Friday, July 25, 2014

Brad About Books: Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Expected Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dial (Penguin)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 320 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: Between, #2

This review is entirely spoiler free, even if you haven't read book one, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

Between the Spark and the Burn was everything I hoped it would be and more. With an eerie atmosphere and prose that grabbed me right from the beginning, Between the Spark and the Burn is an absorbing, exhilarating sequel that shouldn't be missed.

It's no surprise that I absolutely adored Tucholke's first part in this duology, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. With its fantastic atmosphere and characters worth rooting for, what's not to like? So needless to say, I was thrilled to see just how things would wrap up for these dark, brooding, mysterious characters. And I loved this sequel. Absolutely, one-hundred percent loved it. Tucholke's writing has an eerie, spine-tingling vibe that comes off the pages, and I never knew if I could fully trust the characters. It's vivid, lush, and completely addictive. So many twists and turns shocked in Between the Spark and the Burn. Due to the events at the end of book one, I had no idea how River and Violet's story would pan out, but I certainly didn't expect a lot of things that happened in this sequel. And I loved how Tucholke always kept me guessing. There's never a dull moment in this duology. 

Violet and River were two of my favorite characters from my 2013 reads and seeing their character progression and development in this finale was stunning. Violet, though she's broken on the inside, is fierce and strong, and River is completely insane, but they make for even more dark, haunting characters. Following Violet as she searches for answers and secrets was thrilling. Tucholke shows the reader more sides of this eerie landscape, and getting an insight into the world of River and his past in Between the Spark and the Burn was seriously awesome. I didn't think I could like them more than I already did, but Tucholke definitely proved me wrong.

And can we just talk about this series as a whole? It's got everything a paranormal fan could want: fantastic world-building, characters you can never fully trust, and an ending you'll never see coming. Seriously, Tucholke's books have landed a permanent spot on my Favorites shelf. If you're looking for the next series to binge-read, completely dive into, and be hooked on, look no further. The Between duology is for you. We all know the dreaded Sequel Slump, but that completely passed over Between the Spark and the Burn. I loved this one even more than the first book. So, so good.

Overall, Between the Spark and the Burn is a sequel of epic proportions and twists and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat the entire time. One of the best sequels I've read in a long time.

M Y   R A T I N G

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brad About Books: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Read from June 16 to 17, 2014
Published: July 8, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 308 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Landline is a thought-provoking, mesmerizing tale of the true meaning of love and finding out what's most important in this world. Just as I expected, Rowell delivered once again a masterpiece of laugh out loud moments, heartbreak, and times where I was fully captivated by the book. Landline is hands down a must-read.

I read Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rowell in 2013, and obviously, I fell in love with them (because seriously, who doesn't love Rainbow Rowell?). Landline was my first venture into her adult novels, and I have to say, I was definitely pleased with what I received! While it didn't have quite the exact same emotional appeal that I had with the previous two novels I had read, the emotional appeal was there for sure. Every character in Landline is a gem - seriously. Georgie is, without a doubt, one of the best protagonists I've ever read about. She has her flaws and isn't sure what to do with her life, and I loved venturing with a character who didn't have everything figured out with her life, though she's expected to by now. She's broken and bruised and trying to keep her head up, and my attachment with Georgie went beyond the pages. And I loved how this book wasn't one sided - Georgie is selfish at times, Neal (her husband) is selfish at times too, so Georgie gets her heartbroken from Neal. But, Neal also gets his heartbroken from Georgie - I believe it's rarely shown in novels both sides of the spectrum of heartbreak and selfishness, and I applaud Rowell for incorporating everything of this dilemma between these two people in Landline. Seriously, Rainbow Rowell never fails with her novels.

Rowell's writing style is always one of a kind, and Landline was no exception. With Landline, the emotional attachment you feel to Rowell's characters is different compared to her other ones. Honestly, I didn't always like Georgie at times. I found her to be self-centered at times and downright oblivious at times to everything around her; however, I loved Georgie for this. She wasn't perfect, and Rowell didn't leave out any of the gritty parts of her character and didn't sugarcoat anything. I was so attached to Georgie in this book. Then again, I'm always attached to Rowell's character, so what else was to be expected of? 

And if you're needing something to spice up your reading life with uniqueness, Landline has got you covered. With Rowell's signature style and a dash of magical realism folded throughout the pages, Landline is sure to have you tangled up in its storyline until the very end. While it was definitely different to see a magic telephone that allowed Georgie to talk to her husband before they were married, it was quirky and interesting. I had some questions though of how Neal-before-marriage and Georgie-before-marriage could have discussions if what Georgie-in-present-day said to Neal-before-marriage altered his opinion on things, but still, Rowell handled the parallel plot-lines masterfully.

Overall, Landline is a powerful, sizzling novel full of heartbreak, first love, and hardship that is executed like none other. Rowell's latest novel is sure to appeal new fans while pleasing previous ones. Absolutely loved it!

M Y    R A T I N G

Monday, July 7, 2014

Brad About Books: Earthquake by Aprilynne Pike

Read on July 6, 2014
Expected Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 383 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review
Series: Earthbound, #2

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

Aprilynne Pike is undoubtably one of my favorite authors of all-time, and she nailed it with this sequel. Earthquake is a vibrant, pulse-pounding sequel that not only lives up to the expectations set by the first installment, but passes them greatly. One of the most unique and absorbing series I've read in a long time.

Like I said before, Aprilynne Pike is one of the authors I know I can trust to have me hooked in her story and completely engulfed by the world and characters, and believe me, she did just that it with Earthquake! Everyone (including me - most definitely me) is scared of the dreaded Sequel Slump where the sequel doesn't live up to expectations, but that slump completely missed Earthquake. There's never a dull moment on these pages, and running around with Tavia, Logan, and Benson again was fantastic. As Tavia learns more about herself and harnesses her inner self, she morphs from this na├»ve character to one of the strongest heroines I've read about, and I adored her character development in this sequel. She's fierce, determined, and loyal to all those she trusts, and getting to see Tavia in full action again was great. Needless to say, this sequel did not disappoint. 

If you're needing a refreshing, original series to completely sweep you away, the Earthbound series is the way to go. With its charming prose and intoxicating world, this series is one of the most addictive stories I've read in a long time. When I'm with Tavia, I feel completely emerged into her world of secrets and lies, and I never know what to expect on the next page - and I love that Pike can keep me guessing like that. Earthquake raises the stakes even higher for Tavia. I was flipping through these pages as fast as I could; the storyline was so enthralling, and this sequel is the kind of the sequel that hooks you in right from the beginning and never loosens its grip. 

Aprilynne Pike is a master of suspense and buildup. Whether its intense action or hair-raising secrets that change the game for Tavia forever, Earthquake is always keeping the energy alive as Tavia races to find the truth about the world surrounding her. If you loved Earthbound, prepare to be pulled further in by this second installment. A true gem amongst the sci-fi genre. 

Overall, Earthquake is an electric, absorbing sequel that is sure to draw in more fans and leave fans gasping for more. Rich, exhilarating, and absolutely incredible, Pike has once more crafted a heart-racing story with an impeccable world and a heroine worth rooting for.

M Y   R A T I N G