Saturday, December 28, 2013

Brad About Books: Fragile Spirits by Mary Lindsey

Read from December 2 to 3, 2013
Expected Publication Date: January 23, 2014
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 311 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: Souls, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, Shattered Souls.

Fragile Spirits is an electrifying, superb sequel that is sure to capture readers with the high stakes and epically great romance scenes Lindsey has crafted. Even better than the first book!

I thought that Shattered Souls was a great paranormal read, but Fragile Spirits was truly special. I loved getting to see Paul's side of the story, and his story was so enthralling and captivating. He's had to deal with so much change, but Lindsey does a spectacular job at crafting his character together to make him one of the most coolest male protagonists I've ever read about. And when he's matched with Vivienne, a rebel who doesn't care and never does anything she's told to do, their pair is odd and awkward, but as Fragile Spirits progresses, they grow to become an unbreakable bond and a force to be reckoned with. Such a marvelous sequel!

So many secrets! So much betrayal! Kidnapping and a vicious spirit on the loose makes for a brilliant story, and it's impossible to put this book down! It's fast-paced and action-packed - Fragile Spirits had me in its grip from start to finish. If I wasn't reading it, it was the only thing on my mind. Shattered Souls was great, but Fragile Spirits was phenomenal. Everything from the powerful bond that Paul and Vivienne share to the sinister spirits that lurk in the darkness, Fragile Spirits is a powerful sequel that shines bright.

I loved how Mary Lindsey crafted together the spirits and otherworldly creatures! I thought that they were eerie in Shattered Souls, but the spirits in this novel are the definition of creepy. They're wicked, they mess with your mind, and they haunted me late into the night as I was turning these pages as fast I could. I adored this sequel so much. Truly, truly one of a kind!

Overall, Fragile Spirits is a sequel that not only delivers, it exceeded all of my expectations. Mary Lindsey has nailed it again!

M Y    R A T I N G

Friday, December 27, 2013

Brad About Books: Warrior by Ellen Oh

Read on September 29, 2013
Expected Publication Date: December 31, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: ARC
Page Count: 327 pages
Source: Received for review in exchange for an honest review
Series: Dragon King Chronicles, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, Prophecy.

Warrior is, simply put, incredible! With so much more action and tension between the characters, it's impossible not to love this book. Ellen Oh has done it once again! 

I loved Prophecy, but wow, Warrior blew it out of the water! With Kira's circumstances shifted due to the end of Prophecy, her life has changed, but with this changed life comes more responsibilities and more betrayal. Chaos rules over Hansong, and Kira has to mature even more in this sequel. I didn't even think it was possible for Kira to become more kick-butt and awesome than she was before, but Oh definitely pushed Kira to her boundaries, and I really appreciated that! You know the dreaded Sequel Syndrome (when a sequel doesn't live up to expectations made because the first book was so epic)? It passed completely over this series' head. Warrior is easily one of my favorite sequels of all time!

Ellen Oh is a master of action scenes. Seriously, every page will have you in its clutches until the very end - I didn't ever want to put this book down. Right from page one, action flies off the page, and believe me when I say that the action never stopped (and we can't stop, and we won't stop). Treason lurks everywhere Kira looks, and she's got a team of people standing by her side, willing to face whatever comes with her. I love a story with a great protagonist, but a great story includes incredible side characters as well - the Dragon King Chronicles has the best of both worlds with its characters. Each character is important and plays a vital role to the story. I am truly astonished by this series! Fantasy lovers, this series is a must read. Packed with the right amount of action and a heroine that will blow you away, Warrior has it all. Incredible in every sense of the word!

I was so nervous to see how this book would end. The stakes are kicked up to a notch I couldn't even fathom, but it makes for one epic story. From start to finish, Warrior will consume your mind - even long after you've turned the final page. That ending was brilliant. I didn't see that coming, but once I got to the end, my mouth had seriously fallen open. I adored everything about Warrior. I need the third book like crazy! SO excited to see how it all concludes!

Overall, Warrior shouldn't be missed. Warrior is a sequel that will be the only thing on your mind. Mesmerizing!

M Y    R A T I N G

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Brad About Books: Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Read on June 12, 2013
Published: January 2, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 312 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Dragon King Chronicles, #1

The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

One girl will save us all.

Prophecy is an action-packed, epic tale that delivers with an awesome protagonist and an unforgettable story. Everything about Oh's debut blew me away - right from page one, I was entangled with Kira's world, and I loved every second of it! One of my new favorite fantasies!

I love fantasies so much, and Prophecy did not disappoint by any means. Prophecy brings a fresh and unique take on YA fantasy that will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time. I was so enthralled by this world, I couldn't ever put this book down. With action that flies off the page and a heroine worth rooting for, Prophecy is one killer story. Every chapter brings something new that will have the reader further invested into the plot than before, and the suspense that the novel gives will leave your jaw hanging open. Everything about Prophecy is incredible - I highly recommend it! It's incredible!

Kira... oh gosh, how I loved Kira! She's an outcast, though she saves those that hate her most. I connected to her right away - not just in sympathy (though I did connect to her in that way as well), but just in her character as a whole. She's determined, fearless, but she definitely has her flaws, and I really appreciated that compare and contrast between her character development. She has a rough journey to go on in Prophecy, and the reader experiences it with her through thick and thin. Oh did a terrific job at bringing this vivid, cruel world to life to travel with Kira through. In short, Kira was just such an awesome heroine to go on this fantastic quest with. Katniss Everdeen better watch behind her back - Kira is an epic protagonist!

The world-building of Hansong was one of a kind. It's so complex and rich, it's irresistible. World-building is a major part of any novel for me, and I adored Hansong. There's so many dark depths and astonishing levels to it - Hansong is one of the best crafted worlds I've ever read about. Not only does Prophecy have a phenomenal protagonist and marvelous world-building, it has a certain light to it filled with action, hope, and epic proportions of betrayal and romance. Amazing!

Overall, Prophecy has quickly become a favorite read of mine. From its dark villains to its brilliant quests to venture on, you won't be able to put Prophecy down!

M Y    R A T I N G

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Brad About Books: Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey

Read from November 20 to 22, 2013
Published: December 8, 2011
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 326 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Souls, #1



Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

Shattered Souls is a sensational, irresistible novel filled with a sweeping romance and a writing style unlike any other. Shattered Souls is intoxicating!

I read Mary Lindsey's Ashes on the Waves earlier this year, and I was very eager to read another novel from her - and just as I was expecting, I was blown away! Lenzi was such a great character. When she discovers who she truly is, she's fearless and ready to take on whatever comes at her. I loved having a strong protagonist to accompany this epic story, and believe me when I say that Shattered Souls is a very epic story. Each page will have you on the edge of your seat, and the secrets and betrayals that Shattered Souls reveals are beyond amazing. If you're craving that paranormal read that will completely consume you, Shattered Souls is that book.

So. Much. Action. With a spirit out to kill Lenzi, the boy she's been dating for awhile and the boy who has been chosen to protect her out for her heart, and the voices in her head that can't be silenced, it's impossible to put down this book. Lindsey is a master at suspense and thrilling scenes, and Shattered Souls is proof of that. I was so captivated by this novel, I never wanted to put it down. Everything about Shattered Souls is one of a kind, and I honestly can't recommend it enough. 

The ending! The last 75 pages of Shattered Souls are so fast-paced and climatic; when I got to the very end of the novel, my mouth had seriously fallen open, but I couldn't contain myself from turning the pages as fast as I could. I fell in love with Shattered Souls, and it has easily become one of my favorite paranormal reads.

Overall, Shattered Souls is a dazzling read that will enthrall you from start to finish. Marvelous!

M Y    R A T I N G

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Brad About Books: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Read on July 9, 2013
Published: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: ARC
Page Count: 374 pages
Source: ALA
Series: Starbound, #1

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.


A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

These Broken Stars is a dazzling, timeless love story with the right amount of romance and sci-fi. Kaufman and Spooner nailed it with this one - I absolutely adored this novel! A new favorite of mine!

I am a huge fan of sci-fi novels, and These Broken Stars was amazing. The idea of setting it on a lavish spaceship, then everything being torn to bits, leaving two starcrossed lovers to defend from themselves on unknown territory blew me away - I devoured These Broken Stars so quickly. The writing, the characters, the world-building, they all intertwined so well to create a one of a kind story that is both equally unique and epic. This book is a must-read!

Lilac and Tarver make such an outstanding couple. They both each have their flaws - there are some moments in These Broken Stars when their true sides are shown, and I really appreciated that we got to see these characters for who they really are - but when they join forces, they are unbreakable. And I adored how These Broken Stars didn't have instalove. Lilac and Tarver never knew each other until they were stranded together, and they learn about each other in a slow-building, emotion-packing way that shows Kaufman and Spooner's talent at character development. If you're needing a book that will have you completely enthralled, These Broken Stars is for you. I can't express how awesome this book was!

The way this book was structured was incredible. We have many overlapping stories going on at the same time, but when the ending of the book rolls around, they all intertwine and connect to each other so well. My mind was blown at the way all the loose ends were tied up. I couldn't ask for any more from These Broken Stars. With epic characters, a wonderful writing style, and a masterfully structured plot that was executed fantastically, These Broken Stars was beyond phenomenal.

Overall, These Broken Stars is one of a kind. I lost myself completely to this book - luckily, I never wanted it to end. So amazing!

M Y    R AT I N G

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Brad About Books: Vitro by Jessica Khoury

Read on November 30, 2013
Expected Publication Date: January 14, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 384 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

A death-defying tropical adventure delivers a frightening message about dabbling with creation from the talented author of Origin.

On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.

Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. She enlists hunky charter pilot Jim Julien to take her there. But once on the island, Sophie and Jim encounter more than they bargained for, including a charming, brilliant Vitro named Nicholas and an innocent, newly awoken one named Lux.

In a race for their lives, Sophie and Jim are about to discover what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.

Vitro is an action-packed, epic sophomore novel from Jessica Khoury that bended my mind and had me completely enthralled with Sophie and Jim's story. Hands-down one of the best sci-fi novels I've ever read!

I absolutely adored Khoury's Origin, so I was very eager to dive into her latest novel, and I have to say that I wasn't disappointed! Most sci-fi/paranormal novels play on the subject of trying to push the boundaries, but what I loved most about Vitro was that it talked about the aftermath of what happens after the boundaries are exceeded. It's a fresh, unique spin on the sci-fi genre; Jessica Khoury nailed it with Vitro! Electric and stunning, Vitro is a must-read for fans of The Madman's Daughter and For Darkness Shows the Stars. Truly one of a kind!

Sophie and Jim are such awesome protagonists. Sophie is a determined, fierce leader who isn't afraid to fight for what she believes in, and I really appreciated that about her character. She's headstrong (sometimes against her own better judgement), but I can't deny that she is an epic main character. And Jim supported her and balanced her out so well! He wasn't the kind of guy who would abandon or turn a blind eye when Sophie needed help; needless to say, both of these characters were fantastic. Jessica Khoury has easily became one of my favorite authors!

Needing something fast-paced that will have you turning pages late into the night? Vitro is a fantastic choice. Each scene brings something to offer, and they all tie together as one big arc of an epic story that is unputdownable. I never wanted to set Vitro down for a minute - it consumed my entire mind. Vitro didn't disappoint, and it has quickly become one of my favorite books. 

Overall, Vitro is a fast-paced, pulse-pounding read that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Brave, bold, and original, Vitro is a gem that shouldn't be missed!

M Y     R A T I N G

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Brad About Books: Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

Read on July 27, 2013
Expected Publication Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 416 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: Kingdoms, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, Falling Kingdoms.

Rebel Spring is an electrifying, sizzling sequel that not only lives up to the expectations made from Falling Kingdoms, it exceeds them. I'm not sure how Rhodes did it, but she made an even more epic, more stunning novel than the first. This is easily one of the best fantasy series out there.

I'm a huge fantasy fan - no, seriously, I love getting wrapped up in the incredible world-building, characters, and everything that the author creates - and this is one of my all-time favorite fantasy series. My favorite part about any fantasy series is the world-building; this series offers such a rich, complex, and fantastic world that is played upon even more in Rebel Spring. I loved how we got to see the most darkest of regions in this sequel, and the stakes were kicked up to a new notch. There was never a dull moment during Rebel Spring. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and I couldn't ever put it down. It made me feel all of the feels. Everything about Rebel Spring blew me away - I absolutely adore this series. If you loved Falling Kingdoms, prepare to be dazzled by Rebel Spring.

We get to follow four main people in this series: Cleo (a princess), Jonas (revolution rebel), Lucia (not everything is what it seems), and Magnus (royalty with a few tricks up his sleeves), and the most amazing thing about these characters? They all evolve and develop in this sequel. Each character changes in some way - some for the good, some for the worse - and layers upon layers are added to these characters, giving them even more depth than before. Morgan Rhodes did an incredible job at crafting together this sequel. You know that dreaded Sequel Slump Syndrome? It completely passed over this series. Rebel Spring is one of the best sequels I've ever read that adds to a rich, vibrant series that shouldn't be missed.

The ending! Just like the ending of Falling Kingdoms, it's action-packed, epic, and nail-biting-worthy. Rhodes throws betrayal and action scenes at the reader so quickly - it is impossible to put this series down. If you're needing something to complete enthrall yourself in and get lost in, this series is a must-read. Epic and marvelous, Morgan Rhodes nailed it with Rebel Spring! One of my favorites of the year!

Overall, Rebel Spring is a fantastically incredible sequel that will have readers turning pages as fast as they can. Brilliant!

M Y     R A T I N G

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Brad About Books: This Strange and Familiar Place by Rachel Carter

Read on July 21, 2013
Published: July 2, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 264 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: So Close to You, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, So Close to You

This Strange and Familiar Place is a very nice sequel, however, I felt that it was lacking in progressing the story along in certain parts of the plot. Though I had this problem with this sequel, it was still entertaining. 

I'll start with what I did enjoy about This Strange and Familiar Place: more questions appear and the stakes are raised to a new notch. Book one set up the whole conspiracy theory, but book two plays on it and evolves it into something so much bigger than what the reader - and Lydia, the protagonist - ever imagined it to be. When there's an action scene in This Strange and Familiar Place, you're in for a wild ride that will have you glued to the edge of your seat.

But my problem with This Strange and Familiar Place was the parts that weren't action-filled, and unfortuantely, there's quite a lot of them. Even though the book clocks in at just a little over 250 pages, the story feels very dragged out over parts - and the middle of the book felt filler, in my opinion. Nothing evolved from the plot in the middle, and I didn't find anything that pushed the storyline further. I am happy, though, that the ending of This Strange and Familiar Place saved the book for me. It was fast-paced, and there were things that really made my jaw drop. I just wish that there were more scenes like that consistently throughout the sequel. The ending did set up a very nice overview to the conclusion of the series, so I will definitely be checking out book three, Find Me Where the Water Ends

My favorite part about This Strange and Familiar Place has to be Lydia's character development. In So Close to You, she was very naïve to everything around her, but in This Strange and Familiar Place, she knows what she needs to do to take charge, and I really appreciated her character development. Carter did an exceptional job at building up Lydia's character, and I adored how she wasn't afraid to break her down. While This Strange and Familiar Place was just okay for me, it still grabbed me like book one did. I can't wait to find out how everything wraps up!

Overall, This Strange and Familiar Place is a pretty good sequel with a slow middle chunk but an ending that makes up for it.

M Y    R A T I N G

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brad About Books: Pawn by Aimée Carter

Read from November 11 to 15, 2013
Expected Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ARC
Page Count: 296 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1


For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked - surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed, and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

The first move is hers...

Pawn is an intriguing, exceptional story that grabbed me from the first page and held me captive far after I turned the last page. It's been a long time since a book has made me feel this way, and I absolutely adored Pawn. A perfect start to a very promising series!

My favorite part about Pawn? It's not your typical dystopian by any standards. You've got rankings that determine how well you do in this world, and I loved how we follow a broken girl throughout the story. Kitty is at the bottom of the barrel, but she's given a rare opportunity to join an elite, yet lethal, society. There is so much scandal and betrayal in Pawn, and it's impossible to set this book down. This book completely took over my mind. Every chapter makes your heart race and your pulse pound even harder than the last - this is definitely a standout for books I've read this year. If you're craving something to fulfill your dystopian needs, Pawn is a must-read.

Like I said earlier, there is so much betrayal. I loved how our protagonist goes from zero to hero, but she's thrown into an insanely deadly and shadow-filled world where one wrong move will cost her her life. Kitty has had to study everything about Lila, the person she's become, and if she can't pull it off, all will be lost. Carter did an exceptional job with tackling and evolving this situation into such a gripping, fast-paced story. Seriously, this book was the only thing on my mind. Pawn is a one of a kind gem that shouldn't be missed - an incredible novel that shines out!

Holy ending, Batman! The final 100 pages of Pawn are non-stop, wham-bam kind of scenes that had me turning pages as fast as I possibly could. I loved traveling with Kitty through the entire story - she's such a fantastic protagonist! She's broken and flawed, and that's what I love most about her; she didn't try to be anything more than what she was. Highly absorbing and electric, Pawn will have readers fully enthralled in the story and begging for more.

Overall, Pawn is a stunning dystopian that is unlike anything I've ever read. Epic in every sense of the word!

M Y     R A T I N G

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Brad About Books: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Read from September 27 to 28, 2013
Expected Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ARC
Page Count: 474 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: Pushing the Limits, #3

Read my reviews for previous novels in this series:

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane 

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind. 

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look. 

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

Crash Into You is an electric read that will have your heart soaring and your mind completely entangled  with Rachel and Isaiah's relationship. Katie McGarry has managed to top herself once again with this completely absorbing novel - such a fantastic read! One of my favorites for the year!

In my Dare You To review, I talked about taking chances and risks for love and just for the thrill of it - oh man, Crash Into You is even more explosive and dangerous than before! There's so much peril and danger running rampant throughout these streets, where car races and gambling are ablaze. McGarry had my heart racing and pulse pounding many times throughout Crash Into You, and I was turning pages as fast I could, always on the edge of my seat. This series is definitely one of my favorite contemporary series out there, simply because of how each book brings new, exciting characters and a one of a kind plot. Crash Into You was incredible by every means!

Isaiah and Rachel were stunning as a duo. It seems that with McGarry book, the relationships become even better. Rachel is the good girl with a wild side to her, and I loved seeing that balance of good and rowdy in her. She may be naïve at times, but I couldn't deny that she was an awesome protagonist. Isaiah is equally as awesome. He protected Rachel throughout the entire novel - though they did have some rough patches here and there, they were a force to be reckoned with when together. McGarry is fantastic at weaving together such marvelous characters!

That ending! All. The. Feels. It's dynamic and explosive and I couldn't get this book off of my mind. Every book in this series has managed to top its predecessor, and Crash Into You definitely set the bar very high. I can't wait to see where it goes in book four, Take Me On! Everything about this book will rock your world - absolutely amazing. One of my favorites of 2013!

Overall, Crash Into You is a wonderful addition to this ever epic series. With love, action, and just the right amount of what-in-the-world-will-happen-next, Crash Into You is a must-read!

M Y     R A T I N G

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Brad About Books: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Read from July 23 to 24, 2013
Published: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 456 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Pushing the Limits, #2

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again...

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...

Dare You To is a stunning, captivating read full of deeply passionate romance and heart-soaring moments. Not only were my expectations met, they were blown out of the water. I fell so hard for this book!

I enjoyed Pushing the Limits, but oh man, Dare You To rocked my socks. I'll start off with the romance first: I absolutely loved Beth's story. Beth is a troubled girl, but she's also a risk-taker, and I loved reading about a fearless heroine who has her share of flaws. She wasn't afraid to back down and stand up for what she believes in - Beth was fantastic. And Ryan was great, as well. Ryan is the golden child of the town, but he's not all glitz and glamour. With Beth, his true side comes out, and I loved how they just connected so well when they came together. Their love felt real and authentic, and I appreciated how McGarry created this pair to fit and click together so well. Needing something romantic with that kick of spunk? Dare You To is a fantastic choice. 

So much scandal and betrayal in this one! A lot of dares and risks are taken in Dare You To, and I adored how fast-paced and pulse-pounding this sequel was. I can't believe, but I loved it even more than the first book! The writing style, the characters, the flawless progression of romance, everything was kicked up a notch - you know how some sequels are disappointing compared to the first book? That's not the case with this series whatsoever. Absolutely amazing!

Katie McGarry's writing style? Outstanding. Each character has their own unique voice, and I loved the compare and contrast between Ryan and Beth. Each line flowed off the page like a melody - Dare You To is easily one of my favorite contemporaries of all-time. Katie McGarry has proved herself again of being an incredible YA romance writer; Dare You To shines bright with love, heartbreak, and the outbreak of taking chances.

Overall, Dare You To is an extraordinary tale of starcrossed misfits that captured me right from the beginning and never let me go. A new favorite of mine!

M Y     R A T I N G

Monday, November 18, 2013

Brad About Books: Origin by Jessica Khoury

Read from October 20 to 21, 2013
Published: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 394 pages
Source: Purchased

The jungle hides a girl who cannot die.

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home―and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin―a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.

Woah! Origin is a fast-paced, gripping read that had me turning pages as fast as I could. Jessica Khoury is an outstanding voice in the sci-fi genre; this book was awesome!

I've never read a story about creating an immortal army - especially hiding an immortal girl - and Khoury did an exceptional job with handling this story. I was always intrigued by the scientists and how they created Pia - I couldn't get this book off my mind. And I just loved that it was set in the jungle! Again, I don't think I've ever read a book set in the jungle directly before, and Origin definitely spun a unique, thrilling tale unlike any other. I was turning pages as fast I could, totally caught up in all of the epic-ness that Origin provides so well. If you're needing a read that will hook you in right from the beginning, Origin does just the trick.

Pia was such a great protagonist. We get to see her struggle through adapting to the world and settling with becoming immortal, but she's also a rebellious teenager when she joins forces with Eio. Getting to see both sides of their vastly different worlds - Pia's being a laboratory with scientific things at every corner, and Eio's being a village in the dangerous jungle - was a treat, and I loved the entire world-building of both places. Jessica Khoury did a phenomenal job with balancing Eio and Pia's character development and their majorly different worlds. I fell so hard for this book - fast-paced, climatic, and fantastically incredible, Origin shouldn't be missed.

I loved how Khoury created her own version of immortality, instead of following the tropes and norm of what we, as a whole, consider legends of immortality. Pia is unlike any heroine you've ever read about, and you won't be able to shake this book loose long after you've turned the final page. With Origin, each word is smart and clever, and all of the characters are stunning and unique. In fact, this entire book is stunning and unique. Origin was marvelous in every way possible; definitely a new favorite book of mine.

Overall, Origin is a true gem. Powerful and outstanding, Origin is an incredible take on the truth about "forever" and the effects of it - one of a kind.

M Y    R A T I N G

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Brad About Books: Engines of the Broken World by Jason Vanhee

Read from July 17 to 18, 2013
Published: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Format: ARC
Page Count: 272 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Merciful Truth and her brother, Gospel, have just pulled their dead mother into the kitchen and stowed her under the table. It was a long illness, and they wanted to bury her—they did—but it’s far too cold outside, and they know they won’t be able to dig into the frozen ground. The Minister who lives with them, who preaches through his animal form, doesn’t make them feel any better about what they’ve done. Merciful calms her guilty feelings but only until, from the other room, she hears a voice she thought she’d never hear again. It’s her mother’s voice, and it’s singing a lullaby... 

Engines of the Broken World is a chilling young adult novel from Jason Vanhee.

(Brad About Books note: This book will mess with your mind in the most fantastic ways.)

WOAH, YOU GUYS, THIS BOOK. Engines of the Broken World is an eerie, chilling read that will have you looking over your shoulder and keep you up into the late hours of the night. This book messed with my mind - and I loved every second of it.

Let's go ahead and state something: this is not your typical book. Right from the first page, Engines of the Broken World is a creepy, unique novel that begins with something out of the ordinary. In fact, everything about this novel is out of the ordinary. You will never find another book like Engines of the Broken World, and I was so entangled with this world. Merciful and Gospel have to bury their dead mother, but now that she's hearing her mother singing to her, she knows something isn't right. Engines of the Broken World sent chills down my spine - it's the perfect book to read in the dead of night. Needing something creepy or deliciously eerie? Engines of the Broken World is the perfect choice.

The world is completely falling apart, and I love how the reader is never quite sure what has happened to the world. Another fantastic thing about Engines of the Broken World is how you can never trust anybody. Something is wrong and creepy about every character (especially The Minister), and deception is always lurking. Vanhee's writing perfectly matched the uniqueness of the book. Each word and sentence is haunting, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Engines of the Broken World has easily become one of my favorite horror, creepy reads.

Oh gosh, the ending. Fast-paced and heart-racing, Engines of the Broken World kept me biting at my nails and turning pages in anticipation. I was so connected to Merciful so much, and I loved traveling through these odd, scary situations with her. Unique and thrilling, I couldn't get my mind off of Engines of the Broken World. If you're needing to be creeped out, read Engines of the Broken World - it's terrifying and marvelous, all at the same time.

Overall, Engines of the Broken World is one whirlwind of a ride. Bizarre and fantastic, Engines of the Broken World shouldn't be missed.

M Y    R A T I N G

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Brad About Books: Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce

Read on July 4, 2013
Expected Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Format: ARC
Page Count: 336 pages
Source: ALA
Series: Fairytale Retellings, #4

Read my reviews for previous books in this series (you do NOT have to read the books in order): 

Unforgettable love. Unforgiving magic.

Kai and Ginny grew up together–best friends since they could toddle around their building’s rooftop rose garden. Now they’re seventeen, and their relationship has developed into something sweeter, complete with stolen kisses and plans to someday run away together.

But one night, Kai disappears with a mysterious stranger named Mora – a beautiful girl with a dark past and a heart of ice. Refusing to be cast aside, Ginny goes after them and is thrust into a world she never imagined, one filled with monsters and thieves and the idea that love is not enough.

If Ginny and Kai survive the journey, will she still be the girl he loved–and moreover, will she still be the girl who loved him?

Jackson Pearce, author of the acclaimed SISTERS RED and FATHOMLESS, has returned with a unique vision of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” one about power and redemption, failure and hope, and the true meaning of strength.

Cold Spell is a phenomenal, spellbinding novel that can melt any icy heart and will make readers fall in love with Jackson Pearce even more. This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite books of all time. From the world-building to the characters to the romance, everything about Cold Spell is fantastic. 

Pearce can weave together one brutal, beautiful world. We've been through so many worlds throughout Sisters Red (the woods), Sweetly (the hidden South), and Fathomless (the ocean), but Cold Spell brings something even more epic than before. We get to see the heart of an endless winter, and the way Pearce brings this world to life off the page was amazing. The endless winter put our protagonists, Ginny and Kai, to the test, and I loved how Jackson Pearce wasn't afraid to knock her characters down. Speaking of which, Kai and Ginny made a fantastic duo. They complimented and contrasted each other in a wonderful balance; they're one of my favorite pairs of all time. Cold Spell knocked it out of the ballpark. I absolutely adored this book.

The writing style is so unique and captivating. It lures you in - almost like Mora! - and you can't escape this book. If I set it down for a single moment, it was the only thing that was on my mind. And oh Mora, how I love thee. She's so interesting and deadly, and I was never quite sure if she was all wicked or if there was some good buried within her. I loved the contrast of light and dark that was played on Mora - she was an exceptional character.

Oh man, how this book took so many plot twists! So many turns! All the feels! If you're needing a series to get attached to and fall head over heels in love with, this is the series for you. They're fun, addictive, and overall, an original gem that shouldn't be missed. I absolutely love this series to pieces. I'm sad to see it go, but every single book was phenomenal in its own way. Jackson Pearce, thank you so much for this series. It was marvelous!

Overall, Cold Spell is a fantastic novel that leaves a mark in YA. What a finale to a stunning series! Love, love, love. So incredible.

M Y    R A T I N G

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Brad About Books: Fathomless by Jackson Pearce

Read on May 6, 2013
Published: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 291 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Fairytale Retellings, #3


Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

Fathomless is an electric, astonishing novel that had absorbed every part of me - I couldn't shake this book loose from me. Everything about this book is unique and stunning, and it has easily became one of my favorite books of all-time. The world-building, the characters, the writing, everything was flawless. Phenomenal.

It's no secret that I adore all of Jackson Pearce's books, and I was so excited to dive (no pun intended) into Fathomless. And with every Pearce novel, I was blown away immensely. Pearce has such an original and captivating writing style - what I especially loved about Fathomless was the dual perspective between Celia and Lo. Both girls are totally different, but they're both striving for the same goal - wanting more in life. Celia can only see the past, so her and Lo make a perfect team. I loved how the suspense of Lo was kept consistent throughout the entire novel. I wasn't always positive Lo was totally innocent and good, and I loved that suspense dangling in front of my face. So, so amazing.

I'm a huge fan of fairytale re-tellings, and I adored how Jackson Pearce tackled Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. She wasn't afraid to get dark and morbid (like the original tale) with the story - how she executed the storyline to fit the original tale, while making it her own still, was absolutely brilliant. Fathomless wrapped itself around my mind and never let me go. If I wasn't caught up in these pages, it was the only thing on my mind. The suspense, the characters, the haunting and dark past: they haunted me long after I turned the final page. And I loved every second of it.

That ending was so smart! I didn't see the plot twists coming in Fathomless - every one of the turns took me by surprise and had me invested even further into the story. I loved how each novel in the Fairytale Retelling series intertwine with each other in some way; it just proves how flawlessly Pearce plotted out the series. If you're needing a great paranormal read that will keep you up late at night, this is the series for you. Fathomless is a true gem.

Overall, Fathomless is a marvelous, one of a kind story that shouldn't be missed. Love.

M Y   R A T I N G

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Brad About Books: Waterfell by Amalie Howard

Read from October 26 to 27, 2013
Expected Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: ARC
Page Count: 350 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: The Aquarathi, #1


Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father's betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa's upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age. 

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa's mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?

Welcome to the Aquarathi, the ocean's best-kept secret...

Waterfell is a completely consuming read that enchanted me in right from the beginning and had me hooked. For fans of Of Poseidon and Wake, Waterfell is a fantastic tale that shouldn't be missed.

This novel caught my attention when I heard the awesome synopsis, plus the absolutely fantastic cover, and I just knew I had to read it. What I thought was unique about Waterfell was how the dilemma and main protagonist, Nerissa, were structured. It seems like the norm would be for the character to find out that they are destined for greatness and must pass trials in order to achieve this - however, that is not the case with Waterfell. Nerissa knows exactly who she is and what she must do, and I absolutely loved that change that Howard brought us. Nerissa was a stunning character. She was flawed, but she was determined to take back her rightful throne, no matter what the cost. And though she allows herself to fall for the mortal Lo, she knows she must have Waterfell back in her possession. Waterfell is a unique, captivating read that had me turning pages as fast as I could - a fantastic whirlpool of a novel.

I love anything and everything ocean novels, and Waterfell definitely leaves its mark. I loved the legends and lore brought up in Waterfell and how Amalie Howard weaved together the Aquarathi to a mystical, enticing place of danger and deceit. If I only had one problem with Waterfell, it would be that I would have liked to seen more of the antagonist throughout the entire novel. The journey to Waterfell with Nerissa and Lo was incredible - Howard's descriptions are stellar, and I truly felt like I was emerged into this world. If you're looking for a great paranormal read, I highly recommend Waterfell.

Betrayals and scandals are afloat in Waterfell, and it was so interesting to see how Howard put a paranormal twist on these betrayals. There are so many twists and turns in Waterfell that I didn't see coming - they shocked, surprised, and captivated me, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Waterfell is an engaging, phenomenal start to a very promising series - Howard is a brilliant voice in young adult.

Overall, Waterfell is everything I love in a novel: exceptional world-building, a genuine and authentic romance, and a plot that's so addictive, I stayed up late into the night to devour this story. So, so great.

M Y    R A T I N G