Friday, October 30, 2015

Gabriel ~ Nikki Kelly (earc) Tour Review + Excerpt + Giveaway [@Styclar @The_FFBC #Gabriel @FeiwelFriends]

Gabriel (The Styclar Saga #2)
Nikki Kelly
Feiwel & Friends
October 27, 2015
384 pages
add to Goodreads/purchase links below review

-- Lailah (#1) review --

The handsome Angel from Lailah gets center stage in this continuation of Wattpad sensation Nikki Kelly’s romantic and action-packed series about mortals, vampires, and angels.

Gabriel is an Angel Descendant. He's also an ally to a generation of vampires who want to break away from the demon who controls them. His faith in the power of good over evil wavers, however, when he discovers that Lailah, the woman he considers his only true love, may be both angel and demon. Is their love enough to overcome the dark forces who are ready to go to war with Gabriel, the vampire Jonah, and the angel and vampire forces? And can Gabriel compete with Jonah, who is also in love with Lailah?

Once again, Nikki Kelly looks deeply into the heart and soul of good and evil to create a romantic, action-packed reading adventure.

The start of Gabriel was different than I was expecting. Lailah's return from her 'death' presents a whole new set of questions, concerns and circumstances. If you do not remember everything that happened in Lailah (really, you should read it first), Gabriel isn't going to remind you.

At least not of all of it - and not right away.

There were times when it bugged me - knowing that I knew something about a character or event, but not being able to remember precisely what - but, still, I couldn't fault how it was done. What is or is not touched on again, to refresh readers, fits with the story and the character. It doesn't make sense for Lailah or Gabriel to have all of the information, the relationships, etc right at the forfront.

I found that I liked discovering more of what happened in Lailah (what I had forgotten) more than anticipated.

In Lailah I loved how Gabriel and Jonah were used to show us the different sides to Lailah's personality. In Gabriel things are taken to the next level. Now, we know those sides of Lailah are there and the characters know, and it's time for everyone to find out if they can accept what it all means.

Though this is the book where Gabriel 'gets center stage,' there was something missing between him and Lailah, for me. I knew how she felt about him, how important he and his feelings were to her. Yet, I could not really see why. There was their past, yes, what happened in Lailah and how this book began . . . Still, I didn't get it.

I did like, though, how it all played into the ending of the book - and really the progression of the story as a whole. (Even some of what I felt earlier in the story, played into things.)

Gabriel is a great continuation of the Styclar Saga begun in Lailah. The characters form that first book are back and we get to know some of them even better (along with some new characters) and the contrast between light and dark continues to be excellent. The world Nikki Kelly created - angels, vampires, dimensions, etc - is further explained in Gabriel and how it impacts the characters lives (and who they are) is fantastic.

And, oh, can Nikki Kelly write an ending! After the end of Lailah, Gabriel was one of my most anticipated 2015 reads, but,that anticipation has nothing on how much I want to read Book 3. 2016 can't come fast enough.

(digital copy received for review & tour, from publisher, via NetGalley)

#0.1: Gabriel Short Story
#0.2: Jonah Short Story
#1: Lailah
#2: Gabriel

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Follow the Gabriel by Nikki Kelly Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

I was born and raised only minutes away from the chocolately scent of Cadbury World in Birmingham, England. So it will probably come as no surprise that when I'm not dreaming in Vampires & Angels, I dream in chocolate! For the past ten years I have lived in West London with my hubby and two dogs, Alfie - the Pug & Goose - the Chihuahua.
LAILAH is my debut novel, and first launched in serial form to wattpad, a readers & writers community. Within just 6months, LAILAH had over a million reads and thousands of comments and votes.
Since then, The Styclar Saga has gone on to pick up a traditional deal with Feiwel & Friends, and LAILAH, the first book in the series is due for release on October 7th 2014.
These days I spend my time balancing my amazing job of writing fantasy fiction, with my other, very important role of Chocolate Connoisseur. I like to multitask and do the two together. It makes me happy.


Panicked, I took my wrist, and for the first time in this new body of mine I willed my fangs to appear. I tore a strip down my wrist and, pushing the skin together, I helped my blood to bubble to the surface. I hoped his senses were not so far gone that the smell of my blood wouldn’t cause a reaction. I needed it to overpower his desire to protect me.
Still straddling him, I felt his brittle bones strain under my weight as I thrust my hand to his mouth. At first he didn’t react; he remained perfectly still and I thought for a moment that he was already gone.
But then his hand slapped over my wrist and he clutched it tightly. Finding some strength, he drew me close so that I was nose- to- nose with him. I nodded encouragingly as he held my arm suspended in the air.
“I can’t risk you. I would never risk you.” Slowly, one by one, he uncurled his fingers,
and moved my palm against his cheek. He nuzzled it, straining to breathe in my fragrance. “There is only one thing I want you to do for me, Lailah. . . .”
I suddenly couldn’t speak; a huge lump had formed in my throat.

“Let me die on your lips.”

Thursday, October 29, 2015

NEED ~ Joelle Charbonneau (earc) review [@jcharbonneau @hmhkids]

HMH Books for Young Readers
November 3, 2015
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

"No one gets something for nothing. We all should know better."

Teenagers at Wisconsin's Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.

If you're looking for a book to restore your faith in humanity, NEED is probably not the place to start. It is full of those everyday people characters that you really, really want to believe are not -- cannot be -- everyday people. You want them to be the outliers, the ones the FBI has people to figure out.

Yet, at the same time, you know that's not true.

And NEED proves it.

People can and will be horrible to each other. They can be shallow and self centered,  The characters in NEED, who, based on appearances, are your normal, average high school students, demonstrate just how easily - and quickly - things can go wrong.

We get the story from several characters, all students at Nottawa High. They all know each other, even if only in passing. They all have opinions on the others, think they know the role they fit into (the mean girl, the quiet boy, the popular guy, etc).

The anonymity of NEED lets readers to see more about the characters than the other characters do. With the alternating viewpoints, we see why someone made a certain wish, what they do, and how they feel about it. The different POVs works well for telling the story, while keeping so much secret, and giving looks at more characters and how they think.

It does get confusing, at times, with so many characters (some stand out, some are similar enough as to be confused with another), but the story still flows well.  Our main character is Kaylee and the author does a great job bringing in the other characters and their actions, but keeping her at the center.

The way Kaylee's past actions and statements play into both how the other characters see her and how much she is believed, was great. How the events of the past year have isolated her work well for both what NEED attempts and to keep her at the middle of it all, but alone. It really amps up the tension.

NEED is a fun, startling YA thriller that is quite frightening in how real it does feel.

digital copy received, via Edelweiss, from publisher

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Placebo Junkies ~ JC Carleson (earc) review [@JCCarleson @randomhousekids]

Placebo Junkies
Knopf Books for Young Readers
October 27, 2015
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Going Bovine meets Trainspotting in this gritty portrait of at-risk teens gaming the prescription drug trial system.

Meet Audie: Professional lab rat. Guinea pig. Serial human test subject. For Audie and her friends, “volunteering” for pharmaceutical drug trials means a quick fix and easy cash.
Sure, there’s the occasional nasty side effect, but Audie’s got things under control. If Monday’s pill causes a rash, Tuesday’s ointment usually clears it right up. Wednesday’s injection soothes the sting from Tuesday’s “cure,” and Thursday’s procedure makes her forget all about Wednesday’s headache. By the time Friday rolls around, there’s plenty of cash in hand and perhaps even a slot in a government-funded psilocybin study, because WEEKEND!

But the best fix of all is her boyfriend, Dylan, whose terminal illness just makes them even more compatible. He’s turning eighteen soon, so Audie is saving up to make it an unforgettable birthday. That means more drug trials than ever before, but Dylan is worth it.
No pain, no gain, Audie tells herself as the pills wear away at her body and mind. No pain, no gain, she repeats as her grip on reality starts to slide….

Raw and irreverent, Placebo Junkies will captivate readers until the very end, when author J. C. Carleson leans in for a final twist of the knife.

When I started Placebo Junkies I did not remember exactly hat it was supposed to be about: I think I combined bits of Concentr8's summary and some things I made up with what the book was. Oddly, that benefited me quite a bit. Placebo Junkies is a book where it works to keep wondering what's coming next, to not be sure of where things are going.

From birth control pills to psilocybin and much, muc more, Audie and her fellow guinea pigs have tested nearly every kind of pharmaceutical drug imaginable. They know the right way to answer questions to to get included in the study, the symptoms to fake and they covet side effects. After all, anything to increase their pay is worth it.

It isn't everyone's ideal life but the choice wasn't between drug trials and something more illustrious, something dreamed of. Not for Audie. And it beats minimum wage at a fast food joint.

I liked the tiny glimpses we got into Audie's life prior to living in the apartment and the testing. It helps you to understand why this is such an acceptable, even desirable, life for her. Through both her own anecdotes and her blog entries, we learn quite a bit about Audie. Nothing like a full biography, but things that help us understand her outlook on life and what she expects from the world.

I also liked that we both we, as readers, and Audie did not know her fellow guinea pigs stories. Like she says, they aren't exactly a group to sit around reminiscing. The not knowing left questions but anything else would not have fit her character and the circumstances.

The twists we get toward the end are fantastic. They are unexpected and you don't see them coming, yet they still fit with the story and what has happened. The ending itself actually let me questioning what really happened. (There are two things I can see and I am not sure, still, which of them is correct!)

Placebo Junkies is going to make you think twice the next time you see an ad for a drug trial or hear the side effects listed on a commercial for some prescription. More than that, though, you will be left thinking about Audie and teens like her who, due perhaps to fate and circumstances, could find such a life desirable.

digital review copy received, from publisher, via NetGalley

Waiting On Wednesday [@alterkates @HarlequinTeen]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

(The Sisters of Blood and Spirit #2)

As Halloween approaches, twin sisters Lark, who is alive, and Wren, a tethered spirit, find themselves drifting apart. While Lark is happy with new boyfriend Ben, Wren is still hurting over her own still-alive-and-kicking love-interest, Kevin, who may or may not have kissed another girl. Spending more time on the Other Side, and less time with her sister in the land of the living, Lark becomes close with the spirit of a young man, Noah, who was killed years ago. But Noah is not as nice as he seems, and his thirst for vengeance has a dark and sudden influence on Wren. With the veil between the worlds thinning for Halloween, the spirits are getting stronger and it will be up to Lark and her friends to stop Noah and save Wren from becoming a monster. But the only way to do that could be to kill the boy that Wren is falling in love with.

published March 29/30th by Harlequin Teen

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


This week's pick ties in quite well with my Halloween-ish Top Ten Tuesday (post). Not only does it actually mention Halloween in the summary, but it's the follow-up to Sisters of Blood and Spirit (!!!!). I loved that book and have been waiting to read more about Lark and Wren.

Now that it is not only Lark who knows about Wren (and believes, which is pretty key)< I am really looking forward to seeing how the group interacts, what they learn about the spirits (and Wren) and what they get up to.

I do think the summary means that Wren, not Lark, becomes close with Noah and I am curious to see her characters developing relationships with people(/spirits) other than her sister and how that plays out for them both. (Obviously not fantastically if the rest of the description is to be believed!)

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Edition

This week's Ten:
10 Sppoky Books to Read for Halloween

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a Halloween 'freebie' so I decided to choose ten ghost-y or otherwise spooky/creepy books that I think are great reads!

(Yes, I do realize this is Wednesday, for some reason I have been wanting the 28th to be Tuesday so I goofed. Sorry.)

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

I loved this book back in kindergarten/first grade!

Shutter (#1) by Courtney Alameda
I haven't reviewed this one, yet, but ti is good!

 Unbreakable (Legion #1) by Kami Garcia

The Suffering (The Girl from the Well #2) by Rin Chupeco

The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

The Hollow (#1) by Jessica Verday

Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

Please leave a comment and let me know if you have read any of these and/or what your picks for Halloween-y (but not necessarily Halloween themed or centered) reads are!
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