Thursday, October 2, 2014

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch [Book Review]

Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
ISBN: 0062286927 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

You know those books that you obsess over for months, and literally feel the need for them swell within your being until they are safely in your grasp? Snow Like Ashes was that book for me. So often we do these books up so much in our heads we  end up disappointed. Luckily for me, Snow Like Ashes was fantastic. Incredible. Amazing. I NEED THE NEXT ONE NOW.

I never know what to do with myself when I start a book I've been wanting for a long time. Part of me is thrilled and elated, while another part of me tries hard to get the past few months out of my mind. Just because I have been obsessing for months on Twitter, does not guarantee a like. Thankfully, Snow Like Ashes started giving me no choice but to fall in love.

I love when books start in the middle of the action. Long past are the days where information dumping is acceptable. As a reader I appreciate when information dumps are at a minimum. I don't need to know every decision that lead to the world of today, we'll get there. Snow Like Ashes really understood this.

Immediately the reader is greeted with this band of refugees ready to get back to their kingdom. You can feel the tension in the air, and feel the want of every person to just be home again. Our heroine, Meira, was just an infant when Winter fell. Her idea of her homeland exists just from the stories she has heard growing up.

There are feelings between herself and her "will be king," Mather, but he was also the only guy around for... ever. She's grown up with him and their relationship is natural. I loved the use of relationships in this book and I have questions that need answering because I became so indebted. I really love Theron's character and I was surprised to love Meira's and his interactions so much. I have questions and I need them answered!

Meira is a powerful heroine, and in every situation she is thrust in she gives her all. The twist at the end was one that I wondered about for a while when I was reading and I was happy to see it come to fruititon. I'm pretty sure I fist pumped the air and squealed with happiness.

If you haven't read this one yet, you are missing out on the best YA fantasy I have read in years.

Months ago when I told Twitter that I thought SNOW LIKE ASHES was the book my heart wanted, I was right. My heart is happy, and eager to continue the adventures!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Turtle's of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

Title: The Turtle of Oman
Author: Naomi Shihab Nye
Publisher: Greenwillow
Release Date: August 26, 2014
ISBN: 0062019724 

In this brief novel, told in short chapters by the acclaimed poet and National Book Award finalist Naomi Shihab Nye, Aref Al-Amri says good-bye to everything and everyone he loves in his hometown of Muscat, Oman, as his family prepares to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is Naomi Shihab Nye’s first novel set in the Middle East since her acclaimed Habibi.
Aref Al-Amri does not want to leave Oman. He does not want to leave his elementary school, his friends, or his beloved grandfather, Siddi. He does not want to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents will go to graduate school. His mother is desperate for him to pack his suitcase—but he refuses. Finally, she calls Siddi for help. But rather than pack, Aref and Siddi go on a series of adventures. They visit the camp of a thousand stars deep in the desert, they sleep on Siddi’s roof, they fish in the Gulf of Oman and dream about going to India, they travel to the nature reserve to watch the sea turtles. At each stop, Siddi finds a small stone that he later slips into Aref’s suitcase—mementos of home.
This accessible, exquisite novel shines with gentle humor and explores themes of moving, family, nature, and immigration. Naomi Shihab Nye’s warmth, attention to detail, and belief in the power of empathy and connection shines from every page. Features black-and-white spot art and decorations by Betsy Peterschmidt.

This is a fantastic example of diversity in Middle Grade and it was a truly beautiful story. This is a short novel for sure, and it surrounds around Aref, a small boy who will be leaving his home town that he loves for Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The more he hears about Ann Arbor, the more he doubts if he wants to go, the one saving grace the state seems to offer is their turtles... and even THAT doesn't seem like enough.

Aref is a very funny protagonist. I found his actions to often make me laugh out loud and reading it I truly felt that I had stepped into the mind of a young child. One of his treasures is his rock collection which he can only part with faced with distance from his truest friends.

The strength in this novel lies in the characterization. Aref is relatable to any child in any part of the world and reading it makes the similarities very clear. He is scared and a afraid of being lonely in a country that he doesn't know. This fear is real for every child and every adult around the world. Despite the geographical and cultural differences we are all the same, and that is where the true strength in this novel lies.

The main issue I found with this story was that it did tend to lag a bit, and for those who don't take interest into the cultural aspects this may be a problem. Ultimately, I found it to be very enjoyable. Aref is extremely likable. Little things he does, like write down facts he learns each day, allow us to get to know him and understand how he is feeling.

I definitely recommend it to the middle grade reader in your life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine! 

Hello, all! 

It has been about a week or so, the semester is fully raging and I found myself amidst a sea of tests last week, hopefully that clears out soon though! 

This week I am waiting on... 

Thousand Pieces of You 
by Claudia Gray
Release Date: November 4, 2014

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.
Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.
A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

What are you guys waiting on this week?  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Losing It by Cora Carmack

Title: Losing It
Author: Cora Carmack
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Bought

Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible-- a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. 
She’d left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

This is one of those Kindle $1.99 deals that got me. I have seen this title floating around in the wild for awhile, and it always looked interesting. The cover was always a bit out there for me, and I wasn't sure how I felt about carrying it around with me everywhere I went for days at a time - so when the kindle deal came about I snatched it up.

All in all it was okay, though I wasn't amazed by it. The character of Bliss really fell flat for me, I didn't feel very much life or vivacity from her at all. She was a theater major who was just kind of - blah. She had a bit of "Bella Swan syndrome" where she was just an ordinary girl but was secretly very special. At one point she wants to stage manage, but then lo and behold, she's a fantastic actress!

That rubbed me the wrong way, and there were some other moments where I felt some major insta-love. Once we realize who her professor is, there is obviously some crazy feelings, but I felt that the recovery from one emotion to the other was a bit fast and had my mind spinning. I'm in college... and I don't think that's how it works... at least not at my school.

There were a couple times when I felt her professor man should have acted more adult, and maybe that just means I'm secretly 86 and no longer in my prime. Who knows?

I almost put this one down a few times, but I kept powering through. I did read it in bits and pieces over the course of a couple months, so maybe that helped add to my overall feelings. However, if I was in love there would have been no putting it down.

I really enjoyed Cora Carmack's ALL LINED UP, and had high hopes for this one, but it didn't wow me like that one did. Guess I'll be sticking to the new series.

I know most people loved this one, and if you did, I would love to hear what you thought!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Let's Talk: Balancing Hats and Growing Up

It's late at night and I find myself looking at the same screen I have so many days before. I can hear my dog downstairs, letting me know that he has business to attend to as well. I'm not the only one working in this house, clearly. As I walk down the stairs I realize that I have, once again, forgotten to put the clothes in the dryer.

That's only been waiting for three hours.

This is how my days go. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

I feel like I wear a lot of hats.
And I'm not just talking about the fantastic super-hero head bands I make out of hats.

By day I am a college student, who sometimes forgets to pay her cable bill on time. I am also an intern  and a leader at a super popular "quick-service" restaurant that will soon be receiving a brand new hat... at a super awesome new work location. 

I am a hard worker, and I dedicate extreme amounts of time to what I need to do, my personal life often takes a back burner to these other more important ventures. I don't regret this or want to change it in anyway, I am who I am after all, but sometimes I look back on the years that have passed me and I get confused. 

I'm a senior in college, who because of a major switch and an added degree, is graduating later than those I went to high school with. Instead of bothering me though, this actually makes me feel relieved. 

With each one of my hats comes another way for life to change. Another added responsibility, another group of people for me to become involved with. 

As a southern girl raised in a small-ish Tennessee town, I grew up with the exact same faces surrounding me for the majority of my life. I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. I knew who'd stolen the cookies from the teacher that one time in first grade, I knew who was on the honor roll every year, and I knew who was our senior class president. 

Going from this security into a brand new, and even partially scary adventure is both thrilling and nerve racking. 

I put in my notice at the job that I've had for nearly four years, and while I am excited to move on to bigger and better things, my heart still breaks because this is another group of people I have come to love and care for over the years. 

Most of us are in the process of growing up, for all of our lives we are growing from one person to another. How do you guys deal with the emotions that get involved? 

Words can't express how excited I am to be entering the business world at a company that impacts in a big way. I feel blessed and very, very happy. I just sometimes find myself missing all of the people I was before. 

How do you guys deal with balancing the hats in your life? 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Sunday Post is hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

This week has been crazy busy! I was given a fantastic new job opportunity and I have read some new books that I need to post some reviews for! 

All in all, it has been fantastic, though I am sorry for my semi-silent week. 

What did you guys get this week? 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Squeal-Worthy September Releases!

These are the releases coming this September that I'm most excited for! 
If you see any that I missed, be sure to let me know. 

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

This is a book that I have already read and reviewed - I loved it and it is definitely one that I would highly recommend. 

This one releases on September, 2nd. 

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.
New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.
Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.
Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.
Inspired by The NutcrackerWinterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.
This one looks so good! I've read a bit of it and am excited to see how it goes. 

This one releases September, 30th. 

A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.
Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.
Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together... which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.
It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.
Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.

This one really intrigues me and I am excited to see how it goes. 
This one releases September, 2nd.  

Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.
“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”
Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.
Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.

This one looks so good! 
It releases on September, 9th.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Haul for August 30, 2014!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Sunday Post is hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Hello everyone! 

This week there were a few surprises for me, each of which seem wonderful. 

For Review: 

Watch out, Hollywood! More Confessions of a So-called Middle Child by Maria T. Lennon
Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
The Terror of the Southlands: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #2 by Caroline Carlson

What did you guys get this week? 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing [Review]

Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Source: From publisher for honest review.

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

Like many of you, the first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. Just look at it! It is absolutely gorgeous, so of course, I had to get my hands on it.

I've seen some mixed reviews, though right from the beginning I was in love with this story. I read the first 90 pages in what felt like five minutes and forced myself to put it down because I had to sleep. I then proceeded to lay awake wondering and dove in again.  I've seen some reviews saying that it slowed down for them after that, but for me that definitely wasn't the case.

I found this book to be wonderfully written and it absorbed me from page one. I found the world to be vivid and believable while still keeping me interested. I was constantly wanting to see what would happen and not once did I ever consider throwing in the towel.

Our heroine, Violet/#197, is pleasant and very easy to like. So often in stories like this do heroines give off a whiny, "My life is horrible," vibe but I never experienced that with Violet. She's been through some crap, and it sucked - but now it's time to get on with it. That was the vibe I was getting from her. Other surrogates around her seemed to have a harder time adapting to the new way of life and the new environment while Violet was sticking it out and being strong. I admired that about her.

Surrogates are a very interesting and necessary part of this world. I appreciated the world building and that there wasn't an information dump over the first chapter but rather that the story was allowed to tell itself in small bits as it saw fit. This world could possibly be our own, but it's never really specific. It is however easy to relate to the lives of those we do see, no crazy alien cyborgs here, folks.

There was a love interest that arrives fairly late in the game. I loved the story before this introduction and after the introduction of said individual. I didn't get the "insta-love" vibe though I know some others did. Insta-love tends to bother me, but in this book I felt that it was gradual enough that it felt natural. We're on a limited time frame from the beginning which may have also helped in this department.

Now, let's talk about that ending.

The ending to end all other endings. It was wonderful. I haven't gotten that excited for a sequel in years. I'm terrible at finishing series - but this one I am already dying to have more of.

I have heard this book compared to The Selection series, and as I have not read it myself I can't say much to that fact - however from what I know about The Selection storyline, I didn't find any similarities that felt like this had been done before.

Overall: If you love books that are different, have an intriguing concept/world this book is perfect for you. Our heroine is believable, the ending leaves you guessing, and it is an all around fantastic debut.

Don't miss it.

You'll regret it if you do.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

This week I am going to do things a bit differently. I just finished this book and it is fantastic. 
This is what you need to be waiting on

The Jewel 
by Amy Ewing

Release Date: September 2nd

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

What are you guys waiting on this week? 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Let's Talk: Finding the Time...

The past couple weeks of my life have been crazy. I am working two jobs (one an internship that is super fun) and am going to school full time. It's not exactly even the biggest load that I've had at one time, but I still find myself feeling this unavoidable emotion...


My pile of books keeps growing and growing, as does my work load for my real life responsibilities. Honestly, when I get home after job 1 or 2, particularly my non internship, all I want to do is crawl into a hole and do nothing. 

For days. 

So, what do you guys do when you find yourselves lacking for time? 

How do you keep the motivation? 

What kind of coffee is flowing through your veins?

Ultimately I love everything that I do, so I find cutting corners to be something that just doesn't work with my personality or goals. Sometimes though being a super blogger and a super human in life just seems unrealistic. 

If you have something that works for you, I'd love to hear it. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book Haul for August 23rd!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

This week I got a ton of wonderful things!

For Review: 

All of these were a complete surprise - but they all seem so cute! It was a great week for Middle Grade for sure. 

Isla! I'm so excited for both of these, I've heard really good things about Throne of Glass so I must start the series. I can't wait to read Isla, I'm a huge fan of Anna and Lola's stories so I'm sure this one will leave me crying happy tears. 

This week on the blog... 

I've had a busy week with school, but I posted my review for 

I have a giveaway running for The Alliance by Shannon Stoker

I also participated in the Bout of Books Readathon and have read two of them so far. I still have a day! haha

What did you guys get this week? 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Graveyard Book [Graphic Novel] by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Graveyard Book: Volume 1
Author: Neil Gaiman 
Graphic Adaption: P. Craig Russell
Publisher: July 29, 2014
Source: Publisher for honest review. 

The first volume of a glorious two-volume, four-color graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman's #1 New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book, adapted by P. Craig Russell and illustrated by an extraordinary team of renowned artists.
Inventive, chilling, and filled with wonder, Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book reaches new heights in this stunning adaptation. Artists Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott lend their own signature styles to create an imaginatively diverse and yet cohesive interpretation of Neil Gaiman's luminous novel.
Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two will include Chapter Six to the end.
We all know that I LOVE Neil Gaiman. I was so excited to see the Graphic Novel adaption of the classic Graveyard Book  and I must say, I wasn't disappointed. The arrangement that P.Craig Russell did was fantastic, and I was really impressed by how wonderfully it read. I wasn't sure how the novel would take being adapted to Graphic Novel but if anything I just found it more engaging.

I read it in one sitting, which may not seem like a large feat for a "comic book" but it was quite long. It houses a whole lot of story in its pages and I couldn't get enough.

The original story is just as beautiful in this edition as in the original novel. Nobody is raised in a graveyard by the spirits that call it home. It is creepy while still being completely fascinating. You begin to know the graveyard as home just like Nobody/Bod does. Bod's adventures are highly imaginative and the graveyard setting allows for practically anything to happen. It is a blur of time periods and a mesh of personalities that end up raising Bod. After all, it takes a graveyard to raise a child.

There is foreshadowing involved that allows us to also see the outside world outside, namely Jack who I'm sure will pay a much larger part in volume two.

I enjoyed the artwork, there are different illustrators throughout the graphic novel and originally I worried that I would be able to tell the difference between them. The illustrations however all have the same feel, and in the end I found them to be consistent, and the slight variations added to the mood of each section rather than seeming choppy and different.

Overall: I am so excited to get my hands on volume two! If you haven't been introduced to the world of Neil Gaiman yet, this graphic novel is the perfect intro. If you're a long time Gaiman fan, or love graphic novels in general, you will proudly display this one on your shelf among your many other favorites.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Alliance by Shannon Stoker [Giveaway!]

It's that time again!

This week I am going to be giving away one copy of...

The Alliance by Shannon Stoker. 
Release Date: September 2nd 

To overthrow a brutal dictator and free her country, a brave young woman will risk her life and liberty to spark a revolution in this explosive final installment in Shannon Stoker’s electrifying Registry trilogy
“Beautifully written . . . a chilling and shocking look at a futuristic America that will stay with you long after you close the book.” —Jennifer L. Armentrout on The Registry
Mia Morrissey fled to Mexico to escape the government marrying her to someone she did not love. Now, she’s going risk everything so that the rest of America can be free. 
Going undercover as part of a diplomatic mission, Mia returns to America. But life there is more dangerous than ever as the walls grow ever taller, and the forgotten country faces its most ruthless leader yet, Grant Marsden…a shadow from Mia’s past. With the help of Andrew, Carter, and other members of the subversive group Affinity, she embarks on a perilous journey to defeat Grant, bring down the government, and destroy the Registry once and for all. 
When a terrible betrayal exposes the operation, Mia discovers that her enemies have used her—and so have her friends. Alone and frightened, she’s uncertain who to trust—or whether the mission is worth what she’s sacrificing.
With the fate of her friends and the future of her country on the line, Mia knows that her next step may be the last for her . . . and America.
It definitely sounds like an interesting read and I look forward to seeing what you guys think.  
Info on entering is posted below. 

Have fun and let me know if you have any questions. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 18, 2014

Bout of Books Readathon

Bout of Books

I am officially participating in this week's Bout of Books!

It was a semi-recent decision, but I am super excited to get started and see how this goes. This week is also the first semester of my senior year - so there will definitely be some give and take with my time.

Here is what I will be reading!

The Fire Wish by Amber Lough
Six Feet Over it by Jennifer Longo
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
The Graveyard Book: Graphic Novel, Volume One by Neil Gaiman

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Haul for Week of August 16th!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

This week was absolutely fantastic in the realm of #bookmail! 

This week I received... 

All three of these are books that I super excited for! 

I've been talking about Snow Like Ashes for months now, and I can't even explain how much squealing and jumping happened when I opened the package and had it in my hands! 

Huge thanks to HarperCollins and St. Martins! 

What did you guys get this week? 

Magnolia by Kristi Cook [Book Review]

Title: Magnolia
Author: Kristi Cook 
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: August 5th

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.
Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.
But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.
It is no surprise that as a born and bred Southerner, this book was almost perfect. Perfection belongs to titles such as Gone With the Wind, and while that mega classic that houses the heart of the South still comes first in my book, Magnolia was beautiful and oh so fantastic.

Let's start with the setting - Magnolia Branch, Mississippi. This is a quaint little town that definitely is heavy on the southern charm. The Cafferty's and the Marden's have been cozy since the Civil War, but they have never been able to join their two families.

Until now.

Finally they have a boy and a girl born together, unfortunately these two seem to not be quite as cozy as their family would like them to be.

This story is really the opposite of Romeo and Juliet, and the comparison is one that can be seen throughout the book. Each chapter is an "Act" and there are even a couple quotes spotted throughout that bring the whole idea together.

Jemma and Ryder (love this name) seem to dislike each other for the sake of disliking each other in the beginning. The reasons come to light gradually throughout the novel, but there is always something more between them. You can just feel it.

I loved the storm. There are scenes between them during the storm where I literally could not turn the pages fast enough. They play off of each other so well, and the familiarity between them even while they're trying to deny their feelings is fantastic, and so worth reading.

Jemma and Ryder are wonderful together, and I loved every scene they shared. Their relationship grows so much over the course of the book that I was constantly eager for more. The only complaint I have, is I wish the ending had a bit more explanation to it. I wanted to see more of their family towards the end, and was sad that one ending was still slightly in the air.

This book is full of heart break, humor, and a dose of southern charm that leaves you wanting more.

Overview: If you're a fan of the South, or swoon worthy reads that leave you wanting more - Magnolia should be on your list.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted  by Breaking the Spine!

Being Audrey Hepburn 
by Mitchell Kriegman

Release Date: September 16, 2014

In Being Audrey Hepburn, Clarissa Explains It All-creator, Mitchell Kriegman, tells the story of a 19-year-old girl from Jersey who finds herself thrust into the world of socialites after being seen in Audrey Hepburn’s dress from the filmBreakfast at Tiffany’s.
Lisbeth comes from a broken home in the land of tube tops, heavy eyeliner, frosted lip-gloss, juiceheads, hoop earrings and “the shore.” She has a circle of friends who have dedicated their teenage lives to relieve the world of all its alcohol one drink at a time.
Obsessed with everything Audrey Hepburn, Lisbeth is transformed when she secretly tries on Audrey’s iconic Givenchy. She becomes who she wants to be by pretending to be somebody she’s not and living among the young and privileged Manhattan elite. Soon she’s faced with choices that she would never imagine making – between who she’s become and who she once was.
In the tradition of The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada, this is a coming of age story that all begins with that little black dress…

I love Audrey Hepburn, so this book definitely is a must have!

What are you guys waiting on this week?  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Vlog Edition

Hello everyone, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week I'm doing another Vlog as I'm really enjoying them.

This weeks question:

What are some books that you have bought, but may never get to? 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Feature and Follow Friday!

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

This weeks question... 

What is your favorite Social Media? 

I have to say Twitter or Instagram. I really enjoy both. 

If you guys follow be sure to comment so I know to pay you a special visit! 

TBR Thursday

Hello everyone! 

Sarah from Words With Sarah has a new feature that I am going to participate in that presents what we are going to read from our ever growing TBR pile that has been in our possession for three months or more. 

And I have a TON of those... 

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach--an "outlander"--in a Scotland torn by war and raiding Highland clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.
Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into intrigues and dangers that may threaten her life...and shatter her heart. For here she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

I have seen so much hype about the TV show that just aired and I think it is time I start to read this modern classic. Everyone loves it, and it involves time travel. What do I have to lose?  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted at Breaking the Spine

Release Date: March 26, 2015

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.
To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.
From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

Doesn't this one look AMAZING! I actually heard about it quite some time ago, and have anxiously been awaiting the cover reveal ever since. I was not disappointed. 

What are you guys waiting on this week? 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

We're doing something a bit different this week. I'm vlogging! 

Sorry if it is a little rough, I'm trying to get the hang of this thing. 

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming [Review + Giveaway]

Title: The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion and the Fall of Imperial Russia
Author: Candace Fleming
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade

“[A] superb history.... In these thrilling, highly readable pages, we meet Rasputin, the shaggy, lecherous mystic...; we visit the gilded ballrooms of the doomed aristocracy; and we pause in the sickroom of little Alexei, the hemophiliac heir who, with his parents and four sisters, would be murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.” —The Wall Street Journal Here is the tumultuous, heartrending, true story of the Romanovs—at once an intimate portrait of Russia's last royal family and a gripping account of its undoing. Using captivating photos and compelling first person accounts, award-winning author Candace Fleming (Amelia Lost;The Lincolns) deftly maneuvers between the imperial family’s extravagant lives and the plight of Russia's poor masses, making this an utterly mesmerizing read as well as a perfect resource for meeting Common Core standards.
"An exhilarating narrative history of a doomed and clueless family and empire." —Jim Murphy, author of Newbery Honor Books An American Plague and The Great Fire
"For readers who regard history as dull, Fleming’s extraordinary book is proof positive that, on the contrary, it is endlessly fascinating, absorbing as any novel, and the stuff of an altogether memorable reading experience." —Booklist, Starred
"Marrying the intimate family portrait of Heiligman’s Charles and Emmawith the politics and intrigue of Sheinkin’s Bomb, Fleming has outdone herself with this riveting work of narrative nonfiction that appeals to the imagination as much as the intellect." —The Horn Book, Starred

We all know about the Romanov's, whether from a history class or from Anastasia, the fantastic cartoon that depicted Russia as a place full of sing alongs. We have all heard about their ultimate fall and there has always been some mystery involved when thinking about that time period and their culture as a whole.

I've always been a fan of historical fiction, that often times leads into nonfiction as well. I loved the narrative in this book, Candace Fleming has a way of retelling history in a way that isn't dry or boring. Most often I hear issues with a book's voice in nonfiction. Nonfiction shouldn't feel like the simple retelling of facts, but rather feel like an accurate retelling that is interesting while still being informative.

Candace Fleming definitely delivered in the storytelling department. I've always been interested in history, but even those who haven't found it so appealing may enjoy this title. It covers Imperial Russia very fully through the prime down to the ultimate Fall in great detail.

The Romanov line is one that some still question to this day. People say that Alexandra was secretly sleeping with Rasputin, people claim that since Anastasia's body wasn't decidedly found in the debris that she somehow made it out alive, and still little Alexei's illness never became public until after his death.

There are so many details about the Romanov's that aren't talked about and this novel really put me into the life and times of not only the emperor and empress but each of their children.

If you're a lover of historical fiction, this book should be on your list.

It tells of one of the most famous families ever, which just so happens to also be one we often don't talk about as much as we should.

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