With a touch of Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice in Wonderland, A.G. Howard's original twisted debut is utterly entertaining, brimming with madness, andWith a touch of Lewis Carroll's classic, Alice in Wonderland, A.G. Howard's original twisted debut is utterly entertaining, brimming with madness, and sprinkled with plenty of magic, romance and adventure. Much like the beloved classic, A.G. Howard does a beautiful job at creating a world that's unforgettable. I loved that while much of this story is given a unique spin, there are some minor similarities that were flawlessly incorporated into Alyssa's story that paid homage to Carroll's work. Unlike Carroll's story, this modern day/fantasy story doesn't include any dreaming, instead it focuses on a family curse passed down from generation to generation. Sadly the curse that Alyssa's mother passed to her, is what is keeping her in the mental institution. Armed with the determination to save her mother, Alyssa enters the rabbit hole and from there unravels one crazy mystery and twist after the other.
Having a part of this story focus on Alyssa's worry of going mental like her mother fit in well with this incredibly complex, and hauntingly mesmerizing world. I liked that dream like quality the story has. It made it all the more charming and intriguing. The further Alyssa and Jeb venture into this world, the crazier it gets with all that's unraveled. It takes a rather strong character to travel through the rabbit hole, and venture out the other side in tact. I loved that the more Alyssa learns to rely on and trust herself, the more it makes her realize that she's got much more potential than she ever thought she had. There's something about Alyssa that I couldn't help liking. She quirky, she has her flaws, and there's just something about her that drew me to her, even if I didn't always understand the reasoning behind her actions. She's a character that made me rooting for.
This story is not without romance, and it's different kind of love triangle. There's Jeb, the best friend who's been there for Alyssa, and seems to get her even without her ever needing to tell him anything. It might take a trip through crazyville for the two of them to finally admit their feelings for each other (FINALLY), but when they do, it's fabulous! I love that this relationship is not without it's flaws, and imperfections. It's realistic, it's a little complicated, and beautifully developed. Then there's of course the odd natured, yet fitting relationship between Alyssa and her childhood friend, Morpheus. He's that dark, mysterious, brooding character you feel yourself drawn to, even though you know you should stay away from him. There were times I wanted to despise him, and other times I couldn't help but like him. He's definitely a character who knows how to seduce not only Alyssa, but this story's readers. Though I liked both relationships, there were times things didn't quite add up for me in regards to the revelations between both guys and Alyssa.
Over all I did enjoy this story. It's unlike anything I've read before, and I love that. Lewis Carroll gave us a classic. Walt Disney re-created an Alice in Wonderland for kids to enjoy and A.G. Howard created a brand new Alice in Wonderland story that YA readers are going enjoy getting their hands on! This is one book I'd recommend picking up if you enjoy an unforgettable adventure, love fairytale retelling with a twist, and enjoy fantasy story's with a touch of romance. I'm looking forward to reading more of A.G.'s books in the future....more
Jennifer E. Smith is an author who knows how to capture my heart. Her writing engages me, her characters make me wish they were real, and her storytelJennifer E. Smith is an author who knows how to capture my heart. Her writing engages me, her characters make me wish they were real, and her storytelling leaves me wanting more. In her newest release, This Is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer introduces me to believable characters with Ellie and Graham, she gave me a beautiful setting I wish I could go visit, and told me a story I could not get enough. I tried to pace myself with this book, but I couldn't help myself and devoured in one setting.
There's just something about a Jennifer E Smith book that I can't get enough of. Her writing is simplistic, lovely, and has this feeling of comfort to it. Her books always satisfy my reading craving for well written, enjoyable book, so much so that her books sit one of my shelves that holds my "go-to" books. You know the type of books I'm talking about. The ones that ALWAYS satisfy that reading crave you get, when you're looking for something that's enjoyable, and all around fulfilling read.
I loved how Ellie and Graham's relationship was developed. These two couldn't be more opposite of each other, and yet they're so much a like. I loved both of them from the moment they're both introduced to the story. Everything about them felt realistic, including their email interactions, which I loved, down to their meeting in person, and their time together. The way their relationship was paced, was perfect. Not to mention all that happens surrounding them. Both characters are learning to make the best of situations they're in, trying to find their own unique places in the world. Okay not that Graham has to worry much about his place.
Being a movie star affords Graham the things that Ellie can't easily get, but that never once goes to his head. I LOVED Graham for how grounded he is. Jennifer does a lovely job at complicating things with his movie star status and Ellie's quest for staying out of the lime light. That is for good reason, giving a secret about her mother's past that gets revealed within the story. What I loved about Ellie is her treating Graham like he was just a normal guy. These two together had this cute, almost shy like interaction in person, but email wise they were so much more open and relaxed. Slowly but surely they became much more open and relaxed around each other, well really Ellie became more relaxed around Graham. I adored Graham for his loving her more "normal" life style. Ellie too is a character who was so easy to like.
This Is What Happy Looks Like is another fantastic Jennifer E Smith book. I enjoyed the character development and LOVED the romance element in this story. It was so perfectly paced. It was innocent, sweet, and the kind that is so satisfying as you're reading it, but after you're done with the book leaves you wanting more. It's a romance that's relatable and realistic. I loved it! If you're looking for "that perfect" read, I highly recommend picking up this book! It's a fabulous, clean cut read. ...more
I have really enjoyed the YA anthologies that Harper Teen has published recently, and Shards and Ashes was no different. I love it when authors who'sI have really enjoyed the YA anthologies that Harper Teen has published recently, and Shards and Ashes was no different. I love it when authors who's writing I really enjoy put together a collection fascinating short stories. The only down fall is they usually leave me wishing the story wasn't so short. This collection of short Dystopian stories is a must have for YA fans. Each of the authors featured in this book have an amazing talent for telling vivid stories with a dark twist. Here's the break down of each of the stories.
Hearken by Veronica Roth- To me she's the queen of Dystopian writing, and she does a splendid with Hearken. This is one of those stories that's a little morbid, but completely intriguing. It's also a story that as soon as I got to know more about Darya's ability and understood the reasoning behind her decision, I wanted more (4 stars)
Branded by Kelley Armstrong- This was one of my favorite short stories out of this entire collection. Paranormal elements + a dystopian setting = awesomeness! The characters in this book were fabulous! I love strong, sharp minded characters, and this story has it. Okay it also has a twisted romance that's intriguing and added a little something else to the story. I love Kelley's story telling. She created a desolate and well detailed setting, and threw in some awesome twists! I didn't see those coming at all, and I love that she was able to do what she did with this story in such a short amount of time. I'm really hoping this is a story we'll get to see more of sometime in the future (5 stars).
Necklace of Raindrops by Margaret Stohl- This is one of those stories that takes you right into the present and throws you into all that's happening with the characters, and what's going on in their world. I liked the twist in this book, and how it shifted gears a bit half way through. That ending.... Loved that unexpected twist! (4 stars).
Dogsbody by Rachel Caine- Oh nelly! This story was one I liked, because it's narrated from a guy's point of view. Not just any guy, a cunning, patient individual who will stop at nothing to take down the very organization who's broken him and so many others. What I was not excepting is that crazy, twist at the end! This was one of the longer short stories, and extremely faced paced. It's action packed, and does contain some violence (4 stars).
Pale Rider by Nancy Holder- This is another one of my favorites. I swear I'm a sucker for magic and fey lore, both of which this story has. This dark has a darker feel to it, and it's fueled by fear, the unknown, and a hidden secret. It also has the intriguing, mysterious Alex, mentions of the Erl King, and Dana who seems to have a knack for facing her fears head on. This was definitely another story I wish was much longer than it's was. The other thing I loved about this story, are the first two words in the story, "Shards, Ashes" are the title for this book (5 stars).
Corpse Eaters by Melissa Marr- When this story started off it reminded me a lot of what Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth series felt like, in the sense there is this underline urgency and fear that drives the characters. I soon realized there was so much more to this story. It wasn't at all of what I had first thought it was. It's action packed and a little graphic, and has one heck of a dark unsuspecting twist that I didn't see coming (4 stars).
Burn 3 by Kami Garcia- This was a story that had a feel of a few different dystopians I've read recently, and it's one that left me wishing there was a bit more to the story. It's a darker, dangerous world where destruction makes up much of the setting. The story follows that of a teen girl trying to find her kidnapped little sister, and in turn the story takes her to a unimaginable underworld. (4 stars)
Love is a Choice by Beth Revis- I was so excited to learn that Beth was in this anthology, because that means more from her Across the Universe series! Orion is the main character in this story. I really liked getting to see him, and what motivated him and drove him to make the decisions he does. Having a short story that focuses squarely on him, allowed me to get to know him on a different level, as I got to see him become the character he is in the series (5 stars)!
Miasma by Carrie Ryan- Carrie Ryan has this knack for creating vivid worlds, and giving her story's settings this sense of ruin and brokenness. In doing so, she's able to create these really strong, incredible characters who bring hope, and a sense of purpose to all that's going on around them. I also love the way she develops character relationships. She does such an amazing job with this story's protagonist. I couldn't help but cheer her on, and want to see her overcome all that she is forced to deal with. I admire a character who doesn't give up (5 stars).
Can I just say how much I love this cover! It's a perfect fit for this book. ...more
FINALLY! Leah Cypess has a new book coming out, and it's AWESOME! I loved Death Sworn. It has all those elements I love in a Leah Cypess book. Danger,FINALLY! Leah Cypess has a new book coming out, and it's AWESOME! I loved Death Sworn. It has all those elements I love in a Leah Cypess book. Danger, magic, intrigue, mystery, and a romance that's there, but not there all at the same time. It's one of those romances that is strictly forbidden. So those stolen glances, accidental arm brushes, and stolen kisses leaving content and wanting so much more.
IIeni is a character I really enjoyed reading about. This girl is full of courage and bravery. She's a powerful sorceress who's sent to tutor a group of deadly assassins. Not only is she sent to live with a group of assassins to uncover the truth about what happened to her predecessors, she lives in a maze of caves under a mountain, which make it impossible for her to get out of. Talk about having to watch your back all the time. If being trapped inside caves with deadly assassins wasn't enough, she uncovers some deadly secrets, and despite what some think, there are more to her powers than they know. Talk about tension, there is a lot of tension in this book, that I didn't even realize I was feeling until I'd finish reading certain scenes.
Dark and intriguing, Dance of Shadows weaves together mystery and suspense with the beauty and danger of this story's elegant ballet. Graced4.5 stars
Dark and intriguing, Dance of Shadows weaves together mystery and suspense with the beauty and danger of this story's elegant ballet. Graced with an appealing storyline, and the mystery behind this story's main character Vanessa, sister's disappearance, this was a book I was hooked with from the moment I started reading it. Yelena Black's third person writing was well crafted, and flowed well never once making it confusing on who was talking and what was going on. I enjoyed being completely wrapped up with all that was going on. I loved the setting and the cast of characters I met.
Vanessa herself is a character I enjoyed getting to know. She's a character who grew and changed through out the story, and surprised me in some ways with how she went from being naive about some of the things going on at the dance's boarding school to being a strong character who wants to get to the bottom of all that's happening. The two guys who have her torn were both well written, and I'll admit I was just as torn as she was, and went from wanting her to pick the one to strongly disliking him at the same time the mystery surrounding him was revealed. I loved who she ended up choosing and I'm dying to know what will transpire between them next.
Not being one who knows a lot about ballet, I felt Yelena did a wonderful job at making me feel like I was able to comprehend what she was talking about, and all that was going on in regards to the ballet. I loved how the mystery and the suspense was woven into the ballet. It was detailed, and richly written, so much so that I had no problems picturing the dances, and moves that were being performed and practiced. I enjoyed the cast of characters I met. They were lively, mysterious and so easy to like.
I loved the twists and secrets some of them harbored, and I loved the well written love triangle that this story had. It went against the norm and I felt like Vanessa's feeling between the two guys were justified and relatable, given all that is going on with both of them. I can't wait to read more about the romance that I'm hoping develops between Vanessa and the one she choose (I'm leaving out their names so that I don't spoil anything) in the sequel. This is a deliciously dark, wonderful read and one I'd recommend picking up when it's out in February. ...more
What a great debut! Betsy Cornwell delivers a great summer read rich in selkie lore, fueled by romance, sprinkled with science and bounded by the relaWhat a great debut! Betsy Cornwell delivers a great summer read rich in selkie lore, fueled by romance, sprinkled with science and bounded by the relationships of family and friendship. I love this cover, and in fact it's what drew me to this book in the first place. I don't know what it is about Summer time, but anything pertaining to selkies, merpeople, and anything pertaining to the beach screams summer read to me, and this book is definitely one that I'd recommend picking up this summer.
A thrilling sequel full of suspense, fueled by passion, and filled with enticing plot twists. Jessica Shirvington exceeded my expectations wi4.5 stars
A thrilling sequel full of suspense, fueled by passion, and filled with enticing plot twists. Jessica Shirvington exceeded my expectations with this book. She not only surprised me with the turn of events that plays out, but she emotionally hooked me with all that happens. You know an author has done a great job with their character development when there are times you find yourself wanting to yell at some of the characters over their blindness of what was going on, and other times you wish you could push two of the characters together and tell them to get over their foolishness and kiss and make up. There were times I was completely frustrated with the characters over their decisions making and lack of decision, and other times I was laughing out loud over some of the things they said or did. There were some fabulous moments left me sighing, that made up for some of the other not so stellar scenes between Lincoln and Violet.
I enjoyed the romance that takes a back to seat to the more action packed, suspense filled story line. The romance between Lincoln and Violet is great, and I liked the role it played in the storyline. It's their motivator in doing some of the things they do. Violet for me was a character I grew a little frustrated with during the mid part of the book, because of some of the things that happened. I wanted her to confront the person who was the source of her distraction, but understood why she didn't. Even though I was internally yelling at her to say what was on her mind and let him have it. The relationship developments in this book are fabulous! Much like the characters, I felt their frustrations, happiness, hope, irritations, heartbreak and elations. Over all I really liked the character development that took place in ENTICE. I love that the things that I was frustrated with and other things that didn't quite add to me all made sense to me in the end.
Jessica did a fabulous job at creating diversions, and plot twists that kept me on my toes, and in the end she tied everything together perfectly. I liked that the surprising turn a previous character has in this book. Though I did get my "I knew it!" moment at the end, the act of betrayal from one of the characters was one I had my guesses about through out the book, but couldn't be sure about. When it was finally revealed in the manner it was, it was a little shocking. I enjoyed the new cast of characters that were introduced and ended up playing a huge role in this storyline. I think fans of this series will really enjoy the direction this book goes. There's a lot that happens in this book. Don't let the size fool you. It's fast paced, packed with awesomeness and it leaves me wanting the next book in the series already. I definitely recommend picking this on up! ...more
An unique YA story that combines native story telling / lore, and shifters. Amarok takes readers on an journey that's edgy, dangerous, and tests the lAn unique YA story that combines native story telling / lore, and shifters. Amarok takes readers on an journey that's edgy, dangerous, and tests the limits of friendship and love. The rugged Alaskan wilderness is the perfect setting for Emma and Tok (the Alaskan wolf shifter)'s story. Emma and Tok have not had an easy life. Emma's is still grieving the loss of her mother, and is escaping an not so stellar father. Her path unexpectedly crosses Tok's on a fateful night in the remote wilderness of Alaska. Tok is more than meets the eye. A boy trapped in the form of a wolf, he's learned his lesson with crossing paths with a Shaman, especially one who toys with ancient evil. Together these two have to figure out how to over come a powerful ancient evil, free those who have been trapped for centuries, and save each other.
This was a fast paced read that has has an engaging native story telling, and a rich setting. I really like the premise of this book. I'm a sucker for books rich in Native storytelling/lore, and I was hooked on the dangerous journey Emma finds herself trapped on. Mix in a wolf and other animal shifters, and set the story in Alaska, and I'm all in. While I liked parts of the story, there were a few things missing for me. Read my full review here http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/search......more