Thursday, April 19, 2018

Audiobook Review: Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray

Title: Defy the Worlds
Series: Defy the Stars #2
Written by: Claudia Gray
Published: April 3, 2018 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: This is the thrilling and romantic sequel to Defy the Stars from the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Lost Stars and Bloodline.

An outcast from her home -- Shunned after a trip through the galaxy with Abel, the most advanced cybernetic man ever created, Noemi Vidal dreams of traveling through the stars one more time. And when a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi gets her chance. As the only soldier to have ever left the planet, it will be up to her to save its people...if only she wasn't flying straight into a trap.

A fugitive from his fate -- On the run to avoid his depraved creator's clutches, Abel believes he's said good-bye to Noemi for the last time. After all, the entire universe stands between them...or so he thinks. When word reaches him of Noemi's capture by the very person he's trying to escape, Abel knows he must go to her, no matter the cost.

But capturing Noemi was only part of Burton Mansfield's master plan. In a race against time, Abel and Noemi will come together once more to discover a secret that could save the known worlds, or destroy them all.

In this thrilling and romantic sequel to Defy the Stars, bestselling author Claudia Gray asks us all to consider where--and with whom--we truly belong.


I was late to the party on reading the first book in this series and I wish I had read it sooner because it was a fantastic science fiction adventure. So when the second book came out, I didn't want to delay too long before diving back into this world. And I was not disappointed. This is another brilliant and engaging science fiction read from a master of the genre.

One of the things I was most excited about with this book was catching back in with the characters. I seriously loved the characters in the first book and I felt invested in their struggles. In the first book you really get to know Noemi and Abel so in this book we are able to just see them in action. An unfortunate side effect of that was that there wasn't really much character development here. But that was okay because I really do love these characters. Noemi is fearless and dedicated to saving her world and people who have been mistreated. That will always be a character that I love. But Abel is the more interesting one. He's so complex and interesting. How can an android with a soul not be complex.

The heart of this book too is their relationship. Usually I am not onboard for this kind of relationship but Claudia Gray has done such an amazing job with it. It's a great slowburn, so slow in fact that they spent most of the book apart and I kept hoping that they would find one another and get back together. They are so fun together. They have great back and make an amazing team. It's the foundation for a good relationship and I am actually interested in seeing where it goes.

I am also super interested in seeing where the plot of this book goes. The plot in this one was a lot more complicated. There is a lot going on and it didn't really all come together until towards the end of the book. Throughout the story there were tons of surprises and lots of action and adventure. There were daring escapes through space, exploration of unknown planets, battles on a spaceship, and lots more. The plot really built to an exciting climax with a completely mean cliffhanger. I cannot wait to see how it all ends in a final book in the series. But it was a bit slow at the beginning. There was a lot that still needed to be revealed and set up, which is fine, but I wish it got down to business sooner.

But I was okay with learning more about this world because it's a very interesting world in this book. In this book we got to explore more of the setting of the book by visiting Gensis. I loved seeing this element of the book and learning about and seeing that location. It was so different than the other planets. Speaking of planets, this world really has that the classic hard sci-fi thing going for it with spaceships, androids, new planets and any number of exciting science based elements. It has a Battlestar Galatica vibe which I am completely here for. Plus it has Claudia Gray's trademark way of incorporating a lot of science without overwhelming the reader with details. It could definitely fallen down that path but it didn't.

I really enjoyed this book it was an action-packed read with a fascinating world and complex characters. I have loved every YA science fiction book I have read by Claudia Gray. She really knows how to write a great story.

I give Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray 9 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. I definitely recommend this book to fans of science fiction. It's a fun explration into the genre with great characters and an interesting world.

Have you read Defy the Worlds? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Like to Reread But I Probably Won't Have Time

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

So last week as I was going through my list of books read trying to figure out which ones I didn't want to reread, I realized that there is a solid list of books that I want to reread but probably won't just because I don't have time. I wish I had unlimited opportunity to read, but I don't so I have to prioritize books that I haven't read yet. So today I thought I would share that list of books with you.


1.) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I was killing some time at the airport recently and with the movie for this book coming out they had a ton of paperbacks for this one. I don't own a copy so I bought it and now I really want to reread it. I want to reread even more after seeing the movie.

2.) Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
I have reread the first two books in this series but not this one. I tend not to reread last books. But I loved this series and I would like to reread it. If Apocalypse Guard ever comes out I may reread it but until then I just don't have time.

3.) The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
This is one of my all-time favorite books. It's the book that inspired me to start this blog. I bought my sister a copy last Christmas and it made me want to reread. I actually want to listen to the audiobook because it's narrated by Jeremy Irons.

4.) The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
I am soooo excited for this movie and I want to reread before seeing it. I love this series so much and I want the movie to be amazing. I also want it to be good enough for there to be more movies because my favorite character is introduced in the second book.


5.) Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
This is a really fantastic but really amazing series. I would like to reread the original trilogy and the new series when the final book in that one comes out but I'm going to be honest, I probably won't do that. I know I should but that's a lot of books.

6.) The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
With King of Scars coming out next year, I would really like to reread the original series to refresh my memory on what happened and also get me some Nikolai to prepare. I do really like the audiobook narrator so maybe I'll listen.

7.) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater
Speaking of really liking the audiobook narrator. Steve West, amiright? I mean Fiona Hardingham too but also Steve West. I'd like to give this one another listen but I don't think I will have the time. Props to people who do that every year.

8.) The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon
I really like this series and I would love to reread because there is always so much time between releases. But the thing is, I don't like the audiobook narrator and because of that I probably won't reread it.


9.) The Diviners by Libba Bray
The main thing from stopping from rereading this one is the fact that the books are so long. The audio narrator is pretty good and I would like to reread them before the final book in the series comes out (whenever that is) but it's a serious commitment.

10.) The Great Library series by Rachel Caine
So I reread the first book in the series before the second one came out but I didn't reread the second when the third one did. Now we're looking at a fourth and then a fifth book and I really should reread. Will I? I don't know. Maybe.

11.) The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman
I loved this series. I have been wanting to reread it for some time now. I think it would be great to listen to the audiobooks. But I have not taken the time for that and I'm starting to think I never will.

12.) Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab
This is another series that I want to reread before the spinoff comes out, and another amazing series that I would like to experience again. But the narrator for the first book SUCKS and I don't know if I can get through it so I can get to the second.

There you have it, all the books I would like to reread but I probably won't have time to reread. Some because they are long series, and others just because I am prioritizing new releases. What books would you like to reread if you had time? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, April 16, 2018

ARC Review: Sky In the Deep by Adrienne Young

Title: Sky in the Deep
Written by: Adrienne Young
Published: April 24, 2018 by Wednesday Books (St Martin's)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.


*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

This book was seriously so fantastic! I had wanted to read it since I first learn about it, because it’s so Up my alley, and I am so glad it lived up to my expectations. It was a badass, thrilling, enthralling read and I loved it.

One of the things I loved most about this book was the world. I have been wanting both oks about Vikings, or inspired by Vikings, for years now and this is the first one I’ve read which I think did it right. The author managed to capture the spirit of Vikings while still making something wholly unique. You could feel the inspiration in the culture of the book. It’s an intense and barbaric culture with battle-hardened warriors. But you also see it in their religion and stories. It felt totally immersive and fascinating.

But the setting also perfectly lent itself to a thrilling fantasy plot. You guys know me, I am a plot junkie. I want a book full of action and suspense that keeps me on the edge of my seat. This book completely did that. There were thrilling battle scenes, more quite moments of uncertainty and fear, there was external conflict and internal conflict, there were big bads and smaller enemies. There was definitely a lot going on here but it all worked together to craft a fantastic plot that really built to an exciting conclusion. I seriously did not want to put it down. I breezed through this book and I loved that about it. I needed a book like this.

The characters too really blew me away. This book very easily could have taken a very cliche path, but it didn’t. The characters were complex and had a lot of depth. First we have our main character of Eelyn. She’s a kickass female warrior, which I love, but she was also incredibly vulnerable. Throughout the book she doesn’t always win and there are times where she lets her emotions affect her in a very real way. I loved that about her. I love that she can kill someone on the battlefield and cry herself to sleep. It made her so real and so raw at times. She felt everything and you felt it with her. All of this really made Eelyn a very compelling protagonist.

But the real heart of this story is about family. It is about doing anything for your family and the people you love. It’s about finding family in the most unlikely of sources. This too could have been really cliche but it never went that far. It gave the book depth and heart. Speaking of heart, I also kind of liked the romance here. I don’t even know how to describe it. It wasn’t quite a hate to love thing, nor was it instalove. It leaned more toward the former though. Either way, it was a good slowburn in that it was one of those romances where I didn’t even know I shipped it until something happened that melted my otherwise frozen heart.

My only criticism is with the synopsis. I know I’m just nick-picking here but I really hate when the synopsis of a book gives a lot away. I understand you want to capture people’s interest but I think you can do that without revealing three-quarters of the plot. It takes all the mystery out of a book when the synopsis tells you what to expect. And I knew exactly what to expect. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I wish the book would have keep something from me at least.

All in all this was an amazing read. It had everything I wanted and more. There was a fascinating world, a thrilling plot that kept me on the edge of my seat, complex and likable characters, and a lot of heart and depth. I have been looking forward to this book for probably a year and it was so worth it. It’s amazing.

I give Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young 9.5 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! This book was amazing. I seriously loved it. If you are a fan of YA fantasies or are just looking for a thrilling book Everyone should read it. When it comes out next week, get yourself a copy.

Have you read Sky in the Deep? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thnaks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, April 13, 2018

ARC Review: In Her Skin by Kim Savage

Title: In Her Skin
Written by: Kim Savage
Published: April 17, 2018 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain is about to take on the biggest scam of her life: impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and Jo is hoping to cash in on a little safety, a little security. She finds her opportunity in the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family with ties to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.

When Jo takes on Vivi's identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her back with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. As hidden crimes come to the surface, and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold onto an illusion of safety, or escape the danger around her before it’s too late.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I am always game to try a new YA mystery and/or thriller. I had heard good things about this author so when I had the opportunity to join the blog tour for this one I thought I would take advantage of my desire to read the author and give it a try. This was a really unique thriller and I did enjoy it but it wasn't one that blew me away.

One of the things that I did love about this book is the tension. When you are reading a thriller this is definitely what you want, you want to be thrilled. You want a book that is tense and leave you curious and questioning. That's exactly what this book did. It kept you wondering what was going to happen next, when the other shoe was going to drop, and when the con was all going to go south. Because of that I kept reading in the hopes of something crazy and intense happening. It kept me engaged and reading because of that.

That being said, the plot here was not exactly what I was hoping for. It was interesting and it did keep me curious, but it never really delivered on any of the anticipation for me. I think my biggest frustration what the plot however was that it was so basic. This is a short read, which is fine, but I wanted more depth. I've read some short reads that were jam-packed but this wasn't one of them. The tension was there but my mind was spinning with all kinds of possibilities and none of them came true. When it did reach the conclusion for me things just kind of fizzled out. There were some big reveals early in the book but they didn't quite have the weight that I was hoping for. But this was probably my fault because of the way I was imagining things. I should have just experienced the book instead of imagining the possibilities.

As far as the characters go, however, they were really interesting and complex. Our main character in this book is Jolene. Jolene is a con artist and therefore not the kind of character who you think that you would sympathize with, but Savage does a great job of making her likable. She has a bit of a tragic past and is the kind of character who you want to see settled and happy. But maybe I like Jo so much because all the other characters were so odious. The Lovecrafts definitely had secrets and I kept keeping them at arms length. They were definitely odious though, especially Temple, and honestly that is one of the things that made them likable and interesting.

All in al this was an interesting and engaging read. It was a fast and unique mystery that had a lot of really good tension even if the plot didn't exactly blow me away.

I give In Her Skin by Kim Savage 8.5 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. This was a good read but not a super complex mystery. If you are a big fan of YA thrillers and you want something to blow your mind you will not find that here. But if you are looking for a fast and tense read check this out.

Have you read In Her Skin? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

In Her Skin Blog Tour: Author Guest Post and Giveaway


ABOUT THE BOOK


In Her Skin by Kim Savage
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery

Synopsis: A dark, suspenseful young adult novel about crime, identity, and two girls with ever y- thing to lose.

Fifteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain takes on her biggest heist yet — impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and s he hopes to cash in on a little safety, some security. She finds her opportunity with the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family tied to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine.

When Jo takes on Vivi ’ s identity and stages the girl ’ s miraculous return, the Love-crafts welcome her with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household — and some secrets refuse to stay buried. When hidden crimes come to the surface and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold on to an illusion of safety or escape the danger around her before it ’ s too late. In Her Skin is Kim Savage at her most suspenseful yet.

GUEST POST / MINI INTERVIEW

I asked the author Kim Savage to talk more about her writing process for a mystery/heist novel. Here are her answers to my questions/

What are the steps to writing a heist novel?

1. Create a character who is savvy but vulnerable. The reader needs to care!
2. Give her skills that can only get her so far.
3. Give her a formidable opponent to create conflict. Dear reader, meet Temple Lovecraft.

How do you start?

With In Her Skin, I started with the motivation of the Lovecrafts. How could they be fooled by an obvious con? Jo’s eyes are a different color than Vivi’s, she doesn’t recall the same memories, and her kidnapping story has holes. I realized the question wasn’t how they could be fooled, but why would they choose to be.

Do you have to plot it out or can you pants it?

I write chapters with bullets, then lay down the bones of a story in a messy first draft. You really can't pants suspense, or you'd end up with logic problems. At least I can’t!

I hope that has interested you in reading the book. Having finished it myself I can definitely say she achieved that goal in writing a book about why someone would want to be tricked. If you want more info on my thoughts on the book, come back tomorrow for my full review.

BOOK LINKS


TOUR SCHEDULE


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KIM SAVAGE is the author of three critically acclaimed young adult novels, After the Woods, Beautiful Broken Girls (named by Kirkus as one of the 10 Best YA of 2017), and In Her Skin (releasing March 27, 2018), all with Farrar, Straus, Giroux/Macmillan. He r novels have been published in Spain, Brazil, and Turkey, and have been optioned for TV. Kim presents at conferences and book festivals natio n- wide; has been featured on NPR, Herald Radio, and on local cable stations; and she reads from her novels at bookstores across the country. A former reporter with a Master degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, Kim's stories are based in and around Boston. She lives with her family near Boston, not far from the real Middlesex Fells Reservation of After the Woods. Kim and her husband have three children, each of whom beg to appear in her books. They shouldn't.

GIVEAWAY

Prize :1 finished copy of IN HER SKIN by Kim Savage (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday:


A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Cheerleaders
Published: July 31, 2018 by Delacorte (Random House)

Synopsis: There are no more cheerleaders in the town of Sunnybrook.

First there was the car accident—two girls gone after hitting a tree on a rainy night. Not long after, the murders happened. Those two girls were killed by the man next door. The police shot him, so no one will ever know why he did it. Monica’s sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. No one wanted to be reminded of the girls they lost.

That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders. But for Monica, it’s not that easy. She just wants to forget. Only, Monica’s world is starting to unravel. There are the letters in her stepdad’s desk, an unearthed, years-old cell phone, a strange new friend at school. . . . Whatever happened five years ago isn’t over. Some people in town know more than they’re saying. And somehow Monica is at the center of it all.

There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is safe.

Why I'm Waiting:

I have read Thomas' first two YA mysteries and they were both really good. I loved the way they unfolded, laying out clues, and then hit us with a surprising twist. They're also really love the way that she creates atmospheric settings and think they make the perfect tone for mysteries. All that just makes me really interested in reading another of her mysteries

But even if I wasn't interested in reading another book by this author I would still want to read this book. First of all there is a really interesting mystery here. I am so intrigued about what happened to the cheerleaders in this town and why. I feel like there is definitely going to be a really dark story here which I am all about. It sounds really fantastic.

I love ready mysteries in the summer, they are my perfect beach reads. I can't wait to read this one. I'm hoping to get approved for an e-ARC of this one on Netgalley. I'm excited for my beach trips now that I am back in Rhode Island. This will absolutely a book I bring with me.


What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on The Cheerleaders along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved but Would Not Read Again

A weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl


1.) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
This book is amazing and I seriously loved it but it was also super traumatic. Like it wrecked me for a really long time and I don't really want that pain again. I'm sure you can understand.

2.) The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak
Speaking of not wanting the pain again, this book was also super traumatic. It took me a really long time to read it even after hearing nothing but amazing things even from people who don't really read a lot of fiction. It was worth the wait but never again.

3.) Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
I loved this book so much it was one of my favorite books of last year. But I don't honestly have much interest to read it again. It was really good though.

4.) Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
The best part about this book is the big reveal. You would lose something if you read it a second time because there isn't any big surprise, just all the clues you didn't see the first time around.


5.) A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
I may actually reread this one but the series is seriously so long. If Winds of Winter ever gets a release date and I have a month to devote to the series then sure.

6.) The Luxe Series by Anna Godberson
I read this series a really long time ago and loved it. But I have a feeling that if I were to read it again I wouldn't like it as much. I want to have an idealized view of this series.

7.) The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
This is another book which has a big twist in the end which would be totally wrecked if I read it again. I mean frankly I am a little interested because the ending was super confusing and reading it again may clarify things.


8.) The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Another mystery. Are you noticing a trend? You just can't reread a mystery. This one was really good and I loved it but I think if I were to read it again it would become far less complex.

9.) Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
It took me a really long time to read this book. In fact, it took me two tries to finish it. I loved it in the end and I'm really glad I did finish it, but I definitely will not read it again.

10.) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Started with a book that was traumatizing, and finished with a book that was traumatizing. This book was great but also really upsetting, so upsetting that I don't want to restart it.

There you have it. All the books I loved but won't read again. What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!