Title: Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith
Giveaway: Signed copy of Dreamstrider a Rafflecopter giveaway
Genre: Fantasy YA
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
Title: Persuasion by Martina Boone
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Giveaway: One Kindle Copy of Persuasion
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Synopsis: Beautiful Creatures meets The Raven Boys in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, on Compulsion).
Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.
A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.
While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).
Hiya, everyone. Been a few weeks here but I wanted to take a hiatus from my hiatus to praise Martina Boone’s sequel to to her debut novel “Compulsion,” by writing a more thorough review of “Persuasion.”
Anyone who has read this blog knows I am a huge fan of Martina’s; in fact, I named “Compulsion,” as my favorite book of 2014. To say I was obsessed with that book would be an understatement. Given the ending, I could not wait for the next installment, and let’s just say that “Persuasion” did not disappoint. It has everything I love in a YA. Steamy romance, a little mysticism, and a whole lot of drama.
What I like: What I loved about “Compulsion,” I continued to love about “Persuasion.” Martina depicts such a lush, technicolor view of the South that the setting becomes a character in and of itself. Watson Island continues to play a central role in the story and as the mystery unfolds Martina allows the reader to experience more of the incredible culture she has created. To call this a Southern Gothic is to do the writing a disservice. While Martina’s novel is set in the South, her novel depicts a culture unique to her characters and story. She avoids the overused cliches of sweet tea and thick accents that plague many Southern Gothic YA’s.
Aside from the beautiful writing, the true stand out or Persuasion is the dimension of the characters. No one in this novel is purely good or purely evil. Despite being fictional, they seem like real people, real teens; they are growing and developing and experiencing the consequences of their actions. As someone who is draw to strong characters, I can honestly say you won’t find more exciting or dynamic ones.
What I didn’t like: Ugh, Martina! These cliffhangers are killing me. There’s a major one at the end and just as one question is answered 50,000 pop up.
Overall, this continues to be one of my favorite series. If you want a book steeped in mysticism with a dynamic setting, and realistic characters then this is the book for you. 5/5
Title: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
*Received this ARC as part of a blog tour in turn for an honest review
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Synopsis: Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.
Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.
But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…
This week I thought I would take a foray into the world of Contemporary YA. Usually, when I read Contemporary Romance it’s in the Adult or New Adult section. With that being said, this year one of my goals is to diversify my reading habits, and when I saw the beautiful cover of this book I knew I had to read it. I’m excited to break my thoughts down on this one and also to feature it as what I believe is my first Contemporary YA Romance on this blog! (That could be wrong but I’m like 90% sure I have not featured another Contemporary YA unless it’s had paranormal aspects).
What I liked: Gosh was this book sweet and uplifting. I want to recommend it to all my female students because I adored Sage as a female MC. Usually, in books like these I notice that the female main character is what I like to call the outcast for the sake of being the outcast, but Sage revels in being different and has even carved a name out for herself in her somewhat cliche High School. Without a doubt my favorite part about this whole book was the concept of using Post-It’s to say nice things to people who need a little uplifting. I cannot even express how wonderful this whole concept is to me. Working with teenagers, I’ve seen how hard it can be to go through puberty in this day and age when social media makes it so easy to tear people down, and the concept of nice, simple Post-It notes is one I would love to see some of my students recreate. Outside of being the coolest, sweetest, most BFF worthy female MC ever, Sage is also very well rounded. Yes, she’s all of these nice things, but she also has a dark past which added an aspect to her character that makes her incredibly relate able. She’s not perfect and she knows it, in fact, I thought sometimes she was a little to down about not being a saint.
What I didn’t like: Honestly, I thought the book was great and it is one I will use in my lessons and recommend to my students. The one problem I had was overarching and really more of a personal thing. While I liked the book, I struggled to relate the the characters vernacular and the sometimes cliched High School depiction. Ten years ago I would have been all over this book and all over Shane and just in swoonsville, but as an adult I struggled to find common ground.
Overall, I think this is a great book, especially for lovers of Contemporary YA. It is a strong story with a great female character at it’s core. 3/5
The sophomores can’t hear us down the table, as it’s loud in here, but I pitch my voice low just in case. “Basically, Ryan was never my boyfriend. He just let people think we were together. Because I’m an idiot, I didn’t guess why.” Those last words come out bitter.
“So why did he do that?” I hear all kinds of nuances in his voice, questions, doubts.
Here’s where it gets tricky. “It’s complicated. He lied to me, though, and that’s what I can’t just get over. Maybe someday we’ll be friends again, but for now…” I shrug.
“Friends?” he repeats.
“So he didn’t break your heart.” He sounds relieved.
“Did you want him to?”
“I was afraid he had. That maybe you were talking to me…” His eyes cut away from mine.
“Because I was trying to make Ryan jealous? Not my style.”
I want to say, OMG, Shane, you think I’m a dude magnet? I’ve been Ryan’s sidekick, his not-girlfriend so long, that I have no idea what this is or what I’m doing. But I love it.
“I’m not looking for drama,” Shane tells me.
I understand the reason for the pronouncement immediately. Ryan’s watching us from across the cafeteria, but he won’t be shoving Shane into any doorjambs or cornering him in the boys toilet. In some ways, his silent, wounded eyes are worse. I can tell he feels horrible and that he misses me, but what am I supposed to do? After what I’ve learned, I don’t want to be his girlfriend, which is what he was shooting for when he made his big confession. I feel like I hardly know the guy, and that hurts most of all.
“There won’t be any.”
“I just… I can’t afford any trouble,” he says softly, not looking at me. “Any more, and I’m off to juvie until I’m eighteen.”
Possibly he thinks this will scare me off.But I have my dark side, too. The staff at the group home pulled me off an emotional ledge years ago, so I know what it’s like to feel completely out of control, doing stuff you know deep down is a terrible idea and yet you cannot stop. I study the rigid line of his shoulders. Did you put that post-it on my locker?” I ask.
He’s dead silent, but his eyes answer where his lips do not. I see the yes written in aquamarine.
In this moment, I want to kiss him so bad it hurts.
About Ann Aguirre:
Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author and RITA winner with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. Ann likes books, emo music, action movies, and she writes all kinds of genre fiction for adults and teens, published with Harlequin, Macmillan, and Penguin, among others.
Title: Royal Date by Sarah Wilson
Publication Date: March 15, 2015
Buy Link: Amazon (use code ScoutOne for 50% off)
Genre: Adult/New Adult. There are adult situations so not suitable for youngsters
This Cinderella didn’t plan on a prince . . .
Kat MacTaggart is a girl who has a plan for everything—including her holiday ski trip to Monterra with her best friend. Everything is going according to plan until she finds herself careening out of control down a mountainside and being rescued by a guy who looks like Superman’s hotter Italian cousin.
HRH Prince Nico is intrigued by the woman he saved on the slopes and her refusal to date him. He offers Kat a deal—let him show her his country and he’ll pay her to write articles that will help Monterra’s tourism industry. Kat agrees, but given her past and lingering distrust of men, she has one condition—absolutely no kissing.
Thanks to the claims of a jealous British noblewoman and the schemes of a meddling paparazzo, Kat’s rule doesn’t seem to be a problem at first. But the more Kat gets to know Nico and the people around him, the harder it is to remember her keep-your-distance plan. Should she stick to it or risk everything for a chance at happily ever after?
Enter below to win a $50 Amazon Giftcard
Geeeeee I love a good Royal story. I blame it on my desire to wear a tiara and coat dresses. I recently read this book and the story is so adorable. I love Kat and Nico and hope you will consider picking it up. It’s a fun read. Check out the excerpt and giveaway below!
Now his fingers were playing with the few tendrils that had escaped my bun. I went still and forgot to breathe. “There is something I’ve wondered since the moment I met you.”
“What?” My voice sounded breathy and weird.
“What this would be like.”
He was going to kiss me, and I was going to let him. My heart started trying to pound its way out of my chest.
I should have stopped him. I should have been afraid. But I wasn’t.
His kiss was feathery light, barely touching me. His lips were warm, soft, and strong. If I’d realized earlier they’d feel like this against my own, I probably would have spent a lot more time studying them. My eyes drifted shut as my stomach went completely hollow, and a warm thickness started spreading through all of my limbs. He kissed me again, gentle and persuasive.
“Relax, bella,” he murmured against my lips, running his fingers along my jawbone. I realized that I was clenching his shirtfront with my fists. I loosened my grip. He continued to plant sweet and soft kisses on my lips. “This works better if you kiss me back,” he said with a smile as he leaned back slightly to look at me, his eyes glittery and intense. He ran his thumb along my lower lip, which made all sorts of unmentionable things happen to my insides.
Leave it to me to mess something up as basic as kissing. Fortunately, I wasn’t a total idiot. I could do what he was doing. Scared as I was, I managed to give myself a pep talk. I was twenty-four years old. I was the oldest person on the planet who had never been kissed. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting, or a more perfect man. So gathering up every bit of courage I possessed, I leaned in to kiss him. Just a small peck. A little smooch. It was all I could manage.
I pulled back to see a delighted and appreciative look in his eyes.
“That wasn’t as bad as I expected.”
“Not as bad as you expected? Katerina, I can do much better than ‘not as bad as you expected.’”
I hadn’t meant to issue a challenge, but he accepted it anyway. I thought I heard him growl before he pressed our lips together more firmly, his hands framing and holding my head in place as he kissed me over and over. It was all I could do to keep up. Electricity exploded everywhere he touched and kissed me.
Was it possible to die from a kiss?
My hands moved from his shirt to his wrists, and I felt like I was clinging on for dear life. His kisses started to escalate in intensity until he suddenly stopped. He leaned his forehead against mine, and we were both breathing fast.
“I think . . . I think it’s time for me to return you to your room.”
I nodded, unable to think.
He could have said, “I think it’s time for us to get on a spaceship and fly to the moon,” and I would have agreed to that, too.
About the Author:Sariah Wilson has never jumped out of an airplane, never climbed Mt. Everest, and is not a former CIA operative. She has, however, been madly, passionately in love with her soulmate and is a fervent believer in happily ever afters–which is why she writes romance. She has published five happily ever after stories. She grew up in southern California, graduated from Brigham Young University (go Cougars!) with a semi-useless degree in history, and is the oldest of nine (yes, nine) children. She currently lives with the aforementioned soulmate and their four children in Utah, along with three tiger barb fish, a cat named Tiger, and a recently departed hamster that is buried in the backyard (and has nothing at all to do with tigers).Author links: