First Line Friday: Crave by Tracy Wolff

4e21ccec-f19a-4f56-a611-507f7cf45230.__cr00220220_pt0_sx220_v1___My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

9e13d7ac-a917-48bd-aa1d-042e0019e896.__cr00220220_pt0_sx220_v1___Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

 

(Synopsis borrowed from Goodreads, images borrowed from Amazon)

Author : Tracy Wolff ~ Release Date : April 7, 2020 ~ Publusher : Entangled Teen Books

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If You’re Not Living on the Edge, You’re Taking Up Too Much Space
I stand at the outer tarmac door staring at the plane I am about to get on and try my hardest not to freak the f out.
It’s easier said than done.

92517109_241311583686872_190515974632374272_nI am pulling out the first line from Tracy Wolff’s new YA paranormal novel Crave today, partly because I am curious about it, mostly because I have been seeing it everywhere for weeks now. I did read on through the first three chapters (4, including “chapter 0”) of the sample offered and here are my initial impressions:

  • The cover is so Twilight-like I almost can’t get over it. I liked Twilight when I read it several years ago, but then when I tried to re-read it, I couldn’t get into it. So I am trying to not cover judge, I just don’t get why we can’t use our imaginations anymore?
  • The writing is from a very blunt and sarcastic character point of view. To me, this makes the sentences feel shorter and often more shallow. Thus far the chapters are pretty short which leads me to my next point of…
  • I do love witty chapter titles and this book definitely has them! According to Goodreads, the book is 592 pages long so that’s pretty giant. However, it seems like the writing is pretty humorous and light.

Keep in mind, I have not read far into this book, my opinions are my own, and I have only read and quoted from a free sampler. I do love a good vampire tale though! Please feel free to share your thoughts if you’ve read it! Or any updates on your Covid? Stay safe, and read on!

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The Sunday Review: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

37570585Title: Not Even Bones
Author: Rebecca Schaeffer
Published: September 4, 2018
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Publisher: HMH Books
Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror, Urban Fantasy

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Goodreads Synopsis: Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.

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This book has been on my TBR for a while. Why? The description calls it a mix of Dexter and V.E. Schwab’s This Savage Song, which is a pretty epic combination when you think about it. Main character Nita has a fascination with anatomy and takes comfort in dissecting the bodies of supernaturals–like herself–which are then sold as parts on the black market by her mother. She is used to her subjects being cold on her table until one day, her mother brings a live victim to their basement and this is where the story really begins.

fac5f2cd4741e38f6392ea1bb85df8a6Fast forwarding so as to not spoil details in the story, Nita finds herself caged and up for sale on the black market. As she tries to work out who betrayed her location and her secret of being an unnatural, she attempts to escape to safe territory. In this unique world, there are all kinds of different ‘monsters,’ their various parts being of varying uses and values. This, of course, is where a lot of gore comes into play because Nita has to either cut them up, watch them being consumed or extracted or detached, and of course there is violence in the being imprisoned, escape attempts, etc.

The book leaves off on a cliffhanger after Nita comes face-to-face with…well, I can’t tell you that. Just know that this is a book that is incredibly unique and keeps you on your toes the entire time. It is certainly full of blood and guts, monsters, black market mafia, and action. I would say there isn’t a ton of character development as of yet, but book 2 is releasing September 3, 2019 so we will find out soon!

Book Soundtrack: I Come With Knives by IAMX

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Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

34810320I received Sadie in a subscription box right after its release last September and at the time, I didn’t know anything about it and wasn’t very excited about it. But then came the hype. Followed by more and more hype. Everyone was excited about this book. I heard all about how heart-wrenching the story is and how excellent the audio book is. Well, I will grant that the audio book definitely is appropriate for the book, since it is half-formatted as a podcast. The other half is told from Sadie’s point of view in her timeline just after her younger sister disappears. From how the book world made it sound, this was going to be a read that would make me sob and lose myself; it would make me angry and curious. Yes, it was pretty heavy and had its tough stuff for sure, but I didn’t fully connect with it as I had hoped that I would.

elly-filho-1562-unsplashAllow me to back up a bit and give some detail about the book. As I mentioned, Sadie is the central character and in her timeline, her younger sister Mattie was killed. Sadie sets out on a mission to kill the person who murdered her sister and the trail of clues she follows are quite sinister. Meanwhile, in the present, West McCray is a radio personality who picks up on Sadie’s story in a gas station and wants to cover it on his own show. He decides to start his own podcast, pursuing his own clues by interviewing family members and trying to find Sadie who, to the town she ran away from, seems is missing.

I think that the best thing about this book is the way that its set up. Its amazing how the book is set up in two different timelines and two different points of view, yet they match up so well. There are some very intriguing twists and turns to keep you reading, and Sadie herself actually is a solid character. Of course, she is strong and stubborn to a fault but that’s also where her bravery has to step in too, to some extent. So take this all as you will. If you need some tough drama to read, this is the book for you.

Book soundtrack: “Runnin’ Red Lights” by The Cadillac Three

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Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

I really, really, really, REALLY enjoyed this book!! I mean, I enjoyed Dumplin’ (“Book 1”), but Puddin’ was even better! Do I have to read Dumplin’ first? you ask. Nah. It would be great to support the wonderful Julie Murphy, but you won’t be missing out on plot points or anything. PLUS, Dumplin’ is being made into a Netflix movie which is scheduled to release in ONE MONTH (yes, December 8th!) so maybe you want to prep for that. But anyway….

40628793_524192508027856_3957805933697957888_nDumplin’ was told from Willowdean’s perspective. She was the fat girl who worked at the fast food diner, had never had a boyfriend, and worked her big butt off to get up the confidence to compete in the town’s beauty pageant. Will was never my favorite character and despite the premise of the book, it just never stirred me the way I hoped it would.

Puddin’, on the other hand, was a great story. This book is told from two points of view. We have Millie, who is our fat girl, and Callie, who is a co-captain of the school dance team. One day, a seemingly meaningless prank brings Callie and Millie together in a huge way and the tale of frenemies begins. Both Millie and Callie are amazing characters who are funny and have great growth curves throughout the book. I also loved their interactions with the secondary characters. The book definitely had its funny moments and its sweet moments.

I have met Julie Murphy twice now and I love her talk about her inspiration for her characters. Thanks for writing this awesome book, Julie. I can’t wait to hear about your next Julie + Millie!!

Book soundtrack: Rebel Heart by Madonna

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Amazingly fun October Read-a-thon: SPOOKATHON! 👻

denise-johnson-439378-unsplashHey hey! So, I feel that I would be robbing you all of an awesome opportunity if I didn’t tell you about one of my favorite readathons: the SPOOKATHON! This is my second year in a row participating in this weeklong RAT hosted by Kayla and her gang all around social media. I first discovered the party on Twitter where they have their own page with sprints, challenges, updates, and buddy read chats (and more). I love the spoopy memes that get thrown around there, so to hop on, just search up @thespookathon on Twitter and you’re there!

So next up, I’ve got some challenges to work toward for this RAT. They are as follows:
1. read a thriller … The Haunting of Hill House
2. read a book with purple on the cover … Hocus Pocus
3. read a book not set in the current time period … Dracula
4. read a book with a spooky word in the title … The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
5. read a book with pictures … The Halloween Tree
So the books that I bolded are books that I am reading currently, while the others are books that I am wanting to read this October/in the near future.

freestocks-org-425057-unsplashIf you would like to participate, the challenge goes  through the 21st of October. There is no minimum amount of books to read, no required entry or sign-up, its just all for fun and at your own pace. Check it out on Twitter like I said above, or Instagram, or Youtube. Happy spooky reading! Let me know if you decide to jump in…or if you’re reading spooky somethings for October!

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October Reads: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

alex-geerts-424409-unsplashOctober is absolutely my favorite month (and tends to be my most motivated month) to read in. I gather the biggest TBR–whether by accident or design–and read as much as I possibly can. I also sign up for as many challenges as I can find….and it seems like there are more challenges around as well. There are spooky challenges, trick-or-treating challenges, movie-themed challenges, classic book challenges, just everything under the sun. And I LOVE IT!!!! So as of now, we’re not even halfway through the month and already I have completely finished two books and I am halfway through another, and more than 100 pages into a monster of a horror novel (Stephen King’s “It”), which I probably won’t finish until next Halloween. Ugh. However, now that I’m decompressed post-wedding for the most part, I am going to be posting more with reviews and what I am getting myself into this fall (there is so much to DO!) and whatever else needs to go into the blog. So without further ado: my first review of the month!

October read number 1 was City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. I’ve had my copy since it released in late August but I was waiting for October to read it (that, and…uh….wedding). This book was spectacular! City of Ghosts is about a girl named Cassidy, whose beachy summer vacation plans are going out the window because her parents are about to start shooting a ghost hunting show abroad in SCOTLAND!!! Add on top of that the fact that Cassidy can not only see ghosts, but her best friend IS a ghost, and we have the makings of an amazingly fun story!

I am always wary of reading middle grade books for fear that they will be too slow (yes, I realize that I am an adult and I acknowledge that this is a risk that I take…that’s exactly my point here). The book has its moments of defining ‘vocab’ words that a MG reader may not know, but those moments are few and far between. Ultimately, I wasn’t bothered.

43951950_2159170047735147_2880454404434034688_nProbably my favorite part was how Schwab seamlessly wove history into the story as well. In no way does it feel like we’re reading a history novel, but there is so much history all around the characters in Edinburgh and its fascinating to hear about it and even see it! And creepy at times too. I am SO glad I read this book in October. It was the perfect spooky read to kick off the month.

Which leads to my next perk: the spook effect! There definitely was some creep factor in this book! References to hangings, shootings, drownings, etc. I mean, it wasn’t all out gory or violent, but it wasn’t exactly a bedtime story either. The family and camera crew travels to graveyards and what used to be execution grounds and an old prison. I don’t say this to be spoiler-ey, but it these truly freak you out, be warned! Most of it is narrated in a pretty historical way and our ghost friend is always there to coach that its okay to be afraid of things (he’s the scaredy cat in these scenarios).

Ultimately, I can’t recommend this book enough. This is going to be one of those books that I re-read at least once or twice in Octobers to come, and I recommend that you do too. I am so glad to see that this is book #1 of more to come because I can see Schwab setting Cassidy and Jacob and her parents with their show in other historical/ghostly locations and I absolutely cannot wait!!

Book soundtrack: Mordred’s Lullaby by Heather Dale

Blog Tour: Escaping Houdini

escapingfromhoudini

Escaping Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalo
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release date: September 18, 2018
Genre: YA – Historical Fiction, Mystery

Synopsis: Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

Goodreads | B&N | Amazon | Book Depository

greathoudiniescaperoombackground1Hello, book #3, I am so glad you are finally here!! There are many other small attributes that are appealing about this book right off the bat. Take, for instance the characters and their banter. Thomas and Audrey play off each other so well…or maybe its just Thomas. Second, the setting was so neat. Set on a ship! In my mind I wanted it to be the Titanic, of course, but hey, we can’t always get what we want. Kerri still did a great job. And third, probably the most complex murderer of the series so far. This time around, the murderer is killing his victims and staging them like playing and tarot cards. Fascinating!

And of course, no review would be complete without mentioning….Mephistopheles! He and his mysterious Midnight Carnival crew bewilder audiences, but also inspire suspense. I do wish we would have seen more of Houdini himself. I mean, the man is in the title! Too much to ask apparently.

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14584166Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Check out more reviews from the Fantastic Book Blog Tour Here!

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Between Frost and Fury by Chani Lynn Feener

357958931Hello, book lovers! Happy hump day! This post was supposed to be up this morning but apparently I don’t know the difference between AM and PM when posting blogs anymore–my bad!! Anywho, without further ado, I have an amazing review to share with you today….Between Frost and Fury begins right where Amid Stars and Darkness left off (kind of like this review, right? heh heh!). Ruckus is on the phone with Delaney when her tone of voice changes ever so slightly and he’s trying not to panic–what can possibly be wrong? There’s no way anyone suspects….unless they do. And then this whirlwind of a book picks up.

There are so many things that I absolutely love about book number two of this trilogy! First off, we actually get a little bit of Trystan’s perspective in this book. It isn’t completely from his perspective because the book isn’t first person, but it does follow him as a character in a few chapters! I don’t recall ever doing that with Ruckus in book one. So that’s pretty cool. Secondly, the writing is far better in this book! I griped a bit about it being slightly juvenile in book 1. Well, Chani must have found a new editor or something because the difference is night and day! I loved it! And third, the thickening of the plot is so intense that I am so incredibly invested now, I am recommending this book to everyone now!!!

So hopefully, you as a follower of my blog are interested by now as well. If so, you can win a copy of the book sponsored by Xpresso Book Tours! This is a US/CAN giveaway and is open until July 26th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are independent and you don’t need no giveaways and just want to check the book out for yourself, you can do so on any of these fine platforms:

Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads

Also check out the author while you’re at it. Chani is a really neat lady who has also written some other books and likes to do other cool things like go to aquariums, binge TV shows (me too!!), and draw.

All right my friends, that’s all I have for today. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and get lots of reading done!

Book soundtrack: The Pretender by Foo Fighters

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Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener

30063453Imagine this: you are partying at a club with your best friend just like any other Friday night in a world where humans and aliens (who look just like humans, albeit super-hot humans) co-exist peacefully. You are ready to leave, but your best friend is hitting it off with some otherworldly guy, so you let her know and head for the door. On your way out, you brush against this tall, leggy girl who turns and smiles at you with this strange look in her eye. But whatever, you’re done for the night. Outside of the club on your way home, you are ambushed by an alien guy who insists that your name is Olena and that you must return to your home planet to marry the Zane (Prince) of a different planet. He kidnaps you, knocks you out, and you wake up on his ship three days later soon to arrive on this new planet. Come to find out that girl who bumped into in the bar was the princess and by bumping into you, she used a device to transform you into her. You now have no choice but to impersonate her to avoid war between two alien races and all humankind.

So this is how the book starts off. Delany is a teenager who finds herself in an impossible situation and has to make the best of it. She has the help of her bodyguard, Ruckus, to coach her through. She is to be wed to rival Zane Trystan, but her personality is so different from the real Lissa (Princess) Olena that even Trystan softens to her.

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I felt that the author did a good job of world building. Space worlds and alien kingdoms cannot be easy to build up. The only thing that didn’t sit with me was that there were so many new words developed for royalty (Lissa, Zane, Captain, Scientist, etc.) but yet, there was no word for ‘alien.’ For whatever reason, I hear alien and I think little green men but obviously the author is describing these aliens as tall, ideal, beautiful versions of humans basically. I almost wish they  had their own word for themselves, but no. They’re just aliens. Ok. Whatever.

alienSecondly, the writing was all pretty flat. Fortunately, I felt like most of the characters had some dimension to them. Delaney and Trystan definitely did. Ruckus was a little flat. And the writing overall was pretty simplisitic. There were just times when I thought a seventh grader could have been writing it. The ideas? Good. The format? Eh.

Finally, I loved the plot and the quick pacing. I was very entertained by the whole story and the concept. I thought that Delaney was a strong, witty character. I thought her relationship with Ruck was a little too easy so I’m not convinced it will last. Maybe I’m wrong, we’ll see. And that cliffhanger!! So overall I had to get over the writing and just let myself enjoy the story and once I did that, it was a quick and enjoyable book. I’m looking forward to reading book 2 soon for a book tour. Stay tuned!

Soundtrack: “The Sky is Broken” by Moby

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Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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Geekarella
 has been on my TBR for a long time now and I just haven’t gotten to it. Its the story of Elle, daughter of the man behind the ExcelsiCon CosPlay Convention and Costume Ball. Now living with her awful stepmother and two stepsisters, Elle lives and breathes Starfield. So when a soap opera star is cast as the male lead, she is completely skeptical. She blogs her opinion and it goes viral. When a costume contest is announced at ExcelsiCon, Elle is inspired to enter, wearing an old costume from her attic. With the help of a new friend, the old costume is made beautiful and Elle makes quite the impression at the contest.

geekerella2bquote2b2For soap star Darien Freeman, playing Carmindor in his favorite show-made-movie is a dream come true. The super-fans, however, have lowered their expectations and voiced their opposition to the teen heartthrob playing the classic role. Only Darien knows how dedicated he is to doing justice to the role, yet still, he wants to avoid the awkward meet-and-greets with fans. ExcelsiCon is the last place he wants to show his face but his father/manager gives him no choice.

Without giving away too much of the story, I will say that I do like the through-the-airwaves trope in YA fiction when its done well, and in my opinion, Geekarella was done very well. Elle, at times, did grind my nerves just a little bit. She was so insecure and stubborn that it was just too much. And then she would say “My father raised me to be brave” and bla bla bla….well, you have been failing at that, my friend. Darien, I thought was actually a great character. I thought he was a great representation of a teenage guy and he was fun to read. The secondary characters were great as well, especially Sage. And I just loved picturing the Magic Pumpkin. How creative is that idea? Hats off, Ashley Poston!!

Soundtrack: “Star Trek: Deep Space 9 – Main Title” composed by Dennis McCarthy

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