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The Forgetting: I could have SWORN We were on Earth

bookreview

The Forgetting (The Forgetting, #1)The Forgetting
(The Forgetting #1)
by Sharon Cameron
Scholastic Press
403 Pages
YA / Dystopian / Sci Fi
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

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4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: wait, this wasn’t set on Earth?! what even?!?!; awesome, well-written characters; interesting, entertaining plot premise; I don’t even know how to handle this book right now; so many unanswered questions, no pages left in this book!

When I first added this book to my TBR, I’m almost certain I’d taken the time to read the book blurb. I remember being super excited about the premise…but time has a way of settling in and making us forget, doesn’t it? When I actually sat down to read this novel, all I remembered of the blurb was that some sort of mass memory loss occurred. So basically, I knew absolutely nothing about what I was getting myself into. Good times, Penguins–as I’m sure you all already know, I am all about going into books blind!

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So if I told you that I knew, when I began this journey, that this book wasn’t set on Earth after some form of apocalypse… I’d have to call myself a humongous liar. Honestly, I was POSITIVE we were on Earth…right up until Nadia and Gray break into the cave and discover the truth. And I might be wrong, but I felt that perhaps this minute detail was left unknown for a purpose. I feel as if it might have been meant to act as a “shocking” revelation–and it worked, for me at least. So kudos to Sharon Cameron if that was done on purpose!

These characters are complex and well-written, though I felt we got a bit short-changed on certain plot points (for instance, Nadia’s dad–what’s the deal with that situation?! what exactly did he change about her/her family’s books?! WHY did he change them?!) Of course, this is probably partially due to who the POV belongs to–Nadia, for obvious reasons, wouldn’t necessarily have ALL the big answers. Still, certain things are left decidedly more vague than I’d like–though perhaps book 2 is meant to shed light on all the dark corners. I certainly hope that’s the case, at least!

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This was, overall, a thought-provoking and entertaining read, though a bit vague and gray on certain plot points. I’d recommend this to lovers of science fiction, dystopians set on planets NOT Earth, and spunky characters seeking hidden truths. I cannot WAIT to see where book 2 takes us! Tell me, Penguins; will you Forget, or remember?

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Mirror Me: This Plot is Twisty-Turny Awesome!

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Mirror MeMirror Me
by Tara St. Pierre
208 Pages
YA / Paranormal / Romance
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Hannah McCauley doesn’t look at herself in the mirror anymore.

After a rebellious past, she now attends a strict private school in a new town, where her recently divorced mother has put her on social lockdown. No driving. No bad grades. No skipping classes. No unapproved friends. No makeup. No boys. And the subject of her best friend from her old school is definitely forbidden.

Hannah is being punished for something that happened a year earlier, something that she would like to put behind her. But strange occurrences frighten her, and she’s accused of breaking rules and doing other terrible things without any recollection of them. No one believes her, so she starts distrusting everything, even her own reflection.

Is she being haunted by her past? Stalked by someone with a grudge? Or is it all in her head? If she doesn’t figure out what’s happening fast, her existence could end up irreparably shattered.

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4.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: THOSE MORALS, THOUGH!; this is as close to a “life-ruiner” as I’ve gotten in a while; maybe a bit too much focus on the romance and not enough on the friendship; slight warning for mature/sensitive subjects; awesome, well-rounded, complex plot and characters!

HUGE thanks to Tara St. Pierre for sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for a voluntary honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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Having now finished TWO of her novels, I think it’s safe for me to say that Tara St. Pierre is one of those authors with imaginations that know NO bounds. Because I read her debut novel last year, I went into this book TOTALLY blind–and let me tell you, I am so so glad that I did! Because I had no preconceived notions of what this book was about, I was able to take the journey in an unbiased and completely open way, which was both an awesome experiment and something I hope to experience again in the future.

 

This book was just…. GAAAAAH! I knew, from the first book I read of hers, that I was bound to stumble upon an incredibly moving, absolutely unique premise. Let me tell you, I was in absolutely no way disappointed! This novel takes a pretty old idea–being able to look at yourself in the mirror–and twists it into something unrecognizable, yet still completely relatable. When I reached the end, I sat here staring at the last line in total awe at just how far the morals and lessons stretched for this read. Seriously, coming out on the other side of these pages, I grasped the message entirely–and bow down to Tara St. Pierre for tackling such an abstract concept head-on, and making it into this gorgeous journey!

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I just… I cannot sing enough praises for this novel! I did feel, at times, that the focus on the romance came out a bit too steeped for my taste. There are some awesome, complex side-characters that sort of get kicked off to the wayside in the course of this book, and while this is both realistic and understandable given the circumstances…. I just felt as if those friendships might have done better to be more cultivated. Especially when the bomb near the end drops and they get pulled into the middle of the chaos–they accepted the strange situation VERY easily, and I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how quickly they pulled together to help Hannah.

 

Still, this was an entertaining and beautifully inspiring journey…and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a mirror in quite the same way again! Tara St. Pierre DID include some potentially triggering, mature subjects, so for sensitive readers–please, please keep yourselves safe! The characters are complex and vibrant, the plot is filled with twisty-turny vines and angst, and that ending! OH, MY PENGUINS, that ending is just glorious! I’d recommend this to lovers of unique premises, emotionally-challenging journeys, and characters who find their strength and come out on top in the end. Take a look in the mirror today, Penguins; this book just might change your point of view.

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Review: The Dragons of Nova

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Dragons of Nova CoverThe Dragons of Nova
(The Loom Saga #2)
by Elise Kova
Fantasy / Steampunk / New Adult
488 Pages
Keymaster Press
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Cvareh returns home to his sky world of Nova with the genius crafter Arianna as his temperamental guest. The mercurial inventor possesses all the Xin family needs to turn the tides of a centuries-old power struggle, but the secrets she harbors must be earned with trust — hard to come by for Ari, especially when it comes to Dragons. On Nova, Ari finds herself closer to exacting vengeance against the traitor who killed everything — and everyone – she once loved. But before Ari can complete her campaign of revenge, the Crimson Court exposes her shadowed past and reveals something even more dangerous sparking between her and Cvareh.

While Nova is embroiled in blood sport and political games, the rebels on Loom prepare for an all-out assault on their Dragon oppressors. Florence unexpectedly finds herself at the forefront of change, as her unique blend of skills — and quick-shooting accuracy — makes her a force to be reckoned with. For the future of her world, she vows vengeance against the Dragons.

Before the rebellion can rise, though, the Guilds must fall.

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The other LOOM SAGA books:

The Alchemists of Loom

See my review for THE ALCHEMISTS OF LOOM (THE LOOM SAGA #1) by clicking here!

About the Author:

Elise KovaElise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she is not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media.

 

Find her on:

Goodreads | Twitter | Website

Giveaway Details:

· Hard cover copy of The Dragons of Nova by Elise Kova and a swag pack

CLICK HERE to go to the giveaway!


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4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: YESYESYES let the sparks fly!; I love the dual-setting we have happening here, and how juxtaposed (yet so similar?) the settings are; so much danger and suspense!; I feel Ari lost a bit of her snark somewhere on the flight; Cvareh is still just as adorable as ever

Huge thanks, once again, to Elise Kova and Keymaster Press for sending me a gorgeous softcover ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review, and to Chapter by Chapter Book Tours for taking me on as part of this tour! This in no way altered my read of or opinion on this book.

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Once again, we return to the battle between Loom and Nova…and the battle is only just beginning, Penguins, let me tell you! In this sequel, we journey to the skies and the world of the Dragons–which, honestly, is almost more confusing than the world they overlord. While Elise Kova dips her pen in gold and weaves gloriously brilliant, beautiful imagery…I find that sometimes, my brain can’t quite follow the path she leads me down. I have a hard time actually SEEING the world I’m being thrust into. Which is depressing; as vibrant as Elise Kova writes, I wish I could better put myself into the settings.

 

However, these characters are just as snarky and entertaining as they were in the first book. I really, REALLY adore the growth we see throughout–not just from Ari, but from all the main players. I also really love that we’re given a glimpse into enemy minds; this really helped to ground me in the drama and strife. I was better able to “get” the motivations from each side, selfish as they seem at times. This also helped to answer some of my more prominent questions. Ari seems to have lost a bit of her snark and spunk somewhere, though–while her words and quips still bite deep when she lets them loose, I felt she was holding herself back in this particular journey. Cvareh, on the other hand, shows a ton of growth and adorable vulnerability. And Ari DOES show signs of vulnerability, as well, which only helped to endear me to her–though I did sort of miss her hardcore, stubborn spunk.

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I absolutely ADORE the worlds of Loom and Nova, and love how Elise Kova paints each–individually, yet somehow both juxtaposed and similar at the same time. Because honestly, these worlds are both facing the same struggles–a fight for ultimate power, a showcasing of foolhardy strength, a match striking into flames. So while they’re juxtaposed–in the sense that Loom is darkness and oppression, and Nova is light and “freedom”–they’re also surprisingly (or, perhaps, NOT so surprisingly) fighting the same battle. Sort of. Kind of. It might be a BIT of a stretch but it’s there, okay?! SO GO WITH IT!

 

I just…. AHHHHH! I am definitely hooked (even though let’s be honest, I was hooked from book one page one so this shouldn’t be a shock to anybody) and I NEED BOOK THREE GIVE ME BOOK THREE! These characters are quirky and snarky and so well-written. The growth we see in a lot of (or all?) these characters is just entertaining and astounding. AND CVAREH AND ARI MAKE THE CUTESTESTEST COUPLE EVARRRRR I NEED MORE OF THEM IN LOVE IN MY LIFE! I definitely recommend this series to lovers of steampunk/fantasy, unique worlds, and dragon-y dramatics (is that a thing? that should be a thing. let’s make it a thing.) We’re taking to the skies, Penguins; are YOU ready to soar?

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Blog Tour, Teasers, Giveaway, and Review: One Broken Day

One Broken day tour banner
One-Broken-Day-coverOne Broken Day
by Melissa MacVicar
324 Pages
YA / Contemporary
Get a copy here!
BLURB:
After a notorious school shooting leaves her a shadow of the girl she once was, seventeen-year-old Lizzie Beringer moves to Nantucket Island. There, Lizzie is determined to keep her identity as the shooter’s sister a secret. All her efforts to fly under the radar, however, are complicated by her PTSD and her treatment at the hands of two very different boys. While fending off the unwanted advances of John Wickersham, she must also deal with her growing feelings for her brooding lab partner Gage Pike. Gage may act like he’s all wrong for her but the pull between them is undeniable.

Under the threat of discovery and the possibility of testifying in a televised trial, Lizzie attempts to pick up the broken pieces of her life.

One Broken Day is a brilliantly imagined story about the ways we are all broken and the miracle of second chances.

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Teaser # 1 One Broken Day LaineyTeaser #2 MacVicar One Broken Day
About the Author:
MacVicar Author Photo Melissa was born and mostly raised on Nantucket Island, and she currently lives there with her husband and two teenage children. When not being a wife and mother and teaching writing to seventh graders, she enjoys binge watching shows like Big Little Lies, House of Cards, and Outlander.

Despite the rumors to the contrary, she does not actually wish she was a teenager again, nor does she see ghosts like the main character in her first novel, Ever Near. She does, however, love to hear from readers so send her a message on social media or at her email!

email: melissa.macvicar@gmail.com
Twitter: @MelissaMacVicar
Facebook: Melissa MacVicar
Instagram: melissa.macvicar
Giveaways:

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4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: LIFE-RUINER ALERT!; this was an emotionally challenging read; I can understand the motivations behind the character choices; the upheaval in Lainey/Lizzie’s life is obvious from page one; I couldn’t put this down

Huge thanks to Melissa MacVicar and YA Bound Book Toursfor sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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This was SUCH an emotionally challenging, haunting read. I finished this several days ago and have been struggling to put my thoughts into coherent words, because OH MY PENGUINS, this read! I was drawn into the turmoil from page one, ensnared and enchanted by the tragedies of the situation–and the reactions of the world. Melissa MacVicar did a stupendous job thrusting readers straight into Lainey/Lizzie’s head, and I applaud her so much for it. Truly, I was captivated just as much as I was heartbroken. Coming out of this read, I can see the motivations behind certain decisions Melissa MacVicar made for her characters and their coping mechanisms. Having grown up in a household of addiction, it was even easier for me to see into the heart of the recreational drug use that occurs throughout this read. (Of course, this doesn’t mean I necessarily condone such coping mechanisms–just that I understand why the characters react the way they do)

I feel the strength of this novel lies in the characters–and the different ways they grow and shift throughout this journey. However, there’s a sense of mystery and suspense woven through every page–a motivation that kept me trapped, unable to put the book down. While we don’t necessarily get handed all the “answers,” I feel Melissa MacVicar did this with a purpose–life, after all, doesn’t always just hand us a reason or justification for why people do the things they do, or why things happen the way they do. So while a lot of other readers are calling for “more” depth to this read… I applaud Melissa MacVicar for not trying to force a solution where, sometimes, there just ISN’T one.

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This was a desperate, twisting path of emotions–and I cherished every moment for reminding me that the world isn’t always black and white. That there are grey areas where answers are elusive and human reactions don’t always make sense. I will, for sensitive or easily triggered readers, put a slight mature content warning out there–recreational drug use and sex, along with bullying and suicidal thoughts, are prevalent throughout and play a large role in this read. Please keep yourselves safe.

I am awed by how powerfully poignant and heart-wrenching this read from Melissa MacVicar is, and cannot wait to see what the future holds for her creatively. While there are some grammatical errors, there weren’t enough of them to break my concentration or bother me. The characters and their reactions are vividly painted and, at least in my opinion, realistically written. I definitely recommend to lovers of emotionally challenging reads, characters struggling to cope with heavy burdens, and twisting plot vines. Look deeper, Penguins; there’s more to these words than meets the eye.

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Paper Princess: Wow, These Royals are SPOILED

bookreview

 

Paper Princess (The Royals, #1)Paper Princess
(The Royals #1)
by Erin Watt
370 Pages
New Adult / Romance / Contemporary
Timeout LLC
Publication Date: April 2016
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

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4Penguins
Quick Reasons: WOW these boys are spoiled; actually most of the characters in this book start out that way; REED, REED WHAT THE HELL DID YOU EVEN?!?!?!; THAT EEEEEENDING!; seriously, listening to this on audiobook was SUPER STEAMY

HEY LOOK, it’s a book I read just for the fun of it and not for any specific review requirement or obligation! (Because apparently July is the month for me to sit back a bit and pick up the slack on my HUMONGOUS BACKLOG of books I buy on whims and then never actually read…)

 

And let me just say, listening to this on audiobook? BEST. IDEA. EVER. The narrator (hats off to Angela Goethals!) brought SO MUCH to this read that I don’t think I’d have caught otherwise. I was enthralled from the very first. Her characterizations leapt out of the speakers, I could imagine everything that was happening…and a few of the more subtle nuances (character voices, for instance, or specific reactions) were more fully captured and “shown.” AND THE STEAMEH SCENES! Oh, my penguins, those scenes–I cannot even begin to explain how much hotter they became in the midst of hearing, instead of seeing, the words. There’s something…more realistic? more believable? about steamy scenes being read aloud than I sometimes feel just reading the words, and Angela Goethals did a brilliant job bringing those scenes to life.

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I was taken aback a little by how spoiled these characters seem. Don’t get me wrong–I understand they were born with the world at their feet and all, but some of them REALLY seem far fetched in their…reactions to? interactions with?…the rest of the world. These boys, especially, go to so many lengths to torture and torment Ella, and for what exactly? A small taste of fun? A tiny bit of vengeance? I for sure wasn’t expecting to find such loathsome boys on the other side of these pages–though they do, in the end, make up for a lot of their beginnings, so I guess character growth wins out again? (BUT THAT ENDING….AND REED…. WHY, BOOK, WHYYYYY?!)

 

I had a TON of fun listening to this via audiobook–Angela Goethals really brought her A-game to the table and brought these characters, and this story, to life for me. And the steamy scenes–SO much steamier while listening to them being read, than they are while reading them yourself! I’d recommend this to lovers of romance, erotica (I mean this sort of is?), and surprising (but entertaining!) reads. Welcome to the Royal family, Penguins; will you sink, or learn to swim?

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Blog Tour, Promo Post, Teasers, and Review: Freeze

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Freeze (Midnight Ice #2)Freeze
(Midnight Ice, #2)
by Kaitlyn Davis
280 Pages
Fantasy / Paranormal / New Adult
Publication Date:  July 11th, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Locked up doesn’t mean locked in.

Pandora Scott is in jail…again. Everyone she once loved betrayed her…again. And some of the most powerful people in the world want her dead…yes, again. Sound familiar? But if there’s one thing Pandora is good at, it’s wriggling her way out of life or death situations, and this time is no different. Armed with her ability to disappear and aided by the mysterious Sam, Pandora’s got a plan. Escape the most secure prison in the world. Evade the most powerful trackers on the planet. Forget every word that Jax has ever told her. And figure out how to change one teeny tiny thing—fate. Easy, right? Well…doable, at least.

Freeze is the second book in the thrilling Midnight Ice series–the brand new spinoff to Midnight Fire, a bestselling paranormal romance with over 200,000 copies sold and over 5000 5-star reviews on Goodreads!

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Other books in this series:

See my review for FROST (MIDNIGHT ICE, #1) by clicking here!

FROST (MIDNIGHT ICE, #1) is currently on sale for only 99 CENTS!  Get a copy now by clicking here!!!

Kaitlyn Author PhotoAbout the Author:

 

Bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie.
Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she’s not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found indulging in some puppy videos, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her–about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general–you may contact her at: KaitlynDavisBooks@gmail.com
To stay up-to-date with all of Kaitlyn’s new releases, sign up for hernew release newsletter here: TinyLetter.com/KaitlynDavisBooks
Author Links:

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Post of Favorite Quotes

Ooh, I hate doing favorites. I find it so tough to narrow any topic down to a top ten or top five when there are so many amazing things in the world. But for you, I’ll try!

Here are my top five (non-spoilery) quotes from the first two books in my new series, Midnight Ice!

Normally, Pandora preferred to steal for a good cause, more of a supernatural Robin Hood, some might say. Blonder of course, with a much better ass.

“You look good enough to eat,” a sultry voice whispered in her ear.

Pandora whipped around lightning fast, flashing her fangs. “I bite.”

The man smiled, lips practically dripping with sin. “Me too.”

“It’s okay—“ Pandora was cut off by the crash of water against stone as the wave broke and shot toward them like a tsunami, defying gravity as it rolled up the ramp, racing closer. “Impossible odds and near-death experiences are my specialty.”

One way or another, she’d steal the secrets hiding in his smile. She did, after all, have an uncanny knack for thieving.

A thousand lifetimes ago, maybe she needed a man to define her. But she didn’t anymore. And that was just fine with her.

And a bonus line, because I love this scene in FROST J

“Don’t mind me,” he responded merrily, eyes closed. “I’m just warming up in the sun, getting my tan on, displaying my forbidden fruit…”

And here are my top five favorite quotes from other amazing young adult books!

[She] had always suffered from a vague restlessness, a longing for adventure that she told herself severely was the result of reading too many novels when she was a small child.

—Robin McKinley, The Blue Sword

Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears. ‘After all this time?’ ‘Always,’ said Snape.

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.

—Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.

—Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting

Hope? Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.

—Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone


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4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: YAYAYAY I’ve returned to this awesome world and these entertaining characters!; I’m not sure how I feel about all the secrecy surrounding Pandora; Sam is a complex, secretive character…but somehow I found myself really loving him; fast-paced, satisfying journey; I can’t wait to see what happens next

Huge thanks to Kaitlyn Davis for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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I really adore the world that Kaitlyn Davis has crafted so far in this series! The magic makes sense and is fitting. Kaitlyn Davis has put a lot of thought and care into making this world enthralling and believable; each time I step into her pages, I feel like I learn just a little more about the characters and their callings…and step just that much farther into Kaitlyn Davis’s mind. The scenery is brilliantly imagined, I could “see” everything that was occurring and every place our characters transported us to, and THE GROWTH JOURNEY! I swear, every time I think I know everything I possibly could about Pandora, something else slips from the shadows and presents itself, and I have to reconsider.

And these characters–oh, my penguins! They don’t give up their secrets easily, let me tell you–in fact, they hold on ever and ever tighter the closer to the ending we get! Which is both a beautiful and frustrating thing, because as the pieces fell away, more pieces were rooted in cement. Kaitlyn Davis knows how to weave an intriguing, entertaining story while still maintaining an air of mystery and suspense. (Now, mind you, I am doing my absolute very best to impart how much I adore this world without ACTUALLY giving away any major spoilers, because I’m just that awesome. And I loathe spoilers as much as the next pebble collecting penguin, so there’s that too.)

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Also, if the above isn’t enough to tempt you to dipping your toes in these rippling waters… the plot is fast-paced, and the action is FULL of suspense, complexity, and mystery. While these characters are on a journey to finding (or, in some instances, rediscovering) themselves, readers are ALSO on a journey–filled with snark, magic, and the fantastical.

I had such an awesome time returning to Kaitlyn Davis’s world of monsters and mayhem, and cannot WAIT to see where the journey takes us next! I definitely recommend this to lovers of redemption journeys, snarky personalities, and super complex back stories. Break the chains binding you, Penguins; the fun is only just beginning!

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Blog Tour, Excerpt, Giveaway, and Review: Friend (with Benefits) Zone

Friend (With Benefits) Zone
by Laura Brown
on Tour June 26 – July 13, 2017

 

Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown

Book Details

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Published by: Avon Impulse

Publication Date: June 27th 2017

Number of Pages: 384

ISBN-13: 9780062495594 (ASIN: B01EFM8NC0)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Synopsis:

I’m ridiculously attracted to my best friend.

Today is a bad day. The worst actually. After dealing with the constant manhandling that comes with being a cocktail waitress at a dive bar and surviving a date from hell, I see an eviction notice slapped on the door of my sketchy basement apartment. Great.

When my best friend Devon shows up at my door and uses his stubborn charm (emphasis on stubborn) to get me to move in with him, I give in. We’ve had about a million sleepovers since we met in the kindergarten Deaf program, but this time it’s different because I can’t stop thinking about his hard body covering mine, every single night.

I know Devon would do anything for me, but I’m afraid what I want to happen will ruin our friendship forever. And the more time we spend together in close quarters, the harder it’ll be to resist the spark of attraction I’ve always felt. But maybe it’s possible to have the best of both worlds: keep the one relationship I can’t live without and indulge in an attraction I can’t deny.

I guess the only thing we can do is try…

Read an excerpt:

I was still staring at my notebook when a light flashed by my tiny window. Outside someone stood with a flashlight, shining it into my apartment. I didn’t need to adjust to the light to know who that someone was with the one, two, three blinking pattern.

It took five steps to stomp over to the door. Dev came in once I wedged it open. He pushed the door closed.

“You can’t have your clothes back,” I signed, even as I was grateful to see him. When Dev was around, even this place sorta felt like a home.

“I don’t want my clothes back. Not now, at least. I wanted to make sure you were OK.”

I held out my hands, showing that I was fine. Even if I did scan my coffee table and breathe in relief that the eviction letter was face down in a crumpled mess.

He studied me, searching for all my little tics that spelled I was in trouble, tics only he knew. I blanked my face; otherwise he would latch onto there being a problem. A big one. Dev shoved a hand through his hair, those wavy locks rioting into one massive sexy-as-hell bedhead. I missed the days when he was a spindly little thing, before he grew into this hunk I could never unfriendzone. He meant too much to rock the boat, and I didn’t dare risk losing him. He scratched at a day’s worth of scruff, the black stubble contrasting with his pale skin. Then he kicked off his shoes, tossed his coat on the back of a chair, and plopped down on my bed in a way that had to have a spring or two digging into his back.

He didn’t budge.

I wanted to laugh. Forget me time—neither one of us had given the other the right to be alone since we first met. Still, I couldn’t let go of our usual bickering match. “Go home.”

He folded his hands behind his head, not moving. I crossed my arms. A few seconds later he sat up, grabbed my laptop off the floor, and flipped it open. “We’ll watch a movie.”

“My laptop can’t handle Netflix. You know that.”

He closed the laptop. “Right. Forgot.” He unlocked his phone and placed it on the bed.

“Tiny viewing tonight?”

“You refused to come to my place.” Underlining meaning: we could have watched on a large flat-screen TV.

Since there was no budging him now that he had settled in, I climbed onto the bed with him. He picked up the phone so we could watch, and I settled my head on his chest.

I didn’t pay much attention to the action flick he put on. Most days I loved the intensity of those movies. Tonight, those explosions felt too close for comfort. Instead I made a mental list of my options. Had to before Dev found out. He’d want me to stay with him. And being cuddled up with him, I had to admit, had potential. More so when I placed my hand on his firm stomach and took in a deep breath of the ocean scent of his soap. Problem was, I needed to be on my own two feet. The last person to take care of me—my mother—had failed. I couldn’t trust anyone else.

Not even Dev.

***

Excerpt from Friend (With Benefits) Zone by Laura Brown. Copyright © 2017 by Laura Brown. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Laura BrownLaura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky abnormal family. Her husband’s put up with her since high school, her young son keeps her on her toes, and her three cats think they deserve more scratches. Hearing loss is a big part of who she is, from her own Hard of Hearing ears, to the characters she creates.

Visit Laura on her Website, Twitter, Facebook, & Goodreads pages!

 

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Laura Brown and Harper Collins. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Signs of Attraction by Laura Brown. The giveaway begins on June 24 and runs through July 14 2017.

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bookreview

4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: believable, realistic, awesome characters; SO STEAMY I CAN’T EVEN!; mature subjects handled with sensitivity and poise; I am much more open-eyed on hearing impairments/deaf culture after this read; just enough drama and angst to keep my penguin heart cold

Huge thanks to Laura Brown, Avon Impulse, Partners in Crime Book Tours, and Edelweiss for sending me a free egalley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

 

So once again, I find myself on the other side of a book I never even took the time to read a blurb for–and feeling SO very glad that I went into this read blind. I was honestly surprised with what I discovered between these covers–and what a steamy, sexy cover it is. I mean, just LOOK at him, with his brooding face and black leather jacket and… GAAAAAH. Someone, quick, find me my partner in crime and bestest panda buddy Annelise–those abs are just BEGGING her to lick them!

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This romance was steamy and heart-wrenching in turn. I have always been a fan of “friends” to “lovers,” and this story BEAUTIFULLY encapsulates that journey in a dramatic, angsty, fear-for-the-outcome way that kept me enthralled and entertained. The love between Jas and Dev was believable and endearing, and I loved learning about them from not only THEIR POV…but from the other’s as well. The fact that these characters are also diverse and well-rounded only made me fall even more in love with them. Honestly, I’m going to be picking up more of Laura Brown in the very near future–I had such a great time rooting for (and shouting at) this couple. Their dynamics and antics are just… AGGGGGGH, I just want to hug them both!

 

This was a super fun, light-hearted (though still painful at times!), and diverse read–and I adored every minute of it! The characters are well-rounded, the romance is believable, and the angst only helped to cement me more fully into their journey. I definitely recommend this to lovers of contemporary romance, complex growth stories, and the flight from “friends” to “lovers.” Sparks are flying, Penguins; take a seat and watch the show!

 

 

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0

My Lady Jane: Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just a Little HO(A)RSE

bookreview

My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies, #1)My Lady Jane
(The Lady Janies #1)
by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
491 Pages
Historical / Fantasy / Young Adult / Romance
HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

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4.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: super entertaining; these characters are vibrantly different and yet still familiar; the humor in this is SPOT ON; LOVED the narrators, they helped to both bridge the gap and break the wall down; intriguing, unique premise to the “magical” aspects

If I could brew snark and put a stopper in satire, this book would be at the tippity top of my favorites list. Seriously, the level of personality JUST in the narrators alone was consistently sending me into fits of giggles. They (the narrators, not the giggle fits) helped to both bridge the gap between reader and characters…and also, somehow, build up the wall at the same time? I’m not sure if that even makes sense as an explanation. While they were fairly transparent with their chronicling of the events, they also made it very apparent how unreliable they could be. By this, I mean they often led us, the readers, onto hidden and treacherous paths toward what we thought, at the time, was disappointment…only to totally change directions halfway through and surprise us entirely. Basically, this whole journey was a mess of chaos, scattered thoughts, and pitter-pattery heartbeats–and I adored every single moment!

 

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The characters are also just as vibrantly written, with their own distinct flairs and personalities. I found myself falling in love with and then loathing them each in turn, though for varying reasons (some of which are due to those pesky flighty romance butterflies. Seriously, this is a roMESS from start to finish!) While each character is uniquely written, they also (at least, in certain instances) maintain a semblance of the real-life historical figures they’re based upon. This both entertained me throughout, and made placing the characters/their relationships to each other slightly easier in the middle of the messiest bits. (Don’t worry, Penguins–mess is a good thing in this instance!)

 

This plot is fast-paced and filled with the type of satirical snark I’ve been DYING to read for ages now, but have been unable to find of late. There were so many moments I found myself piecing things together only to laugh out loud at the brilliance behind the implications (the play on horse and steed, especially, was almost too much for my poor ribs!) While it is obvious this isn’t true to actual historical events (or, at least, such events have been altered to better fit the magic of this world) I really enjoyed the creativity and fun that the authors brought to this tale.
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I am just SO glad I made time for this book this month–I should have read it eons ago, honestly! The characters are witty and vibrant, the satirical snark is top-notch, and the plot is super entertaining. I recommend this to lovers of historical satires, delicious word-play, and journeys that quite literally RETELL history! Breathe deeply, Penguins; what beastly form will you take when the light flares?

4

Gemina: BOOK, HOW DARE YOU End Like That?!

bookreview

Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)Gemina
(The Illuminae Files #2)
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
672 Pages
Science Fiction / Young Adult
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 18th, 2016
Get a copy here!

BLURB: 

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Timesbestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.” 

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

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See my review for ILLUMINAE (The Illuminae Files #1) by clicking the cover below:

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

5Penguins
Quick Reasons: I SWEAR, these books will be the death of me!; super entertaining, snarky, and heart-wrenching; complex, frustrating, endearing characters; the roMESS in this read is SO WORTH IT; OH MY PENGUINS ALL THE PLOT TWISTS OF EVER; someone please tell me you’re buying me book 3 for my birthday?!

AHHHHH. AHHHHHHHHH. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I feel like if I let myself, I could spend this entire review just screaming and none of you would even come close to understanding the amount of feeeeeeelings I’m feeling right now because words just…. they fail me. They fail me so hard core right now I can’t even. I am so…just… GAH, THIS BOOK SERIES! I swear, it’s going to be the death of me–all the plot twists and turny-loops and “you thought you knew what was coming?! you thought WRONG!” ness. Seriously, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff know how to weave a topsy-turvy, confusing, twisty tale…and keep readers enthralled throughout. This installment was absolutely no exception!

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These characters are super entertaining and endearing. While I found myself (inexplicably? or perhaps not, given how much I ADORED him in Illuminae) missing AIDAN through a large portion of this read. Of course, once he made his appearance (and stuck around!) I was a very happy penguin and could focus more completely on the rest of the crew, who were just as vibrantly written and stubbornly AWESOME as I’d been expecting. I don’t quite know how Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff managed it, but they wrote a sequel that both stands apart from it’s predecessor and yet somehow fills in at least a few of the questionable gaps. I just… I am in absolute awe.

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The plot is fast-paced and so twisty, you’ll find your heart has broken and been mended at least half a dozen times within the span of just a few pages. No, really Penguins–this is not an over-exaggeration at all! I was on the tippity tops of my toes throughout this entire read, begging to know what was happening while at the same time trying desperately to close my eyes to the events because SO MUCH HEARTACHE! I screamed at my book–numerous times. I pleaded, and threw tantraums (over facebook chat, at least), and laughed and rallied and then fell apart all over again. Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are BRILLIANT at writing intensely entertaining, dramatically realistic, gut-wrenching shotgun reads, and OH MY PENGUINS, I cannot wait to lay my hands on Obsidio next year. I need it.

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I just… If you haven’t heard me wax poetic about the beauty that is Illuminae, hear me now. Pick up this series! The characters are entertaining and lovable, the plot is action-packed and so full of surprises, and you will–guaranteed!–find yourself flinging the book in anger at least once, but probably more like a thousand times, before the end. I definitely recommend this series to lovers of science fiction, uniquely formatted reads, and super epic world-saving journeys. The wormhole is open, Penguins; the fate of reality rests on your readerly shoulders now!

 

0

The Wrong Prince: So. Many. Butterflies!

bookreview

 

The Wrong PrinceThe Wrong Prince
by C.K. Brooke
Fantasy / Romance / New Adult
48fourteen Publishing
236 Pages
Publication Year: 2016
Get a copy here!

BLURB: 

Two princes. One bride. A dire misunderstanding…

Geo and Dmitri are the princes of Tybiria. Though Geo is the obvious athlete, it’s bookish Dmitri that yields the credit – and consequences – for slaying a foreign prince. But whose arrow really struck the boy?

Luccia Camerlane is the Baron of Backshore’s enigmatic daughter…as well as Prince Geo’s secret mistress…until she learns of her disastrous betrothal to none other than his brother, Prince Dmitri.

When Dmitri is abducted by the deranged King of Llewes, star-crossed lovers Geo and Lucie must set aside their woes and differences to rescue the Crown Prince from the formidable Wintersea fortress. A precocious castle ward, a fascinating love-quadrangle, and a hit-woman harlot complete this action packed rom com in another wickedly fast-paced fantasy adventure from C.K. Brooke, author of The Red Pearl and the Books of Jordinia.

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4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: YAY for more Jordinia!; this premise was super entertaining; well-rounded, complex characters; fast-paced, humorous (at times), romantically-charged plot; C.K. Brooke is awesome at penning headstrong, independent characters

Huge thanks to C.K. Brooke and 48fourteen Publishing for sending me a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest voluntary review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book (because Penguins, you all KNOW I go absolutely gaga for Jordinia–and if you don’t know that, you should).

 

WP Quote1

Okay, Penguins–I have to come clean. I absolutely cannot imagine a world where I don’t go GAGA for Jordinia! (bet you thought I’d say Cocoa Puffs, didn’t you? WRONG! although Cocoa Puffs sound really tasty right about now.)

 

Well-known slogans for cereal aside, I cannot think of a time I picked up a book by C.K. Brooke and didn’t come out absolutely loving the world/characters. Seriously, everything this woman writes is, in my opinion, almost absolute perfection–this book being just another example of such! So I’m going to start with the characters. C.K. Brooke knows how to write complex, headstrong, fiercely independent personalities. Every one leaps off the page and into reality for me while reading; I can imagine them almost entirely, from their reactions to their words. They are so well-written, in fact, I leave each novel feeling as if I’ve just said goodbye to very dear friends.

 

WP Quote2

Once again, the plot of this read is fast-paced and filled with humor, romance, and drama. I thoroughly enjoy following each of C.K. Brooke’s characters and learning the different ways they tick…but I ALSO enjoy watching them interact with and react to the world surrounding them! Each story is filled with believable emotions and situations; my poor penguin heart usually winds up a twisted mess of FEELS by the end of chapter one, which should tell you just how immersive and awesome these books always are!

 

I am so happy to have been able to pick up yet another Jordinia story! The characters are just as colorful and realistic as always. C.K. Brooke definitely knows how to weave her worlds around readers, and keep them fully entrenched until the very end! I recommend this (or any of her novels!) to lovers of fantasy, fantastic world-building, and SO MANY BUTTERFLIES! Saddle up your trusty steed, Penguins; the rescue is afoot!