Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen

The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare (Alex Wayfare, #1)
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Strange Chemistry 
Pages: 410
Source:  Purchased
ISBN-10:  1908844930
Rating:4 Hearts

Book Description

"For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.

Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever.

And will stop at nothing to make this life her last."


Short and Sweet:

This was such a fun and intense time-travel-y/past-live-y/soul-mate-y read. The ending was the only thing that held the rating back for me (cliffhanger).

To Elaborate...

Alex keeps having visions that ruin her life. When someone named Porter finally leaves a mysterious message saying he can provide answers, Alex takes a chance and meets him. Through him, she learns that she is a Descender, someone who can access their past lives (and in her case, their are 56 of them). There is someone who doesn't want her traveling though, and she will have to figure out what's really going on before it's too late. 

My favorite thing about this book is the imagery. It's never lengthy, but the descriptions are so original, and they paint the perfect picture of the scenes. Alex goes through several different time periods in history, and it was so awesome reading all the different descriptions about them. I love the whole concept behind the Descender idea, and it made for such an intense read. 

The romance(s- depending on how you look at it) is swoony and sweet. My only complaint is the cliffhanger at the end. I didn't really see it as necessary, but I"m not a fan of cliffhangers anyways. Even though Strange Chemistry is going away, I believe that the author still has plans for a sequel in the spring. Though, I'm not sure if it will self-published or it it's with a different group. It still says Strange Chemistry on Goodreads, so I'm not 100% positive on this, but either way, I'm definitely going to look out for the sequel!

4 Hearts! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Blog Tour & Review: Feuds by Avery Hastings


Hello! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Feuds by Avery Hastings! This tour is hosted by the lovely Paper Lantern Lit and I'm so excited to be a part of it! 

"Avery Hastings is an author and former book editor from New York City. Avery grew up in Ohio, graduated in 2006 from the University of Notre Dame and earned her MFA from the New School in 2008. When she's not reading or writing, Avery can usually be spotted lying around in the park with her affable dog. Like her protagonists, she knows how to throw a powerful right hook and once dreamed of becoming a ballerina. In addition to New York, Avery has recently lived in Mumbai and Paris, but is happy to call Brooklyn home (for now)."

  Find Avery on:  


Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin   
Pages: 272
Source: eARC for Review
ISBN-10:  125005771X
Rating: 3.5 Hearts

Book Description

"For Davis Morrow, perfection is a daily reality. Like all Priors, Davis has spent her whole life primed to be smarter, stronger, and more graceful than the lowly Imperfects, or “Imps.” A fiercely ambitious ballerina, Davis is only a few weeks away from qualifying for the Olympiads and finally living up to her mother’s legacy when she meets Cole, a mysterious boy who leaves her with more questions each time he disappears.

Davis has no idea that Cole has his own agenda, or that he’s a rising star in the FEUDS, an underground fighting ring where Priors gamble on Imps. Cole has every reason to hate Davis—her father’s campaign hinges on the total segregation of the Imps and Priors—but despite his best efforts, Cole finds himself as drawn to Davis as she is to him.

Then Narxis, a deadly virus, takes its hold--and Davis’s friends start dying. When the Priors refuse to acknowledge the epidemic, Davis has no one to turn to but Cole. Falling in love was never part of their plan, but their love may be the only thing that can save her world...in Avery Hastings's Feuds.


Short and Sweet:

  Feuds is a dystopian romance with a Romeo and Juliet flare for the dramatic in both its love story and its politics.

To Elaborate...

The first half of Feuds left me a bit lukewarm to the story. Davis and Cole are super different from one another in social status, but similar in character: both are driven and goal oriented, both are a bit naive, and each is living out their lives for their families/parents to some extent. I imagine that this contributes to the instalove they feel for each other. They take all of that determination and obsession and redirect it towards each other. 

Honestly, I was bit thrown off the story initially because I found it abrupt and lusty, especially since Cole mentions Davis' appearance more than anything else. However, after a long period of time where Davis and Cole essentially angst for one another, we finally get to see a bit more about this world and why they may be so desperate to grasp for love where they can find it.

Davis has simply never felt that 'spark' for a boy before, so this is her first experience with hormones and she spends a lot of time internally working out these new 'feelings.' However, Cole meets Davis with ulterior motives. Motives that he quickly abandons once he begins having feelings towards her, but as a result there is a lot of relational dishonesty on his part. Overall, the romance is a bit messy. And to make matters even more complicated, a relationship between them is illegal. She's a genetically modified, 'superior' Prior and Cole is an Imp (really rude name for regular 'ugly' folks). But Davis doesn't know that Cole is an Imp, because he's an IMPoster parading around like a Prior! (See what I did there... *snort*) So in a sense, he knowingly endangers her without her consent. I spent quite a lot of time feeling grouchy at Cole, but later in the story I felt like he redeemed himself by making her safety a bigger priority.

While all of this is going on, the world building is falling a bit behind. By the time it catches up to the love story the book is half over. I really did love the concept of these 'perfect' humans covering up a disease that they shouldn't be experiencing and I wanted to see more of that 'government cover-up' side of it all. Why are they hiding an epidemic? Who is benefiting from keeping it a secret? How were they keeping the families quiet? Wondering who's going to get sick and disappear next created a very dark and twisty sense of despair and tension, but I will definitely be looking for more answers to these questions in the next book. 

Overall, this story wasn't my favorite, but I was entertained throughout and I'm curious to see what happens next in Avery Hastings' corrupt and dangerous world.
3.5 Hearts!
In Stores September 2, 2014!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Review: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

  Illusions of Fate
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen  
Pages: 288
Source: eARC for Review
ISBN-10:  0062135899
Rating: 3.5 Hearts


Book Description

"Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.
I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray."


Short and Sweet:

I love the writing and the main character, Jessamin, but there were some things I really wanted to see more of. 

To Elaborate...

All Jessamin wants is to be challenged in school and help her home island. When she meets Finn and strange crows start following her, everything changes. She is thrust into a world of power and magic with people thirsty for revenge. She will have to do everything she can to protect those she is coming to love and to avoiding getting lost in a world so different from her own. 

Jessamin is possibly one of my favorite main characters ever. I love her cleverness and bravery, and she's a really fun character overall. The writing is so smooth and captivating, and it really wraps you up in Jessamin's world. It's a quick read, but I continuously wanted it to be longer so I could enjoy more of it.   

I shipped the romance between Finn and Jessamin so hard, but I felt like it only scratched the surface of their relationship. I'm 90% sure this is a stand alone (and everything with them big question-wise is tied up by the end), but I REALLY wanted to see more of them. The swoony scenes were both tortuous and brilliant at the same time. Highlight for spoiler: The big kiss doesn't happen until about 70% in, which was great for build up, but then they only got maybe one or two other kisses in for the rest of the book, and dammit, they needed more kissing with how much I ship them. 

Just like with the relationship, I really wanted to see more world building as well. The magical elements were super cool and neat, but again, it felt like it only scratched the surface on something really great. 
All in all, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I knew that there was another book to look forward to that might go into more detail. Even without it though, the writing is just beautiful and I thorougly enjoyed reading the story. I'm really eager to go read more of Kiersten White's books now. She has so many out that I haven't read!
3.5 Hearts! 


Friday, August 29, 2014

Review: Haze by Paula Weston

  Haze: The Rephaim, Book 2
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pages: 448
Source:  eARC
ISBN-10: 9781922079923
Rating: 5 Hearts

Book Description

"Gaby Winters' life used to be pretty normal. She lived with her best friend. She worked in a library. She was slowly getting over the death of her twin brother, Jude. And then Rafa came looking for her.

     With him, her blood-soaked nightmares stopped. But now they are reality. She is one of the Rephaim - a wingless half angel, descended from the Fallen. Demons exist and they are hunting her.

     She knows she's alive when she's meant to be dead. And that means maybe Jude is too. So why isn't she out there looking for him?"


Short and Sweet:

This is such a wicked, kick-ass series! And the second book does not suffer from 'Second Book Syndrome' at all.

To Elaborate...

It's so hard to put my feelings into thoughts on this one. I don't typically rush to grab fallen angels stories (though I don't run from them either), but this series has so many interesting spins in it that it really stands out. One of the things I really love about the series is that though it is about angels and demons (and the setting/world building is excellent), the characters' actions and personalities stand out.  Gaby is still dealing with not remembering anything, and my stomach never ceases to twist around in knots in scary anticipation of finding out what will happen when she does remember what it is that she's forgotten. 

Most of this book is intense action. Woven in, and though brief, are romantic/swoony scenes that go on steam overdrive. Rafa and Gabe are still in a complicated mess of sorts, but that doesn't stop them from giving into their feelings from time to time, and I was more than okay with that. :) I ship them so much that I really wanted to see more romance happening with them, but the action needed to be occurring, so I will impatiently wait for book 3 for more swoons.

Overall, this is a fun, upper YA story that commands you to dive into a world of angels, demons, long lost siblings, and intense romance. I would recommend reading it soon after the first book, however. It was probably a year or so since I read the first book, and I didn't have time to a reread before this one. There are some great refreshers throughout, but I still didn't remember as much as I needed to. 

5 Hearts! 

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars

 Throwback Thursday is a weekly feature & linkup here at I Heart YA Fiction where we will be reviewing older releases and/or books that have been on our shelves for awhile. Feel free to participate by reading from the bottom of your shelf and adding links to your recently reviewed older titles! We would love to read your Throwback Reviews! 

This week's feature?

Release Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray  
Pages: 407
Source: Won from Jen Ryland @ YA Romantics
ISBN-10:  0062006142
Rating: 5 Hearts


Book Description

"It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.



Short and Sweet:

This book is really SO amazing! I have two more books to read before I can read Across a Star-Swept Sea and it's killing me. I need to know more!!!

*Potential spoilers if you haven't read this book* Beware!!!!






To Elaborate...

I've seen For Darkness Shows the Stars around forever, but I did not know (or I forgot) that it was inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion. However, it's been so long since I read Jane Austen's books that I have no idea how closely it follows the story line. I can say that, like any Austen novel, there is absolutely a quality to FDSTS that is lovely and angsty all at once.

Years ago, when Elliot made the choice to stay on her family's farm, rather than run away with Kai, she broke her own heart to follow her duty to her protect the Reduced that live and work on the North Estate. Elliot loved Kai desperately, but she did not consider her own love life to be more important than the fate of so many who would be hurting without her. Elliot is above all else: kind, caring, strong and fiercely protective of those she loves. Letting Kai go actually exemplifies these qualities perfectly. I really enjoyed Elliot as a strong, female character. She makes unpopular choices and she doesn't mind being unpopular so long as she can do what is right.

Kai, once her playmate and servant, is still angry with Elliot after so many years. He treats her poorly, speaks cruelly, and seems determined to show her that she is now nothing to him. In his eyes, Elliot betrayed him that day so long ago because she thinks she's superior to him. After all, she is a Luddite and he is a Post. I understood his position and his hurt pride was an obvious contributing factor, but I was so pissed that he refused to see that the world doesn't revolve around him. For all of his anger at the injustices and inequalities of their world, it seemed like he would have understood her choices and admired them. I felt like her priorities involved hard decisions and self sacrifice and that Kai's behavior toward her was abhorrent. These two are addictively frustrating and all you will WANT is for them to get over themselves, have a conversation and BE TOGETHER!

*deep breath*

The story is told in alternating chapters of 'now' and 'then.' With the 'then' aspect told through letters between Elliot and Kai as they grew up together and fell for each other. I love that you are watching them fall apart in the past, and heal in the present at essentially the same rate so that the two are weaving together. This was such an interesting way to read a story. You sort of get to solve the mystery of their 'love gone wrong' and see how they ended up where they currently are with each other. I really enjoyed the style of it all.

However, these two idiots made me want to pull my hair out at times. This is how I felt for most of the story: 

Kiss already! Just kissssssssssssss!

Please? Could you just.... Omg, FINALLY.

Okay back to things besides kissing. :) I loved (and hated) how stubborn Elliot and Kai both were along the way. But mostly, I just really loved the entire book and I can't recommend it highly enough. I will absolutely be rereading this again one day soon.

5 Adoring (and Angsty) Hearts! 

And don't miss out on our current giveaway!

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Your post doesn't have to be on Thursday to participate! Just link up your own reviews of recently read older books!

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