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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review: Lumière (The Illumination Paradox #1) by Jacqueline Garlick



Title: Lumière
Series: The Illumination Paradox #1
Author: Jacqueline Garlick
Publication Date: December 12, 2013
Pages: 335
Genres: young adult, steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, romance, historical fiction
Source: Review Copy from Netgalley
Rating: 3.5

I received this book for free from Skyscape via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis
One determined girl. One resourceful boy. One miracle machine that could destroy everything. 

After an unexplained flash shatters her world, seventeen-year-old Eyelet Elsworth sets out to find the Illuminator, her father’s prized invention. With it, she hopes to cure herself of her debilitating seizures before Professor Smrt—her father’s arch nemesis—discovers her secret and locks her away in an asylum. 

Pursued by Smrt, Eyelet locates the Illuminator only to see it whisked away. She follows the thief into the world of the unknown, compelled not only by her quest but by the allure of the stranger—Urlick Babbit—who harbors secrets of his own. 

Together, they endure deadly Vapours and criminal-infested woods in pursuit of the same prize, only to discover the miracle machine they hoped would solve their problems may in fact be their biggest problem of all.

My Review
The world that Garlick creates in this book is so captivating! There are so many elements to this world. The world building is good. In fact, in some areas it is great! This story is so unique and so enjoyable. The characters are vibrant and fascinating. Overall, a very good read. I'll definitely recommend this. This is the type of story that you just become so invested in and cannot stop reading.

What I liked
I loved the characters! The characters are very well developed and so fascinating. Most of the characters are very mysterious, so much so that you are compelled to keep reading just to find out more about them. 

I liked the romance in this book. It was written very tastefully. I love how Urlick isn't drop dead gorgeous like the men in most books, and that Eyelet isn't perfect either. They both have their issues, and that makes their love more believable. Their relationship is quite charming. I was rooting for them the entire time!

What I didn't like
There are some areas that could use improvement in the world building of this story. Parts are described beautifully, but some seem to be less so. I would love to have more background information about this world. What was this world like before the flash? Maybe a better breakdown of the society after the breakdown. We see only parts of this society, but don't know much about it. 

I think that if the elements of this story linked up more then it would be spectacular! There are so many different things going on, and some of these things are only hinted upon. For instance, the magic hidden world in the sky or the fact that he mother's pet bird was a Valkyrie. Those things aren't fully touched upon and added to the rest of the story it becomes very confusing since nothing is happening with those things. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review: Rain (Paper Gods #2) by Amanda Sun

REVIEW

Rain (Paper Gods #2) by Amanda Sun




Ink by Amanda Sun
Pages: 304
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 1st 2014
Series: Paper Gods #2
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythology, Romance
Source: Borrowed from public library
My rating: 5/5 stars

SynopsisAmerican Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

My reviewRain is such a fantastic sequel to Ink! OMG, I could not put this book down! I've lost so much sleep this week reading this series that it is not even funny. 

What I likedOne of my favorite things about this book is the culture. The culture is represented so wonderfully and beautifully. As an American, reading this book was almost like being in two world at once. You are learning so much about the culture and living it with the main character, AND experiencing the story that goes along with it. It is just written gorgeously. 

I really love how the story progressed in this sequel. We get to see what is at the center of the main characters' struggles, and it did not disappoint. The character progression is amazing too. We learn so much more about the characters in this. Their motives, their desires, their struggles, everything becomes clear. I loved that we found out more about some of the side characters. Knowing more about them made the story fall into place that much more. 

And have you seen the cover? Yeah, look at that cover. It is breathtaking! 

What I disliked: If I had to add a critique, I would have loved to read more! The book was 304 pages, and that is a bit short for my liking. I would have loved to hear more- more scenes, more story, or just diving deeper into the characters' histories. 

TakeawayI would absolutely recommend this book and the entire series to anyone. It is a great novel. If you give this a try you will not be disappointed. Now please excuse me while I devour book 3!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Review: Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun

REVIEW

Ink (Paper Gods #1) by Amanda Sun



Ink by Amanda Sun
Pages: 369
Published by Harlequin Teen on June 8th 2013 
Series: Paper Gods #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythology, Romance
Source: Borrowed from public library
My rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis: On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

My review: In Ink, Katie is an American that goes to live with her aunt in Japan after her mother dies. At first, Katie hates it. She feels all alone- alone because she isn't fluent in Japanese, alone because everything is foreign to her, alone because she has no one to vent to and be herself with, and alone in the grief of her mother. She goes to a Japanese school and one day she witnesses a particularly bad breakup between Tomohiro, the school "bad boy", and his girlfriend. When the breakup gets physical, Tomohiro's notebook falls to the floor scattering his papers everywhere. He does not know that Katie is there until she reacts to seeing one of his drawings move on the paper. 

After that Tomohiro and Katie have brief encounters- he trying to intimidate and size her up, she determined not to take his guff. After what Katie saw in the drawing, she is determined to find out what Tomohiro is up to. She follows him to his secret spot, and a awkward friendship strikes up between them. As it so happens, Tomohiro's mother is also dead, so they have something in common. 

After finding out Tomohiro's secret, Katie is as confused as ever and a bit scared. On top of that, there are Japanese gangsters after them, not to mention a secret society supposedly trying to help him that may or may not be all that it's cracked up to be. 

What I liked: Ink is unlike anything that I have read before. Going into this, I was unsure if this would be a book that I would enjoy. After starting it, I simply could not put it down! Literally. I only had two hours of sleep in the past two days because I NEEDED to finish this book. And to be honest, I didn't want it to end. One of the things that I likes best about Ink is that it is unlike anything that I have read before, so two thumbs way up to Sun for that. The other thing that made me fall in love with this book is the characters and the character building. There is absolutely nothing bad that I could say about the main characters. I adore the way that they came together despite their cultural differences. When they are together is FEELS meant to me. It feels right. I couldn't get enough of the dialogues between the main characters. I just wanted more and more. This is definitely going on my favorites shelf.

What I disliked: If there was anything that could make this book better, it would be the ending. I though that it could have used a little more oompfh. I also thought that the supernatural parts of the story could have been explained a little better. It doesn't take away from the story, but the nerd inside me cannot rest until I know specific key points. Not just a vague understanding. I toss things around in my head, and I can't do that very well without a more concise explanation. =P

Takeaway: This book is truly amazing! The cover leaves me breathless, the story is compelling, and the character, oh my goodness, the characters are fantastic! I would recommend this book to all that love YA fiction.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Book Blitz: Sugar Skulls by Glenn Dallas & Lisa Mantchev


Sugar Skulls
Glenn Dallas & Lisa Mantchev
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: November 10th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, New Adult, Science Fiction
Welcome to Cyrene, a city where energy is currency and music is the lifeblood of its young citizens. Everyone lives on the grid, and the residents of the world’s largest playground are encouraged to pursue every physical and emotional pleasure imaginable.
Vee is the lead singer of the Sugar Skulls, an all-girl band that is Corporate’s newest pet project. Micah haunts the city like a ghost after an overdose of a deadly illegal street drug knocks him off the grid. When Micah and Vee forge an immediate, undeniable connection, their troubled worlds collide.
Trading concert stages for Cyrene’s rooftops and back alleys, they have to evade vicious thugs and Vee’s possessive manager as they unravel the mysteries connected to their dark pasts. And before the curtain falls, Micah and Vee will bring the city to its knees in their desperate bid for love, home, and a future together.

EXCERPT:
V
The girl in the mirror is an undead supermodel in search of a catwalk. It’s the handiwork of the new styling team Corporate brought in to deal with my hair and paint my face and glue sequins to my eyelids and shove in the black-light contacts after the old team quit.
Not that I’m admitting I had anything to do with them unceremoniously packing their kits and leaving before the last show. Better to point the finger at Jax.
In the group, Jax is “the crazy one.” Damon recruited her a year ago, just before her eighteenth birthday, and she’s driven every styling team we’ve had batshit insane with her demands.
“Spiderwebs,” she decides for her face paint tonight, then points her index fingers at a case of skunk-striped bedhead so legendary, it looks like mice have nested in it. “Just don’t touch the ’do.”
There’s a continuous rumble coming from the front of the house: newbies, fresh off the nanotech install and frothing at the mouth to get a taste of everything Cyrene has to offer. The mistress of ceremonies appears a few minutes later, hovering around the edges of my mirror like a moth about to get bug-zapped, makeup already settling into creases she thinks no one else can see. Hellcat Maggie drones on for a bit, her words painted in every shade of predictable monotony.
Eyes glued to the set list on her laptop, short hair spiked and pink, Sasha nods and makes understanding noises without really listening. Five months back, Damon pulled her from outside Cyrene, where everything is workaday business as usual, melting polar ice caps and recycling and talking heads, minimum-wage jobs and Wall Street assholes. She told me he offered a considerable chunk of cash to her poor-as-dirt family in exchange for a three-year contract capitalizing on her sound design and computer skills. Means Sasha got to leapfrog over a hundred thousand or more eager applicants all clamoring to get into the city, but instead of acting like a badass, she’s more like a puppy that might pee on the rug.
She and Jax are the same age, but you’d never guess it, because Sasha is “the nice one.”
And me? Well, I guess that makes me “the bitch.” Like now, instead of joining in Jax’s preshow pill binge or Sasha’s obsessive run-throughs of the set list, I hug Little Dead Thing and wish everyone would just shut their cakeholes. He understands my mood, curling up in a tight fur-splotched ball in my lap, purring like a rusted-out lawn mower engine. Sasha dragged this sorry excuse for a cat in off the street a couple months back. He’d almost immediately started trailing after me, gratitude be damned, yowling at doors closed between us and shredding furniture when left behind at the Loft. Just easier to bring him along, a freaky little mascot who leaves hairs all over my robe.
But I banish him to a dark corner before getting dressed. Fuck-me wardrobe. Heels so tall, I prance instead of walking through the dim red lights in the wings. Corseted waist, narrow skirt, a thousand pounds of hand-sewn beads catching the light when I step onstage. The dress was a class-me-up gift from Damon: vintage and gorgeous and beyond expensive.
I’d taken a switchblade to it, because tatters suit me better.
Still miles away from comfortable, I try to draw a deeper breath than the corset allows, and it catches in my throat. I shouldn’t be stressing. Tonight’s just a warm-up for the big to-do at the Dome. Three days and counting. Have to test the set list and the newest energy-grabbing thrum-collectors Corporate’s eager to roll out citywide.
Every time I blow up one of the old ones, it knocks me off the grid. Cue a mind-scrubbing and a nanotech reboot. I’m tired of waking up as a brand-new Vee. I’d like to keep this version of myself, even if that means making nicey-nice with the equipment.
Anything to keep Damon off my back for a little while longer.


Author Bio:
When not working on puzzles for Penny Press or writing about them for PuzzleNation, Glenn Dallas is an author of short stories and at least half of one novel. After appearing in the acknowledgments of several outstanding novels, he looks forward to returning the favor in the future.
Lisa Mantchev is the acclaimed author of Ticker and the Théâtre Illuminata series, which includes Eyes Like Stars, nominated for a Mythopoeic Award and the Andre Norton Award. She has also published numerous short stories in magazines, including Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Weird Tales, and Fantasy. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State with her husband, children, and horde of furry animals. Visit her online at www.lisamantchev.com.
Author links
Lisa:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter
Glenn:
Website / Twitter

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Book Blitz: Paper Dolls by Ketley Allison


Paper Dolls
Ketley Allison
(Falling Paper, #1)
Publication date: November 12th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
It’s too bad for Scarlet that no matter how sweet a person is, fate can still screw you over.
Now she’s jaded, half of her torn away and the remainder flesh and bones. In her grief, all Scarlet wants to do is to rebel against the life that betrayed her and her roommate provides the perfect lure…
Scarlet awakens when she enters the New York City underground, where vice and fortunes thrive. Hustling, trickery and savagery allow her to discover her true self—-her forgotten soul reemerging. She just can’t promise it’ll come back pure.
It won’t matter that there is a shadow in her periphery. Theo Saxon thinks he can save Scarlet from a world she craves and protect her from the very elements he’s spawned from. But it’s through his unwitting instruction that Scarlet will become a part of his league and find the danger he wants so badly to keep to himself.
Scarlet thinks the stakes are within her control. But she won’t just be betting her heart on Theo and his seductive sins. She will wager her life.

READ THE FIRST CHAPTER:
Something was going to come out of the shadows and shank me.
I clung to the wrought iron fence, staying put despite Verily’s tugs on my arm. Our vulnerable bodies could be seen in every direction on the deserted street. Cars lined the road, but they stood silent, their windows shining onyx pits. Columns of brownstone buildings, bricked into two long, looming lines on either side, blocked the moon. Their rows of windows were as black as the cars below.
Blares of horns ricocheted through our residential street, but their echoes were faint. All signs of life were too far away to save me.
But I agreed to this. I wanted this.
“Relax, Scarlet. I promise it’s safe,” Verily said to me.
Maybe no knife was needed. All the monsters in the dark had to do was bend me over this waist-high fence and spear my abdomen with one of the fleur-de-lis arrowheads, the skirt of my naughty maid’s uniform flouncing in the wind and ruffling around my ass, drawing the eye of anyone who lingered.
And come on, everyone would linger.
A form pushed past us and I tensed, choking on the scream that wanted to rip out of my throat.
The cause of my stroke, a man, paused in his descension into Hell—I mean, at the second step leading down to the entrance of a brownstone. “Hey, Vare. New girl?”
Verily dug her fingers into my arm, since I clearly wasn’t prying my death grip off the fence. “Yep. She’s cute, right?”
He didn’t respond.
I was pretty sure I was gaping at him. Not because of his looks—I couldn’t see him in the surrounding darkness, just an edging of hair and a framing of shoulders. It was more because I couldn’t stop thinking about the newspapers headlining my DEATH BY FENCE AND FETISH! IMPISH MAID CLEANS OUT HER OWN INSIDES!
And it was probably written all over my face.
“She up to it?” he asked.
Verily smacked my shoulder. The fence rattled underneath my grip. “Wait’ll you see her in action.”
One of his shoulders lifted up in a shrug. I found myself wanting to hear his voice again, soft like velvet lined his throat.
He didn’t disappoint. “No reason to be scared.”
“That’s what I keep telling her,” Verily said. She wrapped a hand around my bicep and heaved. She was trying to wrench me free. Damn if I would let her. “I’m extremely convincing,” she said through her teeth.
“Mm.”
He stood with fluidity, a primal ease. He shifted, lifting his chin in a way that accentuated his angular jawline but not much else.
“Anyone gives you trouble, you let me know. They may like dressing you up, but we don’t tolerate any more than that,” he said.
“Okay,” I replied. Finally.
He sounded so adamant and sure. I wondered if all it took in my life was for a man to sound like Batman.
He nodded once before descending the rest of the way. His walk was exactly as I knew it would be. Like a lion pacing the edges of his cage.
“Is he the bouncer?” I whispered into the curled crimson tendrils around Verily’s ear.
“Nope,” she said. After one particularly unfair yank, she pried one of my hands off the iron. “But if he’s here, it means we’re late, so come. On.”
“Ow! Verily!” Another twist and pull and she had my other arm, using my sudden imbalance to drag me down the stairs. “Seriously! Ow!”
She stopped at the door and pressed a hand to my chest, my boobs so hiked up they caressed the bottom of her palm. “Rules. Tell me.”
“W—” I gripped her extended arm for balance. “What’s our safe word? I mean my safe word, to let you know when I’ve gone Code Red.”
Sighing, she dropped her arm. “Have I dragged you here against your will?”
I pouted. “No.”
“Do you need the money?”
“Yes.”
“Would I bring you somewhere unsafe?”
I glanced down at my misbehaving maid outfit, then back up at the entrance where a lithe, vulturine and kind of scary man just decided to stop in and hang out for a while.
I countered with, “Do you possess a danger meter I’m not aware of? A point at which you know we must escape?”
She shook her head. “Honestly, Scar.”
“Because I think you’re on the fritz.”
“You said you needed something,” she said, softer now. “Something to make you feel like you could live again.”
I swallowed. “You told me you were just a waitress.”
“You’re falling, Scarlet. I can’t watch it anymore. And so, I’m giving you this.”
A shuffling sound came from drums of trash behind her. Noises sounding suspiciously like a critter. “You think I need saving and you brought me to a rat-hole?”
“I don’t think you need to be rescued,” she said. “I think you need an awakening.”
That could’ve been a warning or a promise. She went on. “I know you. And I think this is what you need. But you have to promise, promise, not to tell anyone.”
I needed excitement, yes. A pounding pulse, a taste of uncertainty, a reason. I needed life.
But this. Here we were, standing on a dirty side street in the Lower East Side, dressed like a rich man’s blow up doll.
“I don’t…” I said.
“Do you trust me?”
Verily’s green eyes, illuminated by the weak golden light, seemed to shine. She stopped my fidgeting hands by pulling them closer to her.
“Yes,” I answered. Of course. She was the one thing that kept me in the present.
“Good. So trust that this will be fine. And God forbid, that maybe you’ll have fun.”
Grumbling, I said, “Yesterday you were all over me about professional responsibility, and now here we are…”
Instead of responding, she propelled me forward with another mutant-strength twist of her toothpick arms. Verily opened the front door and I toddled after her, mumbling threats involving her hair bleach.
She halted at a second door, arching a brow at me. “Just be thankful I’m not inducting you on lingerie night,” she said, and hip-bumped it open.
After one last pull, I stumbled into my new society of smoke, money and men.


Author Bio:
Ketley Allison began her creative career by writing books as birthday presents for her friends (with her friend as the main character and opposite a super sexy lead, of course) before ending it in order to walk down a path she thought she was supposed to follow.
The writing bug never left her—and, in fact, would often bleed into the official papers she was supposed to write—so now Ketley’s putting down her suit and finally following her dream. While her friends are no longer the stars of her books, she still throws in bits and pieces of them into each and every one of her characters.
As a result, her books tend to focus a lot on friendships as well as love, because let’s be honest, friends are what really get you through—especially when your epic love turns into epic heartbreak.

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows Cover & Blurb Reveal!

COVER REVEAL
The Prophecy Of Shadows
(Elementals Book 1)
by Michelle Madow


Michelle Madow's new book cover reveal! Go to her blog HERE to enter to win the book! Check out this description and don't forget to add it on Goodreads!

PRE-ORDER: [ Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  iBooks ]

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers—and, to her dismay, by Blake—the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.
 

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