Sunday, April 23, 2017

R&R Review and Giveaway Sunday: Fractured Memories by Jo Schneider

Amazon (free for Kindle today!) Goodreads  Barnes and Noble (free for Nook today!)

Jagged Scars #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"Sixteen year old Wendy never knew the world before the Starvation. She’s learned to put her trust in her knives, and her confidence in her fighting ability. When the Skinnies attack her compound, she's the lone survivor.

Injured and near death, Wendy is rescued and nursed back to health by mysterious strangers. Her saviors offer her a place among them, but trust has never been one of Wendy's strengths, and suspicion soon leads to evidence that these people might be the group who killed her family.

The decision to get her revenge, and take the settlement down from the inside out is easy. Keeping her distance from those she must befriend in order to make it happen proves to be much more difficult."


Review:
Thank you to the author, Jo Schneider, and Olivia (who organizes the Review Chain) for gifting me with a copy of Fractured Memories in exchange for an honest review!

I really liked this book, contrary to what you might think as you see my star rating.  It has lots of fighting and mystery and a dystopian feel which I love.  There was just one big sticking point for me.

1.  The plot.  The plot is set up very nicely and alternates between intense fight scenes and funny exchanges between characters.  I read this all in one sitting!  There was also plenty of mystery embedded into the plot and it kept me interested to see what would happen.  Wendy starts out in her home compound, struggling to survive.  Skinnies attack and she survives because of her trainer, Pelton.  She's discovered and taken to another compound and is accepted into the new community.  The destruction of her home weighs on her, however, and she just can't seem to put it behind her.  As you can see it, has the classic mentally injured but physically strong MC which completely worked with the plot.

2.  The characters.  As I mentioned above, the MC is that typical strong hero with a dark past.  I loved being inside of Wendy's mind and seeing how she reacted to different events.  She experiences new things in the new compound and her reactions are wonderful.  I also loved her interactions with the other characters as she struggles to warm up to all these new people who may or may not have caused the destruction of her old home.  The one thing I wish there was more of in this entire book is enemy contemplation and development.  While Wendy is in the compound, I feel like there isn't much focus placed on her trying to figure out what happened and if the new people are responsible or not.  It just comes up near the end, sort of by chance.  I also wish there would have been more development on why the person who caused everything did it in the first place.  It felt kind of like a cop-out and wasn't really convincing.  It kept me from understanding the other side and their motivations which is essential.

3.  The settings.  I loved the concept of this book.  The Skinnies are the 'enemies' of this world and they're regular people who ate contaminated food which makes them crave meat and nothing else.  The imagery of the world is described brilliantly and I loved the macro-world in general.  I do wish there was more conversation on what happened to cause the Starvation (the whole catalyst event) and, just in general, a little more backstory.  The micro-worlds, on the other hand, were set on very well which, when there's a lot of fighting scenes, can be difficult to maintain.  The author kept every room stable as the characters moved within it.

4.  The writing.  I like the author's writing style quite a bit.  They make sure to keep it consistent and know when and how to speed up the pace when there's a need.  The writing flowed wonderfully from one scene to the next and there weren't many, if any, awkward bumps in the road.

The Final Verdict:
Overall, a very well executed post apocalyptic novel with positively stellar fight scenes.  There could have been much more development on the enemy side to build up the divide, however.
3.5 stars


Meet the Author

Jo Schneider grew up in Utah and Colorado, and finds mountains helpful in telling which direction she is going. One of Jo's goals is to travel to all seven continents—five down and two to go.

Another goal was to become a Jedi Knight, but when that didn't work out, Jo started studying Shaolin Kempo. She now has a black belt, to go with her shoes, and she keeps going back for more, because hitting things is fun. An intervention may be in order.

Being a geek at heart, Jo has always been drawn to science fiction and fantasy. She writes both and hopes to introduce readers to worlds that wow them and characters they can cheer for. Post Apocalyptic survivor stories are one of her favorites, as illustrated by her  five book JAGGED SCARS series.

Jo lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her adorkable husband, Jon, who is very useful for science and computer information as well as getting items off of top shelves.

Connect:


Giveaway:

Friday, April 21, 2017

50/50 Friday (29): Favorite/Least Favorite Book in the Fantasy Genre


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Favorite/Least Favorite Book in the Fantasy Genre

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Bookish Discussions: YA Protagonists and the Eternal Pool of Brave (and 3 Reasons Why I Will Not Be a YA Protagonist)


I recently read and reviewed the book The Awakening by D.J. Torres.  If you haven't read my review and you'd like to, you can find it HERE.  I realized something about YA protagonists that I hadn't before while reading that book.  They all seem to have access to an eternal pool of brave that the rest of the world is seemingly barred from using.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

R&R Review Sunday: Meritorium by Joel Ohman


Meritropolis #2

Goodreads Blurb:
"Charley has escaped from Meritropolis…

but in his quest to take down the System that has taken his brother from him, he must go through Meritorium, a city where gladiatorial games of life or death combat are waged between High Scores and Low Scores, man and beast.

Charley and Sandy must face man-eating plants, religious zealots, slave traders, and the ever present mutant animal combinations that roam a dystopian Coliseum presided over by Emperor Titus, the one man standing between Charley and the answers he seeks. Man is not an animal, but if they are to make it through Meritorium, will they even be able to tell the difference?

The lines between man and beast, friend and foe, will blur in Meritorium, the riveting sequel to the bestselling Meritropolis."

Friday, April 14, 2017

50/50 Friday (28): Lightest/Darkest Book (atmosphere)


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Lightest/Darkest Book (atmosphere)


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review Wednesday: Caraval by Stephanie Garber


Caraval #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away."

Sunday, April 9, 2017

R&R Review and Interview Sunday: The Awakening by D.J. Torres


The Nature of Gods #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"When gods and goddesses abruptly overthrow Earth, humans are given two choices – worship or die. Desperate to survive, Olivia and her family devote their days to fulfilling the will of the gods. But the wrath of the gods is insatiable and unpredictable. With her hope crushed, Olivia is resigned to her bleak fate . . . until she meets Nature.

Immediately, Olivia knows this charismatic girl with color-changing eyes isn’t normal. Nature looks like a teenager yet she has the power to control the weather and converse with animals. Nature opens Olivia’s eyes to a hidden world that had always existed in harmony with her own. However, know-it-all butterflies and mystical creatures aren’t the only secrets revealed as Olivia discovers the dark plan of the gods.

When Nature decides to confront the gods, Olivia is catapulted to the forefront of humanity’s battle for survival. Olivia must rely on her courage, strength, and newfound gifts as she faces monster-infested pathways and ever-looming traps. But does she have enough courage or skill to battle brutal gods eager to rule the world and dole out punishment to anyone who defies them? Nature and the world depend on it."

Friday, April 7, 2017

50/50 Friday (27): Best/Worst Conclusion to a Series


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst Conclusion to a Series

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

R&R Review Wednesday: The Witch Within Her by Nick Iuppa


Taken By Witches #2

Blurb:
"SEXY, STUNNING, RELENTLESS HORROR
A possessed child is caught in a war between witches!

Spanning centuries of horror and witchcraft, the powerful sequel to Taken By Witches tells how Babcia Czarownica, the greatest of all witches, does battle with far more seductive members of her craft. She must confront a lustful priest, a predatory lover, a vengeful undead beauty, and the unspeakable evil hiding at the top of Rapunzel’s Tower... all to save her beloved grandson and his family from utter annihilation. And she must accomplish all this while sharing the body of an eight-year-old girl."

Monday, April 3, 2017

March Wrap-Up


Guys!  March is over already which means a quarter of the year is done! (and I haven't even posted my goals for this year... *crawls into corner*)  This month hasn't been great for reading but it's also been a pretty intense week at university so there's that.  Let me show you just how pathetic my reading totals are for this month.  Shall we?

Friday, March 31, 2017

50/50 Friday (26): Best/Worst Book Read In March


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst Read In March

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

R&R Review Wednesday: Escaping the Rainfield by Eliza Rich


Standalone to date

Goodreads Blurb:
"“April 12, 2003. “Beep. Beep. We interrupt your radio station to bring you this important message. The counties of… no. The states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and southern portions of Iowa and Nebraska are in a Flood Warning.””

This was no typical flood warning. With eleven states expecting three to ten inches of rain for an unprecedented number of days, the United States was in a frenzy. Families were evacuating their hometowns in hopes of locating refuge on dry land, but Hannah Davis’ family thought that they could out wait the storm. When their panicked Grandmother reaches out to them, requesting help, they find themselves fighting the weather and time to rescue her. As if that wasn’t enough, shortly after joining forces with two of Hannah’s classmates, Adrian and Ophelia, they come face to face with a gang that wants Adrian dead. As the days go by the family grows increasingly wary whether or not they will reach their Grandmother in time. Will the Davis’ be able to come together to outwit the storm and its surrounding catastrophes? Or will Hannah’s affection for Adrian put her family in more danger than it is worth?"


Friday, March 24, 2017

50/50 Friday (25): Novel Worth/Not Worth the Hype


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Novel Worth/Not Worth the Hype


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

R&R Review Wednesday: Johnny and Jamaal by K.M. Breakey


Stand alone to date

Goodreads Blurb:
"Two athletes from different planets are on the verge of greatness. Johnny’s a carefree Canadian making his mark in the NHL. Jamaal’s set to follow LeBron and Kyrie out of the ghetto. When their worlds collide, the catastrophic clash ignites racial conflict not seen since Ferguson. The incident tests the fledgling love of Johnny’s best friend Lucas and his African-American girlfriend Chantal, and sets them on a quest for truth and justice in the perverse racial landscape of 2016.

As chaos escalates across American cities, an MLK-like voice rises from the ashes. Wilbur Rufus Holmes may be salvation for Luke and Chantal, but can he stop society’s relentless descent into racial discord?

Johnny and Jamaal is awash with sports, violence and political taboo, as America’s seething dysfunction is laid bare."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)


Live Action Remake (1991)

IMDB Blurb:
"An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love."


Friday, March 17, 2017

50/50 Friday (24): Best/Worst Debut Novel


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst Debut Novel

Thursday, March 16, 2017

ARC Review and Release Thursday: Endurance by Amy Daws


Part of the London Lovers universe (but can be enjoyed as a stand-alone)

Release Date: March 16th, 2017 (TODAY!)


Goodreads Blurb:
"Tanner Harris has been busy shagging his way through the ladies of east London, but getting caught by the paparazzi buck-naked with his trouser snake in his hands means he’s sowed his last wild oat.

Dr. Belle Ryan once thought Tanner Harris was the perfect kind of bearded bad boy she needed to relieve a bit of stress after her intense job as a surgical fellow, but an icy cold rejection from London’s sluttiest footballer puts the two at each other’s throats.

Fate and a favour conspire to put Tanner and Belle back in each other’s paths and they’re forced to do a lot more than get along to save face and their careers.

Rage turns to passion and tempers run sizzling hot when they realise they aren’t just falling for each other—they’re jumping head first. And neither have the endurance to keep their hands to themselves."

Friday, March 10, 2017

50/50 Friday (23): Best/Worst King or Queen Character (Good/Evil)


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst King or Queen Character (Good/Evil)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

ARC Review Wednesday: Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean


Standalone to date

Release Date: April 4th, 2017

Goodreads Blurb:
"Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends.


With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you."


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tag Tuesday: Book Lovers Tag


I was tagged a while ago by Azee @Under Cover Critique (2/12/15 to be exact!).  I haven't been doing tags for a while and I thought I'd start to get back into them!  I won't be tagging people for the older tags because they've probably been done by everyone already but if you haven't done a tag that you really like, consider yourself tagged!  And with that, let's get into it!

Monday, March 6, 2017

February Wrap-Up


So if you hadn't noticed, February has passed us by!  It's now March which means it's time to reflect on the past month.  Let's get to it!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

R&R Review Sunday: Taken by Witches by Nick Iuppa


Stand alone to date
Goodreads Blurb:
"When he was a child, Niko Madonie was terrified of his over-protective grandmother. Somehow he know she was a witch possessed of overwhelming supernatural powers and determined to save him from the real and imagined dangers of the modern world. Now a successful writer in Hollywood, Niko is helping create and animated version of Hansel and Gretel while he struggles to protect his beautiful young wife from sexy, New Age witches who hope to sacrifice her to please the ancient crone.
This is an epic horror romance set against a background of legends, with complex villains, a magical young couple, and a storyline straight from the darkest pages of the Brothers Grimm."


Friday, March 3, 2017

50/50 Friday (22): Best/Worst Book Read in February


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Best/Worst Book Read in February


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ARC Review Wednesday: The Last Shadow Gate by Michael W. Garza


The Shadow Gate Chronicles #1

Release Date: 3/3/17

Goodreads Blurb:
"Summer vacation was never supposed to be like this.

It was bad enough Naomi had to be shipped off to her dad's home for the summer and deal with her half-brother Gavin, but when the siblings are forced to spend their break with their great-grandmother in upstate New York, everything changes. An investigation into the strange disappearance of their great-grandfather forces them to retrace his footsteps. They discover a gateway between worlds and encounter extraordinary creatures in a land where the people are desperate to escape the coming of a shade lord. To survive their adventure, Naomi and Gavin must settle their differences and find the elusive shadow gate that will take them home again.

*Grab a copy today and begin your search for the Shadow Gate*

THE SHADOW GATE CHRONICLES:

Book 1: The Last Shadow Gate
Book 2: A Veil of Shadows (Coming 2017)
Book 3: The Shadow of War (Coming 2018)"


Monday, February 27, 2017

R&R Review Monday: Numbers Game by Rebecca Rode


Numbers Game #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"Treena is nervous for Rating Day. A single number will brand her forever—a valuable citizen, or a pathetic waste of space. Her top-Rated boyfriend is confident their scores will coincide so they can attend the academy together. But when the big day arrives, her true number shocks everyone.

To get her life and boyfriend back, she must go undercover and expose a military spy. Doesn’t sound too hard, except that someone wants her dead. And then there’s Vance, the mysterious soldier with a haunted past and beautiful brown eyes. Together, they discover a dark numbers conspiracy, one that shatters the nation’s future. Treena must join up with Vance if she is to survive the dangerous game of numbers—and the terrible war that rages within her heart."


Sunday, February 26, 2017

R&R Review Sunday: Touched by Elisa S. Amore


Touched Saga #1

Goodreads Blurb:
"Based on a Norwegian legend
A Sealed Fate
An Angel of Death
A Forbidden Love

What are you willing to sacrifice when the only person who can save you is the same one who has to kill you?

After vampires and werewolves, after wizards and fallen angels, a new breed of Angels is here to usher you into their dark world. An ancient, deadly, inescapable race.
No one can see them. They’re shadows of destiny. They’re knights of death. They’re the Subterraneans and they’re here to claim our lives.
Commanded by a mysterious congregation called the Màsala, the Angels of Death ensure that each man’s destiny takes its due course on Earth.
But what happens when love intervenes?
Can an Angel of Death deny his own nature and challenge destiny?
Can love rebel against fate?

When Gemma’s eyes first meet the dark, piercing gaze of Evan James, an ominous shadow creeps into her life, ultimately leading her to face her destiny. She doesn't realize Evan is one of Death's soldiers and that Death is summoning her.
Her time is up: Gemma must die . . . and Evan has been sent to kill her.
But what if she’s the only one who can truly see him?

Against every rule. Against fate itself. Against everything and everyone. A story of forbidden love and star-crossed destinies.

Dark. Romantic. Dangerous.

Touched combines devastating passion and unconfessable secrets, heartrending decisions and deep emotions, giving life to a love story as intense as the feelings that unite Evan and Gemma, as inescapable as the destiny that looms over them . . ."

Friday, February 24, 2017

50/50 Friday (21): Most/Least Intricately Built World


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Most/Least Intricately Built World

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

R&R Review Wednesday: The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak


Stand alone to date

Goodreads Blurb:
"A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.

At its heart, The Impossible Fortress is a tender exploration of young love, true friends, and the confusing realities of male adolescence—with a dash of old school computer programming.

Bonus content: Play the "The Impossible Fortress" video game at
http://www.jasonrekulak.com/game/"

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Review Sunday: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis


Stand-alone to date

Goodreads Blurb:
"Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us."

Friday, February 17, 2017

50/50 Friday (20): Character Most/Least Likely to be a World Traveler


50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @The Butterfly Reads and I and focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc).  Every week will have a new topic and several advance topics will be listed in the tab labeled 50/50 Friday!

Today's Topic: Character Most/Least Likely to be a World Traveler

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

R&R Review Wednesday: Lessons on St. Barts by Emme Cross


St. Barts #2 (see the review for the first book in the series, Love on St. Barts, HERE)

Goodreads Blurb:
"Sunny’s happiness with Sven is threatened by a murderous stalker
Sunny O’Hara thought everything was going smoothly with her sexy movie-star boyfriend Sven. He initiates in her all the ways of love and seems to have stopped sleeping around. But everything is threatened by a vicious stalker who wants her out the picture.

Will Sunny survive, and if she does, can her relationship with Sven last?

This is the second book in the St. Barts Romance series by Emme Cross. Set on the island of St. Barts, eight square miles of gourmet restaurants, designer shops, yachts . . . and sultry secrets."

Monday, February 13, 2017

Music Monday (5)


Music Monday is a weekly event hosted by Lauren over at Always Me.  Every Monday, you share one or two of your favorite songs you've been enjoying that week to help other people discover new music!  Here are my picks for this week:

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