Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: Holding Court by K.C. Held

Holding Court by K.C. Held
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary

Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what's in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty--and completely unavailable--Grayson Chandler. Except that it's not quite what she imagined.

For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there's the dead body she finds that just kind of...well, disappears. Oh, and there's the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls "Psychic Tourette's Syndrome"--spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.

The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson's attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson's interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it's starting to look suspicious...

So I've always been a big fan of Medieval Times.  Any time I've ever visited a city that has one, I always have to go there and enjoy being immersed in history and getting a good show that makes you feel like you stepped into that time period.  Holding Court did that for me too.  It was like getting a look behind the scenes of a Medieval Times.  So there was excitement, history, romance, and loads of comedy.

I absolutely LOVED Jules as a character.  Her narration gave this story such a fabulous sparkle.  She's just one of those characters whose comedic personality just leaps off the page.  She's got an unusual gift which she views as more of a curse, and how it manifests itself sometimes was very funny.  Add to that the intrigue of a mysterious circumstance that she begins to investigate, and you have some great suspense in this story too.

The author did a great job keeping you guessing, but also giving you clues.  I am happy to say that I was NOT able to work out the mystery ahead of time, it is also didn't come out of left field either.  It made sense.  So the author did an amazing job surprising me and keeping me going up until the final reveal.

I loved all the characters in this story... they were all unique in their own way and were so real and three dimensional that I could imagine them so well.  And the romance...  very nice.

All around, this book did it for me in a great way.  I pretty much skated through it and was sorry it was over. A wonderful story!!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Discussion Post:

My apologies for not putting up a traditional discussion post this week.  My precious dog died in our arms Saturday late Saturday night and I've been a bit too grieved to post.  He had one last year with us after we discovered the problem and as long as he wasn't in any pain, we were willing to keep him and care for him even though he couldn't walk.  He went on us very suddenly Saturday though without much warning.

I hope you'll forgive me for missing a couple days again.  I'll try to get back to posting tomorrow.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tempting New Tales

Tempting New Tales is my weekly post where I share what new books I managed to acquire this week. Credit goes back to the Stacking the Shelves weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  

Below is my breakdown of what was posted last week, and what I'll be posting in the coming week. 

  • Tempting Future YA Releases: May 2016.  Post here.
  • Review: Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows. Post here.
  • Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. Post here.
  • Blog Tour & Review: Demigods and Monsters (Curse of the Sphinx #2) by Raye Wagner. Post here.
  • Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. Post here.

Here's what to look forward to next week:

  • Discussion Post: If you specialize in one type of book blog, have you ever wanted to make the leap to include other genres?
  • Review: Holding Court by K.C. Held
  • Review: What's Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass
  • Review: First Kiss (Academy #10) by C.L. Stone
  • Review: The Taking by Kimberly Derting

Now, on to the new bookshelf items.  Here's what I got this week!

Have you read any of these yet?  What did you get this week?  Leave a comment!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre:  Mature YA Contemporary

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

I was intrigued by this summary immediately, and I had a certain idea of how this story should and would go.  It lived up to its expectations perfectly. I read a similar story last year which, unfortunately, I couldn't even finish because of the way it was handled, but Laurie Elizabeth Flynn did an amazing job with Firsts.  It grabbed me immediately and held on until the end.

Mercedes was a unique character, and one with a unique situation.  Who would think about offering high school guys lessons in how to make love to their virgin girlfriends just for the sake of making that girl's first time special.  It immediately had me thinking about why this was so important to Mercedes that these girls have a special first time to lose their virginity.  Turns out, Mercedes was very deep, there were many layers to her, and I enjoyed how these layers were pealed back one by one throughout the story in the most amazing and vulnerable way.

Zach was an amazing guy, and I really loved him as a character.  The romance between the two of them, however, was really secondary to what was really going on in this story.  This book is all about Mercedes, what's in her head and heart, this service she performs for guys, and why her set amount somehow ends up not being enough and she keeps accepting more.

Handled differently, Mercedes could have been a bad character that I wouldn't have been able to sympathize with at all.  But I found myself loving her, crying for her, rooting for her, and waiting to see what would ultimately happy.  This was a wonderful book, told in amazing and skillful way that tugged at my heart and had my emotions going.  Excellent book.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Review: Demigods and Monsters by Raye Wagner

Demigods and Monsters (Curse of the Sphinx #2) by Raye Wagner
Release Date: April 25, 2016
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Mythology

Can Apollo’s curse be broken? Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence. 

When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose. 
But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.

I became a huge fan of this series from the first page of book 1, Curse of the Sphinx.  With Demigods and Monsters, I was pulled even further into Hope's world and fell even harder.  It had all of the elements I love... Greek mythology, a mystery to be solved, forbidden love, you name it.

Again, I felt so badly for Hope, rooting for her to find a way to break the curse placed on her.  In this story, she's pretty much on her own in a dangerous place surrounded by demigods who would kill her if they knew what she really was.  I loved the new strength and confidence she found in this story.  I loved the new characters,and the spark she tries to deny she has with her new mentor, Xan.  Seriously, I can't figure out which guy I'd want her to be with, because I really like them both for different reasons.

In this book, we get a deeper peak into the mythology of the story, demigods, the Greek gods themselves, and hints of what Hope must do to find the answers she seeks.  There were some amazing fight scenes in this story that had me on the edge of my seat.

Altogether, the author did an amazing job with this second book.  The story progressed further, new mysteries were revealed, as well as the new characters, which just added more flavor and depth to what I already though was going to be a great series.  The book read very quickly, and I finished it in no time at all.  I loved it and can't wait to see what happens next!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Taxi by Cambria Hebert

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. WoW posts are about books that you can’t wait to get your hands on.

This is one of my favorite posts to read on the blogs that I follow because other bloggers have found so many wonderful books that I had no idea about! I get most of those from reading Waiting on Wednesday posts. :-) I urge you to visit other blogs and read theirs to find these great lists!

The meter is running… One night as Rose Crawford steps out of a bar, she gives no second thought to lifting her hand to signal for a cab. After all, it’s the responsible thing to do. A common occurrence. Far safer than walking several blocks, alone, in the dark.  A familiar-looking yellow taxi with black, faux-leather seats, running meter on the dash, and a smiling driver pulls up to the curb. Rose slides in. Gives the driver her address… But she never reaches her destination.

Instead, she finds herself captive, at the will of a man who isn’t a driver, but a bona fide psychopath. Trapped in a taxi she can’t escape, Rose begins to panic. As the miles between her and safety grow, hope dwindles. It isn’t until someone else joins her in captivity that her spark of hope is rekindled.

Derek is strong, capable, and surely together they can fight their way to freedom. Then Rose finds out exactly why she’s been driven into hell. Derek may be an unwilling captive, but he isn’t going to help her. In fact, he’s there to do the exact opposite.

Release Date: May 6, 2016

Why I'm excited about it:
This sounds like an absolute
thrill ride!  No pun intended.

Have you heard of this one?  Leave a comment and let me know what your WoWs are this week!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Wow.  So you can guess from reading the summary what this story is more than likely going to entail. So I was expecting what happened.  However, what the author did with this story was absolutely amazing.  This was a thrill ride from the first page, and I altered between being on the edge of my seat. being shocked, being heart-broken, and being filled with hope.  I felt it all in this book.

This story is told by several perspectives of high school students, so you were able to see several stories, several viewpoints, reactions, and feelings.  This could have been confusing, but instead, it lent such depth to the story, and really pulled at my emotions even harder.

I can't imagine living through something like this, witnessing such horrors, and then having to live with those visions for the rest of my life.  And the truly sad thing about it is that this is become too, too common in our modern world.  There are people out there for whom this story isn't just a story but a reality, and I have enormous respect for the author for taking on such a subject and handling with with both sensitivity but also honesty.  The author didn't pull any punches here, so it was raw and gritty and real to the core.  I felt as if I was there.

The ending had me on the edge of my seat.  I can't really say anything further because I don't want to ruin the ending.  This is a book you have to experience for yourself.  This was an amazing story, told in amazing way, and my emotions were thoroughly engaged and deeply felt as I read.  Wonderful book.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Review: Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows by Michelle Madow

Elementals; The Prophecy of Shadows by Michelle Madow
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Witches are real. They're descendants of the Greek gods. Now, five witches with elemental powers must fight to stop a war against the Titans.

Nicole Cassidy is the new girl in town with a new problem -- she's a witch descended from gods. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, she's welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers -- and by Blake, the town's notorious bad-boy.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, and three of their classmates are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect -- it opens the portal to another dimension that has imprisoned the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes, they're forced to follow a cryptic prophecy, while learning to work together to stop the spread of evil. If only they can succeed in time to save their town... and possibly the world.

This book wasn't at all what I expected.  I'm not typically a "witch" story enthusiast, but this author did a fabulous job melding the witch element into Greek and Egyptian mythology, which you know I love. I've never seen this done in a book before, so I was pleasantly surprised, intrigued and sucked right into this unusual story.

I loved all of the characters from the start.  Some of them came across, at first, in a stereotypical way, but it didn't take long for me to see past that, as each character grew and changed.  With what the comet does to them, and how it draws them together as a group, characters changed with the circumstances, became stronger, and more individual.

And my favorite part of the story?  A quest.  I love a good quest, and the fact that the author placed these characters on a journey of clues and research was a great addition to the story that really pulled me into their world and had me in suspense with each new discovery.

The writing was very fast-paced, the story very interesting, and the romance sweet a little hot.  The book had all the elements (not pun intended) to really keep me interested and keep me reading.  When I reached the final page, I was left wanting more, which is the mark of a success to me.  I'm definitely on board to read the next book.  A good read!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tempting Future YA Releases: May 2016

Tempting Future YA Releases is posted at the beginning of each month to let you know what new releases are coming out in the new month that caught my eye.  Naturally, the list is in no way complete, but will feature future releases that looked great to me.  (I'm also including New Adults as well.)  Here is the list for May 2016 Young Adult/New Adult book releases.

Flying Blind by Caroline A. Gill  (5/2016)
Of Brine & Blood by B. Longino Smith  (5/1/2016)
Daughter of the Sun (Cult of the Cat #1) by Zoe Kalo  (5/1/2016)

This Piece of My Heart by Robyn M. Ryan  (5/2/2016)
Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano  (5/3/2016)
The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass (5/3/2016)

Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers  (5/3/2016)
27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa  (5/3/2016)
The Paladins (The Artisans #2) by Julie Reece  (5/3/2016)

Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach  (5/3/2016)
The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude  (5/3/2016)
True Born by L.E. Sterling  (5/3/2016)

The Girl I Used To Be by April Henry  (5/3/2016)
Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake  (5/3/2016)
The Society by Jodie Andrefski  (5/3/2016)

Curse of the Moon (Secret Warrior #2) by Beth Trissell  (5/4/2016)
Scarred (Lost Series #2) by LeTeisha Newton  (5/6/2016)
Taxi (Take It Off #11) by Cambria Hebert  (5/6/2016)

Stricken by A.K. Morgen  (5/8/2016)
The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse  (5/9/2016)
The Inquisition (Summoner #2) by Taran Matharu  (5/10/2016)

The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine  (5/10/2016)
Traitor (Dragonrider Chronicles #3) by Nicole Conway  (5/10/2016)
Everland by Wendy Spinale  (5/10/2016)

Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods  (5/10/2016)
Endangered (Daughter of Hades #1) by Dani Hoots (5/13/2016)
Clara's Return by Suzann J. Linton  (5/13/2016)

Kisses On a Paper Airplane by Sarah Vance Tomkins  (5/14/2016)
The Midnight Society (Midnight Chronicles #1) by Rhonda Sermon  (5/15/2016)
Everafter by M. Lathan  (5/15/2016)

Uncovering Officer Smith by Sheena Hutchinson  (5/16/2016)
Winging It (Corrigan Falls Raiders #3) by Cate Cameron  (5/16/2016)
The Lunam Ceremony by Nicole Loufas  (5/16/2016)

Fighter Girl by Kathryn James  (5/17/2016)
Withering Rose (Once Upon a Curse #2) by Kaitlyn Davis  (5/17/2016)
Rise by Jennifer Anne Davis  (5/17/2016)

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye  (5/17/2016)
Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by Kimberly Karalius  (5/17/2016)
Silence Is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher  (5/17/2016)

Because I Love You by Tori Rigby  (5/17/2016)
Spark by Holly Schindler  (5/17/2016)
The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout  (5/17/2016)

Circle of Jinn (Becoming Jinn #2) by Lori Goldstein  (5/17/2016)
The Broken Crown (Narrow Gate #1) by Amryn Cross (5/23/2016)
The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey  (5/24/2016)

Exile For Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin  (5/24/2016)
Play Your Heart Out (Sinful Serenade #4) by Crystal Kaswell  (5/24/2016)
The Midnight Sea (Fourth Element #1) by Kat Ross  (5/26/2016)

Dodging Trains by Sunniva Dee  (5/29/2016)
The Sons of Gyges (The Girl in the Mirror #2) by Philip J. Gould (5/29/2016)
Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles #2) by Intisar Khanani  (5/30/2016)

Joshua and the Arrow Realm (Lightning Rod #2) by Donna Galanti  (5/31/2016)
Lies I Live By by Lauren Sabel  (5/31/2016)
The Sleeping Prince (The Sin Eater's Daughter #2) by Melinda Salisbury  5/31/2016)

In the Shadow of the Dragon King (The Chronicles of Fallhallow #1) by J. Keller Ford  (5/31/2016)
Resurgence (Silver Blackthron #3) by Kerry Wilkinson  (5/31/2016)

Which one of these are you looking forward to?  Leave a comment!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...