Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Recap, December News

Holy. Shit. 
Another month has flown by and I can hardly believe it. Where did the time go? No, seriously, what happened to it? It feels like November just got here. And now I'm studying for finals and thinking about Christmas. Actually, I think about Christmas a lot because it's my favorite holiday. Except Christmas music, because I hate it. Yeah, I know. I'm a grinch, right? #whatever

My God, I can't believe another semester is pretty much over with. I'm halfway through my "sophomore" year. Technically, I'll be a junior next semester because of how many credits I have. However, I'm still calling myself a sophomore. I don't know if you guys know this, but I have my major SIGNED! Woohooooo! I'm officially a psychology major. And I'm so excited for my Studies in Personality class next semester. Haha, it's gonna be so MUCH FUN! Also. I got a job!!!!!!!!!! This is my first real job, and I couldn't be happier! I'll be working at CMU's library starting January 6th! :) :) :)

Anyway, I feel like things are starting to fall in place. Next semester will be all about my psych major, and I'll be doing a lot of research on careers and internships, as well as volunteer opportunities. I'm thinking long term, and I can't wait to get my life in order! Here's to being an adult. ;)

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I've read quite a bit this month. I had four blog tours. Daughter of IsisA Graceful MessText, and Soar. Soar was by far my favorite of the four. I can't wait for the next book in the series! Some of my other reviews this month include: Pastels and Jingle BellsDark WitchTimespellPawnOf Beast and BeautyNightmare, and White Trash Beautiful. Dark Witch, Of Beast and Beauty, and Pawn were my favorites of this month. Loved them all! Timespell was very great, and White Trash Beautiful was my least favorite. It was my first Teresa Mummert read, and I was sorely disappointed with it! If you ever want to check out my reviews, go to "My Reviews" tab. I cleaned it up, and my reviews are arranged in alphabetical order! 

I also had my second giveaway this month! I reached my first blogoversary on November 4th, and in celebration, I gave away a Kate Ellison book prize pack. :)

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December News:

Woohoo! I'M SO EXCITED DECEMBER IS HERE!!! Why? Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love everything about it: shopping for presents, giving people gifts, putting up the tree and decorating it, all the pretty lights, the Christmas movies and books, and the snow! I still have yet to give my mom a Christmas list (guys, I'm never this late with it), but I did make a Christmas wishlist shelf on Goodreads. Oh yes, I did. :P 

This month, I only have a release day launch and a cover reveal to do. YES. :) Guys, I love blogging, and I love doing blog tours and taking on review requests. But I'm so damn busy all of the time with school that I have to make room for books. And I've never had to make room for books! I've done so well with not procrastinating on my homework, and I don't want that to change! But I miss blogging a lot. I rarely do it that much anymore. BUT, I'm planning on tackling my impressive (and by impressive, I mean HUGE) NetGalley list this month. I will read other books, but those will be my main focus. I did get 2 done this month, but I need to start reviewing them more often. 

What else am I missing? OH! December new releases! I actually don't know many books that are coming out this month, but here's the list of ones I want to read:
  • December 10th. Reviving Izabel (In the Company of Killers, #2) by J.A. Redmerski. I haven't read this first book, but I have it on my Kindle. Though, I'm sure I'll love this series because this is the same author who brought me The Edge of Never, which I loved.
  • December 10th. These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I've heard so many amazing things about this book already! I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi, but I really want to read this!
  • December 17th. Fireblood (Fireblood, #1) by Trisha Wolfe. I've only read one of her books--The Darkest Part, which is AMAZING! This sounds equally as amazing--Camelot, knights, fantasy? COUNT. ME. IN. :)
  • December 31st. The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine. I've heard mixed things about this book, but I still want to read it.
  • December 2013. Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher. I've never read any of her books, but this sounds AMAZING! I've been reading more dark novels, and I'm excited for it. :)
This sounds like a great list! I can't wait for these books. :)

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Signing off now. I hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And I hope you guys have an equally as wonderful Christmas! :) :)

Review of White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert

*I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

White Trash Beautiful started out promising, and I was thinking: this is going to be different than all the other New Adult novels out there. And that's where the disappointment came from, because there was nothing different about it. It was entirely too predictable and felt like insta-love. This is the first novel I've read by Teresa Mummert, and it might just be the last.

Rating: 2 stars!
The biggest problem I had with this book was the main character: Cass Daniels. The author tried to portray her character in a way that would have her audience sympathizing with her. But I just don't. Cass has had a lot of heartache in her life, and she's got a dead-end job and lives in a run-down trailer park with her drugged up boyfriend and mother. But I just found her to be incredibly weak, a little bit selfish, and a whole lot annoying. I just didn't feel any sympathy for her. Cass' inner dialogue was all about how she wanted to get out of this life and how much her life sucks and how Tucker deserves better than her. I get it--we all have insecurities, we all deal with self-esteem issues. But it was too much, and because of Cass' constant whining, her character was sorely underdeveloped. She never tried to make her life better; she was only pushed to do that because Jackson, her good-for-nothing abusive boyfriend finds out she's been "sneaking around" behind his back. And let's be honest, she cheated. Full-on cheated on the guy. Not that he didn't deserve it, but that's not something you want to read about from the main character. You're supposed to like the MC!

The only character I liked was Tucker; and even then, I didn't connect with him very well. Not much about his life is brought up, and he seems to have this hero complex when it comes to Cass. Which, I love. Protective guy? Swoon! But, I didn't think he pushed enough, fought enough, to keep himself in her life. Granted, Cass pushed him away so much I was surprised he kept coming back. He carried her all the way through this book. She never stood up for herself. I thought their relationship was just this push-and-pull, never anything more than a fantasy to escape reality. I don't believe that what they have is a happily-ever-after kind of love. Their relationship didn't consist of much except wanting, longing, and a few surface conversations about their lives.

The plot was... Simplistic. Boring. Ridiculous. It literally didn't consist of much except Cass' inner struggles and insecurities, a few "dates" with Tucker, and too many scenes with her dead-end job and her sucky life in the trailer park. The secondary characters didn't have personalities and were only added to keep up the image of this "white trash" life that the lead character has. There wasn't enough emphasis on Cass' and Tucker's relationship, nor was there any conflict. Sure, there were drugs and cheating involved. But none of that was really brought up as a conflict. The only decent drama was in the end, when Cass comes home for the last time. I was waiting for that other shoe to drop, for Jackson to find her stuffed teddy bear or those dresses sooner, for him to pick a fight, for her mother to make Cass realize that she shouldn't have to be the parent. Everything seemed to tie up too nicely in a bow (even with the tragedies, which were a ridiculously easy way to end Cass' problems). I thought the book should have ended Cass' and Tucker's story. I honestly don't know what other subplots the author is going to pull out to continue this entirely too predictable "love story." 

Cass' character had promise; this book had promise. But I won't be picking up White Trash Damaged because I just don't care what happens with these characters after the end of this book. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Book vs Movie: Catching Fire

I went and saw Catching Fire in theaters today! AND OH MY GOD, I LOVED IT! Peeta. Katniss. Finnick. Johanna. The games. The costumes. The fights. The casting. Loved, loved, loved it! :) 

I'm honestly not a movie critic. I just don't care about reviewing movies, nor about reading reviews on movies. If I liked it, I liked it. If I hated it, well, then I'm never watching it again. They don't move me like books do. I just watch movies for the entertainment value only. So, this isn't really a movie review so much as a tribute to how much I loved this movie. See what I did there? ;)

It's been over a year since I read Catching Fire, so it's safe to say that I forgot a lot! Not the most important parts, like the character deaths, the arena for the games, and that godawful cliffhanger ending. (All those people who moaned about it--they didn't read the books! Suckers gonna have to wait a loooong time to find out how this series ends). So, my "movie review" might not necessarily reflect how I felt about the book, because I can't remember how I felt while reading it. I should have done a reread; however my cousin told me that I probably would have liked the movie less if everything was fresh in my mind. I would have caught changes and been like: THAT'S NOT HOW IT HAPPENED IN THE BOOK! I sort of did that with the first movie. Anyone remember Madge Undersee? I get why they cut out her character, but I still hated it. Anyway, maybe it's a good thing I can't remember all those little details about Catching Fire. Because I want nothing to soil my view of the amazingness of this movie.


THE CASTING:
I love all of the casting choices! Seriously, I couldn't picture anyone else bringing these beloved characters to life. Jennifer Lawrence IS Katniss. She's able to embody everything that Katniss is and believes. I also LOVED the casting choices for Finnick and Johanna! They were perfect for those roles. Do you have any idea how long I've wanted to see Finnick on the big screen? Well done, Sam Claflin. Well done. You guys need to check out this buzzfeed article about why Sam Claflin is the Hunger Games tribute of your dreams. Haha, so hilarious! Seriously, though, he and Johanna were awesome in their roles. As well as the rest of the original cast: Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, and Elizabeth Banks as Effie. Oh wait.. I'm forgetting Liam Hemsworth. Clearly, he's unimportant. Just like his character in the books... #sorrynotsorry 

THE GAMES:
In the first movie, I thought the games were so PG. I mean, this was a fight to the death! I was sorely missing that gore and violence. Does this make me a bad person? Oh well, I don't care. I'm the type of girl who can watch war movies and not get squeamish. I know, I know. The Hunger Games was PG-13 and also for a younger audience. Still, I wanted more out of that in the movie. It didn't have to be blood gushing, limbs broken and heads severed type of violence. I just wanted it to be more INTENSE. (I swear I'm not a violent person!) However, I think, when I read Catching Fire, I felt that those games were much more intense. Maybe it was the anger coming from the tributes. The desperation to live. The hunger for Snow's blood. The terrifying knowledge that no one is safe. It was intense and powerful, and I felt every emotion. I loved how the Games were shown in this film, how they were brought to life. From the special effects to the characters' emotions, it was played to perfection! There was less action than the first movie, but that's because Catching Fire has less fight scenes, even though it's much more intense. And I think most of the reason why it's much more intense is because these tributes are all VICTORS. They've been through the games, and they won. They're not children anymore, and the second book is much more mature and advanced because of that.

THE PLOT:
Oh, I have to talk about the plot! Because this movie is an adaptation of a book, the plot and overall story-line portrayed is very important. As to effectively bringing to life the story-line that Suzanne Collins created with the books, I thought the movie did a great job! Like I said, I don't remember all of the details in Catching Fire, so I could be missing important details. But as it stands, I thought it did a great job of following the book's story-line. 

THE SPECIAL EFFECTS:
If you were the director of this film, I'd ask you one question: how the hell do you bring to life this kind of story?!?! From the costumes to the world these people live in. From the games to the differences between the districts. It's so much to show! It's such a vast and grand world to bring to life. The dress and style of the people of the Capitol alone is a daunting task. But I thought the special effects were done perfectly! Especially those of the games. From the arena to the different things that happen there. This movie brought to life the characters we all fell in love with and the games we all feared.

(Not sure if this is an "official" poster, but I love it!)

I'm probably building this movie up way too much. My cousin loved it, but she wasn't gushing giddiness about it. My little brother said it was good. Just good, not great. Not amazing. Not fantastic (I really have an addiction to this word right now). Maybe I'm just so happy with it because I've finally been able to see it. Maybe I'm blinded by the amazing talent of the actors and actresses. Maybe I'm just distracted by Finnick's smile and sugar cubes. Whatever the reason, I just don't care. I loved the movie, and I would watch it again. And again. And again. I loved it more than the first movie, if that were even possible. AND I CAN'T FRIGGIN' WAIT FOR MOCKINGJAY! :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Noctali and Promises: A Review of Nightmare by Chelsea Cameron

Rating: 4 stars!

I enjoyed the first book in this series, Nocturnal, but it was lacking something that had me only liking the story. Don't ask me what it is, because I probably can't tell you. However, Nightmare was definitely better than the first book. Although the pace was slow, I loved the story. 

In Nocturnal, we learn that the supernatural creatures Ava is exposed to are Noctali. They are angels, vampires, werewolves, every kind of supernatural creature there is. Peter is a Noctalis: a vampire angel. And now that he's Claimed Ava, he can only drink her blood. Let's just say, it's a problem. 

Nightmare doesn't focus so much on the supernatural aspects. It focuses on Ava's and Peter's relationship, as well as all of the secondary characters (though I was missing more of Jamie and Tex in this book). We get more backstory on Peter, as well as some heartbreaking moments between Ava and her mother. After deciding to tell her mother about Peter being a Noctalis and about the Claiming, it adds another element now that more people know about the supernatural. Her mother is, by far, one of my favorite characters. She's exactly what I've been missing from other parents in young adult novels. Most of them are always in the background, never focused on, never a part of the story (especially in fantasy and dystopian novels). They are only there to make it known that the characters do have them. But her mother is present for everything in Ava's life. And now that she knows her secret, Ava feels better. Although, she still feels like she's burdening her mother who doesn't need any more pain in her life.
There is such a freedom in unburdening a secret, but it is our fear of what will happen after the secret is out that keeps our lips sealed.
However, she only partially tells her best friends the secrets. Jamie knows about her mother, and Tex knows about Peter. It is in that secrecy where those two characters drop off in this story, leaving much of Ava's interactions with only her mother and Peter. It's awesome character development, but I missed the closeness and tight friendship of Ava, Jamie, and Tex. 

I loved that the story focused a lot on Peter's and Ava's relationship. It was a slow development for them, from the cemetery to their tentative friendship. From their need for each other to their desire for companionship. The first book set it up nicely, and this one developed it even further. Ava is strong-willed, impatient, stubborn: she is, essentially, just a teenager whose mother is dying and whose boyfriend drinks her blood and has wings. A lot of how she dealt with both of these burdens made sense, even if I wanted smack her a few times for overreacting. Her love for Peter and her need to feel wanted drives her actions. But she also makes sure to keep a level and clear head when it comes to things she can't control. Especially how Peter will never be able to love her like she needs. And especially how she's now smelling people's blood, and it smells divine. Heavenly. She needs Peter's help, and he's her rock. I love Peter! I love the way he talks (he's old, so it's much more "sophisticated"), and I love the way he takes care of Ava. Although I liked his character development in this, I was so hoping for more background story. 

I would have liked more background on the Noctalis and how they came to be. Although, I'll bet the first book already cleared that up. I honestly can't remember much about Nocturnal in the way of its supernatural story-line, so I might just be forgetting all of the important aspects of the Noctali. But I would have liked it if this book had had more development on the supernatural elements. And especially about those promises! They are a Noctalis' only weakness, and it's those promises that give these two lovebirds trouble. Though the supernatural component was really only there for the last few chapters, I thought the ending was rather effective and it has me intrigued for what happens next!

The pace was slow, but I was never bored. There was always something interesting going on, even when the conversations slowed. Chelsea Cameron's books always have a signature feisty and sassy humor, and I love it! The plot mostly consisted of Ava and Peter, Ava and her mother, but there was a little bit more on the supernatural component. These Noctali are certainly intriguing! However, their story is far from over. I can't wait to read Neither!

A Tale As Old As Time: Of Beast and Beauty Review

Magical. Enchanting. Absolutely wonderful. 

5 Stunningly Romantic Stars!

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairy-tale. I mean, c'mon. Belle is nerdy, compassionate, and a total bookworm. She knows to stay away from Gaston, who is a complete douchebag. She gave up her life for her father. And she fell in love with a Beast, someone with whom she'd seen the man inside and thought he was worth saving. And let's be honest here, us bookworms just wanted that gorgeous library. ;) 

Because of my love for this fairy-tale, as soon as I heard about this book, I put it on my wishlist. And I was lucky enough to win my choice of book from Kaitlin @ Reading Is My Treasure, so I chose Of Beast and Beauty
BEST. CHOICE. EVER. 

Guys, my love for this fairy-tale knows no bounds! So, although I really wanted to read this, I was also scared that it would be a poor retelling of my favorite fairy-tale. And let me tell you, Of Beast and Beauty did not disappoint me! Seriously, I loved everything about this book. All of the little hints at the original fairy-tale: the two main characters, the ROSES. Not only did we have Beauty and the Beast elements, but there were more from other fairy-tales. Isra was kept in a tower like Rapunzel. There's that underlying theme of sacrificing yourself for the one you love, finding the good and beauty in people despite their looks. Stacey Jay did an AMAZING job of staying true to the wildly popular and iconic Beauty and the Beast fairy-tale (Disney's version, that is) while making this retelling her own unique and original idea.


***

In the beginning, the plot is very complicated. But it never got confusing for me, because the way the author told the story made it easy to understand. There are so many mysteries surrounding the blind princess, the Monstrous, and the city of Yuan. What Isra was always told is that the queens had to sacrifice themselves to the roses so the city would survive and flourish, while the desert and the Monstrous living there were dying. The truth about the roses is far more sinister and deadly than anyone ever knew. And it'll take the love between a Beauty and a Beast to save their world.

In Of Beast and Beauty, we have two main characters: Isra, the blind princess, and Gem, the wild beast from the desert. They sound intriguing, right? Exactly so! These two characters were both strong-willed, stubborn, and had preconceived notions about each other. When they meet, it's all very intense and terrifying. Instead of Isra being locked away like Belle, though, Gem is the prisoner. The slave who wears chains and is "asked" to help Isra with this healing garden. She wants to save her city and her people, and she needs his help. But he's lying to her. And she's also keeping secrets.

However, the two of them form this bond, this connection. They've been taught as children to hate the other. Smooth Skins and Desert People (the Monstrous, as they're referred to by Isra's people) don't get along. They fight. They kill each other. And they definitely don't fall in love. But as the two work together, spend their lonely days filled with story-telling and gardening, they start to form this tentative friendship. This companionship.
Even when Gem tries to deny it, he starts to care for her. As Isra starts to care for Gem. But it's hard to ignore childhood lessons and societal expectations. Smooth Skins and Desert People just don't like each other! 

So, Isra takes matters into her own hands. She's been blind her whole life, and she's never truly seen what Yuan looks like, what happens in the dome. When she takes her place as Queen, she learns tragic and painful truths about what's been kept from her by her father and by the advisors who don't trust her opinions. She's only a girl, they say, as mad as her mother. As much as she's fighting her feelings for Gem, she's also fighting to stay strong against the people who would love to watch her fall, to watch her do something crazy to warrant their concerns that she really is her mother's daughter.

She's such a strong heroine, one who takes action and stands up for what she believes in. Even when everyone thought she was just crazy and mad, she knew the truth. And she tried to make people see that Gem was more than just a Monstrous. That he has a kind and good heart. That he's human, just like they are. 

But how do you make people believe something that is so deeply rooted into their consciousness and mind that nothing will ever change it? The people of Yuan needed a rude awakening, and they definitely got it. And their future will be all the better for what Isra and Gem accomplished together
The loss of hope is the worst kind of loss.
Isra gave the people of Yuan their hope back. Just as Gem gave her hope. These two should never have met, should never have fallen in love. But they did, and it was exciting and passionate and deeply, truly romantic. Like in the fairy-tale, their love was strong enough to survive even the most difficult of circumstances.
I will show her that loving her is my greatest truth, and the most beautiful thing I have ever known. 
Oh, be still my beating heart! I loved Gem as a character; I could see, even underneath that hard exterior and his intense ways, that he had a good heart. He was gentle, so gentle with Isra. While everyone else saw her deformity and the blindness, he saw the beauty within her. He saw that she truly cared for her people, that she wanted to make the world a better place. And he shared that dream. For the only reason he'd been in Yuan was to help his dying people. I SHIP THIS COUPLE SO MUCH. Oh, they are so beautiful together. I absolutely loved watching them fall in love. From their highly volatile first meeting to their tentative friendship. From their heated exchanges to their sweet moments, everything felt real and genuine. It was never forced.

The secondary characters had their own voices as well, even Needle, the mute friend of Isra's. Bo was a complicated guy, one that I thought had redeemed himself in the end. And I hated Junjie. He played "villain" well. But the real villain here was not a character; it was in the legend of Yuan itself. A twisted deception that'll tie you up in knots as you read. The way it unfolded was played to perfection. And that ending was the best part of the whole story (okay, maybe not the best part). But still, it was truly lovely. 

Stacey Jay's writing was enchanting. Lyrical. I was instantly pulled into the story, and I fell in love with her writing style. The two main characters' voices were easily distinguishable and made me feel connected with them and the story. The way she portrayed Isra's blindness was so wonderfully written. Her descriptions gave me images in my head while I was reading, and the story was brought to life right before my very eyes. From intense, dark scenes to steamy, romantic ones, this author knows how to tell a story. And what a story it was.
"Beauty is wherever you find it, and Beast is there when you need to defend it."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Soar Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway



ABOUT SOAR:

In the city that never sleeps the Chronicles continue…

Serving coffee is temporary, just like Casey's year off from school. She’s going to come up with a plan to stay in New York City and go back to college, and that plan does not involve dating a paranormal creature—let alone two.

Running the supernatural society of New York is not as fun as it sounds, especially when you still have to answer to your ex-girlfriend’s fiancĂ©. Toby doesn’t mean to bring Casey into the chaos of his life, but he can't resist the girl who makes him smile when he thought no one else ever could.

Jared's in New York checking out a security risk for his best friend, the king. He plans to return to New Orleans quickly, but not if it means losing his chance with the brunette who pretends she wants nothing to do with him.

In over her head with a bunch of winged creatures who most definitely are not angels, Casey has to figure out who to trust with her life and maybe her heart.

Buy Links:

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My Review!

4.5 Soaring Stars!

The Crescent Chronicles series by Alyssa Rose Ivy is one of my favorites. I loved the crazy world of the Pterons and I didn't want to stop reading about The Society or the characters. So, when I heard that the author wasn't finished with the Pterons and that there would be another series, I WAS SO EXCITED! Plus, I'd heard that Jared would make an appearance and that he would be one of the main characters. *happy dances* Oh, how I love that sexy bad boy! 

Okay, so by the start of this novel, Levi has taken over as King and Toby's been given the New York sector to be the boss of, taking the place of his grandfather. He's still heartbroken over Allie choosing Levi, and now his city is being attacked by wolves and bears. Not the real animals, but shifters. Shifters who think the king is weak and want to get everyone's attention. These shifters are out for blood, and they think it's time for the Pterons to step down. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Much of the beginning revolves around the developing relationship between Toby and Casey. I still had love/hate feelings for Toby because of what he'd done in the last series, but he did grow on me. However, I was already biased for this "love triangle" because I love Jared. A lot. But I did like the friendship between Toby and Casey. However, I didn't expect that fast of a turnaround for the romance. I want more development between these relationships in book two.

Now, I loved the characters. Casey is sweet, sassy, and totally kickass. When she learns about the Pterons and that there are shifters, it doesn't scare her. In fact, she doesn't find it frightening at all (and there's a pretty big reason why). And, like I said, I had a love/hate relationship with Toby. He's done some pretty awful things, yet he's also redeemed himself by protecting the women he cares about. I found myself liking him this time around. And last but not least: Jared. I loved him in the first series; I was SO EXCITED when the author announced that he would have a bigger role to play in The Empire Chronicles. I love his humor and how he takes care of the people he loves. I was also so glad to see the other Pteron members present! Levi, Allie, Owen, and Hailey. It was nice to see this gang of friends back together again. They love to tease each other, and they also make sure to take care of each other. It was nice to read about their tight friendship again, and the additions of Casey and Toby were great, too. Even if it's still awkward for them. 

This plot had so many twists, ones I wasn't expecting at all! That ending has me so intrigued for the next book, and I'm excited to see what happens to these characters as the series progresses. 

Soar was full of a wonderful plot, lovable characters, and an intriguing world of animal shifters.


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About Alyssa Rose Ivy:

Alyssa Rose Ivy is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Twisted Game of "Chess": Review of Pawn

*I received a copy of this from NetGalley AND Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

With so many different dystopian novels out there, I was wondering how Pawn by Aimee Carter would stand out. And boy, did it stand out! I thought the concept was unique, the characters were three-dimensional, and the plot had twists upon twists upon twists that it made my head spin. And those are the kinds of stories I love: the ones that keep me on my toes until its finished and I'm sitting there with my head still swimming from the whirlwind of a story. 

5 Twisted Stars!
In this dystopian society, people are separated by how they fit into society. Children take an aptitude test when they turn seventeen to determine what they'll become: by being tattooed with roman numerals. With Kitty, becoming a IV is everything. It's the only guarantee that she'll have a good life, and she knows she has no hope of ever attaining a higher level. But when she takes her aptitude test, she becomes a III. And it changes her whole life.

Having nothing to live for except her boyfriend, Benjy, Kitty makes a few tough choices that will forever change her life. When she gets bought, she doesn't expect the Prime Minister of the District of Columbia to enter the room. He offers her a deal. He'll mark her as a VII if she'll come with him. Between a life of prostitution or a life of luxury, which turns into a choice between life or death later on, Kitty accepts his proposal. But what the deal was is far more twisted than she ever thought. Daxton Hart Masked her. Becoming Masked is no small thing, especially when the person she was Masked as is one of the most famous faces in all the District. Kitty becomes Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece. A girl who was killed by her family because she was the face of the rebels. Her speeches about equality and the past sparked a revolution in the people. And the Harts want Kitty to shut it down. 

It's not as simple as it sounds. The Harts are a bunch of psychotic, vengeful, and power-hungry individuals. It's a twisted game that Kitty is playing, and she's a pawn being pulled in all different directions by the most bitter and cruel tug-of-war between the Harts. Everyone wants something. Revenge. Power. It's a dangerous, terrifying, and utterly crazy game. And everyone wants a piece of her.

Throughout all of this, one constant remains: Benjy. He's her lifeline, her sole reason for continuing to play this game. I enjoyed the sweet and innocent relationship between the two of them. They were already a couple before this story started, and even though we didn't get to see that relationship develop, I didn't mind. Although, at one point, I thought there would be a love triangle. And even though Benjy and Kitty really love each other, I'm not ruling the love triangle out. Who knows what will happen in the next book? ;)

I thought Kitty was a fantastic heroine who was only trying to make hers and Benjy's life better. She really grew on me, and I liked her from the beginning. I didn't really make a connection with Benjy, but that was partially because he's virtually nonexistent in this novel. We only know that Kitty is in love with him, because much of her decisions center around Benjy: whether trying to save him or make his life better. It was that love for Benjy that fueled Kitty's strength. The way she handled everything was sometimes unexpected, but most of all, true to her character. However, I'd like to see more of Kitty when she's not so love-struck with Benjy. Not that it's bad, but I thought her identity was intermingled with his, and I wanted her to stand out on her own. It didn't take anything away from the story, but I'd like to see more of Kitty's personality when she's not so focused on her boyfriend.

The secondary characters were equally well-developed. Each of them had an agenda, each of them had a part to play in this story. They were so very well-written that I had a hard time guessing their moves. Even Knox, whom I came to like a lot! The way they all were portrayed had me wondering if any of them were good, were really Kitty's allies. I'm excited to watch these characters develop more in the next books, as well.

The plot was seriously CRAZY! Holy hell, there were so many twists that I ended up not even bother trying to figure out everyone's motives. It was so intense and suspenseful and mysterious! I was suspicious of everyone's actions, and many of those plot twists I never saw coming!

Pawn was so unpredictable and anything but expected. And I loved it! It's definitely one of the best dystopians I've read this year, and I seriously can't wait for the next installment! I want more of this twisted and bitter game of power.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Release Day Launch: Soar by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Soar by Alyssa Rose Ivy released today!!! I have read this, and let me say, it was fantastic! I needed more Jared in my life. ;)

ABOUT SOAR (The Empire Chronicles #1):

In the city that never sleeps the Chronicles continue…

Serving coffee is temporary, just like Casey's year off from school. She’s going to come up with a plan to stay in New York City and go back to college, and that plan does not involve dating a paranormal creature—let alone two.

Running the supernatural society of New York is not as fun as it sounds, especially when you still have to answer to your ex-girlfriend’s fiancĂ©. Toby doesn’t mean to bring Casey into the chaos of his life, but he can't resist the girl who makes him smile when he thought no one else ever could.

Jared's in New York checking out a security risk for his best friend, the king. He plans to return to New Orleans quickly, but not if it means losing his chance with the brunette who pretends she wants nothing to do with him.

In over her head with a bunch of winged creatures who most definitely are not angels, Casey has to figure out who to trust with her life and maybe her heart.


***

EXCERPT:

I slowly opened the door and my jaw dropped. Standing there was a shirtless guy with a body that couldn’t be real. Hard. Muscular. Perfect. That’s the way I’d describe his chest. He had abs that would make underwear models jealous.  My eyes zeroed in on a few beads of sweat making a descent down his chest. When they reached his stomach, I forced my eyes up to his face.
He grinned. “So you’re why Toby isn’t getting the job done.”
“What?” I asked, forcing my eyes to stop looking at his chiseled abs.
“You’d distract me too.” He didn’t bother to hide his appraisal.
I looked down and crossed my arms. I met his eyes again and was met by an expression of humor and want that nearly melted me.
“I’m just staying here.” I felt the need to explain myself. If not for my sake or dignity, for Toby’s.  I promised myself it wasn’t because I wanted this sexy guy to know I was single.
“Staying here, huh?” He smiled. “Well, you can stay at my place anytime.”
“Do you live around here?” His wider grin made me regret the words. “I’m just wondering. Not because I want to stay with you.”
“I’m from New Orleans, but I have a place here too—at least I’m borrowing it.”
“Oh. Well, Toby isn’t here.”
“You already said that.” He stepped into the apartment. “Know where he is?”
“No. I don’t.” I took a few steps back.
He matched my movements, ending up just as close to me as he was before. “No kiss goodbye this morning?”
“That would have been hard since I was in the guest room.” I put a hand on my hip. Sexy or not, I wasn’t going to let this guy get to me.
“Guest room? Likely.”
I could feel my blood boiling. How was he getting under my skin so easily? “It’s true. If you’ll excuse me, I need to get my stuff and go home.”
“Are you going to wear that?” He gestured to my outfit, and that’s when I remembered what I was sleeping in.
I willed myself not to blush, but I could practically feel the blood rushing to my face.
“I’m guessing those are the guest pajamas, huh?”
“I just borrowed them… Wait, why am I bothering to explain myself to you?”
“I don’t know, you tell me.” He took another step toward me.
“I know the kind of guy you are.”
“You do? Please, tell me. I can’t wait to hear this assessment.”
“You’re arrogant, pig headed, and you think a girl’s just going to fall to her knees if you take your shirt off…” To my credit, I was still standing. “Speaking of which, why is your shirt off?”
He smirked. “Why do you think it’s off?  Since apparently you’re the expert on guys like me. I’m going to ignore the fall to their knees comment. You look cute when you blush, but it might push you over the edge.”



***

About Alyssa Rose Ivy:
Alyssa Rose Ivy is a New Adult and Young Adult author who loves to weave stories with romance and a southern setting. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children, and she can usually be found with a cup of coffee in her hand.



Saturday, November 16, 2013

First Blogoversary Giveaway!

On November 4th, I reached my first blogoversary! Part of that World is now 1 year old!

Commence happy dancing. *twirls around in excitement for ten minutes*

Okay, let's get serious for a minute. :) When I made this blog, I didn't expect anything out of it. I'd needed something to channel my energy and thoughts and feelings. Something where I could write whatever I wanted. Something I could use when I had writer's block on my many novel ideas. Something that would be all mine

Then I started doing blog hops (which was fun) and that brought me into the world of book blogs. I learned so much about the world of books, reviewing, and the publishing process (whether self-published or professional). I found so many amazing gems, books I would never have heard about if I hadn't made a blog. I turned this into a full-time book blog in May of 2013. It was originally called The Fox's Hole (a more personal name), and I wanted to redesign it and rename it. So, I asked my friend Liz for name ideas (preferably any that had to do with Disney or Beauty and the Beast). She came up with some amazing ideas, and I chose Part of that World. A name that makes me smile each time I read it. It signifies how I feel whenever I read a book. I get lost in different worlds, become part of the story. And when I'm finished, I feel like I'm lost in our world. A world that doesn't have magic or weird creatures or totally perfect boyfriends. Haha, just kidding. But I do love exploring worlds that are different from this one. It's no wonder that my favorite genre is fantasy. <3

BLOG STATS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
  • 134+ followers!
  • Pageviews of all-time: 12,963
  • Highest pageviews for ONE post: 163!!
  • Most unique audiences: Ukraine and Indonesia. 
  • 200 posts!
  • 751 comments! 
  • 54 reviews!
  • Liebster Award nominee
  • I joined three street teams: Flirt Squad (Rachel Harris), Bennett's Babes (Sawyer Bennett), and Team Reaper (Tara Fuller).
  • Authors have emailed me through this blog for reviews, author interviews, and giveaways.
  • I've done a lot of blog tours. 
  • My biggest accomplishment has been all the authors who have read my reviews and thanked me personally for taking the time to read their books. It makes me feel truly flattered and appreciated. <3

BLOG GOALS FOR NEXT YEAR:
  • I want to start commenting on people's blogs. I haven't been doing that in a long time; I've just been so busy. But I want to start paying attention to the bloggers I like following. :)
  • Reach 500 followers (a big goal but not totally impossible).
  • Get auto-approved on either NetGalley or Edelweiss. 
  • Get all of my NetGalley books read and reviewed (and stop requesting so many).
  • Do an International giveaway. I don't want to keep neglecting my international followers because I do paperback giveaways. So, I want to save up and do a giveaway just for them in the near future.
  • Start a reading challenge, a meme, OR a cool blog hop style giveaway. 
  • Start promoting more self-published (and indie) authors.
  • I want to better organize my time so I'm not rushing reviews (and that also means not accepting so many requests or blog tours if I don't have the time).
  • Make a Facebook page for Part of that World.
  • Have a Twitter party with authors and fellow bookworms! 
  • Go to an author event! I don't know if it'll happen for a few years, but I'd love to make it to some signings or events.
  • And lastly, I want to post more reviews on my blog (rather than on Goodreads). 

***GIVEAWAY TIME!!!***

I am giving away a Kate Ellison prize pack of 2 books! :)
 I haven't read these yet, but I've heard good things about them. The winner will receive BOTH of these books! :)

Fine Print:
  • You must be 16 years or older!
  • If you cheat on any entry, all entries will be deleted (I've never had this happen, but I wanted to make it known that I don't tolerate cheating).
  • There will be ONE winner! Winner will be chosen randomly through rafflecopter and emailed on December 2nd.
  • Winner will have 72 hours to respond to email, or new winner will be chosen.
  • This giveaway is only open to people with US addresses.