Monday, May 23, 2016

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey

Series: The 5th Wave #3 
Author: Rick Yancey
Publication: May 24th 2016 
By: Listening Library (Audio), Phoebe Strole, Ben Yannette
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads 

The Last Star is the heart-stopping finale to the bestselling 5th Wave series by award-winning author, Rick Yancey. Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner.

'Wildly entertaining . . . I couldn't turn the pages fast enough' The New York Times

We’re here, then we’re gone, and that was true before they came. That’s always been true. The Others didn’t invent death; they just perfected it. Gave death a face to put back in our face, because they knew that was the only way to crush us. It won’t end on any continent or ocean, no mountain or plain, jungle or desert. It will end where it began, where it had been from the beginning, on the battlefield of the last beating human heart.

Master storyteller Rick Yancey invokes triumph, loss, and unrelenting action as the fate of the planet is decided in the conclusion to this epic series.


*Thank you Penguin Random House Audio for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Audio: As with the first two books in the series, the narration is done really well. Multiple POVs read by only two voice actors don't always translate well, but both Phoebe and Ben did a good job giving each character their own unique sound. 

Story: There's a lot I could say about this one, all of which is spoilery, and I've been asked by the publisher not to spoil anything. But I will say this...As a reader, it's incredibly frustrating to invest years of your life in a story and it's characters, only to be let down in the end. 




 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

RELEASE DAY: The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER - RWB Banner      

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER - a young adult title about friendship, survival, and finding your voice. This incredible book is available today! Read more about this stunning new novel below and be sure to order your copy today to receive an amazing FREE fan pack while supplies last!

      THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER - cover


About THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a riveting new story about friendship, survival, and finding your voice.

For some people, silence is a weapon.

For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield.

Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.





Register your preorder of THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER by May 20th to receive a FREE fan pack! Includes inspirational wall art, a colorful poster, and flag-as-you-read stickers. You will also get immediate access to an extended excerpt from the book.


    THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER - RWB - Text Teaser    

 

Praise for THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER:

“The intensity between Mouse and Rider is palpably sizzling… romance aficionados [will] lose themselves in Mouse and Rider’s smoldering glances and steamy kisses.” –Kirkus

“Armentrout’s effort to gradually coax her protagonist from her shell via a supportive, loving community succeeds, and readers looking for an inspirational comeback story will find Mallory’s to be satisfying and hopeful” –Publishers Weekly

 

Prologue
 
    Dusty, empty shoe boxes, stacked taller and wider than her slim body, wobbled as she pressed her back against them, tucking her bony knees into her chest.
    Breathe. Just Breathe. Breathe.
    Wedged in the back of the dingy closet, she didn’t dare make a sound as she sucked her lower lip between her teeth. Focusing on forcing every grimy breath into her lungs, she felt tears well in her eyes.
    Oh gosh, she’d made such a big mistake, and Miss Becky was right. She was a bad girl.
    She’d reached for the dirty and stained cookie jar earlier, the one shaped like a teddy bear that hid cookies that tasted funny. She wasn’t supposed to get cookies or any food by herself, but she’d just been so hungry that her tummy hurt, and Miss Becky was sick again, napping on the couch. She hadn’t meant to knock the ashtray off the counter, shattering it into tiny pieces. Some were shaped like icicles that clung to the roof during the winter. Others were no bigger than chips.
    All she’d wanted was a cookie.
    Her slender shoulders jerked at the sound of the all cracking on the other side of the closet. She bit down harder on her lip. A metallic taste burst into her mouth. Tomorrow there would be a hold the size of Mr. Henry’s big hand in the plaster, and Miss Becky would cry and she’d get sick again.
    The soft creak of the closet door was like a crack of thunder to her ears.
    Oh no, no, no…
    He wasn’t supposed to find her in here. This was her safe place whenever Mr. Henry was angry or when he—
    She tensed, eyes peeling wide as a body taller and broader than hers slipped inside and then knelt in front of her. In the dark, she couldn’t make out much of his features, but she knew in her belly and her chest who it was.
    “I’m sorry,” she gasped.
    “I know.” A hand settled on her shoulder, the weight reassuring. He was the only person she felt okay with when he touched her. “I need you to stay in here, ‘kay?”
    Miss Becky had said once that he was only six months older than her six years, but he always seemed so much bigger, older than her, because in her eyes, he took up her entire world.
    She nodded.
    “Don’t come out,” he said, and then he pressed into her hands the redheaded doll she’d dropped in the kitchen after she broke the ashtray and rushed into the closet. Too frightened to retrieve her, she’d left Velvet where she had fallen, and she’d been so upset because the doll had been a gift from him many, many months before. She had no idea how he’d gotten Velvet, but one day he’d simply shown up with her, and she was hers, only hers.
    “You stay in here. No matter what.”
    Holding the doll close, clenched between her knees and chest, she nodded again.
    He shifted, stiffening as an angry shout rattled the walls around them. It was her name that dripped ice down her spine; her name that was shouted so furiously.
    A small whimper parted her lips and she whispered, “I just wanted a cookie.”
    “It’s okay. Remember? I promised I’d keep you safe forever. Just don’t make a sound.” He squeezed her shoulder. “Just stay quiet, and when I…when I get back, I’ll read to you, ‘kay? All about the stupid rabbit.”
    All she could do was nod again, because there had been times when she hadn’t stayed quiet and she’d never forgotten those consequences. But if she stayed quiet, she knew what was coming. He wouldn’t be able to read to her tonight. Tomorrow he would miss school and he wouldn’t be okay even though he would tell her he was.
    He lingered for a moment and then he eased out of the closet. The bedroom door shut with a smack, and she lifted the doll, pressing her tearstained face into it. A button on Velvet’s chest poked at her cheek.
    Don’t make a sound.
    Mr. Henry started to yell.
    Don’t make a sound.
    Footsteps punched down the hall.
    Don’t make a sound.
    Flesh smacked. Something hit the floor, and Miss Becky must have been feeling better, because she was suddenly shouting, but in the closet the only sound that mattered was the fleshy whack that came over and over. She opened her mouth, screaming silently into the doll.
    Don’t make a sound.
 
 
 

My Thoughts


I don't say this lightly, but I think this is Jennifer's best YA yet. It's definitely my new favorite of hers!

Talking about all of the things I loved about this book (setting, family, friendship, forgiveness, and love) and these characters: Mallory, Rider, Jayden, Hector, and Ainsley, without spoiling anything is HARD.

I can tell you The Problem with Forever is gritty, painful, and at times, utterly heartbreaking. Mallory is struggling to find her voice. Rider is just trying to survive. But weakness often masquerades as strength and your past doesn't have to define your future. More than anything, this is a story about hope.

Read. It.


About Jennifer L. Armentrout:
 # 1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

 

    THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER - RWB - Text Teaser 2  


GIVEAWAY

Sunday, May 15, 2016

BLOG TOUR: The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Welcome to THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER Blog Tour!



LOVE

THIS

BOOK!


But first, a few important details....


Register your preorder of THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER by May 20th to receive a FREE fan pack! Includes inspirational wall art, a colorful poster, and flag-as-you-read stickers. You will also get immediate access to an extended excerpt from the book.
JUST FILL OUT THE FORM HERE> http://bit.ly/24awVFw





~ About THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER ~


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a riveting new story about friendship, survival, and finding your voice. 

For some people, silence is a weapon.

For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield.

Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

Praise for THE PROBLEM WITH FOREVER:

“The intensity between Mouse and Rider is palpably sizzling… romance aficionados [will] lose themselves in Mouse and Rider’s smoldering glances and steamy kisses.” -Kirkus 
 
“Armentrout’s effort to gradually coax her protagonist from her shell via a supportive, loving community succeeds, and readers looking for an inspirational comeback story will find Mallory’s to be satisfying and hopeful” –Publishers Weekly





~ My Thoughts ~

I don't say this lightly, but I think this is Jennifer's best YA yet. It's definitely my new favorite of hers!

Talking about all of the things I loved about this book (setting, family, friendship, forgiveness, and love) and these characters: Mallory, Rider, Jayden, Hector, and Ainsley, without spoiling anything is HARD.

I can tell you The Problem with Forever is gritty, painful, and at times, utterly heartbreaking. Mallory is struggling to find her voice. Rider is just trying to survive. But weakness often masquerades as strength and your past doesn't have to define your future. More than anything, this is a story about hope.

Read. It.



~ About Jennifer L. Armentrout ~

# 1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA.

She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.




The Problem With Forever Review Tour

May 9
May 10
May 11
May 12
May 13
May 14
May 15
May 16




~ Giveaway ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 13, 2016

#FierceReads Tour INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY

  
Earlier this week I had the privilege to meet and interview the fantastic ladies of the
Fierce Reads Tour: Cecelia Ahern, Marie Rutkoski, Harriet Reuter Hapgood, and Kami Garcia.  
If you haven't read their books yet, do it!
If you get the opportunity to meet them in person, go! 
You won't regret it. 

 Also, a big THANK YOU to Brittany Pearlman at Macmillan for reaching out to me, and Politics and Prose for hosting another successful YA event at the Bethesda Library.

 

This was tour stop #7 of 8 for the authors, and I figured they'd probably been fielding a lot of the same questions, so I tried to switch it up a bit. Thanks to Brittany, I was able to read the books ahead of time and familiarize myself with the characters. 

 I came prepared with questions I hoped weren't too lame and Cookie Dough Cupcakes.




~ INTERVIEW~
(Kami joined us a little late, so she missed a few questions.)


1) This was the ice breaker...Captain America or Iron Man:  
Cecelia: Iron Man
Harriet: Captain America
Marie: Can we just talk about Hamilton? <--Yet another reason I love her.


2) Describe your book in 3 words:
Cecelia: Equality. Love. Self-discovery.
Harriet: Memory. Family. Grief.
Marie: Strategy. Love. Equality. War. Empire.  


3) Easiest character to write:
Cecelia: Celestine.
Harriet: Jason.
Marie: Roshar. He has a tiger, so he's also the coolest.
Kami: Marco. <--He's mine. I have proof. 

 


4) What is your writing process like? Do you plot everything out, or just write?
Cecelia: Concept comes first. I think about what kind of character would find themselves in that situation.
Marie: Concept. I wanted to write a story that would match the title, The Winner's Curse. The setting is reminiscent of the Roman empire taking over Greece.

Kami: I plot everything out like a screenplay or a house. The framework of the house is basic at first: plot, characters, and their arc. The second layer is more descriptive; characters mannerisms get added in and so on. 

5) Who is your first reader?
Cecelia: My agent. She gives me lots of encouragement during the first draft. <-- Love this!
 
Harriet: My agent was the first person to ever read The Square Root of Summer. I come from a magazine background. The feedback is immediate and harsh. Nobody really knew what I was writing.

Marie: My writing group.

Kami: My CPs and my agent.


6) How do you balance writing with everyday life?
All of the ladies were in agreement that you have to treat writing like a job. Cecelia, Harriet, and Kami write full-time now, but before, they wrote whenever they could: after work, on weekends, at night, etc. Marie teaches college classes two days a week and has summers off. They also agreed there is no magic formula to follow other than to write. When you're tired, sick, or just don't feel like it. Keep writing.

Thank you, ladies for taking the time to chat with me!

L-R: Back: Kami, Me, Cecelia. Front: Marie, Harriet


Click the author name to find out more about their books:
Cecelia Ahern
Marie Rutkoski

Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Kami Garcia



Fierce Reads is giving readers a chance to win all of the tour titles, be sure to click on the Big Fall Books graphic to enter. 


http://fiercereads.com/bea-bookcon/



~ GIVEAWAY ~
~ One Winner will receive a signed ARC of Kami Garcia's THE LOVELY RECKLESS
~ US Only
~ Must be 13 years old to enter


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mini Audiobook Reviews: Mila 2.0: Redemption + Dreamology

Title: Redemption (MILA 2.0 #3)
Author: Debra Driza

Publication: April 26, 2016
By: HarperCollins Publishers | Blackstone Audio; Unabridged 
Amazon | Goodreads 

Mila has been running for her life for so long. But there might be nowhere left for her to go. Especially now that she’s an incredible danger to herself and anyone who dares get close to her.

That’s why Mila has gone into hiding with her friend, tech expert Lucas. She can’t take the risk of hurting people worse than the way she hurt Hunter: the boy she’ll always love, the boy who might never forgive her for what she’s done.

But then Mila discovers that General Holland has plans that are an even bigger threat to humanity than she is. Mila must make a choice: either push aside her fears and fight him with everything she’s got...or turn her back on the world forever.

This last book in Debra Driza’s exhilarating and thought-provoking MILA 2.0 series will surprise and thrill readers to the very end.



*I received copies of these audiobooks from the publisher in exchange for a honest review* 


Audio: It's rare that I say this, but this narrator was horrible. Like nails on a chalkboard, horrible. I do not recommend the audio.

Story: My Top 3 Reader Pet Peeves:
~ Ship-jumping halfway into or near the end of a series.
~ Throwing the first love interest under the bus to justify the second love interest and the new ship.
(highlight text underneath to view spoiler)
  ~ Allegiant style endings.

This was guilty of all three.  




Title: Dreamology 
Author: Lucy Keating
Publicaiton: April 12, 2016
By: HarperCollins Publishers | Blackstone Audio; Unabridged 
Amazon | Goodreads 
 
Vibrantly offbeat and utterly original, Lucy Keating’s debut novel combines the unconventional romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the sweetness and heart of Jenny Han.

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?


Audio: Erin Spencer does a nice job of bringing Alice and the supporting cast of characters to life.

Story: The premise was intriguing, and the story started out well, but unfortunately, it fell flat for me.  

(highlight text underneath to view spoiler)

In dreams, or real life, cheating is a deal breaker for me. I'm also not a fan of throwing good, decent characters under the bus as a means of moving the plot forward.