Review and Giveaway: Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

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Title: Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

Giveaway: Signed copy of Dreamstrider  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Genre: Fantasy YA

Rating: 2.5/5

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

Synopsis: A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject’s body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.


 

I picked up “Dreamstrider,” by Lindsay Smith some time ago on a recommendation from  a trusted book friend. I was lucky enough to be able to get my hands on a signed copy, which made me all the more eager to read.

What I liked: The concept of this book was incredibly interesting. Livia, the main character, is a dreamstrider meaning that she has the ability to jump into people’s bodies via the dreamworld. But, this book is not really about Livia’s journey into being a dreamstrider, instead it is about her using her ability to save her country from those who want to use the dreamworld for evil. This book had a really solid premise and I enjoyed the fact that the reader learns about Livia’s abilities and what they can do as we get into the action. The way this book is set up is incredibly smart.

What I didn’t like: Personally, I found this book incredibly hard to become invested in for a multitude of reasons. First, I found the story to be incredibly confusing. I had a hard time keeping track of what was actually going on and it effected my interest in the story. I also was not a huge fan of the main character Livia. I can navigate a heavy plot if I love the characters but I found Livia difficult to handle and the secondary characters felt more like wallpaper than anything else.

Overall, this book held some positives but not my cup of tea. I hope someone will enjoy it in my stead. 2/5

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Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Best Snow-Storm Reads

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I’m back after a little hiatus–had to get grades in–and I’m hosting my freebie Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and Bookish. Snowstorm Jonas inspired this weeks Top Ten Tuesday-the best books to read in a snowstorm. I’m heading into day 5 of being cooped up and I’ve managed to make it through a great amount of reading. Here are my top 10 books that are good in a snow storm!


1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: This is an oldie but goodie and one of my go-tos. 

2. Hardwired by Meredith Wild: This is a romance and only good for the over 18 crowd, but if you need a go-to, hot-heavy relationship book this is the one to pick up.

3. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: When I need some YA sci-fi this one is it. In the last few days I have been unable to leave my apartment, so this is a great escape–I mean how much further can I get than space.

4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: This is a new favorite. The action packed story will keep you from going nuts. Plus, it’s set in the dessert.

5. Passenger Alexander Bracken: This was my snowed in book during the storm. It’s thick, it’s action packed, and it’s super interesting. I can’t wait to review this one.

6. Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare: I’m still waiting to enjoy the new T.V. series, but in the meantime this is a great and thick read if you are still stuck in the storm.

7. Compulsion by Martina Boone: Summer in the Carolina’s sounds really good right now.

8. Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade: Clearly I like to enjoy the oldies but goodies.

9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: This is my safety blanket classic.

10. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey: This is what I imagine it’s going to be like if I don’t ever get out of my house!

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten 2015 Books I Meant to Get But Didn’t

 

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2015 was a really weird book year for me. I began really strong reading 3-4 books a month, many of the ARCs for review, but then when fall came that tampered off. I continued to buy a lot of books but did not read them. Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by The Broke and Bookish

1. The Orphan Queen by Jodie Meadows: I got an early copy of this and have yet to read it. I’ve heard it’s great but I haven’t been motivated to pick it up. 

2. Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas: Another one that seemed like a ‘must read’ that’s currently hanging out on my book shelf.

3. The Rose Society by Marie Lu: I have yet to read “The Young Elites,” so I have no idea why I bought this.

4. Gabriel by Nikki Kelly: I had mixed feelings on Lailah. I liked it well enough but I have limited time so Gabriel, the sequel, has remained unread.

5. Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins: Love Wendy and The Sweet series, but I hate books that take new perspectives…

6. Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout: See above.

7. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno: I’m not usually into contemporary romances but this looked cute, until I read the reviews.

8. Untamed by A.G. Howard: I don’t usually pick up something with short stories after the fact but I was not 100% happy with the way the series ended, so I meant to grab this and get the ending I wanted.

9. A Mad Zombie Party by Gena Showalter: I loved this series, but I’m not tempted enough to want to grab this after the fact book.

10. Court of Fives by Kate Elliot: Okay, in my defense here I kind of forgot about this one and I just remembered it when making this list…

Well, those are my Top 10. What 10 books did you mean  to get but didn’t? 

Review: The White Rose by Amy Ewing

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Title: The White Rose by Amy Ewing

Publication Date: October 6th, 2015

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Genre: YA Romance/ Fantasy

Rating: 3/4

Synopsis: Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.


 

In an effort to maintain my New Years resolution I am finally reviewing this book. I read it back in October and I’ve been sitting on it for awhile. It’s one of those books that I am interested to hear other’s opinions on, because my feelings are so mixed. I loved the first book, but felt the content was maybe too much for YA.

What I like: I am intrigued by the world-building that Ewing introduces in this sequel. She begins to delve more into the history of her world and relates this back to her main characters explainable powers. The world building was much stronger in the sequel, probably because the characters delve out of the heart of the Jewel. The beginning of the book was action packed as the characters are trying to escape from the Jewel. It really grips you and I personally could not stop turning the page in those first dozen or so chapters.

What I didn’t like: I still feel like there are some very deep themes being played out here that would work better in a New Adult format. The ideas here are really fresh and original, but I sometimes feel like the violation of these surrogates is skirted because of the age group these novels are targeted towards. There are some real issues here and it’s annoying to me that they aren’t explored further. Outside of this, the second half of the book fell apart for me. The beginning was so interesting that the exposition of the second half felt boring.

Overall, I enjoyed the novel well-enough and will probably pick up the third installment. 3/4

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Resolutions for 2016

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Every year, I make resolutions, and like most people, every year I fail at them miserably. Maybe, posting them on the blog will make me more accountable. So, here are my Top 10 Resolutions for 2016 as hosted by the Broke and Bookish. 

  1. Blog weekly: I’ve begun my first year of solo-teaching and I also run my own tutoring business, which means that this past Fall blogging and reading took a back seat. In 2016, I want to post at least weekly.
  2. Read 50 Books: This year I made it to 82, even though my goal was 100. Gotta scale that to a more reasonable number.
  3. Finish my MS: Again, timmmme.
  4. Go out more: I am notorious for making plans and canceling. I hate leaving the house–it’s so cozy. This year, I plan to do more.
  5. Get Organized: I am not unorganized, but I teach a boatload of classes, which means I sometime end up with large, towering stacks of papers. I need a better system.
  6. Clean out my Gmail inbox and keep it that way: It’s realll bad guys.
  7. Save for a trip to the U.K.: 
  8. Pay off my credit cards: While I don’t have a large amount of debt, I do have some. My goal is to pay off my credit cards this year and start of 2017 with stronger finances.
  9. Stop saying yes: I am the ultimate yes man. I don’t like disappointing people and often times this makes me say yes to things I don’t have time for or don’t want to do.
  10. Exercise more: I hate exercising. I used to run marathons and I hated it; then, I tore my Achilles and I hated it more.

So, that’s my list. What resolutions do you have for the upcoming year. 

Review: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

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Title: Ice like Fire by Sara Raasch

Publication Date: October 13. 2015

Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks

Genre: Fantasy YA

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.


 

I had to let this one digest. Hence, the months later review. I adored the first book and eagerly awaited the sequel, but sometimes the sequel doesn’t live up to the hype and unfortunately that is what happened here. 

What I liked: There was a lot of action in this one, even more than in the first book. The plot is driven by the journey and despite the things I did not like, I continued reading, interested in the characters next adventure. The world-building is fantastic. Raasch takes her readers deeper into her world and continues to dazzle with her original ideas. I really enjoyed learning more about the other cultures in their world and the differences between them. These things really added to the plot, making it rich and colorful.

What I didn’t like: This sequel felt painful. It moved quickly, but all of the enjoyable subtlety I enjoyed in book one were completely gone. The important plot points felt like they were crammed down my throat and did not feel fluid from book one. Meira remains much the same, not growing from her previous experience, and both male characters seemed to take on totally new personalities.

Overall, this book was interesting enough but lacked the strength of its predecessor 3/5.