Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review: Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys

Release Date: November 8th, 2016
Read: January 3rd-5th, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 292 pages
Source: Bought

Description from GoodReads:

   You are cordially invited to participate in a game of thrills and dares. Tell no one, and come alone. If you dare.

   Hope is sick of everyone treating her like she’s breakable. Sure, she has cystic fibrosis (basically really bad lungs), but she’s tired of being babied by her mom and her overprotective best friend, Ethan, not to mention worrying about paying for her expensive medication and how she’s going to afford college. And she’s bored with life in her run-down New Orleans suburb.

   When an invitation arrives from a mysterious group that calls itself the Society, Hope jumps at the chance for some excitement. This could be her ticket out. All she has to do is complete a few dares and she might win some real money.

   But the Society isn’t all it seems . . . and soon Hope finds that playing the game isn’t a choice—it’s a requirement.


   Cheaters always get caught.
   I've been excited for Dead Girls Society since forever, I hadn't read any of Michelle Krys' other works yet, but knowing that this one was going to be a thriller, I knew that it was going to be something I loved. I wasn't wrong.
   Our protagonist, Hope, is sick. With cystic fibrosis, she has a lot of problems when it comes to breathing. This makes certain things hard for her to do, like swimming or say, sit by a campfire with smoke. Although it's a tough living for the character, it made the character feel real. Instead of getting the perfect, hero character that saves the day, we got a real character. I loved it, and couldn't have been happier. I hope that in the future, more books will have more realistic characters like Hope.
   Where I had chills and felt the constant need to know who the Society was, I also had some problems when it came to the story. In some cases I felt that the story was a bit rushed, in length and in writing style. Personally, I think with a bit slower of a pace, the story could have gone on a bit longer and even had a few more dares. Besides that one quirk, it was the perfect thriller.
   Dead Girls Society was a thrill to read, with daring challenges, murderous motive and mysterious characters. I couldn't put it down, I can not wait to read Krys' other books.


Favourite Quote:

"It's just so hard to let go."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery, Murder, Revenge

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: (61)

Traitor to the Throne

Alwyn Hamilton
Rebel of the Sands, #2
 Viking Books for Young Readers
Expected: March 7th, 2017

Description from GoodReads:

   Mere months ago, gunslinger Amani al'Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she's fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne. 

   When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan's palace—she's determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan's secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she's a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she's been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Why I Want It:

   I read Rebel of the Sands in December 2016, and I completely adored it. I couldn't put it down, I stayed up into the late night just finishing the book. And so, I can not wait to see where Alwyn Hamilton takes us with the rest of the story, in Traitor to the Throne. Action, gun fights, djinni, and magic, what more could you want in a book?

  That's my Waiting on Wednesday this week! Will you be picking up Traitor to the Throne? What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Book Review: Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

Release Date: September 27th, 2016
Read: December 28th-29th, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Series: The Golden Seer Trilogy, #2
Format: Hardcover, 406 pages
Source: Gifted

Description from GoodReads:

   He will never stop hunting me down. I have to end him, and soon.

   Lee Westfall survived the dangerous journey to California. She found a new family in the other outcasts of their wagon train, and Jefferson, her best friend, is beginning to woo her shamelessly. Now they have a real home—one rich in gold, thanks to Lee’s magical ability to sense the precious metal in the world around her.

   But Lee’s Uncle Hiram has survived his own journey west. He’s already murdered her parents, and he will do anything to have Lee and her talents under his control. No one is safe. When he kidnaps her, she sees firsthand the depths of his depravity.

   Lee’s magic is changing, though. It is growing. The gold no longer simply sings to her—it listens. It obeys her call. Will that alone be enough to destroy her uncle?


   Gold comes hard but goes easy.
   When I discovered Walk on Earth a Stranger back in 2015, I didn't realize that I discovered a treasure that would have me silently anticipating when the next book in the series would release. When Like a River Glorious was announced, I was in aw from the moment I heard about it to when the gorgeous cover was released. I wasted no time on getting my hands on a copy.
   The story starts up a little bit after Walk on Earth a Stranger ends, with the dangerous trek being over, the gang finally being able to find a place to settle. I really enjoyed how Carson was able to dedicate each of the books with a rather large part of the process in the California Gold Rush, with Like a River Glorious being dedicated to settlement.
   With the troubles of Lee's Uncle finally catching up to her, I really liked how Carson didn't downplay how bad the immigrants, who weren't white, and the indigenous people, had it when it came to colonization. Carson told history as it actually was, instead of downplaying what actually happened, it made the story feel all that more real.
   I loved Lee as our protagonist in Walk on Earth a Stranger, and I loved her even more in Like a River Glorious.  Lee grew up so much in the first book, that when it came to her in the sequel, she was almost a completely new person from who she was when we started the series. I found that her character just became such a strong independent woman, who was never afraid to fight for what she believed in. I hope that her character continues to develop more in the final book in the series.
   Like a River Glorious was as perfect as I hoped it would be, I can not wait to see how Rae Carson finishes the series on October 10th, 2017 with Into the Bright and Unknown.


Favourite Quote:

"I’m still trying to figure how to make my own way, my own fortune." 

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Adventure, The Gold Rush, Shoot Outs, Mining

Friday, February 10, 2017

Book Review: Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Release Date: November 1st, 2016
Read: December 30th 2016-January 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Wolf by Wolf, #2
Format: ARC, 481 pages
Source: BEA 2016

Description from GoodReads:

   There would be blood. Blood for blood. Blood to pay. An entire world of it.

   For the resistance in the Third Reich, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun. Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against Hitler’s army, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

   But in the midst of the chaos, Yael’s past and future collide when she comes face to face with a ghost from her past, and a spark with a fellow rider begins to grow into something more. Dark secrets reveal dark truths and one question hangs over them all—how far can you go for the ones you love?


   Why was she always the only one left?
   Wolf by Wolf was one of my favourite books of 2015, it surprised me with its hint of fantasy in the story that was obviously historical fiction. I went to BEA 2016 with only four books that I wanted to leave with, Blood for Blood was one of them, and I certainly did leave with it. With not wanting the series to end, I put off reading my ARC until roughly two months after it's release. Eventually I knew that I was going to have to read it.
   Blood for Blood was not what I was expecting, for all the hype I heard, and with everything that happened in the first book, I had some high expectations for its sequel. Unfortunately, the book didn't meet those expectations. Where Wolf by Wolf was planned out, and had direction, I found Blood for Blood didn't. I kind of feel like Graudin didn't really have a solid solution when it came to the ending of the series, especially with how it all went down. I understand that people had to die in the end, the story takes place in WWII, so they kind of have too. But with Wolf by Wolf we had the book take place throughout different terrain because of the race, with this one, it was all over the place with no purpose.
   Although I found the plot of Blood for Blood to be a bit disappointing, I loved that Yael was her same old self, the same as she was in the first book. Even when things were tough, she was still true to herself. I really liked how she still kept up with the tattoos when the whole thing was over. In the first book, I also felt myself connecting with Felix. In this one, I couldn't have hated him more. There was a rather large shift when it came to his character, and I just couldn't get over it. What I loved about him was just gone, and so I just wanted his parts to be over.
   I didn't love Blood for Blood, and when I think about it, I get a disappointed feeling. Having only read this series by Ryan Graudin and none of her others, I probably wouldn't pick up any more of her books if it wasn't for how much I enjoyed Wolf by Wolf. Hopefully in the future, I'll enjoy her next books more. 


Favourite Quote:

"Fear is not an excuse, fear is being human."

"Talking a life takes something from you."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, World War 2, War, Shapeshifters

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

OwlCrate Monthly Haul: January 2017

 Hi y'all! So today I wanted to show everyone my January box from OwlCrate! In order to not spoil anything for anyone, I decided to wait and post it a good while after most people have received theirs already.

   OwlCrate is a monthly bookish YA subscription box, which every month features a new theme. Each box features a recently released YA book, along with a few bookish goodies created specially for the box.

This months theme is: Classic Remix

This months box includes:

-A watercolour bookmark inspired by Slaughterhouse Five, from @lexyolivia
-A hand drawn Phantom of the Opera magnet created by @sweetsequels.
-A peppermint/spearmint and rose inspired by The Little Prince, created by @firsteditiontea. (Not shown, I used it all before I could take the picture, oops.)
-A book-shaped soap inspired by The Secret Garden and created by @teasoapbooks.
-A poster for Marissa Meyer's new graphic novel, Wires and Nerve.
-A 2017 calendar created by @obviousstate. All of the artwork inside was inspired by classic children's stories.
-And finally Roseblood by A.G. Howard, with a letter and signed bookplate from the author. 

Next months theme is: Runaway from the Circus!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Book Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
Read: December 26th-27th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Source: McNally Robinson/ Two Thumbs Up Program

Description from GoodReads:

   Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

   Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

   When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

   But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodies are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.


   God is good, but the devil is not so bad to those he likes.
   I've been a huge fan of Amanda Hocking since I picked up Switched, back in 2012. I've read her Trylle series, her Watersong Series, and I've even picked up her Kanin series, although I haven't read them yet. So when Freeks was announced, I obviously had to get my hands on the book. McNally Robinson's Two Thumbs Up program came to the rescue, just like usual.
   Freeks ended up being something different than what I was expecting, but never the less it was still something I found myself really enjoying. Where I expected a story almost completely based on Carnival life, I found myself more focused on the people with exceptional abilities and the surrounding town where the Carnival sets up. It was really intriguing to see all these different abilities that the people had, along with being able to learn about the different mysteries that the town had in store.
   It took me roughly half the book to realize that the book took place in 1987. Most of the time, you find that newly released books either take place in the present or in an obvious time where things are almost completely different like in the Wild West, or in the future with really new technology, etc. With Freeks, having it take place in 1987 you still get that feeling that you're in the present but with a lot of little things that are different. You'd think that the tarot card headers with the date on the front would be an indicator, or even the way the characters dressed would have tipped me off, but apparently not. Even though I was completely clueless for half the book, I was really intrigued with the setting for the other half of the book. Once you paid attention to it, you began to notice a lot of minor world details that Hocking put into the book. It was definitely a time period I'd like to find more YA books set in.
   Although the book is a standalone, I felt like the book could have also been a series. With the way things ended, I feel like the characters still had a large mystical world to discover. If Amanda Hocking decides that she wants to continue the series, you'll find my name #1 on the list to read the next one.
   Filled with magic, creatures, and tattoos, Freeks was just what I needed to settle my paranormal book love. I can't wait to see what Amanda Hocking has in store for us next. 


Favourite Quote:

"I've been alive for thirty-seven years, and I have seen all kinds of things that defy the laws of nature. But I've never seen a monster. Only those that are misunderstood and mistreated." 

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Circus', Carnivals, Magic, Werewolves, Monsters

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Book Review: Hunted by Megan Spooner

Release Date: March 14th, 2017
Read: January 24th-31st, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Standalone
Format: ARC, 384 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Description from GoodReads:

   Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. 

   So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. 

   Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?


   I will call you Beauty, for that is what you are.
   Beauty and the Beast has and always will be, my favourite fairytale. Any chance I get, I will pick up a new retelling of the story, Hunted being one of those. After hearing such great things about Meagan Spooner, and hearing that her new book would be a retelling of my all time favourite fairytale, I requested it as soon as I could.
   With Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast, and the original, I tend to expect two different kinds of stories whenever I approach one of it's retellings. Hunted, was definitely a retelling of the original, with the three sisters, and our protagonist being the youngest of the three. Although it was clearly a retelling, Spooner brought her own twists to the story, with new magic and a new backstory to the Beast. I really enjoyed that sense of something new, with the new backstory. People like me, who actively seek out retellings, would be in for a real treat having not being able to predict what was coming. I also really enjoyed the different creatures that joined the story, with the dragon that was more than a dragon, and the firebird. I've always been fascinated by the two creatures, so it was nice being able to read about those.
   Having been my first Meagan Spooner novel, I didn't really know what to expect when it came to her writing style. With the case of the story, I found the writing to be a little dense. The world and story that Spooner created, just seemed too simplistic for the way her writing style was. In the end, I found this resulted in me feeling like the story was missing something, overall leaving me dissatisfied with the end of the book.
   Hunted was a new twist on the original retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and although I was expecting more out of the story, I would definitely recommend it to others who love the fairytale. 


Favourite Quote:

"Her soul against mine feels like music, like a heartbeat, like magic. Like beauty."

Recommend to People Who Enjoy:

Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Beauty and the Beast, Beasts, Hunting, Magic