Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Written In Red

WRITTEN IN RED
The Others #1
Anne Bishop
Urban Fantasy
433 pages
ROC
Available Now
Source: Bought

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.


MY THOUGHTS
This review is going to be a little less formal than my standard reviews (I can't help the formality usually, writing reviews brings me back to all my essay-writing classes in school!), mostly because I'm enormously late to The Others party and I kind of want to punch myself in the face a little for it.

For the past year I've been in a pretty impressive reading slump. I've picked up a few winners here and there, but by and large the desire to stay up late and give myself a book hangover has been missing. Written in Red broke me out of my slump in spectacular fashion, reminding me what it's like to invent reasons for taking a break from work throughout the day so I can sneak a chapter or two in, and keeping me up all hours of night just so I can find out what happens next.

While plot-wise this first book is largely Meg's day to day life in the Courtyard as she finds a place for herself among the others, there's absolutely nothing slow or boring about it thanks to a brilliant cast of characters from Ms. Bishop. The Others themselves fit their label to a T, their human skin exactly that – a thin veneer hiding something else entirely underneath. From the Crows obsessed with all things shiny to the sugar-obsessed Ponies to the Elementals with city-annihilating tempers, the inhabitants of this utterly refreshing paranormal world are a joy with whom to spend time.

Meg's relationship with Wolf and Courtyard leader Simon is just one of the many fascinating friendships established in this first installment, the potential for romance between them there but buried beneath layers and layers of things they both need to learn about one another as well as themselves. Watching as they attempt to figure one another is out is surely going to be a highlight of this series overall, and I can't wait to start book two (already loaded on my Kindle) and see how Meg's connections to all the extraordinary Others in the Courtyard continue to strengthen and grow.

Rating: 5/5

Find Anne:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Starflight Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway

STARFLIGHT
Starflight #1
Melissa Landers
Young Adult/Sci-Fi
358 pages
Disney-Hyperion
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe...


MY THOUGHTS
Starflight gives us an exciting start to this new sci-fi series as we hit the ground running with Solara, pausing only occasionally to catch our breath before we're once again outrunning alien bounty hunters, dodging space pirates with wounded egos, and swooning over a slow burn romance.

Solara earns our sympathy and our unwavering solidarity from page one as she's passed over again and again for off-planet work, and that sympathy only increases when the only person willing to take her on is a spoiled heir to a fuel empire who takes pleasure in putting her in her place. Solara keeps her head high in the face of his cruel words and taunts though, never letting him see how much they hurt and clinging tight to her dignity and pride. Once both their lives turn upside down and they find themselves partners in crime with a ragtag crew of wanted men and women, Solara proves herself to be the stronger of the two again and again. Easily able to adapt to their new circumstances and gifted with anything mechanical, she makes herself a welcome asset to the crew of the Banshee.

Doran is someone who makes us genuinely question whether or not Ms. Landers will be able to redeem him over the course of the book, his entitled attitude and utter contempt for Solara in the opening chapters enough to have us wishing violence on sensitive parts of his male anatomy. Slowly but surely however, Ms. Landers proves herself to be more than up to the task of changing our low opinion of him, and the relationship that unfolds between Doran and Solara is nothing short of delightfully captivating. It takes a good long time before the antagonism between them even remotely starts to shift into something resembling friendship, and we have to wait a good long time after that before that friendship turns romantic, but the wait is more than worth it for a romance like theirs.

We're left in a good place in this first installment, the crew of the Banshee together and ready to face what comes next as we delve deeper into the mysteries of Doran's family and Spaulding Fuel.

Rating: 4/5
Find Starflight:


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

MELISSA LANDERS


Melissa Landers writes romantic sci-fi for teens and the young at heart. ALIENATED and INVADED are now available from Disney Hyperion, and UNITED, the third book in the trilogy, will release in August, 2016. The first novel in her new series, STARFLIGHT, launches February 2, 2016.


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GIVEAWAY

Three lucky winners will each receive a finished copy of Starflight! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only. 
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
WEEK ONE
2/1: Fiction Fare - Review


WEEK TWO
2/12: Novel Heartbeat - Review



Thursday, February 4, 2016

Revenge and the Wild Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway!

http://www.rockstarbooktours.com/2016/01/tour-schedule-revenge-and-wild-by.html

I'm super excited today to welcome author Michelle Modesto to the blog as part of the promotional tour for Revenge and the Wild, her debut novel. I loved so much about this book - it was dark, unnerving, romantic, and a little nightmare-inducing and I highly recommend it. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask Michelle a few questions about her hugely memorable cast of characters and the cannibals on whom they seek revenge, so I hope you guys enjoy the interview. Be sure and check the bottom of the post as well for a full list of participating blogs and all the details on a fabulous giveaway!

Nigel is a brilliant inventor. If you could ask him to create or build one thing for you, what would top your list?

A hidden soundproofed office so I can write without my kids and dogs being able to find me.
 

Having survived cannibals on the wagon trail once before, it's safe to say Westie is a bit of a badass. Who are a few other YA heroines whose badassery you think she'd most relate to or like to learn from?

I think Westie could learn a thing or two from GRACELING’S Katsa. That girl is fierce. Also Katniss, for obvious reasons—it must be in the name? Also Deryn, from LEVIATHAN—who could outwit and outperform any male and they wouldn’t know the difference.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how well would you estimate you'd fare if you ever found yourself in the middle of a saloon brawl?

As a teen I was scrappy and probably could’ve held my own, so I’d say a 9 or 10. Adult Michelle wouldn’t stand a chance. Definitely a 1.
 

If you ever came face to face with a group of cannibals (*shudders*) what's the first thing you might say in order to convince them to leave you be?

I would let them know that I exist on junk food and would probably taste horrible. I’d let them know grass-fed people would be their best bet.

Though losing her family was a tragedy, what would Westie say she's found with Nigel and Alistair that she likely wouldn't have if they'd lived?

Without Nigel and Alistair, I don’t think Westie would’ve known how loyal friends could be. They stood by her no matter how many really terrible decisions she made—even if they were made with the best of intentions.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Michelle!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

REVENGE AND THE WILD


The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.


GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooks

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

MICHELLE MODESTO


Michelle Modesto is a writer, hockey fanatic, lover of most art forms, terrible cook and her social skills aren't that great either. Her debut YA novel, REVENGE AND THE WILD comes out from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, early 2016. She lives in Northern California in a double-wide mobile asylum with two mastiffs who don't listen to her and two teenagers who also don't listen to her.

Michelle Modesto is represented by John Cusick at The Greenhouse Literary Agency.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

GIVEAWAY

Ten lucky winners will each receive a finished copy of Revenge and the Wild (yay!)! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway  
WEEK ONE
1/25/2016- IceyBooksInterview  
1/26/2016- Book BriefsReview   
1/27/2016- Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post  
1/28/2016- Novel NoviceReview  
1/29/2016- Good Choice Reading- Interview
WEEK TWO
2/1/2016- Brooke-ReportsReview
2/2/2016- The Irish Banana ReviewGuest Post
2/3/2016- Bookish LifestyleReview + Interview
2/4/2016- Supernatural SnarkInterview
2/5/2016- Ex LibrisReview

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Heir to the Sky

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine and is a fun way to see what books other bloggers just can't wait to get their hands on!





Amanda Sun
Young Adult/Fantasy
Available April 26th from Harlequin Teen

From Goodreads:


As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.


I have to admit I passed this book over the first couple times I saw it because the cover didn't feel very YA fantasy to me, but when I read the blurb and saw talk of floating continents, chimeras and storm dragons I did a spastic flail and started obsessing immediately. I love books that feature lesser known paranormal creatures, so I can't wait to read about all the fun (and also terrifying) beasties that have overrun this world. Also, I love a good dark truth or two, so I'm looking forward to what's revealed about Kali's sky kingdom. *attempts to wait patiently for April*

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Reign of Shadows

REIGN OF SHADOWS
Reign of Shadows #1
Sophie Jordan
Young Adult/Fantasy
304 pages
Harper Teen
Available February 9th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.


MY THOUGHTS
Reign of Shadows blends action and romance together beautifully, ensuring we're fully invested in the lives and hearts of both Luna and Fowler as we follow them through the darkness of their world.

Luna is a young woman who continually inspires throughout with her ability to handle herself despite being blind, her lifetime of isolation in a remote tower in the woods doing little to stifle her physical strength or quick thinking. Though she's naïve in some areas given her upbringing, she never lets her inexperience or preconceived notions of the world around her slow her down, instead she takes note of the things that aren't as she expected and adapts while never allowing the cruelty she encounters to rob her of her soft heart. She's as capable as cutting down Dwellers as any sighted person, man or woman, and she proves herself an asset to Fowler time and again, earning his grudging respect along the way.

Fowler has seen the brutal nature of this world firsthand, carrying his past with him in the form of emotionally impenetrable armor as he attempts to make his way to a fabled community free of the monstrous Dwellers. The romance between the two of them is gorgeously slow, simple companionship turning into trust and respect as quiet sparks start to fly, and by the end we're as madly in love with the two of them as they are with each other. The drama in their relationship is solely and gloriously external in this first book, the two of them presenting a united front against Dwellers, men, and an order from the king designed to flush Luna out. Even when Luna's true identity comes to light and an equally startling revelation on Fowler's part is made, neither overreacts to the news or attempts to destroy what's been built between them along the way, instead they both digest the information and then stand together once again.

The only mild complaint with this first installment (aside from the abrupt ending and whopper of a cliffhanger) is the lack of backstory into how this world came to be shrouded in darkness. We're given a bare bones history lesson in the beginning, highlighting a few key things to help us get our bearings, but information about the world before the Dwellers and Luna's birth (as they happen simultaneously) is scant, and it's unclear at this stage as to whether the paranormal has always existed or if it took everyone by surprise. Inevitably, those answers will come as Luna makes her way home to claim her royal birthright, and the lack of backstory isn't nearly enough to take away from Luna, Fowler and the romance between them that won't soon be forgotten.

Rating: 4/5

Find Reign of Shadows:

 
Find Sophie:
 
And don't forget to check out my interview with Sophie as well as a chance to win copies of her YA books! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Reign of Shadows Blog Tour: Interview + Giveaway

http://www.rockstarbooktours.com/2016/01/tour-schedule-reign-of-shadows-by.html

I'm thrilled today to welcome author Sophie Jordan back to the blog as part of the promotional tour for her latest young adult release, Reign of Shadows. I absolutely adored this book (review coming tomorrow!) so I jumped at the chance to ask Sophie a few questions about Luna, Fowler and this dark world I never want to live in:) I hope you guys enjoy the interview, and don't forget to to check the bottom of the post for all the details on a fantastic giveaway!

If I lived in the world of Reign of Shadows, my best bet for self-defense would be to wield a bow and arrow like Fowler (or run like the wind, either option would work for me). If you found yourself in the same predicament, what skills would you say you have now that would help you survive in this world?

Since I'm a pretty good cook, I think I would have to use my culinary skills and prove myself so useful that everyone would want to keep me around. I mean I make some fierce cranberry orange muffins. One bite and even the bad guys would insist on keeping me alive.

There’s very little I love more than a star-crossed romance. Which romantic couples top your all time favorite list?

Alina and Mal from SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo
Ariane and Zane from THE RULES by Stacey Kade
Scott and Allison from TEEN WOLF
Baby and Johnny from DIRTY DANCING

Given Luna has been hiding in her tower for years, she’s probably had a great deal of time to read. What are 3 books we might find on her shelves?

Clearly, she's read Beuwolf... she would identify with it.
She would probably also have read Bridget Jones Diary because like Bridget, Luna is a hopeless romantic, always long for more ... for love and a HEA.
She probably also has a paleo cookbook ... cause, you know, living in the woods, there's not exactly fast food around the corner. She wants to know how to make those wild-grown veggies taste yum.

At the beginning of Reign of Shadows, what would Luna say was her biggest fear? The end?

At the beginning: Never leaving her tower.
At the end: Well ... it's a little spoilery, but I'll say failing and watching someone she cares about die is her biggest fear.

If Luna and Fowler asked you to give them a one word hint as to what they could expect as the series moves forward, what would that word be?
I would tell Luna: Queen
And I would tell Fowler: Toxin

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Sophie!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

REIGN OF SHADOWS


Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

SOPHIE JORDAN


Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she's not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card and signed copies of Reign of Shadows, Firelight and Uninvited! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure and check out the other stops on the tour for more interviews, guest posts and reviews! 

WEEK ONE
2/1/2016- Supernatural Snark- Interview 
2/2/2016- Good Choice Reading - Excerpt 
2/3/2016- Seeing Double In NeverlandReview 
2/4/2016- NightlyReadingReview 
2/5/2016- FangirlishInterview


WEEK TWO
2/8/2016- Dark Faerie TalesExcerpt
2/9/2016- Unabridged BookshelfReview
2/10/2016- BibliojunkiesReview
2/11/2016- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
2/12/2016- FiktshunReview