Thursday, April 30, 2015

REVIEW: How to Love by Katie Cotugno

How to Love
Reena Montero has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember: as natural as breathing, as endless as time. But he's never seemed to notice that Reena even exists until one day, impossibly, he does. Reena and Sawyer fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town without a word, leaving a devastated—and pregnant—Reena behind.

Almost three years have passed, and there's a new love in Reena's life: her daughter, Hannah. Reena's gotten used to being without Sawyer, and she's finally getting the hang of this strange, unexpected life. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. Reena doesn't want anything to do with him, though she'd be lying if she said Sawyer's being back wasn't stirring something in her. After everything that's happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer LeGrande again?

In this breathtaking debut, Katie Cotugno weaves together the story of one couple falling in love—twice.

I will read basically anything YA, but I do tend to avoid books with teen pregnancy or sports. Obviously this book focuses on the former. For awhile, I didn't bother to pick up this book, but for some reason I decided to go outside my comfort zone and I discovered this beautiful book.

This book is separated in before and after. Before, Reena has always had a crush on Sawyer, but it seems that he never really sees her, that he prefers her best friend instead. But one day he does and they develop a strong, but bumpy relationship, that leaves with Reena pregnant and Sawyer disappearing.
Flash forward three years and Reena now has a beautiful daughter named Hannah. Reena is now used to her life and even has a boyfriend, when Sawyer comes back to town. Sawyer was completely unaware that Reena was pregnant and wants to fix what he broke, as well as get to know Hannah, but can Reena let him into her life again.

I think what makes this book really beautiful is how realistic it is. This book has very raw realism, but it only makes it more beautiful, if that makes any sense. This book is told via both before and after which only enhances this. It's very interesting because we already know what happened, from the after, but we only know the ending. Through the before, we learn so much more about the relationship and it makes everything more clear.

Reena is our main character and she's a great one at that. In the before chapters she has naive innocence, which does change as it goes on. In the after chapters, she's such a strong character. She's been through a lot in her young life, but she continues to take it. She loves her daughter and does a great job at raising her, as well as going to college classes and work. What's really frustrating is that nobody seems to see how strong she is, only her mistakes, and it takes awhile to get people to see this part of her.

I'm a bit torn on Sawyer. I liked after Sawyer, but before Sawyer was a bit of a jerk. He was a troublemaker and did drugs. Even though, it was obvious that he did love Reena. He just had his own issues. In the after, Sawyer has changed after traveling the country. He is no longer a troublemaker and he really is sweet. He really does want to fix things.

As for romance, I don't consider this a romance book. Yeah, it's about a couple falling in love, twice, but there's more to this book than that. This book is about how to love, but not only the romance variety. It is about family, both Reena's and Sawyer's, who distanced themselves after Hannah. It is also about Hannah. This book is also about being able to forgive and learning how to love again.

Anyway, I'm getting a bit teary-eyed while writing this review. Overall, this was a very realistic, but beautiful read. I'm very glad that I reached out of my comfort zone and picked up this book! I already have Katie Cotugno's new book checked out from the library, so I hope to read that one soon!

I hereby give this book
4 Wheels
Meaning: It was amazing!

Cover vs Cover: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

This week's pick is...

Trial by Fire (Worldwalker, #1) VS.  Trial by Fire
Hardcover                   Paperback
I LOVE the paperback. The original cover looks like some kind of video game. The paperback on the other hand looks amazing! I love the illustrated effect and all the blue symbols in the sky. Now, I haven't read this book, but the second cover makes me want to pick it up.

Final Verdict: Paperback
Do you agree? Give me your thoughts on which cover is the best!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

REVIEW: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

I received an ecopy of this book via First to Read in exchange for an honest review.

I stayed up late reading this book, unwilling to put it down, only to make it to the end and just stare blankly at the screen. Why? Because I wanted more. This book was beautiful and absolutely fantastic!

Khalid, the "boy-king" and ruler of the land, has taken and killed a wife every dawn. When Shahrzad's best friend becomes a victim, she volunteers to become the next wife with the intent of killing the boy king. Shazi has to use her smarts to survive the dawns, but each time she holds back from killing him. Despite what has happened to the other girls, Shazi is growing closer to the boy king, and him to her. The thing that holds her back is that he's keeping a dark, secret. Why is he killing the girls?

I have never read the book that this is a loose retelling of, but I am familiar with it. Still, I was able to fully enjoy this book. I admit, it took a little while. At first, I had trouble because this book changes who it is following every chapter or so. Sometimes it's Shazi, sometimes it's Khalid, Shazi's family, Tariq, etc. I was getting confused and it was a bit slow-pacing for a bit, but then I FOUND THE MOST AMAZING BOOK!

One thing that really stands out is the world-building. The entire world was crafted so brilliantly and so well-detailed, that I felt like I was actually within the pages.

As for characters, Shari is a fantastic MC! She's smart, snarky, and many people in the book described her as fiery (maybe not very nicely). But what more could you ask for in a character? This character knows how to play this game and get what she wants. Even with her strength, she isn't a completely badass girl with no weaknesses. She's' a very complex character and, if I must say, all of the characters in this book are so well-developed. Really, Ahdieh is such an amazing writer!

Lastly, the romance. I ship it hard. I was kind of iffy for a bit, since Khalid definitely has the bad boy thing, but I absolutely adore hate-to-love romances. And I need to stop now before I begin fangirling (more than I have already).
Though, there is a bit of a love triangle-esque thing with Tariq, who was Shari's boyfriend before. I really hope that this doesn't come into play in the next book.

Overall, this book is my favorite book so far this year! I loved everything about it and I'm sorry if I was vague, but I'm having such a hard time formatting my thoughts that actually make any sense! If you enjoy well-crafted fantasies with a brilliant storyline, brilliant characters, and all of the twists, so your self a favor and pick this up. Heck, if you're a fan of amazing books, pick this book up.

I hereby give this book
5 Wheels
Meaning: A new favorite!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where you talk about whatever book you are IMPATIENTLY WAITING for!

This week I am waiting for...

The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #3)
The Iron Prince—my nephew—betrayed us all.

He killed me.

Then, I woke up.

Waking after a month on the brink of death, Ethan Chase is stunned to learn that the Veil that conceals the fey from human sight was temporarily torn away. Although humankind's glimpse of the world of Faery lasted just a brief moment, the human world has been cast into chaos, and the emotion and glamour produced by fear and wonder has renewed the tremendous power of the Forgotten Queen. Now, she is at the forefront of an uprising against the courts of Summer and Winter—a reckoning that will have cataclysmic effects on the Nevernever.

Leading the Lady's Forgotten Army is Keirran himself: Ethan's nephew, and the traitor son of the Iron Queen, Meghan Chase.To stop Keirran, Ethan must disobey his sister once again as he and his girlfriend, Kenzie, search for answers long forgotten. In the face of unprecedented evil and unfathomable power, Ethan's enemies must become his allies, and the world of the fey will be changed forevermore.

Release Date: October 27th 2015  
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Why am I waiting?
I NEED THIS!!!!! I feel like it's been FOREVER since the cliffhanger from the last book!!!

What book are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

BOOK BLITZ: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Today is the release day for AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir, a new fantasy book! Keep reading to see a letter from Sabaa, a giveaway, and other goodies!

A letter from Sabaa Tahir.


Today, my “baby” AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is finally out in the world! From inception to pub
date, this journey took eight years. And what a journey it was: writing, rewriting, revising, editing, querying, submitting; Meeting other debuts, bloggers, booksellers and librarians, and hearing their thoughts on EMBER.
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the radness.

And now, the book is here! I am so excited to see it in the hands of readers. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate release day, I’m giving away two signed, first-edition hardcovers of the book. Details below!

All my best,


Set in a
terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy
debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his
freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a
Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her
brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the
empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel
Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the
academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering
deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a
ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia
and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more
intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change
the future of the empire itself.

Check out the book trailer!

About Sabaa:
Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room
motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her
brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember
in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous
indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San
Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Giveaway Details:

2 winners
will receive a signed hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. US Only.

3 winners
will receive a hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and a Sword Letter Opener! US

Ends on May
9th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW: From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

From a Distant Star
Seventeen-year-old Emma was the only one who hadn’t given up on her boyfriend, Lucas. Everyone else—his family, his friends, his doctors—believed that any moment could be his last. So when Lucas miraculously returns from the brink of death, Emma thinks her prayers have been answered.

As the surprised town rejoices, Emma begins to question whether Lucas is the same boy she’s always known. When she finds an unidentifiable object on his family’s farm—and government agents come to claim it—she begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems. Emma’s out-of-this-world discovery may be the key to setting things right, but only if she and Lucas can evade the agents who are after what they have. With all her hopes and dreams on the line, Emma sets out to save the boy she loves. And with a little help from a distant star, she might just have a chance at making those dreams come true.

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Emma's boyfriend, Lucas, is dying of cancer. Lucas's family has given up and has already started planning for the funeral, but Emma still has hope. Out of desperation, Emma goes to a local woman who creates remedies for something to cure Lucas. The woman gives her something but with a warning that Lucas might not come back the same. Emma uses the cure and Lucas miraculously recovers, to the astonishment of everyone, but he begins to act strangely. He speaks in stunted language, his dog doesn't recognize him, and he can't recall events of his past. Emma begins to question if he is even the same person. But government agents crawling around the house looking for a piece from an airplane crash lead Emma to the discovery of a strange object. Maybe it wasn't her remedy that cured Lucas at all, maybe it was something else.

What drew me to this book was the cover/title hinting at aliens as well as the line "unidentifiable object" in the synopsis, which also hinted at aliens. Basically, I love to read books with aliens and this book didn't disappoint. This book has a very interesting premise and it was, well, interesting seeing it being carried out.

This book is told in 3rd person, but a majority of this book follows Emma. I'm torn about Emma. My main problem with her mainly lies with her relationship with Lucas, but I also liked this. I had problems with their relationship only because their high schoolers and she acted like they were meant to be (she planned to have children with him for crying out loud!). I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing in first loves are the only loves and that relationships will live through high school. Even with this, though, it brought out what I liked out Emma: her strength. Her love for Emma causes her to never give up on Lucas and eventually, Scout (mention him later). I read a blog post today about how strength in female characters isn't all about being badass, but standing up and not giving up. Emma had that.

Now, Scout is probably my favorite character. Scout is the alien that crash lands and takes over Lucas's body (not that much of a spoiler). What I liked about Scout was how much he changed throughout the book. He went into Lucas's body out of necessity and viewed the lifeforms as just lifeforms. He slowly grow, though, to like Emma and learn about this planet. My favorite part about him was the fact that he was very, um, clueless to this world and it was interesting seeing him try and do things. He's also very innocent, even though it takes awhile to notice.

Back to the perspectives, I enjoyed seeing from Scout's point of view, for obvious reasons, but I also wish we didn't have it. Only because his point of view in the beginning gives away the fact that he's inside Lucas, rather than shocking us.

As for romance, this isn't really a romance book. There's the romance between Emma and Lucas, but this isn't really in the book. Still, love is a major topic, as Emma is doing all this because of her love for Lucas.

Overall, I liked this book. It's a very interesting semi-light sci-fi with strong characters. I recommend this to those who would like an earth-bound alien read!

I hereby give this book
3 Wheels
Meaning: I liked it

Monday, April 27, 2015

BOOK BLITZ: Wash Me Away by Wendy Owens

Wash Me AwayWash Me Away by Wendy Owens 
Publication date: April 27th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Monsters have a way of following you.
Immersed in a new world at boarding school, Addy Buckley learns she’s not the only one with secrets. While trying to navigate the minefield of painful lies that seem to be rattling around her family’s past, she meets soft on the eyes and heavy on the heart, Napoleon Blake.

When faced with the darkness, Addy must decide to cling to her new life and friends or let the monster carry her away. The choice is hers, sink or swim.

Goodreads/ Amazon/ Barnes&Noble

I smile at the sincerity in his voice. “Thank you.”
“No, thank you for keeping the ghosts away. ”He’s no longer looking at me. Instead he watches our friends leap into the air, laughing and screaming as they chase the fluttering glow bugs.
I think about his words. That’s exactly what he has done for me … keep the ghosts away.
I lay down in the tall grass, my head tilted to the night sky, the moon full over our heads.
“Alrighty,” he says, filling the void next to me. “What are we doing?”
“For?” he asks.
His hand seeks mine through the blades of grass, our palms flat against one another’s. My heart starts to race. I’m listening to the song of the crickets mixed with our friend’s laughter, and in that moment I want nothing more than to crash into Leo and make the world stop turning. Instead, I settle for the moment, touching a friend’s hand, quietly keeping the ghosts at bay for one another.
“Do you think he’s there?” he asks.
“Who?” I forget what we’re talking about, distracted by his touch.
He doesn’t move his hand away. “God.”
I swallow. I’ve wondered that a lot, especially as a little girl, on those nights that Daddy would visit my room. “I don’t know,” I answer in barely a whisper.
“It’s a nice thought.”
“What is?”
“The whole heaven thing. That people are waiting for us,” he says.
“I guess.”
“What? You don’t believe in heaven?”
“I don’t know,” I say again honestly. “If that’s all real, it just seems hard to swallow.”
“What does?”
“Suffering,” I reply.
He’s quiet, and I wish I hadn’t rained on the moment. “Yeah, it is.”
 I want to tell him I hope there’s a heaven because he deserves to see his brother again. I want to tell him that I hope hell exists because people like my father deserve to go there. I want to tell him that through all the bull, I still have hope it’s all real and this being is out there, loving me with all the blemishes others have placed onto me. But instead I lay there, content with the touch of his hand.

YA is published under Wendy L Owens
Adult and NA is published under Wendy Owens
Wendy Owens is a writer, born in the small college town, Oxford Ohio. After attending Miami University, Wendy went onto a career in the visual arts. After several years of creating and selling her own artwork she gave her first love, writing, a try. It’s become a passion ever since. Wendy now happily spends her days writing the stories her characters guide her to tell, admitting even she doesn’t always know where that might lead. Her first series, The Guardians, is a YA fantasy series about angel and human hybrids.
Since then she has branched into NA Contemporary Romance and released titles to include Stubborn Love, Only In Dreams, and Do Anything. Her next romance, The Luckiest is scheduled to be released in July 2014.
When she’s not writing, this dog lover can be found spending time with her tech geek husband, their three amazing kids, and two pups. She loves to cook and is a film fanatic.

International giveaway for $25 gift card

Music Monday: Pressure by Youngblood Hawks

I love music and often listening to music all the time (when I'm reading, on the internet, falling asleep, etc.)! Every week I will list my current music obsession, whether it's a new discovery or an old one!

I've been listening to Youngblood Hawks lately and, so far, this one is my favorite! It's so upbeat and fantastic!

REVIEW: The Lovely and the Lost by Page Morgan

The Lovely and the Lost (The Dispossessed, #2)

For readers of Lauren Kate's Fallen series comes the sequel to The Beautiful and the Cursed,The Lovely and the Lost finds the Waverly sisters in mortal danger and able to trust no one.
   Ingrid and Gabby Waverly moved to France expecting a quiet reprieve from London gossip, but the truth they face in their new home has a sharper--and deadlier--sting.
   Paris is plagued by an underworld of demons and gargoyles who all seem to want something from the Waverly girls. Saving Ingrid's twin, Grayson, from the fallen angel Axia nearly killed them. And they're still being hunted--only this time, demons aren't their only predators.
   Ingrid's blood is special: it bestows the power to command gargoyles. It's an ability no other human has, and in the wrong hands, it could be used to send her cursed guardian, Luc, and his fellow Dispossessed to extinction. There are those who will do anything to get Ingrid's blood--and they see no value in human life.
   The Alliance has vowed to protect the Waverlys, and a new gargoyle has been assigned to guard their abbey home alongside Luc. But no one can watch over Ingrid, Gabby, and Grayson all the time--which means the three must learn to fight for themselves.

   Because darkness follows the Waverlys. And sometimes darkness comes in the form you trust the most.


This book takes place shortly after book one. The Waverly's are still living in France, but now about the Dispossessed and The Alliance. Ingrid and Grayson have to come to terms with their mixed blood, as well as their new abilities, trying to find ways to control them. Ingrid is also trying to fight off her attraction to Luc, their dispossessed, as a relationship between them not only is forbidden, but won't work. Gabby on the other hand is trying to train to fight demons and wants to join The Alliance, but they won't take her. But there are secrets that The Alliance is hiding...

It's been awhile since I read the first book, so I was worried that I wouldn't be able to understand what was going on. Thankfully, I was able to jump right into this book and I was honestly surprised by this book! The idea behind this entire series is very unique (I mean, gargoyles!) and I feel like the world was crafted brilliantly. I felt like I was able to get a full understanding on all the paranormal elements, even though I read book one so long ago!

This book is also from multiple perspectives. Ingrid, Grayson, Gabby, Luc, and others all give insight on what's going on as well as what's happening with them. I'm not a fan of third person perspective usually, but I liked seeing all their points of view and it was easy to tell who you were following.

Because of all the characters, there are a few romances to follow. Ingrid is probably the main one, but I wasn't a big fan of hers, since she was kind of in a love triangle. Though, it's kind of obvious who she really likes. Gabby's romance was actually a big surprise for me and I really liked that one!

Overall, this was a great sequel! A lot actually happened in this book, there's no middle-book syndrome here! I already have book 3 on hold at the library so I expect to read it soon!

I hereby give this book
3.5 Stars
Meaning: I liked it, but it wasn't quite amazing.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

REVIEW: Twilight by Meg Cabot

Twilight (The Mediator, #6)
This time it's life or death.

Suze has gotten used to ghosts. She's a mediator, after all, and communicating with the dead is all in a day's work. So she certainly never expected to fall in love with one: Jesse, a nineteenth-century hottie. But when she discovers that she has the power to determine who becomes a ghost in the first place, Suze begins to freak. It means she can alter the course of history... and prevent Jesse's murder, keeping him from ever becoming a ghost - and from ever meeting Suze.

Will Jesse choose to live without her, or die to love her?


This book has to be my favorite of the series! It was such a fabulous ending to the series!

In this book, Paul is continuing to be untrustworthy and Suze is starting to become more suspicious of him. Paul has been making vague threats against Jesse, Suze's dead boyfriend, saying that he will do the opposite of killing him. Paul has discovered many other abilities that come with being a mediator, one of which can stop Jesse from dying. Ever. Suze is doing all she can to stop Paul, but should she?

I adored this book so much! I finally felt like everything was coming together! Not only did I get all my questions answered, but I felt like all the events of the previous books were leading up to this! Really, so much happens in this book and I don't know how to explain them without gushing or spoiling too much! Just trust me that this book is exciting, surprising, and brings on the feels!

When I finished this book, I was enormously happy. This series ends in such a fantastic and beautiful way and I felt like I could close this book and still have this happy feeling with me. As I mentioned, this book brings the feels, not just happy feels, but overall I was very satisfied with this book.

Overall, I am glad that I picked up this series! This was a fun adventure and I became attached to the characters! This series ended fabulously and I couldn't ask for it to end any other way!

I hereby give this book
4 Wheels
Meaning: It was amazing!

New Releases in YA! (April 26th-30th)

Every week I list all (or almost all) of the YA books (and the occasional MG and, rarely, adult) that are coming out within that week!
Here's what you get to look forward to this week:
P.S. Click on the book's cover for the Goodreads page!

What books, if any, do you plan to buy?