Blind Spot Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway)

"It's a story about how sometimes we fail to see things that are right in front of us."

Since You've Been Gone (Review)

"fabulous, wonderful, endearing, amazing story"

Dissected by Megan Bostic (Blog Tour)

"Powerful & Thought Provoking"

In Honor by Jessi Kirby (Review)

"This is going on my favorites shelf and I will probably reread it again in the future."

Blog Tour: Hungry by H.A. Swain (Review + Giveaway)

"Hungry is a captivating and thought-provoking story set in a fascinating world."

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Review))

"All-in-all, a perfect summer read and you should totally pick up these books, if you haven't already!"

The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle (Review)

"The Edge of Falling is a beautifully told story, both in plot and writing."

Hexed by Michelle Krys (Review)

"Hexed was just the thing that I needed to get back into the reading world."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Review + Giveaway)


Series:
Mara Dyer #2
Genre:
Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller
Publication.Date:October 23, 2012
Pages:527 (paperback)
Published By:  Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
Website:Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer on Goodreads
My review copy:
Bought

Where to get:



Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

(Goodreads)



"The people we care about are always worth more to us than the people we don't. No matter what anyone pretends." And for the first time in what felt like a long time, Noah sounded real.
Her Mona Lisa smile appeared again. "Sometimes the biggest secrets you can only tell a stranger."
"I'm the creepy girl. In a mental hospital."

He grinned. "Nobody's perfect."


Mara Dyer books are so . . . I don't even know. Everything feels like a lie and nothing makes sense. Not in the aggravating way, but in the "I can't turn these pages fast enough" way.

Mara and Noah continue to dig deeper into finding out why Mara is the way she is while her family continues to think she's suffering from PTSD caused by the collapse of the building and death of her friends from book one. Oh, if only they knew.

Mara is convinced she saw Jude and that he is alive. She knows he is out there, but at the same time is also doubting herself. Is Jude really alive? Or is she really crazy? That's part of the beauty of Michelle's writing. We don't know ourselves either. Because we're being told the events from Mara's perspective, she could very well have gone off the deep end and is dragging us right along with her. Or, Jude is really alive and she's in serious danger.

Either way, The Evolution of Mara Dyer grabs a hold of you and refuses to let go. The pacing is fabulous. I never felt bored or any "come on, get one with it" moments. The scenes are full of detail and imagery. The characters are fabulous - can I just say how much I love Jamie? The romance is hot and electric (and not as overpowering as it was in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer). The mind fucks are still fucking with my mind.

This series is all I could have hoped for and more. The danger/horror is subtle. It's not in your face and it's not obvious. I'm a huge sucker for that type of horror. For me, that's scarier than staring at the guy with a knife outside my window. You don't know! You just don't know what is going to happen and when. I've got a pretty good idea what the guy with the knife is going to do, but I don't know what the maybe dead guy or the possibly crazy chick is going to do next.

I really struggled with this review as there were so many aspects of The Evolution of Mara Dyer that I want to discuss, but those aspects are also HUGE spoilers. One of the things I highly enjoyed about this novel is everything I read was a surprise. I hadn't read any reviews that hinted at this or that, so every occurrence of OMG was just that - OMG!

If you read and loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, you'll definitely enjoy The Evolution of Mara Dyer. If you read and were iffy about the first book, this book will make you a fan. And if you haven't read the first book? Well, I'm not exactly sure what you're waiting for.





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US Only // Giveaway Ends December 5, 2014

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Needing Her by Molly McAdams (Review)


Genre:
New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication.Date  January 28th, 2014
Pages:336
Published By:  William Morrow Impulse
WebsiteMolly McAdams

Needing Her on Goodreads
My review copy:e-ARC review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review

Where to get:



She’s the Girl Next Door

Maci Price isn’t really into relationships. Having four very protective older brothers has always made having a boyfriend very difficult, anyway. But her friend is set on finding her the perfect guy – and thinks the mysterious Connor Green is the perfect pick.

He’s Her Brother’s Best Friend

Connor Green is trying to find himself again. He loved then lost and it’s time for him to pick up the pieces. His brooding is making his friends crazy, but, Maci Price, who has grown up into a gorgeous and incredibly sexy woman, is about to break the spell.

They’re Made for Each Other

When Maci starts up old pranks to get Connor out of his slump, an all out war leads to a night that will break all their rules, and a relationship they must keep hidden. Together they’re electric. Apart they’re safe. And soon they’ll find they’re exactly what the other needs.


A fabulous, fun, and sexy, New Adult novella from New York Times bestselling author Molly McAdams. If you loved Connor in From Ashes, this is the story for you.
(Goodreads)

I dropped my arms and let out a huff as I rounded the corner and found her fumbling with a lamp the table at the end of my couch. I scratched at my forehead and dropped my hand to cover my mouth when I started to laugh as I waited for her to get it stable again.
"Good boy, lamp. Now, stay!"
"Ooo, I love him. He's soft, and my face is in love with him."
"Oh, Jesus Christ. Maci, it's a pillow."
With a soft smile and another lingering kiss, he pulled me into his chest and held me there as I drifted to sleep from the exhaustion of the last hour.
Three hours later, my stomach woke me up.
Connor cracked one eye open, and his lips tilted up into a smile. "Jesus, woman, was that you?"
Pulling on his jeans, he leaned back down to grab his shirt, and I stole it from his hands. When he looked up at me, his blue eyes were dark, and he began biting on his bottom lip as he watched me put it on. He reached for me, and I twisted away from his grasp.
"Hey, you were the one who wanted to get out of bed. This is what you have to deal with now."
"Maci, I will never hurt you, I need you to know that."
"You say that now, but you can't know--"
"No. Maci. I swear to you I will never hurt you."
"And I know you act like a badass around your brothers, but I've seen you cry, Maci. I know you're not heartless, and I know, from drunken ramblings and what happened last night, that you're in this as bad as I am. So stop waiting for me to show you the door, and stop acting like you don't care."

It was already official, but is now OFFICIALLY official that Molly McAdams is an author who can pull me out of a reading slump. If I'm having trouble getting into things, I can pick up a Molly McAdams book and I'm back in the game. There's just a special something about McAdams' books that works for me. I think it's the way she creates the romance in her stories. I always swoon. But the point has been established--Molly McAdams is a go-to author for me, and Needing Her is a novella I was so glad to have on my Kindle to pick up. 

All of McAdams' books possess an addictive quality that draw me in pretty much right away. Even when the book is still in exposition and nothing is really happening yet. Doesn't matter, I get hooked right in to those characters and their stories and the romance I know is going to spark. Molly McAdams has some serious writing skills. After drawing me in from the beginning, she takes me on a roller coaster of feels all the way until the end.

And it's dual POV. I know I've mentioned once or twice or several times how much I adore dual POV. Being in both Conner and Maci's POV was so fun. Especially when they were playing pranks on each other. HILARIOUS. This also helped when Conner and Maci spent that time apart. It's always difficult for me when the two main characters break up. Chances are I'm shipping them hardcore, so getting time in both of their heads eases that pain a little. At the very least, I can know that they both still care. McAdams also does a great job of establishing separate voices for each of the characters so that they don't blend together. They're both distinctly THEM.

The female protagonist is Maci. She's a tough chick, probably even too tough. She acts like things don't affect her all the time, and that turns out going south later. It was something she needed to work through. The issue bothered me, but at least she DID face her issues. Plus, Maci had some good qualities, too. She can be quite funny. And she's a chick who can stand her ground. Holds her own against all of her brothers, heck yeah she can stand her ground. I have to respect that, being the only girl with three brothers myself. And I'm lucky enough that they're not extra crazy like Maci's brothers.

Honestly, though, I want to dislike her brothers. I want to sit here and be like "they should have been better for her, they have no reason to be so insanely protective of her all the time." Obviously I want to say that if I thought of those words to put there. But I can't. Because I don't really see them that way. They're good big brothers, but just so misguided. They need to work through their own problems--whatever it is driving them to want to protect her so fiercely--and then I think they'll be better. Talking to Maci about what she is and isn't cool with would go a long way, too.

But anyway. Back to the main characters. The male protagonist is Conner. He was in McAdams' novel, From Ashes. In that book, I thought he was nice. And sweet. But I wasn't too into him to the point where he was better than Gage. Which means I am SO HAPPY be got his own book so I can love all over him! It's so sad how haunted he is with his past and with what went down with Cassidy, but goodness gracious this guy has such a good heart. I was glad to see the little bit of overlap between From Ashes and this one in terms of information and Conner's issues, but I was also glad that it wasn't TOO MUCH. I wanted Conner and Maci to have their story--not be overshadowed by the after-effects of Cassidy. But Conner's a good guy and he does his best to do right by Maci. And sweet goodness, I heart him for it.

Conner and Maci's relationship is a delightful mix of fun and intensity. They're so serious about each other. So involved. And yet they joke and play pranks. It's cute and sweet and I love these two together. As I said, Molly McAdams writes some darn good romance. Conner and Maci are definitely included in that.

While I had a great time reading this book and loved the characters, I have to say that the lack of communication at some points bothered me. Maci would get closed off--which becomes an issue, like I pointed out--and Conner has his secret past he likes to hold close. I especially understand why Conner would want to keep it all to himself, but when it gets to a point where you know things are getting messed up because you're not telling your significant other about it, THEN it gets on my nerves. He had his own conflicts to work through within himself, and that's fine. But things went so downhill, and they didn't need to. Same goes for Maci, though her reasoning isn't as good as Conner's, which annoyed me even more.

The things that bothered me were greatly overshadowed by aspects of this novella that I loved. Like the romance and the characters and the humor. Needing Her is a great story, and I'm glad we finally got to see Conner getting his happy ending. He deserves it. 






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Friday, November 21, 2014

Past Encounters by Davina Blake {Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Promo}

Publication Date: November 22, 2014 |  CreateSpace | Paperback; 442p
Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction

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England 1955.
The day Rhoda Middleton opens a letter from another woman, she becomes convinced her husband, Peter, is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks the mysterious woman down, she discovers she is not Peter?s lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem - Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster.
Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out why Peter has kept this friendship a secret for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter?s wartime experiences she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For Rhoda too cannot escape the ghosts of the past.
Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, PAST ENCOUNTERS explores themes of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.
Includes bonus material for reading groups.
Praise for Past Encounters

"Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly Recommended!" - The Historical Novels Review

Praise for Deborah Swift

"stellar historical fiction" -Orange Prize Nominee Ann Weisgarber

"compelling'" -Westmorland Gazette

"The past comes alive through impeccable research...and the sheer power of descriptive prose" -Lancashire Evening Post

Buy the Book
Amazon US | Amazon UK

About the Author
Deborah Swift

Davina Blake used to be a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, during which time she developed a love of research which fueled her passion for the past. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and also writes successful seventeenth century historicals under the pen name Deborah Swift. 'Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended.' The Historical Novels Review From Davina: 'I was inspired to write 'Past Encounters' because I live close to the railway station where the iconic 'Brief Encounter' was filmed in 1945. I have often used the refreshment room that featured in the film when waiting for a train. I love a good cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a chocolate brownie!'

For more information visit Davina Blake's website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter.

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, November 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 16
Review at Library Educated

Monday, November 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, November 18
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, November 19
Review at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 20
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 21
Review & Interview at Bookish

Saturday, November 22
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, November 24
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 25
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, November 27
Interview at The Maiden's Court

Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, December 1
Review at Layered Pages
Review & Interview at Casual Readers

Tuesday, December 2
Review at My Reader's Block
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Wednesday, December 3
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, December 4
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, December 5
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Saturday, December 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Historical Tapestry

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The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp (Review + Giveaway)






I am thrilled to be a stop on the book tour for The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp hosted by Jean Book Nerd! I have a review and guest post for your reading pleasure, but be sure to check out the tour schedule below to read additional reviews and more!
Plus, don't forget to enter the giveaway!



Series:
Adventures of Kit Bristol #1
Genre:
Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publication.Date:October 14, 2014
Pages:295 (hardcover)
Published By:  Tor Teen
Website:Ben Tripp 

The Accidental Highwayman on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:



The Accidental Highwayman is the first swashbuckling adventure for young adults by talented author and illustrator, Ben Tripp. This thrilling tale of dark magic and true love is the perfect story for fans of William Goldman’s The Princess Bride.

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, gobling attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows….

Fans of classic fairy-tale fantasies such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman and will find much to love in this irresistible YA debut by Ben Tripp, the son of one of America’s most beloved illustrators, Wallace Tripp (Amelia Bedelia). Following in his father’s footsteps, Ben has woven illustrations throughout the story.

“Delightful and charming. A swashbuckling adventure in the vein of Robert Louis Stevenson.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson

(Goodreads)


Despite my fear, I was thrilled to ride Midnight. He was a graceful animal, powerful as a bull, seeming to flow down the road like the wing of some huge raven. Again I confess childish vanity: We must have made a fine-looking pair, me in my inky-black redingote with the long skirts flying, a gold-hilted sword at my belt, and the mighty horse with his neck stretched out and his nostrils flaring, mane whirling like black flames.
Something I have learned since then is if you must insult someone, it's better to shape taunts into questions that invite a rejoinder. Most aggression is relieved by speech; if you lave your antagonist with nothing to say, he shall have to find some other outlet to release his hostility. Mine found an outlet in my nose.
So it was; we boarded Midnight and trotted away, and there was no further talk of separating the party that day. Princess Morgana had proved to herself how little she knew of the ways of men, and I had proved myself a fool.
Some magic was done with gestures, and some with but a glance. Of the most subtle magic, there was no outward sign at all.


The Accidental Highwayman is so fun! It's not a book where I'm sitting on the edge of my seating panicking over the fate of these characters, it's a book where I'm just having fun reading it. The plot is fun, the characters - major and minor - are fun.

Kit is an excellent hero that you cannot help but root for. He finds himself in this situation purely by attempted to help is master/boss. He goes from an ordinary life of fetching beer and provisions to helping a fairy princess escape a political marriage she does not want.

Aside from Kit, I truly enjoy the minor characters, especially Willum and Gruntle. Freed by Princess Morgana, they stay to protect her as they are the only two members of the rebel Faerie army and they adore her. They are also very true and strict when it comes to orders given to them, which causes a bit of an issue here and there (like after Kit told them he never wanted to see them again and instead of helping him when he was in trouble, they just watched), but they're rather amusing.

The dialogue of some of the characters was a bit hard to get used to as they talk in an old fashioned dialect. Luckily this only applied to a few minor characters so it wasn't a huge distraction, but it did pull me out of certain scenes as I tried to figure out exactly what they were saying.

The plot is interesting, but there is also a lot of info-dumping, which dragged it out a bit. I did find it enjoyable that "the editor," Ben himself, would add definitions here and there to words we as readers would be unfamiliar with. Ben introduces the novel as a story he found in a family truck that had been locked for years. This antidote adds something to the story. It makes it more than just an adventure of Kit Bristol, but an account of sorts. Despite the fantasy angle, it adds a sense of realism.

The illustrations are definitely enjoyable and some of my favorite aspects to the novel. It was almost as if while writing down the story, he stopped to doodle in the margins. They enhanced my reading experience and occasionally I found myself pausing in the reading to skim pages in search of these drawing. The full pages drawings were amazing to look at and I loved taking in their details.

While I did have a few issues with some of the dialogue and info dumping, I found The Accidental Highwayman an enjoyable read. The book is marketed as being in the vein of The Princess Bride and, while in my mind,nothing is comparable to the magic of Goldman, I easily saw the similarities. If you're in the mood for a story full of action, adventure, witty comments, and swashbuckling moments you definitely want to pick up The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides.




"A Giant Book"
The idea was to capture some of the settings and atmospheres of the novel by visiting haunted forests and sunny sheep-flecked meadows of England. In general none of this went off quite as planned.


"The Author at Work"
Ultimately the challenge of adventure proved too enticing and the sport of Extreme Reading was born. What makes a book more interesting? Peril.


"A Pastoral Reading"


"Extreme Reading"




After a childhood making art and a brief stint at the Rhode Island School of Design, BEN TRIPP worked as an experiential designer for over twenty years, creating theme parks, resorts, museums, and attractions worldwide. He is the author of the adult novels Rise Again, Rise Again: Below Zero, and the forthcoming Fifth Chamber of the Heart.The Accidental Highwayman is his first book for young adults.




Cheaters Never Prosper
Must be 13+ to enter
Open International // Ends December 1, 2014





November 18th Tuesday: Jean BookNerd INTERVIEW
November 19th Wednesday: Teen Readers’ Diary SPOTLIGHT
November 20th Thursday: CBY Book Club SPOTLIGHT
November 21st Friday: Bookish REVIEW
November 22nd Saturday: Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW
November 23rd Sunday: Such a Novel Idea REVIEW
November 24th Monday: Swoony Boys Podcast REVIEW & INTERVIEW
November 25th Tuesday: Jenna Does Books EXCERPT
November 26th Wednesday: Chapter by Chapter REVIEW
November 27th Thursday: Spiced Latte Reads REVIEW



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