Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Title: Royal Bastards
Author: Andrew Shvarts
Published: May 30th 2017 by Disney-Hyperion

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

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

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

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

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

The minute I picked up Royal Bastards I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved the story, the characters, the relationships and the world.

Tilla is such a great main character. She was born to Lord Kent but is considered a bastard since he was not married to her mother and he choose not to legitimize her. Not yet anyway. She is caught in a limbo of not being owned and not being disowned. Although she lives a good life in the castle and is brought up similar to her legit sisters. She still comes second and doesn’t have the same familial love that they have. Tilla actually shares a greater bond with her half-brother who she shares her mother with. She is caught between two worlds and doesn’t really have a place. Despite having to run for her life, I feel like she really finds herself on the journey. I enjoyed watching her change and evolve. She comes into her own.

I loved Tilla and Jax sibling love. It was one of my favorite parts of the story. I just loved the way that they were close and knew each other inside and out. Complete trust and understanding through their bond. They would do anything to protect the other. It was so nice to see such a strong family relationship, one that was pure and not peppered with lies.

Lyrania was also a really interesting character. She might be a pampered princess but she has such a sharp intelligence about her. She’s very aware of the power she holds and how it can help people and not just the upper crust. I liked how many facets she has that you don’t see right away.

Zell of course is Zell. A Zitochi warrior with his own dark issues. I liked him though, despite him and Jax not getting along initially. I felt like he came around in the guy bond department. I also like how naturally Tilla and him grow closer together.

Then there is Miles. You could tell that he was the most hesitant of the group in the beginning to do the right thing. Despite being a bastard, he has a very close relationship with his mother. So the idea of going against her in any form is very difficult for him. Plus he just wants a good life and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he would have been legitimized so he doesn’t live on that hinge like Tilla. He was okay but I was definitely rooting for Zell and Tilla versus Tilla and Miles. It wasn’t really a love triangle, Tilla was generally more concerned with not dying.

I loved the writing and the plot. It was such a great story and you can always sell me on adventure.

Seeker by Veronica Rossi Giveaway

Published May 16th 2017 by Tor Teen

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Veronica Rossi's new fantasy adventure in the Rider series—Seeker .

When Daryn claimed she was seeing visions during her sophomore year of high school, no one believed the truth. She wasn't losing her mind, she was gaining the Sight the ability to see the future. If she just paid attention to the visions, they'd provide her with clues and show her how she could help people. Really help them. Daryn embraced her role as a Seeker. The work she did was important. She saved lives.

Until Sebastian.

Sebastian was her first and worst mistake.

Since the moment she inadvertently sealed him in a dark dimension with Samrael the last surviving demon in the Kindred guilt has plagued her. Daryn knows Sebastian is alive and waiting for help. It's up to her to rescue him. But now that she needs the Sight more than ever to guide her, the visions have stopped.

Daryn must rely on her instincts, her intelligence, and on blind faith to lead the riders who are counting on her in search of Sebastian. As they delve into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems and where Samrael is steadily amassing power, Daryn faces the ultimate test. Will she have to become evil to destroy evil? The very fate of humankind rests in the answer.

Praise for THE SEEKERS

"The feeling of imminent danger and the constant battles with terrifying creatures help bring this vivid story to life. However, the depth of characterization is what will make readers connect to this small group of teens on a mission to save humanity. Gideon and Daryn display a powerful chemistry from their very first meeting, while the personality conflicts between Gideon and his fellow horsemen keep this adventure both intense and humorous."―RT Book Reviews, Top Pick!

Veronica Rossi is a best selling author of fiction for young adults. Her debut novel, UNDER THE NEVER SKY, was the first in a post-apocalyptic trilogy. Released in January 2012, it was deemed one of the Best Books of Year by School Library Journal. The series appeared in the NY Times and USA Today best seller lists and was published in over 25 foreign markets.

Her second series for young adults will begin with RIDERS (published February 16, 2016), the story of four modern day teens who become incarnations of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, and the prophetic girl who brings them together.

Veronica completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA and then went on to study fine art at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She is a lifelong reader and artist. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she has lived in Mexico, Venezuela, and all over the United States, to finally settle in Northern California with her husband and two sons.

When not writing, Veronica enjoys reading (it’s worth repeating), painting, and running. She does NOT like anything involving numbers, the addition of them, subtraction of them, you name it. They terrify her. Her obsessions generally lead to fictional works. Currently, she’s exploring New York City during the Revolutionary War.

Don’t tread on me. (If you know what that means, then you are my people!)

What else? This is getting more fun, isn’t it?

She–okay, I–am a huge fan of the SF Giants and the Golden State Warriors. I know, I know. Book types and sporty types shouldn’t be one in the same, but what can I say? I’m breaking the mold. Continuing. I have an irrational love of elephants. They make me cry, but it’s the best kind of cry. On other end of the spectrum, I abhor the shrill squeak styrofoam makes when it’s coming out of a box. Just typing that sentence made me want to scream. Needless to say, Christmas is great, but also really tough on me.

It’s probably time to wrap this up. If you’re here, it’s likely because you’ve read one of my books, or because you’re thinking about reading one of my books. Either way, thank you. Writing fulfills me like nothing else and I feel exceedingly fortunate to also call it my profession.

Website : Twitter :  Facebook : Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

Title: The Best Kind of Magic
Author: Crystal Cestari
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Am-ber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for mag-ic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

The Best Kind of Magic is a very cute and light read. I loved the way magic is incorporated into real life and of course it’s set in Chicago!

The store where the story tends to evolve around is called Windy City Magic and located at Navy Pier. I will be honest, this is a kind of store that I have shopped at all my life. There isn’t as many as there used to be so I wish this store really existed. Although I am with Amber and I tend to steer clear of Navy Pier as much as possible. I really liked the setting and I sure part of it is because I’m from the area but also because it was simple but fun. I really liked the underground restaurant for mystical and supernatural people. There was a bakery with cupcakes, I might have to go get some cupcakes of my own today.

The setting was fun but I also really liked the magic. It was more of an everyday kind of magic, you don’t need to put on a show to have. Amber’s mom is a witch with a coven. That doesn’t mean she runs around the city casting hexes on people. It means she is more connected with nature and can perform different spells. As well as creating potions, doing readings and that sort of thing. Maybe vampires and fairies are not real (I like to say maybe ha ha) but shops like Amber’s moms do exist.

I liked Amber. Her mom is a witch but Amber herself is a matchmaker. She can see who you are destined to be with but she can’t see the same for herself. She comes from this strong bloodline of witches but has none of their powers except for this. She is happy with who she is but she also has that little be of self-confidence issue that anyone would have in that situations. This also makes it different for her to date being that she can see who her boyfriend is going to be with and it’s not her. So that takes the fun and mystery out of it.

Amani, Amber’s best friend, is a precog. Her family does not have a magical lineage so she deals more with the side of things where her parents want her to suppress it. .I love her strong friendship with Amber and the fact that they get each other. Even if Amani is not using her talents.

Then there is Charlie. He’s the mayor's son and just discovering this world of mystical and supernatural. He was so cute in the way that he pursues Amber, both for her help and for her attention. They end up of having the cutest and complicated coupling.

The plot is fun and very light. They are working a missing person's case and I think find out things about themselves along the way. I liked having a more easy going book to read. I also like that there are a few issues besides the main one. Things with Amber’s mom and of course with her relationship with Charlie.

So if you are looking for a light and fun romance. I would say this is a good summer read.

With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the every-day world.

My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Am-ber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.

Website : Twitter : Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**A person may only win ONE book throughout the entire tour. You can enter multiple giveaways but can only claim one prize

Roar by Cora Carmack Excerpt

 From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack comes her debut young adult fantasy, ROAR! Releasing June 13, 2017, ROAR takes readers on an adventure filled with charismatic characters in an enthralling world sure to keep them turning the pages. Don’t miss the amazing excerpt below!

About ROAR (Stealing Storms #1):
New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack's young adult debut: Roar.
In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.
Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora's been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.
To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.
Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.
Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Book Depository

Add to your Goodreads


There was a hole in her chest, an awful, gaping hole that screamed like she wanted to. Like a cyclone, it seemed to suck up everything in its path until her knees were curled into her chest and her body hunched, and she just kept collapsing in and in and in. Suddenly unable to breathe, she clawed at the beaded fastenings that connected her headdress and necklace. One of her fingernails bent and splintered as she scrabbled for the hooks; when she could not find them, she took hold of the beaded cord and pulled until it broke, beads scattering across the stone floor around her.

The headdress tipped sideways, tugging painfully on her hair. Again and again, she pulled at the ties until her palms felt raw and beads littered the floor around her. The headdress began to sag, and she was nearly done, nearly free when someone stepped through the archway, and she froze.


Thank the skies. The dark-haired servant held an urn full of steaming water in her hands, and she stared in horror as if she had stumbled upon a monster rather than a crying girl. Nova had been Rora’s closest friend before she cut herself off from everyone at her mother’s command. Girls with secrets the size of Rora’s could not have friends. Nova took a step forward, paused, then knelt down, her large brown eyes carefully blank.

“Should I call for your guards? The queen?” Nova asked.

“No!” Softer, Aurora said, “No. Please don’t tell anyone.”

Once upon a time, Nova had kept all her secrets. Now the two rarely even looked at each other in the eye when their paths crossed, and it was all Aurora’s fault.

“Your Highness? What happened?”

Rora shook her head and returned to tugging at the headdress still tangled in her hair. She couldn’t say the words aloud, couldn’t let anyone see how much of a fool she was. Aurora had become accustomed to her shortcomings as a Stormling, as an heir. But she’d thought she had her mother’s strength, tenacity, and intelligence. But maybe that was wishful thinking. Maybe she was altogether…inadequate.

“Stop, Princess. You’re hurting yourself.” Nova put the water aside, crawled forward, and grabbed Rora’s wrists. “Aurora, stop.”

All the years spent missing their friendship came rushing back, and she froze at the sound of her name. Not Princess. Not Your Highness. Aurora. But the moment she stopped moving, it all came crashing down on her. Her na├»ve plan to kiss him, to experience something real. She should have known that her future would hold only more lies. As if she knew anything about real life, real anything. She lived in this palace, protected and pampered and put away like a doll on a shelf, too fragile for anything but appearances. And it seemed that’s all she would ever be.

Cassius wanted control of the city for himself. He thought he’d have to fool her to do it, but the moment the world found out that Rora had no magic, he’d become the ruler in truth, and she’d be the puppet at his side. He wouldn’t have to feign interest in her then. He wouldn’t need her at all.

She wound her arms about her legs and rested her forehead on her knees. Nova moved closer, and Rora sat still and silent as the girl worked to remove the headdress. Her old friend had grown into a beautiful young woman—flawless bronze skin, shiny black hair, stunning features. She’d recently begun assisting the royal seamstress in addition to her position as a maid. She probably had more friends than she could count. Aurora could not help imagining how different her life would be now fi she had never become heir.

The headdress finally gave way, and Nova slipped it off and laid it on the stone floor beside them.

“Tell me what happened.”

Rora leaned back against the wall. It was cool against her abused scalp, and she muttered, “Nothing happened.”

At least she had that much. She hadn’t kissed that beast. But what she had done felt worse. She had hoped. And hope broke more hearts than any man ever could.

“Should I get someone? A friend?”

Rora let out a bleak, cold laugh. As if she had any of those. Softer, she said, “I don’t want to see anyone. I just need this dress off. The makeup too. I need to breathe, and I can’t do it through all this mess.”

“I can do that. I came to help remove the headdress and gown. Stand up and we’ll go to your room. Everything will be fine, Your Highness.”

She didn’t tell her old friend how wrong she was, not as she peeled the dress off her and unlaced the corset. Not as she wiped away the powder that was smudged and striped on Rora’s face, thanks to falling tears. Another maid came in with more steaming water for a bath and Rora let them clean her up, wishing it was as easy to wipe away the last few hours.

She sat in the bath until the water grew cold and her skin shriveled like dying fruit. She had to face the facts. The Rage season was coming, as was this sham of a wedding. And she didn’t know how to fight it any more than she knew how to stop a storm.

But she would not give Cassius any more opportunities to see her vulnerable. Nor was she giving up. If there were no other way, she would marry Cassius.

But she had six days. Wars had been won, empires toppled, and cities leveled in less time. If there was a way out of this, Rora would find it.

Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Since she was a teenager, her favorite genre to read has been fantasy, and now she’s thrilled to bring her usual compelling characters and swoon-worthy romance into worlds of magic and intrigue with her debut YA fantasy, Roar. Her previous adult romance titles include the Losing It, Rusk University, and Muse series. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

Title: Violet Grenade
Author: Victoria Scott
Published: May 16th 2017 by Entangled Teen
Buy: Amazon | B&N

DOMINO: A runaway with blood on her hands.

CAIN: A silent boy about to explode.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

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

Madam Karina doesn't know about Wilson.
I absolutely loved Violet Grenade. It is such a wild ride of a story that you can not put it down.

As I was reading I decided that there are three things that make it so you can’t put the book down. One you really want to know about Domino and Wilson’s past and what happened to make her the way she is. Two, what in the name of all things purple is up with that house! Three, Cain and his backstory which bleeds into other backstories. I really loved this plot and I think Victoria is great at writing these dark riveting stories (as you know if you read Four Houses). I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know, I just had to know! It’s also very fast paced, there is no lull where you are waiting for the next thing to happen. Something is always happening!

I loved Domino. I have a fondness for dark characters as an MC because it’s not as common. Even though Domino has this dark part of her, she also has kindness. She wants to be cared about and care about people but has gotten herself hurt. She has this protective mode that is not only about Wilson and in a way it keeps her sane. I realize yes there is Wilson. I really really liked her character and the way she finds that she really does have her own power to take care of herself. I also liked Wilson too. At first I was a little weary like, oh this is strange, but I think you start to understand them both better as you read.

Cain, Poppet and Angie are all great characters. I loved the friendship that develops between Domino and Poppet. They become great support for each other. I also really like the relationship that develops between Domino and Cain. I liked it because the story doesn’t need it. If nothing ever developed it would be fine because everything else about this plot is so absorbing. I always enjoy reading a romance that enhances a story but isn’t the story.

Madam Karina and her minions of nut cases. I mean you are kind of leary of her from the beginning because I feel like anyone that runs a home for girls with “talents” is suspicious. The more you dive in though the more and more interesting it becomes. That’s all I have to say about it.

I liked so many things about this story and so many plot things that I really don’t want to reveal. I liked discovering them myself so I hope everyone gets that opportunity. Anything can happen that’s all I’m going to say.

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Title: The Love Interest
Author: Cale Dietrich
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQIA

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Inter-ests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is im-portant to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

The Love Interest is definitely a different book. I really liked the concept of the spy game but I think I most enjoyed the relationship that develops between the main characters.

So the plot itself of The Love Interest was really interesting. I loved the way that a typical love triangle was used as a weapon in a way. I think that’s what I enjoyed the most. This secret organization spots someone that is destined for great things. In order to spy on them they find them an ideal mate. That way this person can report back their secrets because information is money. It’s also a way to control. In order to do this they send in a Bad and Nice. Which fit the typical personas you would see in YA novel love triangle. The kind boy next-door and the guy on the motorcycle that is mean to you but loves you. The agency itself had some flaws for me, it seemed too easy at times.

Caden’s character is a little stiff. I think it’s because he is going against who he really is. Like someone putting on clothes that don’t fit them right, so they walk around awkward and uncomfortable. There is also a part of him that is accepting of who he is. He knows he’s sliding into this fake persona because he needs to in order to survive. I had a sadness for her from the beginning. I want him to be free to be who he is.

Dylan is actually a little more complicated. I really liked him, he was easy to fall for. I think though as the story progresses you see a little different side of him. Although he seems very open and free. He still his hiding part of himself, even from himself.

Juliet the prodigy scientist is just a nice girl. Confident in her skills and has no need to show them off. She is kind of an ideal girl. Even though she becomes the odd one out.

I loved the way Caden finds himself through the his relationship with Dylan. I don’t mean Dylan was steering him but it was kind of an awakening for Caden who was just going through the motions of life before. I loved the time they spent together and even though there are heartbreaking things about it. I really found myself rooting for them.

I enjoyed The Love Interest. I really like Caden and Dylan’s story. Even though some parts of the agency fell flat for me I did really like the concept behind it.
Cale Dietrich is a YA devotee, lifelong gamer, and tragic pop punk enthusiast. He was born in Perth, grew up on the Gold Coast, and now lives in Brisbane, Australia. The Love Interest is his first novel.

Twitter : Instagram : Website

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#ReadADessen Countdown : Just Listen

We are counting down to Sarah Dessen's new release. Different blogs are featuring different books as we work our way through the the collection. You can also enter for a chance to win your own collection of Sarah Dessen Books!!

Title: Just Listen
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: Speak; Reprint edition (February 28, 2008)
Buy: Amazon : Goodreads

Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store.

This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Just Listen is now my second Sarah Dessen book and I can honestly say I’m hooked. I once again really enjoyed her characters and the tough issues she deals with, also the way she deals with them. There also is a great deal of family and I love how well represented they are.

Annabel is that character that you want to both wrap in a warm blanket and hug, as well as yell at her for being silly. Even though Annabel is not the middle child and Whitney often speaks to it, I feel like she acted more like. She was afraid to burden others with her problems between her mother’s depression and Whitney’s eating disorder. She caught herself stuck is this rut of not saying anything when she really needed to. Holding it in, until that becomes the easier way of doing things. It was so frustrating but also I could see why she was doing it.

It’s so hard not to love Owen. He’s this guy that it feels like he comes out of nowhere. At first you think he has that dark brooding thing going, since Annabel has seen him punch out a classmate. Once she starts talking to him though. It’s a whole different story. He’s actually extremely open and honest. It an almost unsettling way to Annabel at first. I love how he gets her to open up and really sees her. Which is more than anyone else has done in a while. She used to be overshadowed by other people’s problems and dramas. I loved the banter that happens between them. Especially since Owen is so completely music obsessed.

I actually had a co-worker whose daughter had an eating disorder. It was while I was in college and I had not known anyone with one. I have to say it was extremely eye opening at the time because it was so easy to think of something like that as being black and white. When there are so many shades of gray. That this was something that is not magically fixed. I know the co-worker's daughter struggled. She would go bouts of being okay and then would slip back or would sometimes go the opposite direction. I was really glad to see it discussed in the book and the way it was dealt with as well.

Another big topic is what happens to Annabel herself. The full story doesn’t really come out towards the end of the book. I think the story has a great way of showing different perspectives and different actions taken. I don’t cry when I read but I felt like towards the end there, I definitely got teary eyed. I think it’s because I have kids and I can’t imagine my daughter going through these things.

Again the strong family presence is always a plus for me. Annabel and her sisters and the dynamic that they share. Owen and his sister as well. Plus they all have parents. It’s always good to see loving parents.

Just Listen is at times, hard to read. It feels really gloomy at the beginning but there is soo much substance to it that made me love it. I really like the topics that are dealt with and the characters. This is my second Dessen and I can’t wait to read more now.

Also love all the references to This Lullaby, being I just read that one. We get to see some of the characters at Bendo as well.


Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

Title: Defy the Stars
Author: Claudia Gray
Published: April 4th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Buy: Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

She’s a soldier.

Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.

He’s a machine.

Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.

I am a big Sci-fi fan so I was so excited to read Defy the Stars. I admit I am a little leary of AI though. I also think in my head I’m not going to like it, or I couldn’t ever think of the machine as something else. This story really sucked me in and I really enjoyed not only the AI but also the journey across the galaxy.

I started thinking of the planets as different things that humans seek; Genesis is Faith, Kismet is Pleasure, Cray is Knowledge, Stronghold is discipline and Earth is desire/greed. I think there are many ways you could label them but it’s interesting how they fall into these categories. I loved that each one had a broadcast welcome message. Like the promo you have on the tv when you stay at a hotel. I also really liked that they didn’t just explore each planet. They got to know different characters while they were there. It gave each place a different layer.

Defy the Stars is a long book. About 500 pages worth, but there was a second that I would cut out. I was riveted through the entire thing.

Noemi is such an interesting character and I think that stems with the fact that she has made peace with dying and that nobody would miss her. She doesn’t really see her life has holding any significant value except for protecting her best friend Esther. As she travels the galaxy I think she learns there is value in just being and life can be a set of dominos that put other things in motion. I liked how kick butt her character is from the beginning but she also has room to develop. She has very keen mind and good instincts.

Abel, it’s funny I wasn’t sure what I was going to expect from him. He’s a machine, a droid. Not a person of flesh and blood. Then again as you get to know him and be in his head you see him as so much more. I love how arrogant and superior he is in the beginning. He also shows a great deal of character development throughout the book.

Noemi and Abel together are a force to be reckoned with. It doesn’t matter if they at odds with one another or on the same team. They have a dynamite combination. I really enjoyed the how they play off one another through the story.

There are lots a of great side characters. Which is something I always really enjoy, especially in a Sci-fi. Again I think it’s such a great way to show the many layers of a world that you might not know much about.

I really enjoyed Defy the Stars. The book had me riveted and as a Sci-fi fan I was very pleased with the writing, the plot and the characters.

#ReadADessen Countdown! This Lullaby

We are counting down to Sarah Dessen's new release. Different blogs are featuring different books as we work our way through the the collection. You can also enter for a chance to win your own collection of Sarah Dessen Books!!

Title: This Lullaby
Published: June 2012 by Speak (first published May 27th 2002)
Buy: Amazon  Goodreads

She's got it all figured out.

Or does she? When it comes to relationships, Remy's got a whole set of rules.

Never get too serious. Never let him break your heart. And never, ever date a musician.

But then Remy meets Dexter, and the rules don't seem to apply anymore.

Could it be that she's starting to understand what all those love songs are about?

I figured the #Readadessen event was the perfect time to read my first Sarah Dessen book. Being the way the weeks fell it turned out to be This Lullaby. I have to say it was not what I was expecting, in a good way. I was really impressed with the characters and the story. I can’t wait to read my next Dessen!

When I first started reading This Lullaby, I couldn’t decide how I felt about Remy and her friends. I kept thinking in my head, I don’t really like these girls or maybe disappointed in their actions. I have to say I love MC’s that I feel iffy about because that gives themselves to not only redeem themselves story wise but also to me as the reader. I also started think about myself in high school. The publication of this book is originally 2002, and I graduated in 2000. I think there is a difference if you think about teenagers now and then. Now I’m like, eww how gross they smoke. In high school there were bathrooms you knew to stay clear of because they always stunk like smoke. So the things that made me dislike Remy were actually things that weren’t uncommon in high school. I did not sleep around but I know people who did and a particularly incident Remy describes was treated a lot differently back then than it is now. By the end of the book I ended up really liking Remy and her friends. You could see that they genuinely cared about each other. Not saying they don’t have their squabbles or frustrations but when push comes to shove they are there to pick you up. She actually has a great squad.

I really liked the story. Remy’s mother is in love with love as a romance writer. She is on her fifth marriage and acts as though everyone is the one but it always ends in flames. From Remy’s perspective this is an example that love is fleeting and unkind. She has found a way to close off her heart and protect herself. Pretty much becoming a cold bitter bitch, at least that’s what she gets called on one occasion. I love how the story takes Remy through this journey that makes her realize it’s all in how you see things. Really giving her clarity.

I loved Dexter. He was such a fun and awkward main guy. He didn’t have the cool swagger or the cold but heart of gold thing going for him. He was just silly, fun and carefree. The complete opposite of Remy’s need to have everything in her life in these neat little boxes. I loved the way he changed Remy and the way she changed him. It wasn’t it a trying to make the other person something they are not. It was a natural growth between the two. I loved loved him so much.

I really loved the relationship between Remy, Chris and their mom. You might think of their Mom as being flaky but she truly loves her children. I also really loved the talk she has with Remy towards the end.

I really enjoyed the book. Like I said it was not what I was expecting. You see contemporary and think how of course the adorably wonderful MC who doesn’t know she is wonderful. Instead you get hard ass Remy. I loved how different the characters are. I think this was a great book to start my Sarah Dessen reading experience with.
In This Lullaby Dexter loves a good challenge. He throws them down often. Some examples are;

I bet a quarter the next car that passes is blue or green
How many states can you name before the lady come back out of the dry cleaner
Can you eat 9 ½ bananas in one sitting

So going along with the Challenges theme I have a couple for you. You can play them with your friends or just put your answers in the comments.

How many Sarah Dessen books can you name in 15 seconds?

How many Sarah Dessen characters can you name in 30 seconds?

How many times can you say Hate Spinnerbait in 1 minute?

Can you write a potato opus to top all Potato Opuses?

Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
a Rafflecopter giveaway