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Giddy Over YA

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis

Sleeping Beauty and the Beast by Melissa Lemon

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Trapped in a cursed sleep, the only experiences Princess Eglantine has are the ones in her dreams. There she meets Prince Henry of Fallund, a neighboring kingdom on the brink of war. 

Meanwhile, Prince Henry's brother Duncan discovers a vicious beast imprisoned for murder. Captivated by her, he works to free her from both the prison bars she's locked behind and the ones surrounding her heart and mind. Sleeping Beauty and the Beast reinvents and seamlessly intertwines the classic fairy tales Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast.

 

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REVIEW

I love fairy tales with a makeover and this combined two of my all time favorites. The first half of the book was great! From the very first page, this story was full of action and suspense that kept me guessing for a while. Since this was a dual fairy tale, there had to be two princes, right? I loved that the two princes were twins with totally opposite personalities. I also loved that the beast was a barbaric female and not the typical deformed man that we've come to expect. The second half of the story, however, fell a little short for me. I thought the ending was rushed and anticlimactic. The way the prince ended up at Sleeping Beauty's castle was totally unbelievable--even for a fairy tale. I also wanted to see more of the happily-ever-after with the beast's story line and a more meaningful reunion with the two brothers. Overall, I did like the story and thought it was creative and engaging.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Heart Shaped Rock

Heart Shaped Rock - Laura Roppe I read an excerpt of this book on Such a Novel Idea book blog and I was hooked. I hate reading long reviews that give a full plot summary so I don't write those kinds of reviews. Instead I will tell you that this book explored the complexities of grief, family dynamics, first love, true friendship, and so much more. The story and characters were amazing and I was already reaching for the tissues at the 10 percent mark. There were two things I really loved about this book. First, it wasn't just a poignant story of grief...it was also an inspiring story of healing and the resiliency of the human spirit. Second, I loved that the author used music as both a method of emotional release and as a mechanism for healing. How many times have you heard a melody or listened to a song that resonated with you and seemed to express everything you're feeling better than words alone? I know music has been a saving grace for me more than once. I also thought the metaphor of the chimpanzees was brilliant (you will just have to read it to know what I mean)! In addition, the love story was so moving. I remember falling in love for the first time and I thought the author captured the essence of first love beautifully. I haven't read a book this emotionally charged in a while and I highly recommend to fans of Sea of Tranquility, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Sky is Everywhere.

P.A.W.S.

P.A.W.S. - Debbie Manber Kupfer P.A.W.S. is a good example of why I love to read YA fantasy. I thought this was going to be a light and fluffy kid’s book about shape shifters but it turned out to be so much more. Miri, the protagonist, is only ten years old when her grandmother dies. Following the death of the only family she has ever known, Miri is forced to leave behind her home in New York, her only friend, and her two pet cats to go live with her estranged aunt and uncle in St. Louis. Shortly after arriving in St. Louis, Miri is sent to a boarding school where she is bullied and withdrawn. It is during this bullying that Miri discovers her ability to shape shift into a cat which I thought was a very clever way to incorporate fantasy into the story. The story itself was compelling and entertaining, the plot was well developed, and the characters were likable. Overall, I would say it was a great read but will only recommend for older kids and adults due to the violence in a few scenes. Originally posted at the Author Alliance

Very Bad Things

Very Bad Things - Susan McBride

Quick, fun read. I think what I liked most was the writing style. This is the first book I've read by this author but it won't be my last. I also thought the mystery was well done. There were two obvious suspects that seemed completely unrelated so it was fun to read as the pieces started falling into place. As an avid reader, sometimes I just want to pick up a great story that is quick, well organized, concise, and compelling and this was that kind of book for me. I really enjoyed it!

The Falconer

The Falconer - Elizabeth May

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review. This was a fantastic story! I loved the combination of historical fiction, fae hunting, romance, and some great steampunk devices thrown in for good measure. I was definitely left wanting more as the story ended with a major cliffhanger in the middle of an epic battle. It's difficult to even write a review since I feel like the book just ended in the middle of the story. Needless to say, I can't wait to read the next book!!

Compulsion

Compulsion - Martina Boone

This book was incredible--the kind that sucks you in, consumes you until the very last page, and sticks with you long after you've finished reading. Set on an island near Charleston, the imagery was breathtaking. Spanish moss hanging from old oak trees, plantation homes, and the scent of jasmine in the air are just a few of the things I love about South Carolina. As a southerner myself, I related to the small town quirks, the southern drawl and family secrets hidden for generations. The magical realism even brought to mind old wives' tales I was told when I was growing up. The secrets uncovered and mysteries revealed made the story even more captivating. I loved it and will definitely read it again since I have to wait over a year for the next book. My favorite read so far this year!!!

Fissure Free

Fissure Free (The Schasm Series) - Shari J. Ryan

Fissure Free is book 2 in the Schasm series by Shari J. Ryan. After reading Schasm, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book! It’s no secret how much I loved Schasm and I had very high expectations for Fissure Free. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I thought Fissure Free fell a little short. The majority of this book takes place in the dreamlike state referred to as The Drift. The fantasy elements in Schasm swept me up and took me along for the ride but in Fissure Free I felt more like I was reading a really fabulous fairy tale. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was beautiful—almost poetic. The power of love between Alex and Chloe couldn’t have been more expressive if Celine Dion was singing it herself. The realistic aspects of mental illness and the tricky nature of the mind that was so brilliantly shown in Schasm, however, were almost missing entirely in Fissure Free. I actually found the fantasy elements to be more believable in Fissure Free than the reality. Although the story didn’t go as I had hoped and there were some obvious plot holes, it was still a very enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to the next book and hoping to see more of the realistic aspects that I found so wonderfully perplexing in Schasm.

 

Originally posted at the Author Alliance.

Schasm

Schasm (Schasm Series) - Shari J. Ryan

This was possibly the most disturbing book I’ve ever read, but also incredibly thought provoking and compelling. I sat for a long time after I finished reading and just contemplated the possibilities of what I had read. This book left me with more questions than answers. I can’t say with any certainty which parts were reality and which were fantasy–the line between the two was a blur. Mental illness is a scary topic to explore. The human mind is a fragile thing and the author did a fabulous job of demonstrating this fragility through Chloe. The question of whether committing a normal person to a mental institution could actually cause psychosis or insanity is a plausible argument. Since the story was told from Chloe’s perspective, I didn’t really believe her “condition” was an illness. The people she should have been able to trust most–her mother and doctor–were manipulating and controlling her through mind altering drugs and sedatives. Couldn’t that happen to anyone? If a doctor says you’re mentally ill and you say you’re not–who is everyone going to believe? What a terrifying thought! After finishing the book though, I had to remind myself that the story was told from Chloe’s perspective. If it had been told from someone else’s perspective, I would probably have agreed that she was crazy. After all, she does “drift” in and out of alternate realities.  I will probably still be thinking about this book for weeks to come. I loved it–highly recommended!!

 

Originally posted at the Author Alliance

First Impression

First Impression: A Shadow Maven Paranormal - Pauline Creeden

This was a quick, easy read and well written.  I liked the spooky element of the mystery and the sweet G-rated romance.  The wrap up might have been a little too tidy but still entertaining.  I will read the sequel.

Stolen Songbird

Stolen Songbird - Danielle L. Jensen

The tension was so incredible in this book, I had to wait a day for my nerves to settle down before writing my thoughts.  The synopsis on Goodreads compares this book to Seraphina and Graceling.  While I haven't read Graceling (yet), I can see the similarites with Seraphina.  The comparison that I kept calling to mind, however, was A Game of Thrones.  Roland is the first character I've hated as much as Joffrey.  Moreover, there were strong political themes, conspiracies for power, and forbidden love.  What I liked most about this book is that it kept me guessing until the very end.  Also, the writing was very good with mostly likable characters.  I would have liked more resolution on some plot points and a more satisfying ending but I guess I will just have to wait patiently for the sequel.  Overall, it was very entertaining and I really enjoyed it.  I would highly recommend to fans of epic fantasy.

PsiCo

PsiCo - David Wardale

The genre description I received for this book was "YA paranormal thriller" and it was indeed a thriller. This is the first book I've read that involved psychokinesis so I had no idea what to expect. I really liked the main character, Danny--a teenage boy with supernatural abilities who was recruited by a government agency to work as a spy. Even with the paranormal aspect, Danny was still a really believable and likable character. I also liked the biological weapon conspiracy which seemed more relevant than bombs or guns and added depth to the suspense. Like all great thrillers, the pace quickened toward the end and my anticipation grew with every plot twist and surprise. I can't say the end was completely satisfying - as I still feel a little unresolved on some things - but I hope that means there is a sequel in the making.  The writing wasn't perfect but there wasn't really anything that I disliked about the book. There were a few plot holes and areas where I felt confused but not enough to lessen my enjoyment of the story.

 

Originally posted at the Author Alliance

Kindle Fire HDX Giveaway

March 2014 Kindle Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)   This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".

 
 

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)

  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)

  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

  March Kindle Fire Sponsors I Am A Reader, Not A Writer Feed Your Reader The Ripple Effect Romance Series Bound 4 Escape Fae Books Author Mary Ting Giddy Over YA The Loopy Librarian Bea's Book Nook Laurie Here Bella Street's Weird Romance Bonnie Blythe's Pure Romance Immortal Ink Publishing Owl Always Be Reading Author Alecia Stone Author Heather Gray Author Camelia Miron Skiba Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton The Reporter and The Girl Author Rae Z. Ryans The Storybook Kingdom Loren Secretts Elizabeth Woodrum Paige Ryan Lori's Reading Corner Author Melissa McClone Author M.A. George Author Inger Iversen Lena Sledge Author David Pandolfe Andrea R. Cooper, Author Emily Hemmer, Author Author Jennifer Faye SA Larsen, KidLit Author More Than a Review The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something year Old Girl My Story That I Like Best Meredith & Jennifer's Musings Ally Shields Author Carol Davis Luce Author Steven Brown Author Danielle Annett The Girl Raised by Books The Stubby Pencil The YA Buzz Author Ednah Walters Author DiDi Hendley Barbara Silkstone Addicted Readers Reviews from a Bookworm Amid Summer Night Dreams Hallowed Ink Press Jennifer Allis Provost Author Rosanne Rivers Author MK McClintock Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows DE Division of Energy & Climate Awesome Romance Novels  

 

Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Fire Giveaway:

http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups  

 

Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 3/31/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Wonder of Audiobooks

In 2008, a TV series began called Legend of the Seeker based on the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.  The show wasn't anything spectacular but the characters and story intrigued me enough to buy the first book, The Wizard's First Rule.  I hadn't read any fantasy novels since middle school and I was blown away with this book.  I immediately bought all of the books in the series that had been published thus far and was so captivated with this story that I also bought the audiobooks so I could listen during my commute to and from work.  I would try to end my reading at the end of a chapter so when I got in the car I could easily find my place on my iPod and pick up right where I left off.  It was this series of novels that awakened my love of fantasy fiction and introduced me to the wonderful world of audiobooks.

 

Today, my audiobook library contains over 300 titles and I have one audiobook on my "currently reading" list at all times.  I still read everyday but I can't deny that audiobooks have enhanced my experiences as a book lover and I want to share some of those experiences with you. 

 

FAVORITE AUDIOBOOKS:

1. The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

4. Grave Mercy & Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin Trilogy) by Robin LaFevers

5. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

6. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson

7. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

8. A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin

9. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

10. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

11. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

12. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

13. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

14. The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind

15. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

16. Healer Series by Maria V. Snyder

 

FAVORITE NARRATORS

Nick Podehl

Julia Whelan

Jennifer Ikeda

Emma Galvin

Mandy Williams

 

 What are some of your favorite audiobooks?  Do you have a favorite narrator?

 

 

Past's Prologue

Past's Prologue - Nova Mitchell

I’ve given much thought to this review over the past few days and still don’t know how to begin.  There are so many things I liked about this fantasy novel.  Ms. Mitchell’s storytelling ability captured my attention with the first sentence.  I really liked how the story unfolded from the alternating perspectives of a brother and sister and how her writing style created the perfect mood for reading fantasy.  There was also just enough intrigue to keep me wanting more.  The ending was definitely too soon for me, but it was a clever cliffhanger of an ending and I will be watching for the next installment.

 

Unfortunately, here comes the hard part.  The grammar was terrible.  I can overlook a sprinkling of misspelled words and punctuation errors, but this book didn’t appear to have been proofread at all.  When reading fantasy, I expect to stretch my imagination to grasp the ideas and concepts being written and depend on quality editing that doesn’t distract from the flow and meaning of the words written.  That was the biggest challenge for me with Past’s Prologue.  The consistent use of misspelled words, missing words, punctuation errors, fragmented sentences, etc. were so distracting, I would have given up on the book altogether had the story been any less compelling.  If this had been an audiobook with a decent narrator, my rating would be much higher.

 

Overall, I would say the story was excellent and would recommend to anyone not easily distracted by grammatical errors.  If this book fell into the hands of a good editor and was republished under a more fitting name, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on the shortlist for YA fantasy awards.

 

Originally posted at the Author Alliance

A to Z 2014 Reading Challenge

Reblogged from Book Hangovers:

 

A-Z 2014 Reading Challenge

 

 

Any books used to complete this challenge can be used for any other challenges you may be doing, but each book can be used for only one of the categories in this challenge. 

 

A is for April (the month in which you read the book)

     Taste of Darkness 4/30/14
B is for Bathing Suit (this book takes place at least partly in hot weather months)

     The Spectacular Now 4/8/14
C is for Children's book

     Gwynne, Fair & Shining  4/2/14
D is for Doctor (one of the characters)

     Schasm 3/7/14
E is for Ever (in the title)


F is for Family (book is about a family or family relationships)

     Olive Kitteridge 1/11/14
G is for Geography (the story takes place in at least two different countries)

     Fissure Free 5/3/14
H is for Heart (it's a love story)

     The One 5/9/14
I is for Ice (the setting is cold - snow, ice, rain)


J is for Jokes (the book is humorous)

      Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops 1/3/14
K is for Keyboard (at least one character plays a musical instrument)

      Stolen Songbird 3/8/14

L is for Lamp (the book takes place before electricity was discovered)

      Grave Mercy 1/24/14
M is for Mom (one of the characters)

      My Best Friend's Girl 1/31/14
N is for New-to-you author

      The Wishkeeper 1/19/14
O is for Out of This World (where the story takes place)

      Girl Meets Underworld 3/21/14
P is for Pilgrims (the story involves moving someplace new)

      The Girls of Atomic City 4/21/14
Q is for Question Mark in the title


R is for Run (the main character is running from something)

       Past's Prologue 1/28/14
S is for Sequel to a book you've already read

       Dark Triumph 2/6/14
T is for Time (the book travels time, moves through time quickly or flashes back)


U is for Useful (which you found the book to be)


V is for Veteran (at least one character is/was a member of a military force)

      PsiCo 2/26/14
W is for Wind (the book blew you away)

      Compulsion 5/30/14
X is for XXIV (it's the 24th book you read this year)

     The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 4/14/14
Y is for Yo-Yo (your emotions were up and down as you read the book)

     Accidents & Incidents 1/9/14
Z is for Zoo (there is an animal on the cover)

     The Crane Wife 2/14/14

 

 

Source: http://sockpoppet.booklikes.com/A_Z_2014_Challenge
Accidents & Incidents - Riley Graham

There are no words to describe how deeply I was touched by this book. It tugged on so many different heart strings--one minute I was happy crying and 20 minutes later I was ugly girl crying. All of those awkward emotions and insecurities and new experiences from my high school years came rushing back to me in vivid color. The beauty of reading great YA fiction in my 30s as opposed to in my teens, is that I can relate to the characters from many perspectives--as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a girlfriend, etc.--which only increased my emotional involvement in the story. This book was just so REAL for me...I'm speechless. Highly recommended!!!!