they were young and in high school.

Favorite Bits:
o   All of the Harry Potter references: BUT OF COURSE this goes without saying! Going forward I’m totally taking a page out of Henry and Lola’s book and calling all ex-boyfriends “he-who-should-not-be-named.”
o   Kintsukuroi: I LOVED how this Japanese art was used as a metaphor for Grace and Henry’s love for her.  Even if you don’t plan to read this book you should google Kintsukuroi at the very least because the concept behind this art is awesome: The Japanese put broken pottery back together using gold for the seams because they believe that some things are more beautiful after they’re broken.
o   The male protagonists: Finally some leading males that are, dare I say it, a bit dramatic! While I typically try to avoid the use of dramatic because of the underlying negative connotations, there is no better way to describe Henry and Murray in this book.  What I loved about this though was that Sutherland assigned some of these traditionally (sexist) female characteristics to both of the male protagonists in her book and made Lola the levelheaded one who holds the three of them together.
Not So Favorite Bits:
o   The ending: If you’re secretly (or not so secretly) a hopeless romantic the ending might be a little hard for you.  I felt a little bit of Sutherland’s cynicism come through in the final few chapters of the book and I thought it was a bit at odds with the general message about love in Our Chemical Hearts.  It didn’t necessarily ruin my opinion of the book, but it wasn’t the finale that I was hoping for.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Review: The Female of the Species


Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.


Rating: 4.5 Stars

Book Title: The Female of the Species

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Release Date: September 20th, 2016

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 352

 

            I don’t know if our society will ever come close enough to one day determining what makes the human condition or if there is even one correct answer to this topic. What I do know is this though: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is a YA book that brings us one step closer to solving this riddle.  What are some of the characteristics of the human condition and how does pain and violence play a role in this?
            Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. It’s the first line I saw on the book blurb when I read it on my ARC, the first line that led me to believe this story was going to be more than just a sappy YA contemporary.  Yes, there’s romance and your typical high school drama, but this book dealt with some really heavy (excuse my language children) shit.  What was neat about this book though is that you know right from the start who killed Comstock. And you immediately want to think terrible things about Alex and her behavior, even if Comstock was a horrible person. Because we’re brought up to believe that murder is wrong, no matter what, and that you can’t take it upon yourself to deal with horrible people when society doesn’t serve up justice that is deserved. But the further into the book you get, the less easy it is to place blame on Alex and dislike her for her actions.
            There’s also the fact that Alex isn’t normal, and the struggle she goes through everyday isn’t easy.  She won’t even consider college for fear of what she might do when she gets there, and that right there really demonstrated to me what type of person Alex was.  Some of my favorite parts of the book were the scenes with Alex and Claire (Peekay) at the animal shelter and seeing the side of Alex that we aren’t familiar with yet as the reader. She was the type of person who would feed kittens milk and try to save a cornered dog, even if it meant getting bit. She was compassionate beyond a sliver of a doubt and you have to spend the book rectifying the original impression of her you get from reading about her murdering Comstock, to the high school girl who just wants a friend and to be loved.
            The hardest part about reading this book for me, was that it really tested my own personal assumptions about myself and what I would do in the same situation.  No, I know I don’t have it in me to do some of the things Alex did, but like Claire, there were more than a few times I’ve thought about what it would be like to hurt someone who has done something horrible. The scene that really did it for me was when they’re working at the animal shelter and they get a call about three puppies who were thrown out of the window of a car and died on impact.  Your immediate action is to be sick, because what human being can do that to poor, innocent puppies? But like Claire, my next reaction was “let’s get that mother f’er” because you want to see them pay for what they did.
            The difference between Claire and Alex though is that Alex acts on instinct, which brings us back to the idea of the female species and what really makes humans different from animals. By the end of the book, which I knew was going to be controversial no matter which way it went, I still wasn’t sure I knew how I felt about Alex’s behavior. On one hand, I was still morally repulsed by some of her actions and yet, I couldn’t help but think what our world would be like if more people were Alex. How many unjust things would find punishment and how many horrible people would be eradicated from this earth?  And that my friends, is what made me really appreciate this book for all it was worth.  Not only was it a really fun read at times because Mindy McGinnis’s writing is brass and her characters are extremely unique, but it was also thought provoking in a way YA hasn’t pushed me to think in a while.   

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