A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro #BookReview #Playlist #Giveaway

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1)
by Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Retellings, Fiction, Romance, Thriller

The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.

A Study in Charlotte is an intriguing take on the Sherlock and Holmes stories. We’ve seen the legendary tale retold in so many different ways that it can be difficult to stand out. This story is well written and gives the characters new life. I grew up on Sherlock Holmes because my mom is a huge fan. I still often listen to the radio show versions of the series when it is on.

James and Charlotte are products of a legacy. As the great-great-great grandchildren of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson they are plagued with expectations of who they should be. When they find themselves exiled to the same American boarding school. When a fellow student ends up dead and the murderer seems to be using the old Sherlock Holmes novels as a playbook. James and Charlotte find themselves in an uneasy partnership, forced to repeat history. Is their foe a decedent of a past villain or a copycat playing a new sick game.

I particularly liked that the role of Holmes is taken on by Charlotte who is a girl. I feel like so often when I see a retelling it’s considering a change up to have Watson as the girl. Charlotte has the characteristics that make her logical to the extent she comes across emotionless. She is calculating, witty and brilliant. We get to see a slightly softer side to her when it comes to Jamie though.

Jamie goes through stages. In the beginning of the book he’s kind of just drifting through life, sent off to this school in America. Which he is bitter about and has a fantasy of what Charlotte is supposed to be like. As he gets to know her better not only is his fantasy shattered but he seems to come alive.

The plot is full of mystery and twist and turns. Mysteries inside mysteries at some points. There were points that I felt things were moving a little more sluggish than I would have liked but I still found it enjoyable. I liked the witty banter between Jamie and Charlotte as they were learning to feel the other out. The story is well written and I wonder how much plotting goes into something like this. It really took on the Holmes and Watson style. It’s just a really fun read. I loved how the original tales are mixed in.

If you enjoy mysteries and especially Sherlock Holmes in particular, I think you find this retelling enjoyable.

Brittany Cavallaro is a poet, fiction writer, and old school Sherlockian. She is the author of the poetry collection Girl-King (University of Akron) and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She earned her BA in literature from Middlebury College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, she's a PhD candidate in English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she teaches creative writing, detective fiction, and lots of other things. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, cat, and collection of deerstalker caps. Find her at her website, brittanycavallaro.com, or on Twitter @skippingstones.

Bluescreen by Dan Wells #BookReview #Playlist #Giveaway

Bluescreen (Mirador #1)
by Dan Wells
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release Date: February 16th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy, Action, Teen

Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. That connection is a djinni—a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen—and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.

Marisa Carneseca is one of those people. She might spend her days in Mirador, the small, vibrant LA neighborhood where her family owns a restaurant, but she lives on the net—going to school, playing games, hanging out, or doing things of more questionable legality with her friends Sahara and Anja. And it’s Anja who first gets her hands on Bluescreen—a virtual drug that plugs right into a person’s djinni and delivers a massive, non-chemical, completely safe high. But in this city, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and Mari and her friends soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that is much bigger than they ever suspected.

Dan Wells, author of the New York Times bestselling Partials Sequence, returns with a stunning new vision of the near future—a breathless cyber-thriller where privacy is the world’s most rare resource and nothing, not even the thoughts in our heads, is safe.

My interest in Bluescreen was not only because I love any book that has tech but also because I’ve seen Dan Wells at a signing before. I remember him saying that he wants to know why a dystopic world became dystopic. The backstory of it. It sounds like a weird thing to make an impression but the thought in my head was that this is someone who really thinks about all the angles of what they are writing. Bluescreen did not disappoint.

In the beginning I was little confused but I think that was mainly because of the mix of tech and Spanish was overwhelming for me. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t taken a Spanish class in my life (I took French) so I was pretty clueless on the words. As soon as we hit the coding of Bluescreen though my brain woke up and everything else fell into its proper place in my head. I really loved all the tech and how it had a good mix of being simple and complex at the same time. You are not going to be totally lost if you are not an IT pro. Books like this also scare the crap outta me though. You could see this as something that is perfectly possible. Dan Wells’s takes being dependent on technology to the next level. This story has so many components that I don’t want to go into the nitty gritty of each one because that’s the fun of reading but I loved how everything comes together in the end.

Marisa is the main character but her band of friend’s function more as a team. I loved that feeling of having more than one character in the spotlight. Lots of times in thrillers like these you can’t trust anyone because you never know who is going to betray you. I loved that Marisa friend’s had her back and she could rely on them for help. She also exudes confidence in her tech skills but being so connected she loses sight of some of the important things in her life, like her siblings. So we see her character develop in that respect.

The plot is fast paced and keeps you on your toes. You are always looking for the next puzzle piece of how things fit together. I thought the inclusion of gangs and turf was interesting too. This is a neighborhood who has pride in who they are. Even if I was sometimes confused by the Spanish I really liked the inclusion of it. It made the characters feel more three dimensional rather than flat on the page.

I really enjoyed Bluescreen. I think if you are a tech or Sci-Fi lover this is a great book to read. You can get your fix on both things in a setting that’s scarily realistic.

I was going to try to add some Spanish song but when I would like how one sounded I would look up the lyric translation and think well that doesn't make sense.

Dan Wells is a thriller and science fiction writer. Born in Utah, he spent his early years reading and writing. He is he author of the Partials series (Partials, Isolation, Fragments, and Ruins), the John Cleaver series (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want To Kill You), and a few others (The Hollow City, A Night of Blacker Darkness, etc). He was a Campbell nomine for best new writer, and has won a Hugo award for his work on the podcast Writing Excuses; the podcast is also a multiple winner of the Parsec Award.


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You're Still the One by Rachel Harris #BookReview #Giveaway

Title: You're Still the One
Author: Rachel Harris

Love is one dare neither of them can take...

Arabella Stone, Nashville's darling, is eager to shuck her prim-and-proper rep, and a few wild months spent checking items off her " summer bucket list" is the way to do it. First up: kiss the man she's crushed on since she wore a training bra, the bad boy of country himself, Blue bassist Charlie Tucker.

For Charlie, a beautiful woman flirting with him isn't out of the norm--but a beautiful woman bolting after the hottest kiss of his life sure is. And when he finds out his kiss-and-run Cinderella is none other than Arabella Stone, daughter of his label's CEO, he knows he's in trouble. Because not only is she a Stone, she's also his employee for the next few months at the recording studio he just bought.

Over the course of one thrilling summer, Arabella and Charlie chip away at her bucket list and fight the simmering attraction between them...knowing that once it's all over, so is their time together.

Order on Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
Every time I start a Rachel Harris romance, I can’t help smiling. The minute I start reading I fall in love and I was so excited for this spin-off series from the Robicheaux clan. You’re Still the One did not disappoint and in pure Rachel fashion the book had me giggling, swooning and smiling from ear to ear.

The setting of the book is one of my favorite things. It makes me wish that I had some Cajun roots and had a clue what the two step is. Sadly I don’t but I love that Rachel can trasnport me into a world that makes me feel like I do.

I loved Arabella. I love that she is a strong business woman, very confident in her skills. On the social side of things she is a little more awkward and less daring. Plus I love that she has a thing for essential oils.

Charlie is so cute because he’s not only a cool bassist. Personally I’ve always had a thing for the bassist don’t ask me why, but he is really got sweet soul underneath. I love how he battles with himself often about resisting Arabella and that he knows that lies only end up surfacing in the end. I wanted to shake him at times and say hey have a little more faith but I really liked how he didn’t want to break her heart.

I loved the list!! What a cute way to keep the plot moving and such a cute way for the characters to interact. Every time Charlie mentioned something about it, it made me excited like what adventure is in store for them next.

Every time Rachel writes a new romance it manages to top the last one she wrote. I really loved this story and I’m so excited for Hannah and Deacon. You’re Still the One put such a big smile on my face after reading. So make sure you click buy, you won’t regret it.

She was totally stressing.
This wasn’t anything like she’d imagined. First of all, Tyler and Sherry’s neighborhood was darling, but when Charlie had suggested their home as the ideal location to go skinny-dipping, she’d envisioned a huge estate with a pool to rival the Playboy Mansion. What she got was a cute, modest, old-style, southern home on a quiet cul-de-sac.
Charlie had explained that this was typical Magnolia Springs. Here, they didn’t need a huge gated community or acres and acres of land. People didn’t care about money or celebrity. The only things that mattered were how kind you were, what team you rooted for (hint: always say the Saints), and how spicy you seasoned your seafood.
While that was all well and good, and Arabella appreciated the charm of the neighborhood, he was overlooking a huge benefit from the sprawling acreage of most celebrity homes:
Tyler’s neighbors surrounded him on three sides. The so-called privacy fence bordering the property didn’t do squat for those towering second-story windows. And while said windows currently all sat dark, the moon was heavy and half full in the sky. There was more than enough light reflecting off the surface if a wandering eye should awaken and decide to catch a peek.  
As for the pool in question, it was absolutely adorable with its rushing waterfall and soothing, blue-tinted underwater lights…but it was a whole lot smaller than she’d anticipated. Like, so small it could be considered a lap pool. As in she’d be practically sitting on Charlie’s lap. Naked.  
“How about this?” he said, voice low and husky in the dark. “I’ll go first.”
The rustle of fabric in the otherwise quiet night told her he was stripping down, and Arabella squeezed her eyes shut against the sudden whirlwind of emotions. That was the other thing about this little adventure of hers. It was no longer a solo dip.
Charlie would be naked, too.
A hiss of fabric sounded behind her, and Ella’s heart pounded in her ears.
Correction: Charlie was naked. Right now. Just a few feet away. Swinging free in the nonexistent breeze.
Heaven help me.  
Soft footsteps crept toward her, and Arabella almost swallowed her tongue. Touching his bare skin would be easy—so easy—as easy as stretching a hand back and extending her fingertips. Her hands clenched at her sides.
How many nights had she lain in bed, dreaming of this very scenario? Or if not this scenario, one almost identical? Sexual tension crackling in the air, a naked Charlie within reaching distance and breathing heavily, waiting to see what she’d do next.
Of course, there were two major differences between fantasy and reality. In those dreams, Ella had also been naked…and Charlie had wanted her, too.   

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

Website | Facebook |Twitter | Rachel Harris Goodreads | Newsletter Sign Up

Rise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen #BookReview #Playlist #Giveaway

Rise of the Wolf (Mark of the Thief #2)
by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical, Fiction, Mythology, Magic, Adventure, Action, Juvenile

Nic may have escaped enslavement in the mines outside of Rome, but his troubles are far from over. The Praetor War--the battle to destroy Rome from within--is in full force, and Nic is caught in the crossfire. The secretive Praetors are determined to unlock a powerful amulet--one sure to bring the empire to its knees. Worse, the Praetors believe Nic holds the key to finding this amulet, and they will stop at nothing to steal it, even if that means harming the people Nic holds most dear.

When the Praetors capture Nic's mother, Nic knows he must do anything to save her. He challenges the Praetors to a chariot race. If he wins, they will release his mother. But if he loses, he must hand over a magic that will certainly destroy Rome and end his own life. Can Nic once again harness his magic and gather the strength to defeat his enemies? Or will he lose his mother and bear witness to Rome's destruction?

Rise of the Wolf is the second book in a series that I wish I read sooner.Jennifer Nielsen’s writing has this way of really sucking me into the story. Her descriptions of the places, the chariot races, the villains and the main characters really manages to transport me into Rome and the story.

I’m not used to reading books with a male MC anymore. Not unless it’s part of a dual pov so it was actually really different to be in Nic’s perspective. I really like him as a character though. He might be reckless and impulsive at times but he is also stubborn and defiant. He owns his mess ups and is loyal to his friends and family. He doesn’t always have an easy time expressing his feelings.

I would never have thought from Mark of the Thief that I would grow to like Radulf. He still seemed evil but there are little instances that made me start to wonder. I know he’s a villain but if I had to pick a villain to root for. He would be the one. The series happens over a tumultuous time for Rome. Where the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I also find myself wanting to like Radulf because of the way he worked his way up in the ranks and broke free from is slavery.

When I was a kid I loved the chariot race in the movie Ben-Hur, I do realize how weird that makes me. So when I got to the chariot racing part of Rise of the Wolf I couldn’t help but be sucked in. Chariot races are brutal and scary and not usually my kind of thing. I felt like Jennifer does a really great job with the descriptions of not only the main event but the practices as well.

I love the mixture of the Roman empire and the Gods. Historical mixed in with the mystical. The world that is created is lush and interesting.

So much happens that I don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next book. I need to know where this going!!! Rise of the Wolf followed in the same action packed vein of Mark of the Thief. There is no sophomore slump here, the plot keeps rolling.

I can’t wait for the next action packed installment.

So for the playlist I decided to go with classical music. For some reason it just felt more appropiate.
Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has forgotten to do that has allowed her any spare time.


Titans by Victoria Scott #BookReview #TitansJockey #VMafia

Title: Titans
Author: Victoria Scott
Published: February 23rd 2016 by Scholastic Press

Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.

She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.

But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.

Titans and it’s mechanical horses raced into my heart. I absolutely loved the book. Victoria Scott’s writing is flawless as always and I of course always adore her characters. This book is not just about the races but also about relationships. I’m not talking about the romantic kind but the kind that make people family whether they are blood related or not.

Victoria has a way with characters. I loved that they never seem to fit into a specific mold and can manage to surprise me and endear me. Astrid is a strong girl and even though her father doesn’t want anyone to support his family besides him, she carries a lot of the burden of taking care of them in her small ways. She feels like she needs to hold things together and I think sometimes her family lets her not even realizing what they are doing. I loved her personality and how she is described perfectly as being both stubborn and having a big heart.

Magnolia is Astrid’s best friend and it’s such a great bond between the two of them. They are true friends that are always there for the other. It became a comfort thing for me to have Magnolia by Astrid’s side because she is just supposed to be there. You can have a great partnership without it having to be romantic.

I had a strange soft spot for Astrid’s mom. I thought she was hysterical going around to other people's yards in the middle of the night to take care of their plants. I know it’s a coping mechanism for her but I still keep laughing at Rags comment about her one night. I feel like all the people in the neighborhood should be paying her or giving her vegetables or something.

So many characters to go on and on about. Rags and Barney, which not only are a couple of awesome guys once you get to know them. They also have a great friendship. Lottie is just fun and well I guess technically there is romance in the book, just not with the MC. The Titan Jockeys, the frenemies, the enemies and of course Astrid’s family. Her sisters and her dad and the complicated relationships they all share while dealing with hard times.

Of course as we learned from the Fire & Flood series (if you haven’t read it you should), Victoria Scott has a way of writing thrilling race competitions. I loved reading about the challenges of each track and the way Astrid uses her head to strategize through them. I also really love that Astrid is not great right out of the gate. She might be a natural but she’s not a prodigy and we see her really develop her skill though the story. I loved that.

So Padlock. Where do I get my own Padlock. I loved everything about him.

I loved Titans. The plot is fast paced and different. It has such great characters and a surprisingly large number of adults for YA. I enjoyed everything about the story and of course I want a Titan.

Kingdom of Ashes by Rhiannon Thomas #BookReview #Playlist #Giveaway

Kingdom of Ashes (A Wicked Thing #2)
by Rhiannon Thomas
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 23rd 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings, Fairy Tales, Romance, Magic, Fiction, Teen

Asleep for a hundred years, awoken by a kiss, Aurora’s life was supposed to be a fairytale. But since discovering that loyalty to the crown and loyalty to her country are two very different things, Aurora knows she can only dream of happily ever after. Once the enchanted princess, savior of her people, she is now branded a traitor.

Aurora is determined to free her home from the king’s tyrannical rule, even if it means traveling across the sea to the kingdom of the handsome and devious Prince Finnegan—someone who seems to know far more about her magic than he should. However, Finnegan’s kingdom has perils of its own, and any help he gives Aurora will come at a price.

As Aurora and Finnegan work together to harness her power—something so fiery and dangerous that is as likely to destroy those close to Aurora as it is to save them—she begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding the curse that was placed on her over a century before…and uncover the truth about the destiny she was always meant to fulfill.

Brimming with captivating fantasy and life-threatening danger, the sequel to A Wicked Thing takes Sleeping Beauty on an adventure unlike any she’s ever had before.

Kingdom of Ashes takes us on the road of Aurora’s escape after A Wicked Thing. She finds herself needing allies if she is going to survive and maybe even overthrow King John. Which leads her to Vanhelm and country destroyed by dragons. I really like the direction this sequel took and found myself loving the interactions of Aurora and Finnegan.

Dragons! Dragons are a big part of Kingdom of Ashes because Aurora is now taking refuge in Vanhelm. A kingdom that has been decimated by dragons. She finds that she is both fascinated and connected to these creatures. Finnegan is hoping she could be his kingdom's savior. Celestine the witch even seems to have some kind of stake in the dragons. They are a destructive force much like Aurora can be on accident sometimes.

I loved Finnegan. I know he was my first choice of the three guys in A Wicked Thing and I’m glad he is really the only guy in Kingdom of Ashes. We get glimpses of Tristan and Rodric but the book is really Finnegan and Aurora’s story. I loved the way their relationship grows and if you are a fan of the slow burn than this is definitely for you. Finnegan is the prince that everyone finds to be a fool, but he is very smart. He finds a way to help his kingdom without his mother’s interference, well as little interference as possible.

Aurora has definitely changed and is not so much the naive girl she was before. She knows what she needs to do and not because anyone tells her. It’s because she wants to, She is still finding herself but doing a much better job since she doesn’t have an evil king pressuring here.

Aurora also experiences a different type of ruling by spending time with Finnegan’s mother. She also meets Finnegan's Sister who is the one that seems really to be groomed to rule.

Nettle and Aurora form a strong bond and it was nice to see. I like when the mc has a real friend that is outside the love interest. I still wonder why Nettle likes doing Aurora’s hair so much though.

I liked Kingdom of Ashes and I think I enjoyed it more than A Wicked Thing. I think it was the absence of the three guys and the dragons. Who doesn’t like dragons.

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.

I don't hang out on Goodreads much, so if you want to contact me, please swing by my personal website or message me on Twitter.


After the Woods by Kim Savage #BookReview #Playlist #Giveaway

After the Woods
by Kim Savage
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: February 23rd 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Realistic Fiction, Suspense, Horror

Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

After the Woods was one of the books that, after I put it down and stepped away from it, I wondered who the real sociopath was. The book definitely takes you through a thrilling and creeptastic journey. I couldn’t help having the heebee jeebees from it but also wanting to know why. Why certain things played out the way they did. I kind of figured things out in the beginning-ish because the clues are there but I didn’t really understand how it came together until reading the whole book.

I really liked Julia and how brave she is after the incident. She has people who want her to put it behind her but she is on a quest for the truth. It’s the only way she kind closure for herself. Her friend Liv, who was the person Julia saved, acts like she shouldn’t bother.

There are definitely some twisted characters in this story and it made it intriguing. The minute I picked it up I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know the answers that Julia seeks as well. The puzzle pieces just weren’t fitting together right and like her, I wanted to know why.

This is definitely a suspenseful mystery so I don’t want to give anything away. The side characters definitely give the story it’s strength and intrigue. Both the bad and the good ones. Liv, her best friend seems to want Julia to just put it in the past. Shane Cuthbert is an odd choice for Liv’s boyfriend. Paula Papademetriou the reporter who just wants to….help? Liv’s mom who just wants her daughter to succeed no matter what i takes. Of course then there is Kellan who has a connection with the police.

There is a romance but it is sweet and very light. It’s not the main focus of the story, it doesn’t take over the story. Julia’s number one goal is to find out what happened to her and why.

If you are looking a for something thrilling and creeptastic, you should pick up After the Woods. You will probably read it in one day day and than stare at it for another.

I had a traveling arc for this tour which is such a fun idea. I got it earlier on so there wasn't as many notes in it but I did enjoy adding my own notes to different parts of the book. It's like reading with someone even though they are not there with you. I hope to see more traveling arc tours. 

Kim Savage is the author of AFTER THE WOODS, a debut psychological thriller for young adults coming on Feb 23, 2016 with Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan. Her second thriller for young adults comes from FSG is 2017. Before writing fiction, she worked as business journalist, pitching stories along the lines of “Stigmatized Properties: When Murder Kills Property Values”. You get the idea.


The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury #BookReview

Title: The Forbidden Wish
Author: Jessica Khoury
Published: February 23rd 2016 by Razorbill
Buy: AMAZON | B&N | Goodreads

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world...

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years -- a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.
The Forbidden Wish is one of those books that completely enchanted me. I have always like Jessica Khoury’s writing style but I have to say that this was one of my favorite books from her. It was so easy to be completely absorbed into Aladdin and Zahra’s world. This has to be one of the best retellings I have ever read and The Forbidden Wish has an eternal place on my favorites shelf.

There are different types of World Building. You can have large worlds with many nations and places and then you have smaller worlds with extremely lush details. I felt like this was more on the smaller with very lush details. We spend a lot of time in the main city and palace but every piece that is a part of it really brings everything to life. I felt completely engrossed in this setting, people and culture of the book. Very well done.

The lore of the Jinni is taken from the Arabian Mythology but Jessica Khoury really makes it her own. She flushes out the tales and gives you such a great mental visual of them.

I loved that Zahra as the narrator is telling the story as though she is speaking to her former master. It was a great way to really make you feel involved in the story as though you are that past person. Such a unique way to write it.

Zahra is a great character herself. She is strong and fierce and holds her secrets close to her heart. She does not want to open up to anyone because she finds it difficult to trust. She has many good reasons for this but as the story progresses we really start to see different sides of her. It’s like you have to crack through her shell to get to the light inside her which is where Aladdin comes in.

Well, Aladdin is quite the charming devil. He is this perfect mix of clever and sly but also has an innocence to him. He’s the thief with the heart of gold of course. I absolutely loved this portrayal of him and found myself swooning. I’ve read many different Aladdin retellings and I can’t say that’s always been the case for me.

I love this book so much I want to reread it already. The Forbidden Wish transported me into a magical world and stole my heart.

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman #BookReview #Playlist

by Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 9th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Retellings, Romance, Pirates, Fantasy, Adventure

Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to CuraƧao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Blackhearts wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but not in a bad way. It’s on origin story so nobody is singing, yo ho ho and a bottle of Rum. The story actually takes place not only on land but at wealthy estates. It does have a large amount of romance in it.

Nothing like a saucy fierce leading lady to endear me to a book. I loved Anne and the way she wasn’t going to be pushed around. She is the daughter of the prosperous merchant and a slave from the West Indies. She had a good life with her mother and father until her father dies and her half brother throws them out. So Anne might be forced to work as a maid but she has this inner strength of knowing her true worth and that she does not belong anywhere that doesn’t treat her with respect.

Teach is trying to find his way out from under his Father’s thumb. The relationship between the two of them is interesting because I think that they really do care about each other. Teach just has a different opinion about what will make him happy. He seems to go along with things but underneath is trying to find a way to escape. He doesn’t outright stand up to his father the way Anne does. She is really the stronger of the two. I kept thinking what could happen to make Teach a hardened pirate, Anne I could see it without a doubt. It was interesting to see Teach develop.

I liked the historical fiction aspect of the book. Not much is known of Blackbeard's life before piracy but you see the known details woven in. Convenient he had a ship called the Queen Anne’s Revenge, it made me smile to think of it in a different way.

This had the definite makings of an epic romance. There are no crazy love triangles or misunderstandings. It’s just a sweet story of two people who are fighting against a current to be something more than they are.

I really liked Blackhearts, although it wasn’t what I was expecting as far as the pirate aspect goes. It’s a very sweet romance with one really awesome leading lady.

Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend...she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig #BookReview

Title:The Girl From Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Published: February 16th 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Buy: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times - although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix's father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix's existence rather dangerously in question...

Nix has grown used to her father's obsession, but only because she's convinced it can't work. But then a map falls into her father's lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it's that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

Heidi Heilig whispered sweet nothings in my ear when she choose the unique combo of history, maps and time travel for her novel The Girl from Everywhere. I was completely entranced with the concept and even more so with the story itself.

I loved the characters. They were all unique and interesting, which made me want to know more about them. The crew has been collected from various locations and points of time in history. Some not even on places that exist outside a believers map. We get tidbits of their side stories but I would have been happy to have their whole histories laid out. I found that I loved them all.

I don’t feel like the romance was the focus but I adored Kashmir so much that I was completely bothered by Blake. As in when Nix was hanging out with him I didn’t want to read those parts. I think the way Nix explains some things later in the book makes things make sense to me but still. Team Kash all the way.

Nix relationship with her father Slate and the ghost of her mother was what the main focus of the book is really about. It’s that idea of why chase what’s gone when you have something wonderful in front of you. Their ups and downs is what really kept me intrigued in the story. There were moments when I hated Slate and moments when I wanted to yell at Nix. I truly loved watching their relationship evolve as they seemed to be heading towards separation.

Like I said yay for history. I was actually recently reading (or watching I don’t know) about them unearthing the Terracotta Army. So I thought it was such a cool addition to the story. Plus all the Hawaiian history that you don’t get to hear about that often. I loved the Night Marchers.

I did love this plot. It felt like we were following a string through time that finally leads to the ball of yarn. Ya weird analogy I know. It kept me interested and wondering where they would go next.

I really enjoyed the book and I look forward to more from Heidi Heilig.

You're Still the One by Rachel Harris #ReleaseDay #Excerpt #Giveaway

Love is one dare neither of them can take...

Arabella Stone, Nashville's darling, is eager to shuck her prim-and-proper rep, and a few wild months spent checking items off her " summer bucket list" is the way to do it. First up: kiss the man she's crushed on since she wore a training bra, the bad boy of country himself, Blue bassist Charlie Tucker.

For Charlie, a beautiful woman flirting with him isn't out of the norm--but a beautiful woman bolting after the hottest kiss of his life sure is. And when he finds out his kiss-and-run Cinderella is none other than Arabella Stone, daughter of his label's CEO, he knows he's in trouble. Because not only is she a Stone, she's also his employee for the next few months at the recording studio he just bought.

Over the course of one thrilling summer, Arabella and Charlie chip away at her bucket list and fight the simmering attraction between them...knowing that once it's all over, so is their time together.

Order on Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Ducking into the darkened hallway, he quickly sized up the options. With the sound of quickened footsteps behind him, he wrapped his hand around the handle and darted behind the heavy door.
What happened next he couldn’t have predicted.
And again, he was somewhat of a reluctant expert on crazy women.
Not five seconds after the marked door closed, it pushed open again. Charlie’s gaze collided with the brunette’s in the mirror. She blinked a few times, adjusting her eyes to the bright lights, and her lips pursed in confusion as she spied the row of porcelain sinks under the mirrors. She looked beyond his shoulder to the line of urinals attached to the wall, and her mouth dropped open in a sound he assumed only dogs could hear. And then…
“Oh. My. God!”
A voice like honey, smooth and thick and echoing off the tile floor, curled around him as any sense of bravado faded, and the woman slapped a hand over her eyes. Blindly, she spun around to leave…and accidentally rammed headfirst into the solid oak doorframe. They both winced.
Red flags wilting, alarm bells silencing, intuition told Charlie that the woman wasn’t as dangerous as he’d once thought. With the determined slope of her shoulders now slumped, she seemed mostly mortified, so he tried to do the gentlemanly thing.
Strolling forward, he went to help her with the door. “Here, let me.”
Only, she turned at the same time, following the sound of his voice, and her forehead crashed into his chin.
“Holy mother of crud nuggets!”
A surprised laugh broke past the stinger. “What did you just say?”
Slowly, the brunette opened her fingers and peeked at him through the slats. Her wide brown eyes were wet and filled with too many emotions to name, but one was for sure embarrassment. Behind them, the men’s bathroom door opened again, and a balding gentleman lumbered through. He stopped short after two steps, taking in first the woman, then Charlie, and then her again, before glancing at the sign posted on the door. With a dismissive shrug, he continued on, strolling straight into the corner stall.
The beauty’s fingers slammed closed again.
“Only me,” she whimpered. “This would only happen to me.”

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

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