Red Queen

22328546Title: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Summary

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart. (Source)


Review
Plot: This plot is kind of like if dystopian Hunger Games mixed with fantasy. Mare is like Katniss. She is stuck living in horrible poverty because she is a “red blood.” Basically, she’s normal. But in this world, that is a horrible thing to be. The rulers are “silver bloods,” which means they have special powers. These range from super strength, to being able to control people entirely.
At one point, she realizes that even though she has red blood, she has powers like a silver blood does. The royalty doesn’t know what to do with her, so they make her one of their own. Mare struggles to hold onto her own values as she is swept up into the world of silver royalty. Let me just say, there is a huge plot twist in this story. And maybe some of you guessed it, but I had no idea. And that makes the twist that much better and I think it was one of the better (and sadder) parts of this whole book.
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Characters: Mare kind of reminds me of Katniss. Maybe it’s because of the themes and the plot, but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. She does what she has to for survival and no more. She wants to start a revolution and save all the others who are red bloods, but she just can’t see how to do it on her own. I think she is admirable, though can be a bit annoying at times. Especially when it comes to romance.
Speaking of which, both Cal and Maven are hard to talk about without giving anything away. But personally, I love Maven. He’s such a deep character that you learn to love. Cal is sweet, but never felt quite right. However, I feel like Mare doesn’t belong with either of them. Even though I love the characters, I just ever felt like Mare and them made any sense. Maybe it’s because their silver blood royalty (which she despises) or maybe because I don’t feel like Mare shows a lot of romantic emotion.
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Cover: These covers are beautiful. My best friend wasn’t a huge fan of the series, but I had to pick it up after passing the cover in the store over and over. It kept drawing my eye! And the theme of all these covers being the crowns is just very simple but I think they look wonderful.
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Closing Thoughts: This book surprised me. Like I said, my best friend wasn’t a huge fan of these books. She brought my expectations down and I figured I’d just read this as a quick summer read. But this book was so good that I immediately had to buy the second one as fast as possible (and that is a review for another time). But the first book is just so well-paced and kept me engaged the whole time. It is by no means my favorite book, but I would say it is worth a read if you are interested in fantasy novels like this. Although… you might not want to start because the rest of the series is (so far) lacking. But I liked the first one enough to keep me going!

Where to find Victoria Aveyard:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

 

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The Darkest Powers Trilogy

The Summoning Trilogy

Title: The Summoning, The Awakening, The Reckoning

Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: The Darkest Powers
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: July 1, 2008
Genres: Fantasy, YA, Paranormal
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Hello everyone! This week’s releases is a little different. As a teen, these books were my favorite books. Like ever. I read them every year a new one would come out. (For example, when the Reckoning came out, I read all three. I did that every year). I loved these books. I can’t really explain why because on the surface, they’re just standard young adult fantasy. But recently I decided to re-read them to see what I thought about them now. Here is my review of them, then versus now.

Summary

My name is Chloe Saunders and my life will never be the same again.

All I wanted was to make friends, meet boys, and keep on being ordinary. I don’t even know what that means anymore. It all started on the day that I saw my first ghost – and the ghost saw me.

Now there are ghosts everywhere and they won’t leave me alone. To top it all off, I somehow got myself locked up in Lyle House, a “special home” for troubled teens. Yet the home isn’t what it seems. Don’t tell anyone, but I think there might be more to my housemates than meets the eye. The question is, whose side are they on? It’s up to me to figure out the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House… before its skeletons come back to haunt me. (Source)


Then & Now Review
Plot: This book follows a girl named Chloe Saunders as she is hitting puberty and coming into her paranormal powers. She is shipping off to a home called the Lyle House, where she meets other “special” teens. At first glance, this plot sounds kind of ridiculous. Something similar to Twilight or silly teen books like that. But throughout the trilogy, you realize that the world is a lot darker than you originally thought. First of all, there are dead things everywhere. When I used to read this book, I was thoroughly creeped out by some of the scenes. Not only that, but throughout the story you realize you can’t really trust anyone and you get betrayed by people you loved. This book starts simple, but unravels into a wonderfully spooky, paranormal, romance-filled adventure between Chloe and her friends.
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Characters: I can’t even begin to talk about all the characters in this book. As I’ve read this many times, I feel very connected to many of them. Chloe starts off as a frightened young girl who has no idea what’s going on. She does everything she’s told and is afraid of pretty much everything in the story – from the ghosts haunting her to the boys she lives with. Speaking of which, Derek and Simon  are two brothers you can’t help but love. Derek is grumpy and angsty, but there’s something about him that draws you to him. Simon is charming and funny and makes me want to give him a big hug. I want to give an even bigger hug to Liz, who I can’t say too much about but is honestly the best friend in the whole story. She’s always got Chloe’s back. Tori… well… she’s pretty bitchy. But something I noticed since reading this again is that her bitchiness really is kind of badass. She isn’t afraid to stand her ground and she’s honestly being treated in some horrible ways. So props to Tori for how far she comes in these books.
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Cover: I’m going to be totally honest… I’ve always been a little confused by the covers. As far as I know, Chloe’s necklace changes color twice. So the third cover change doesn’t really make a lot of sense. But they’re pretty to look at up on my shelf, and I guess it wouldn’t make sense to not change the third cover’s color scheme.
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Then vs. Now: I was worried that when I reread these books they wouldn’t age well. On paper, they seem a little out there. A bunch of teens with “superpowers” running from the adults. There’s love triangles mixing with acne and werewolves. It’s honestly kind of crazy when you think about it. BUT, that being said, I love it just as much now as I did back when I first read them.
The plot is still compelling to me. Yes, it’s a little silly. But throughout the trilogy it takes a much darker turn than just runaway children. Armstrong creates an entire world with these teens and you can’t help but love every moment of it. The romance is still one of my favorite love stories, even today. When I read these, I can tell that Chloe is a child. But it doesn’t make me take her any less seriously and I think that is something really powerful about Armstrong’s writing. When I was reading these, all I could think was, how have I not read her adult books yet?
So whether you are a young reader, an older reader, or anything in between, I will always and forever suggest these books to you. Maybe you’ll like them less than me because you don’t have the nostalgic factor, but I stand by my opinion that these books are wonderful. They will forever be in my top favorites.
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Where to find Kelley Armstrong:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

 

Valentine’s Day Reads

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Happy Valentine’s Day! I thought for this occasion, I would share some of my current Valentine’s Day reads for you all. I have both sexy and sweet books on the list just in case you are looking for different things this Valentine’s Day.

Sexy:

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I literally just reviewed this book, but this is the perfect example of a Valentine’s Day read. This whole book is a sexy read, wrapped up in a genuinely good plot line. I read the first book and there were a few scenes that made me fan my face… then I read the second… hoo boy. There is a good chunk of A Court of Mist and Fury that is just sex scenes. That’s not to say it isn’t good for other reasons, but it’s just the cherry on top.

 

 

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16034235Similar to her other books, Sarah J. Maas has this other series called Throne of Glass. I haven’t actually read it, but I’ve heard it is just as good and sexy as ACOTAR. This book is in the mail on the way for me to devour.

 

 

 

 

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10818853Here’s the thing… I really don’t like Fifty Shades. I think it portrays BDSM in a really unhealthy and inaccurate way. However, books like this are very sexy and good to read around this time. My boyfriend and I have the tradition of going to see the newest Fifty Shades movie (mostly to laugh at) every year. Here’s a link to books that are apparently better than Fifty Shades… you’re welcome.

 

 

 

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Sweet:

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This book is more emotional than sexy. In fact, it isn’t really dirty at all. It is about a girl who gives up her heart in order to stay at the school of her dreams. It kind of reminds me of Harry Potter… he totally would’ve traded his heart to stay at Hogwarts. But there is a beautiful romance in this story that will break your heart into a million tiny pieces. Maybe if you hate Valentine’s Day and want to have a good cry, you should try this one out.

 

 

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Literally, heart is in the title so I had to recommend Heartless. I would say it’s more on the sad side with The Hearts We Sold, but it’s just so good. The romance is wonderful and I love Marissa Meyer. She’s one of my favorite authors and I think this is another solid book to read for valentines day. Again… maybe if you want a good cry.

 

 

 

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41865Because of course. The romance book that got me into romance. Vampires. Angsty teens. What more could you want for Valentine’s Day?

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

A Court of Thornes and Roses

16096824Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Summary

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever. (Source)


Review
Plot: I was a little worried I wouldn’t be a huge fan of the plot. I have read a lot of fairy tales and, more specifically, faerie tales. Often they are repetitive and not too original. This is actually really sad considering I find faeries incredibly fascinating and would love to read more about them!
Lucky for me, this book was amazing. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time, and it is also pretty unique. The story originally is loosely based on the Beauty and the Beast plot line. Feyre accidentally kills a faerie and a beast arives at her door and gives her a choice – death or to come and live in the faerie world with him. At first, this plot seems simple and a little ridiculous. Why would the beast offer her a life with him? Why not just kill her?
But oh boy. Oh boy does it change. The plot starts out pretty good and ends up in a crazy way. I currently have just finished book 2 and I still never know where the plot is going to take me. If you can, try as hard as you can to avoid spoilers because this is a book you do not want spoiled.
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Characters: Feyre – BADASS. This is what I mean when I say I want a badass female role model. She’s like what Katniss Everdeen should be. She is completely supporting her poor family, even though they don’t give her any thanks. Later on in the book, she fights time and time again and proves herself as a strong and capable person. She is an excellent fighter, even against faerie creatures. I love her.
Tamlin – I’m going to be honest, there are a few scenes in this book that make me more than a little heated (in a sexy way). Tamlin is… a complex character. He definitely grows and changes throughout the books and I don’t want to say too much on that. However, he is hot and mysterious and everything a faerie prince should be.
Others – what’s great about these stories is there is a really nice cast of characters. Tamlin’s right hand man, Lucien, is also hilarious. The main villain is awful but in a way only the best writers can show. Maas does a really good job with her characters.
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Cover: I think the cover was another thing that led me to believe this was just another faerie novel. It wasn’t super unique and it just… it just looked very standard. But after reading them, I have a greater appreciation for the covers. She has the tattoo on her arm, the font is beautiful, and the cover is just a great representation of the series.
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Closing Thoughts: I’m going to be honest, I was a little hesitant to read this series because all I heard was how amazing they and Sarah J. Maas were. I was afraid of being dissapointed and invested in a series I didn’t totally love. It is safe to say that those fears were unfounded and this series is just as amazing as they say, if not more! The plot is phenomenal, the characters are written incredibly well, and I could not put it down. It’s everything you want in a book. This series has finally gotten me to read a series faster than I have in a long time. I just ordered the third book and I think I will inhale that one just as fast as the other two. Read it. Read it now.
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P.S. I just feel it’s good to note that these books have a good deal of mature themes. This book (and even more so in the second) has some pretty graphic sex scenes. I don’t mind them, personally, but I was surprised they were considered YA. I’ve also heard people say they find them very violent. I haven’t had a problem with that myself, but I just want to make sure that’s said.
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Where to find Sarah J. Maas:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

 

Lost at Sea

564758Title: Lost at Sea
Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 24. 2012
Genres: YA, Graphic Novel

Summary
Raleigh doesn’t have a soul. A cat stole it — or at least that’s what she tells people — or at least that’s what she would tell people if she told people anything. But that would mean talking to people, and the mere thought of social interaction is terrifying. How did such a shy teenage girl end up in a car with three of her hooligan classmates on a cross-country road trip? Being forced to interact with kids her own age is a new and alarming proposition for Raleigh, but maybe it’s just what she needs — or maybe it can help her find what she needs — or maybe it can help her to realize that what she needs has been with her all along.. (Source)

Review
Plot: This book is about a girl named Raleigh who is roped into a road trip with people she hardly knows. The book is somewhat abstract and doesn’t have a clear plot line. Basically she is struggling with a lot of different mental health issues and is telling us the story of how she “lost her soul” along the way. It’s one of those dark comedy kinds of books. There are definitely funny lines, but I also cried a lot.
Characters: Raleigh- The book is so short that there isn’t too much to talk about in this category. The thing about Raleigh is she is just me. That’s actually the reason I read this book is because I was told “oh this kind of sounds like you.” I heard a review of this book that said Raleigh was a boring character and my response to that is this: that is exactly the point. Raleigh believes she lost her soul. She doesn’t feel real. She doesn’t know what’s wrong, but she’s lost. To someone who doesn’t struggle with this, she might
Cover: It definitely looks like a O’Malley cover! If you aren’t familiar with this author, he is the one who wrote the Scott Pilgrim books, which is another reason I read this. I like it looks a little better for the tone of the book than that of Scott Pilgrim, however. The color scheme is really pretty and the book is entirely black and white, which gives it a more “soulless” feel.
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Closing Thoughts: I basically was crying throughout this whole book, but that’s because it was very relatable and personal to me. I could see how someone on the outside might find this book random or boring. It is so short that you leave with a feeling of “that’s it?” I also thought the ending was a little too polished. I don’t want to give anything away, but it definitely was a little too perfect. O’Malley’s characters are also a bit weird and unique. However, if you are a fan of O’Malley I think you’ll appreciate this. If you like other graphic novels I think you’ll also like this. It is a bit of a different read, but I think anyone can appreciate this book. Especially if you struggle with social anxiety, depression, or other similar mental health issues. It did a very good job of putting what I feel daily into words.
Where to find Bryan Lee O’Malley:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

February Releases

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Starting now, I’m going to do monthly releases, rather than weekly releases. And these releases are going to books that I care about, rather than just trying to list all the books. The books I list will be books I am excited for, from authors I have read, or from series I am waiting for.

February 1:

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Weather Warden #10

RED HOT RAIN starts a few years after the end of TOTAL ECLIPSE, in a world that seems to finally be settled. Mother Earth isn’t mad at us. The Djinn have kissed and made up (sometimes literally) with the Wardens, and the two sides work together to solve whatever problems do arise. All good, right?

Nope.

When Joanne Baldwin first hears about a freak monster storm that destroys the rebuilding community of Lubbock, Texas, she takes a personal trip to find out what’s going on. Problem is, seems like it’s exactly as it appears: a freak natural occurrence.

But when the same kind of storm tears a killer swath across the country to follow her home, and all her Warden powers can’t put a dent in it, it’s clear there’s more to this storm front than physics. Soon, Joanne’s embroiled in a deadly struggle against a mysterious, powerful opponent, and her husband David–most powerful of the Djinn–seems strangely unhelpful against whatever’s coming for her. Even Lewis, her long-time friend and ally, now an otherworldly consort to Mother Earth herself, doesn’t seem inclined (or able) to help. Someone’s got the mother of all grudges against Joanne Baldwin, and they’re coming at her hard.

And not just her. Joanne’s not just fighting for her own life. It’s coming for her son, too.

It’ll be up to Joanne to save herself and her son from the storm that’s coming for them … a storm that wants to erase Joanne Baldwin and everyone she loves from the face of the earth. (Source)

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February 6:

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Casey Duncan #3

When Casey Duncan first arrived at Rockton, the off-the-grid, isolated community built as a haven for people running from their pasts, she had no idea what to expect. There are no cell phones, no internet, no mail, and no way of getting in or out without the town council’s approval. She certainly didn’t expect to become the town homicide detective. But, the very last thing she expected was for the council to drop a dangerous criminal into their midst without a plan to keep him imprisoned. And she never thought that she’d have to be responsible for him.

The longer Oliver Brady stays in town, the more people seem to die around him. When evidence begins piling up that someone inside Rockton is working as his accomplice, Casey races to figure out who exactly Brady is and what crimes he’s truly responsible for committing. (Source)

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The critically acclaimed, award-winning, modern classic Speak is now a stunning graphic novel.

“Speak up for yourself-we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless–an outcast–because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. With powerful illustrations by Emily Carroll Speak: The Graphic Novel comes alive for new audiences and fans of the classic novel. (Source)

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33158532Before, Peyton was a star soccer player with the perfect boyfriend, Reed. Now, she has a torn knee ligament, a scholarship on the line, and a shattered sense of self. No one believes Reed pushed her, causing her injury, and Peyton just wants to leave the trauma behind. Living with her uncle and twin cousins in their small, football-obsessed town seems like a great escape plan.

There, Peyton meets Owen—high school classmate and local MMA fighter. Though Owen is charming and gentle, Peyton is determined to repress her growing attraction. But when her old and new life collide, Peyton must reclaim the truth of her past in order to save her future. (Source)

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February 13:

30129657Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight. (Source)

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Valiant #2

The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life.

Be brave, gladiatrix… And be wary. Once you win Caesar’s love, you’ll earn his enemies’ hate.

Fallon was warned.

Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar’s victorious gladiatrix.

In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.

When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors.

The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first. (Source)

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Glitter #2

Danica planned to use beauty, blackmail, and a glittering drug to control her own fate. Her escape from the twisted world of the Palace of Versailles was perfectly orchestrated and paid for. Or so she thought.

Betrayed by the man who had promised her freedom, Dani is now married to the murderous King. It’s a terrifying position to be in…and yet it’s oddly intoxicating. Power may be an even stronger drug than Glitter–a drug Dani can’t resist, in the form of secrets, manipulation, and sabotage.

In her new position at the head of the court, Dani must ask herself who she really is. Can she use her newfound power to secure her real love, Saber’s freedom and a chance at a life together outside the palace? Or is being Queen too addictive to give up? (Source)

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Zeroes #3

X-Men meets Heroes when New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld teams up with award-winning authors Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti in the final book of an explosive trilogy about a group of teens with amazing abilities.

After the shocking conclusion to Swarm, the zeroes are scattered, on the run, and desperate. They’re up against challenges from within and from the world around them, and one thing is certain—an epic showdown is guaranteed. (Source)

 

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February 27:

34499216Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen. (Source)

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Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

Almost Adulting

33296246Title: Almost Adulting

Author: Arden Rose
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover/Audiobook
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Genres: Non-Fiction, Self-Help

Summary

In Almost Adulting — perfect for budding adults, failing adults, and eaters of microwave mug brownies — Arden tells you how to survive your future adulthood. Topics include:

-Making internet friends who are cool and not murderers

-Flirting with someone in a way to make them think you are cool and not a murderer

-Being in an actual relationship where you talk about your feelings in a healthy manner??? To the other person???????

-Eating enough protein

-Assembling a somewhat acceptable adult wardrobe when you have zero dollars

-Going on adventures without starting to smell

-How sex is supposed to feel, but, like, actually though

By the end of the book — a mash-up of essays, lists, and artwork — you’ll have learned not only how to dress yourself, how to travel alone, how to talk to strangers online, and how to date strangers (in PERSON!), but also how to pass as a real, functioning, appropriately socialized adult. (Source)


Review
Content: This book takes really serious topics about being a young adult and makes them a little bit more fun and understandable. For someone who is a little bit older, this might seem a little silly. But for someone like me, a 20-year-old who feels like I’m not a real adult, this book is the perfect little read.
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Author: Arden Rose is a Youtuber I have watched and loved for years. What started as a channel mostly dedicated to beauty tutorials, has turned into something much more amazing. She posts really inspiring videos about sexuality, creativity, and real inspirational advice (and the occasional beauty tips). I love her videos because she is so genuine.
This definitely transfers over to her book. She writes in a very cute style (doodles and all) but is saying some really important and powerful things. This book just has a very likeable and fun tone throughout and I very much enjoyed it.
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Cover: This cover is amazing. Again: cute, fun, real. I love it.
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Closing Thoughts: There’s not much more to say than I haven’t said already. I love cutesy self-help books like this and this was no exception. If you are in a place like me, where you aren’t quite an adult but are too old to be a teenager, this book is really helpful. It isn’t going to solve all your life’s problems, but it’s nice to read a chapter of this in the morning to give you the kick in the butt you need. Also, if you’re a fan of her (like I am) I would say to get the audiobook. She narrates it herself and it is just like watching her videos. She also has a podcast with her boyfriend called Crash on My Couch that I highly recommend.
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Where to find Arden Rose:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

 

The Glass Spare

29622131Title: The Glass Spare

Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Glass Spare #1
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 24, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever? (Source)


Review
Plot: This book has a very unique plot that I haven’t read before, which is always a shock to me. One day while will is in danger, she is suddenly able to turn live things to gemstones with her touch. Because her father is a very angry and violent king, she decides to hide it away from everyone. Unfortunately, this causes problems for her and tragedy befalls her. Without giving too much away, she is banished from her kingdom and has to try and solve this mystery on her own. It is a very unique story with a unique setting. DeStefano seems to have created an entirely unique world for this story and I am a huge fan.
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Characters: The characters in this story are all so compelling and I loved it. Characters can really make or break a story for me. Wil is a strong female character. She is a warrior and a spy for her father – long before she learns of this new power. She is wild and smart and can get out of almost any situation. I loved reading from her point of view and I was completely intrigued with her character. The other characters in the book (her brothers, Loom, and Zay) were all wonderfully fleshed out. I loved her brothers and found myself caring about them as much as Wil clearly does. Loom wasn’t the best male character, but I liked him nonetheless. Zay was badass and I’d love to read a book just about her.
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Cover: I got this book in my November Owlcrate box, so my cover was just slightly different. However, I think in both that the gemstone castle is perfectly fitting for this book. The cover isn’t anything special, but it is fitting.
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Closing Thoughts: When I was reading this, I had no idea who the author was. It wasn’t until I started writing this review that I realized I have previously read her Chemical Garden series and loved it! DeStefano is a great author in my opinion and I would love to read more from her. I definitely recommend this book if you like traditional fantasy. She does something unique with the plot and has incredibly lovable characters. I wouldn’t say this was my favorite novel, but it was good and a fast read. I read this in only a couple days – during school, which really says something. If you enjoy kingdoms, magic, and quests, I would definitely read this.
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Where to find Lauren DeStefano:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

12813630Title: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Author: Holly Black
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Summary

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. (Source)


Review
Plot: This story takes place in a world where vampires exist, but it feels more than a zombie outbreak than a Twilight style love story. They are locked up in closed off towns where it is difficult to enter and almost impossible to leave. Tana ends up being forced to go into a Coldtown, and struggling to survive. There is romance between her and another male, but it is not the center of attention. It is an interesting spin on the traditional vampire novel, but not completely original.
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Characters: Tana.. she’s a little annoying. Every time she does something, I’m actually shocked she doesn’t die instantly. To be fair, she isn’t supposed to be anything but an average girl. But she consistently makes dumb choices and just generally annoys me. Unfortunately, that’s how I felt about most of the characters in this book. They were all either annoying or forgettable and I didn’t really care what happened to anyone in the end.
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Cover: The cover kind of reminded me of Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series. Not sure why because they are very different, but the theme just felt similar. The plot of the books were also quite similar, but I enjoyed Rachel Caine’s more.
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Closing Thoughts: For me, this was just a very average book. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great. It was a pretty quick read, but I didn’t really care what happened at the end. It was a fairly long book, but I felt like nothing really happened. It was an interesting concept, but I didn’t really like where she went with it. I’m a little dissapointed because I’ve heard such good things about Holly Black. But between this and The Darkest Part of the Forest, I’m not all that impressed.
Where to find Holly Black:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke

 

Gemina

29236299Title: Gemina
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: October 18, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Summary

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope. (Source)


Review
Plot: This story takes place immediately after/simultaneously with the events of Illuminae. While Ezra and Kady are dealing with the BeiTech on their two ships, Nik and Hanna are battling them as well. The big difference is that Nik and Hanna have no idea what is going on or why they are being invaded in the first place. The plot is similar to the plot of Illuminae: escape. Except there is no killer AI and no virus spreading among the ship. You might think this makes their escape easier, but it really is no less challenging. This time, there are aliens spreading and a team of BeiTech who only care about covering their tracks.
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Characters: I was worried I wouldn’t like the characters in this story as much, just because of how much I loved Ezra and Kady. At first, I wasn’t a fan of Hanna and Nik, but they quickly began to grow on me.
Hanna – she is kind of like the princess of the ship. Her father is the station captain and she gets everything she wants. She isn’t the ditzy space princess you might be thinking of, but she does come off as bossy and controlling. To be honest, she kind of reminds me of Kady. I like Kady more than I like Hanna, but they are both really strong female roles who don’t take no for an answer.
Nik – he is the cliche bad boy of the story. His family is a notorious crime family aboard the ship and he is shown taking part in many illegal activities throughout the story. He didn’t seem like he was similar to Ezra, except for being charming and heroic. I liked Nik, although again not as much as Ezra.
I think my biggest problem was I was spending the whole time comparing the two casts of characters. Overall, I liked the characters more in the first book, but you’ll really love the people in Gemina as well.
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Cover: Just like with the first book, I read this as an audiobook. The books themselves are gorgeous inside and out, though, so I am planning on buying the series in hardcover form as soon as I can afford it. I love the color change and it really seems to fit with the theme of this book better. I can’t wait for Obsidio to come out so I can see them all lined up together.
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Closing Thoughts: I had a little trouble getting into this book at first. I was so excited, but I tend to have a hard time switching narrators. I become so attached to the people, especially in a book like this one. But once I started getting into it, I began to love the story and the characters just as much as Illuminae. If I had to compare the two, I would say the first is still my favorite. Illuminae is one of my top books of all time. But Gemina is a very close second and will not disappoint. Again, I highly recommend listening to it as an audiobook because of how spectacular the audio is for this series. But based on how beautiful the physical books are as well, I would say you couldn’t go wrong either way.
Where to find Amie Kaufman:
Where to find Jay Kristoff:

Sweet Daydreams,

Brooke