Review: Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

33413926Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

Expected publication: November 7th 2017

REDEMPTION IS NEVER FREE
When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.

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An ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Very rarely does my most anticipated books live up to my own hype but Retribution Rails lived up to my hype and more. It was everything I hoped it would be.
This book follows two very different characters. Reece is a well know outlaw and Charlotte is ambitious and trying to provide for her newly widowed mother. The two of them are unwillingly have their paths crossed and adventures follow.
Charlotte and Reece are such well written, complex, and amazing characters. I loved them so much.
Each of them had great qualities and wonderful character development.
The writing style was just as fantastic as it was in Vengeance Road. Erin is such a talented writer and I’ll always read whatever books she puts out.

Retribution Rails’ plot is completely different from Vengeance Road so it wasn’t repetitive at all. Even though RR and VR are companion novels, you can definitely read each on their own (But I totally recommend reading both because they’re so good).

Overall, Retribution Rails was everything I hoped it would be and more. I loved everything about it and I’m undoubtedly going to be rereading it soon. If you’re looking for something fresh, creative, and extremely entertaining, I highly recommend Retribution Rails.

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Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

29385546Warcross by Marie Lu

Expected publication: September 12th 2017

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

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The publisher sent me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

Marie Lu never ceases to amaze me and her books keep getting better and better.

Warcross is such a wild ride. I loved it from page one and I couldn’t put it down. It’s been a very long time since I read an entire book in one sitting but Warcross is so amazing, I needed to know how it ended.
The plot of this book is thrilling, unique, and fast paced. The characters are complex, very well written, and diverse. There was some great plot twists and even though I tried to predict where things were going, I couldn’t.

Warcross was absolutely stunning and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s definitely a top favorite for 2017 and my new favorite from Marie Lu.

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Update!

Hi blog fam!
I’ve got a very big life update for you! So I got married three weeks ago and life has been SO CRAZY since I last posted in March (a big thank you to Taylor for running this bad boy in my absence, LOVE YOU TAY).

Since then I’ve started a new job, gotten married and moved. And am now back into my reading groove and am ready to come back to all you lovely people. I’ll be spending the rest of my night drinking rum & cokes and back writing a bunch of reviews for you because I want to let you all know all the great stuff I’ve read so far.

So, here I go, I’m off to the land of writing and post queues. Here’s some pics from my wedding :)

 

 

 

Much love,
Stephanie .

Blog Tour: Once and for All by Sarah Dessen + Giveaway

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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

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Published June 6th 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

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Review

I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This was my forth Sarah Dessen book and they’re so addicting and fun. Dessen books have become my new favorite way to get out of reading slumps.

I, for some unknown reason, had absurdly high expectations for Once and for All. I don’t know if it was the cute colors of the cover or the synopsis was calling to me but I went into this book expecting a lot. And it actually delivered for the most part. I’m very impressed that a book that I had high hopes for wasn’t a complete fail.
I thought the plot of this book was extremely fun and I can definitely see myself rereading Once and for All. I loved all the weddings so much. It was really different from other books I’ve read and I appreciated that a lot.
I also really liked the characters. I loved the dynamics between Louna and Ambrose. The dialogue between them was awesome and I really fell in love with both characters.
I loved how realistic Louna and Ambrose’s relationship was. There wasn’t any insta-love, which I’m not a fan of, so that was a big plus for me.
The only thing I’m not really into is how even though Louna and her mom are described as having olive skin tones early on in the book, that doesn’t seem to be reflected on the cover of the book. I wish there had been a more accurate and representative model on the cover.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it’s definitely one of my favorite books from Sarah (tied with Just Listen for my favorite). I loved Louna and Ambrose so much and I’m still laughing over some of the things Ambrose said. If you want a fun YA contemporary, I definitely recommend Once and for All.

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Purchase Once and For All:

PRH Website: http://bit.ly/2rVGWW4

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2rAG1h

B&N: http://bit.ly/2qXPyfG

 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Once and for All by Sarah Dessen (ARV: $19.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 29, 2017 and 12:00 AM on June 26, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 30, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law

 

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Once and For All Tour

 

 

About the author

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Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews, and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association. Sarah lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine. Visit her online at sarahdessen.com.

 

 

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

This week I’ll be recommending one of my favorite series’ of all time.

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The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

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I had seen The Bird and the Sword randomly on Amazon and the Kindle copy was less than $5 so I bought it not knowing what it was about or seeing any reviews. I went in completely blind and not really expecting much. But this book blew. Me. Away.
I loved it from the first page and I could barely put this book down. I read it in less than 24 hours and I wanted to reread it the second I finished it.
I loved everything about this book. The plot, the writing, the characters were all incredible. The characters were beautifully flawed and had some amazing and realistic development.
I’m rarely as emotionally invested in books as I was with The Bird and The Sword but I was basically shrieking the entire time I was reading this book.

The Bird and The Sword is one of the best books that I’ve ever read and is one of my all time favorites. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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The Queen and the Cure (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #2) by Amy Harmon

“There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.”

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be.

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The Queen and the Cure was amazing. I loved everything about it. It was perfect. Amy creates such amazing characters with a well written plot. The world building is extraordinary and I’ve fallen in love with the fairytale-like setting that Amy has crafted.

Kjell is such a complex, flawed, and wonderful character. I could go on and on about him but I implore you to read this book to experience his story for yourself.
I was not expecting to love Sasha as much as I did. She’s such a well written, empowering character and I loved getting to know her.

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Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

23766634A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Published May 2nd 2017

A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

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What a wild ride.

I won’t be giving away any spoilers so this will be a fairly short review.

As one of my most anticipated books of all time, this book left me exhausted and maybe a tiny bit disappointed. I did give this book five stars and I did love it but I didn’t love it as much as the other two books, especially ACOMAF. It would have been pretty hard to top ACOMAF for me so I don’t hold that against A Court of Wings and Ruin that much. I can’t really put my finger on what about this book left me feeling like it was a little lacking but there’s just something there. I know that’s not very helpful but hopefully when I reread this series, I’ll find what I’m looking for.
This book was kind of predictable and I felt like it was a little slow at times. It is a pretty large book, 699 pages, so being slow at times wasn’t the end of the world for me. It would be difficult to have non stop action for almost 700 pages.
The character development in this book (the whole series, really) is amazing. Sarah writes some of the best character development I’ve ever come across.
One of my favorite things about this series is how the side characters are just as awesome and well developed as the main characters. I felt like a lot of the side characters got more time to shine in A Court of Wings and Ruin and I loved that.
The world building through out this series is amazing and I love the world within this series so much. It’s so well written and creative.
Overall, this book was amazing, crazy and well worth the month I spent reading it. It’s not my favorite in the series but I still loved it. If you haven’t pick up this series, I highly recommend it.

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Review: No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky

32309404No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky

Published May 30th 2017

He’s not asking for much. All Gregor Maravilla wants to do is feed all of the starving children on the planet. So when he’s selected to join Camp Save the World, a special summer program for teenage activists from all over the country to champion their cause, Gregor’s sure he’s on the path to becoming Someone Great.

But then a prize is announced. It will be awarded at the end of summer to the activist who shows the most promise in their campaign. Gregor’s sure he has the prize in the bag, especially compared to some of the other campers’ campaigns. Like Eat Dirt, a preposterous campaign started by Ashley Woodstone, a famous young actor who most likely doesn’t even deserve to be at the camp. Everywhere Gregor goes, Ashley seems to show up ready to ruin things. Plus, the prize has an unforeseen side effect, turning a quiet summer into cutthroat warfare where campers stop focusing on their own campaigns and start sabotaging everyone else’s.

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An ARC of this book was sent to me unsolicited by the publisher

I’ve seen a good amount of positive reviews for this book so maybe I’m the odd one out on this but I wasn’t into No Good Deed at all.
I thought the plot sounded really original and it had a lot of potential but the characters prevented this book from becoming likable for me. I was not a fan of the main character at all and because of that, I was never able to get into the book. The main character, Gregor, was so incredibly annoying to me. I also died a few times from second hand embarrassment from Gregor’s awkwardness and sometimes his inner monologue was very strange as well.
I really liked the idea of a teen activists camp but a majority of the kids had a social justice warriors persona and that was not for me.
I did really like how Gregor’s Mexican roots are mentioned early on and had a place in the story. Even if I didn’t really enjoy this book, I really appreciated the diversity.

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Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

25986827Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Published November 4th 2014

milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

 

 

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I don’t really read poetry but I enjoyed Milk and Honey a lot. It wasn’t as amazing as I expected because of all the hype I’ve seen around it but it was still really good. There’s a pretty wide range of topics in this book and I think there’s a little something for everyone to relate to.
Rupi Kaur is an incredible writer and I’ll definitely be picking up any books she publishes in the future.

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Review: The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

34845313The Queen and the Cure (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #2) by Amy Harmon

Published May 9th 2017

“There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.”

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be.

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An ARC of this book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review

Dear Amy Harmon, why must you shatter my soul like this?

If you’ve been following me on any of my social media since August, you’ve probably seen how much I’m obsessed with The Bird and The Sword. That book is everything I want in a book and more. I’ve read it six times since August and I’ll still reread my favorite parts whenever I’m sad.
So you can imagine how I lost my mind when I heard there was going to be another book in the series. A book with a focus on Kjell, one of the most infuriating and well written characters I’ve ever read about. I knew I was going to fall in love with this book. I knew I was going to drown in the ocean of feels that Amy had created. And I did drown in the feels.

The Queen and the Cure was amazing. I loved everything about it. It was perfect. Amy creates such amazing characters with a well written plot. The world building is extraordinary and I’ve fallen in love with the fairytale-like setting that Amy has crafted.

Kjell is such a complex, flawed, and wonderful character. I could go on and on about him but I implore you to read this book to experience his story for yourself.
I was not expecting to love Sasha as much as I did. She’s such a well written, empowering character and I loved getting to know her.

Overall, if you haven’t read The Bird and the Sword Chronicles, you should. You need to read these books. If I could only read one series for the rest of my life, I’d probably pick this series.

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Review: Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

32148009Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

Published May 16th 2017

A beautifully written food memoir chronicling one cook’s journey from her rural Midwestern hometown to the intoxicating world of New York City fine dining and back again in search of her culinary roots.

Before Amy Thielen frantically plated rings of truffled potatoes in some of New York City s finest kitchens for chefs David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten she grew up in a northern Minnesota town home to the nation s largest French fry factory, the headwaters of the fast food nation, with a mother whose generous cooking pulsed with joy, family drama, and an overabundance of butter.

Inspired by her grandmother s tales of cooking on the family farm, Thielen moves with her artist husband to the rustic, off-the-grid cabin he built in the woods. There, standing at the stove three times a day, she finds the seed of a growing food obsession that leads to the sensory madhouse of New York s top haute cuisine brigades. When she goes home, she comes face to face with her past, and a curious truth: that beneath every foie gras sauce lies a rural foundation of potatoes and onions, and that taste memory is the most important ingredient of all.

Amy Thielen’s coming-of-age account brims with energy, a cook s eye for intimate detail, and a dose of dry Midwestern humor. Give a Girl a Knife offers a fresh, vivid view into New York s high-end restaurant before returning Thielen to her roots, where she realizes that the marrow running through her bones is not demi-glace, but gravy honest, thick with nostalgia, and hard to resist.”

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A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher

Give a Girl a Knife is probably one of the most surprisingly entertaining books I’ve ever read.
I was super curious about this book when I started it and I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much that I would read it in one sitting.
I loved how well written this book was and Amy was able to give a lot of great insight to restaurant kitchens. I actually learned a lot and learning new things is always something I’m looking for in non-fiction book. I also really appreciated how Amy talked about her experiences a women in a male dominated field.
As a fellow Midwesterner, I was able to relate to Amy a lot and I wasn’t expecting that. I really loved how Amy mixed her Midwest roots with her culinary skills.
I thought reading about Amy’s approach to food and how she builds her dishes was really fascinating and again, I learned a lot.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it has become an unexpected favorite of mine. It’s very well written and educational in the most entertaining way. If you’re looking for an awesome non-fiction read, I’d recommend grabbing a copy of Give a Girl A Knife.

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