Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

28321033One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards

Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Are they labels or a warning? The answer could cost Sera everything.

Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.

Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them.

Suddenly it's clear; they're being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion…




Pages: 308
Format: Audiobook
Published By: Sourcebooks Fire/Tantor Audio
Narrator: Vanessa Johansson
Genre: YA - Mystery

Rating:
✮✮✮

Review:
One Was Lost is a novel about four teenagers who are on a senior camping trip in the Appalachian Mountains, when something deadly starts to happen, and they have to figure out why they were chosen, who is doing it, and will they be able to survive it. This was an amazing audiobook to listen to at night, and came closest to scaring me (which I think was due to the fact that I listened to it at night).

Sera, Lucas, Jude, and Emily are the four featured characters, although there are initially three other characters who get separated from them, and their teacher who is unconscious for almost the entire book. I wasn't really a fan of how that was handled and I didn't completely see the point, although there is a reason in the book - I just found it unnecessary. There is also a romantic aspect to the story between Sera and Lucas, and I am torn about how I feel regarding this. I like romances in YA suspense/mystery books and feel like it could have worked, but it didn't. I just didn't feel the chemistry between the characters.

One of the big things I hated in this book, without giving away anything, is how small the forest felt. No matter how many days or how far the characters walked, it felt like they were in the same place because of some things that were happened that I just felt would be very unlikely, almost nearly impossible.

I was satisfied with the ending, and I did figure out who was doing the "hunting" early on and which slightly ruined the ending for me. I still really enjoyed reading this book, and I do look forward to reading more books by Natalie D. Richards.

Blast + Excerpt and Giveaway: Girl with More than One Heart by Laura Geringer Bass


Girl with More than One Heart by Laura Geringer Bass

There are times we all feel we need more than one heart to get through. When Briana’s father dies, she imagines she has a new heart growing inside her. It speaks to her in her Dad’s voice. Some of its commands are mysterious.

Find Her! it says. Be Your Own!

How can Briana “be her own” when her grieving mother needs her to take care of her demanding little brother all the time? When all her grandpa can do is tell stories instead of being the “rock" she needs? When her not-so-normal home life leaves no time to pursue her dream of writing for the school literary magazine? When the first blush of a new romance threatens to be nipped in the bud? Forced by the loss of her favorite parent to see all that was once familiar with new eyes, Briana draws on her own imagination, originality, and tender loving heart to discover a surprising path through the storm.








Praise for THE GIRL WITH MORE THAN ONE HEART


"Bass tackles some heavy issues—having a sibling with a disability, losing a parent suddenly and at a young age, and coping with a parent's depression—but she manages to do it with grace and empathy." ―Kirkus Reviews



"In this tenderhearted tale, Bass (Sign of the Qin) conveys the complex, conflicting emotions that arise in a family facing the unexpected death of a parent . . . It’s an emotionally nuanced exploration of grief and resilience." ―Publishers Weekly



"Bass excels in portraying the family members, their relationships, and how they shift when one person is no longer there . . . A heartfelt story of loss, grief, and healing." ―Booklist



"Bass balances the coming-of-age narrative with a grief journey that sensitively and realistically shows how friendships and family relationships change after a tragedy." ―School Library Journal



"Readers struggling with responsibility for younger siblings might especially relate to this." ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books



"Throughout The Girl with More Than One Heart, Briana reflects on happier days with her late father . . . and those memories propel her to find her own way, to “be her own” (as her second heart tells her) and embrace her new life." ―BookPage

EXCERPT:
The day my father’s heart stopped, I discovered an extra heart deep in my belly, below my right rib. It talked to me. I wasn’t crazy. Before that day, I had just one heart that never said a word.
My little brother, Aaron, was kind of crazy, I guess, but everything in our house was what my grandpa Ben liked to call “under control.” At least I always knew what to expect.
Aaron and I had two parents, but really we each had one. Mom was in charge of Aaron. As soon as he was born, she quit her job so she could take care of him. She was his. Grandpa Ben was Aaron’s, too. Dad was mine.
I missed Mom—the mother I remembered from Before Aaron. She used to pick me up every day after school. If my nose was running, she had tissues. She took them from her purse, and they smelled sweet like flowers.
I tried not to pay much attention to Aaron and Mom. I really didn’t need Mom to pick me up from school. I was old enough to walk home with my friends. I played with Peter, my best friend, and Tina, my next-to-best friend, and Reena, who tagged along. They came over to my house almost every day, or I went to theirs. Actually, it wasn’t ever Reena who tagged along. It was me, but I didn’t know it back then.
On weekends, it was harder not to notice Mom and Aaron in their own little bubble, but Dad was more fun than Mom and we had adventures, just the two of us. We’d sneak out of the house without letting Mom and Aaron know where we were going. Mostly, we just went to the movies at the Loews around the corner. Or we rode our bikes in Inwood Park. Or we went swimming at the Y. Or we took the subway to museums like the New York Hall of Science in Queens, the one with the giant yellow slide and the see-through floor and the water wheel in the play-ground. Dad walked on a weird treadmill there once with special sensors in the handlebars. It spat out a crinkly blue slip of paper like the fortune in a cookie. Dad read the paper and looked annoyed. He crumpled it into his fist and shook it at the machine. “What else is new?” he said.
I hopped off my treadmill. It was a twin to Dad’s, but it spat out a red paper. Don’t quit now, it said. Go for pro.
I showed Dad my printout. “What does yours say?” I asked. “I’ll trade you. I like blue better.” He handed his to me in an angry little ball. I rubbed it with my finger to flatten it out. It said: Your heart is working too hard.
“You may as well tell me I’m alive,” said Dad to his machine.
“Mine didn’t say that,” I said. “I’m alive.”
“You may as well tell me I have a family,” he said.
“I do, too,” I pointed out.
“And that I love my family no matter what,” he added, not looking at me. He was still talking to the treadmill. “If you’re human, your heart is working too hard,” he said.
I wondered if my treadmill could tell I didn’t love Mom and Aaron no matter what. I wondered if it knew that when it came to Mom and Aaron, I wasn’t sure I had a heart at all. When Dad was tired, the pale scar on his forehead from when he was a little kid and rode his bike through a glass door bulged a bit, as if a worm had gotten under his skin. It did that now. I wondered if Mom and Dad had been up all night again, talking about Aaron, worrying about him.
“I’m human,” I reminded Dad.
He looked at me then and smiled. “As human as they come,” he said.
“I love you, Dad,” I burst out. I hugged him. I reached up and touched his scar and then his beard gently, the way I’d seen Mom do it. “I’m not so sure about Mom and Aaron. I guess I love them—but not as much.”
He didn’t correct me. He didn’t say, “Of course you love Mom and Aaron.” He gathered me in his arms and squeezed me tight. He said, “I love you, too, Beautiful.”

Copyright © 2018 by Laura Geringer Bass


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As publisher of the award winning imprint, Laura Geringer Books, editor, story advisor, teacher and writer, Laura Geringer Bass has collaborated with many celebrated authors and artists in the field of children’s books. She has worked with numerous publishing houses and entertainment studios including HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin, Hyperion/Disney, Dreamworks, Fox, and CBS. She develops picture books, illustrated novels and YAs in partnership with Shannon Associates LLC a global talent agency representing over 200 writers and artists worldwide. She teaches writing workshops privately and at the JCC and is a faculty member of New York Writer’s Workshop (NYWW), an instructor for Prison Writes serving teens at risk through New York City's Administration for Children’s Services' Close to Home program (ACS), and a mentor for Girls Write Now. Laura is the author of twenty books for children including the bestselling A THREE HAT DAY, an ALA Notable Book illustrated by Arnold Lobel, a Top Ten featured selection on LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow. Her YA fantasy, SIGN OF THE QIN, an ALA Best Book was shortlisted for the Printz award. MYTH MEN, her popular series of graphic novels was adapted by CBS as an animated TV show. Her love of story informs her service on the board of First Book, a non-profit organization that has delivered over 150 million books into the hands of children in need. Her new novel for middle graders, THE GIRL WITH MORE THAN ONE HEART, is due out from Abrams on April 17, 2018. 

PHOTO CONTENT FROM LAURA GERINGER BASS



TWITTER:  @LauraGeringer




GIVEAWAY:
--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE GIRL WITH MORE THAN ONE HEART by Laura Geringer Bass.


ENDS: JULY 12, 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Review: Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

20759623Fire with Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Secrets prove deadly in book two of the Burn for Burn trilogy from New York Times bestselling author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (soon to be a major motion picture!), Jenny Han, and New York Times bestselling author of The List, Siobhan Vivian.

Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there was ever a pact.

But there is something seriously wrong with sweet, little Mary. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure someone will get hurt. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn…

Pages: 517
Format: Audiobook
Published By: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon Schuster Audio
Narrators: Joy Osmanski, Madeleine Maby, and Rebekkah Ross
Genre: YA - Contemporary, Romance
Series: Burn for Burn

Rating:
✮✮✮

Review:
Fire with Fire picks up right after Burn for Burn ends, with the three girls still plotting revenge on the people who have wronged them. One thing that I had been hoping would happen in this book was that it would get better - not that the series is bad, but there are a few things that I'm really unsure how I feel about (which I won't touch on in this review because I don't want to spoil anything even remotely). It is a quick read, although it is around 500 pages, and I think it has to do with the way the author wrote - it's easy to follow along and the plot is engrossing. I will say, the plot is slow building up and sometimes not really exciting, but it is well worth the ending.

In the first book, I was indifferent about how I felt about Lilia, but I definitely felt like I liked her more in Fire with Fire. I felt like she went through some character growth from where she was in the first book, and I look forward to seeing how her character grows in the final book. Kat is still a character that I go between liking and not liking because of her personality and character, but I love that she's a character with flaws and she's still Kat in this book. Mary, although I didn't feel like her character changed, I slowly started to not like her as much and I can't really explain why. I also like some of the side characters like Reeve and Alex.

So I look forward to reading the final book in the series, and because this one didn't really improve from the last one, I'm not expecting that the final book will. I just hope that it leaves me satisfied after the ending, and because of a certain thing you find out at the end of this book, I am worried how the last book will end.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Blitz + Excerpt and Giveaway: Splash by M.E. Rhines


Splash
M.E. Rhines
(Mermaid Royalty #3)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: June 12th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Fawna is happy with the new life she has made for herself on land. She has her child and her youngest sister Pauline by her side—plus an amazing new human boyfriend named Randy. So when an old friend from Atargatis shows up, she immediately feels the weight of everything she stands to lose. But the news can’t be ignored – there’s been an attack on their kingdom; her aunt Myrtle is dead and her mother is missing. Angelique, their middle sister, is now ruling a kingdom to the north, leaving Fawna as the only royal left to help save Atargatis. Torn between responsibilities in two different worlds, the decision is made for her when the powerful sea witch who attacked the kingdom also takes Fawna’s son. Now she has no choice—to save her life on dry land, she’ll have to dive back into the ocean…
The final installment in the beloved Mermaid Royalty series, Splash is a heart-pounding fantasy romance that will have you feeling like you need to come up for air!
Grab book 1 – SINK – for FREE!

EXCERPT:
”And if you’d acted before you did, defied your mother and refused her order to kill him, do you believe you could’ve won?”
“Honestly? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. For all we know we could’ve stopped it long before Gene. Aunt Margaret just kept telling us to be patient, that the catalyst would show itself. We rallied against my mother more because Pauline was in danger, not so much because of Eddie. To me, that was the ultimate incentive to proceed. Seeing her in danger was the reason we stood so strong together.”
“Maybe your aunt knew a human wasn’t a strong enough reason to fight such an epic war. I mean, you might’ve rallied behind Gene, but could you say the others in your resistance would? With everything Gilcrest has told you, you’ve got magic in you, Fawna. You stood a chance against your mother. Your aunt probably knew that.”
“You may be right, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve committed some terrible atrocities.”
“Because you were scared! You didn’t have a choice. I wasn’t even here and I can see that.” He clanged his knuckles against the cast iron frame of the cauldron. “You said you wanted to give this old heirloom a second chance, an opportunity to be used for good. Why can’t you give yourself that chance? Cut yourself a break.”
A smile cracked on my lips, and I shook my head in exasperation. “Why is it you always insist on seeing the good in me, even now when there’s none to be found?”
“There’s plenty of good in you, Fawna. If there wasn’t, you wouldn’t be so ready to risk your soul to rescue the ones you love the most.”
“There’s no talking any sense into you, is there?” I wrapped my arms around his torso, using his weight to anchor myself in place.
“Not a chance,” he grinned, planting a sweet kiss on my cheek. “I’m not going anywhere. It’s like I said before, Queen, my heart is yours and only yours. The sea is in my blood, always has been. Now I know why. I was meant for this life, down here with you and Sebastian. Don’t take it away from me because of a past you can’t outrun.”


Author Bio:
ME Rhines a southwest Florida native currently living in North Port with her two beautiful children and a third, much larger child whom she affectionately calls husband.
She writes young adult paranormal romance to feed her belief that fairy tales are real and
nonsense is necessary.
You can visit her on most major social media sites:
www.facebook.com/merhines
www.twitter.com/merhines
She also writes adult romances under her edgier alter-ego, Mary Bernsen. 


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Monday, June 11, 2018

Blast + Giveaway: Surface Tension by Mike Mullin


30324632Surface Tension by Mike Mullin

After witnessing an act of domestic terrorism while training on his bike, Jake is found near death, with a serious head injury and unable to remember the plane crash or the aftermath that landed him in the hospital.

A terrorist leader’s teenage daughter, Betsy, is sent to kill Jake and eliminate him as a possible witness. When Jake’s mother blames his head injury for his tales of attempted murder, he has to rely on his girlfriend, Laurissa, to help him escape the killers and the law enforcement agents convinced that Jake himself had a role in the crash.

Mike Mullin, author of the Ashfall series, delivers a gripping story with memorable characters and all-too-real scenarios.












Praise for SURFACE TENSION

Mullin's premise is riveting and timely . . . a strong action story that touches lightly on topics of grave complexity. ―Publishers Weekly


[A] popcorn action flick. ―Kirkus Reviews



[A] fast-paced thriller. . . there is something of Hitchcock in the narrative, with a blend between The Man Who Knew Too Much, North by Northwest, and Rear Window, and the story...is gripping and frightening. ―VOYA


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Mike Mullin’s first job was scraping the gum off the undersides of desks at his high school. From there, things went steadily downhill. He almost got fired by the owner of a bookstore due to his poor taste in earrings. He worked at a place that showed slides of poopy diapers during lunch (it did cut down on the cafeteria budget). The hazing process at the next company included eating live termites raised by the resident entomologist, so that didn’t last long either. For a while Mike juggled bottles at a wine shop, sometimes to disastrous effect. Oh, and then there was the job where swarms of wasps occasionally tried to chase him off ladders. So he’s really glad this writing thing seems to be working out.

Mike holds a black belt in Songahm Taekwondo. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and her three cats. His debut novel, Ashfall, was named one of the top five young adult novels of 2011 by National Public Radio, a Best Teen Book of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews, and a New Voices selection by the American Booksellers Association. He is represented by Kate Testerman of kt literary.

PHOTO CREDIT: LARRY ENDICOTT


TWITTER:  @Mike_Mullin




GIVEAWAY
--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

3 Winners will receive a Copy of SURFACE TENSION by Mike Mullin.


ENDS: JULY 5, 2018

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Cover Reveal: Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel


Keeper of the Bees
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: September 4th 2018
Entangled Teen

Beauty and the beast like you’ve never imagined!” —New York Times bestselling author Pintip Dunn

KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.
Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.



About the Author

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson's School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Tour + Review and Giveaway: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf


35144326Bring Me Their Hearts
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: June 5th 2018
Entangled Teen

Zera is a Heartless—the immortal, unaging soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum: if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy Zera’s heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him—every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him—until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally. 


Get yourself a copy HERE!

Review:
4 stars

I absolutely loved reading Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf. It was a book full of intrigue and magic. I loved everything about this book, and how it's so unique compared to most fantasy novels. Sara Wolf creates an amazing world and a plot that draws you in and makes you experience the story rather than just read the story.

Zera was a unique and feisty character that although she is dangerous, she is still very much likable. The chemistry between Zera and the prince, Lucien, is present throughout the novel, and you want them to have a happily ever after together even knowing there may be a possibility they won't.

I highly recommend this novel if you are a fan of fantasy because this novel was amazing. I look forward to reading more from Sara Wolf.

About the Author

Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things. When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as Lovely Vicious. She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever.





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Blog Tour Organized by:

Review: Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

19370304Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn’t like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can’t hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance, with the life she’s always known on her family’s fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it’s safer to run away than to stay home—until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled.











Pages: 240
Format: E-Book
Published By: Wendy Lamb Books
Genre: YA - Historical Fiction

Rating:
✮✮

Review:
Smell of Other People's Houses was is one of my most disappointing reads of this year. I was somewhat hesitant when picking this book up because it's not usually the type of book that I am drawn to, but the high ratings convinced me to give this book a try. Smell of Other People's Houses is about four teenagers whose lives are tied together, although their stories are all different.

Ruth is a character that I have mixed feelings regarding. She was kind of annoying and boring at the beginning, and then something happens in her life that allows her some character growth, and although I liked her better at the end of the book, it wasn't enough to make up for how much I didn't like her at the beginning. I couldn't relate to her.

Dora was another character that I didn't like - and at no point in the book did my feelings regarding her change. She was annoying, rude, and to be honest, one of the worst characters that I have ever read. Her attitude throughout the book is frustrating, and she doesn't really grow - and I tried giving her leeway considering her circumstances but it was still hard to like her even a little. It was impossible to relate to her.

Alyce was by far my favorite character out of the book. I liked her friendly personality and kind spirit. I also liked getting to know her as the story progressed. Out of all four main characters, she was the only one that I was able to relate to.

Hank was the final character, and although, I generally liked his personality and character, I wasn't able to relate to him, and that was a little disappointing. I loved the relationship that he had with his brothers, although you get to see one relationship more fully throughout the novel.

All in all, it's not a book that I would recommend, and not one that I would ever read again. I just wasn't a fan of the book. I liked that all stories tied together, but the problem was that they were four distinct plots in a book that is barely over 200 pages. To me, it felt like you don't really get to know deep down who the characters are, and I think it also makes it hard for there to be a lot of action because there is a lot of explaining happening, which makes the book slow and a tad boring to get through. This book just wasn't for me, and if you do pick it up, I hope that you enjoy it much more than I did.