Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Review: Half Bad by Sally GreenHalf Bad by Sally Green
Series: Half Bad Trilogy #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars

Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.

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I have always been a fan of witch books. It’s one of the few paranormal sub-genres that I still get excited about. I was really excited about Half Bad by Sally Green from the moment I heard about it and it absolutely did not disappoint.

I knew going in that there was some mixed reviews about Half Bad, but I was completely enthralled after just a couple of chapters. It was a darker book than I was expecting. I’ve never been one to shy away from dark reads, so that wasn’t a problem for me.

The world building was fabulous. Half Bad takes place in our world with witches hidden among us. The witch history and politics was really fascinating. I enjoyed the magical aspects a lot and I feel like we’ll get to see even more magic in Half Wild.

Nathan has had such a troubling life. He’s an outcast amongst the small world of witches. He’s bullied and then tortured. It’s was sometimes hard to read, but it made me feel for Nathan so much. Through all the horrible things that happen to him he’s so strong. He has to do some unsavory things to help himself, but he really only wants to be good. I’m rooting for Nathan so hard. I can’t wait to see how his story unfolds.

The paranormal genre is pretty saturated but Half Bad stands out because of Sally Green’s gorgeous writing. I’m looking forward to seeing how Nathan’s story turns out.

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Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
White Cat by Holly Black

 

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh BardugoRuin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
on June 17, 2014
Series: Grisha series
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
5 Stars

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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I have been in love with the Grisha series since sometime around the end of the first chapter in Shadow and Bone. It’s such an incredible fantasy series. One that I feel like I could read over and over. Ruin and Rising was a dark conclusion, but a magnificent one.

To be completely honest with you, I did feel like the first half of the book was a little slow. That could’ve just been me. Since I was a little fuzzy on the way the Siege and Storm ended, I had some catching up to do. Once the story took off for me, it really took off!

Ruin and Rising is filled with the same imaginative places as the previous two books. I love the Grishaverse so much. It’s definitely not an easy place, but Leigh Bardugo has done such an amazing job of bringing it to life.

The boys in this series just seem to keep getting better. Well, except for The Darkling. He just gets more evil. I’ve always sided against Mal for some reason, but Ruin and Rising made me forget why. That’s all I’m going to say. That and Leigh Bardugo sure knows how to writes swoony boys.

There’s been so much turmoil and heartbreak in this series. It’s hard to fathom how it could end. I would’ve never guessed what happened. It’s not often that I read a book that takes me completely by surprise but this one did. It broke my heart and then mended in the last chapter. What an amazing conclusion to a extraordinary series. I couldn’t be happier with how it ended.

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Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rea Carson
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Review: The Winner’s Crime by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski
on March 3, 2015
Series: The Winner's Trilogy
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars

Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

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I was so completely enthralled by The Winner’s Curse last year. It was such a unique world and an amazing premise. That’s why The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski has been at the top of my want to read list for a long time. I’m so happy to say that it didn’t suffer from the sequel syndrome and it did not disappoint!

I’m not sure how much I can say about The Winner’s Crime without giving something away. Everything that made us love the first book, the politics, the romance, the deception, is very much alive and well in this follow up. Kestrel is juggling so many important pieces. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire book just hoping that she didn’t drop any.

The tension and romance is still a main story line, although maybe not as prevalent as in the first book. I did get just a tiny bit frustrated at Arin and his inability to see obvious things. But that really just made the tension better.

Then there’s the ending. I woke up randomly at 3am the night I finished the book and could not stop thinking about that ending. The wait for book 3 is going to be a very hard one.

This is an utterly stunning series. I can’t recommend The Winner’s Trilogy enough to everyone. Not just fantasy lovers. It’s beautifully written and so addicting.

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The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Reading with Finn: Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba

Reading with Finn: Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica ShybaNaptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba
on February 3, 2015
Genres: Picture Books
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars

It all started when a loving mother posted a few pictures of her son, Beau, and their new puppy, Theo, napping together on her popular blog Momma’s Gone City. But these pictures were so “unbearably adorable” (The Daily Mail) and “utterly charming” (The Huffington Post) that it quickly became much, much more. By faithfully recording and sharing what Good Morning America calls “the most mesmerizing naps ever caught on camera,” Jessica Shyba and her family captured the hearts of people all over the world, and these beautiful images of friendship and trust have become an international viral sensation.

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I’ve followed the Theo and Beau Instagram account for some time now, so when I had the opportunity to get an early copy of their picture book I jumped on it. I’m sure you’re familiar with Theo and Beau, too? An adorable toddler and an adorable puppy take naps together. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.

What Mom Likes:

The book is short and every page has an picture from Theo and Beau’s naps. It’s a simple but gorgeous little picture book.

What Finn Likes:

Finn pretty much likes everything. The whole reading experience revolves around Finn pointing to Theo and Beau on every page and asking ‘This?’. He loves the picture with Theo yawning the most.

I’m so happy to have Naptime with Theo and Beau in Finn’s little library. It’s such a cute, fun read.

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Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia HandThe Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
on February 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
5 Stars

There’s death all around us.
We just don’t pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

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I had no doubt that The Last Time We Say Goodbye was going to be incredible. Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly series is one of my favorites. This new book was quite the departure from her supernatural series, since this one is straight up contemporary. It’s just as gorgeously written.

I won’t beat around the bush, this book is heartbreaking. Just when you think it can’t break your heart any more it does. Somehow I never found it depressing, though. The story is a sad tale of suicide and the blame and questions that are left afterward. I think it was a very honest look at grief and family dynamics after a death.

Lex was just a really great main character. She had done something that she felt was unforgivable. She’s shut everyone out and basically going through the motions, but she was utterly likable. My heart broke with hers so many times. I loved going on the journey to self forgiveness with her.

I’ve made it pretty clear that The Last Time We Say Goodbye is sad, right? Because it is, but please don’t shy away because of that! I honestly had no idea how the book was going to end but I can think of a more perfect ending. It was uplifting and hopeful but not in a tidy, fake way. I’m so happy how things ended for all the characters.

Cynthia Hand was already on my auto-read list but The Last Time We Say Goodbye just solidified that. It’s an incredible book. I can’t recommend it enough.

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Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
on February 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
4 Stars

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

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When I started hearing all the buzz about I’ll Meet You There from fellow contemporary lovers I knew I had to read it. Soon. So I bumped it right up to the top of my enormous get caught up reading pile. I’m so happy I did.

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrois is a gritty story from the start. It has a small town, nothing to lose feel. I grew up in a very small town so I know that feeling all too well. There’s lots of drinking and sex and really, lots of unhappiness. But I promise the story is worth it.

The characters are what pulled me in and kept me turning pages. Skyler is a smart girl. She can’t get out of town fast enough. I really liked her. I think she was easy to relate to. My one tiny problem with her was how she lost her head completely when she started having feelings for Josh. I’m not sure why she felt like her life was so one or the other. Things worked out in the end, though.

Josh was a pretty great character. He was so real. Seeing him through Skyler’s eyes and then reading his small chapters really gives you a lot of insight. Skyler and Josh still had a long road ahead of them when the book ended. I rated the book 4 stars instead of 5 because everything didn’t seem completely resolved to me.

I’ll Meet You There isn’t just a romance. It’s about finding out who you are and learning to be okay with where you came from. I’m really anxious to read more by Heather Demetrois now.

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Be sure to check out my giveaway for I’ll Meet You There
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Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine WargaMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
on February 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
3 Stars

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

pireviewMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga was one of those books that I wanted to read the instant I heard about. It just sounded like something I’d love. Maybe that combined with great early reviews made my expectations too high, because I just didn’t love the book the way I wanted to.

I really have some readers guilt with this one. I seem to be the only person that didn’t think it was absolutely incredible. I think my biggest issue is that I never really felt a big connection to Aysel and Roman. I didn’t dislike them…I just didn’t have a lot of feelings for them. Roman’s story was heartbreaking, but I feel like Aysel’s life wasn’t really as bad as she thought. I know her eyes were clouded with depression, but it was frustrating to me that she didn’t see these things right in front of her. Maybe I have trouble with books where the main characters are contemplating suicide. I have in the past, so maybe it’s an issue for me and not really the book’s fault.

Despite all that I still found My Heart and Other Black Holes to be a compelling read. I had to know how Aysel and Roman’s lives turned out (or didn’t). That kept me turning pages. It’s also a pretty fast read.

So, while it wasn’t my favorite book, it was an interesting one. I’ll certainly read future books my Jasmine Warga.

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Willow by Julia Hoban
By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers
Hate List by Jennifer Brown