Cover Reveal: The Girl Who Ruled the Stars by Heather Hildenbrand

received_1776976332380850Goodreads/Amazon/AmazonUK

Release Date: September 5, 2018

syn

I know exactly what I am. A weapon. 
Tharos and his army of Shadows have infiltrated every corner of the galaxy—including my new home. They don’t want war; they want our total annihilation. And if I’m not ready, the ones I love most will be the first to fall. 
My people think the light inside me will be enough to save us. They don’t understand how big it is. How uncontrollable it feels when I let go.
But my enemies have left me no choice. I’ll unleash my power and burn down every star in the sky to kill the Shadows.
The only question is: will my people still be standing in the ash of my aftermath?
Happy reading,
Jordan

ARC Review: The Girl Who Called the Stars by Heather Hildenbrand

40502367Goodreads/Amazon

“…but you don’t deal in death and escape the feel of it afterward.”

synvia Goodreads

Be very afraid of the Shadows.

I know what I’m not. Human.

I can’t remember my life before Earth, but I’ve grown up hearing the stories of a planet ravaged by war and a people in need of a leader who will bring them out of the darkness. I’m supposed to be their light.

My future terrifies me.

But I’m done waiting to have a real life. If I ever want a chance to live free of the Shadows, I’ll need to fight for it because freedom is never free. No matter what galaxy you call home.

(This is book 1 in The Girl From The Stars Duology. Previously published as Across the Galaxy, now revised & rewritten with brand new content.)

teaser

TGWCTSteaser2TGWCTSteaser copy

review3 Stars 

PROS:

  • Heather Hildenbrand is the angst master. I swear, every single time I read her books there’s always some super swoonworthy, colossal build up of steam and languishing right off the bat. Then it grows and before you know it, you’re flipping through the pages on the prowl for a happily ever after…or at least one measly kiss. Jeez. But that tension is what makes the reader keep reading. 
  • The premise of this book is awesome. I loved the fast-paced tragedy and adventure, and also those horrifying Dementor-style demons. The mix of elemental-style powers with alien made this way different from your average space drama. Kingdoms in the space. I’m all for that. Also vicious wolf guardians? What’s not to love?
  • That explosive ending. I should have known. It was right there and somehow it went right over my head. Facepalm. 
  • Instead of being thrust into the typical long lost princess/heir trope, Alina has always known her purpose, she just doesn’t have the memories to back her up. Alina is focused, determined, and pushes through her fear for the future of her people. Plus she’s obsessed with coffee 😉 

CONS:

  • The plot didn’t feel cohesive. There was a quick jump into space that kind of slowed the pacing and then politics meets black magic. It didn’t feel like it fit together. 
  • Most of the secondary characters were so-so. Alina’s former best friend would have been stronger had there been more interactions. Also the catty, occasionally elitist arguments between some of the characters made a lot of the young people unlikable. 
  • Peter was supposed to be a sort of protector and father figure for Alina, but I feel like there wasn’t enough of that relationship built in the text-it was just there. I couldn’t establish an emotional connection that made me care either way about what happened to him. The issue with that is, the main character cares so much that it made it more difficult to connect with her. 
  • The book feels so short. A little more foundation here and there could have helped really build the emotions between all characters, not just the leads. 

Read and read some more, 

Jordan

 

ARC Review: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Goodreads/Amazon/B&N

3.5 Stars

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

This book. There are so many amazing things happening in this book.

The diversity, acceptance, portrayals of various sexualities and lifestyles. If only our world was that inclusive.

World-building is off the charts. Space. Domes. Gargoyles. Hubs for different specialties. Focus on science. Folklore. The exploration of “Earth culture.” Military training, cool technology, the Moon as Mother. So much is there and it feels natural. A lot of the time with intense world-building in sci-fi/fantasy, it’s forced and overwhelming. You’re slammed with details and history to the point where it becomes a tedious, info dump. This is not like that. It fits. It flows. It works insanely well.

27 Hours is told from multiple POVs. Typically when this happens, there’s at least one character you loathe and try to skim through. Game of Thrones is plagued with this half-formed and irritating characterization but Tristina Wright has created bold, flawed, introspective and interesting characters that are easy to invest in.

What’s more, there are none of those fleeting, non-characters that are designed to fill space. Everyone has a personality, purpose, and place within the story. Some of the secondary characters were so intriguing that I longed for more of them. Initially, it was a little hard to keep track of everything because there are so many characters and plot lines, it takes a bit but it’s worth it.

I loved these characters. Like full on emoji with heart eyes, adored them. Which is why it kills me to say this, but despite everything this story has going for it, it took a turn for the mundane. It almost felt like a cop out. Things were headed in an action-packed and truly unforgettable direction, the characters omg. And then it became a romance. Now, I like when there are relationships, everyone deserves and should celebrate love, but it became like every other page was angst and tension and exploration. There’s a whole section where characters are just hooking up left and right. I understand, there’s war, people and chimera are dying, emotions are off the charts and there’s an overwhelming compulsion to express all the things. But the plot faded away. It got buried and tangled in this how fast can we tear off each other’s clothes that went so quickly from attraction to like to lust. It got to the point where I wanted to skim and that’s not okay because I was living this story. I was in it. 100% and then it felt rushed and confused and like the sole purpose of the book was to bring these hormonal teens together. I don’t know, I guess I’m just disappointed.

The ending. Cliffhanger from deep space. After everything the characters have went through, the revelations, all they’ve lost, this is another plot twist that definitely left me wanting more.

I’m also puzzled by this cover.

Let me know what you think!

As always, happy reading and happy new year!!! May it be full of great reads.

Jordan

ARC Review: What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy

what goes upGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

syn

Action-packed and wildly funny, this near-future sci-fi features three teens on an inter-dimensional mission to save the world.


Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Multi-World Agency. After rounds of crazy-competitive testing they are appointed to Team 3, along with an alternate, just in case Eddie screws up (as everyone expects he will). What they don’t expect is that aliens will arrive from another dimension, and look just like us. And no one could even imagine that Team 3 would be the only hope of saving our world from their Earth-destroying plans. The teens steal the spacecraft (it would be great if they knew how to fly it) and head to Earth2, where the aliens’ world and people are just like ours. With a few notable exceptions.

There, the teens will find more than their alternate selves: they’ll face existential questions and high-stakes adventure, with comedy that’s out of this world.

review4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Bloomsbury Children’s 

+++Triggers: assault 

WHAT’S TO LOVE:

  • STEM GIRLS. Girls who are smart, own their intelligence like a badge of honor, and are proud of who they are. Rosie is a genius and she knows it. She has worked hard to gain her chance at NASA and despite the claims that it’s because of her famous science-y parents, that’s far from the case. Rosie is a clever problem solver who has the quick wit and innovative mind to solve even the craziest of problems. On top of that, she’s one of the bravest, most selfless characters I’ve seen in a long, long time. 
  • The adventure. From the elaborate mental and endurance tests to the actual high-speed chase and stealing alien aircrafts, it’s like those fun puzzle games that you can’t get enough of. It’s interesting, engaging, and definitely keeps you guessing. I loved all of the cool and creative trials the teens had to go through to make it to the final levels for NASA. 
  • Diversity. Yes. Yes. Yes. A lot of diversity. Financial, LGBT, ethnicity. It’s all there and it’s awesome. I loved these characters so much. Initially, it seems like there will be more people involved but it truly comes down to only a handful and they’re all memorable, unique, and bring something great to the storyline. One of my favorite, favorite characters is Eddie’s grandma. The woman is an icon. Fierce, independent, innovative, and speaks her mind. She shot a rocket launcher off her roof, I mean, come on. Everyone has a story. 
  • Romance is subtle. You kind of expect it, but it takes a while and it’s nowhere near a main arc, there are so many things that are much more important and the focus. Plot-driven. 
  • It reads fast. It’s funny and so enjoyable. 

QUESTIONABLE/SO-SO THINGS: 

  • Quick resolution at the end. With Eddie and with the near apocalyptic, almost destruction of Earth 1 thing. While there are epic and action-packed scenes leading up to the ending, it fell flat. It was so fast. Yes, there are terrible and possibly deadly decisions and all sorts of scary things, but still, oh, this super death to all mankind crisis is never going to be seen again without absolute destruction of source? I don’t think so. And while I’m glad there was a happy ending, especially for Eddie, it was too clean.
  • There is an assault scene. I mean, it serves a purpose. There’s clear motive. It adds “excitement” to the first half of the book, but I’m not sure it was the ONLY option and it’s kinda traumatic. I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to disqualify people. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Keep reading, 

Jordan

Excerpt & Giveaway: The Quest to the Uncharted Lands by Jaleigh Johnson

THE QUEST TO THE UNCHARTED LANDSThe Quest to the Unchartered LandsAmazon/B&N/iBooks/TBD/Goodreads

syn

From the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly comes another magical and thrilling story that takes readers on an exciting new adventure.

Stella Glass dreams of exploring worlds beyond her home of Solace, but when her famous parents are sent on a historic mission to the Uncharted Lands, it’s simply too dangerous for her to join them. By order of the king, she is left behind.

Missing out on the excitement is one thing, but Stella is devastated at the thought of her parents flying into the unknown. So she takes matters into her own hands. Instead of staying with family as planned, she steals away and–right before takeoff–sneaks aboard the airship.

But Stella isn’t the only stowaway. In the cargo bay is a boy who is also desperate to get to the Uncharted Lands. And someone else who’s determined to keep the ship from making it there at all. . . .

Excerpt

This was it. All her weeks of planning, lying awake at night for hours, worrying over the details she might have missed, wondering if, when the moment came, she would actually have the skill and courage to pull this off, or if she would be caught and forced to stay behind.

No, she wouldn’t let that happen. Her parents were setting off on a journey into unknown territory. She had to go with them.

Because how would she bear it if they never came back?

The matches shook in Stella’s hands. She closed her eyes and forced down the sudden panic that swept over her. It’s all right, she told herself. Pretend this is nothing more than an experiment in the lab. Follow the steps—one by one. Everything was in place. She just had to strike the match and begin.

Opening her eyes, Stella felt a veil of calm settle over her. She lifted her hands and struck the match, and with a crackle, a bright flame sprang to life in front of her eyes. Before she could change her mind, she touched it to the fuse.

A bead of orange engulfed the string and started to burn. Stella jumped to her feet, running to the next one, and the next. When all four fuses were lit and burning toward the smoke bombs, she stuffed the matches into her alchemy case and moved quickly out of the grove

and across the palace lawn, careful to hurry but not run.

In her head, she began to count. From the experiments she’d conducted, she judged that she had about forty seconds before the smoke grew thick enough to attract someone’s attention. Forty seconds   to weave through the crowd and get to the ship.

Now thirty. Twenty.

With ten seconds left in her count, a scream tore through the humid afternoon air.

“Fire! Someone, help! Fire!”

Stella sped up her pace. One by one, faces in the crowd began turning from the ship toward the grove. To keep up appearances, and because she wanted to see how visible the smoke screen was, Stella turned with them. A jolt of satisfaction went through her when she saw the thick gray clouds twisting toward the sky, obscuring the speared tips of the cypress trees.

More panicked shouts rang out, the crowd ahead of her thinning as people either ran toward the smoke or tried to back away to a safe distance. Palace guards shoved people aside as they ran toward the imaginary fire.

Stella turned back to the ship. The way was suddenly clear in front of her. The laborers who’d been loading cargo had gone to help put out the fire. There wasn’t a guard in sight to block her way or a chamelin watching from the sky. Her stomach pitched, but Stella forced her

feet to keep moving, counting her steps in her head.

One.

She reached the rope line barring everyone from the ship.

Two.

She ducked under, rising to her feet on the other side. Three.

The cargo bay of the ship loomed before her, dozens of crates still arranged in neat piles on the lawn. Casting one last furtive glance around her, Stella ran up the gangplank and into the dark belly of the ship.

The Iron Glory, flagship of the Dragonfly territories

and symbol of its fragile peace with the Merrow Kingdom, was going to be the first vessel in Solace history to make it across the Hiterian Mountains to the uncharted lands.

And Stella Glass wasn’t letting her parents go without her. She would be the first stowaway to see what was waiting on the other side of that range.

OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR 

The Mark of The DragonflyAmazon/B&N/iBooks/TBD/Audible/Goodreads

[STAR] “This magnetic middle-grade debut . . . [is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred
 
[STAR] “Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum.”

Kirkus Reviews, Starred
 
[STAR] “A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic. . . . Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot.”

School Library Journal, Starred
 
A complex and impeccably developed plot—there is plenty to recommend in this novel.”

The Bulletin
 
Appealing characters and lots of action make it a good choice for young adventure readers.”

Booklist 

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect–everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

SECRECTS OFAmazon/B&N/iBooks/TBD/Audible/Goodreads

An engaging world rich in detail, mayhem, and adventure…All aboard for fantasy lovers with a dual penchant for girl power and keeping up with the Indiana Joneses.”

Kirkus Reviews

From Jaleigh Johnson, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly, comes another thrilling adventure in the magical world of Solace.
   

Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns.
   

Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, and the people Lina once counted on no longer have time for her, so she spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home. The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths, forgotten rooms, and collapsed chambers, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists.
   

And in one of the forgotten chambers, Lina discovers a secret.
   

Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret.

Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret that’s so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever. 

authorJaleighWebsite | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

Jaleigh Johnson is a fantasy novelist living and writing in the wilds of the Midwest.  Her middle grade debut novel The Mark of the Dragonfly is a New York Times bestseller, was chosen for the ABA 2014 Spring Indie Next list, and was named one of Amazon’s Top 20 Children’s Books of 2014.  Her other books in the Solace series from Delacorte Press include The Secrets of Solace and The Quest to the Uncharted Lands.  She has also written several novels and short stories for the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms fiction line published by Wizards of the Coast.  Johnson is an avid gamer and lifelong geek, and in her spare time she also enjoys traveling, reading, baking, and going to movies with her husband.  Visit her online at www.jaleighjohnson.com.  Photo credit: Mark Jones.

giveaway

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE QUEST TO THE UNCHARTED LANDS, US Only.

   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Week Two:

6/26/2017- YA Book Madness- Excerpt

6/27/2017- Book-Keeping- Review

6/28/2017- Bibliobakes- Review

Week Three:

7/3/2017- The Desert Bibliophile- Review

7/4/2017- Savings in Seconds- Review

7/5/2017- Jrsbookreviews- Review

7/6/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

7/7/2017- Seraphina Reads- Excerpt

 

Happy reading,

Jordan

ARC Review & Giveaway: Breaking by Danielle Rollins

BREAKINGbreakingGoodreads/Amazon/B&N/TBD/iBooks

syn

Companion novel to Burning.

Prep school gets a twist of supernatural suspense in this commercial YA thriller.

Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Underhill Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school—or her demanding mother—her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Underhill Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Underhill are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…

Suspenseful and scintillating, with hints of the supernatural, this fast-paced thriller will keep readers hooked.

review

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Bloomsbury USA Children’s

***Triggers violence and suicide. Animal cruelty.

HERE’S WHAT I LOVED:

  • The dark and gritty, almost fairy tale-like quality of Ariel, Devon, and Charlotte. It almost read like magical realism with a sci-fi twist. I adored the dreamy, twisted idea of them being archetypes of fairy tale princesses whose mothers either abandoned or neglected them and all they had was a sisterhood. Yes, that. Yes. 
  • The characters are imperfect. In fact, they aren’t even really likable for the most part. The more Charlotte reminisces about Devon and Ariel, the more cruel and sadistic they seem. Some scenes are truly horrific and disturbing. Like if you love animals…one scene will give you some serious anxiety. I held my breath through that one. The anticipation and fear are too real. Charlotte is one of those characters that you sort of sympathize with, though she does have quite a bit of self-pity. She thinks she’s less attractive, less intelligent, etc., than everyone at her school. There is a total of one scene that shows where that insecurity comes from-the pretty much abusive mind games her mother forced her to play as a child. I wasn’t entirely sold on her character. She was okay. As the story progressed, she did get better. She became rebellious, angry, and a little vicious. Not everything was so black and white. 
  • Mystery definitely propels the plot forward. What at first seems like a string of suicides becomes suspect. What made two girls who were relatively happy and popular kill themselves? There are all sorts of clues and weird incidents that make you question everything. 
  • The ending. Violent, vengeance-fueled, incendiary 😉 it’s sort of evil, but also justified. It was deeply satisfied with the ending. 

HERE’S WHAT I DISLIKED: 

  • The romance. There is so much build up that makes you think it’s something it’s totally not. Something more. Maybe Charlotte is blinded. Whatever. But the reader can see. There’s chemistry sure. And lust, definitely. But anything else, I wasn’t getting any strong emotions, even before the numbness started to set in. 
  • I read Burning. There were several references to things that happened in this book that it kept throwing me off and I flipping through my memory trying to remember anything that might be relevant to the story. There is SO little about what happened in Burning and as a companion where the events that happened in the first book directly influence major plot points, I felt like there should have been more than a few measly clues. 
  • The pacing was a little slow for me. It did pick up but way, way towards the end. Then it’s just crazy action and violence and all sorts of chaos. 

authorDanielle (1)

Amazon/B&N/TBD/iBooks/Goodreads

Author of the best-selling MERCILESS series, SURVIVE THE NIGHT, BURNING, and BREAKING. I’m currently working on the last installment of the Merciless books, & starting a new series to be announced later this year.

giveaway

Enter for your chance to win a finished copy of Breaking. US ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read more, 

Jordan

Review & Giveaway: The Game of Lives by James Dashner

THE GAME OF LIVES bangame of lives coverAmazon/Barnes & Noble/Goodreads/iBooks

Praise for the Mortality Doctrine Series 

 “Dashner takes full advantage of the Matrix-esque potential for asking ‘what is real.”

–io9.com

“Set in a world taken over by virtual reality gaming, the series perfectly capture[s] Dashner’s hallmarks for inventiveness, teen dialogue and an ability to add twists and turns like no other author.”

–MTV.com

“A brilliant, visceral, gamified mash-up of The Matrix and Inception, guaranteed to thrill even the non-gaming crowd.”

Christian Science Monitor

syn

From James Dashner, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes the final book in the Mortality Doctrine series, an edge-of-your-seat cyber-adventure trilogy that includes The Eye of Minds and The Rule of Thoughts

Includes a sneak peek of The Fever Code, the highly anticipated conclusion to the Maze Runner series–the novel that finally reveals how the Maze was built! 

Michael used to live to game, but now, the games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and cyber terrorist Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine–Kaine’s master plan–has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box–if Michael can figure out who his friends really are.

The author who brought you the #1 New York Times bestselling MAZE RUNNER series and two #1 movies–The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials–now brings you an electrifying adventure trilogy that takes you into a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyber terrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.review

THINGS I LOVED:

  • The concept. It’s complex and energetic. The lines between virtual reality and real life have blurred so well that even those who think they’re human are fooled. Code is so advanced that consciousness is connected to chunks of data that form virtual people sans bodies and “real” people seriously cannot tell the difference. It’s epic and terrifying at the same time.
  • BODY SNATCHING. Usually this is a thing for aliens but holy horror, tech that can invade your brain and force you out into this beast of collective consciousness called The Hive where all these poor souls without bodies are forced to hang out. WHAT??!! Let’s hope this doesn’t become our reality. So scary. 
  • It makes you think. James Dashner is particularly skilled at crafting compelling concepts that make the reader question mankind, the role of technology, and how humanity adapts to these intense and dire changes. As evidenced in Maze Runner, but even more so in this world of advanced tech.
  • Kaine is an evil genius. Totally vicious. If you love a good villain, he’s your guy. Cyber terrorism. Relatable and relevant. 

THINGS THAT IRKED ME:

  • The pacing. For an action-centered, high intensity idea with loads of danger and psychotic people hungry to destroy/take over the world, it was so slow at points that I felt the urge to skim and skim and skim again. Some of the description was a little much, which is weird for me because I’m a huge Tolkien fan and description for DAYS but I guess it wasn’t so much the existence but it how it was done in the book.
  • The dialogue. Some of the phrasing was dated or weird, I found myself raising an eyebrow at some of what these teenagers said. The dialogue also dragged on. The sentences were clunky and hanging and the whole vibe of the pretty much every bit of dialogue felt forced. The banter and ease was missing. 

authorjames-dashner-photo-credit-mary-wood

James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order. His newest series is The Mortality Doctrine: The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

giveaway

5 winners will receive paperback sets of the whole series (EYE OF MINDS/RULE OF THOUGHTS/GAME OF LIVES), US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading, 

Jordan