Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven King
Series: The Raven Cycle, #4
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


I bought The Raven King when it was originally released. Several factors kept me from immediately picking it up and reading it like I wanted to. One of those factors was that I wasn’t quite ready to be done with The Raven Cycle. Blue, Gansey, Adam, Noah, and Ronan are some of my most cherished characters. I didn’t want to say goodbye yet. It took me over a year to pick it up. I’m happy I finally devoted the time to say farewell to the gang.

I really enjoyed The Raven King. The story from the previous books was continued, but everything still felt fresh. There were new discoveries to be made, and so many “ah ha” moments to enjoy. The complexity of it all was a little overwhelming at times. I had to take my time reading to really examine what each revelation meant to the story.

While I loved the journey The Raven King took me on, there were some things that struck me as strange and left me wanting more explanation. Blue’s father is the first one. The whole tree thing was just plain weird and I didn’t get what it meant for Blue. The second one was Piper, Henry’s mom, and Mr. Gray. Their last scene together left everything feeling really up in the air. The big ones, though, were Glendower and the Gansey-Blue kiss. Those two things left me wanting more.

Despite feeling a bit confused and possibly let down by the end of the story, I did appreciate the epilogue. I liked knowing what possibilities were ahead for my favorite characters. I did wish that we had been privy to what the ladies at Fox Lane had in store for them.

Overall, The Raven King was a strong ending to a great series.

Mini Reviews: The Law of Moses and The Song of David by Amy Harmon

The Law of Moses
Series: The Law of Moses, #1
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: November 27, 2014
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Paranormal

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.


The only way to describe Amy Harmon’s writing is the word beautiful. Everything about it is beautiful. The way she puts words together is so dang gorgeous. The stories she crafts with those words are just as beautiful. I’m always amazed at how brilliant and touching her words and stories are.

That’s exactly how I felt when reading The Law of Moses. I was constantly amazed. The book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I could see some of the plot coming, but there were also moments when I was shocked.

Moses was definitely “a law unto himself”. I wasn’t always happy with him, but he amazed me. Same with Georgia. She was a fire that couldn’t be put out. She had spunk and grit. Their love for each other was raw and unconditional. Their story wasn’t easy, but it was magical.

I loved every moment of reading this book. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to read it.



The Song of David
Series: The Law of Moses, #2
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: June 13, 2015
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Rating:★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is played.

I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since. Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline, it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood.

For me, heaven was the octagon.

Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room, people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?

If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.


Once again, Amy Harmon has surprised me. The Song of David wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It’s narrated partly by Moses with David telling some of his own story from afar. At first, I wasn’t so sure about this set up. Once I got into the story, I found I really loved it. In fact, I loved the entire story. The way David tells about falling in love with Millie and everything they went through was so special.

I loved the way Moses added to the story. He brought a completely different aspect to it. His was a connection to David by friendship. Their relationship was tight and special. His emotions made the story even more special.

Everything about this book was just so good…until the end. At the end, I felt like I had missed something big. I needed one more piece of information that I didn’t get. That’s okay, though. I still loved The Song of David. Anyone who has read The Law of Moses will love getting to know David better.

Review: Sugar & Gold by Emma Scott

Sugar & Gold
Series: Dreamcatcher, #2
Author: Emma Scott
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Fantasy
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Nikolai Alexei Young was born with a special gift…one he’d do anything to lose. The heart and soul of every person he comes into contact with is an open book to his heightened senses. Colorful emotions, whispers of thoughts, the sour tastes of old memories…He feels them all. The sci-fi books would call him an empath. For Nikolai, his ability has made him an exile. He roams the U.S. alone, avoiding the glut of life in big cities, and using his innate talents to win money in underground poker games. Just enough to keep going, one town to the next. He has no hope that his life can be anything else, until he meets her…

At nineteen, Fiona Starling was trapped in an ugly, desperate situation until she freed herself the only way she knew how. Now three years later, living outside Savannah, Georgia, she is rebuilding her life on her own terms; seizing every moment and saving every penny so that she might fulfill her dream of moving to the raw wilderness of Costa Rica. But behind her carefree smile beats the heart of a lonely young woman haunted by her past, until a chance encounter with a tattooed stranger changes everything…

Fiona takes Nikolai under her roof for three sultry nights, waiting out the rain of a summer storm. She grows more and more fascinated by this brooding stranger with whom she shares an intense physical connection—a connection so strong, she wonders if there is something between them beyond lust and passion. Nikolai is shocked to discover that Fiona calms the raging turmoil in his heart. She alone silences the din of other people’s lives, and envelops him in the sweet beauty of her inner self. Every moment he’s with her—every touch of her skin—brings him closer to the peace that’s been eluding him his entire life.

But Fiona harbors secrets that she is too terrified to reveal. After Nikolai confesses his unique ability, she is caught between wanting to believe him and fearing he’ll eventually unearth her own dark past. When the unthinkable happens, Fiona’s plans come crashing down, and Nikolai discovers his hated ability might be the only thing that can save the woman he loves.


Sugar & Gold was a brilliant story of two broken people finding love and comfort where they least expect it. Fiona, ready to flee to the wild of Costa Rica, had no plans for love. Love was what broke her in the first place. Nikolai has a gift for seeing and feeling emotions from the people he comes in contact with. It’s made him unwelcome by those he loves the most. He never thought a one night distraction could bring him the peace he craves.

I really loved this book. I’m a little surprised by that. You see, I’m not really one for paranormal stuff in books. I like my fiction to be realistic. But I really, really loved it in Sugar & Gold. Nik’s gift was so well woven into the story. It gave him a connection with Fiona that went above and beyond what would have been in my realistic fiction. I adored their relationship and couldn’t imagine it without Nik’s colors.

Not only did Sugar & Gold have the whole paranormal thing going for it, but it also had some great twists. I couldn’t have foreseen where this story was headed. I loved the turn it took and how everything worked out. I especially loved the epilogue.

If you want to feel all the feels, reach for an Emma Scott book. She won’t let you down. She always crafts a sweet story filled with raw emotions. I was completely captivated by Sugar & Gold. It was just so beautiful. I highly recommend it.

Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Armada
Author: Ernest Cline
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Publication Date: June 14, 2015
Publisher: Random House Audio
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

A cinematic, inventive, heartwarming, and completely nerdtastic adventure from the best-selling author of Ready Player One.

Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming. But the dream is all too real; the people of earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the video game he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.

Soon Zack and a handful of top gamers find themselves in a bunker beneath the Pentagon, hearing about our planet’s vast secret history over the last forty years-ever since a NASA probe first discovered evidence of intelligent life in our solar system, hidden beneath the ice of Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he’ll uncover the truth about the alien Europans, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he’s been thrown into.


I’ll be the first to admit I am not a science fiction fan. A couple of months ago, I listened to the audio book of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. I loved that book, but I had no idea he had written another novel. It wasn’t until I saw another blogger saying she was going to read it that Armada was on my radar. I immediately looked it up, and when I saw Wil Wheaton was once again narrating, I requested the audio book from the library.

When I first started listening to Armada, I was hit with familiarity. Armada was reminiscent of Ready Player One from the beginning. Wil Wheaton’s narration sounded similar, and sometimes I had to remind myself that this was a new character and story. His voice was once again perfect for the genre, though. I couldn’t imagine anyone else narrating. I think he should continue to do all of Ernest Cline’s audio books.

Another thing that felt familiar was the writing. Ernest Cline once again centered the story around video games and a young adult male character. I liked Zack. Like Ready Player One‘s Wade Watts, Zack was a high school senior on the verge of graduating. He was just as obsessed with video games as Wade was. The difference between the their stories was their missions. Instead of fighting for a fortune, Zack was fighting to save the universe.

Here’s where I have to admit that I wasn’t into Armada‘s deadly alien invasion story line as much I was into Wade Watt’s quest in Ready Player One. This has nothing to do with it being good or bad. It has everything to do with me not being into aliens. I didn’t really care about Zack’s plight to save Earth and humanity. What I did love, though, were the relationships in this story.

There were so many amazing relationships going on in this book. First, there was Zack and his mom. I loved the easy relationship they had. Then, there was Zack and his schoolmates, friends and fellow alien fighters. The moments Zack spent with them lead to some really great revelations. But the relationship I liked the most was the one Zack had with his dead father and his dead father’s things. That probably sounds weird, but so much of this story was wrapped up in Zack’s dead father’s past and suspicious journal entries. I learned a lot about Zack in those moments, and he did, too.

Overall, I really enjoyed listening to Ernest Cline’s Armada. It was well written, well narrated and addicting to listen to. It wasn’t quite as good as Ready Player One, but I could appreciate it for what it was. Anyone who enjoys video games, aliens and references to old alien movies is bound to love it.

Blog Tour Review: A Girl Like Me by Ginger Scott



We’re celebrating the release of A GIRL LIKE ME by Ginger Scott! Readers have fallen in love with these characters!
 
A Girl Like Me by Ginger Scott
Like Us Duet, #2
A mature YA romance, and a little something more…
Release day: May 26
Purchase links:

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | BN

Blurb:

I’m not supposed to be here.

Death has come for me more than once, and each time it’s been a boy who’s
stood between me and my final breath.

I called him Christopher when he saved me as a child. When he came into my
life again, only months ago, I knew him as Wes. Just as he did the time before, he disappeared the moment he made sure I was out of harm’s way; as if I didn’t need any more saving.

This time, though, death left me with a reminder of how powerful it is. I
know it meant to strip me of my spirit again, but it failed.

Even so, I know I need Wes to survive. Our souls are woven together
somehow, our every breath in sync. I feel it, even though everyone says I
shouldn’t.

The world thinks he’s missing.
His loved ones don’t want to believe he’s dead.
Only I know just how special he is.

I’m going to find him and bring him home, where he belongs. Together,
we’ll face impossible—we’ll rewrite our ending.

And when the bad guys come calling, we will always win.

My Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from the author via WordSmith Publicity in exchange for an unbiased review.

Wow. Someone give Ginger Scott an award for best sequel or duet – something! She deserves it. I don’t think I could have imagined a more rewarding conclusion to the Like Us Duet than what she gave us in A Girl Like Me. I knew it would be epic after reading A Boy Like You. I just didn’t know how epic.

A Girl Like Me picks up where A Boy Like You left off. All of our favorite characters are back. Joss is setting out to search for Wes. She’s still the snarky, attitude giving girl she was in the first book. She’s matured a bit, but hasn’t lost any of her fire. Wes is still…missing. Joss’ friends and family are still amazing, and they’re determined to help her find all the answers she’s looking for. Kyle is especially helpful in Joss’ search for Wes (and deserves his own book). And that’s all I’m telling you because I’m not ruining this book for anyone!

I absolutely loved this book. I devoured it, even when I wanted to savor every moment. A Girl Like Me was everything I expected it to be and more. More because I couldn’t have imagined some of the surprises it had in store. Each new revelation blew my mind. Many hit me emotionally, and I found myself holding back tears several times. It broke my heart so many times, and yet, it always put it back together. I don’t think I’ve experienced a book quite like this before. If you loved A Boy Like You, you’re going to be mesmerized by A Girl Like Me.

NOW AVAILABLE!
 A BOY LIKE YOU
YA Contemporary Romance
Released on: March 3, 2017
GIVEAWAY

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About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

 

Review: The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

The Queen and the Cure
Series: The Bird and the Sword Chronicles, #2
Author: Amy Harmon
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.”

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be.


Bravo, Amy Harmon! The Queen and the Cure was a masterpiece. It was an epic, romantic adventure that even someone who does not normally gravitate toward fantasy, like myself, could fall in love with. It was filled with evil villains, internal and external conflicts, magic, and a legendary romance.

The writing and imagery in The Queen and the Cure were just as beautiful as they were in The Bird and the SwordI was immediately pulled back into the world of Jeru and its surrounding kingdoms. It was fun to be back in this world with all its amazing characters and settings. Plus, I was super excited to learn Kjell’s story! His character had so much potential in the first book.

Kjell was just as brutish as I expected him to be. He had the strength and presence his position required. He was also humble and had a sweetness he tried to keep hidden. It was easy for him to do that until he met Sasha. I loved Sasha. She had a quiet strength about her. Sasha created an inner turmoil in Kjell that was fascinating.

Everything about Kjell and Sasha’s story was magical and special. I won’t tell you more about it because there are so many great things to discover for yourself in this book. There are so many surprises and twists in store for the reader! I honestly couldn’t get enough of it, and highly recommend it. The Queen and the Cure was even better than The Bird and the Sword. That’s saying a lot because I absolutely loved that book.

Review: L.I.A. by R.S. Reed

L.I.A.
Author: 
R.S. Reed
Publication Date: March 24, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Sometimes your journey in life isn’t up to you…

Katie Lauren would rather do just about anything than be shuffled off to boarding school for her eleventh grade year, but that’s exactly where she finds herself. It’s her worst nightmare come true.

Softening the crushing blow of leaving her hometown behind to attend Dunn’s Preparatory Academy in Tennessee, is the fact that Katie’s best friend, Nikki, will be going too. When they discover the most gorgeous boy to ever step foot in their town, John, will be attending the remote boarding school as well, junior year is looking up.

Katie’s world is turned upside down when a simple plane ride to her new school turns out to be not so simple. Uncovering deeply guarded secrets that her family didn’t want her to know, and being out on her own for the first time, leaves Katie wondering, when your whole world changes, who will be there to hold you up?

Her friendship with John is becoming complicated, and her relationship with Nikki is changing. Soon, events in her unfamiliar life lead Katie to believe that they are all in some real danger, and she may be the only one who can stop it. Now that fate has intervened, will love be the only thing to save her?

Katie’s never thought of herself as fearless. Just a normal girl, from a normal town. Life has other plans though, and now that she has someone, and something, worth fighting for, she’ll need to be braver than she ever knew she could be.


From the minute I started reading the Prologue of L.I.A., I knew I was in for an adventure. It was a really unique and well written story. I was surprised by the mysterious plot. L.I.A. combined so many different elements. There was friendship drama, romance, and magic.

The characters were your typical teenagers, and yet they weren’t. Katie was struggling with so many real feelings as she left for boarding school. She was worried about leaving home and trying not to be attracted to guy her best friend liked. But, before long, she would find those were the least of her worries.

The only issue I had with L.I.A. was the amount of descriptions in it. They did an amazing job of painting a picture of Katie’s life and everything around her, but they bogged down the story at times. There were just so many of them. I would have liked more dialog between the characters, especially in the beginning of the story.

I’m surprised this is R.S. Reed’s début novel. The writing was polished and creative. She built a mysterious and magical world in L.I.A. that readers are sure to enjoy.