Friday, May 19, 2017

Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Release date: May 2nd 2017
Purchase: Amazon
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Synopsis via Goodreads:
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

*Won a physical ARC in a Goodreads giveaway. My review remains honest and without bias.

I really liked Ashley's debut and was looking forward to reading more by the author. So imagine my excitement when I won a copy of her latest in a Goodreads giveaway that I'd randomly entered thinking I'd never win. Welp, I'm thankful to have gotten the pleasure to read How to Make a Wish because I liked it as much as her previous. 

This was certainly an interesting story. There were various things taking place and it wasn't only about Grace's roller-coaster life with her mother. I liked how she was also developing as an individual and learning to understand herself more. But let's start off with the situation with her mother. If that's even what you call her. 
The stuff she puts Grace through was just horrible. It's truly sad that she'd lost her husband when Grace was very young, and it's tough for many people to seek help and learn healthier ways to cope. But lord, this woman pissed me off so much. This "mother" constantly put her daughter in dangerous and uncomfortable situations where their roles were ridiculously reversed. Grace, a teenager, had to become an adult fast in order to look after her mother. It was so painful and frustrating to read the scenes where I wished this woman would get her crap together and think about her daughter more. 

What also frustrated me was the fact that Grace would make excuses and would even try to defend her mother whenever the best friend and his mom spoke up about it. I get that it's actually something many of us would do, no matter the hell they were putting us through, but I wish she would have come to the realization sooner that the only way her mother would get help was if Grace took herself out of the mess and gave her the ultimatum that she couldn't be in her life if she was going to continue living like that. 

That one drama aside, it was nice seeing how Grace was able to connect with someone. Even though Eva was dealing with her own problems. I liked that the two girls bonded and Grace could unravel more in regards to her emotions and aspirations. The issue with her mother threatened every relationship Grace had, including her friendships, but thankfully she addressed it all by the end. 

To conclude, I'm very satisfied with Ashley's second novel and so happy to have discovered her. How to Make a Wish has lucid writing with emotional moments and topics some may relate to. I look forward to wherever this talented storyteller takes us next. 

Ashley Herring BlakeAbout the Author
Ashley Herring Blake used to write songs and now she writes books, including Suffer Love. She reads them a lot too and has been known to stare wistfully at her bookshelves. She lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and two sons. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather

Series: How to Hang A Witch #2
Release date: October 3rd 2017
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one. 

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship. 

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

About the Author
Adriana Mather
Adriana Mather is the 12th generation of Mathers in America, and as such her family has their fingers in many of its historical pies – the Mayflower, the Salem Witch Trials, the Titanic, the Revolutionary War, and the wearing of curly white wigs. Also, Adriana co-owns a production company, Zombot Pictures, in LA that has made three feature films in three years. Her first acting scene in a film ever was with Danny Glover, and she was terrified she would mess it up. In addition, her favorite food is pizza and she has too many cats.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: Antisocial by Jillian Blake

Release date: May 16th 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Alexandria Prep is hacked in this exhilarating whodunit set in the age of social media and the cloud Pretty Little Liars meets WikiLeaks.

Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it s going to be a lonely road. She's just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend with no explanation. Anna's closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic. 
But suddenly Anna isn t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it's funny people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public. 

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives: 

Sometimes we share too much.

*Received a free physical ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Antisocial has an important message in regards to what you put out there, whether in text messages or posting on social media. And while that is a great aspect of the story, for the most part, I felt detached. There were times the situation just didn't make much of an impact on me because I've read it so many times in other books with the same school setting. However, it is realistic and depicts what's happening now in this digital age we're living in. It's just that I feel like the story could have been stronger and some things weren't cleared up in the end. 

Initially, I was curious about the characters and what was taking place at this school. I could relate to Anna in the sense that she started seeing someone and neglected her close friends. It happens. Sometimes you go back and fix those relationships and sometimes it's best to let them go, especially if they weren't strong, to begin with. But in Anna's case, she got dumped, and that ignited the desire to go and make amends with her friends. But with the way one friend in particular was, I couldn't understand why she would even bother. This one character pressured another friend into making a stupid decision and was rather hurtful more times than once. 

My attention remained locked for the first few chapters, especially since the story is fast-paced and light. But after the hacking started, some crazy things began to happen as well and it became difficult to stay focused. For instance, there were times I was reading but wasn't really into it and couldn't recall what I'd just read. But that could just be me, because like I said there are great aspects of the story, and the writing is good. It's an interesting book but could have been...more. I still recommend it if you're looking for a quick read with the usual high school drama mixed with digital abuse.

About the Author
JILLIAN BLAKE grew up in New England, where she kept her deepest, darkest secrets password-protected. Antisocial is her first novel.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

CAN'T WAIT TO READ: Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

Release date: September 5th 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Pre-order: Amazon

Synopsis via Goodreads:

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. 

When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What's more, she knows something most don't. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

Meg KasselAbout the Author
Meg Kassel is the author of The Black Bird of the Gallows. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson's School of Design and worked as a graphic designer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel.

Monday, May 1, 2017

BOOK BLITZ~Shift of Shadow and Soul by Hilary Thompson [May 22 - 26]

This is the blog tour for author Hilary Thompson's new YA Epic Fantasy novel. Check out the awesome teasers and enter to win a hardcopy of the book. 

Release date: May 22nd 2017
Series: Soul Shifter #1
Publisher: Star Shadow Books
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Synopsis via Goodreads:
There are three kinds of magic in the world, and Corentine has the wrong one.

Long ago, the Restless King forced Corentine’s people into hiding as he scoured their blood for the SoulShifter. When Corentine learns she possesses some of the forbidden Shifter magic, she must hide her power or risk the same death her twin suffered.

Raised to trust no-one, she rejects the General’s son Sy, until she realizes his family secrets might be the key to unlocking hers. When his brother turns against them, they are forced to fight family to save what’s left of their home, or accept banishment to find a new future.

If Coren and Sy can’t convince their people to accept the light of Shifter magic, the growing Shadow will ruin everyone’s chance of freedom.

Travel this richly imagined world with a diverse cast that readers have compared to fantasy favorites like Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.

Sulit Witch
Weshen Shifter
Umbren Shadow

When dark meets light, will all become Shadow?

The boy leaned closer. Coren risked another glance at his face, expecting to find the widened pupils, the swollen lips of desire and anticipation.
But it was worse than that.
He stared at her intently, gray-blue eyes narrowed and full lips slightly upturned in conquest.
Claim them with a kiss. The hunt’s opening speech echoed in her mind.
He pulled her closer, and she stopped moving entirely, going limp. Playing dead. He thought this was a game, like all the others did.
Then she allowed her lips turn up in a grim smile. It certainly was a game. The boy just didn’t realize that her rules were different, and he was about to lose.
Her tongue reached into the cavity of her cheek and retrieved the plump goshen berry hidden there. As his lips neared, Coren broke the berry against her teeth, bracing for the instant burn. Then, tongue searing, she shoved the pulp past his opened lips, preventing the claim.
He burst away, the shock of the acidic berry sending him stumbling backward, swiping drool from his slack jaw.
And she ran, darting around him and ignoring the pain and the blisters that were already bubbling and popping on her tongue and lips. Reaching the cliff, she hazarded a glance over her shoulder. He was tougher than expected, for he was crossing the plain too, moving quickly through the sandy grass.
“Stop!” he yelled hoarsely. Strangely, he was grinning widely, lips blackened with goshen juice and bright blood. Coren had no more ground left, but out of curiosity, she paused to watch as he approached. He walked softly now, as though she were a beast he was cornering. Perhaps he was a real hunter, after all.
Even so, the berries had stopped him, making the kiss forfeit. She could claim he hadn’t actually caught her.
“So…goshen berries?” he asked, wiping away more blood with the hem of his white shirt. “I must be the first hunter ever to receive that treatment.”
Coren’s brain nagged at her to escape, but something in his grin made her ask. “Why the first?”
“Because surely no one has ever caught you before. And I can’t imagine another girl willing to martyr her own lips just to avoid a small kiss.”
He was very close now: not quite near enough to grab her, but mere steps from it. She stepped back carefully, heels nearly hanging off the edge of the cliff.
“Nothing is small when it is against your will.” She watched his eyes widen as he processed the words, and then she bent her knees and pushed away from the earth, arcing back and out into the void, then straight as an arrow toward the water below. His shout was erased by the wind rushing past her ears, and then the water closed over her head with a crash.
Under the surface of the sun-warmed water, Coren somersaulted quickly and reversed directions. She surfaced only to locate the face of the cliff and gulp a breath, and she didn’t dare look up to see if he had spotted her. Ducking back under the waves, she stroked hard against the current, finally feeling rock. Her lungs throbbed as her head bobbed up again, but she was safely inside the hidden sanctuary.

About the Author
Hilary ThompsonHilary used to be such a practical girl. Then she let the stories out.
Now she creates worlds, people, and problems that are grounded in real life, if you accept that real life has magic around every turn.
Hilary was born to parents who made a habit of taking roads less traveled. But she was also a first child, and an independent, willful child, so she's made a habit of taking a few roads on her own.
Now she teaches Creative Writing, English, and AP Literature, writes whenever and wherever she can, and reads as much as her eyes can handle. She plays superheroes and dress up games and reads books in bed with her own independent, willful children, and plays at homesteading and world traveling with her wonderful soulmate of a husband. She tends to ignore laundry and dirty dishes.

May 22nd ~
CBY Book Club
Mythical Books
Reading for the Stars and Moon
Book Lovers Life

May 23rd ~
YA Book Divas
My Book Addiction
The Mistress Novelette

May 24th ~
Jump Into Books
Sassy Book Lovers

May 25th ~
My Nook, Books & More
Rabbit Ears Book Blog

May 26th ~
Into the Abyss *Review
books are love


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