Thursday, August 31, 2017

This Body Won't Break ~ Lea McKee (earc) review [@LeaLately @weapenry]

This Body Won't Break: Part One (O-Negative #1)
Amazon Digital Services
September 05, 2017
109 pages
add to Goodreads/buy Kindle edition

The truth doesn’t always set you free.

Orphaned as a child, Joanna has lived her entire life in the care of the New Terra Alliance. On the verge of turning eighteen, Joanna eagerly awaits her release into what remains of society.

It was a beautiful lie.

Joanna was never meant to leave. She is part of the August Harvest, slated to die before the month’s end. With a rogue soldier’s promise to find her a way out, Joanna dares to hope. But if the NTA finds out what she knows, it won’t only be her own life at stake, but the life of the handsome soldier who has vowed to set her free.

Fans of Divergent, The Darkest Minds, and The Handmaid’s Tale will love this dystopian story of twisted secrets, romance, and page-turning suspense.

This Body Won’t Break is Book One of The O-Negative Series and will be published in 3 Parts (each approx. 25k words in length). Parts will be published on the first Tuesday of every month.

Lea McKee's This Body Won't Break is the first of the O-Negative Series, with each of the three installments being approximately 25,000 words and each release the first Tuesday of the month (September through November). Part One if more like a Part One of a larger, longer novel than most first novels in a series. (Though if you have read Tomorrow Girls: Behind the Gates by Eva Gray, you'll know what to expect in terms of length and ending style.)

I was a bit curious how the shorter length would work, if it would really feel like a full story  and be enough to really get me invested in the story and characters. It absolutely was. We are introduced to Joanna, find out that she is an orphan and so was brought up the New Terra Alliance in Zone Three.

Jo's 'room' seemed a bit like the cell's on The 100 (but with less art)

Through Jo's preparation for release, we learn a bit about NTA and how it operates -- and it definitely left me wanting to see more of the society.

Jo is unaware of most of what we learn just by reading the book's description but being there as she discovers it makes for a great start of the series. The setting of the book, as Joanna is turning eighteen, leaving the place she's lived as long as she can remember, feels very natural and the transition makes a great place to start the O-Negative Series.

This Body Won't Break seemed very well written and does a really nice job of introducing us to the characters and the society but without any info dump. We learn little bits through things Jo does or thinks or says - and what she discovers or is told later on. It's both satisfying and leaves you wanting more. The basis of their world is logical and sensical enough that you can understand it but still unique and creative. The only, small, complaint I might have was that, at times, the book could be a little heavy on the metaphors. They were good ones, but there were places where there were a lot of them.

Between what Jo has learned about the NTA and her planned role, the characters we've met and how the story ended, I am very much looking forward to Part Two,  out October third.

review copy recieved, via NetGalley thanks to author and Weapenry

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@elsiechapman @abramskids]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

ALONG THE INDIGO by Elsie Chapman
The town of Glory is famous for two things: businesses that front for seedy, if not illegal, enterprises and the suicides that happen along the Indigo River. Marsden is desperate to escape the “bed-and-breakfast” where her mother works as a prostitute—and where her own fate has been decided—and she wants to give her little sister a better life. But escape means money, which leads Mars to skimming the bodies that show up along the Indigo River. It’s there that she runs into Jude, who has secrets of his own and whose brother’s suicide may be linked to Mars’s own sordid family history. As they grow closer, the two unearth secrets that could allow them to move forward . . . or chain them to the Indigo forever.

published March 20th by Amulet Books

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


Elsie Chapman is one of those authors who I checked and checked for any new release from. I really enjoyed both Dualed and Divided and have been eager to see what there would b to read from her next.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the town of Glory - it sounds a bit like the Old West mixed with something dystopian mixed with a contemporary town. I loved the setting and atmosphere of Divided, that it was a recognizable environment but had an almost noir feeling at times. I am excited to read Along the Indigo, to see how the town operates, find out who Mars and Jude are and see how their story goes.

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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday ]@Merit_Press @EpicReads @seecatwrite @bloomsburykids @alyxandrah]

This week's Ten:
Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre:
for my picks X is YA Books

Court by Cat Patrick
Goodreads // review

Where People Like US Live by Patricia Cumbie

Love Me, Love Me Not by Alyxandra Harvey
Goodreads // review

Providence by Lisa Colozza Cocca
Goodreads // review

Bomb by Sarah Mussi
Goodreads // review

Silent Echoes by Carla Jablonski

The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett

One Life (Only You #2) by AJ Pine

Until We End by Frankie Brown

Fancy White Trash by Marjetta Geerling

Please leave a comment and let me know what 'hidden gem's you wish everyone else would read!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Moo ~ Sharon Creech review [@HarperChildrens @ciaobellacreech]

August 29, 2017
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog and Hate That Cat will love her newest tween novel, Moo. This uplifting tale reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.

This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives.

Even if you are beyond the Middle Grade novel reading age, you really may want to read Sharon Creech's new release, Moo.

Moo alternates between verse and short chapters of prose to tell Reena's story. A city girl who is used to the bustle of urban life, of museums and public transportation and people all around, Reena isn't expecting her family to decide to move to rural Maine. Even if it may have, technically, been her idea.

Things in their new home are quite different - and not exactly like what she's read about or seen in books. Reena and her brother Luke don't know what to do when their parents volunteer them to help Mrs Falala - and her animals.

One of the things I most appreciated about Moo was that it gave readers a look at both city life and r rural life but without making one look better than the other. If you are more familiar with open fields and livestock than subways, you can enjoy seeing Maine, the cows, the animals and that life through someone just experiencing it. If youwith two're like Reena and may not have ever seen a cow in person, you can experience things with her.

The author does a really fantastic job putting her characters into a new, very unfamiliar setting, with equally new and unfamiliar experiences but Reena's enjoyment or discovery of the new is not at the expense of the old.

Moo is a sweet, funny, possibly educational (depends how much you knew or didn't know about cows) read. Reena's relationships with her parents and her brother Luke, the beginnings of her life in Maine, and caring for Zora all make for a great read for MG readers and beyond.

finished copy received, for review consideration, from publisher

Friday, August 25, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@katharinemcgee @epicreads]

This week I wanted to share the 'Epic Reads Explains' trailer for The Thousandth Floor Series by Katharine McGee. The Thousandth Floor was released last August and the second book, The Dazzling Heights will be out on Tuesday, the 29th.

about The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2):

New York City, 2118. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible – if you want it enough.

Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a beacon of futuristic glamour and high-tech luxury… and to millions of people living scandalous, secretive lives.

Leda is haunted by nightmares of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’s afraid the truth will get out – which is why she hires Watt, her very own hacker, to keep an eye on all of the witnesses for her. But what happens when their business relationship turns personal?

When Rylin receives a scholarship to an elite upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being here also means seeing the boy she loves: the one whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is grappling with the reality of her forbidden romance – is there anywhere in the world that’s safe for them to be together?

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who’s arrived in New York with a devious goal in mind – and too many secrets to count.

Here in the Tower, no one is safe – because someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, you’re always only one step away from a devastating fall….

August 29, 2017 // HarperCollins // 432 pages // Goodreads // Book Depository // Amazon

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@goelman @mackidsbooks]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:


You may believe the government protects you, but only one girl knows how they use you.

Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her--and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is changed. Is she a paranoid lunatic with violent tendencies? Or a clear-eyed observer of the world who does what needs to be done?

Told in journal entries and therapy session transcripts, The Innocence Treatment is a collection of Lauren's papers, annotated by her sister long after the events of the novel. A compelling YA debut thriller that is part speculative fiction and part shocking tell-all of genetic engineering and government secrets, Lauren's story is ultimately an electrifying, propulsive, and spine-tingling read.

published October 17th by Roaring Brook Press

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


I really love novels that are told through journals or transcripts or other writings, not quite epistolary novels (though I love those, too) but not straight first or third person narration, either. I like the insight it can give us into the characters but also the things it is able to leave out that a regular narration would not. It can make for a very compelling read.

I also like stories where what the character believes or remembers so impacts how they see and react to the world.  Whether they're the only ones seeing the truth  or they're seeing things that aren't there (literally or metaphorically). It not only poses intruging questions, but you can't be sure, usually, of what hte truth really is.

I loved Angie Smibert's Memento Nora a few years ago and, while they're very different sounding stories, it also sounds like they have some similar themes so I think I'll really enjoy reading it.

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Other Girl ~ Erica Spindler (earc) review [@StMartinsPress @EricaSpindler]

The Other Girl
St Martin's Press
August 22, 2017
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

From the NYT bestselling author comes a chilling new thriller about a ritualistic murder of a college professor that sends a small town cop back into the trauma she thought she’d put behind her.

Officer Miranda Rader of the Hammond PD in Louisiana is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from Jasper, just south of Hammond, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to leave the girl she used to be behind and earn respect in her position as an officer.

However, when Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the gruesomeness of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about a terrible night from her long-buried past. Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop, and not just any cop—Clint Wheeler, the cop who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda. 14 years ago.

And when her fingerprints turn up at the scene of the first murder, Miranda once again finds herself under the microscope, her honesty and integrity doubted, her motivations questioned. Alone again, the trust of her colleagues shattered, Miranda must try to trust the instincts she’s pushed down for so long, and decide what’s right—before it’s too late.

The Other Girl really surprised me. I usually love mysteries where either I do not know who the culprit is or, if I do, it's because we also get things from their point of view. With The Other Girl, it seemed like I was going to know from nearly the beginning who the killer was.

I liked Miranda, though and wanted to see how her past played into her present and the investigation so I did keep reading. Which was the absolute right thing to do because how it seemed like I had it figured out? Erica Spindler made me question that assumption more than once (more than probably a dozen times, actually).

Even as you're trying to figure out who committed the murders - and why - you are have to wonder if Miranda is going to make it through the investigation. Will she be suspected? Why? To what extent? Will she be able to pice things together in time? Is she safe? How is that night, fourteen years ago, a part of this?

I thought I knew what was coming with The Other Girl, that  I didn't. This novel makes you suspect  characters you thought you liked, like characters you thought you suspected and still surprises you when the truth is, finally, uncovered.

I enjoyed that we knew what Miranda said about her teenaged self before actually saw the events and how they unfolded. Having it from her perspective (before experiencing it) helps the reader to more connect with present day Miranda, who she is, where her head is and who she's trying to prove herself to be (and why).

The author does a great job having Miranda deal with aspects of her past - both from that night and beyond - that she thought she had left behind and moved on from. Things work together nicely to not only aid her character, but to aid the investigation as well.  Her character, her past and her present are tied together in wonderful (but painful and frightening) ways. The Other Girl is a mystery wrapped up in our main character and her past, in ways neither she, nor the reader, first realize; it is a surprising and satisfying mystery read.

digital review copy received, from publisher, via NetGalley

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Breakdown ~ BA Paris (earc) review [@BAParisAuthor @StMartinsPress]

The Breakdown
St Martin's Press
July 18, 2017
328 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

After reading B.A. Pari's Behind Closed Doors, I was excited to read her new novel. The Breakdownwas even more of a thrilling read than I had anticipated; the mystery and the tension are a step above that first book. Whereas in Behind Closed Doors you knew where the danger was coming from but not how or when (or even to what extent), here you aren't even sure if there is danger, if it's real or imagined. Nor do you know who or where it's coming from, when it'll happen or or how.

The Breakdown absolutely keeps you guessing, almost to that very last page.

From the start, the book gives you reasons to doubt characters, sometimes it seems they're up to something nefarious, others you don't know if you can trust their interpretation of things, or their memory of them. Even when it seems like pieces are coming together and some of the mystery has been solved, you have to second guess it all. When your main character is forgetting things (lots of things), you don't know how much of her deductions and recollections can really be counted on.

When you aren't sure how much you can rely on your narrator, even the most troubling seeming events or statements have to be questioned.

Are things really happening as Cas sees them? Or is there a much more innocent explanation?

B.A. Paris really put her characters through it. As soon as you think that she surely can't make them go through anything more, she does. It's that fact, that the author doesn't hold back and isn't afraid of being, really, quite horrible to her characters, that makes the mystery so thrilling - and rewarding. The characters are capable of so much more than one would think -- both in what they can do to each other and what they can survive.

The Breakdown is an exciting, thrilling read, a mystery with more twists and turns and surprises than you'll ever see coming, fantastic characters and a great title. Now, I am really looking forward to Book 3 from B.A. Paris, Bring Me Back.

Other Books You May Also Enjoy: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris (buy), The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (buy) and Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson (buy)

digital copy received for review, from NetGalley, via publisher

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@epicreads @KendareBlake]

The second book in the Three Dark Crowns series (Three Dark Crowns came out last year), One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) will be released next month. Here is the book trailer:

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

Harper Teen // September 19, 2017 // 464 pages // Goodreads // Book Depository // Amazon

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Escape from Camp 14 ~ Blaine Harden review [@VikingBooks] (repost)

This is a repost of an earlier published Book Sp(l)ot Reviews review. (The original post.)

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
Viking Adult
March 29, 2012
224 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

The only person known to have been born and raised in one of North Korea's prison camps and then escape* (others, brought to them have been released after some years), Shin Dong-hyuk lived more than two decades in North Korea's Camp 14.

Estimates have between 150,00-200,000 people living in North Korea's political prison camps. Isolated, starving, routinely beaten and cut-off even from the rest of their country, those living in these camps know very little (if anything) of the outside world. While most in North Korea are taught of South Korea and the United States' evil, growing up in Camp 14, though, Shin heard none of this. Expected to work long 15 hour days from a young age (10-year-olds worked together to push two-ton coal cars up a hill), prisoners subsisted (just barely) on corn, cabbage and salt.

Beatings were routine - from the guards, from family members, from other prisoners - and life was beyond hard, everyone sold everyone else out.

It would be no wonder that people wanted to escape. But few seemed to dream of it and even fewer try. Those, like Shin, who has always known this life didn't know there was a better world - with more food, something called love and friendship and trust. Not only that, the consequence for escape, attempting it, or even talking about it made it, often too dangerous: death.

Until the idea for escape did form in his mind. And he acted on it.

While the reading level of Escape from Camp 14 is not difficult (especially compared to many nonfiction books), it's the content that makes reading Shin's story hard at times.

Harden admits, quite frequently, that there is not, truly, a way to fact check Shin's story. He can't go to the camp and do interviews, he can't call anyone up and ask them questions, he can't even go into North Korea. While this does make the reader slightly dubious of Shin's story - especially when it's acknowledged that the story has changed in some dramatic places - the tale has been vetted in a way. Other memoirs have been published about people's experiences in the camps (those that were released or former guards) and different groups have led investigations/inquiries. These individuals and groups do contend that Shin's recollections are  in line with what happens in the prison camps. He has the physical scars, as well.

Harden's background as a reported and knowledge of the area adds some great extra information to the book. I learned a lot more about not only North Korea and its politics, history, and practices but also about South Korea and China as well (including their relationships with North Korea and its defectors).

While Shin's life and the life of those in Camp 14 was so separate from what was happening elsewhere in North Korea, it was very nice to know what was happening concurrently in the rest of the country.

The book doesn't wait for a nice, neat ending; it shows us how Shin's life is today. How he's adjusting to life, learning about being a regular human being whose life is not completely controlled, under constant threat of violence by prison guards. I wish him well.

*This according to the book, the synopsis on Goodreads makes it sound as if there are others, so if my review is wrong, I apologize. I'm basing it on the text of the book.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The House ~ Simon Lelic (earc) review [@Simon_Lelic ‏ @PenguinUKBooks]

The House
Penguin UK
August 17, 2017 (ebook)
November 02, 2017 (print)
340 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon UK

What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

And now the police are watching them...

Starting, probably, when I first The House's description, I had very little idea what was going on with or. more accurately, in this book.  Even while reading it, I often was not sure just what was happening, as they presently took place or even afterwards.  But all in the absolute best way possible. The House is very much a book that keeps you guessing. Who do you believe? How much of what they say do you belive? And why, oh why, is all of this happening? If it even truly is.

The House has two narrators: Sydney and Jack. What makes this different than most novels is that Syd and Jack are aware they're telling a story to someone, what you're reading is something they're writing, in alternating parts, to tell their story. This makes things a bit different and I enjoyed teh more relaxed air it gave to the story, especially on Syd's part. It was a bit like a diary combined with a novel. It isn't something polished and objective and it connects you more with the characters. It makes you more curious about the truth and what's happening that made them feel the need to write this.

There was a point, later in the story, where I wasn't sure if what I was reading was supposed to still be something written by the characters or it if had transitioned into a more conventional narration. (And if it was still the characters writing their story, that left some other questions for me.)

With this story, I especially liked having Syd and Jack telling the story. Not only do we not know, for sure, that either of them is a reliable narrator, we only see events through their eyes, based on their interpretations and in the way they want the other to see/read. Not only does this mean some key information is being withheld, you also do not always know when it is. It makes the mystery even better.

The novel is a great mix of being unsettling and confusing while telling a great mystery. There are several times it seems like you might, now, be piecing the clues together only to be thrown when something else transpires. When we do finally learn what has been happening, who has been doing it and why, it is both surprising and completely in keeping with what we have already learned and read.

digital review copy received thanks to publisher, via NetGalley

Friday, August 11, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@HMHBooks]

Seems like a good week for this book trailer pick, Imagine:

Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us, and the world will be as one.

Join one little pigeon as she sets out on a journey to spread a message of tolerance around the world. Featuring the lyrics of John Lennon’s iconic song and illustrations by the award-winning artist Jean Jullien, this poignant and timely picture book dares to imagine a world at peace.

Imagine will be published in partnership with human rights organization Amnesty International.

September 21, 2017 // Clarion Books // Goodreads // Book Depository // Amazon

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sparks of Light ~ Janet B Taylor (earc) review ]@HMHKids @Janet_B_Taylor]

Sparks of Light (Into the Dim #2)
Houghton Mifflin
August 01, 2017
448 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

There is not a lot of recapping of Into the Dim in this second book, Sparks of Light, so if you have either not read that book or largely forgotten it, you may feel a bit left out at certain points. Of course, the larger, more major parts of Into th Dim we are reminded of simply by who is or is not present when Sparks of Light beings and what we thn learn of their current location or state. Though there were a few things I wanted to go back to Into the Dim and refresh myself on, I liked the focus on the now.

I liked that each book, so far, at least, seems more self contained. Yes, you will be spoiled for some parts of Into the Dim if you read Sparks of Light first (some pretty big things so I really don't recommend it) but it's still possible.

I appreciated that in this book, Hope is familiar with the Viators, with the Dim, how it works and its limitations. There is both their immediate plan and worry, in 1895 New York City with Tesla, but also a larger, overreaching goal. The author does a great job focusing very much on the here and now (whenever that may be), with great attention to detail and historical fact and accuracy but simultaneously making it all a part of a larger whole. This is true of both the Viators characters and for history and what's supposed to happen.

I loved that gender, race and class played into the time travelling and what they encountered or experienced.  Paired with Hope's memory and her knowledge of the time, it felt like a very true representation of the period. It is also extra enjoyable that it isn't simply: go back in time, say this to this person, don't do this and then come home. Their plans are often foiled, inadvertently or purposefully or both and it makes for a bit more excitement and danger.

This series does a great job of giving us fun, thrilling and often dangerous time travel adventures, fantastic character relationships and accomplishing one, isolated mission somehwere in time while also having something larger they're still working towards in the present. This is a series where I would gladly read several more installments.

digital review copy received from publisher via NetGalley

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@verykaitlynsage @HarlequinTEEN]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

THE DIMINISHED (#1) by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

In the Alskad Empire, nearly all are born with a twin, two halves to form one whole…yet some face the world alone.

The singleborn

A rare few are singleborn in each generation, and therefore given the right to rule by the gods and goddesses. Bo Trousillion is one of these few, born into the royal line and destined to rule. Though he has been chosen to succeed his great-aunt, Queen Runa, as the leader of the Alskad Empire, Bo has never felt equal to the grand future before him.

The diminished

When one twin dies, the other usually follows, unable to face the world without their other half. Those who survive are considered diminished, doomed to succumb to the violent grief that inevitably destroys everyone whose twin has died. Such is the fate of Vi Abernathy, whose twin sister died in infancy. Raised by the anchorites of the temple after her family cast her off, Vi has spent her whole life scheming for a way to escape and live out what's left of her life in peace.

As their sixteenth birthdays approach, Bo and Vi face very different futures—one a life of luxury as the heir to the throne, the other years of backbreaking work as a temple servant. But a long-held secret and the fate of the empire are destined to bring them together in a way they never could have imagined.

published April 10th by HarlequinTEEN

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


I do love a book set in a created empire or universe, whether it's an allegory to a current or past real place or somewhere wholly original and imagined by the author. When you add in how almost everyone in the Alskad Empire is born with a twin and what it means if they're not or if their twin dies, this sounds very much like a book I will like.

I like that there are gods and goddesses in the book and kings and queen but what has me most eager to read The Diminished is a desire to find out what that long-held secret is!

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Always the Husband ~ Michelle Campbell (earc) review [@StMartinsPres]

It's Always the Husband
St Martin's Press
May 16, 2017
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?

I no doubt deserved my enemies but I don't believe I deserved my friends. -Walt Whitman --epigraph to It's Always the Husband.

I don't know if I actually liked anyone in It's Always the Husband. Some of these characters were frustrating, irritating and, really, pretty bad people. So, maybe they all deserved each other?

The first half (well, 48-49% according to the ebook) took me forever to read.  I had trouble understanding why Kate, Aubrey and Jenny were friends as college roommates but even more so as adults. They reminded me a lot of the girls in Lauren Saft's Those Girls except that they were older (first by just a year or two, then by decades). When a character's almost forty and calling her supposed friends of twenty years, "these losers" (pg 97) it not only feels weird that they still voluntarily spend time together, but also juvenile.

As much as we can see how screwed up the girls are, as they start at Carlisle College, it's also hard to understand why they accept what they do, are grateful for some of the things they are or treat themselves and each other how they do. (Especially when it come to Jenny, with Kate and Aubrey it can be disconcerting but easier to understand.)

That said, the second half of the book, Part Two, is where they mystery really comes in and where the story really got compelling and much easier to read and be pulled into. I can also, objectively, see that all of Part One, all that we saw of the girls and their relationships, was crucial to Part Two.

You had to have seen all of the love, all of the hate and to understand why these people all seemed to be part of each other's lives - whether or not they wanted to be or liked it. I still didn't like the characters but they mystery was great. Thanks to the earlier part of the book, you knew all of the different possible suspects and all of their possible motives. Even as things come together we discovered eve more of just why these characters were so, so bad for each other.

The characters and some of their relationships weren't for me but I can't deny how well it all played into making a great mystery. I look forward to what this author publishes next.

review copy received, via NetGalley, from publisher

Friday, August 4, 2017

Book Trailer Friday [@colleenhouck @DelacortePress]

Reunited (Reawakened #3) by Colleen Houck will be out on August 08th, here is the trailer:

about Reunited:

After surviving her otherworldly adventure, Lily wakes up on her nana’s farm having forgotten everything. Her sun prince, her travels to Egypt, and her journey to the Afterlife are all distant memories.

But Lily is not the girl she once was. Her body is now part human, part lion, and part fairy. And if that isn’t bad enough, she must now harness this power of three and become Wasret: a goddess destined to defeat the evil god Seth once and for all.

With the help of her old friend Dr. Hassan, Lily departs on her final voyage through the cosmos and across the plains of Egypt. On the journey, she will transform into the being she is destined to become.

Reunited is the heart-pounding conclusion to the Reawakened series.

It is time for Lily to find her sunset.

Reawakened Book Three // Delacorte Press // August 08, 2017 // Goodreads //  Book Depository // Amazon

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Shadow Girl ~ Gerry Schmitt (earc) review [@BerkleyPub]

Shadow Girl (An Afton Tangler Thriller #2)
Berkley Books
August 01, 2017
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree...

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.
Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case.

As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again and succeeds in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person and she s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage...

Readers were introduced to Afton Tangler, the Family Liaison Officer with the Minneapolis Police Department in  Little Girl Gone and now Afton is back, involved, perhaps more than she should be, in a new case. She is only supposed to be helping Max, Detective Max Montgomery that is, out: keeping his notes organized but otherwise only doing her assigned job. But for Afton, who wants to be a detective, it's hard to not go when someone needs questioning or a lead needs to be followed up on. Even if it is beyond what a Family Liaison Officer should be doing.

One of the things I really loved about Shadow Girl was that the police did not miraculously piece everything together or stumble across something crucial as can happen in some books. There were times I was sure someone was going to remember something that another character said or guess the next stop and things were going to all come together. But they didn't. In this book the bad guys get away with more than you think they will and seem to always be a step ahead.

It makes for a very thrilling read and definitely keeps you, the reader, guessing. Afton, Max and the other members of the department have to investigate, talk to witnesses, engage in a bit of conjecture and be in just the right place at just the right time. It feels realistic but also exciting and definitely keeps you reading.

I truly enjoyed how the mystery unfold in Shadow Girl. It seems that we know the 'who' from nearly the very beginning but the 'why' is left for later revelation. Then, the more that is discovered, the more we learn from the characters, the more you have to wonder who all is involved - even remotely or indirectly - in what happened. And who will be safe when it's all done.

I do wish there were more female members of law enforcement (police, detectives, etc) in the story. We do only focus on a handful of characters but, aside from Afton, even those only mentioned seem to be male ("...large, hunky men dressed in riot gear." pg 302).

The way this series focuses on Afton, who is a Family Liaison Officer but still seems to find herself in the thick of it. doesn't sensationalize the investigative aspects and is building relationships between the characters makes for both a thrilling, satisfying read and has me eager to read more of the series.

review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday [@tomi_adeyemi @FierceReads]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:


Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

published March 6th by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

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


There is magic . . . but it's gone . . . but it could come back. And it is up to Zelie - and help from a rogue princess - to try to bring the magic back. I love that Orisha was a place used to magic, that it was part of life. I love that it is girls who are going to try to bring it back.

The way the 'night magic disappeared' is described (that it was not just a mythical, abstract removal but that, 'maji were targeted and killed' has me very curious about just how ruthless this king was, how much of that is also present in the crown prince and how those deaths affected Zelie and her people.

This sounds like a fantastic new YA fantasy series and I cannot wait to read it! (Plus, that cover is absolutely gorgeous.)

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