I read a total of 4 books this month What books did you read this month? Any favorites?
Title: Burning Kingdoms Author: Lauren DeStefano Publication Date: March 10, 2015 Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy Series: The Internment Chronicles #2 Rating: 3.5/5 Danger descends in the second book of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Times bestselling author … Continue reading
Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger
Author: Rae Carson
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1
Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.
Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.
Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.
When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.
The acclaimed Rae Carson begins a sweeping new trilogy set in Gold Rush-era America, about a young woman with a powerful and dangerous gift.
Walk on Earth a Stranger is a western historical fiction novel dating back to the Gold Rush in America, with a fantasy twist. The plot is filled with adventure, the struggles of traveling west, and the strong desire to find gold.
What I admire about this novel is its historical accuracy-I truly felt like I traveled back in time to America in the 1800s, where the Gold Rush was in the air. The characters had a distinct southern dialect, and the atmosphere screamed cowboys and the Wild West.
The downfall of this novel-at least for me-is the pace. There were times where I felt the story moved along too slowly, and there were moments where I felt like abandoning it altogether. What kept me motivated to continue was my curiosity of what would happen in the end. Another issue I came across was the way the “incident” occurred, and Leah jumping to conclusions as to who was held responsible. Though later on her hutch was confirmed, it felt rushed, in my opinion. Due to the awkward pacing at times, and how the story seemed to drag, detracted from my overall enjoyment. It was not always a fluid, fast-paced read; however, the characters were rich and the fantasy element was very unique and held my attention. Although I wish there was more world-building and opportunities to get to explore the characters, I have high hopes that my questions and desires will be answered and met in the sequel.
Overall, if you want to explore a Western novel with a fantasy twist, Walk on Earth a Stranger is a compelling contender. Its uniqueness and historical accuracy will suck you into another time in America’s history, one in which many Young Adult novels have yet to explore. It is a novel worth reading, and I, personally, will give the sequel a chance. Hopefully it will exceed my expectations and further develop this incredible concept.
Title: Vengeance Road Author: Erin Bowman Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers Publication Date: September 1, 2015 Pages: 336 Genre: YA, Western, Historical Fiction Series: Standalone ? Summary (from Goodreads): When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Red Rose Gang for a mysterious … Continue reading
Title: Remember Me
Author: Romily Bernard
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Genre: YA, Thriller, Mystery
Series: Find Me #2
Summary (from Goodreads):
In the sequel to Find Me, Wick Tate, sarcastic teen hacker, is back and once again dealing with criminals and corrupt cops…and a brooding new love interest. Will Wick persevere when some secrets refuse to stay hidden?
Wick had thought her troubles were over.
But she should’ve known better.
Not only is she embroiled in a new murder case, which starts with a body with “Remember Me” carved into it and doesn’t stop there, but she also discovers new evidence surrounding her mother’s suicide…which leads her right back to her imprisoned deadbeat dad. And she has to deal with her flirty new hacker friend, Milo, sniffing around—which her boyfriend, Griff, isn’t too happy about.
The pressure might be too much as secrets—including Wick’s own—climb to the surface.
DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
WARNING: contains minor spoilers.
After having read FIND ME, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on REMEMBER ME. Having to wait an entire year was going to be difficult, but luckily, Romily Bernard was able to kindly send me an eARC! After having read the sequel, I was not disappointed whatsoever.
The plot was intriguing and kept me guessing until the very end, the characters were original, and the mysterious/thriller edge was still there.
In FIND ME, Wicket proved to be a tough gal who grew up around sketchy people and worked in an illegal industry as a hacker, yet always put her sister before her, revealing her protective and loving side. In REMEMBER ME, Wicket wanted to put the past behind her but given certain circumstances was unable to, thus she focused on surviving the various obstacles placed in her path and protecting everyone she knew and loved, even at a price. I admired how in REMEMBER ME, we saw a softer side of Wicket; the raw emotions she felt of not being able to put her past in the past and the fear of losing her friends and family. Together, we discover more of Wicket’s past, especially surrounding her mother’s death and it opens new doors that sheds fresh light on Wicket and what sculpted her into the person she became.
It is a bit of a disappointment that Griff didn’t play a major role in REMEMBER ME, but he wasn’t entirely missed either. In the beginning Griff was a loving boyfriend to Wicket, he looked out for her and wanted the very best for her. VIEW SPOILER
A new character that I personally admired. He added another layer of depth to REMEMBER ME and became a great companion to Wicket. A hacker, just like Wicket, he was sought after to build a system for Wicket and even after completing his assignment, stuck around from then on. He provided a great deal of help to Wicket, saving her at precisely the right moment. It was clear that Milo began to fall for Wicket, especially after having discovered that she was a girl, but I admired that romance didn’t immediately blossom between them. I loved the heart-to-heart moment they shared together at one point, but what I admired the most was the friendship that developed. They were so alike, it was clear they needed to share their hardships with someone who understood.
Wow, is the best word to sum up the plot. From the beginning to the end, the plot shifted tremendously, but at a great pace. It opened up with a murder that took place at an event Wicket attended and ended on a completely different note that still connected back to the murder. I love how complex the plot was, how everything that took place somehow crossed paths on a personal and not so personal level. The best part is when you suspect one person did it, but it was someone else who was not on the radar. Brilliant!
I must give Ms. Bernard a huge round of applause to how well-written REMEMBER ME was. As I read the book, I could feel the emotions Wicket went through, when she was in a frightening situation, when she was taken off guard, and when she was simply exhausted by everything that took place around her. You can clearly imagine yourself in Wicket’s shoes and witness how difficult it is to escape one’s past, especially one as tainted as her by negative influences.
REMEMBER ME is an exceptional sequel to an already adored novel. Everything, from the beginning to the end was well planned, well written, and of course, enjoyable. I loved how REMEMBER ME took us on a roller coaster ride, filled with unexpected twists and turns, leaving us intrigued until the very end. If you have not read FIND ME, I suggest you do, especially before REMEMBER ME is published.Have you read FIND ME already? What were your thoughts? And if so, are you excited for REMEMBER ME?
Author InterviewThank you Romily for agreeing to be interviewed!
- What inspired you to write FIND ME? How did the idea originate?
I had this idea for a cop circling a house while a terrified girl watched him test the windows and doors, praying they would hold. No idea why she was scared of him or why he was so interested in her so I set about trying to figure that out.
- Do you see yourself in Wicket?
Nah, not really. I think I would pass out from shock if I had to do HALF the stuff Wick has to.
- Did you learn anything from writing your book, and if so, what was it?
Oh, gosh. I learned SO MUCH about computers and networking. Specifically, I learned that I will never really understand it haha. I’m so grateful I had consulting help on the technical aspects. Otherwise, we would be looking at a very different novel. Probably one where hamsters power the computers.
- Do you recall where your interest in writing came from?
Sadly, it is just the way my brain is wired. I used to wish for an accounting brain, but it never happened.
- Any advice to aspiring writers?
Never ever ever give up. I had 246 rejections before my first “yes.” I bet you can do waaaaayyyyy better than I did.
- Which books have influenced you the most?
Oh, gosh, I read across so many genres and am a total fangirl, but, off the top of my head, probably…Dennis LeHane, Lisa Gardner, Laini Taylor, Courtney Summers, Suzanne Collins, Rainbow Rowell, Harlan Coban…yeah I should probably stop now or we’ll be here all day
- Can you share a little bit about TRUST ME?
Well, I made things a lot worse for Wick in REMEMBER ME so I kinda had to fix them in TRUST ME, but…you know…stuff happened *rubs evil author hands together and cackles* There are some new hackers, some old enemies, and Wick has to confront her past in order to figure out her future. I’m really happy with the way it turned out actually. I hope you guys will enjoy it too.
About the Author
I graduated from Georgia State University with a Literature degree. Since then, I’ve worked as a riding instructor, cell phone salesgirl, personal assistant, groom, exercise rider, accounting assistant, and, during a very dark time, customer service rep.
So don’t let anyone tell you a BA degree will keep you unemployed.
Freddie once told me that the Devil created all the fear in the world.
But then, the Devil once told me that it’s easier to forgive someone for scaring you than for making you cry.
The problem with River West Redding was that he’d done both to me.
The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet’s life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River’s other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn’t long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own . . .
OH MY GOSH ONLY EIGHT DAYS AWAY!
I am sooo excited for this sequel! BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA was a superb gothic novel, I even bragged about how awesome it was in my Top Ten Tuesday post here.
Words can’t even begin to describe how much excitement I have for this novel. First of all, the cover is stunning! And secondly, I want to learn more about River, Neely, and Violet. Come closer August 14th, you’re juuuust around the corner.
Are you as excited for BETWEEN THE SPARK AND THE BURN as I am?
Title: Guy in Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Summary (from Goodreads):
An achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.
It is Labor Day weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; and Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.
But they don’t.
This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other’s lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn’t belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren’t in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play—at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends—and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.
My thoughts . . .
Guy in Real Life is unlike any YA novel I have ever read. It may seem like it solely focuses on life as a gamer, filled with fighting off mystical creatures and roleplaying, but it actually ventures into discovering oneself. Two main characters come into play who I have grown to love and admire, Lesh and Svetlana. Lesh: sixteen-year-old boy who dresses up in dark clothing, listens to metal, and soon finds himself sucked into the gaming world. Svetlana: seventeen-year-old girl who is the dungeon master at her school’s Gaming Club (whose members comprises of her close friends) takes her role seriously and enjoys drawing, sewing, and embroidery in her free time. As different as these characters may seem, they collide into each other early one morning and soon establish a friendship. I must admit, I found this book had some slow moments, but overall, I felt connected with the characters even though I have zero interest in RPGs.
This novel was very real; there was no sugar coating whatsoever. It covered life events (teenagers who drink and do drugs) and revealed that Lesh sometimes hung out with the wrong crowd. But luckily, it did not negatively affect him in the long run. It merely showed that not everyone is perfect and books can’t always hide the truth of reality. Some parts of the novel slowed down my progress, but there were moments that I adored. I loved reading about life as a gamer, but I most cherished the blooming relationship between Lesh and Svetlana. Both seemingly the exact opposite of one another, they somehow managed to connect and enjoy each other’s company. What I liked is that their relationship was slow and developed over time. It wasn’t a love at first sight ordeal. Although Lesh instantly developed a crush on Svetlana, Svetlana doubted her feelings and then soon accepted them.
Sometimes the characters got on my nerves at times, especially Svetlana who never wanted to spend time with her family (which saddened me) as well as what happened in the end on Lesh’s account (which infuriated me), but it’s easy for me to overcome these feelings because of how well crafted the story was and the very serious message portrayed.
What I also loved was that the book was written in two POVs, Lesh’s and Svetlana’s. It enabled you to get both sides of the story so you understood what went through both of their minds after a given situation.
Overall . . .
I would recommend this book, even if you have no interest in gamers in RPGs (like myself). As you read Guy in Real Life you will admire the uniqueness of this novel (a nice break from typical YA novels) and appreciate the original characters and their story.
* If you have already read Guy in Real Life, be sure to read this short story in Jelly’s POV: http://t.co/insJHac10m
Did you read Guy in Real Life? And if so, what were your thoughts on it?
Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author: Anne Blankman
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog #1
Summary (from Goodreads):
My thoughts . . .
An incredible novel that sheds fresh light on a ruthless leader through the eyes of a young lady from his inner circle, who falls in love with a Jew!
As a history nerd, I was extremely excited for this novel to come out, and I must say, it was no disappointment. Blankman crafted an incredible story, woven with the feelings many felt during that difficult time. Gretchen, the main character (who I adored!) has a difficult life. She might be loved by Hitler (as odd as that sounds) but she has an intimidating brother, who is not afraid to harm anyone or anything, a mother who refuses to intervene, and a father who sacrificed his life to save Hitler’s. But when Gretchen meets Daniel, she was hesitant of interacting with a Jew; it went against everything she was taught. But when she pushed those tainted thoughts aside, she learned the truth behind Hitler and the National Socialist Party. If you are not a fan of history, don’t let this novel scare you away. Putting the historical context aside for a moment, it’s a story about a young woman who discovers herself, and breaks free from what she has been taught and the people who have influenced her morals.
It has opened up my eyes. About what truly goes on in a person’s mind and how much hurt one may feel underneath all that stature and power. Personally, it has peaked my interest regarding Hitler’s complicated mind (but don’t forget, I love history).
I have found that YA historical fiction novels can be a hit or miss. They can either sound like a textbook, reiterating the facts of said time period, or artfully craft a wonderful story regarding a specific time in history. I can say with confidence that Prisoner of Night and Fog falls in the latter category.
Do not feel intimated by reading a novel about World War II (as book stores are flooded by novels of this topic) as Prisoner of Night and Fog shines from the rest. It sheds light on a different idea of World War II and Hitler’s rise in power. Instead of a book from the point of view of the Allies, how about from that of a woman who is loyal to Hitler, himself? Fascinating, right?
Overall . . .
All I can say is, Prisoner of Night and Fog will show you the interesting side of history, and unravel a beautiful story, filled with love, struggle, and a mysterious death. Please, if you have not read this book already, read it! You will not regret it, I promise! Instead, you’ll be anticipating the sequel like I am. . . and swooning over Daniel.
Author: Sophie Jordan
Publication Date: January 28, 2013
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Series: Uninvited (#1)
Summary (from Goodreads):
When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.
Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.
The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.
I cannot wait for UNINVITED’s publication! Having read many tweets from my twitter feed of people glorifying it makes me all the more excited for it!
First of all, the cover is stunning! I love the simplicity of it, yet the bold statement it makes. The synopsis, wow! The plot sounds original, intriguing, and right up my alley. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to read a book about murders! (I blame crime shows for making me this way.)
Thank goodness this book comes out next week, I don’t think I can wait that much longer for it.
Title: The Madman’s Daughter
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Gothic, Historical Fiction
Series: The Madman’s Daughter #1
Summary (from Goodreads):
In the darkest places, even love is deadly.
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.
Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.
Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.
My Thoughts . . .
The Madman’s Daughter is a delightfully creepy novel, filled with twists and turns that will render you speechless. There is never a dull moment as you blaze through the pages as if the book is on fire.
The story begins in late nineteenth century London. Juliet’s father, Henri Moreau, a once acclaimed surgeon, flees London to a remote island when rumors spread of his alleged gruesome experiments–leaving his wife and daughter, Juliet, a poor reputation. Their once glamorous life vanishes and is replaced with many hardships. After Juliet’s mother dies, Juliet is left to fend for herself. She becomes a maid in the university where her father used to work, and tries to sustain herself. One thing leads to another and before Juliet knows it, she is on a ship with Montgomery, her family’s previous servant and they travel to an island–where her father is alive. Juliet at first is determined to find out if the rumors are true but in the end, traveling to the island was a mistake.
Megan Shepherd crafted this story beautifully–with vivid imagery, well-developed characters, and a storyline that will leave you breathless. I started this novel with high expectations and I must say, they were delivered. The storyline is filled with many events, one after the other, that ensures a rapid pace, only crescendoing as more startling information is unraveled. The bottom line: your mind will explode. Especially in the end, I was not expecting that.
My favorite characters were Henri Moreau, the arrogant, overconfident madman. His experiments were intriguing and I could not believe he accomplished what he did given the time period–he truly was a mad genius. I loved his character solely because of his ill-mind–what can I say, I love mad people. Juliet. Juliet is the perfect protagonist. Her story was heart wrenching and when I discovered the truth behind her medical history, it left me dazed. Although a strong female character, she experiences difficulty containing her own madness because of her father’s blood coursing through her veins. What I admire about Juliet is how she challenged social norms when on the island. Since she is far away from London and the watchful and judgmental eyes of its inhabitants, Juliet began to care less and less about what people would think of her because of her actions. It truly reveals how absurd social norms can be as Juliet broke the expectations of a young woman. I was not very fond of Montgomery in the beginning, but as the story progressed, I started to like him more and more . . . until what happened in the end. Once the family servant, he became Juliet’s father’s assistant, helping him perform his experiments. It became clear that on the island, Montgomery was no longer the young boy Juliet knew from her childhood. On the island, Montgomery was described by Juliet as wild, from the way he dressed to his ability to survive the island’s harsh conditions. He knew his way around the island, it became his home. Then there’s Edward. Edward, Edward, Edward. Edward was the castaway found floating in a dinghy, struggling to stay alive during Juliet and Montgomery’s voyage. They rescued him and then brought him to the island so he could continue to recover. Edward has a mysterious past, which makes him alluring. He claims to have run away from his father in London, but near the end, the starling truth is revealed. Honestly, Edward’s character was the most frightening of all once the truth was uncovered.
Favorite Quotes . . .
“As a surgeon, blood had been his medium like ink to a writer. Our fortune had been built on blood, the acrid odor infused into the very bricks of our house, the clothes that we wore. To me, blood smelled like home.”
“He’d never said the accusations were untrue. Just unfair.”
“‘We aren’t in London anymore. Who’s going to gossip?’ I hissed. ‘The birds?'”
Overall . . .
The Madman’s Daughter is a book I will never forget–it will haunt me forever. With romance, creepy experiments, and a madman, The Madman’s Daughter is a must read. There are many surprises that will leave you speechless and an ending that will leave you wanting more. Megan Shepherd’s debut novel is hauntingly delightful, and will creep you out. I cannot wait for the second book in the trilogy, Her Dark Curiosity. I am dying to find out what happens with Juliet and the island and its inhabitants that I’m sure will haunt her for the rest of her life. I regret not reading this book sooner, so if you have not done so already, pick up a copy today. You need to read this book.
Already read the book? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts on it, I would love to know what you think of it. And if you have not read it, I hope you will change that shortly.