Book Review: Winter Falls by Nicole Maggi

Genre: 

Young Adult, diagnosis Fantasy, discount Romance

Pages: 

N/A

Part of a Series?:

First in the Twin Willows Trilogy

Release Date: 

December 22nd, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Alessia Jacobs is a typical sixteen-year-old, dying to get out of her small town of Twin Willows, Maine. Things look up when a new family comes to town, but when she falls for the hot, mysterious son, Jonah, her life turns upside down.

Weird visions of transforming into an otherworldly falcon are just the beginning. Soon she learns she’s part of the Benandanti, an ancient cult of warriors with the unique power to separate their souls from their bodies and take on the forms of magnificent animals.

Alessia never would’ve suspected it, but her boring town is the site of an epic struggle between the Benandanti and the Malandanti to control powerful magic in the surrounding forest.

As Alessia is drawn into the Benandanti’s mission, her relationship with Jonah intensifies. When her two worlds collide, Alessia’s forced to weigh choices a sixteen-year-old should never have to make.

My Review:

 

After meeting Nicole recently at the Ontario TBF, and moderating not one, but two panels with her, I knew I had to get my hands on her books. She had so much to share about her series and it sounded so intriguing especially since she had done so much research about the Benandanti, and it just all sounded really awesome. Plus she was so passionate about her books and I just loved Nicole period.

And I’m so glad that TBF, as usual, brought a new author into my life because I truly enjoyed this book. I’ve been in somewhat of a slump lately (as you could probably tell from my lack of reviews) and was pleasantly surprised when I borrowed the ebook from the library and proceeded to devour in the span of one day.

Nicole has a way of capturing your attention immediately from page one until the last. The idea of a normal young girl discovering there’s much more to her own story than she thought is not something we haven’t seen before but I loved the way that Nicole tackled it. Alessia has a very unique power, being able to separate her soul from her body, transform into a falcon and become a part of the Benandanti. But she also shares it with others as well. I liked that. Yes, this was a journey she had to take within herself but she also became part of something bigger than herself and I loved every bit of it. I was rooting for more than just Alessia, I was rooting for her companions and everything that the Benandanti fought for.

But I also love the romance. As someone who usually spends most of her time writing romance, I appreciate a story that can balance some really great fantasy with really great romance and I absolutely love the connection and story between Jonah and Alessia. It feels whimsical, magical, unbelievable, like a fairy tale almost (which is how the story feels at time, in a good way!) but it also feels real, because when you fall in love for the first time, all of those things are so true!

I’m really excited to see what Nicole has done with the first book of this trilogy and even more excited that I don’t have to wait long for the next installments. I just need to get my hands on them to find out what happens next, especially after how the book ended! I had a feeling something…big was going to be revealed but it wasn’t quite the way I had expected and damn, I have no clue of how this is going to play out but I definitely can’t wait to see how its done!

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: 

Young Adult, order Fantasy

Pages: 

465 pages

Part of a Series?:

1st in the Six of Crows series

Release Date: 

September 29th, price 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

My Review:

Leigh Bardugo has created yet another masterpiece that completely blows my mind. Its not just a great YA novel and its not just a great fantasy novel…its just a great book period. She created this incredible world in the Grisha trilogy, and made it so that it was one of my favorite series, period.

Then she goes and continues in this world, and she opens it up even more. She’s already created this beautifully complicated but addicting world, and she opens it up and it is so easy to just fall into it. This new place is so different than Ravka and what we were used to with Alina but it also feels familiar, like you’re stepping out of Ravka and traveling the rest of the world. That’s how great Leigh is at writing, that’s how fantastic she is at world building. World building is the one thing that I struggle with the most and its a HUGE part of why I admire Leigh so much.

But I also love how much more she opens up her world, and its more than just it taking place in another country. We get so close to Alina in the Grisha trilogy but in this book, there are six characters, so different from each other and yet they all have to work together in order to make this incredibly impossible thing work. Leigh’s ability to create such rich and interesting characters in the same book and make them all insanely likable and yet you kind of want to wring their necks too…I love it.

I never know what to say about Leigh’s books because I always just feel sort of socked in the stomach after I read her books. In a good way, of course. She’s just such an incredible writer. She tells amazing stories with these compelling characters and sometimes you feel like you could get lost in what’s going on, but it also is so easy to be a part of. Give it a few pages, you get yourself centered in the story and then bam! You’re there, you’re involved and literally can’t stop reading. She blows my mind. I throw myself at her feet. I could only hope to write as well as she does.

And she’s my friend. That part blows my mind too. I’m friends with someone who writes incredibly amazing books, YA or not, fantasy or not, just straight up these books ARE so good and I’m already addicted to this characters (Inej = life) and I can’t wait to read more!

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Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: 

Young Adult, health Fantasy

Pages: 

522 pages

Part of a Series?:

Spinoff of Fangirl

Release Date: 

October 6th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

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Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

My Review:

 

You know what I think amuses me the most about this book? This book is literally a fan fiction of a fandom that only exists in another fictional book. Its beautiful, and I love that this is a thing, and that its successful and even more, its SO damn good.

Its no secret that Fangirl literally is one of my favorite books that I’ve ever read. From page one until the last, I connected with Cath so much, and the story. Its just…its me and Harry Potter, easily. Which gave me an emotional attachment to Simon Snow and Baz and the rest of the characters…these characters that don’t even really have a story but Rainbow makes you love them.

And then there’s this book. THIS BOOK. Its just…I love it. Its a fan fiction of a not real story. And its a fan fiction of the finale to the not real series. Its absolutely absurd when you really think about it, but this is exactly what it is and it just WORKS.

I adore Simon. I adore Penelope and Baz and I love them all. My love for Baz is so deep, I can’t even begin to explain it. Even though this isn’t a real story, I guess, Rainbow makes it real. She makes it seem like you’ve been part of this huge Simon Snow for years and that’s exactly how I felt. I was like, HOW IS THIS GOING TO END? IS SIMON GOING TO FULFILL HIS DESTINY? WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN WITH PENNY? AND OH GOD I SHIP SIMON AND BAZ SO MUCH.

Any author that can make me love these fictional characters so much, so easily, totally wins all the marbles in my book. Seriously. Because its just such a fun story. It has everything that I love about Harry Potter, which makes it the perfect fictional stand-in for Cath in Fangirl. Its hilarious and its action packed, but it has that sort of whimsical and magical feel of Harry Potter…and it has this romance that KILLS me in all the good ways, because there is just not enough fantasy out there with a M/M love story and I adore Simon and Baz together SO much.

But I also think that it makes such a great Harry Potter fan fiction as well. Its obvious what Simon Snow is supposed to be but that’s what makes it so great. Its Rainbow’s own little shoutout to this amazing series, and she takes it and writes her own fan fiction and its beautiful, and cheeky and the bad words make me laugh because its a total fan fic thing to do. It literally feels like a Harry Potter fan fiction but one of the best written and it doesn’t feel fake or, like its taking advantage of an already established fandom. Its like, she’s paying it a huge compliment.

It also really makes me want more Simon Snow, which makes NO sense because really, its ONLY the one book. It just makes me laugh at the absurdity and yet its just so freakin perfect.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: The Fifteenth Minute (ARC) by Sarina Bowen

Genre: 

New Adult, find Contemporary, website Romance

Pages: 

294

Part of a Series?:

5th in the Ivy Years Series

Release Date: 

October 13th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

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Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel “DJ” Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. There’s something haunting his dark eyes and she needs to know more.

DJ’s genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can’t get close to Lianne, and he can’t tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

My Review:

Dear Sarina Bowen,

I have always had a soft spot for hockey. I have. I used to live next to this big empty lot when I was a little kid…that eventually became the Arrowhead Pond, now called the Honda Center…which houses the Anaheim Ducks. I love hockey. I had a friend in grade school who had season tickets. I got to meet some seriously awesome players back then. I love hockey. I haven’t been as attached to it over the past couple years because my first love is baseball. This is true.

Because of your writing, your stories, and your characters…I am now massively in love with hockey. Your stories freakin ROCK. Every single story is so different and the characters so unique, but you make them all lovable and you make it so we want to keep reading about them, book after book after book. Seriously. This fictional world you’ve created at Harkness College feels so incredibly real to me and I love every moment of it.

Which brings me to DJ and Lianne. I ADORE every moment of Lianne. I love that she’s this super famous actress in this super cheesy film series, and that she just wants to go to school and be normal but even without the whole famous-actress-super-rich-thing, she’s just SO awkward as hell and it just makes the whole book to me. You’re trying to figure out how to handle that she’s this famous person, but you’re too busy laughing at how insanely normal and silly and awkward and awesome she is. Seriously. I’m jealous of Bella for being her sort of roommate because I want Lianne to be my best friend. I love that behind this facade of supposed perfection is this girl who is literally just trying to figure out who she is, and where she stands. She’s insecure with boys and she is embarrassed at Bella and Rafe’s sexy times next door. She’s so refreshingly normal and I fall in love with her at every page.

And then there’s DJ. I adore DJ and I think its because we’re able to keep this connection to the hockey theme of the whole series but in a totally different new way. I love that he used to play but that being in the booth, playing music, playing with the reactions of the crowd, and using the music to interact with the players. I love music, a lot, but I have no connection to it other than loving it and listening to it. DJ makes it seem like so much, and connects it with something I do love: sports. I never thought of the music other than something they play through the speakers but it can have an effect on the crowd and the players and I LOVE it.

Plus, okay, besides all of that…you just write amazing books. I laugh a lot, and the sexy times are ALWAYS so good, and it makes me want to become a better NA sports romance writer, and you are a huge influence.

Keep writing these. I’ll keep reading. For sure.

Also, can I, like, HAVE Rafe? I know he belongs to Bella and all that, but I’d like him to kind of belong to me too? Is that okay? Is that a real thing…

Let me know.

Love, Sara

Rating: 

5 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Flamecaster (ARC) by Cinda Williams Chima

This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Edelweiss. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, adiposity Fantasy

Pages: 

544 pages

Part of a Series?:

1st of the Shattered Realms Series. This is a spin off series of the Seven Realms series

Release Date: 

April 19th, shop 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

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Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Adrian sul’Han, treat known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

My Review:

I can’t even begin to explain how much I absolutely loved this book. When I saw that I was able to get my hands on an eARC…I nearly cried. This series is a spin off of my FAVORITE series by Cinda, the Seven Realms…and I knew that I was just going to love it. And sure enough I did. I don’t know why more people don’t read her because honestly, I think she has such an incredible handle on fantasy. And not just YA fantasy, but fantasy period. The world building skills that she shows in here just blow my mind. Its hard enough to build a world and make it last for four incredible books, like she does in the Seven Realms but to take that world and expand it and make it just as good, if not better, is just a skill that I could only dream of. Both Ash and Jenna are fabulous characters, one that I adore so much, and I can’t wait to read more of their stories. I like that they both are so different from Raisa and Han but they are just as compelling, just as interesting, just as addicting. They have their own paths to travel and that is what makes Cinda so good at what she does.

I think the biggest thing that I like about this book is that it has that beautiful familiarity to the world I already totally fell in love with in the previous series but it stands alone as well. It brings in new characters and new ideas, even new magic. There’s so much that is different about it and I just love it from bottom to top, beginning to end. Its a complete, beautiful story in just one book but you know that the series is only going to get more amazing as more books come out.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: My Sweetest Escape by Chelsea M Cameron


Genre: 

New Adult, order Contemporary, viagra sale Romance

Pages: 

363 pages

Part of a Series?:

Second in the My Favorite Mistake series

Release Date: 

January 28th, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

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Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Jos Archer was the girl with the perfect life; until the night it all came crashing down around her. Now, nine months later, she still hasn’t begun to pick up the pieces. Even transferring to a new college and living under the watchful eye of her older sister, Renee, isn’t enough to help her feel normal again.

And then she meets Dusty Sharp. For reasons Jos can’t begin to fathom, the newly reformed campus bad boy seems determined to draw her out of her shell. And if she’s not careful, his knowing green eyes and wicked smile will make her feel things she’s no longer sure she deserves.

But even as Dusty coaxes Jos to open up about the past, he’s hiding secrets of his own. Secrets about the night her old life fell apart. When the truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together;or tear them apart for good?

My Review:

I loved this book even more than I loved the first one. The first was sweet, and all of that, and I loved seeing Taylor and Hunter fall in love but I really love Jos and Dusty…oh especially Dusty. I loved them from page one to the last page.

I like that Jos and Dusty both have secrets, they both have issues that they’re dealing with but they can’t help but be drawn to each other. What makes that even better is that their problems are connected and it takes them a bit to realize that. I don’t know why but I really like that. I like that they push each other away and pull each other back and take care of each other and mess up. They feel so real to me. I wish I genuinely could find a guy like Dusty, because that’s how incredibly real these two characters felt to me.

I also liked the way Chelsea captured loss. Both Jos and Dusty are dealing with a loss and they each have their own way of handling it and I think she does a beautiful job of capturing the emotions and the struggle of it. I really feel what Jos is feeling when she talks about this boy who became her best friend, who literally become her everything, before he was taken away from her.

I’m sitting here, trying to think of what to say about this book because one, its been a little bit since I read and two, I just loved it so much that I can’t really get the words out. Just thinking about it makes me want to read it again because I truly really enjoyed Jos and Dusty’s romance. I truly LOVED Dusty so much.

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars