24.4.18

Top Ten Tuesday: All About the "Fall"



Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Find out more here

This week's topic is frequently used words in titles. While I was looking through my Goodreads shelves, I noticed several common words - love, secrets, fall, etc. However, I decided to go with fall here - mostly so I could have an excuse to fangirl over Before I Fall


Ready to Fall by Marcella Pixley: Ready to Fall is heartbreaking yet heartwarming, and even though I read it months ago, I'm still thinking about it. I love books that make me cry and laugh - sometimes all within the same scene - and that's exactly what Marcella brings to the table here.  


Free to Fall  by Lauren Miller: This book is SO GOOD yet SO UNDERRATED. Secret Societies, boarding schools, futuristic technology - there's so much to love! My only compliant? I wish there was a sequel! 


One Night to Fall by Kelsey Kingsley: I read this book in one sitting this past Fall, and gosh, did it grab me from the first page until the very last.  


Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger: Takes a while to build up, but by the end, I was hooked. I love the focuses on people who control the winds. 


Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers: Courtney Summers is one of the best YA/NA writers out there, and Fall for Anything proves that fact further! This book is gritty, heart wrenching, and poignant. 


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. That's all. 


The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe: One of my favorite dystopian series! 



They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire: I actually haven't read this one, but I really want to! The cover is eye-catching, isn't it? And it's been compared to Pretty Little Liars, which is always an insta-sell for me.  


Deeper We Fall by Chelsea M. Cameron: I've had this book in my TBR for years now but I still haven't read it. One of these days!  


After the Fall by Kate Hart: A 2017 debut that I still need to read!

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What's some of your favorite books with the world Fall in the title? Any of the ones I listed above? Let me know in the comments :) 

23.4.18

Review: The Rules of Rebellion by Amity Hope


The Rules of Rebellion by Amity Hope 
Release Date: April 2, 2018 
Publisher: Entangled Crush 
Genre: Young Adult, Romance 
Source: eBook provided by author in exchange for an honest review 
Amazon | BN | Kobo 
1. Skinny dip (her idea)
2. Stargaze (his idea)
3. Prank someone (her idea)
4. Go on a date (his idea)

Leo Zimmerman has had a crush on his curvy friend Kylie Jenkins since forever, so when he discovers the girl with a flair for candy making has a newfound plan to rebel against her overbearing parents, he’s determined to be the one to help her carry it out. Who better than himself to show her the ropes of letting loose?

Sure, taking her to her first high school party, helping her sneak out of the house, or watching a sunset together isn’t exactly a hardship, but much harder is masking his feelings the more time they spend together. And when he suggests adding “a first date” to Kylie’s plan and she accepts…suddenly all his dreams seem to be coming true.

But Leo’s got a secret that could change everything between them, and it’s only a matter of time before it comes to the surface.

Review: 

Last summer Amity Hope's THE RULES OF PERSUASION wiggled its way into my heart. It still brings a smile to my face to think about Meg and Luke's romance- it's just that stinkin' cute. Therefore, when I heard that Amity Hope was releasing not only a new YA romance but a YA romance that was also a companion to THE RULES OF PERSUASION, I was jumping-up-and-down excited.

The result? While THE RULES OF PERSUASION remains my favorite, THE RULES OF REBELLION still is a fantastic follow-up. Heartwarming as well as hopeful, THE RULES OF REBELLION is the perfect feel-good read.

THE RULES OF PERSUASION introduces Leo and Kylie, two high school seniors thrown together after their best friends start dating. Leo and Kylie have both spent the majority of high school being afraid. While Leo's been terrified of asking his long-term crush out, Kylie's been terrified of just living.

Kylie and Leo are not only incredibly likable but also relatable. I think everyone's been in Kylie and Leo's shoes at one point or another, afraid to do something scary, to take that one big jump. It was so incredibly rewarding as well as inspiring to see them let loose and start doing the things that terrified them - parties, skinny dipping, etc. Additionally, they faced their fears in more ways then just the "fun" stuff. They took control of their futures and stood up to their parents. I loved seeing them evolve as the book progressed, and by the end, I couldn't have been happier with where they ended up. I also enjoyed the secondary characters. It was fun to catch-up with the gang, and I loved the scenes were they were together as one big group. The bonfire scene in particular had me laughing out loud!

The plot in this mainly involves Leo and Kylie's romance and to-do list. The one aspect I always love and appreciate about Amity's books is that the romance develops naturally. It never feels forced and the characters always have a surplus of chemistry. I loved seeing Leo and Kylie come tougher, and I also appreciated that everything wasn't always perfect. For instance, sometimes their communication skills left something to be desired, but it was once again one of those moments where I could be like "been there, done that." Additionally, I liked the to-do list. Amity once again worked it naturally into the plot, and I appreciated that some of the items occurred naturally as the book progressed. Last but not least: the twist at the end. While it's not the most unique twist in the world, it was made special by the way in which Amity approached it. I liked the message it brought to the book as well as how it shaped the later portion of the story.
Overall, Amity Hope has done it again! She's provided a lovable, enjoyable story in THE RULES OF REBELLION. So add this (and THE RULES OF PERSUASION) to your TBRs. Trust me, you won't regret it
4 stars!! 

20.4.18

Review: Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake 
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Source: ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Vikings meets Frostblood in this romantic historical fantasy stand-alone from author Jessica Leake.

The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.

The people of Mide have always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle, the two might have a chance to save their world.

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love...even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.

Review:

Beyond a Darkened Shore was one of my most anticipated releases of April. Anything described as "Vikings meets Frostblood" automatically gains my attention, and I still can't get over how gorgeous the cover is. Now that I've read the book, I can say it fits the story perfectly. 

So did Beyond a Darkened Shore live up to my expectations? Unfortunately, the answer to this is somewhere between yes and no. Some parts of this book, especially the beginning, I downright loved; however, as the story progressed and the characters developed, I became less and less enchanted with the overall picture. 

The beginning of this story is honestly the best part. We're quickly thrown into action, as enemy troops are slowly approaching Ciara's kingdom. Ciara is quick to first get her sisters to safety and then her men ready for battle. The tensions are high, and I was on the edge of my seat, dying to know what would happen next. Would Ciara's sisters be okay? What did the incoming troops hope to accomplish? What exactly was Ciara's power and how was the crow involved? Additionally, it's easy to get a feel for Ciara's character in this scene. You can feel her fear - fear for her sisters, mother, father, and men - as well as her determination and ferocity. She loves her kingdom, and nothing, no army or outer force, will take it away from her. As the battle develops, it sets important events into motion - Ciara's first encounter with Leif and the omen she receives from the crow. 

After this scene, I couldn't wait to see what would come next, and for a while, I was relatively satisfied with everything. Ciara continued to be a character that was easy to like as well as root for. I gave her props for standing up for what she believed in, no matter the cost. The scene with her father, in particular, was a strong one. I also enjoyed the mythology included. It's what originally attracted me to this story, and I thought Jessica did a decent job of expanding upon it. 

But then the story fizzled out...

One of the biggest problems with Beyond a Darkened Shore was the pacing. As I've mentioned before, it started off bang, but then it slowed down considerably. I was okay with this at first. I figured some backstory and character development had to be established, but then the pace never picked up. The story continued to drag, and I became less and less invested. I wanted excitement, thrill, something to keep me glued to the page, but the energy associated with the first part never seemed to come back. It was underwhelming and even disappointing. 

The other problem I had involved Leif and Ciara's relationship. When the story first began I was willing to overlook the predictability of it - enemies that become something more and must also save the world together - but I couldn't overlook the fact that I felt that Leif served no real purpose but to be Ciara's right-hand man. I never could get a good sense of Leif. I couldn't get a feel for his personality, his wants and desires, and the book suffered because of it. I also didn't feel a true chemistry between Ciara and him. Yes, on the surface they were similar, but it never dove deeper than that, in my opinion. At the end of the day, how could I be invested in a bond and a relationship when I felt that I barely knew the male lead? Plus, I didn't like how this relationship affected Ciara's personality. She went from being this strong, fearless leader to someone who over thought everything and jumped to conclusions. 

Overall, Beyond a Darkened Shore is a solid 3-star read. The premise here is fantastic, the opening even better, but the middle and end are what turn this story from something special to something that's hard to get through. 

3 stars!! 
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