ARC Review: Modern Monsters-Kelley York

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Release Date: June 2, 2015

cooltext1889161239 copyVic Howard never wanted to go to the party. He’s the Invisible Guy at school, a special kind of hell for quiet, nice guys. But because his best friend is as popular as Vic is ignored, he went…

And wished he hadn’t.

Because something happened to a girl that night. Something terrible, unimaginable, and Callie Wheeler’s life will never be the same. Plus, now Callie has told the police that Vic is responsible. Suddenly, Invisible Vic is painfully visible, on trial both literally, with the police, and figuratively, with the angry kids at school. As the whispers and violence escalate, he becomes determined to clear his name, even if it means an uneasy alliance with Callie’s best friend, the beautiful but aloof Autumn Dixon.

But as Autumn and Vic slowly peel back the layers of what happened at the party, they realize that while the truth can set Vic free, it can also shatter everything he thought he knew about his life…

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***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Entangled Teen.

+++Triggers: Deals with subjects of rape and suicide. While not explicit/graphic, discussed throughout. 

Modern Monsters is a thought-provoking glimpse into the life of the accused. Kelley York succinctly delves into the psyche of the accused and the reactions of those around him. Hurt, confusion, trauma, and fierce determination reign in this unexpected and extremely relevant story.

PROS:

  • Vic is unlike any male protagonist I’ve read and it’s a good thing. So often we’re presented with guys that are popular, bad boys, oozing sex appeal, or nerdy, Vic is none of those things. I LOVED that Vic was unsure. He didn’t have a particular hobby or goals about what he wants to do with his life, he’s confused and still figuring it out. I think a lot of people are and because of that Vic is incredibly real. He’s not suave or reclusive, he’s in-between and it’s perfect. When he talks to Autumn, he’s scared, shy, and yeah, he has no clue how to interpret girls, it’s adorable and intensely endearing. Vic is a great guy. Compassionate, kind, and all he wants is to feel cared about-loved. It’s heartbreaking how disconnected he feels from his classmates and even more so, how hurt he feels by his mom’s rejection. The pain is potent and raw, you’ll want to shake some sense into his mother, how can she not see what an amazing guy he is?
  • Autumn is the best friend anyone would love to have. She’s quirky, sarcastic, fiercely protective, and a tad violent. She loves with everything and she brings a lightness and determination to the story. She’s like a bloodhound sniffing out the perpetrators. The gentle way she handles Vic is sweet and soft, she protects him despite her doubts. 
  • When we hear about sex crimes, things as horrific and disquieting as rape, we often are consumed with the plight of the victim and hunting down the guilty part-for justice. But what about the accused? It’s reality that not everyone blacklisted and marked as the culprit actually is. It’s important to consider the accused and their perspective. Vic, in this case, was wrongly accused and his suffering and harassment are brutal. He doesn’t deserve the dirty looks, the beatings, the comments but he deals. Kelley York does a fantastic job making the story about the victim without making her the protagonist and really makes you question the role of indirect victims. 

CONS:

  • The pacing was sporadic. The whole first section of the book sort of drifted by in a steady languid pace and the end was one reveal after the other before cutting off. It felt rushed, like there was a lot more to be said and characters didn’t work all the way through their feelings. 
  • For a girl who all out hated and physically attacked Vic, who was so sure of his guilt, the turn around is unbelievable and way too fast. It’s obvious that Autumn is desperate to find her best friend’s rapist but to flip so quickly and trust the guy she decked in the face, it just didn’t make sense. 
  • Brett and Vic’s friendship is tentative and parasitic at best. It’s kind of toxic for Vic. While he is supportive, he never pushes Vic to find his niche, he drags him to places he doesn’t want to go, and for so called best friends, their interactions feel off, the warmth and connection aren’t there. 

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Review: Connections-Erin V. Moore

Connections e-book coverGoodreads/Amazon

cooltext1889161239 copy“Nothing’s been the same since that night. One fateful night among a million ordinary ones. The night I pray to forget but painfully remember. No, everything CHANGED on that night. Even if I didn’t want to believe it.”

18 year old twins-Ana and Brian have an unusual connection-a supernatural link through the same dreams. Their connection has been a long held secret… until now.

When one of their nightmares bleeds into reality, leaving a mark and changing the way the twins see their connection.

As the twins start their first year of college, Brian wants to explore the possibilities of the dreams’ meaning. Ana just wants to forget. But there’s no escaping when the dream becomes reality.

When the ones Ana cares for are in danger, she must conquer her fears to delve into the mysteries of the dreams. With the help of a new friend, Aiden, Ana pushes the limits of their twin abilities. Along the way, Ana and Aiden’s friendship grows quickly and the special connection she has with Aiden surpasses her own dreams.

Can the twin connection save Ana’s brother and her friends or cause them to lose more than any of them can endure?

cooltext1889171582 copy3/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author.

Connections takes (t)winning to a whole new level. 

PROS:

  • The premise of shared dreams, emotions, and memories through twin connections was fascinating and sucked you right into the storyline as their nightmares became increasingly more gruesome. 
  • Action scenes were two-fold bursts of adrenaline and terror as Ana’s premonitions became reality. Seeing the chaos and fear through Ana’s eyes and then first hand upped the adrenaline and overall suspense. 
  • Ana and Brian are playful, their love is deep and precious, full of insight and adoration. You can feel every ounce of their connection. 
  • Aiden and Ana are adorable together. Despite their blossoming affection being tinged with great anxiety and fear for their friends, it strengthens their bond. They find ways to balance the search, their abilities, and attraction while learning each other and succumbing to their intense chemistry. 

CONS:

  • Repetitive word choice was a little grating at times. The constant allusions to butterflies tumbling, somersaulting, fluttering, etc., was distracting and took away from the easy flow of the story. 
  • Occasional typos and misuse of words. 
  • The complex relationship between Caleb and Ana was a guessing game. Besides the knowledge that they’d been friends since childhood, the blossoming chemistry and interactions between them were few. I would have liked to have seen more glimpses of their past, their childhood, and how the shift in feelings happened. 
  • The connection between Aiden and Ana developed quickly, almost too quickly and was extremely trusting. In a matter of days, secrets Ana kept buried were shared with little thought. The fact that Ana’s parents were so understanding was borderline unbelievable, and that they put so much faith in her abilities when for the most part Ana was just winging in.

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ARC Review: Daughter of Deep Silence-Carrie Ryan

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 cooltext1889161239 copyI’m the daughter of murdered parents.

I’m the friend of a dead girl.

I’m the lover of my enemy.

And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process. Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

cooltext1889171582 copy4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC via Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review.

Daughter of Deep Silence toxic, ruthless, and unrelenting in the best way. Frances’ thirst for vengeance is brutal, gripping, and will fuel you with enough ire to plow straight through. You’ll want revenge just as passionately as Frances. 

PROS:

  • There’s something utterly captivating and heart-breaking about Frances. The way she dissolves herself to become Libby is incredibly sad. Frances struggles to reconcile the girl she once was with Libby and this strange amalgamation of both. Frances lives and breathes revenge. Haunted by the memories of the events on Persephone and the lies she’s constantly bombarded with through the media, Frances feels more than betrayed, she feels downright reckless. Some of the most potent scenes in the story happen when Frances looks in the mirror; broken and lost, Frances searches her reflection for the remnants of who she once was under the deception. Her emotions are powerful and complex. Frances is willing to sacrifice her sense of self, everything she once was to out the truth. Brave, meticulous, and a bit of a criminal mastermind, Frances has plotted and schemed to perfection. You’ll adore her wrathful, ingenious spirit and determination. 
  • The pacing is fantastic. It’s gripping and draws you in as more clues pile up and all of the answers turn out to be more complicated than they appeared. Shifting between present tense and memories, each action-packed scene is full to the brim with chaos and carnage. From sounds to graphic imagery, the harsh reality of the Persephone, the effects of being lost at sea, and the dangers that lurk as Frances gets closer to the truth are a nail-biting source of anxiety.
  • Grey is a conflicted, multidimensional and confused. Grey knows what’s at stake and has so much weighing on him that it’s not surprising that half the time he’s scared out of his mind. Grey puts on a mask of the perfect politicians son, he dresses the part, has the right facial expressions and answers for everything. What’s insanely endearing about Grey is that despite the heavy truth weighing on him, he can still crack jokes and make Frances/Libby smile. Sweet, thoughtful, and provocative, Grey is flirty, adorable, and deep. There are scenes that are so potent with grief and heartache that it’s easy to fall hard for him.
  • Shepherd is rough around the edges, brutally honest, and explosive. He’s an intelligent activist that has just as many emotional wounds as Frances. His pain is agonizing loss. 
  • Grey and Frances as Libby together are beautiful. They get each other. Their rediscovery is bittersweet and pretty darn adorable.

 CONS:

  • Some plot points were unrealistic and didn’t add up. The fact the Frances could slip so seamlessly into Libby’s life despite minimal plastic surgery and dental work was unbelievable. While Frances is a proclaimed loaner, Libby’s personality is at odds with how forgettable she appears to be. When Frances infiltrates Libby’s life, not one friend comes forward, no one tries to get in touch except for Shepherd? It’s weird and doesn’t sit right. 
  • The big reveal was disappointing and read like a brief summary. While the culprit and motivations behind the disaster were shocking, a more extensive look into the targets and why would have helped clarify the reasoning behind such a heinous bout of violence. 

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Review: All Fall Down-Ally Carter

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cooltext1889161239 copyA new series of global proportions — from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter.

This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

cooltext1889171582 copy3/5 Stars

All Fall Down is a tantalizing mystery that straddles the line between good old-fashioned sleuthing and reckless abandon. Grace questions her sanity and her heart as she struggles to find the truth buried beneath politics, lies, and expectations. 

PROS:

  • Grace’s hysteria and bull-headed certainty is wild, chaotic, and gets her in tons of trouble. Grace leaps into action in hilarious, clumsy antics that could potentially cause World War III-seriously. Bursting at the seams with emotions that propel her ever onward in her quest for answers, Grace barely has time to think let alone deal with the consequences of her actions. Grace is traumatized by an event that turned her world upside down, she has moments of panic-filled PTSD that typically turns into something embarrassing that she’s helpless to prevent. Grace gets worked up easily and lets her emotions rule. Grace’s fear and sadness is real, she’s desperate to find her mother’s killer, so much so that she’ll risk anything, even her life. This steady goal is almost manic at times and it’s easy to sympathize with her.
  • An unexpected and startling twist that turns the entire story on its head. What you thought was solid disappears in a cloud of smokey uncertainty. Nothing is what it seems.
  • Slight romance. What I loved and respected about All Fall Down was that it’s not romance centered. In fact, romance barely makes it into the plot. All Fall Down is about picking up the pieces after loss, self discovery, mourning, and justice. Romance is secondary and only when Grace starts to figure out who she is does it kindle. 
  • Noah is light and playful, he brings Grace out of her shell and gets her to laugh again. His friendship is honest and understanding, he believes her and that’s everything.

CONS:

  • Secondary characters, for the most part, were unremarkable. The premise was fascinating. Kids from all different cultures united under their parents’ roles in the Embassy. I wish there had been more of this-the culture, the friendships, the various relationships between countries. These characters were introduced and many faded into the background or were typical, like the cliché mean girl. 
  • Some sections drag. As Grace scrambles to find her footing and avoid stirring up an international catastrophe, a lot of speculation and wandering happens. While critical to the plot, it’s extensive and was slow to pick up until the end.

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Endless Possibilities Read-A-Thon (6/4-6/6)

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As a blogger that frequently works with Good Tales Book Tours, when I received an email announcing a read-a-thon, I had to join. Taking place from June 4-June 6 from 2PM to 9PM CST daily, this seems like the perfect way to tackle my ever growing TBR pile and maybe even knock some NetGalley titles off my list.

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If you’d like to join in on the fun, head on over here –>JOIN!

Be sure to stop by the website and check out the many guest authors stopping by!

If you’re interested, there’s also a Facebook party featuring author interactions, freebies, and giveaways –> Facebook Event

Without further ado, here’s my read-a-thon TBR:

  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall
  • The Heir by Kiera Cass
  • Night School: Endgame by CJ Daugherty
  • Those Girls by Lauren Saft
  • Strange Skies by Kristi Helvig

Please share your TBRs in the comments ❤

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Release Day Blitz: Hawthorn-Jamie Cassidy

 Hawthorn by Jamie Cassidy
Series: The Darkling Saga book 1
Genre: YA Horror/Fantasy
 

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  A house on a hill. 

A house filled with mirrors. 
A house with eyes that watch your every move. 
 
“I hate it on sight. It’s dull and large and
clunky, a creepy old house with a creepy house smell.” 
 
Learmonth Village has a history, a past that it
holds dear, superstitions that it clings fast to. Learmonth House, however, is
governed by its own set of rules, its own past. Gemma and her family are about
to discover just what those rules are. 
Learmonth has a pact with the darkness… 
 
The darkness is hungry…  
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Amos Cassidy is the pen name for Richard Amos and Debbie Cassidy. Amos is a 31 year old Diva and Cassidy a 38 year old mother of three; well, four if you include the husband. A common love of all things Joss Whedon, Urban Fantasy, and a tug of war over Jensen Ackles, brought them together, and one cold February afternoon, over nibbles and coffee, their partnership was born. 
 
You can find Cassidy hard at work in her fortress of solitude which has eaten up the majority of her garden, and Amos…well he’s still trying to get the invisibility gizmo he got off a friendly alien in exchange for a pair of earphones to work. Funnily enough he hasn’t been seen around much lately…
 
Frequent doses of Sugary snacks, coupled with regular injections of caffeine aid in their production of a unique brand of cross genre tales. They are always writing, but are happy to take a break to chat to their wonderful readers, so drop them a line at amoscassidy.com, or just pop over to see what they’re working on and they’ll bust out the biscuit tin.
cooltext1921345213 copyI’m still searching when I spot the strangest looking tree. It’s larger than the others, but that’s not what makes it stand out. It’s the trunk that draws me, split in two in the middle and twisted at the top to make an aperture that looks like the eye of a needle. It’s wide enough to slip through. At least I think it is. I am overcome by the strangest feeling of familiarity.  I take a step toward the tree, and then another, suddenly eager to find out if my theory is correct.
“I wouldn’t do that if I was you?”
I spin around in alarm to find the owner of the voice.
“Hi.” He is leaning against a tree, all casual-like. He’s tall, taller than Liam, with dark messy hair and dark eyes. He is striking to look at, the kind of guy you expect to see in one of those Cinderella story movies, or a character from a young adult paranormal novel. I stare at him, expecting him to disappear or grow some pimples or something, but he remains as gorgeous as ever.
Liam. I love Liam, I remind myself.
He holds out his hand. “Come on, those things can be dangerous.”
I look glance at the tree then back at him. “You have to be joking.”
“No.”
“So you’re saving me from a tree?”
He nods sombre-like.
I feel a stab of irritation. Who does he think I am, some gullible twat from London or something? I step back and touch the tree and quirk a brow at him. Hah!
His smiles. “Maybe I just wanted to hold the pretty girl’s hand.”
I don’t know what to say to that.
“I’m Sam.”
“Gemma.”
“Nice to meet you, Gemma.” He flashes that smile again, all white even teeth and a dimple.
“You live up at Learmonth, right?”
“Yeah, what about you?”
“I don’t.”
God, he’s trying to be cute. I hate that. “Um, anyway, I best get going.”
“Why? You just got here. There’s some lovely spots to sketch. I can show you if you like.”
I frown. How does he know I sketch? My pad is in my backpack.
He cocks his head as if listening to something. “You have artist’s hands and an artist’s eyes. I see the way you look at things.”
Once again I don’t know what to say to that apart from, “You been watching me?”
He smiles. “I spotted you a few minutes ago. So, you coming?”
I hesitate. “I don’t know, you could be a serial killer or something.”
He nods. “True, but then we’re far enough from your house and the village for me to just grab you if I want.” He grins disarmingly.
I laugh. “Okay, you have a point. Lead the way.” He turns and I follow. This could be good. He looks my age,
maybe a little older. Making a friend could be good, make starting college easier with a familiar face to look forward to.
I can’t help study his back, tapered down to his tight butt. Damn, now I’m checking him out. He does have nice arms, though, wiry and strong-looking even if he’s as pale as the moon. He doesn’t seem to feel the chill in the air.
I wonder if he’s wearing sun cream. I bet he burns easy.
I trip and stumble, but don’t hit the ground because he has me.
I don’t know how, but I have to ask.
“Are you a vampire?”
He stares at me for a long beat and then bursts out laughing.
After a second I join in.
I realise he is still holding me, his hands warm on my skin. “Come on then, show me this place.”
He lets go of me and ambles off again. “Eyes on the trail now, Gemma.”
 
Keep reading, 
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Review & Giveaway: Scarred by Vengeance-Valia Lind

Pieces of Revenge by Valia Lind

Book #1 in the Titanium Series

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A weapon. A broken life. A humanity lost.

That is all Anastasia knows, that is all that she is. As an eleven-year-old, she witnessed her family’s brutal murder and she’s been on the run ever since. She’s spent her life training and planning for the day when she can take her revenge.

Kallos Enterprises is a well respected corporation, set on improving the genetic structure of an individual. Or so they say. Anastasia knows, first hand, what kind of monsters lurk behind the pretty walls of those skyscrapers. Armed with combat skills and a beyond perfect memory, she heads to Chicago to uncover the answers to questions that plagued her for years.

After arriving in the city, she meets Logan, a boy from her past who changes all the rules. She doesn’t remember him, but he remembers her. His position at Kallos Enterprises is useful, his presence is unnerving, and he makes her question everything she knows about herself to be true. If her perfect memory can’t remember Logan, what else about her past is wrong?

Time is running out. Anastasia has nowhere to turn, but to trust the one person who’s a memory she should have, but doesn’t. With a madman threatening their every step, Anastasia and Logan must uncover the truths behind Kallos experiments and hope that the answers they find won’t destroy the world forever. 

Scarred by Vengeance

Book #2 in the Titanium Series

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This is the mission: Save. Protect. Destroy.

Everything in Anastasia’s world came crashing down when the one person she decided to trust failed her. On the run, now more than ever, she’s trying to piece together the life she doesn’t remember. With Blake still missing, she sends the rest of the family away, hoping to keep them out of danger. But being alone is a lot harder than it used to be and she blames herself for allowing Logan into her heart. He’s gone now and she must let him go. Even though her perfect memory continues to play out the time they’ve spent together, much like a broken record.

But Anastasia has no time to dwell on the mistakes of yesterday; her mission isn’t over. Kallos Enterprises continue their experiments, as the death rate goes up, and Anastasia has no choice but to fight. However, she’s not as cold blooded as she used to be and that proves to be a problem when the people she cares about are once again put in danger. With her strength—and memory—failing and Blake’s time running out, Anastasia must tap into parts of herself she never knew existed, hoping that in the end, it will be enough to save them all.

cooltext1889171582 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review.

Scarred by Vengeance is an emotional rollercoaster with pit stops at crazy suspense. An adrenaline rush complete with action, violence, and just the right amount of mystery, Scarred by Vengeance will keep you guessing.

PROS:

  • Tasia is a mess. Her emotions are up and down, her determination wavers, and her heart is wide-open despite her best efforts to close herself off. This Tasia is way different than the vengeance oriented girl in Pieces of Revenge. Tasia has suffered and been wounded in some ways that leave her feeling broken and lost. As Tasia fights to find her determination, she must sort through feelings that she’d rather leave buried. Tasia is real and hurting, her emotions are at the forefront of the story and as the plot progresses, Tasia must embrace these feelings in order to survive. It was a revelation seeing Tasia in this light. Behind the hard edges and tendency towards violence, she’s a girl who yearns to shelter her loved ones and offer her heart up to a boy who she’s terrified might break her. 
  • Logan and Tasia are sweet, scorching chemistry. Their reunion is inevitable and culminates in such build up that isn’t as explosion of pent up angst and longing. Logan understands Tasia better than she does herself. He pushes and pulls, giving her strength and nudging her in the right direction. But what makes Logan so compelling is the power he gives her. Even when Tasia is reckless and making horrendous decisions, Logan warns but doesn’t prevent her from making them. Logan knows that to Tasia, freedom over her actions is paramount. 
  • The final scene is chaotic, full of shock and dangers that come out of nowhere. Nothing is safe and you’ll be taken for a whirlwind of surprise. 
  • The shift to Logan’s perspective is heart wrenching and powerful, his emotions are on the surface, potent and blazing, prepare to be gutted with his raw honesty. 

CONS:

  • Reiteration of events that took place in book 1 would have helped form an emotional connection with characters and put the reader in the right frame of mind. I found myself stumbling through the first few chapters trying to remember what happened because I’d read Pieces of Revenge a while ago. There are allusions to some events but it’s unclear until later in the story. 
  • The mission and overall plot was loose. Tasia rushes into danger head first and doesn’t think things through. There’s not much going on and for the most part, all of the drama and action takes place much later in the story. The first half passed in a blur of uncertainty and stasis. 

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Author. Photographer. Artist. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valia Lind always had a love for the written word. She wrote her first full book on the bathroom floor of her dormitory, while procrastinating to study for her college classes. Upon graduation, she has moved her writing to more respectable places, and have found her voice in Young Adult fiction. Falling by Design is her debut young adult novel. You can visit her online at http://www.valialind.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter, where she spends way too much time, @ValiaLind. 

cooltext1892192940 copyEnter for your chance to win  $15 Amazon Gift Card, Titanium Series SWAG, and a signed copy of a Valia Lind book!
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Pleasant reading, 
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