Monday, August 10, 2015

Review: Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

by Heather Dixon
Hardcover, 361 pages
Published May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow
(I purchased this book)

Placement in the Pile: Top Picks!

Summary: What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

 Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.

Review: I adore Heather and her first novel Entwined, so when I heard she was publishing a new novel I knew I had to get my hands on it. And I've always wanted to read a steampunk, and knew her novel would be my perfect "first". :)

That being said this is my first experience reading a steampunk, so I can't compare it to others, but I truly loved it! What could be better than mixing Victorian England, futuristic mechanics, a little bit of sci-fi that borders fantasy, romance and keeping it all at a level that I can appreciate instead of wanting to rip my head off from the sci-fi complexity? (I really dont' read a lot of sci fi). I can see how people who really hate sci-fi might be turned off, but hey, that's steampunk, so you know what you're getting when you pick up this book...or at least you should.

 I also loved Heather's characters. It was so easy to love them, hate them, laugh with them, sympathize with them, cry with them. Each one felt so real. I thought that was great. I think my favorite part about the book was the theme of following your inner compass. The idea that each choice we make leads us down a path, and discovering what that path would be like had we chosen differently, and how that inner feeling is our ultimate guide. Add to all of this Heather's beautiful writing prose that is both approachable, lyrical and intelligent and you have a really great read.

Heather, I loved it! And that cover!  Can't wait to read more from you in the future.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: REMAKE by Ilima Todd

First of all I have to say sorry for being SO MIA lately.  Summer is hard, having 2 kids is hard.  I'm still reading, but do a lot of my reviewing on goodreads and call it a day.  Maybe one of these days I'll do a catch up, what I've been reading post, but for now I HAD to share with you this AWESOME ARC I read! 

by Ilima Todd
Hardcover publication Oct 14, 2014 from Shadow Mountain

Placement in the Pile: Top Picks!

Nine is the ninth female born in her batch of ten females and ten males. By design, her life in Freedom Province is without complications or consequences. However, such freedom comes with a price. The Prime Maker is determined to keep that price a secret from the new batches of citizens that are born, nurtured, and raised androgynously.

But Nine isn't like every other batcher. She harbors indecision and worries about her upcoming Remake Day -- her seventeenth birthday, the age when batchers fly to the Remake facility and have the freedom to choose who and what they'll be.

When Nine discovers the truth about life outside of Freedom Province, including the secret plan of the Prime Maker, she is pulled between two worlds and two lives. Her decisions will test her courage, her heart, and her beliefs. Who can she trust? Who does she love? And most importantly, who will she decide to be?

Wow! I absolutely adored this book. I was instantly drawn into the character's world and voice. Nine is completely believable and 100% genuine in her thoughts and responses to things.

The world Ilima Todd creates is so beautifully creepy and unique I was just in love with it, but I think the juxtaposition of that and how life could be. It's very powerful. She doesn't shy away from the stickier subjects involved with the society she creates, but in the end it still has a great message. I think it was just a beautiful poignant novel!

What is "freedom" to you?  What is "choice"?  And what would you choose are all big questions that are presented in this novel. And really in the end it was all about Nine's right to choose who she wanted to be.

I am also so torn about the guys in this book too! Don't worry it's not like a big love triangle. But I love them both. I think she made the right choice, but I hope we get more from the other guy and he finds his happy ending too!

 I am emotionally invested in these characters! And that, my friends is a very good thing! And I am assured by the author that book 2 is coming!  And I am beyond excited about that.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LONGING FOR HOME: HOPE SPRINGS by Sarah M Eded Blog Tour Review

by Sarah M Eden
416 pages
Published March 4th 2014

Placement in the Pile: Middle of the Stack inching towards Reaching New Heights

All is not well in Wyoming. Katie Macauley gave up her life-long dream of returning to Ireland in order to make a home for herself in Hope Springs, but her future has never been so uncertain. The town is more divided than ever, with both the Irish and the Reds stealing property, burning buildings, and endangering lives. Katie’s heart remains sharply divided between her love for playful Tavish and steady Joseph, a decision she feels ill-prepared to make. In the midst of the growing unrest, temperatures drop quickly, too quickly, and Irish nightmares of famine and cold resurface as the little Wyoming town struggles to beat the harsh winter.

Katie makes one sacrifice after another to keep the peace and help see her loved ones through the difficult days ahead, but will it be enough?

Can the town make amends before their hatred consumes them all? And will Katie find the love she has been searching for as well as a home to call her own?

So, you may recall that I read and reviewed the first book in this series HERE.  And so when I had the opportunity to find out what happens next in Hope Springs I took it! 

HOPE SPRINGS picks up right where we left off, but was also kind of confusing to me.  I felt like in the first book she had made her romantic choice, and the summary said her heart remains "divided".  Huh.  Okay. 

I felt like much of HOPE SPRINGS was just rehashing plot that was already in the first book.  The feud,  Katie's determination to end it, Joseph's determination to stay out of it (even though he has the financial power to ruin the town if they can't get along, and in my opinion he should have used that power against the Red Road a long time ago...), the Irish road is poor, and sick, and hurt, and at risk of dying off in the winter because of the cruelty of the Red road (yet Joseph still won't do anything about that).  And Katie is back to not knowing which man she loves even though she already "chose" Tavish. 

Don't get me wrong.  I actually liked this book better.  I think the plotlines that pushed the story forward of Katie's relationship with the Johnsons, and Tavish's family's troubles etc. really were more interesting than the goings on in the first book.  But in the end I felt like this was a better book and I loved how it turned out.  But I feel like both books together could have been combined into one great novel, instead of two longer drawn out stories.

So if you like just a good story, a fluffier read.  These two books are certainly for you.  But they do deal with some hard things.  Especially this one.  I cried for a good portion of some of the later chapters.  So know it isn't fluff in the way of it just being a happy book.  But fluff in the way that it's just an easy read for a weekend or beach trip.  They're especially great this month because of the Irish themes.  :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy Book Birthday ELEVATED by Elana Johnson

I wanted to let you all know that today is the book birthday for ELEVATED by Elana Johnson. I will be reviewing it next week, but here's some links where you can find it yourself for your digital readers!


Monday, February 3, 2014

DEFY by Sara B Larson Giveaway Winner!

Sorry it took me so long to post the winner! But thanks to all that entered. The lucky winner of a signed copy of DEFY by Sara B Larson is...
Shelli Holt! 

I'll contact you soon about getting the book to you. :) Happy reading everyone!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cover Reveal! ELEVATED by Elana Johnson

I am super excited to share this cover reveal with you all.  And very excited to read this one.  First here's some info on ELEVATED being released Feb 18, 2014!

The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.

Doesn't that sound so fun! 

So here's the cover............

Isn't that GORGEOUS!  I am so excited for this one, and will be reviewing it soon! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DEFY Giveaway!

Hey everyone!  So I was out of town for my friend Sara B Larson's book launch so I'm lame and have no pictures etc. from the event (you can see some at her blog but I did order one signed copy to give away! 

It's the perfect Valentines day read with all the romance!

So fill out the chart below! 

Giveaway open until 11:59 pm MST Jan 29th.  USA mailing addresses only please.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

DEFY by Sara B Larson ARC Tour

by Sara B Larson

Hardcover, 336 pages
To Be Published January 7th 2014 by Scholastic Press
Placement in the Pile:  Top Picks

Summary: A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

Okay, this review would not be complete if I didn't tell you a little bit about Sara.  I've known Sara for 7 years now, and I can tell you this book is the culmination of just as, if not more years of work and love being spread onto the page directly from her heart.  I am so excited for her and her debut novel.  This book has a special place in my heart, as I know it does for her!

That being said, remember as a reviewer, no matter how I love the author, I have to be honest about the book.  Well luckily in this case I don't have to sugar coat things to tell you what I loved about DEFY!

Having read many of her other novels throughout the years I can tell you DEFY is the culmination of all she has learned from those endeavors.   Sara's strong point is the romance.  She always writes compelling romance with twists and turns in the individual character's story lines that affect the relationship. 

Yes, DEFY is a fantasy set in a unique jungle covered country, but it's the emotions and the relationships that are at the heart of this book.  The disgusting actions of the King force Alexa and her twin brother's hand when her parents are killed.  And Alexa has to live a lie.  She has to be strong, and in so many ways she is.  But she is also human, and feminine and those emotions have a way of breaking through when she is alone and allows herself to think her teenage girl thoughts.  The juxtaposition of her strong exterior and her tender heart made her feel real to me.  None of us are tough and strong all the time.  And I think teenage readers will appreciate her honesty with herself. 

The best part of the book is the pacing.  It just never stops.  You think Alexa has things figured out only for a wrench to be thrown into the mix.  Some of it I saw coming, some of it I didn't. 

Do yourself a favor and save those giftcards for a week after Christmas and go pick up DEFY!  If you enjoy fantasy and romance, this is a book for you!

Oh and I'm totally team Damian.  You'll have to tell me what team you're on when you read it!