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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Review: Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

28226839Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

Expected publication: May 2nd 2017

DOMINO: A runaway with blood on her hands.

CAIN: A silent boy about to explode.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind.

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

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I’ve seen almost exclusively positive reviews for Violet Grenade so I feel like I’m the odd one out for not loving it. I’d read one of Victoria’s other books, Titans, and I loved it so I was really pumped to explore her other books.
I can’t really put my finger on why this book wasn’t for me but it just hit me the wrong way. Right away, there was something about the main character and writing that felt off to me. I can’t really explain it but it felt almost… fragmented. Like a rough draft or something. The main character, Domino, was just weird. I couldn’t connect to her at all and she felt unnatural. It was never really acknowledged that Domino seemingly had a mental illness (I thought she had schizophrenia) and her illness was more of a plot device.
The plot was predictable and unengaging to me and I just couldn’t get into it.

Overall, this book wasn’t for me. I’ve seen tons of great reviews for Violet Grenade so maybe I’m just being overly critical. However, if you’re triggered or sensitive to schizophrenia or mental illness not being completely addressed in a book, I would recommend not reading Violet Grenade.

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ARC Review: 10 Things I Can See from Here by Carrie Mac

3101957110 Things I Can See from Here by Carrie Mac

Expected publication: February 28th 2017

Think positive.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.

Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?

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I really liked the writing style of this book and I definitely appreciate Maeve. I’ve never read a book where the main character has anxiety before and I thought it would be great to read about a character who has anxiety (I also have anxiety). But I actually had a hard time reading about Maeve’s anxiety without becoming increasingly anxious myself. Maeve’s anxiety is a little different from my own but she still made me anxious. It got a lot better as the book went on but it still hindered me from enjoying the book.
I do really appreciate the representation of anxiety in YA though. I think this book could help people who don’t have anxiety to understand what it’s like and see things in a new perspective.

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ARC Review: Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

26138370Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Expected publication: March 7th 2017

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

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Seven Days of You sounded like a super cute book and I was so excited to read it. However, this book was a hot mess.
My biggest problem with this book is the main character. She’s in high school but she acts like she’s seven years old. Everything from the way she talks to how she handles situations is shockingly immature. Not to mention how her name is Sophia but her friends call her Sofa. I found that incredibly annoying and just weird. Her relationship with her best friend was messed up and very shallow. The guys in this book are all awful and I couldn’t stand them. To be honest, I couldn’t stand any of the characters.
I was so excited that this book took place in Tokyo but nothing about Seven Days of You said Tokyo. This book could have taken place anywhere in the world because it brought nothing Tokyo to the table. It was just another YA with a boring setting. I was expecting Japanese culture but I got none.
I wish I had loved this book, I really do, but I didn’t like it at all. It was poorly written with awful characters and a disappointing setting.

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Review: The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie

33609175The Edge of the Abyss (The Abyss Surrounds Us #2)
by Emily Skrutskie

Expected publication: April 18th 2017

Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart. But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers Boa is not the only a monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against the creatures she used to care for and protect? Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?

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As much as I enjoyed this book, I didn’t know until I was 40% into it that it was a sequel. Totally my fault but I’m surprised how much I liked this book considering I haven’t read the first book.

I loved the concept of this book so much. The concept of this book is without a doubt one of the best I’ve ever read. I love pirates so this book was right up my alley and I loved the fantastical creatures in this book as well. This reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean, which is one of my favorite film franchises, and if you enjoy PotC, I’d highly recommend this The Edge of the Abyss (but don’t be like me, you should read the first book before reading book two).
I was actually pretty invested in Cas and Swift’s relationship and I think their relationship is one of the best written that I’ve ever read about.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m excited to go read the first book. I loved the concept so, so much. If you’re looking for a really exciting and fun LBGTQ fantasy series, I’d definitely recommend The Abyss Surrounds Us series.

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Blog Tour: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza + Giveaway

empress-banner

empress-coverEmpress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Publication: February 7th 2017 by Razorbill

Empress
Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.

Fugitive
Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.

Madman
With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

A saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

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Review:

This book was almost everything I wanted it to be and more.
I absolutely fell in love with the word building and the characters were amazing. I’d never read a “space opera”, as this was repeatedly described as, but I loved it. It was so exciting and fun and I couldn’t get enough of it. It was a little confusing at times but I didn’t mind.
I really liked the characters even though I never became emotionally invested in them.
The only reason I gave this book four stars is because the synopsis says Rhee and Aly “are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy” and that never really happens.
But other than that, I loved this book. Empress of a Thousand Skies has diverse characters, an awesome concept, and killer world building.

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Giveaway

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one (1) of three (3) signed copies of Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (ARV: $17.99 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on February 6, 2017 and 12:00 AM on February 20, 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 February 22, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

About Rhoda Belleza

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Rhoda Belleza was raised in Los Angeles, where she grew up writing XFiles fanfiction and stuffing her face with avocados. When she’s not writing, Rhoda obsesses over nail art tutorials, watches kung fu movies, and sews together crooked things that pass for clothes. She’s a children’s editor at a publishing house and writes from a sunny Brooklyn apartment stuffed far too many bikes and far too many shoes. Empress of a Thousand Skies is her debut novel.

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ARC Review: The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

31305531The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianna Baer

Expected publication: April 4th 2017

Quinn Cutler is sixteen and the daughter of a high-profile Brooklyn politician. She’s also pregnant, a crisis made infinitely more shocking by the fact that she has no memory of ever having sex. Before Quinn can solve this deeply troubling mystery, her story becomes public. Rumors spread, jeopardizing her reputation, her relationship with a boyfriend she adores, and her father’s campaign for Congress. Religious fanatics gather at the Cutlers’ home, believing Quinn is a virgin, pregnant with the next messiah. Quinn’s desperate search for answers uncovers lies and family secrets—strange, possibly supernatural ones. Might she, in fact, be a virgin?

 

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This was such a strange book. Mostly in a good way but it was also in a not so good way. I thought the
synopsis was incredibly interesting and I really, really wanted to know what happened and I lowkey needed to know how Quinn became pregnant. I got a bit of a Unbecoming of Mara Dyer vibe from this book so if you loved Mara Dyer, you might love The Inconceivable Life of Quinn as well.
I’m not a huge fan of magical realism. I didn’t expect magical realism in this book so that was kind of out of left field for me. It came a little late in the book for me to adjust to it and it just didn’t hit me right.
I did really love the writing style. I thought it was really well written so the writing was my favorite thing about The Inconceivable Life of Quinn.
Overall, the writing was great but the magical realism just wasn’t for me. I think this is a really cool book and a lot of people, especially fans of Mara Dyer, will really enjoy it.

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Review: City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

cityofsaintsandthievesCity of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Expected publication: January 24th 2017

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

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A diverse YA thriller set in Kenya? SIGN ME UP.

I loved this book so much. It was fast paced, had amazing writing, and complex characters.
This book grabbed me from the very first line and never let me go. I was so hooked and I never wanted to put this book down.
I really loved the concept of City of Saints and Thieves. It was unlike anything I’ve read before and was so exciting. It’s rare that a book will keep me reading past 10pm but I was reading this book until midnight. The writing style was wonderful. City of Saints and Thieves is one of the best written books that I’ve read in a long time.
I loved the characters, especially Tina. She was so fierce and has a ton of character development. Her determination was inspiring.
Overall, I loved this book so much. It was such a wild ride and I never wanted it to end. This book has everything. Diversity, character development, an amazing setting, a great cast of characters, and a thrilling plot. I can’t think of one bad thing about City of Saints and Thieves and I can’t
recommend it enough.

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ARC Review: Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

25752041Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Expected publication: June 6th 2017

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey…

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Royal Bastards was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. I was super excited to start it but it took me forever and a half to finish it. This book is such a roller coaster. I liked it and then I didn’t think I could finish it, it was such a back and forth battle. But even though I have my problems with this book, it got me emotionally invested in the plot and the characters.
My biggest problem with this book is the characters. Two of the main characters, Tilla and Miles, annoyed me so much. Miles was such a boring character to me and Tilla was just really mean at times. She was so unsympathetic a few times toward Lyriana and it really bothered me. I’m not going to go into detail because I won’t give out spoilers but she was kind of mean with her thoughts. She caught herself and changed her thinking, which I appreciated, but I still thought it was really mean of her.
I did like Lyriana, Jax, and Zell though. I also really appreciated how Lyriana was so explicitly described of being a POC. There’s not a lot of POC in YA fantasy and Lyriana is much needed. (I don’t remember for sure if any of the other characters are described as POC but it’s likely that they’re described and I just don’t remember because I already pictured everyone as POC and skipped over their description)
I did like the writing style but the dialogue was oddly modern at times and it threw me off. Maybe I’m just being overly critical but it was just the little things in this book that bothered me.
I loved the concept and plot so much. If I didn’t find Tilla and Miles to be so annoying, I would have had a blast reading this book.
One thing that really surprised me was how unexpectedly violent this book was. I don’t really have a problem with it but if you’re sensitive bloody fight scenes, you might want to pass on this book or just skip through those parts.
Overall, even though I’m not head over heels for this book like I thought I was going to be, I loved the concept, plot, and three of the characters. This book did keep me engaged and I was emotionally invested. If you’re a critical reader like me, this book might not be for you, especially if you expect a lot from fantasy books. I do think it’s worth the chance though. Just don’t have super high expectations like I did.

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ARC Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

30095464The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Expected publication: March 7th 2017

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

 

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Even though I found this book to be confusing at times, I really enjoyed it. I loved the writing style and concept so much. Everything seemed very well thought out and very detailed. I really liked the alternating narratives and the world building was really cool. There is some info dumping here and there but it wasn’t terrible. I really liked all of the characters. They were all well written and developed.
Overall, I really enjoyed this this. It’s pretty original and I really loved the concept. If you’re looking a fantasy that has great world building and a great concept, I would recommend The Bone Witch.

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