Tuesday, 14 October 2014

ARC REVIEW: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Pub. Date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
Readership: Young adult
Genres: high fantasy

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.  
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.  
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Snow Like Ashes is a lot like the books I've been reading lately: high fantasy, filled with magic and a war beyond the protagonists power. Basically, I had to read this book. I was thrilled when I received an ARC through HCCFrenzy but I put off reading it for just a little bit because I was so inundated with other books.

I picked it up one night after a long day of classes and got through the first 50 pages easily. But I wasn't sure how I liked it just yet. Meira felt a little flat and puppety in the sense that I really wasn't sure why she was doing what she doing. She felt like a two dimensional damsel that's trying to be a soldier but falling short and just kind of flopping around on the pages with no real zeal, doing things that the others wanted her to do. I felt like this for the next 50 pages as well. Usually if I'm not sure about a book one hundred pages in, I call it a day and throw in the towel. However, I was fascinated with the magic of the world and the eight different kingdoms. Eight! Each were unique unto themselves, not just the fact that four of them had the same season all year round. So I kept going and wow, I am glad I did.

I don't know what it was exactly, but after about the first hundred pages, things really turned around. New characters were being introduced that I immediately liked and the ball was really rolling for the band of refugees. I suddenly went from being indifferent to the novel to not being able to put it down, so much so that I... didn't sleep much until I finished the book. Again, this has never happened before. Like, ever.

I think part of what had me initially weary on the book was the "romance" between Mather and Meira. It just felt like nothing. It felt stale and forced and I wanted nothing to do with it but then, since I got through those first hundred pages, everything turned around and it all became clear.

That said, I loved all of the characters. Even evil as all heck Angra was someone I enjoyed reading. Theron though, was by far my favourite. I fell for him the moment he appeared and wished he was in it way more. I wish we got to see the rest of the Winter refugees more and got to know them outside of Meira, Mather and Sir. I hope we get to in the next book.

Overall, I really enjoyed Snow Like Ashes and I am excited to see how the story progresses in the next book!

★★★ 
I REALLY LIKED IT 
*Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!*

PURCHASE 

Monday, 6 October 2014

GIVEAWAY! Fall Release Giveaway.

Hey lovelies! It's been a while since I've held a giveaway so I thought I would hold one for fall releases since fall is my favourite time of the year.

Below are some options that you can choose from but should you win, you can pick any book that's been released this fall.



RULES & THINGS
  • The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as the Book Depository ships to you. 
  • Ends December 2nd 2014 
  • I will contact the winner immediately after I've chosen them and they have 48 hours to reply or I will choose another winner


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Monday, 15 September 2014

ARC REVIEW: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Pub. Date: September 16th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 256
Readership: Young adult
Genres: mystery, thriller

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.  
On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.  
The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.

What an interesting read! When I first heard about Blackbird it was via GoodReads and I was intrigued by the plot immediately. Strange girl? Abandoned on some train tracks? No idea of who she is or how she got there? Ok, I'm in! I love me a good amnesia story and Blackbird flipped the trope on it's head by giving it a suspenseful, action packed ride.

What's most interesting about Blackbird is that it's told in second person, which is something you rarely see in fiction. I like it for a number of reasons. You're in the character's head as much as you would be in second and even maybe first person but you also get a sense that someone else is pulling the strings, that someone else is telling the story and that they're whispering in the character's ear. You do this, you do that. It's an eerie thing and it works perfectly with the story because "Sunny" has absolutely no idea who she is or why she was dropped in the middle of LA on some subway tracks.

The pace was fantastic. It wasn't too fast like some action based books could be but it wasn't slow, either. It kept me reading until well past midnight when I probably should have been sleeping. While turning the page lead to more and more questions than it did answers, I still enjoyed watching "Sunny's" journey into finding out what had happened to her and who she was. Even when it was revealed who she was and what exactly was going on, that only lead to more questions and "oh, shit"s.

I've never been much of a reader of straight up contemporary because we all know I'm a sucker for the sci-fi or the fantasy, but this was a good contemporary thriller. It felt a bit like a sci-fi at some points because I was wondering just who was behind "Sunny"'s amnesia and what exactly was going on with the dreams, the memories and this mysterious island. Blackbird has a little bit of everything.

By the end, I'm still not sure how I feel about "Sunny". I was rooting for her to get all of her answers and to find that mysterious boy from the island and her memories, but it felt like there was a little something missing. But that could be how it's supposed to be due to the eerie second person narration. For all we know, there is some big reveal to come in book 2 that throws us all for even more of a loop. The other characters were very likeable too. There was Ben, the boy from the supermarket who has a bit of a thing with "Sunny" but there might be more to him than what we see on the surface. I quite liked Ben. He was sweet and caring but not in one of those over-bearing, please stop ways.

All in all it was a very enjoyable read, not to mention a fast one. It's perfect if you want a fast but gritty, action packed ride. Blackbird is awesome!

★★★★ 
I REALLY LIKED IT 
*Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!* 

PURCHASE 

Thursday, 31 July 2014

12k Tumblr Followers Giveaway!!

Hi guys -- long time, I know. I've been busy with life and other things... so I've kind of neglected the blogosphere as a whole. BUT! I have lots of things coming up on here and over on the twin Tumblr blog. I even hit 12k followers over there recently! So why not celebrate with a giveaway?

Winners will be able to choose ANY book of their choice (preorder, even.) on TBD.






The giveaway works the same as any other, just follow the rafflecopter! The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL as long as the Book Depository ships to you.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 24 July 2014

BLOG TOUR: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally



Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honour his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more gruelling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

PURCHASE
(amazon) (kindle) (chapters/indigo) (the book depository)



Q&A WITH THE AUTHOR MIRANDA KENNEALLY


Recently, there has been a huge trend with dystopian YA novels. Why do you choose to write realistic fiction? 
To tell you the truth, I would love to write sci-fi or fantasy, but I've never been all that great at world-building. I love reading contemporary fiction, and people say you should write what you love reading.

Your characters often crossover in your novels. Is this your way of giving your characters a sequel or a happy ending?
Yes, I chose to write companion novels rather than sequels, because to write a sequel, you have to create drama. If I've already given my characters a happy ending at the end of a book and they have grown and developed, I don't want to take that away from them by creating unnecessary drama. I also loved the idea of creating a community in which kids influence each other in different ways throughout the books.

Running the marathon for Kyle was Annie’s way of coping with her stress and grief. What advice would you give others in similar situations of grief or stress?
I would say give yourself time to heal. Recognize that everyone's healing process is different. Don't beat yourself up if you don't feel better in a certain amount of time; everyone heals in different ways. If you need to, talk to good friends, your guidance counselor, or a therapist.

Why do you choose to write YA books? Have you ever considered writing other genres?
I'd love to write adult romance or historical romance. I might try writing adult romance one day, but I'm just too busy with my YA books right now. I also love sci-fi, and would love to try writing another one. I've written 3 sci-fis, but they aren't exactly publishing material! :)

Your books take place in a small town. Is your hometown similar to the one in your books?
Yes, my books take place in Franklin, Tennessee, which is near where I grew up (Manchester, TN). I use real restaurants and landmarks from Franklin, Manchester, and the surrounding towns in my books. Only a couple of the schools I mention are real. Most of them are named after shopping malls in TN.

FOLLOW MIRANDA! (goodreads) (twitter) (website) (facebook)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 9 June 2014

ARC REVIEW: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Pub. Date: June 10th 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 400
Readership: Young adult
Genres: dystopia

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.  
Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.  
The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?  
Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings.

It's not often these days that a book has me up into the wee hours turning page after page to find out what happens next and just exactly what the heck is going on. The Murder Complex was one that did. The book had been on my to-read, must have wishlist for a while. It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2014 so I was a little worried it wasn't going to meet up to my expectations. I'm happy to say that I was wrong. From the get-go I was intrigued by Meadow and who this little girl was she was trying to usher out of the water. Why was Meadow so worried? What was going on? Immediately I was hooked.

I'm always a fan of dual POVs but it's especially thrilling when they are done right. The dual POVs really helped shaped the world of The Murder Complex. You had the perspective of Meadow, who grew up in the Shallows with her family and people to take care of and then Zephyr, a Ward, a no one. Or so we think. It helps the reader see the nooks and crannies of the closed in dystopian world that these poor people live in. You see the differences in their lives and the similarities, one of which is how they are all struggling to survive.

Things move fast in this book but not at a ridiculous rate. It is a thriller, so things have to go at a fast pace. Cummings times it all perfectly, weaving rich prose fast action and dialogue. Things get so gripping and fast that I was up till the sun started to shine one night because I had to know what happened next. There are many twists and turns that happen along the way. Some were fairly easy to spot but others were shocking. That is what makes a good thriller: you think the turns and the twists are easy to spot and yes, you spot some, but there are the others that come out of nowhere and hit you like a bus. The ones you never see coming.

I also loved the characters and the way they were developed. There were ones you loved, ones you hated, ones you rooted for and ones you wanted to see fall off of a train. A character doesn't have to be liked to be a good character and there were plenty of those in The Murder Complex. Meadow was such a bad-ass protagonist I wanted more and more of her, even though she was one half of the POVs. It was just great to see such a badass, ruthless character set out to do absolutely anything to protect the ones she loves. Zephyr was great too, even if it took me a few more chapters to warm up to him. By the end I was rooting for him as much as I was rooting for Meadow.

Overall, The Murder Complex is a must-read. It is absolutely gripping from start to finish, with an ending that will leave you pulling your hair out for the next book in the series.

★★★★★ 
I LOVED IT 
*Thank you to HarperCollins Canada for providing an ARC for review!!! 
Follow @HCCFrenzy on twitter and HarperCollinsCanada on Facebook!*

PURCHASE 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

BLOG TOUR: Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki (Interview!)

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win. The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.



THE INTERVIEW


1. If you could live in any Dystopian world, which world would you choose and why?
Oh, this is a tough one! I think it’d be hard to live in any dystopian. Maybe Ann Aguirre’s Razorland Series. At least her characters have the chance to fight back. Her main female is pretty kickass too. Abi- None. I would never want to have to endure any of those places.

2. Did you listen to music while writing or do you find the silence helps more? 
Missy- While music can sometimes inspire me, I like it completely quiet while I write.
Abi- I run on my elliptical so I can close my eyes and let my blasting music take my mind where it wants. So when I write I will listen to the song that inspired that scene for me. Now when it’s a chapter Missy wrote, and it’s my turn to add to it. I usually just have noise in the background. Or I’ll read it and find a song that will help inspire me. It’s funny, I have ADD but I can’t write in dead silence.

3. If you could choose three songs to describe the book, which songs would they be? 
Missy- The three songs that come to mind for me are 1) Linkin Park’s Castle of Glass, Third Eye Blind’s Wounded, and Needtobreathe’s Something Beautiful.
Abi- Kelly Clarkson. Dark Side & Honestly. And the ones Missy already talked about.

4. What were some books or stories that inspired you to write? 
Missy- I’ve always been a bookworm, but writing was mostly a private outlet for me. I didn’t want to write a story until Abi & I started meeting to talk about books we were currently reading.
Abi- We always found something with a book that we read that bothered us. We always agreed on the parts that we would change. So totally joking I said to Missy. “You know the only way we will ever be 100% happy with a book, is if we wrote it.” After that talk I went home and started listening to music and wondering what I would want to write about. And when Branded to came to me, of course Missy loved the idea. We click like that! It’s pretty amazing.

5. What authors do you look up to, currently and in the past? 
Missy- for me, it’s Bodie Thoene and Ann Rinaldi. Their books inspired me when I was a young girl and kept me reading! Currently, I respect all writers… because now I really know how much work it is to be one!!!
Abi- Nicholas Sparks, his story telling blows my mind. And the same as Missy, now that we have gone through the process of writing a novel, you have to respect everyone who tries.

FIND ABI & MISSY: (twitter) (website)