Friday, July 31, 2015

Guest Post and Giveaway: Exposed by Brighton Walsh

Title: Exposed
Author: Brighton Walsh
Imprint: St. Martin’s Griffin
On Sale: July 21, 2015
Formats: Trade Paperback Original & eBook
Price: TPO $14.99 / eBook $9.99

ABOUT THE BOOK
Love can be lost but never forgotten.  Beautiful, sophisticated, and engaged to the son of a Senator, Evie Masterson has the perfect life. Except for one thing: it's all based on a lie. Five years ago, she created a new identity for herself and cut all ties to her criminal past. But she can't run forever, because something she witnessed years ago comes back to haunt her. And the only person there to help is the man she thought she left behind forever—the one man she's never been able to forget.

Devastatingly gorgeous and just as ruthless, Riley Everett is the criminal for hire who once stole Evie's heart. Years have gone by, but he's never been able to forget her either. Now her life is in jeopardy, and even after all this time, he'd still do anything to protect her, even if that means breaking into her mansion and stealing her away.

As they hide from the world, their long-lost passion reignites. But despite their undeniable chemistry, Evie can't give up the perfect life she's been working toward...and Riley has no part in it.


BUY LINKS
Amazon (Canada): http://amzn.to/1HbQjnm
Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/1Ciolrd

*****

I am so happy to be participating in this blog tour! Brighton Walsh is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I really enjoyed Exposed. And what I love most about Brighton's books are her female MCs. Strong and independent women who don't need men to take care of them. So I decided to ask her why she writes them this way. :D


On Brighton's Female Characters:
Writing strong women characters has always been important to me. I come from a long line of strong women, so I think it’s easier for me to relate to them, to empathize with them, and to root for them. The thing is, though, I never specifically set out to make them that way. They just are.

I’ll try really hard not to get preachy in this post, but it’s a difficult time to be a woman. It’s always been a hard time to be a woman, and while lots of leaps have been made, there is still so far to go. And now, with social media making it easier for all the issues to be brought to life, sometimes it feels as if every day is a challenge, simply by being a woman. 

Because of that, I want to write women who, quite frankly, kick ass. While writing love is always my main focus, I want each of my heroines to be solid on their own two feet first and foremost, and then become solid in a relationship. Because of this, my heroines need to reach their growth on their own without relying on the hero to get them there. 

Why do I write strong women? Because they’re realistic. Because I look up to them. Because they are the voices when others are too shy or scared or unable to speak up. And simply, as Joss Whedon said, “Because you’re still asking me that question.”


*****

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brighton Walsh is a storyteller at heart. Love is her first love, and writing about it is a dream come true. When she's not overwhelmed by the incessant chatter in her mind, you can generally find her with her nose buried in a steamy book or partaking in some retail therapy in the Midwest where she lives with her own real life hero and her two energetic kids who (fortunately) know nothing about the naughty things she puts down on paper.

SOCIAL MEDIA

SMP Romance


***GIVEAWAY!!!***
Thanks to the lovely people at St. Martin's Griffin, I have a giveaway for y'all! Winner will receive a finished copy of Exposed. Fine print: this is only open to US/Canada residents who are 18 years or older!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Fear Will Learn to Fear Me"

Title: Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins

From Goodreads...
The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love."

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn't know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won't keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that's not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.


My Review!
*Spoilers! Ye be warned.

Well, I will say this: Chapter 55 did not disappoint.

But we’ll get back to that shortly. Firstly, I wanna talk about Juliette. Why? Because she’s now solidified herself as one of my favorite heroines ever. Her character arc has been AMAZING. She started out as this passive, childlike, and a little insane girl who grows into this fiercely badass woman. A woman who steps up, accepts herself, and takes control of her life when everyone has always dictated what she should do and be and say. But this time, she won’t let anyone knock her down. And even if they did, she’d pick herself back up and let it strengthen her. She goes through so much in these book, but she never once gives up. And after living all these years with no purpose or hope for a future, she’s finally given herself one. A dream that she wants. One that will push her, and scare her, but ultimately gives her hope for a better future. She has, for the first time, a purpose and a driven need to accomplish it. And people who will stand by her side through anything. She grows into the kind of person who can do so much good in the world, something no one ever thought possible because they considered her a monster. They told her she wasn’t human. But she’s the most human of them all, and that’s what makes her beautiful. Her kindness, her way of forgiving those who tried to do her harm, and her courage in life. Her strength. Her vulnerability and way of still letting herself feel emotions and have a romance when her life is threatened. Guys, I could write a whole fucking essay about how much I love Juliette, but I’ll save you the torture. Just know that she is so fierce and badass and will make you go GIRL POWER FTW FUCK YES JULIETTE YOU TAKE THEM DOWN DON’T STOP FOR ANYTHING DESTROY THE WORLD.

But, you know, let’s talk about Adam now. Because I have thoughtsssss about him. Okay, so he turns into a dick in this book. It’s not completely out-of-the-blue (since in Unravel Me, he started to, well, unravel), but it does feel like his character was given a complete 180 to make Juliette’s choice easier. And it IS a choice, the love triangle. Even with Adam’s asshole tendencies, he is still GOOD inside. Still worthy not be written off as a jerk forever (because let’s face it, Warner’s not exactly a gentleman). I think everything that happened just sort of caught up to him, and he snapped. BUT I do NOT appreciate how, after all that he said to her, he didn’t apologize. Not once. He didn’t even really accept her, or her feelings for Warner, by the end. And that is what pisses me off about his character. That he was flipped on the other side like a coin, and was made out to be this guy who loses what made him so good in the first place. And while maybe that did make Juliette’s life easier, she never would have chosen him. Adam is a good guy, but he's not for her, and he's just trying to keep his little brother safe in this book. Yeah, he's a dick, but he's still the guy who gave a young girl the only kindness she'd ever known. He's just letting his jealousy and anger cloud his judgment (but like, get over it dude YOU'RE AT WAR IT DOESN'T MATTER RIGHT NOW). *cough* Anyway, I still like Adam fine, but he's no Warner.

I believed, in the sequel, that Warner was a better fit and I still do. He has always completely and wholeheartedly accepted Juliette as she was, even when he didn’t know her. And in this book, you see his character even more fleshed out and rounded. A character who is so complicated, so mean and calculated, but so wonderfully human. He is one of those “villains” you can’t help but root for, even when you want to hate him. His character arc has been truly and brilliantly done. God, I love him. I love his anger, his passion, his strength. I love how he protects Juliette but still gives her room to grow without him. I hate that he’s been so damaged that he believes that he can never be anything. But then you see the way he treats Juliette (well, not when they first met, since he could have made things a hell of a lot easier for her if he had COMMUNICATED and been just remotely nice), and the way he cares for his mother. You can see the goodness in him when he plays with a dog when nobody's looking, when he helps Juliette’s friends even though he doesn’t care about them, when he stays by his mother’s side even when she loses her mind and hurts him. He has gone through so much, it hurts my heart. Because he’s only 19 years old. NINETEEN. He’s just a kid. And one who finally realizes that he can be more than what people think, more than what his father turned him into. He can be anyone he wants to be, if he so chooses. He doesn’t have those metaphorical chains wrapped around him anymore. He’s finally free.

“If you hide your heart, he will never be able to take it from you.”

“How can I hate his anger when I know so well where it comes from?”

ASDFJKL; I JUST LOVE HIM AND HIS QUOTES SO MUCH. #WarnerDefenseSquad

Juliette’s and Warner’s romance is so endearing and lovely to watch unfold. These two characters, who were so broken and scarred, found in each other a friendship and a love that masks the bad. That drives the pain of their childhoods away. They understand each other so well, and that’s what gives them a connection that Juliette never would have had with Adam. They make each other BETTER. And  I adored reading about them falling in love with each other. Also like I said above, Chapter 55 did NOT disappoint. ;) The drama from the romance though, especially in the beginning, I could have done without (between J and Adam, not her and Warner). Remember what I said about his 180? Yeaaaaaah…it makes you want to throw your book at the wall, but it eventually dies down, especially when Juliette doesn’t back down from choosing what and who she wants. Besides, Warner and his goddamn beautiful smile and mouth, will make you forget everything else.

Oh, and I HAVE to talk about Kenji! My main man. The loveliest human being to ever walk this dystopian world. He did make me want to slap him because of his comments at times, especially when he kept disregarding Juliette’s feelings and not seeing her side of anything when it came to Warner (not that I don’t blame him necessarily, given that he was a soldier in the army, but still CHILL DUDE). He does grow quite a bit in this book, and I especially loved his friendship with Juliette. They are really each other’s best friend, and I loved that the author took the time to strengthen their relationship and give us a little normalcy in-between the extraordinary plot.

But, the ONLY disappointing thing about Ignite Me WAS the plot. And the superhero story-line. Firstly, the characters spent up until the last 50 pages or so in one place, building up a plan to destroy Warner’s dad and take control of the sector. They spent so much time building it up that the actual “battle” was thoroughly underwhelming and frankly anticlimactic. It was all of like 10 pages, and we only ever saw Juliette working her powers (understandable since it was her POV but it left out a sense of teamwork I desperately wanted). And the superhero aspect of this story kind of fell flat from the excitement of the first and second books, too. I don’t think it was explored nearly enough, nor the other characters given proper time to be more fleshed out. I was expecting something entirely different from that ending, but it didn’t take away any enjoyment I got from the book. Especially when it ended with Juliette and Warner, together, as it was meant to.

I’m pretty sure every single review of this series was about how much I loved Juliette. And Warner. Separately, and together. They were really the shining pieces in the books. But I did come to really love this series as a whole, and my feelings just grew in intensity after each one. No, Ignite Me wasn’t the perfect ending to the epicness that started in Shatter Me and continued in the sequel, but I didn’t mind it so much. My love for these characters far outweighs a mediocre plot.

RATING:
   

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

(35) Top Ten Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme: Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds (love reading, are writers, work at a bookstore, etc.)

 I was originally going to do top ten nerdy characters, not just ones who are bookworms. But as I started my list, I realized they were all basically book nerds anyway, so I decided to stick with the topic for this week. And here are some book nerds I really love. :)


1. Moira
She is a scholar, and someone who believes knowledge to be one of the greatest joys in life. She loves learning, challenging herself, and gobbles up facts and information like they're precious gems she needs to collect.

2. Juliette
I just read this series, and I cannot for the life of me, remember if Juliette loved books or not. I could swear I remember her talking about them... In any case, she does journal. And she loves playing around with words.

3. & 4. Paige & Max
QuizBowl dream team right here, amirite? They love talking nerdy with each other, teasing one another about their quirks, and they've been known to argue heatedly and passionately about Pride and Prejudice during class discussions.

5. Hermione
She is the ultimate bookworm. And the one, I think, most of us wish were real so we could be best friends with her. She's insanely intelligent, confident, and an overall badass who also likes quiet time alone with a book.

6. Celaena
What does one do when invited to a palace? Ask about the library almost immediately. I think she read a lot too? I know she made Dorian leave her piles in her room. I think they even discussed them a time or two (honestly can't remember).

7. Cath
She's your typical introverted, shy nerd. She loves books and writing fan-fiction. Though, I feel like she's only ever read the Simon Snow books since that was all she talked about. And thought about...

8. Liesel
I mean, she is called The Book Thief for a reason. She loves words, and reading, and learning new things. She finds joy and happiness in stories when she has trouble understanding the world and the people in it.

9. Tessa
I can't believe I forgot about her until someone mentioned it. This girl loves to read, is very bookish, and likes to quote from favorites. And she trades those quotes with Will quite often throughout the series.

10. Josie
She works in a bookstore, and she is passionate about books. She also dreams of going to university in a time where women weren't really meant to do anything, to learn more about the world and have a career.

******

Who are some of YOUR favorite book nerds? It was hard for me to find 10 of them, so clearly I need recommendations! :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"I Have the Power to Destroy Everything"

Title: Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins

From Goodreads...
tick
tick
tick
tick
tick
it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.


My Review!
*No spoilers for Unravel Me, but maybe for the first book!

Holy hell. I LOVED Shatter Me, right? But this sequel just took it up a thousand notches and my feelings ended up being so much more and intense for the characters. It was a wild ride, one that had its moments where I wanted to bang my head against the wall, but ultimately, I fell even more in love with this series. And by the end, I couldn’t wait to dive into the series finale. But I had to wait, so I could write this out first. I wanted to review the books separately, and then together. So these are my thoughts and feels about Unravel Me!

Juliette is a kickass heroine. I mean, I knew it in SM, but in this one, she became so much more badass and grew into her character. She is powerful, though she doesn’t feel like it, and she doesn’t know how to accept her gift. It’s always been a curse for her, and she doesn’t want to hurt people! She’s not a monster, and she believes that if she accepts who she is, she’s accepting that she is one. But she’s not. She has her moments, when she falls deep into her power, but she always pulls herself out of it. She can’t stand hurting people, intentionally or not. Juliette’s brave, so incredibly brave, and sweet and quiet and shy. She’s still learning who she is and what she can do, both of which cause her a lot of heartache and trouble in this sequel. She has A LOT of inner dialogue (a wee bit too much sometimes because then it starts to feel more like telling and not enough showing). But ultimately you need her thoughts and feelings because this book is about her. It’s about her stepping up, finding her place, and taking control of her life. It’s about a girl who was cast aside all of her life and who is finally learning that she did not deserve that. And God I love her voice because it’s so genuine and relatable and funny and everything that she is and isn’t. Juliette grew so much throughout this novel, and I loved watching her take charge and not letting herself be pushed around anymore. Also? GIRL POWER FTW.

“I look around.
At the ground.
At what I’ve done.
And I understand, for the first time, that I have the power to destroy everything.”

“I’m always apologizing. Forever apologizing. For who I am and what I never meant to be and for this body I was born into, this DNA I’ve never asked for, this person I can’t unbecome. 17 years I’ve spent trying to be different.  Every single day. Trying to be someone else for someone else.
And it never seems to matter.”

Like is it wrong to be #ProJulietteTakesOverTheWorld and DESTROYS IT ALL? Because…

And the romance did not have the focus. Sure a lot of Juliette’s inner thoughts revolve around Adam, but it doesn’t take over everything. He’s the one thing that makes her feel safe, so it’s understandable that she would fixate on her feelings for him. She’s in love. She has someone who wants to be with her, and who can touch her. Something she’s never had in all her 17 years. But something happens, and the two are forced to rethink everything. It leads to conflict, hurt, and heartbreak for them after Juliette makes a brave and hard choice. They also learn something else about Adam that really makes you appreciate him for how he turned out in life. A compassion and decent human being who just wants to feel safe and free from his past. God knows he’s a lot nicer than Warner, and he loves Juliette fiercely to the point that he is overly protective of her. They love each other, but in this book, they are forced apart. And when Warner is kidnapped and she’s in charge of his interrogation, she starts to feel something for the boy who made her life hell in book one.

I was on Team Adam in book one, because I loved their sweet relationship, and I didn’t know enough about Warner. But now I’m all ADAM WHO? Holy God is Warner something. I’m a sucker for broken bad boys, and Lord knows most of them don’t deserve the love. Daddy issues and a shitty past does not make one exempt from the consequences of his words and actions. But the thing is, it’s not like the author was saying: look he is just a misunderstood scared little boy who deserves some compassion. She said: look he knows he’s a monster he doesn’t fight it he doesn’t act better because he doesn’t think it can ever make up for what he’s done. He doesn’t believe that he can be better. He doesn’t know how to do anything else, to be anything else. And he's not asking for forgiveness or sympathy. And Juliette understands him, so much more than she wants to. Because they were both pushed aside, ended up scarred and broken. They were both unloved and unwanted as children, and it gives them a connection that Juliette wants to fight. But she can’t. She starts having feelings for the boy she swore she would destroy if given the chance. And you know what? I ship it. So much. Adam is a lot of things, but what I believe is this: he’ll never accept her wholly. He’ll never accept the dark side of her because he doesn’t want to believe it exists. Warner does, and it’s what makes him fit better with Juliette. Also their chemistry is so HOT and holy fucking hell I am still thinking about Chapter 62. *fans self*

This love triangle isn’t about the two boys and which is better, but it’s about Juliette, and who she is with each of them. And which one cradles her in a safe cocoon but also gives her room to breathe and grow with and without him. When she and Adam broke up, Juliette grew without him. She started to stand up for herself. She became stronger, and she was able to move on and make friends without him. But Warner gives her the room to grow without overcrowding her with his opinions. He pushes her, because he knows she can do so much more than she gives herself credit for, something Adam doesn’t get. Warner’s only ever wanted to show Juliette how powerful she is.

Oh, and by the way, the friend, Kenji? He’s amazing and can he be my best friend in real life pleasepleaseplease? He doesn’t take Juliette’s shit, and he tells her like it is. He doesn’t have time for hearing about her love life problems (but she’s only a 17 year old girl so I think she was allowed her moments of hurt and vulnerability), and he really gives her the push to take control of her life. To stop feeling sorry for herself and stand up for who she is and accept her power. Also he’s so fucking hilarious and cool and he lightens up the tense situations quite admirably. I was a little upset that the chance for Juliette to have some girl friends was shoved away to make room for the romance, because it could have been wonderful for the MC to have that female companionship. But I digress, she’s got Kenji.

There wasn’t as much action as I thought there would be. There IS a lot more telling than showing, but I didn’t mind it so much. It was still intense, the emotions Juliette feels and the ones coming off of the other characters. The look into Warner’s past just about killed me. I honestly just can’t wait for more, especially about how it all began and like what is actually happening (you don’t get much info on that). I’m a little nervous for this series ender because like I don’t want it to end but also I want to see what happens. And I KNOW my feelings are just gonna be more intense (people have told me this beforehand). But I’m excited. Especially for Chapter 55.

RATING:
    

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cover Reveal: Game On by Michelle Smith

I am so, SO excited to be helping Michelle unveil the cover for the companion book to her debut, Play On. Now, if you've been around since, oh I don't know, April, you'd know how much that book meant to me. It was wonderful and amazing and ohmygoodness the amount of love I have for this book could create world peace.

But you're all here to see the cover for Game On, aren't you?

*****

I could totally stop talking about Play On now, I guess, if you really want to see it.

*****

So, do you? Want to see it?

*****

*****

*****

Do you? DO YOU?!

*****

I'll stop keeping you in suspense.

*****

*****

*****

*****

*****

*****

*waves wand with a flourish* *curtains drop* AND HERE IT IS!

AHHHH IT IS SO FREAKING ADORABLE AND CUTE AND I WANT IT ON MY SHELF.
NOW.

Title: Game On (Lewis Creek #2)
Author: Michelle Smith
Release Date: January 2016
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

Synopsis: 
Eric Perry is Lewis Creek's resident bad boy. When he’s named the new starting pitcher in a town that thinks baseball is everything and he is nothing but trouble, Eric knows he has to clean up his act. Lay low, his coach tells him—at least long enough to actually pitch a game. But when a fight with his teammate lands him in jail yet again, his season may be over before it starts…until his next door neighbor, Bri, comes to the rescue. Making a deal with Eric's coach, she offers him one final chance at redemption: community service.

Bri Johnson hadn’t talked to Eric in months. Her boyfriend Matt, Eric’s teammate and the school’s golden boy, didn’t like her to be around Eric. Matt didn’t like a lot of things Bri did or said or wore, which is why she ends it with him the same night he and Eric get into a fight—a fight over her. That night is the reason Bri offers to take Eric with her to the community center each week, so he can keep his spot on the team. But spending time with Eric only makes her life worse, as scandalous rumors start flying and Matt refuses to let her move on. 

While Eric and Bri work closely together at the center, old stories of stargazing, first kisses, and a time when they were friends start to re-connect them. As they open up their secrets and their hearts to each other, they start to see that they are more than what other people think they are—and even more than what they think about themselves.

***Game On doesn't have a Goodreads page or buy links yet, so these are for Play On!***


  

*****

Author Bio:
Michelle Smith was born and raised in North Carolina, where she developed a healthy appreciation for college football, sweet tea, front porches, and a well-placed “y’all.” She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and fully believes that a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Michelle lives near the Carolina coast with her family.

Social Media Links:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

"My Touch is Power"

Title: Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: October 2nd, 2012

From Goodreads...
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.


*This was a reread in preparation for finishing the trilogy, so I decided to share my thoughts from the first time I read it, and this second time. Let's see if my feelings changed or if they stayed the same!

First Read: June 2nd, 2014
Rating: 4.5 Paw Prints!

Old Review:
I only know now that the scientists are wrong.The world is flat. I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I've been trying to hold on for 17 years. I've been trying to climb back up for 17 years but it's nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand. When no one wants to risk touching you.


Juliette has a problem: her touch is fatal to anyone she comes into contact with. It's a problem that her parents couldn't deal with, that society deemed was psychotic, and that she's been labeled a monster for most of her life. And she starts to believe it.

I loved Juliette's character! I thought she was the perfect blend of strength and vulnerability. She's spent her whole life thinking she's a monster that it's hard for her to believe anything different. I loved her voice and how she told the story. Tahereh Mafi has a very unique writing style. You either hate it or you love it. But I thought it was perfect for this type of story. The way Juliette saw the world, her thoughts and feelings. I liked the crossed out sentences and the repeats of words. It fit Juliette's character and her erratic thoughts. It took a little bit of time to move past it, but once I did, I very much liked it.

I also loved Adam! At this point, I'm on his team. But you never know what happens in the sequel. ;) Honestly, I'd like a little more development with the secondary characters, especially with Warner. They all have their own personalities, but we don't find out much about them. I loved the additions of James and Kenji! I can't wait for more fun dialogue and interactions amidst the terror and looming possibility of war.

And oh, the romance. It was sweet, passionate, and subtly sensual. It was just so beautiful that Juliette could find love in the midst of her broken life. A love that makes her feel worthy, makes her feel safe and secure, and most of all, doesn't make her feel like a monster. <3

I really liked where this plot headed! Without giving away much, I'm excited for the sequel. And I'm excited to see where the author takes this superhero type of story-line. :) Shatter Me was a truly unique read. I'll be patiently impatiently waiting to read the sequel.

******

Second Read: July 17th, 2015
Rating: 4.5 Paw Prints!

New Review:
I reread this in prep for Unravel Me, and I loved it just as much the second time around! There is something so addicting about this story. It’s different. The writing style makes it different, and unique. It’s not for everyone. It’s hard to get over. But I think the crossed out words and the repetitiveness fits the book, and the main character. Juliette is a little insane. I mean, we meet her in an INSANE ASYLUM. We meet a quiet, intelligent girl who was thrown away like she didn’t matter at all. I loved Juliette’s inner strength. All her life, she’s felt powerless, but throughout the book, she grows into her own. She lashes out at the people who make her feel small; she doesn’t let her past or her power define her. She’s not perfect, but her vulnerability makes her human, and beneath her tough exterior is just a girl who wants to be loved. To matter to someone.

And Adam makes her feel like that, like she’s important, like she fits in his world. She’s only ever been a monster to people, but Adam knows what her power does to her, knows that she hates it because it’s only ever made her feel less. But he tries so hard to make her believe that she’s more than the gift she never asked for. I know everyone’s one Team Warner, but I’m not! Not in this book, at least. I can see why she loves Adam. He’s confident, quiet, and cares for Juliette more than she ever thinks. He gives her something she’s been sorely missing in her life; a friend who stands by her side and a love that makes her feel whole when she’s ever only felt broken inside. I’m not sure what he does in the next two books to make everyone hate him, but right now he’s an Adam I can root for.

Warner was a great addition to the story as well. He’s not a good guy, and he makes some of the “villains” I’ve read about look tame. He’s calculating, and cold, and forces Juliette into corners where her choices make her hate herself even more than she already does (not exactly a romantic ship I could possibly get behind). But I can’t wait to see where his character arc takes him. I have a feeling there is way more to him than meets the eye, though all I want to do is punch him. Anyway, I also loved the addition of Kenji, a secondary character with fantastic charisma and a mystery of his own. He brought comedic relief in intense situations, and I love my characters who use humor to mask their fears. I want MORE of him! :D

I’m not a huge fan of dystopian, but I like this quite a lot. The world-building could be a lot better though (I *think* I have the general idea of how it all started, but I’m not totally sure), but I’m guessing we’ll get more of it in the next books. But I definitely LOVE where this has headed! Talk about a story-line that I can fall in love with. I love books with characters who have special powers, and I’m so excited to see where this series takes that kind of plot. I’m very intrigued! Time to FINALLY continue the series and read Unravel Me! :)

******

As you can tell, my thoughts really didn't change that much! Considering that it was over a year ago since I read this the first time, I'd say that's pretty damn good. And also I decided to keep the same rating. I loved Shatter Me. I loved Juliette even more this time around. There is just something about her voice that draws me in and makes me want to shelter her from the big bad world. But she doesn't need to be sheltered, because she is one badass chick who has the power to destroy what makes her feel weak. However, clearly after finishing the series, my thoughts and feelings differ on the two boys. You'll be able to read those soon. ;) But in this one, I just wanted more background on them, and Kenji. Also like I said, the world-building could have been a bit better, but we learn much more in the next books. 


But I'm wondering: have you read this book/series? What do YOU think about it? :) Check back tomorrow for Unravel Me's review! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

(34) Top Ten Diverse Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme: Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters (example: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC,  neurotypical character, LGBTQ etc etc.)

So I'm cheating a little bit this week, but it's all good. I had more books than I thought I would for this top ten! Here are some fave books/ones I've enjoyed immensely that deal with diverse topics and/or have diverse characters.

*****

Physical Disabilities:
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: Josh gets his leg blown off in the war, and it's something that he has to deal with throughout the book. Something that reminds him of all he's lost and suffered since coming home. He doesn't know how to deal, and I thought his struggles were so raw and realistic and it made my heart hurt.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: I'm not sure if putting this here would be a spoiler, so I just won't tell you what character has the disability or what it even is. But I thought it was done so well, and Leigh's note at the end made me appreciate it all the more.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes: the girl literally loses both her hands and has to figure out how to go through life handicapped like that.


*If you want to remain completely 100% unspoiled, don't read this next section!*
LGBTQ:
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow: woohoo for f/f in YA. I don't think I've read ANY books in this category yet with a romance between two girls. In any case, I adored the character relationships and little bits of romance thrown in.

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey: I'm not sure if I can totally count this one since there isn't an official LGBTQ couple yet. I mean, there will be in the sequel for sure, but I had to add this one anyway. Loved the secondary characters, and I can't wait to see the development of the other romance. :)


People of Color:
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: one of my fave books of the year! Love Shazi and her badass attitude and strength and sass. 

5 to 1 by Holly Bodger: this is set in India and is all about female empowerment (even if it doesn't exactly do it in the best way,what with the unfair system against the boys). But hey this never happens with the ladies, so I say whatever to that.


Diverse Characters/Issues:
Naked by Stacey Trombley - this book deals with prostitution is one of the best ways. It's emotional, hard to read at times, and makes you ache for the MC and what she goes through. And it forces you to think about what it takes for someone, especially a young girl to start, and how hard it is to leave it.

A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz - basically the definition of diverse given all the topics/things that happen in this book. I won't go into more detail. If you like weird books or ones that sometimes don't make sense, then this one is for you.


New Adult:
Black Iris by Leah Raeder: this book was SO GOOD and showed how fluid sexuality is and how it's not about male or female but about the person, and who they are inside and outside. And the romance was so intense. It was also so friggin' gritty and raw and dark. Loved that.

Trust the Focus and Focus on Me by Megan Erickson: these were my first m/m romances! And I loved them! But not only that, the second book deals with the very real issue of mental illness, and I thought it was done extremely well.

*****

While writing this post, I didn't think I'd be able to find 10! And that's really sad, no? I don't actively NOT read or buy diverse books, but they are few and far between for me. But I think most of it has to do with the fact that there just aren't that many. It's changing now, sure, but it's been slow. There are so many LGBTQ books out now and ones being published within the next few years. Mental health has also become more widely written about (which makes my heart soar). But physical disabilities, POC characters, and diverse issues? Not so much. At least, not that I've seen or read. And I am definitely making it a priority from now on to read more diverse books. 


What are some of YOUR favorite diverse books? I need recs! :)