Review: Skulk by Rosie Best

17155389Skulk
By: Rosie Best
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: October 1st, 2013

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Short Summary:

A girl who is turned into a shapeshifter and finds herself and others like her in a big problem.

The Summary (via Goodreads):

When Meg witnesses the dying moments of a shapeshifting fox and is given a beautiful and powerful stone, her life changes forever. She is plunged into the dark world of the Skulk, a group of shapeshifting foxes.

As she learns about the other groups of shapeshifters that lurk around London – the Rabble, the Horde, the Cluster and the Conspiracy – she becomes aware of a deadly threat against all the shapeshifters. They must put aside all their enmity and hostility and fight together to defeat it.

Review:

stand-4.5stars_1

This has been the first book I have read (as far as I remember) about shape-shifters. I know, I know. Like vampires and zombies, shape-shifters are over done too. But at least the first shape-shifter book I read was brilliant.

I have a thing for Strange Chemistry books. They are always different, witty and full on packed with action.

Skulk was all of that. I felt an immediate tug towards Meg. I actually felt what she was feeling, not only with this shifting thing, but also the problems with her parents. Meg is so different from your run of the mill rich YA heroines. She’s got personality, she’s got talent (graffiti) and she doesn’t care much about vandalism. (lol)

There is a lot of great action, and some occasional thrilling parts, and a bit of violence. The best part, for me, was that there was no insta-love, and the budding relationship that does come up, had absolutely nothing to do with a person’s apparent hotness or drop-dead gorgeous good looks. As well, there’s no inappropriate romantic interaction in the middle of life-death consequences. Reactions, in this book, are very life like and reality based. There’s fear and death and natural feelings of selfishness, friendship, and sacrifice. The romance is at a bare minimum and just how it should have been.

The shifting is incredibly detailed. The characters are believable and the plot line makes sense all the time. Strongly recommended for everyone who loves paranormal.

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon

God knows I need this, with over 180 books on my TBR list.

But with college and a million other projects, will I have time to read?

We’ll find out.

Thanks to Tressa @ Tressa’s Wishful Endings and Laura @ Colorimetry and the Tackle Your TBR Read-a-Thon, I’ll attempt to read 10 books in two weeks.

16th is the last date to sign up! (Sign up here )
Okay, so… I’ll be reading:
1) Skulk by Rosie Best
2) Parasite by Mira Grant
3) Rory by Ciye Cho
4) Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Olsen Rosalie
5) Day One by Nate Kenyon
6) Ostrich Matt Greene
7) The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
8) The F-it List by Julie Halpern
9) Asylum by Madeleine Roux
10) The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
May the odds be ever in my favor!

Blog Tour: Painted Boots by Mechelle Morrison (Review + Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop on the Painted Boots Blog Tour, hosted by AToMR Tours!

Title: Painted Boots

Author: Mechelle Morrison

Release date: July 4, 2013

Age Group: Mature Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tour organized by: AToMR Tours

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/nTe8UoTEZxg

Links to the book:

GoodreadsAmazon 

 

Synopsis:

When her father drags her to a new life in Wyoming, Aspen Brand doesn’t expect to fall for a cowboy named Kyle Thacker—but she does.  At seventeen, Aspen and Kyle share unexpected ground: guitar, running, physics.  And guilt.  Aspen blames herself for her mother’s car accident, while Kyle can’t find a way past his brother’s suicide.

On their first date they open up to each other, forging an unbreakable bond between them.  But Kyle has spent two years living with a vicious secret—one his ex-girlfriend will do anything to protect—and sharing his truth with Aspen makes her a target.  Now if Kyle is to be her love story, Aspen must first win the fight of her life.

About the Author

Mechelle Morrison loves language–she’s always wished she could speak and write them all.  She lives for chocolate, lazy summer days, spontaneously funny things . . . and family.  She’s sort of scared of dogs.

When she’s not reading or writing or wandering the world, she can be found in her backyard in Utah with her husband, their daughter and the bevy of quail that live behind their garage.

If she didn’t write she’d make stop-motion animation shorts.  So she does that anyway.

Visit her online:  www.mechellemorrison.com

Review:

stand-3.5stars

Cowboys, music and a love story! Painted Boots has all the ingredients to make for a fun read. Add plenty of stunning twists and turns and you’ve got a book that is quite engaging.

There are a lot of things that I liked about this book:

1) Aspen is original. I loved her sense of style.

2) I could relate to her because of the moving part (I hated having to move to a new place.)

3) The extremely new and interesting take on bullying.

4) Music!

5) Kyle being a hottie.

6) The drama surrounding the entire plot.

The two things that I didn’t like:

1) The insta-love between Aspen and Kyle.

2) Excessive use of the word ‘baby’ (I just find it demeaning, somehow.)

There is a lot of action in this book, even though it is billed as a Contemporary Romance. Parts will have you sniffing back tears, while others will have you seething in anger.

I loved how it isn’t like every other romance, there is a lot that in this book that might be totally new, especially the main theme. It was so fresh, it actually took some time getting used to. But damn, telling you what it is would be giving spoilers.

It’s a quick read, took me a couple of hours to finish it, but it leaves an impact.

I especially loved the section that was written entirely in emails.

If you’re into love stories that are not easy-breezy, give Painted Boots a try. You’ll be surprised.

Tour Giveaway: 

2 Signed Copies of Painted Boots (US)

3 ebook copies of Painted Boots (INT)

 Click here to go to the Rafflecopter

To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpts click here

 

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

 This Song Will Save Your Life
 By: Leila Sales
 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
 Release Date: September 17, 2013

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Short Summary:

A young girl who is on the bottom wrung of the social ladder finds her identity through friendship and music.

The Summary (via Goodreads):

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

The Cover: I absolutely adore the cover! It is so beautiful and attractive, I would have requested this book based on the cover alone. Take a look at the letters in pink. They spell LOVE! How clever is that! This book gets full marks for the cover.

Review:

stand-4.5stars_1

Music and not fitting in, two things I can totally relate to.  I don’t always enjoy Contemporary YA, but this book was really good.

I had a feeling this was going to be a sad, sad book, with themes like bullying, suicide and the likes.

I wasn’t hooked by  the first chapter at all. I resented Elise for thinking that she had to  give up her entire personality for the sake of popularity, only to move towards suicide if she didn’t get accepted socially.  Weird message. But after a couple of more chapters, Elise grew onto me and I began to see her growth. The pace and development of her character is stellar.

Leila Sales has crafted such amazing characters, they are all crazy in their own way but so very real.  Vicky was my absolute favorite, and Elise’s family is absolutely lovely. There is a lot of pain and courage in this story, but it is one that keeps you reading on because you want to know what happens to Elise.

Even if you can’t relate to Elise’s story, like me,  that is no reason to not read this book.  There are messages in this book that will do you a world of good, whether you relate or not, because being accepted means a lot to nearly everyone. There is an emphasis on self-discovery in this book, and the value of finding true friends and people who will accept you no matter what and let you be the way you are, let you do the things that make you happy.

The Final Words:

I am glad to have gotten the chance to read this book. It’s a remarkable story and will make an impact on your life, if you give it a try.

Review: Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Origin (Lux #4)
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Source: Gift

The Short Summary:

Katy has been trapped by Daedalus. Daemon is going to get her back, no matter what.

The Summary (via Goodreads):

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything.

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on?

And will they even be together?

Review:

stand-4.5stars_1

After two hours of fangirling, and screaming over the fact that I got this book on it’s release day, I started it with fear, trepidation, and a whole lot of excitement. The cliff-hanger at the end of the last book was excruciating and I had no idea how bad things would get for Katy.

In the name of all things alien, this book was amaaaazing! I ignored three courses worth of homework to finish this up (who cares about college when you can read about Daemon?)

Daemon is awesome, better than in all the previous books. Most of his dialogues actually had me clutching my Kindle for dear life.

“Did you think you could stop me? I’ll burn the world down to save her.” 

“I have no idea how I’m going to fix all of that, but I will. I will keep you safe. I will make sure that we have a future to hold on to and look forward to … I promise you.”

Daemon is so my book-boyfriend. *major swoons*

Okay, so the proverbial shit has hit the fan in Origin, Katy is in Daedalus, Daemon is no lock-down and his family and friends are trying to keep him from going to save Katy. Futile attempts? Of course. You can’t keep a Luxen like Daemon in chains. And he does what he wants to do, he goes to find Katy.

What the Daedalus plans on doing to the two of them will have you biting your nails and sometimes closing your eyes shut at the horror. In complete JLA style, the ending will have you on edge. This installment is as good as it gets.

If you’ve read Sweet Evil, or if you follow Wendy Higgins on Goodreads, you know that there’s a neat little surprise in the book.

A Sweet Evil reference that literally made me jump out of my beanbag for joy! For that alone, I’d give JLA a standing ovation. You, Madame, are amazing.

The Final Word:

I was a bit disappointed with a cover, it isn’t in-sync with the rest of the series, but the book is worth the read. Lux or JLA fans, go grab it!

Thought of the Day – 25th August

Would it be a shocker if I tell you all that I don’t own a single paperback copy of YA books? Okay, I have ONE. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. That’s it. 

Why is that? Bookstores here don’t always have the YA books I want to read. And if they do, they cost as much as my entire months pocket money.

And I must be really unlucky, because I enter a hundred giveaways but have never won a single one.

For some reason, that depresses me.

Why can’t my shelves get to stock the amazing looking YA novels?

*sigh*

Gun (Him and I #7)

I remember the first time I held a gun for the purpose of killing. It was three days after our wedding day. He had taken a week off from office and we had gone to visit our ancestral village.

Our village is a village only in name. There is internet and cable, boutiques and supermarkets. But the lanes are narrow and made of bricks, there are never-ending fields on the outskirts. We headed towards them.

I knew, that sooner and later, he would make me do it. We had promised each other we’d try out each others’ interests. He had bought a Harry Potter box set for himself, he had taken the first step. It was time for me to take the double-barreled shotgun in my hennaed hands.

He was patient, despite of my squeamishness at hunting innocent birds, and my trembling hands.

I had crap aim. But he told everyone that one out of the four casualties done that day had my name on it.

Blaspheming

Because we are all fireflies tonight

dying but bouncing in and out and all around the dirt-stained light in the dusty barnyard.

Because we are the light that will be zapped and singed

by family

by heat

by the holy warmth of the one we worship. What

difference would it make?

Tell me, would it make a difference

if I stagger on to the cliff to make it easy for the one who takes lives, for

the overworked ironic being, the angel of death,

the devil of solitude, irony

in name, in act, in existence.

Would it make a difference to use the air as

the cushion and the grass as the arms that will hold me first and last, forever?

Or would the cliff pivot and deposit

me from where I was running because

who am I to think that  this life I’m living is my own,

it isn’t.

It is a house my soul rents and

will leave when it grows tired of it or it has been filled

with cans and wrappers and bodies writhing with pain or ecstasy

or just the bodies of a thousand broken aspirations.

What difference would it make to beg

for my soul to stay

or to push it to leave before it wishes to leave, because

tonight we are all fireflies

and salvation is but a dream.

The Deal With Death

Death came calling yesterday.

We sat in the parlor, sipping

tea. Even though I like coffee,

you don’t refuse Death when

he asks for tea. Four spoons sugar, please.

I had heard he liked things sickly sweet.

 

I had what was his, he wanted it back

Upon my life, I couldn’t refuse.

You don’t say no when Death asks for something.

I had heard there was never a deal he lost.

 

He set out a pack

of cards, all hearts and diamonds,

no black in sight.

“Queens, you win.

Joker, I lose.

Kings, I win.

Jacks, you lose.”

 

I lost.

 

 

 

ARC August: Update and General News

This post is two weeks late. Blah. I am just so lazy. I can never get myself to write half the posts I mean to. It’s a wonder I can write book reviews at all.

I signed up for the ARC August challenge hosted by Octavia over at Read. Sleep. Repeat.

So here’s an update about how things have been for me this month, ARC wise.

I read these:

13246736 1726221317378990

17183128 17302571 17638282

Links to reviews: 

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

The Academy – Introductions by C.L. Stone

The Color Master by Aimee Bender

Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole

Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento was a DNF

I reviewed two other books that I had read earlier:

 17561496

Not Your Average Joe by Nell Carson

The Guardians (More #2) by T.M. Franklin

I am now reading:

16270143

Life updates:

Two of my poems will be published by Infinite Press next month!

My brother is going off for college and I’m really bummed about that. Will miss him a lot.

Also I’m holding my first giveaway! Undercurrent by Paul Blackwell.

Speech Bubbles (Him and I #6)

We fight with imaginary speech bubbles. It saves breath and energy and an awful lot of misunderstanding. It saves us from saying the wrong things. It saves us from taking things out of context. It saves us from saying sorry.

It’s our way of letting out steam, imagining clouds on top of our heads. I fill his, he fills mine.

We give each other made up words, and then forget all about them. It’s therapeutic. It’s us.

Review: Not Your Average Joe by Nell Carson

Not Your Average Joe
 By: Nell Carson
 Publisher: Escape Publishing
 Release Date: August 1, 2013

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Short Summary:

A CEO works in his own factory under-cover for a TV show. What he doesn’t know is that a factory worker is his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his son.

The Summary (via Goodreads):

Reality TV just got real in this Cinderella story about a factory worker and a CEO’s son…

Jennifer Wright is finishing a long shift on the assembly line at Brickman Foods when she meets her newest trainee, Jason Baxter — only that’s not his name and she knows it. She recognises him instantly as Jared Brickman, internationally renowned playboy and son of the CEO of Brickman Foods, working undercover to film the reality show, Joe Average.

Jared is also the father of Jennifer’s son, Chris, although he doesn’t know it. The six years since they dated have been momentous for Jennifer, but it’s clear when they meet again that Jared doesn’t even remember her. Jennifer knew Jared the boy — irresponsible and reckless. Now she has the opportunity to discover Jared the man. She’d like to tell him about his son, but fears his reputation as depicted in celebrity magazines.

Is Jared an infamous heartbreaker, or is he the man she sees now: sweet, shy, and dependable — someone who can be trusted in her son’s life…and maybe even her own?

Review:

stand-3.5stars

Every once in a while, I feel the need to read romance. I say once in a while because if I read a lot of it at once, I start seeing similarities and that takes the fun out of reading. The blurb made me want to read this one. I had recently seen a similar TV show and I wanted to see how would it be with romance factored in.

Not disappointed. It was a cute story.  There were two major problems with the story but I’m willing to overlook them because the book, over-all, was interesting.

The first issue was the fact that the main guy, Jared, doesn’t recognize Jenny. Fine, he may have dated a million women but I really don’t think you can fail to recognize someone you’ve slept with, and not just on a drunken night or something. Mentioning the second issue would be a spoiler so I’ll stay shut about it.

I loved the setting of the book, Jenny is a simple factory worker who had to drop out of college to raise her son. Jared is a spoilt millionaire who will inherit his dad’s business empire. They share a history, but only Jenny knows. And when he comes back into her life, she debates telling him about his son.

The fact that Jared has to work in the factory under-cover for a reality show isn’t all that special, but when he actually works hard and tries to find solutions to the problems the workers face, that is endearing. He may be a player, but he has a heart.

Father figures in this book are the worst people ever. Except maybe Jared, but then he doesn’t know he’s a dad.

The other characters are fun and believable. One of the side issues of harrassment at work is brilliantly executed.

The Final Words:

A cute romance. A nice time-pass read.

 

 

 

Review: The Color Master by Aimee Bender

The Color Master
 By: Aimee Bender
 Publisher: Doubleday
 Release Date: August 13, 2013

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Summary (via Goodreads):

The bestselling author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake returns with a wondrous collection of dreamy, strange, and magical stories.

Truly beloved by readers and critics alike, Aimee Bender has become known as something of an enchantress whose lush prose is “moving, fanciful, and gorgeously strange” (People), “richly imagined and bittersweet” (Vanity Fair), and “full of provocative ideas” (The Boston Globe). In her deft hands, “relationships and mundane activities take on mythic qualities” (The Wall Street Journal).

In this collection, Bender’s unique talents sparkle brilliantly in stories about people searching for connection through love, sex, and family—while navigating the often painful realities of their lives. A traumatic event unfolds when a girl with flowing hair of golden wheat appears in an apple orchard, where a group of people await her. A woman plays out a prostitution fantasy with her husband and finds she cannot go back to her old sex life. An ugly woman marries an ogre and struggles to decide if she should stay with him after he mistakenly eats their children. Two sisters travel deep into Malaysia, where one learns the art of mending tigers who have been ripped to shreds.

In these deeply resonant stories—evocative, funny, beautiful, and sad—we see ourselves reflected as if in a funhouse mirror. Aimee Bender has once again proven herself to be among the most imaginative, exciting, and intelligent writers of our time.

Review:

stand-4.5stars_1

Woooheeee! What a ride! This collection was magical, disturbing and all in all an epic read. I had never read Aimee Bender before this, but now I’m wanting more (The Girl With the Flammable Skirt, here I come).

There’s this surreal quality to all the 15 stories in this collection. There is sadness, there are shockers, and sometimes, there’s confusion.

Some more adjectives? This collection is edgy, bizarre and brilliant.
“Appleless”: The opening story was a tad bit weird, but a brilliant teaser for what was to come. It was disturbing as it is about obsession and how it can change into something horrifying. About a woman who doesn’t eat apples and men who do, and how they become obsessed with the woman. Appalling.

“The Red Ribbon”: This has to be one of my favorites. It’s about a wife who follows the principle that nothing in life should be free and decides to charge her husband for sexual favors.

“Tiger Mending”: Two sisters are sent Malaysia where one is to mend tigers whose skin is peeling off.

“Faces”:  A boy whose concerned mother is trying to understand why he doesn’t remember his friends’ names or faces. Creepy.

“On a Saturday Afternoon”:  A young woman invites two male friends to her apartment and then indulges in voyeurism.

“The Fake Nazi”:  An elderly man keeps turning himself into authorities for war crimes he hasn’t commited.

“Lemonade”:  About the cruelty that is teenage. Heartbreaking and one of the stand-out pieces of this collection.

“Bad Return”:  Women and friendship.

“Origin Lessons”:  A professor explains the how the universe came to be.

“The Doctor and the Rabbi”:  About life and living and believing.

“Wordkeepers”:  People no longer know the names of common objects.

“The Color Master”:  Based on a 17th century fairy tale where dress makers must make shoes/clothes to resemble

“State of Variance”:  A woman who only sleeps an hour a night tells her son that he has a face that is too perfect, too symmetrical. “Her son’s face was almost a perfect mirror of itself, in such a way that one realized how imperfections created trust because no one trusted her son, with that perfect symmetry in his face; contrary to the magazine articles that stated women would arch and flex easily above him, beneath him, due to that symmetry, no—his symmetry was too much, and women shied away, certain he was a player.”

“Americca”: A story in which everyday objects appear in a family’s home for no apparent reason.

“The Devourings”: A woman marries a ogre, who accidentally eats their children. “As she unlaced her blouse, he touched fingertips to her trembling bare shoulders and explained in his low gravel that he only ate human beings he did not know. I know your name now, he murmured. I know your travels. You’re safe.” ‘Nuff said.

Magical Realism at its best. Must read for anyone who loves short stories!

 

Review: Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole

Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always
By:
Elissa Janine Hoole

Publisher: Flux
Release Date:
November 8th, 2013


Thank you Flux and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Short Summary:

An atheist in a family of fundamentalists goes against her family to find herself.

The Summary (via Goodreads):

Cassandra fears rocking the family boat. Instead, she sinks it. Assigned by her English teacher to write a poem that reveals her true self, Cassandra Randall is stuck. Her family’s religion is so overbearing, she can NEVER write about who she truly is. So Cass does what any self-respecting high school girl would do: she secretly begins writing a tarot-inspired advice blog. When Drew Godfrey, an awkward outcast with unwashed hair, writes to her, the situation spirals into what the school calls “a cyberbullying crisis” and what the church calls “sorcery.” Cass wants to be the kind of person who sticks up for the persecuted, who protects the victims the way she tries to protect her brother from the homophobes in her church. But what if she’s just another bully? What will it take for her to step up and tell the truth?

Review:

stand-3.5stars

Usually books about finding one’s own self do not interest me. They’re pretty much the same and are overdone with cliche’s. There’s rebellion, angst and a lot of other predictable stuff.  But Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always (SNSA from hereon) isn’t just a finding yourself story. Apart from that, it focuses on some pretty serious issues like bullying and gay tolerance. And even though these issues weave into the plot seamlessly, the book isn’t depressive, dark, or hard to read.

Tarot cards, if done in jest, are harmless. I mean, what can a couple of wacky pictures on cards do to you? But since fortune-telling is said to be a branch of sorcery, tarot readings are highly discouraged by religious sects. So when Cassandra, our protagonist, decides to start a tarot blog, anonymously, the reactions from the community are extreme.

Top that up with a girl from her youth group, who isn’t exactly the person people want to hang out with, trying to be friends with Cass.  And her brother is gay, threatened by some intolerant school bullies. Social dilemmas galore. Oh and there’s this one poetry assignment that just won’t come together.

Teenage life is a roller coaster ride, one that has a million twists and turns, has occasional attacks of streaming water and chooses to let you hang upside down for a little while. Elissa Janine Hoole has been quite successful in showing  that kind of a life.

There’s a little romance too, just a little, but it’s cute.

The Final Words:

I liked this book but I didn’t love it. Maybe it was because there was a lot of religion involved. But the characters are quite well developed and the pacing was good too. So if you don’t mind a bit of religion in books, go ahead and grab this one.