Monday, October 24, 2016

Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor (Review)

YA, Contemporary 
Publication Date:May 3, 2016
Published By: Sky Pony Press
Review copy:e-ARC from publisher 
Buy it:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ Chapters

Raised by Wanderers, sixteen-year-old Tal travels the roads of the southern wild in her Chevy by day and camps in her tent trailer at night. Hustling, conning, and grifting her way into just enough cash to save her fifteen-year-old brother, Wen, from bare-knuckle fighting was once enough to keep her dreams of traveling the whole world at bay. Everything changes when the Wanderers set up camp in a little town called Cedar Falls.

There, Spencer Sway, a boy Tal tried to hustle at a game of billiards, keeps popping up into her life—and worst of all—into her scams. Buttoned-up, starched-and-ironed Spencer talks of places where Tal’s truck can’t take her. His promises of traveling across oceans are almost enough to shatter her love of the Wanderer life.

When a boy shows up at camp, ready to make good on a nearly-forgotten arranged marriage to Tal, Tal and Wen make a pact: No matter the cost, they will use their limitless skills of grift to earn the bride price and buy back her future—even if Spencer Sway gets used along the way.

It could have been two years or two days after; I couldn't say.  Maybe childhood memories are that way for everyone   markies and Wanders the same.  But for Wanderers, I suppose, those memories are even more vague.  When nothing is the same from day to day, there's no anchor, only ambiguous, timeless, placeless years that flow together.
The superstitions, the lore, the magic, they're all as common to us as trees.  But the camp's explanation was wrong, and so was their belief in me. 
As the shape of his back moves away from me, I realize something horrible's happened  I let the momentum of Spencer and me build to a dangerous speed.
And we just crashed.

  Picking up a book that comes with something different and unusual, is always enjoyable.  Maybe it's just me but I get especially excited when the book features someones inside view of gypsies, wanderers, a cult, or just some less appreciated culture in general.  I think they are a chance to glance into a world that is not our own, view a life that we may never even get the chance to experience.  Maybe that is that way of all books, but I like the truth and the strength that follows with the characters in these contemporary novels that features a different way of life.  Taylor's Wandering Wild was a beautiful and exceptional example of this.  

  I have read very few books on Wanderers or Gypsies, and honestly I do not know much of their way of life beyond what I have read/heard.  This being said, I really enjoyed getting to see their world through Tal's eyes.  Taylor painted a vivid character that did not resent the situation she was in (in fact she could never imagine being tethered to one place), and she coloured a world that carries its own beliefs and traditions.  I enjoyed the flowing pace and the consistent plot, that headed towards something different.  Wandering Wild carried the kind of pace I desire with the character and world to walk along with it.

  I loved Tal and Wen.  They were a great example of two sides of the same coin.  Tal loved the movement and freedom that being a Wanderer brought her, but she questioned her peoples beliefs.  Wen didn't have a problem with their belief system, but he did wonder what it would be like to stay in one place, become what they targeted: a markie.  Though Talia was the main character, Wen was her brother, her other half.  I think he was what mostly gave her the ability to see beyond, or maybe she had always been looking and I just didn't see that.  Tal was strong, full of ideas and undeniably clever because she had to be.  What I think I quite possibly loved the most was that she was not perfect, she was not completely selfless.  Yes, she loved her brother but she wasn't willing to give in to everything because it might make things easier for him.  Loving him did not mean that she compromised what she wanted.  To some this may be a downfall, but I feel in the end it was what really set her apart.

  As for the love side of things, I would like to say that it didn't matter but it did.  Wen and his love for books and something that didn't belong in his world, and Tal and her romance with Spencer... Who most definitely did not fit in her world.  The thing was though, that he wanted something that intrigued Tal, he wanted to travel.  To Tal she couldn't imagine being in one place for her entire life, but being in one place wouldn't be so bad if she got to see everything that she wanted.  Spencer seemed to live in a world that was unimaginable to Tal but, they both learn not everything is at it seems.  It's when their worlds begin to collide more than either anticipated that they find the connection they didn't expect.  I enjoyed the chemistry and the growth this relationship made as the book progressed.  In fact I would say I enjoyed these two more than I have any other relationship in awhile.

  Wandering Wild is a spectacular debut, that captivated me with its colourful world and developed characters.  I finished this book in less than a day, and I don't even question for a moment that others will do the same.  If you are a fan of contemporary and love to watch worlds collide in a spectacular way, don't hesitate to pick up Wandering Wild.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Dorthy Must Die by Danielle Paige (Review)

YA, Retelling, Twisted Tale
Publication Date:April 1, 2014
Published By: Harper Collins
SeriesDorthy Must Die #1
Review copy:Bought
Buy it:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ Chapters

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado - taking you with it - you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a yellow brick road - but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I've been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

  I had been dropped here by a tornado, and now I was standing on something that looked remarkably like a road of yellow bricks.
  This had to be some big mix-up.  Maybe Kansas had finally cashed in on the whole Dorthy thing with a theme park and the tornado had just happened to drop me here.
  This Tin Woodman was not the Tin Woodman I remembered.  By now I shouldn't have expected anything different   nothing was the way it was supposed to be in Dorthy's remade Oz.
  Or was I someone more extreme, someone  I never imagined   a killer.  A warrior.  A girl who could stab someone in the face and know that she was doing the right thing?  A girl who had strength she never even knew about?

 What a fun and unique take on what happened after the classic finished.  So often we are tied up in the before it happened or what we would have preferred to happen, to stop and think about the after.  The aftermath is quite often more interesting than we would expect.  Dorthy Must Die nailed the post Dorthy leaving Oz, and created a masterful story with the power of 'what if'.  

  There is so much to be said about the way this was written, and the way that everything pieced itself together.  There was no one moment where as a reader I paused and couldn't accept the turns that this story took.  No, this was written in such a way that as things changed and people were introduced that it was easy to accept that this was the way things had become.  Basically despite the horror that the beautiful land had become, it was easy to visualise.  This is not saying that there were some questions left hanging in the air because for me there was.  However, there is no good book in which all of the secrets are dished out in the start and it's these little things that keep us turning the pages wanting more... Right?

  Amy herself to start came off as nothing special, and not horribly notable as a character but as this book proves, things change.  Though Oz is not the one she thought she knew, or the Oz that she had hoped she landed in, it proves to be a character builder for her.  Though things were not always what they seemed with her either.  For me Amy's wanting something more became something she wanted less of, and a path to see that things can be what you want if you are willing to go for it.  This being said, she was very much a pawn in multiple games, and all in which no one really knows who the 'good guys' are.  Though I never really connected with Amy I did enjoy her.  She was smart enough to ask questions, quick enough to pick up up on things not to do but impulsive enough to be enjoyable to read.

  There was definitely a lot going on in this book, and many characters that were mentioned.  What is good about this is that Paige does not kill the book with over detailing each one, but does give enough detail to each to allow you to see them the way you need to.  With this comes some new and some old.  I loved the way that the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Lion were twisted into something spectacularly horrible.  Maybe it is Dorthy's presence that causes this, but either way they are not the friendly characters we came to love in the original.  This is accented by some small surprises from other characters that kind of have always in some way been a wild card and a few new ones that add their own kick to the mix.  Nox was one of the characters that kind of stirred up the mix, but he also caused some mixed feelings that may need to be discussed in future reviews.

  Dorthy Must Die was a fast paced, well thought through twist on the post Dorthy Oz.  Can it be called post Dorthy if she found her way back?  Either way there was almost never a dull moment, and I can't wait to start The Wicked Will Rise (the only benefit of not having picked up this book before now).  Fans of Oz, twisted tales and new takes in general will surely enjoy this read!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #7

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine 
and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

YA, Fantasy
Publication Date:January 10, 2017
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
SeriesFrostblood Saga #1

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king's tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Buy It: 

Why I'm Waiting

  I feel like there are so many great fantasy reads coming out.  It's like Dystopia is taking a back seat and Fantasy is surging forth like it deserves.  Don't get me wrong I love dystopia but like all things sometimes it's better it takes second place for a bit, lest we get sick of it.  So, this debut read featuring fire and ice and seemingly nothing horribly nice going on has my attention.

What are you waiting on?!
Link me up so I can see 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Soundless by Richelle Mead (Review)

YA, Fantasy
Publication Date:November 10, 2015
Published By: Razorbill
Review copy:Purchased
Buy it:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ Chapters

In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.

  Observing is not the same as experiencing.
  I've waited a long time for that, he tells me.  And I should have done it sooner.  This is fate.  You and Me.
  No one responds right away.  Mostly they seem to again be processing what I've told them.  Hope rises in me, and I dare to believe that my people are taking heed and will believe me so that we can all find a reasonable course to save ourselves.
  As it turns out, I am wrong.

  Being such a huge fan of Richelle Mead I was excited for this book.  Not only did it look to be something completely original, but it was a standalone.  To me this screamed addictive with immediate satisfaction, meaning no waiting a year or more to feel complete.  This was accented by the fact that it had a stunningly attractive cover.  What I found between the pages was a beautiful, sometimes complex story that I found myself falling for.

  Soundless has a lot going on, this is great at times and frustrating at others.   I'm not sure if this is brought on by the fact that the book is written with such detail because rather than Fei everyone cannot hear, or if it is just feels different because of that.  The best I can say is it was reading a painting.  There is no true voice but it speaks volumes at the same time.  Once I got into the swing of it though there was no stopping me.  It was beautifully paced, and there was a lyrical quality once I really dug in.  Really this is just a mess of words, I know.  It's hard to describe the love and beauty I found in this book while struggling to start.  So many times the words just come, but I find myself unable to adequately put the pacing and setting into a neatly described little box.

  When it comes to Fei, I didn't see myself feeling any form of a connection or sense of kinship.  The thing is though, that I did end up feeling that connection to Fei.  I didn't relate to her circumstance, her heritage or anything specific, I just felt drawn to her.  Fei has a fierce determination and sense of duty.  She's a spectacular example of an admirable heroine.  I'm not one to jump down a characters throat for making split decisions sometimes, but Fei wasn't like that at all.  She has honour, a quick mind and believes in her heart that what she is doing is right.  More than likely that is what it comes down to with Fei for me... She has heart.  Fei is unique in her circumstance and unique as a written character.  There is no denying that I can 't adequately describe my feelings on this heroine, but she was awesome to read none the less.

  This beautifully crafted world and heroine, had a rather predictable romance.  Now, before you jump that I am ragging on it or being nit picky; despite the predictability it was sweet.   Li and Fei fell for each other when they were younger but a change in station for Fei changed everything for the two of them.  This is what paved the way for them to agree to work together on their impossible task.  Li was both bitter and sweet but not in the way that you would expect.  He was bitter that they lived the way they did and that Fei was now 'above him' and sweet because no matter how hard he tried he couldn't stop caring.  They had this forbidden thing going on, and yet nothing was going on.  There was a spark that rested between them and yet quite often their tradition dictated that it wasn't okay.  They managed but it was obvious from the start that something was building up.

  Soundless may not have been what I expected, but by the end it was absolutely wonderful.  Though I will admit that it is the kind of book that you have to be ready to dedicate yourself to.  It isn't overly long, nor is it drawn out.  It is simply thick in its vivid descriptions of everything.  This is a world filled with silence that is brought to fruition with stunning clarity.  It is seeing everything with so much more clarity because you can't hear it, and yet when you can...  Well, that is its own type of wonder.  Though I don't feel this book fits into what many would expect of Mead, I believe that fantasy lovers will have no problem picking up and devouring this book.  Just be prepared to wait until the very end for everything to come to a head!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dreamology by Lucy Keating (Review)

YA, Fantasy, Contemporary
Publication Date:April 12, 2016
Published By: Harper Teen 
Review copy:e-ARC from publisher 
Buy it:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ Chapters

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. It turns out, though, that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max, and getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

When their dreams start to bleed dangerously into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

Don't be creepy don't be creepy don't be creepy, I repeat to myself as I make what feels like an epic journey across the well-manicured lawn.  I have a million introductions swirling around in my head .  Phrases that will make me seem witty and cool, a femme fatale of someone's dreams, which technically, I am.
  "New blood." She nods. "I'm Celeste."
  Oh god. Celeste? Names like Celeste kick dirt on names like Alice on the playground.  Names like Celeste steal names like Alice's prom dates.  Names like Celeste are apparently dating names like Alice's imaginary dream boyfriends.
Now I don't just feel noodly.  Now I'm a noodle that's been chewed up by a mother bird, regurgitated and fed back to he babies in the nest.  My brain knows it's completely idiotic, to feel rejected by someone you aren't sure you actually know... but my heart does not seem to have gotten the message yet.

  Honestly, I think I was drawn to this book by its title and cover.  There was no true expectations, because I could't have told you what it was about if I tried.  I know you should never judge a books by its cover, and probably doubly by its title, but thankfully this time it worked out just fine for me.  Debut author Lucy Keating really nailed it with this one.  This book is filled to the brim with unique awesomeness.  There is something entirely fascinating about dreaming come to reality, and this book captures all of it and more.

  When everything started, I was sure on one thing: this book was either going to go horribly right, or it was going to go horribly wrong.  Not wrong in the traditional sense (you can't really tell your own story wrong), but wrong in the way that it was going to become your typical love story, with your typical obstacles.  There's nothing wrong with that really.  I enjoy books like that every now and again when I am looking for something easy and fun.  Dreamology was not typical though.  With it's dream world crashing into reality land, I found myself fully diving in, wanting to figure out how everything went so beautifully wrong.  

  Alice herself may not have been horribly complex but she was fun as heck to read.  She said awkward things and over thought things, the way that I am sure the majority of us did as teens (some still as adults).  Basically, Alice and her behaviours were real and easy to relate to, and if they weren't they were amusing to read at the very least.  This also made it easy to sympathise for her on other levels for me.  I'm not sure how many of us have dreamed a guy into existence (probably none if we're being honest), but it would be freaky as hell and super hard to know how to handle.  Alice is developed basically perfectly and her quirk had me laughing on more than one occasion. 

  It's super hard to know how to react to Max.  There's this awkward line that is most definitely blurred due to odd circumstances.  He is basically an anomaly and because of this at times his cold attitude seems justified.  Well, I felt it was at least.  You can't just expect someone to be as cool in real life as they were in your dreams... or I don't think you can.  However, this doesn't mean that Max did not have redeeming qualities to him.  He could be kind and the person that Alice thought he was, was there it was just hiding behind some fairly big insecurities.  It was also his reactions that very much kept this book from being insta-love, which is a very enjoyable fact.  There was something awesome about not exactly knowing how the attraction between these two would end.

  Honestly I had a lot of fun reading this one.  It was light, fun, different and 100% enjoyable.  Keating really nailed her debut and I'm looking forward to more from her in the future.  It's quite simply too hard to explain all of the little things, that complimented the bigger things to make this such an amazing read.  There is no doubt that this book will give people a serious case of cover lust and the writing was beyond enjoyable.  For anyone looking for a fun and amusing summer read, don't hesitate to pick this beauty up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #6

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine 
and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

YA, Fantasy
Publication Date:May 2, 2017
Published By: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
SeriesFlame in the Mist #1

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.

Buy It: 

Why I'm Waiting

I am more than sure at this time that I am one of the last people to feature this book, but HOW COULD YOU NOT WANT IT?! That cover... That synopsis... There isn't anything that doesn't scream you need me in your life about this book!! I also just kind of have to say that it kind of reminds me of Mulan a little.  Not completely but a little (please don't skewer me lol). 

What are you waiting on?!
Link me up so I can see 

Monday, October 10, 2016

More Than Exist by Bethany Lopez (Release Day Blitz)

Today we are celebrating the release of MORE THAN EXIST by Bethany Lopez. This book is a Women's Fiction title. Check out the excerpt and teasers below. Buy your copy now while it's on sale for just $2.99!

More Than Exist by Bethany Lopez Contemporary Women's Fiction


Love can exit your life as quickly as it enters it, shattering your heart in the process.
It's been a year since my husband was taken from me in a tragic accident. I thought it would kill me. Now, I think I'm ready to start healing.

My mother says my idea of taking a solo cross-country road trip is crazy, but I see it as my road to recovery. Along the way, I'll have to deal with the poor choices I've made since Ricky died. I'll have to overcome the terror that his death has caused me. I'll have to find my balance again.

And once I meet Luke and his young son, I'll have to decide if I can take the risk to do more than exist and learn to love again.



Special Release Price is $2.99

Purchase Links:

    “Landon is perfect!” she squeed, not caring that there were a gaggle of women in the restroom waiting for a turn. “He’s definitely hot,” I agreed, then asked, mildly confused, “Perfect for what?” “To take you home tonight and give you a fabulous orgasm!” I was pretty buzzed, but not so far gone that I didn’t look around at the giggling crowd with embarrassment. “What? He’s way too young for me.” “He’s around my age,” Ginger protested. “I think he was a year behind me in school, which makes him twenty-five. He’s sexy, single, and has been looking at you like you’re a rare steak and he’s king of the jungle.” “No he has not … And that makes him seven years younger than me. He’s practically a teenager,” I argued, leaning back against the wall so I didn’t fall over. “Pshaw,” she replied, slurring her unintelligible words. “He’s so not a teenager. That man will make you see stars … I’ve heard good things.”   

more-than-exist mte-teaser




Sign up for my Newsletter for more information about my writing: Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. She's a lover of all things romance: books, movies, music, and life, and she incorporates that into the books she writes. When she isn't reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible. Some of her favorite things are: Kristen Ashley Books, coffee in the morning, and In N Out burgers.


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