Review: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard


Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I finally did it! I finally read this book after saying I’d read it for years. Now, I can finally watch the TV show as I said I wouldn’t until I read the books. 🙂 However, I have to say, I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would.

For one thing, it had a slow pace and quite a lot was very redundant. Okay, I understand that all four girls had to give their accounts of what happened and that was great, but I wish the book would have moved along faster. I honestly didn’t start feeling the suspense until about the 45% mark and even then it felt minimal. I think it’s just the type of person I am, but I wanted a little more action in the beginning. I’m not saying I wanted the book to be terribly fast-paced, but a little more flare would have been nice.

On the other hand, I really like how the book starts out with a prologue detailing previous events in the girls’ lives. It kind of had a Gossip Girl type feel in that I’m almost sure the prologue is told from the perspective of the person who’s emailing the girls–the narrator in Gossip Girl’s case. I also really liked how the book gave me an insight into how the upper classes live and how complicated their lives can be as they keep secrets and try to be perfect at the same time.

Overall, Pretty Little Liars fell a little short for me, but I’m curious to see what happens next.

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Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins


Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I always like a good paranormal or fantasy book, and Rebel Belle was just what I needed after a long week at school. Not only that, it was the perfect size for a first book and it definitely didn’t disappoint or fall short of what I was expecting.

Let me just start off by saying I need to read more books like this. It kind of had a Beautiful Creatures type feel and I really liked that. I like all the southern elements it had and that it was also a book of it’s own.

First, the main character was everything I could hope fore: smart, ambitious, and sassy. She was a complete perfectionist and had what appeared to be a perfect life. Unlike other main characters I’ve come across, Harper didn’t just sit there twiddling her thumbs when the supernatural struck. Sure, she was hoping a mentor would come and guide her, but when no one showed, she got into action and began researching and trying to find out as much as possible. The one thing I really liked about Harper was that she wasn’t too whiny. Again, she wasn’t perfect, but she whined at the right times.

All of this isn’t to say Harper was perfect by any means. I felt that she could be selfish and stuck up at times, but that’s probably due to her situation. She was also wishy-washy with her friends, but again, I blame her situation. Despite all of what happened, I saw so much growth in Harper, her friends, and David–the other main character over the course of the book.

Let me just talk about David for a second. He was awesome and just what I’d want in a guy. He was absolutely sassy, he didn’t care what people thought about him, but he was also sensitive and caring. He had issues of his own and was not perfect but he was if that makes any sense.

The book itself was amazing as it incorporated southern style, a little of the private school elite, Cotillion, and historical elements. Not only am I a sucker for paranormal/fantasy books, but I absolutely love books with historical elements.

I really liked how the historical background behind Rebel Belle were incorporated and explained. I’m glad that Hawkins chose knights, but didn’t go the whole Arthurs round way and chose a completely different route I wasn’t expecting.

Do you all have any other suggestions for books with the southern gothic thing going on?

Overall, I really liked Rebel Belle and can’t wait to read the sequel.

Review: Two-Faced by Nia Davenport


Title: Two-Faced

Author: Nia Davenport

Publication date: February 5, 2015

Series: Assassin at Court #1

Synopsis: Skyler is a teenager and a girl so she’s used to being underestimated, which is just fine with her. It makes her job that much easier. Her targets never see her coming. As Anthame’s most deadly assassin, her survival depends on her anonymity. To keep her identity hidden she hides beyond layer after layer of false masks. When Skyler is given the Crowned Prince of Anthame as her next target and instructed to make the kill as quiet as it is inconspicuous, she must travel to the royal city of Pleith and embed herself deep within the King’s inner court and the life of the Crowned Prince. At Court, Skyler quickly learns that all is not as it appears, and as she worms her way into the Prince’s graces he warms his way into her heart. Her unwanted feelings for the Prince threaten to expose her for who she really is and send her carefully constructed walls of deception crashing down around her.

Author links:
Website
Facebook


I received an eBook copy of this amazing book from Nia Davenport in exchange for an honest review. Thanks so much for the opportunity to read this book!


Two-Faced by Nia Davenport
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

From the moment I picked up Two-Faced i was hooked! I’m so happy that I read this book after Rebel Belle because I was really looking for a good fantasy after it. To say this book was good is an understatement! I read this book in about two hours and wish it had been longer.

I’m so used to reading fantasies that are 400 pages long, and reading one that was about half the size left me kind of disappointed. I just feel that if the book were a bit longer, we might have gotten more character development and seen more into Zander’s life. I really would have liked seeing some more flashbacks in Skyler’s life of her time before becoming an assassin. I also would have liked seeing more of Zander’s life with his family and seen a little more of the royal politics. We were always told that he talked with his mother and it wasn’t pleasant, but I’d have liked seeing, or at least herring about the conversations more. With a longer book, I think we could have seen that. I also would have liked to see more of Zander with his sister and his friend/guard Jacob. All of that aside, I really liked Two-Faced for the elements it had.

I really liked Skyler as a main character for her sass and overall, because she wasn’t whiny!! Skyler didn’t put up with shit, but she didn’t whine when shit hit the fan either. She also didn’t let things from her past get in the way of her current job which wasn’t either bad or good. At the same time, she wasn’t so closed off that Zander and Emily–her friend–couldn’t get to her.

I loved how Davenport included flashbacks of Skyler’s life before becoming an assassin as it allowed me to connect with her more and sympathize with her situation. It also helped me understand why she chose to be an assassin.

Lastly, I adored Kiera, Zander’s sister. She was absolutely cute and like Zander and Skyler, I wouldn’t be able to resist her. She was her own little person and was a little firecracker.

Overall, Two-Faced was a great fantasy and I can’t wait to read the next book!

“Waiting On Wednesday” 10 – Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein


New+WoW
“Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by that spotlights releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Today my WoW is Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein.
Becoming Jinn
View it on Amazon
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Title: Becoming Jinn

Author: Lori Goldstein

Publication date: April 21, 2015

Series: Becoming Jinn #1

Synopsis: Forget everything you thought you knew about genies!

Azra has just turned sixteen, and overnight her body lengthens, her olive skin deepens, and her eyes glisten gold thanks to the brand-new silver bangle that locks around her wrist. As she always knew it would, her Jinn ancestry brings not just magical powers but the reality of a life of servitude, as her wish granting is controlled by a remote ruling class of Jinn known as the Afrit.

To the humans she lives among, she’s just the girl working at the snack bar at the beach, navigating the fryer and her first crush. But behind closed doors, she’s learning how to harness her powers and fulfill the obligations of her destiny.

Mentored by her mother and her Zar “sisters”, Azra discovers she may not be quite like the rest of her circle of female Jinn . . . and that her powers could endanger them all. As Azra uncovers the darker world of becoming Jinn, she realizes when genies and wishes are involved, there’s always a trick.


This looks like an interesting new take on the subject of genies. I’ve been meaning to read Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios for quite a while and it would be nice to compare the two just based off the fact that they’re both about genies.

What are you waiting on? Leave me a link to your WoW or a comment. ☺

Jackie

(SST 1) – Review: Second Position by Katherine Locke


SST
Title: Second Position

Author: Katherine Locke

Publication date: April 13, 2015

Synopsis: Four years ago, a car accident ended Zedekiah Harrow’s ballet career and sent Philadelphia Ballet principal dancer Alyona Miller spinning toward the breakdown that suspended her own. What they lost on the side of the road that day can never be replaced, and grief is always harshest under a spotlight…

Now twenty-three, Zed teaches music and theatre at a private school in Washington, D.C. and regularly attends AA meetings to keep the pain at bay. Aly has returned to D.C. to live with her mother while trying to recover from the mental and physical breakdown that forced her to take a leave of absence from the ballet world, and her adoring fans.

When Zed and Aly run into each other in a coffee shop, it’s as if no time has passed at all. But without the buffer and escape of dance—and with so much lust, anger and heartbreak hanging between them—their renewed connection will either allow them to build the together they never had…or destroy the fragile recoveries they’ve only started to make.

Book One of the District Ballet Company

Ready to step back to the barre with Zed and Aly? Get a cup of tea and follow the links!
View it on Amazon
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Don’t forget! You can check out the prequel novella TURNING POINTE at Carina Press right here. See Zed when he danced, how they got together, and what happened years before SECOND POSITION starts!

About the Author:

Katherine Locke
Katherine Locke lives and writes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. Her dayjobs always vary, but in the past she’s worked in nuclear weapons abolition activism, lead poisoning prevention and education, and food safety programs at a mushroom farm. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, and when she’s not reading, she’s tweeting about reading and writing. She likes her heroes boyish and her heroines with dirty mouths. She secretly believes most books are fairytales in disguise. Her debut novel, SECOND POSITION, arrives in April 2015 from Carina Press.

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


I received a copy of the book on a read to review basis from Nori–creator of the Sunday Street Team–via NetGalley.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I’ve always been a fan of anything to do with dance because of it’s grace and delicateness (if that’s not a word, it is now) so when Nori from Read Write Love 28 came up with the Sunday Street Team and gave me the opportunity to review this book i was ecstatic! From the Minute I picked the book up, I fell in love! I absolutely love the fact that the book was told in two different points of view and that both of the main characters were broken. Usually what I’ve found with stories like this is that there is always one main character who’s whole and has to try and fix the other. However, In this story Ally and Zed both had to fix each other and find ways of coping with their mutual past as well as with their own demons. The other thing I liked about this book is that Katherine made a main character with a prosthetic leg, but did NOT center the book about him or make me feel pity for him because he’d lost a leg. Instead, she made Zed a strong and competent character who had to get past the fact that he could no longer leg. At the same time, she didn’t make Zed pity the loss of his leg too much which was great because it didn’t create a whiny main character.

Another issue Katherine dealt with was eating disorders. The way Katherine wrote about what Ally was going through made me understand, and connect with her more as a person. Having friends who deal with eating disorders and helping them cope, I feel that Katherine in no way overdramatized the subject! I LOVED how she showed Ally’s different moods as she dealt with her eating disorder and other issues she was dealing with. I also like how she incorporated the coping mechanisms Ally used to make her a more three dimensional character.

Lastly, i adored the therapist’s whit and overall personality! Where can I find one like him?

Overall, Second Position was an AMAZING book with a great premise.

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch


Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
It may not seem like it because I’ve been posting so many reviews of contemporary books, but fantasy is probably my all time favorite genre thanks to Harry and friends. As much as I LOVE the genre, I absolutely hate writing reviews for it because I have such a hard time putting my feelings in to words. Today I’m going to try and put my very confused feelings for Snow Like Ashes in to writing.


WARNING: When I saw Sarah Raasch in March my feelings were just squeals, “How Could You’s?” and “When/how can I get an Ice Like Fire ARC?”


I picked up the book about a month after its release and didn’t read it until March! Let me just say, it was a huge mistake and it wasn’t. It was a mistake because the book is AMAZING, but the bad part is I have to wait what feels like an eternity to read the next book! I think one of the reasons I put off reading this book was because I had heard so many great things about it and I didn’t want to a. not like it; or b. love it and be torn because the sequel doesn’t come out until forever!

Before I go on about why I read this book in a few hours, I’m going to talk about the ONE thing I would have liked a little differently. I thought that the book started out a little too slow and would have preferred a little more emotion from some of the characters in the beginning. I was going to put the book down after reading the first chapter because it WAS slow, but I told myself I had to stop being a wimp and read it so I could see why everyone was raving and join the throngs! I’m SO SO glad I kept reading after the first chapter because seriously guys, Sarah Raasch keeps the pace up throughout the book. Even when the pace DOES slow dow a bit, it’s the amount of slow and it doesn’t feel like the plot is slowing and the characters didn’t fall flat during those sections.

On to the hard part: my feels about the rest of the book. Most of the fantasy books I’ve read have either too much info-dumping at once or not enough but I think Sara Raasch handled her world building just right. I felt that she gave the right amount of information at correct time and things she left out at certain points were revealed later for a specific reason. I really liked how thorough she was in making sure that I as the reader wasn’t confused as to what kingdom was where, who was who, or who were the bad guys and such. I feel that she hammered in the information just enough so that it stuck in brain, but not so much as to become annoying and redundant.

Lastly—I could go on but no one would probably read the rest of my ramblings so I’ll stop here—I want to say how genius it was of Sara to come with a book based on kingdoms for each season. Not only was this awesome thinking on her part, but I loved how she made Winter the “good guys” when the season usually represents an end/death. Also, can I just say Sara was one hell of a smart kid because I sure as hell couldn’t write such an amazing book at twelve—I mean let’s face it I still can’t.

Overall, I thought Snow Like Ashes was a kickass book and y’all should pick it up as soon as you can and not make my stupid mistake and wait.

Review: Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen


Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As you’ve probably already figured out I’m a huge Sarah Dessen fan and I’ve been on quite a reading streak with her books. Today I’m reviewing Someone Like You which is among my top contemporary favorites. Okay, most of the books I’ve read by her fall in this category, but this book is REALLY good!

What I really liked about this book was its focus on Scarlet and Halley’s friendship and NOT on a romance. Yes, it deals with some romance but the main focus on the ups and downs of a friendship and the fact that true friends will always be there for each other.

Secondly, the book showed that teenagers don’t always get along with their parents and that it’s okay, but each family works in its own way and that’s fine too. It depicted a disfunctional family and a seemingly normal one side by side and it showed that both are more alike than they appear.

Lastly, I liked how the book showed that single parents, pregnant teens, and parents with drinking problems don’t just happen in Hispanic or African-American families but are also apparent in white families. As a person from a Hispanic family, I loathe the stereotype that all of our families are disfunctional and end up with pregnant teens.

Overall, Someone Like You was a great book with a good message.