Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hello everyone,
I am so excited to have author Becky Wallace play Kill, Marry, Kill and Be, Room, Cliff (the female version of Kiss, Marry Kill) with me today!

Becky's debut novel The Storyspinner came out yesterday and it is one of my most anticipated debuts of 2015. Here's the full synopsis.

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

I will be posting my review of The Storyspinner next week, but I finally got a copy yesterday and I started reading it. It's one of those books where you read it and right from the first chapter you know you're going to like it. So, expect my review to be on the positive side.

And now...

This game of Kiss, Marry, Kill and Be, Room, Cliff is the Disney and Game of Thrones edition. 

Which of these male characters would you kiss, marry or kill and why:

Disney Princes:

Prince Eric: Marry. Are we being honest here? Because if so, Prince Eric was the (cartoon) man who determined my type. Dark hair, light eyes, broad shoulders, laid back style, and a pretty stand-up guy. That description totally fits my husband.

The Beast: Kill. Change of heart or not, he’s still a kidnapper. Stockholm Syndrome is not for me. Also, in his human form he’s got a serious schnoz.

Prince Philip: Kiss. He’s a good looking guy and puts up a serious fight to get to girl he’d only met once, but he starts off a little grabby. Keep your hands to yourself until invited to do otherwise. Thank you very much.

Game of Thrones Men:

Jon Snow: Marry. He's poor as dirt, but he's rich in goodness. Doesn't everybody love the hero?

Eddard Stark: Kiss. Although Catelyn Stark might find a way to murder me in my sleep for admitting that.

Drogo: Kill. This dude is vilest type of human. I can't even think about him without throwing up a little.

Who would you Want to Be (take over their life), Want to be Roommates With, or Push off a Cliff among these women and why:

Disney Princesses:

Ariel: Push off a cliff. As long as that cliff was over water, she’d be fine anyway. She’s a nice girl and I don’t hate her, but I think she might have rocks for brains. Or seashells. Probably seashells.

Belle: Take over her life. I mean, hello, who doesn’t love a bookish girl? She’s smart and feisty, and she totally sacrifices her own happiness to get her father out of Beast’s tower. That’s a lady I can respect.

Aurora: Roomie. She doesn’t seem terribly bright, but she’s a heavy sleeper and I doubt she snores. Also, if Prince Philip is part of the package he’s pretty good eye candy to have around. Don’t judge. I bet you’d ogle her boyfriend too.

Game of Thrones Women:

Daenerys Targaryen: Roomie. She's fierce and determined, but her life is hard. I bet she'd have some good stories to share, though...and dragons that might eat me.

Margaery Tyrell: Take over her life. Margaery is cunning and a master manipulator, but I think she has a genuinely good heart. She wants to be the queen, and that sounds perfectly fine to me.

Cersei Lannister: Push off a cliff. And killing Cersei off would be a gift to her children, brothers, and anyone who had ever crossed her path. She's a malevolent, cold-hearted witch, who isn't nearly as smart as she pretends to be.

*******

Author Becky Wallace
A huge thank you to Becky Wallace for playing with me. For more info on The Storyspinner, click on the Goodreads link above or visit Becky's website. You can also chat with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Also to the awesome Audrey from Simon & Schuster not only for the opportunity to interview Becky but also for letting me host an awesome giveaway.

Yep, two (2!!) lucky readers will each win a hardcover copy of The Storyspinner! Please enter through the Rafflecopter below. US only and ends on March 22nd.


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Good luck and happy reading,
Michelle

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Hello everyone,
After reading and really liking Best Kind of Broken (my review here) and then devouring Perfect Kind of Trouble (it's one of my all-time favorite NA reads!), I am so excited to get my hands on the third book in the Finding Fate series Right Kind of Wrong.

Sometimes wrong can feel oh so right...

Jenna Lacombe needs complete control, whether it's in the streets... or between the sheets. So when she sets out on a solo road trip to visit her family in New Orleans, she's beyond annoyed that the infuriatingly sexy Jack Oliver wants to hitch a ride with her. Ever since they shared a wild night together last year, he's been trying to strip away her defenses one by one. He claims he's just coming along to keep her safe-but what's not safe for her is prolonged exposure to the tattooed hottie.

Jack can't get Jenna out from under his skin. She makes him feel alive again after his old life nearly destroyed him-and losing her is not an option. Now Jack's troubles are catching up to him, and he's forced to return to his hometown in Louisiana. But when his secrets put them both in harm's way, Jenna will have to figure out how far she's willing to let love in... and how much she already has.


Finding Fate series. We met Jenna and Jack already in Best Kind of Broken--Jenna was Pixie's roommate and best friend and Jack was one of the guys they hang out it in college. They also made a very brief appearance in Perfect Kind of Trouble. The timeline of the three books in the series kind of overlap at a point, which is kind of cool. So, when I came to that scene in Kayla and Daren's story that we saw through Levi's eyes in the previous book it was fun to revisit it and see things through another character's eyes.

According to Amazon, I'm supposed to get my copy of Right Kind of Wrong between March 6 and 12 (I pre-ordered it!) so it's about a week of waiting I have left. ARGH!! I am so excited to read Jenna and Jack's story! It's a road trip plot paired it with Chelsea Fine's fantastic writing so I am very sure I will enjoy Right Kind of Wrong as much as I did Best Kind of Broken and Perfect Kind of Trouble.

Recommendation. If you like Jennifer Armentrout's Wait for You series, Tiffany King's Woodfall Girls or Cora Carmack's Losing It series, then Chelsea Fine's Find Fate series is something to really look into. It's the right mix of romance, humor, drama and swoon--things do get serious at times but you're never bogged down by the angst and drama. Also, the sexy times are also not very explicit so I recommend this series to older teens who want to branch out to NA.


About Chelsea Fine:
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She's ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.





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Happy Reading,
Michelle

Monday, March 2, 2015

February Favorites and March TBR

Monday, March 2, 2015 with
Hello everyone,
2015 is just flying, isn't it? I cannot believe it is March already!

Books. I read five books in February, which is pretty good for me because I was only able to read during the weekends last month.

My favorites of the five were The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel and Perfect Kind of Trouble by Chelsea Fine. I picked up The Book of Ivy because a lot of bloggers were raving about it and I just had to see for myself what the fuss was about. Well, now I know why. It is so good! Bishop Lattimer is my new book boyfriend and I am so excited for book 2. I am planning on doing a full review about it so I won't say any more here.

Perfect Kind of Trouble is the second book in Chelsea Fine's Finding Fate series and it's even better then the first book in the series, which is saying a lot because I quite enjoyed Best Kind of Broken (which I reviewed here). I will also be doing a full review of  Perfect Kind of Trouble so I'll save my raving for this book there, but let me just say that loved where the author took the handcuffed-together plot. Kayla and Daren were fantastic characters. I loved both of them so much!

I also want to mention Seed by Lisa HeathfieldSeed didn't give me the warm, romantic fuzzies the way Perfect Kind of Trouble or a swoony book friend like The Book of Ivy. It actually made me angry and disgusted but it was also an excellent read. I already review it here, so for more of my feelings about Seed check it out.

YouTube. In February, I also discovered a YouTuber named Yulin Kuang. She's not a booktuber, but she is a filmmaker and she has this series "I Didn't Write This" where she takes a short excerpt from a novel or a poem and she adapts it to make a visual representation of it. Here are two of my favorites from the series.

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Eliot

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Music. I listed a lot to Alex & Sierra in February. I don't watch the X Factor so I wasn't aware of them until I randomly ran across one of their songs on a YouTube video. I'm a sucker for good folk-pop songs so I was very happy to discover them.



March TBR. I don't usually do TBRs because I'm a mood reader and I usually just pick up whatever book I feel like reading between review books. But I have a week off from work in March (Spring Break! Woot, woot!!) and I really want to get these books read (I especially want to start and finish a series during Spring Break) in addition to the reviews books I need to read.

Let me know what your February favorites are and what you're hoping to read this month. Have a great week everyone! :)

Happy reading,
Michelle

Monday, February 23, 2015

ARC: 336 pages
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: Seed #1
Synopsis
All that Pearl knows can be encapsulated in one word: Seed. It is the isolated community that she was born into. It is the land that she sows and reaps. It is the center of her family and everything that means home. And it is all kept under the watchful eye of Papa S.

At fifteen years old, Pearl is finally old enough to be chosen as Papa S’s companion. She feels excitement... and surprising trepidation that she cannot explain. The arrival of a new family into the Seed community — particularly the teenage son, Ellis — only complicates the life and lifestyle that Pearl has depended upon as safe and constant.

Ellis is compelling, charming, and worldly, and he seems to have a lot of answers to questions Pearl has never thought to ask. But as Pearl digs to the roots of the truth, only she can decide what she will allow to come to the surface.



Seed was a really hard book to rate because while I couldn't stop reading and it kept me up late into the night, I can't say that I liked the story. Reading Seed was uncomfortable, but like a really bad car crash you can't look way, or in this case you had to keep reading to see how things will come crashing either for the worst or hopefully for the better.

The story opened up with fifteen year old Pearl getting her period for the first time, and one of the women in Seed took her to a hole in the ground and left her there overnight, as their tradition when a girl becomes a woman. And right there, right from the start, I was engrossed. 

After that crazy beginning, we got to see the idyllic Seed: the women cooking and taking care of the children, the men (called Kindred) doing their manly work and the teenagers (sixteen year old Jack, Pearl and Kate, who was little older than Pearl) doing their various chores with the younger children running alongside them. Then, there was Papa S., their leader, who carefully watched over them. 

But then there were little things that you learn that makes you realize that there's an oily film beneath that shiny surface that Pearl, in her innocence, does not see because Seed was all she's ever known. Pearl loves her life and there was genuine love and happiness among the members. But, with the arrival of a new family the oily layer becomes more visible and Pearl couldn't help slowly begin to question some things despite trying to cling on to the idyllic image.

Seed was not an easy read--I mean, I devoured it because I had to know who everything will end but I was uncomfortable reading it at the same time. 

I was somewhat frustrated with Pearl sometimes because the evidence of evil was there, but she couldn't see it because she didn't know any different. At the same time, I understood her. She was a true innocent, Seed was her whole world, and later in the story she refused to believe that everything she knew was a lie. And, of course, Papa S. was controlling. I felt for Pearl, but the character I really felt sorry for was Kate. What Kindred John and Papa S. did to her was sick. We don't see it first hand because it's told in Pearl's point of view but you know what's happening when she's "helping" John in his room and when Papa S. chose her as his companion, you know what that entailed. And there's a high possibility that Kate might even be Papa S.'s daughter--we don't know if the other two men, the Kindreds, also have sex with the women or if it was just Papa S.--but that adds another layer of sick and twisted. 

After everything that happened, the ending was inevitable. I wasn't surprised it ended up like that but those poor little kids! I was a bit shocked by what happened to Ellis, though. That was a twist I didn't see coming. I found out that Seed is a two-book series and, while the ending wasn't really a cliffhanger, I really want to know what will happen next. 

I applaud the author for taking on a controversial topic like cults and telling a complicated story in a very compelling and readable way. I know there's quite a few YA books the came out recently about cults, but Seed is one of the best I've read and it is really worth picking up. It will make you think, pull at your emotions, make you angry and make you disgusted, but you also can't help but turn the pages. I highly recommend it. Also, I think Seed would be a great book for book clubs because it will spark a lot of discussion and questions.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Weekend Plans + Weekend TBR + GIVEAWAY

Friday, February 20, 2015 with
Hello everyone,
Today is Friday! YAY! Even though Monday was a holiday for us this week felt like it dragged on and on. I am counting down the hours to 4:00 PM this afternoon, which is the start of the weekend for me.

Weekend Plans. Aubrey and I are planning to see The Duff the movie on Saturday! I was apprehensive the first time I saw the trailer because they changed the plot a lot. The Duff is one of my all-time favorite contemporary YA novels and I still reread my favorite parts once or twice a year. I was hoping for a faithful adaptation instead of the loose one the trailer hints at. But in the last few weeks as they did the marketing and the reviews from critics start to pour in, I got more and more excited. The reviews are really positive and, while it did not stick close to the book's original plot, it still seems like a movie I will enjoy.

Weekend TBR. I am hoping to finish two books this weekend. The first one is called Seed by Lisa Heathfield, which is a contemporary YA about a girl who grew up and lives in an isolated community (yes, a cult) called Seed. But a newcomer make her doubt and question everything she's ever known.

The other one is a new adult called Rebound by Noelle August (the pen name for a writing that consists of Veronica Rossi, who wrote the Under the Never Sky series, and Lorin Oberweger). It's the companion to Boomerang, which I enjoyed quite a bit (my review) and it features characters we already met in Boomerang.

Giveaway. I reviewed Maya Banks's latest release In His Keeping about two weeks ago (my review, in case you miss it) and I like it. Well, Maya's publicist has a signed copy of In His Keeping and she was nice enough to let me host a giveaway.

If you want to add your name to the virtual hat, just enter below. This giveaway is U.S. only and ends on February 27 (next week Friday).

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Good luck and happy reading,
Michelle

Wednesday, February 18, 2015



E-ARC: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Source of my copy: HarperTeen/Edelweiss
Series: A Wicked Thing #1
Synopsis
Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and
Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.


Sleeping Beauty is my least favorite fairy tale but I was intrigued by author Rhiannon Thomas's take on it. The story starts when Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince. But it's one hundred years later, all of her loved ones has died, the prince is a stranger and it's a whole new world and politics from the one she knew.

I was intrigued, especially with that cover! But, overall, while I liked A Wicked Thing, I wasn't blown away by it.

A Wicked Thing started out pretty slow but I was into it. The story was told in third person POV through Aurora and I thought her reaction to waking up one hundred years later at the kiss of a stranger was realistic. Her family, her entire world was gone. She's surrounded by strangers, and they expected a lot from her. 

I get where she's coming from. If I was in her place, I'd react the same way and feel the same way in the beginning: disoriented, powerless and weak. But she stayed that way for most of the book and I just couldn't connect with her character. There was little character development and this dragged the story. And because the story was dragging, it took me longer to read the book because I would put it down and didn't really feel the urge to pick it up again.

I was surprised to find that A Wicked Thing was a dark read--this was not the happy, singing in the forest with the little birdies and woodland creatures Disney story we're familiar with but it was too sad. I don't know, you guys. I'm not docking any stars for this because I know the original fairy tales were dark, sad and depressing, but I like my happy, sweet romances. I was expecting some of that here, but there was a pervading dismal feel throughout, which also added to my lack of excitement in picking up the book after I put it down.

And speaking of romances, there were three (yep, three) potential love interests: Prince Rodric (who woke her up with his kiss), Prince Finnegan (a visiting prince who wanted her to defy the king and leave with him), and Tristan (a revolutionary who showed Aurora life outside the palace walls). In the first couple of chapters, I was rooting for Rodric because we meet him first and he seemed like a sweetly awkward guy. But Aurora just doesn't see him that away, so I think he's out of the running. I liked Finnegan and Tristan from what we got about them, but they're not fully fleshed out. Aurora herself doesn't really form strong attachments to either of the boys so it's kind of hard for me to for one.

Rereading my review, it sounds like I don't really have much positives to say, huh? Okay, I thought it started well--I was interested in seeing what happened after Aurora woke up from her kiss. My biggest problems were the slowness of the plot, my lack of connection to any of the characters and I also didn't get the romance I was expecting, but I enjoyed the author's writing. The prose in A Wicked Thing was easy to read and I liked the author's voice. I liked seeing the familiar elements of Sleeping Beauty and then seeing where the author took it. It didn't blow me away or anything, but I did like it enough to warrant a 3-star rating. Borrow it from your library if you're interested in what happened to Sleeping Beauty after she woke up from her hundred-year slumber.

Read an excerpt here.

Author
Rhiannon Thomas is a recent graduate from Princeton University, where she studied English and Japanese, and smuggled bubble tea into the library on a regular basis. She now lives in York, England.

As well as reading and writing YA fiction, she runs the blog FeministFiction.com, where she discusses TV, books, and all kinds of fannish things from a feminist perspective.



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