Friday, November 28, 2014

Book Review- The Secrets We Keep

I started AND finished The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

I know I've said it before, but I've always been fascinated by twins (and even married one) so I knew I had to read this story.  And it didn't let me down.

I was instantly hooked reading this story and finished it in about 2 hours--all without getting off the couch.  I was so drawn in to Ella's world.  I could FEEL her pain.  And I could understand why she decided to be Maddy but I can't even imagine how hard that must have been.

There was a little twist in the story, with Maddy's secret but it wasn't the main point of the book.  It was more about the pain of losing your other half and coming to understand just who she really was.

As for the boys, I really liked them both.  I didn't want to like Alex since it seemed like Maddy's choice of friends was questionable but he fully and completely loved Maddy.  And then Josh.  How oblivious were both he and Ella not to see that there was something there from the beginning?!?!

And while the story does wrap up quite nicely, I would eagerly read a story about what happens next!

One of my favs of the year!

I gave this book a rating of 4.5/5.

The Secrets We Keep will be released on April 28, 2014.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Book Review- The Wonder

During my Thanksgiving trip, I finished The Wonder (Queen of Hearts #2) by Colleen Oakes for a Booksparks University Fall Reading Challenge!

About the book:

Volume Two of the Bestselling and Award-Winning Queen of Hearts Saga Awards for Volume One, The Crown: *YA Winner, 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards* *YA Fiction Finalist, 2014 International Book Awards*

An Exiled Princess. An Ancient Tribe. A Dangerous Stranger. Dinah, the former Princess of Wonderland Palace, has been chased into the wilds of Wonderland after the murder of her brother and the ruin of her coronation. Now, as her half-sister Vittiore sits on the throne beside her father, the brutal King of Hearts, Dinah finds herself alone in the forbidding Twisted Wood with only Morte, a homicidal beast, for company. Hunted by the King and his army of Cards, Dinah struggles to evade those who long for her head, including Cheshire, the King's clever advisor, who is slowly tightening his grasp around her.

The former Princess finds herself at the center of a web of conspiracy reaching far beyond the Palace and deep into the mysterious Yurkei mountain tribes. But Dinah knows something that her allies and enemies do not: that the most dangerous conflict of all has already begun as she battles the rage inside of her, and love slips further from her grasp. But be warned...not every fairy tale has a happy ending. This is the story of a princess who became a villain.

Once again, I loved reading this take on Alice in Wonderland and seeing how the characters in this story relate to the original (both novel and Disney movie).  We see a lot of the same characters, but we also get a quick glimpse into who the caterpillar was.

There were some twists in this book.  One I didn't see coming at all.  The one towards the end, I did.

I liked Dinah more in this sequel than I did in the original book.  I thought that she was stronger and not so naive. 

 The end of the book definitely had me turning the pages.  I didn't realize I was at the end of the story until I turned the page and I wanted more!  I'm looking forward to reading the final book of the trilogy!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the BookSparks University Fall Reading Challenge.

Praise for the book:

Named one of the Most Cinematic Indie Books ----Kirkus Reviews
"Queen of Hearts will keep you dreaming of Wonderland long after you read the last page. I want more of these characters, more of this fantastical world!" --Lorie Langdon, author of the Doon series

Buy the book:

About the author:

Colleen Oakes is the author of the Elly in Bloom Series and the YA fantasy The Queen of Hearts Saga, both published via Sparkpress. She lives in North Denver with her husband and son. When not writing, Colleen enjoys swimming, traveling, and immersing herself in nerdy pop culture. She is currently at work on the third Elly novel and another YA fantasy series titled Wendy Darling.

Connect with the author:
·         Facebook
·         Twitter
·         Website
·         Goodreads

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Sunday Salon- November 23, 2014

The Sunday Salon

Yay!  So glad it's Thanksgiving break!  I need a week off. Although it won't really be a week off.  We are driving up to Virginia (12 hours) on Tuesday and back on Friday so not really time off.  I also have two races this week!  Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and eats lots on Thursday!

I finished and reviewed the following books in the last 2 weeks:
 The Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

I am currently reading The Wonder (Queen of Hearts #2) by Colleen Oakes and up next is The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Review- The Return

I finished reading The Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout for an Around the World ARC Tour tonight.

From Goodreads:

The Fates are cackling their bony asses off…

It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody–which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.

Book 1 in the new adult paranormal TITAN series, spin-off to the best selling COVENANT series.

So I have to admit that I was pretty confused at the beginning.  I knew it was a spin-off of an adult series but I never read that series.  And it seemed to refer to the past a lot.  Yes, it did get explained throughout the book but I always felt behind. (Apparently everyone was wanting a book from Seth's point of view)

That being said, I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed Josie and how real she was.  She was kick ass and feisty yet still girly and innocent.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about Seth.  Part of me likes the whole bad-boy-with-a-softer-side thing he's got going on.  But the other part of me finds him a little creepy.  His relationship with Josie is definitely hot though!

I didn't like this book as much as I liked the Dark Element books I've read but I'm definitely interested to see what is going to happen next.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

The Return will be released on February 16, 2015.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Sunday Salon- November 16, 2014

The Sunday Salon

Yup, forgot to do this again last week.  Sigh, I'm really thinking of just shutting the blog down.  I'm not enjoying it anymore and it's taking away from my enjoyment of reading.  I forget to do these things and then I get annoyed with myself.  Or I dread writing the reviews.  Anyone else ever feel like that?

I finished and reviewed the following books in the last 2 weeks:
The Crown (Queen of Hearts #1) by Colleen Oakes

Invaded (Alienated #2) by Melissa Landers 

I am currently reading The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout and if I don't get a tour book then up next is The Wonder by Colleen Oakes.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book Review- Invaded

I finished Invaded (Alienated #2) by Melissa Landers the other night for an Around the World ARC Tour.

From Goodreads:

The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe...until a threat to both their worlds reunites them.

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

I enjoyed this second installment of the Alienated series.  I think my favorite part was reading about what life was like for Cara on L'eihr (I want to run the obstacle courses!)  The idea of this whole other planet intrigued me.

There were some big twists and turns, although I saw one of them coming.  I do wish that there were a few more scenes with Aelyx and Cara together but I totally get why there wasn't.  

I know the whole anti-L'eihr thing turned me off in the last book, but I didn't really see that as a problem this time.  And I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in the series!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review- The Crown

I just finished reading The Crown (Queen of Hearts #1) by Colleen Oakes.

From Goodreads:

As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

If you know me, you know I am a Disney freak and love anything related to Disney.  That includes retelling.  So when I saw there was a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, I jumped at the chance to read it. (And yes, I know the book came before the movie but I'm a Disney girl).

It was so much fun to read the story and figure out how the characters in book related to the well-known characters in the movie.  My favorite was Dinah's brother Charles, AKA the Mad Hatter.

As for Dinah, ehh.  I didn't much care for her.  I think we were supposed to feel sorry for her since her mother died and her father obviously hated her but I never really grew to like her.  She came across as much younger than she was and I never found myself pulling for her.

The description of Wonderland was beautiful.  Especially the end in the Twisted Woods.  I could so clearly see the setting painted in my mind.

I think the trilogy is off to an interesting start and I'm looking forward to seeing what else will be happening!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free from Booksparks in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Sunday Salon- November 2, 2014

The Sunday Salon

I finished and reviewed the following book last week:
 No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown 

I am currently reading The Crown (Queen of Hearts Saga #1) by Colleen Oakes and up next is Invaded by Melissa Landers.