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Earth’s End by Elise Kova – Review

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Title: Earth’s End

Series: Air Awakens
Author: Elise Kova
Rating: 4/5

Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.


Can we just take a minute to applaud Baldair on just being a genuinely amazing person? *soft clapping sounds in the distance* Lovely. I’m confident enough in my own ability to latch onto unsuspecting characters enough to be able to go out on a limb and say that he could possibly be my favourite character from this book. I know, I know, “But Price Aldrik is everything you love in a love interest, what has happened?!” Well, hear me out.

Alright, for starters, Aldrik legitimately creeped me the hell out. In Air Awakens and Fire Falling, it was like “Ooh dark prince, me likey”. And at the start of Earth’s End, this is much how I reacted. He was hurt, he needed Vhalla, and then his reaction to her absence when he woke up was just amazing and I freaking loved it. However, I don’t think Aldrik completely has his wits about. Not only does he essentially openly attack his father, but he does it in such a flamboyant and over-the-top fashion that it’s…unnerving. You know nothing good can come from that. Then, when he started snapping at Vhalla more and more about her “prying” I started getting those uneasy feelings that remind me of Tamlin from ACOTAR by Sarah J. Maas. He is unstable and not in the sexy way that the dark prince usually is, but like serious disturbed. When Vhalla finally allows herself to see his drinking problem, I think that solidified my resolve. The fact that she turned to Baldair in that situation speaks volumes to me. Not to mention he put off his own affairs to help her. Aldrik is like…clingy in a creepy way and throws around “my love” WAY too often for it to be smart. Just saying, uneasy vibes.


There’s two more books to this series, I knew this one couldn’t have a happy ending. The fact that Aldrik and Vhalla both thought they could get away with their…to avoid spoilers…plan for the end of the war was just ridiculous. They basically flaunted their plan and were asking for it to be dismantled. Once again, I turn to Aldrik’s unholy reaction. I don’t know what it is with people and just pushing their significant other away at inopportune times, but stop. The last 10 pages were probably the best part of the entire book just because of the sheer magnitude of everyone’s reactions. Not to mention it’s when Vhalla is the most badass because she basically says “Screw you” to everyone and just *poof* disappears.


I love this series and the fact that I’ve been dragging it out as long as I have is both amazing and terrifying. I do hope Aldrik cleans up his act, because I’m getting real tired of his bs while Baldair is out there being the golden boy (ha). His character alone and a few of Vhalla’s “WTF” moments are the only reason I couldn’t bring myself to give this a full 5 stars, but it was STUNNING nonetheless.
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2017 Debut Author Bash – Rebecca Ross



35098412When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?


1. Q: Which passion would you pick and why?

A: I would definitely be a passion of knowledge (although I think dramatics have the most fun!).

2. Q: What gave you inspiration for your world (books, movies, etc.)?

A: Since I’m a very visual person, I glean a lot of inspiration from Pinterest; I have a board for TQR that is full of landscapes and castles and costumes. I think there is something about the Renaissance that really draws me; I love the thought of culture going through a rebirth. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is one of my favorite books ever, and I loved the world she created in that story. And I’m also a huge fan of the movie Ever After! I think all of these things really built up my own imagination.

3. Q: Which character do you relate to the most?

A: I relate the most to Brienna. I feel like she and I would be pretty good friend in real life 🙂

4. Q: Will we learn more about Brienna’s passion-sisters or Cartier?

A: Yes! You will definitely learn more about Cartier in the second installment. And Brienna’s passion-sisters are some of my favorite characters, so I hope to also do more with them.

5. Q: Do you have any writing habits?

A: I must always have a drink with me when I’m writing. I typically have coffee, water, herbal tea, and kombucha on my desk (sometimes all of those at one time!).

6. Q: What kind of research did you do for The Queen’s Rising?

A: Here are a few things I did research on before I got started writing: clothes, music, castles, food, medieval swordsmanship. I feel like most fantasy is grounded in history, and while I didn’t use all of my research, it definitely provided a good jumping off point for me to get started writing.

7. Q: What kind of books do you read in your freetime?

A: I love to read fantasy in my spare time.

8. Q: Do you have an author you always read/a favourite author?

A: My top two favorite authors are Juliet Marillier and Melina Marchetta. They know how to write characters and create worlds like no one else (and they also have both made me ugly cry in their books).

9. Q: What can we look forward to from you in the future?

A: Definitely more stories! TQR is a trilogy, and I’m actually going through edits for Book 2 right now. Book 2 is a direct sequel (not a companion book).

10. Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?

A: My advice for aspiring writers is to write. And I know that sounds simple, but you really must learn how to dedicate time to getting words on the page. You don’t have to necessarily write every day (although I do feel like it helps turn it into a good habit), but you must hone the discipline to write even when you don’t feel like it. You learn the most about crafting a novel by going through the whole process: the beginning, the middle, the end. And be prepared to rewrite. All good writing is rewriting.

And a Giveaway!!!!!

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Caloric by Tricia Barr – Book Blitz + Giveaway

Displaying CaloricBlitzBanner.png

Title: Caloric
Author: Tricia Barr

Displaying Caloric.jpgPhoenyx Blake has a secret. When she wakes in a dungeon with three strangers, she is forced to face it, which isn’t easy seeing as her cellmate, Sebastian, has starred in her dreams. As days pass, they learn they are each one of the four elements bound in human form and they have been abducted by an ancient society that plans to kill them and steal their powers. If they hope to escape, they must master their powers, and Phoenyx must learn to let go of fear and let love in, before it’s too late.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35408684-caloric?ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Caloric-Tricia-Barr/dp/0998977713/
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/caloric-tricia-barr/1122743322?ean=9780998977713
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/caloric-2

LOOK HERE FOR A SUPER AWESOME EXCERPT!!!

   The door clanked unlocked and then swung open. This time when the large bald man stepped inside, he paused, did a double take of the room and dropped the large paper bags at his feet. His face went sallow and he looked clearly distraught.
“Shit,” he muttered. Then he approached the cell to take a closer look and assess his next move.
As soon as he came close enough, Phoenyx grabbed his arm. He jumped in shock and confusion, but then quickly relaxed, soothed by her touch.
“Don’t be afraid,” she said in a sultry voice. “You want to help us. All you have to do is unlock these cells and let us out.”
“I would but I don’t have the key,” he said, his eyes locked on hers, looking like a love-sick puppy.
There was a collective sigh of disappointment behind her.
“Who does?” she asked.
“Dexter has it,” he confessed eagerly.
“Is there any way that you can get the key for us?”
“Uhhh, I don’t know,” he said. “He keeps it hidden in his office and no one is allowed in there. I will gladly try.”
She frowned. Why did we just assume this automaton would have the key? This really put a damper on their plans.
“Ask him what we’re doing in here,” Sebastian whispered.
“Right, why are we locked up in here?” she asked the oaf.
“Because, you four are the Bound Ones, from the legend,” he said as if it was simple and obvious.
“The Bound Ones?” she asked, feeling like she just stepped into The Twilight Zone. “What legend?”
“Yes, the legend we learn when we join the brotherhood. The legend of the Bound Ones says that, thousands of years ago, man was a slave to the elements. Man could not master crops because Earth was fickle. Volcanic eruptions would swallow whole villages and earthquakes would topple any and all of man’s accomplishments. Man could not master the sea because Water was too proud to be tamed. Air constantly tore apart cities with tornados and hurricanes, and Fire ravaged everything in its path. So our forefathers, the wisest of the Celtic sorcerers, forged a powerful spell binding each of the four elements to a volunteer from the rite, so that man would have control over the elements, rather than be controlled by them.”
“So…you’re saying that the four of us each have one of the four elements inside of us?” she asked, unable to keep the tone of doubt from spewing out.
“Yes, you are Earth, Air, Fire, and Water in bound human form,” he said, as if none of this sounded ridiculous.
Phoenyx turned around and looked at the others. Their faces were a mixture of skepticism and pensiveness.
“If this is true, what makes you think we are these Bound Ones? Wouldn’t they be long dead seeing as this legend happened so long ago?” Skylar asked.
“According to the legend,” the bald man began, “the spell was made to keep the elements bound in human form through reincarnation. The elements are eternal and cannot be destroyed, so if the bound human died, the element would once again be free. The spell was made to assure that once the human died, the element would be immediately reborn into another human vessel. Unfortunately for our forefathers, they didn’t take into account how that would make it impossible to keep track of them. After the first volunteers died, we lost hold of them permanently.”
“That still doesn’t explain why you think these Bound Ones are us particular four people,” Skylar argued.
“There was another partition in the spell,” the man continued. “When one of the Bound Ones dies, all die, and when one is born, all are born.”
That struck a chord in all of them.
“That’s why we all have the same birthday,” Lily said.
“That’s why they want to keep us alive,” Sebastian said. “They think if one of us dies, we’ll all die.”
“Yes,” the man said.
“That doesn’t prove anything,” Sebastian said. “So we were all born on the same day. Big deal. There must be thousands of other people all over the world born that same day.”
“You were all born, not just on the same day, but at the exact same time,” the man said. “Your births coincided with the deaths of four people who showed signs of being the previous Bound Ones.”
“We were all born at the same time?” Lily thought out loud. “That would definitely bring the odds down quite a bit. Approximately two-hundred and fifty people are born every minute—at least, that’s what I remember from my nursery rotation.”
This was ridiculous. It had to be. These people clearly had some screws loose…then again, the four of them did have powers. That couldn’t just be coincidence. That same nagging, writhing feeling reared its ugly head once more. She ignored it and went on with the interrogation.
“Okay, so let’s say we are the ‘Bound Ones’,” Phoenyx said, air-quoting with her free hand. “What do you want with us?”
“The Celtic sorcerers who bound the original humans founded a brotherhood to keep an eye on the elements, to keep everything in balance, and called it the Four Corners.” He moved the fingers of his free hand over the pin on his shirt. “Dexter Mauldive, our Grand Master, convinced the High Council that it was time to put the elements back under our control, and that it would be best to put all four elements into only one vessel, making it easier to relocate them after each rebirth. He has volunteered to be the first.”
“Just how do you plan to do this?” Skylar asked.
“We have realized that we can’t just kill you, because then the elements would immediately be reborn somewhere else and we would lose them once more. Our best researchers have said that the elements must be in a sort of limbo state in order to be manipulated and placed inside a new host.”
Phoenyx swallowed hard. “Limbo state? How will you accomplish that?”
“There is currently a massive solar storm happening. In three days a very rare, very large solar flare is forecasted to explode. Our researchers say the radiation and electro-magnetism this will release will both heighten the powers of all four elements and weaken their hold to your bodies. On that day, the four of you will undergo a series of electrocution which will further weaken that hold enough for the spell to work. In order to break down your bodies even more in preparation for the ritual, we were going to starve you. This is the last time you will be fed.”
Phoenyx’s heart pounded wildly and the hand she grasped him with was trembling and dripping cold sweat. Holy shit, this was so much worse than anything she could have imagined in her head. The prospect of being killed was already bad enough but to find out that they were going to be starved an electrocuted? This was a goddamn nightmare!
She sensed Lily was crying. Like hell she was going to let this happen to them!
“What’s your name?” she asked, her steady voice disguising the panic and anger she felt.
“Lucas,” he answered. She noted to herself how creepy it was that, even as he told them about all the horrible things that his cult planned for them, he still gawked at her like a horny gorilla.
“Lucas, you have to bring us that key and get us out of here,” she commanded, pushing her will into him with everything she had. “At all costs but be discreet about it. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” he said, almost like a moan of pleasure.
She released his arm. “Now go, and hurry!”
He nodded eagerly, moved the last brown paper bags closer to the cells, and left the room.
Now that he was gone, the room was dead silent, except for the loud banging of Phoenyx’s heart. No one spoke for a very long moment. Finally a sniffle escaped from Lily. Phoenyx instinctively turned and put her arms around Lily, inviting Lily to stop holding it in and her tears soaked into Phoenyx’s already quite dirty shirt. Phoenyx had no words to comfort her with this time. If Lucas didn’t come back to free them, they would die.

AND AN EXTRA SPECIAL GIVEAWAY

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Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes – Series Review/Recap/Overlook

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Bear with me, this review/recap/overlook will include spoilers and my own personal opinions of the events that take place in the books Falling Kingdoms, Rebel Spring, Gathering Darkness, Frozen Tides, and Crystal Storm. If any of these are spoiled for you in the upcoming post, it is now your own fault, for I have given you this warning. I, in no way, own Falling Kingdoms or the characters in it.

Clearly, this being about the first 5 books in a rather long, tasking series, this will be a super long post. I will try my hardest to keep spoilers at the minimum, despite my prior warning, and I will do my best to keep this in sections. I will talk about the character evolution, the relationship evolution, and the plot evolution. As a reminder, these are my opinions and I don’t mean to offend anyone.

Evolution of Characters

Princess Cleiona Aurora (Cleo) Bellos of Auranos: It’s safe to say that Cleo is one of my favourite characters. Her transition from book one Cleo to book 5 Cleo is amazing and truly inspiring. She’s forced to become this strong, deceitful person so quickly, you can’t help but fall in love with her. In the first book, she is so happy-go-lucky and loose, she hates the Limerians by the end of book one, understandable. By the end of book five, though, she’s in love with her worst enemy. Strong, proud, and willing to do anything to get her throne back. All the loss she has endured, it’s only fair that something should finally go her way.

Prince Magnus Lukas Damora of Limeros: Magnus, like all the main characters, also went through a great transition. It’s obvious in the first book how closed off and cold he is toward everyone, which is no surprise given his parents. The only light being Lucia in his life for so long. The end of book five was so incredibly heartbreaking for me, reading what happens to him (shan’t spoil). After being with Cleo through so much, he finally opens up and when he does, it just turns on him. I just feel so bad for him. And I love him. So much.

Princess Lucia Eva Damora of Limeros: Being almost the sole hope for so many people must be a struggle in itself, but when everyone is fighting over the same power, it must be so much harder. I’m not saying that Lucia’s loss of Alexius is anything to excuse the destruction she caused after the fact, but I feel like she should be cut some slack at the very least. It’s possible, I think, for Lucia to redeem herself in the last book, having finally seen through the thick fog that blinded her for so long.

Jonas Agallon: Regardless of what I’ve read about Jonas, I find he has very few layers to his character. Simple peasant boy turned rebel. In ways it’s so predictable, it should be expected. But as a rebel leader, Jonas fails in so many ways, seeing as his plans seem to almost never work and even when they do they result in a great loss of life. I understand his rage against losing his brother, but in his quest for revenge, he basically left his family behind and almost single handedly caused the Auranian battle in book one.

Felix Gaebras: King’s assassin turned rebel. Somehow trained by some of the world’s hardest people, yet manages to get in the clutches of Princess Amara and imprisoned. I’m not going to say that Felix’s actions earned him his current position, but Felix’s actions earned him is current position.

Nicolo (Nic) Cassian: I’ve loved Nic since book one. His banter with Magnus (whom he needs to make friendship with) alone is great, but his friendship with Cleo is the most pure thing ever and they deserve to be friends forever. He’s just so sassy despite losing his sister and he’s so strong and independent, I just love it! P.S. Nic, please be okay.

Princess (Empress??) Amara Cortas of Kraeshia: Power hungry. To the very core, power hungry. I hope she gets what she deserves in the long run.

Relationships

Magnus/Cleo (Magneo): Nothing in this world or the next could possibly convince me that they don’t 100% belong together. They are passion and love and if they ruled together, they could become the most powerful couple, I’m convinced.

Jonas/Cleo: Dead end romance? Seemed like they had something going on that just kinda died off.

Lucia/Magnus: Started out super gross, but ended out being okay. I don’t ship it, but I do want them to make up and be close again. It’s the least that Magnus deserves.

Magnus/King Gaius: Super intense. Every scene with them is a show-down and I have to slow down to take in every minute. When Magnus finally stood up to him, I practically cried. Yet Gaius continues to intervene with Magnus’s life, as if anything he does could fix their relationship.

Nic/Cleo: Worlds strongest/best friendship

Ashur/Nic: I want them to be happy. Let them be happy *looks hopefully at Morgan Rhodes*

Lysandra/Jonas: I’m actually convinced that they would never have worked out. Jonas was so in love with Cleo and then suddenly he’s in love with Lys? SPOILER Right after she died?! I just don’t believe it.

SERIES AS A WHOLE

To get across just how much I love this series, keep in mind that in order to properly do this post, I reread all five books and book marked pages I thought were important. And after I finished book five like yesterday, I wanted to start all over again. This series is so beautiful and I can’t believe I called it a Game of Thrones wannabe the first time I read book one. I am so happy I decided to keep reading, it really shows that you should never judge a series by the first book. I will actually cry very real tears when I finish the last book, but until then I’ll just reread the series until my books fall apart.

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Traveler by L.E. DeLano – Review

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Title: Traveler
Author: L.E. DeLano
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

Fair warning: may be spoilers

So, I put off this review for a while solely because I’m not entirely sure what to say about it without being repetitive of the review I wrote a while back. Of course, this book is the final copy, therefore different, but for the most part, it’s the same.

It is no secret that I absolutely love this book and that it’s one of my (if not my all-time) favourite books and has been since I first read it on Swoonreads.com. The way DeLano writes is like I’m actually in the pages of the book. From page one through the last page, you are having adventures with Jessa and Finn. With this writing, you are a Traveler. And I think that’s all a book lover really wants. To have the adventure of a lifetime. So, when you read a book that gives you the sense of that adventure, what more could you ask for? Besides a book 2, of course.

I could read this book a dozen, a thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand, a million times and I will fall in love with it every time. I could read this book until it falls apart in my hands, turns to dust, and I have it memorized and I would still fall in love with it. In a day and age where supposedly there are ‘no unique story ideas’, L.E. DeLano sure did find a way.

Now that I have my swooning (see what I did there?) out of the way, let’s get down to some points and characters.

Let’s start with Jessa; creative, clever, caring (especially when it comes to family), and down to earth. In the beginning, Jessa comes off as the normal day-to-day teenager; school, work, home, repeat, but Jessa is a writer. Her dreams are so vivid that she can take those and put them on a page like no other. That is, until she meets a guy from her dreams. After some coaxing, Jessa finally gets the truth behind her vivid dreams. She is a Traveler, a person who can travel between the different realities using reflective objects. But all is not as it seems as Jessa learns that being a Traveler isn’t all it’s made out to be. Some of her “other lives” don’t have it as well as she does, not to mention she’s being hunted in every reality.

Finn. The thing that I just can’t get over about this book is that you can have one character, but actually have him be like a hundred different characters at the same time. But he’s still always the same character. It might be a little confusing when you look at it that way, but trust me, it makes sense. I can’t say much about Finn without giving away some things, but just a warning, this character will make you cry at every turn.

Another thing about DeLano that just blows me away is that she must have had to come up with dozens of back stories and lives for every reality, because they are literally so detailed and insightful, it’s almost hard to believe. I could spend weeks just reading about all the different realities and how they differ from the one we’re in.

There’s just so much about this book that I love that if I went over everything I want to, this would win an award for world’s longest review, so I’ll just leave it to the reader to find all the amazingness (and pirates). This story and this world has so much to offer, I can’t believe I have to wait a year for book two!

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Review

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Maybe 4.5

Great way to start off the year! Beginning was a little slow, but amazing once it picked up!

Okay, after further reflection, I decided I should go a little more in depth about the first book I read for 2017.

I absolutely, positively, with out a single doubt in my mind, hated Helene with a burning passion to the point where I can’t even explain why without it sounding fake. She tries…way to hard to be tough. And I get it, she is, and in a world full of boys that aren’t necessarily trained with boundaries and respect for women, she is forced into taking on a tougher persona even more than she would have. Yet, from the minute we met her I just knew she was a bad seed. And the way she interacted with Elias was just not okay with me and my disinterest in her and her life just went all the way through the ending and will probably carry into the next book.

Elias. Dear, poor soul. I did get a little tired of his ‘taking the high road’ personality where he looked down on basically everyone, but I got over it. He and Laia…I love it. I’m not blind though, I see the instalove, I can’t ignore it, it’s there, but it doesn’t change the fact that I love them so much. I’m excited to see them in the next book without Helene there to interfere with my little mental image of the happy ending (Is that even a thing?).

Laia.
Honestly, not that sure what to say about her. Well, if I had one thing to tell her I would say “Your mother doesn’t seem that great.” Am I the only one that thought that? Based on what I know about her, she seems to have had a god complex, while her father was the real caring, smart one. Laia must take after him a lot, but her courage is probably from her mother’s side. To a degree, I would compare Laia’s mother to the Commandant. But enough about the mother. I like Laia. She’s tough and on more than one occasion I was genuinely scared for her, but dang she can be stupid. For reasons that I won’t bring up because I don’t want to spoil, but if you read it, you know what I mean.

Overall, it was a great book. Truly. Quite excited to read more.

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Just a Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre – Review

Title: Just a Few Inches
Author: Tara St. Pierre
Format: Paperback
Pages: 306
Rating: 4.5/5

25636813To see my interview with Tara St. Pierre, go here!

I received a review copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my review.

Carrie Roberts is your normal teenage girl that has something completely abnormal happen to her. She’s shrinking…in height. After taking some weight loss pills to fit into a dress for the school formal, Carrie loses a little more than ‘just a few inches’. Soon, Carrie finds herself shrinking almost an inch every day. The problem? She doesn’t know how to stop it. The doctors don’t know how to stop it. And even if they stop it, they don’t know if they can reverse it. And every one starts asking the question. What if Carrie never stops shrinking?

This book was spectacular. In the beginning, I found it a little slow going. I didn’t particularly like Todd and I found the small interactions between Carrie and her friends tedious at times. As for her feeling the need to lose the extra weight, that just made me mad. She’s a cheerleader and is obviously popular at school with friends that care about her and her boyfriend is practically a star in the eyes of the school, yet, basically out of spite, she buys a dress she knows won’t fit her, just to prove a point?! Ugh. I can understand wanting to aggravate your mortal enemy, if even a little, but ladies, please don’t do harm to your bodies to prove a point, you are worth more than that and you all look beautiful.

Carrie doesn’t notice that she’s shrinking right away, until she notices that she’s looking up at a friend she’s usually level with and level with a friend she’s used to looking down at. If you’re like me, then you’re already barely five foot tall and wouldn’t notice losing another inch or two (but what I wouldn’t give to have an extra three inches, eh?), but for a 5′ 8” Carrie, this is a drastic change. Carrie’s shrinking puts into perspective of who her true friends are and who she really wants in her live. Once things get more serious, you start to wonder if Carrie will ever stop shrinking…but I’ll leave it to the reader to figure that one out.

There’s this one part near the end of the book that really showed the real danger that Carrie got herself in. Being about the size of a doll and a little sister with little friends that don’t believe in people Carrie’s size…you can understand how quickly things can go wrong there. My heart started pounding and I was flipping the pages so fast I thought I might rip a page. This ending is amazing and, while it scared the crap out of me, was probably my favourite part. Certainly a must read for someone looking for a fun, quick read.

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With Malice by Eileen Cook (ARC) – Review

Title: With Malice
Author: Eileen Cook
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 320
Rating 5/5

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**I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

When Jill Charron wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the past six weeks, her life is in ruins. The accident that put her in the hospital also killed her best friend, Simone. The worst part? Jill was the one driving and everyone seems to think that the accident wasn’t really an accident. Soon, Jill finds herself facing reporters and the harsh people on the internet that all seem to have one thing in common. Everyone thinks that Jill killed Simone. If only Jill knew what really happened. Was Simone’s death really an accident?

First thought after finishing With Malice? “Oh. My. Gosh.”

Pulling you in from page one, With Malice shows not only the struggles of Jill and how she has to deal with foreign police, her own injuries, and a blog that’s basically dedicated to trying to prove her guilty, but also the side of crime that I think many books leave out. About half of the book is dedicated to the reports given by the police, friends of Jill and Simone, random locals that witnesses the accident, and people they met along the way while in Italy. Giving these point of views really helps bring out how words and events can be twisted around. From people wanting the spotlight to honest misreading of the scenario, With Malice has it all.

Let’s talk characters.

Victim or not, I didn’t like Simone from the start. She seemed like the kind of person to trip someone in the hallway just so she could have a laugh or the kind of person to get someone else in trouble for something she did, because it would suit her better to play innocent all the time. Her character just sat wrong with me from cover to cover and I stick to that.

I felt bad for Jill, but I almost felt bad for feeling bad. Dealing with memory loss has to be awful, but when put in a situation where everyone’s asking “What happened?!” it certainly has to be worse. Especially since everyone thinks she was the one to blame for the accident, most people probably thought she was pulling the memory loss card just so she doesn’t have to tell her side. I think that’s awful. But with the lingering “Was is really an accident?” question floating around, I didn’t want to feel bad for her just in case she was to blame.

Nico. I didn’t trust him. No good looking foreign smart guy has good motives. Not to mention he’s obviously a flirt. And the very thought of committing murder-suicide for the likes of him (or any guy in general) should be unthinkable, but in this day and age, there’s just no way to know for sure.

I picked up With Malice with the promise of a fast paced, electrifying story that I wouldn’t be able to put down and I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. Cook knows exactly what the reader wants, mixing in mystery, violence, friendship, and romance in a way that’s just right for the story. With Malice keeps you guessing from the very start, causing you to try and make connections with outlandish theories and assumptions that keep you hooked from start to finish and leave you wanting more.

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Alienated by Melissa Landers – Review

Title: Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated
Book: 1
Format: Hardback
Pages: 344
Rating: 5/5

13574417Cara Sweeney is given the opportunity of a lifetime. Being the host of the first L’eihr exchange student. As much as it’s an honour, it’s also a curse. People of HALO (a group of humans against the L’eihr) are building their ranks. Tensions are rising quickly and on the verge of riot when Aelyx lands. Cara’s friends begin to turn on her one by one and soon there’s no one to trust.

Aelyx is less than pleased about being on Earth. The colours are too bright, the people are too touchy and harsh, and the food tastes like an explosion. But life on Earth isn’t all bad once you look past the group of protesters. Cara gives him his space and actually attempts to make his time on Earth mean something, but secrets are brewing and they can only stay hidden for so long.

Sci-fi is certainly one of my favourite genres, tied with fantasy. And boy does Melissa Landers know how to write sci-fi! From page one I was sucked into Cara and Aleyx’s lives. A world where everyone knows about and alien race that lives on an almost polar opposite Earth? Sign me up.

Seeing Aelyx’s transformation made me so happy. He showed so much growth and development over the course of the book. I felt so bad for him in the beginning. He lands on Earth and instantly feels homesick, because of the bright, earthy colours, then people keep touching him, which just throws him off even more. THEN to keep the bad times rolling, he can’t even eat the Earth food, because it’s so overpowering. BUT WAIT, HALO is trying to get him shipped away back to L’eihr and makes him feel as unwelcome as possible by protesting and shooting him nasty looks everywhere he goes. It gets to the point where Cara and her family can’t go anywhere, because no one will serve them.

I think Alienated really shows just how harsh people can be and how we refuse to trust people and adapt to change. People need to be more open minded and willing to hear the other side of the story before completely jumping the gun and rioting without cause.

Overall, I loved this book and I can’t wait to read more about Aelyx and Cara in Invaded.

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Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon – Review

Title: Dragonfly in Amber
Author: Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander
Book: 2
Format: Hardback
Pages: 745
Rating: 5/5

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Goodreads excerpt:
For nearly twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones… about a love that transcends the boundaries of time… and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.
Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart… in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising… and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.

I truly don’t know where to begin with this. Usually I start off my reviews with summarizing the book in my own words and then giving my views, but the volume of this book seems near impossible to sum up on my own. Despite the fact that there are over 700 pages to this story, I found that I read this fairly quickly. Going into this, I expected to be reading this at least two weeks, but within the second day of actually reading it, I was well over halfway through. Looking back, the story wasn’t even all that interesting. Most of the story was Claire and Jamie going about their normal business with added flare ups of action here and there. Yet, even though I usually detest excess description (which this book is certainly not lacking), I found myself interested in the nitty gritty details that made up this great historical novel. Yes, believe it or not, the history is what ends up drawing you in. The raw material that Gabaldon brings is unlike any other historical fiction novel I’ve ever read. Not only does it give the harsh reality of hygiene and health as a whole, but also the politics and the economic setbacks that I hadn’t expected.

Let’s take a moment to look at time travel.

There is no definite way to write time travel. Until someone has gone back in time and actually been able to write out their experiences, which may never happen, then we will be able to understand it. Even then, going back in time may potentially change everything, causing you to never go back in time to begin with. Thus the paradox starts and everyone reading this gets a headache, because this could literally go in a loop forever. My thoughts on time travel. In my mind, time (construct of human intelligence or not) forms to changes. Meaning, what we live in now is how it always has and always will be, because even if people go back in time, that means that they must have done it already. There is no one time and it’s all happening at the same time, so in reality, no one can change time, because time is as time does. With that being said, I love how time travel is incorporated. I admire any author that even dares to touch time travel simply because it’s so complicated and uncertain. Claire keeps thinking time and time again that her movements will effect how her life was back in the 1940s, but time is funny and she had already made all those moves before she was even born. It’s so completely fascinating that I really don’t know if I can get my views on this across without completely confusing people. Now, with my little rant out of the way, I agree 100% with Gabaldon’s view of time travel. Love it.

As for everything else, I just love Claire and Jamie’s relationship, but dangit they make me so mad sometimes. They’re so hot and cold that it drives me insane, but they’re so intense that you can’t help but love every second of it. I really feel for Claire in this book, she deserves her happy life with Jamie and reality keeps throwing obstacles in the way. Overall, this was a incredible second installment to the Outlander series and I’m so excited to see where it goes in books to come.