My Fair Assassin by C.J. Anaya

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Kindle Price: $0.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

“It’s not everyday a teenage girl is singled out for assassination.

Crysta has come to accept the fact that she is freakishly different. Her shocking white hair, creepy powers, and weird eating habits have prevented her from fitting in with her various foster families. Now that she is fully emancipated and providing for herself, she hopes that life will settle down and become something halfway normal.

Her hopes are shattered when a dangerous man with lethal intent breaks into her apartment, but this enticing stranger isn’t what he seems. Is he here to kill her or protect her from others who will?

My Fair Assassin is a romantic short story with elements of paranormal and urban fantasy woven in for an entertaining read. It also touches on social issues involving personal self-esteem and acceptance. Adults and teens alike will enjoy getting lost in the pages of Crysta’s story as she finally comes to accept who she is…or rather what she is.”

My Review:

Oh dear. If assassins are anything like the assassins in My Fair Assassin, I would very much like to be singled out for an assassination.

Oh that sounds just horrid doesn’t it?

You don’t understand! Anaya wrote an amazing book.

I love love love Crysta. She is hilarious and she tries so hard to do her best and she is just perfect. She has her flaws and sometimes she tries to ignore what’s right in front of her face, but she’s perfect. I loved her. You need to read this line:

The well muscled warrior standing several feet in front of me had made that abundantly clear [that she wouldn’t live long]. I studied him intently, deciding it would be best to memorize every inch of him in case I managed to escape and succeeded in describing my would be assassin to the local authorities.

Right!

My need to drink in his image had absolutely nothing to do with his six-foot frame, broad shoulders, sharp, chiseled features, and flawless crystal-blue orbs framed by a sturdy brow.

Insert wistful sigh here.

Doesn’t description make you want to just squeal? It made me want to squeal.

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White Hart by Sarah Dalton (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“In a land where magic has withered for centuries, Mae Waylander is the last magic wielder in Aegunlund. She is the craft-born. But Mae has kept her true identity hidden from the world, and she’s not about to reveal her secret. Not when the King is searching for the craft-born to marry his heir, Prince Casimir.

In Mae’s town of Halts-Walden, the ambitious miller claims his daughter Ellen is the craft-born. All Mae has to do is sit back and wait until Casimir and Ellen are married, then she will finally be free of the threat of her fate. But on that day an event so shocking and terrible occurs that Mae finds herself entering the neighbouring cursed forest on a quest she never thought she’d have to follow.

Join Mae as she rides her white stag through the Waerg Woods with a pampered prince at her heels. She’s out for revenge and nothing–no one–will get in her way.

Join Mae as she rides her white stag through the Waerg Woods with a pampered prince at her heels. She’s out for revenge and nothing, no one, will get in her way.”

My Review:

I’m actually extremely impressed by Sarah Dalton. I read her book The Blemished and I didn’t like it, but I loved White Hart.

Dalton created a world that though I would not want to live in, I imagined it perfectly.

I want to talk about the characters first. Wait no, the romance. No, the characters. We will talk about the characters.

I loved White Hart. She was strong, she was compassionate, she had flaws, and she knew the meaning of grief, remorse, and forgiveness. I was just so impressed I was going crazy. What stood out to me the most was her natural progression. She started off with one goal, which wasn’t a pure goal, and you can see how she grows personally throughout the book.

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Welcome to Sortilege Falls by Libby Heily (ARC Review)

 

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“Sixteen-year-old Grape Merriweather has just moved to Sortilege Falls and already she knows something isn’t right. A small pack of teenage models, too beautiful for words, holds the town in their sway. The models have no plans on making Grape’s life easy. But no matter how cruel they are to Grape and the other “Normals”, no one can stay angry with them for long.

Grape’s life changes for the better, or so she thinks, when Mandy, the only “nice” model, befriends her. But that’s when the trouble truly begins. Mandy’s friendship places Grape smack in the middle of a medical mystery that has the entire town on edge. One by one, the models fall ill from an incurable disease. Grape quickly realizes that the models’ parents are hiding a secret, even as they watch their children die. To save her only friend, Grape will have to find the truth–and that means putting her life in danger.”

My Review:

Well, if I hadn’t had my tear ducts removed and my heart wasn’t completely stone, I’d be balling right now. Welcome to Sortilege Falls captivated my interest and tore my emotions to shreds. Gosh, I can barely even talk about it.

I adore Grape Merriweather. I literally adore her. I love how much she eats and that even when she’s called fat, she continues to eat because that’s what she loves to do. It’s not in an unhealthy way either, she just has a great appetite. It reminded me of myself, truthfully, which I loved and could relate to. Grape is about as unique as her name is and if I ever have kids, I just might name one of my kids after her. She asked questions, stuck up for herself and her friends, and consistently handled herself so well. Grape was funny, serious, kind, inquisitive, intelligent, and an all around amazing character.

The other characters were great too. The Models, Grape’s brother (Brad), Mandy, the family members, and some oddballs that were included. I admit that I got attached to them, which made it even harder to let go of this book.

The plot? Gracious the plot had me spellbound. I definitely have some serious responsibilities that need to be done today (at the time I’m writing this review), but yet, I spent my day reading this book. No regrets, though. It was worth it. Welcome to Sortilege Falls has a bit of a thriller and mystery vibe, which I enjoyed. It was basically the foundation of the whole book, but it still didn’t overpower other things, like relationships and dialogue. I really enjoyed it and I’m trying my best to not give spoilers.

Heily can write well and man, I almost wish she couldn’t. There’s a certain feeling of helplessness I get whenever a book throws my heart around like a rag-doll and yet I can’t stop reading. Hats and beanies off to you, Heily.

There doesn’t seem to be a sequel, but I kind of wish there was. All loose ends were tied up, but Heily made the great decision of leaving there a possibility for another book. I look forward to hearing news about a possible upcoming sequel.

 

Would I Recommend Welcome to Sortilege Falls? I definitely would. Excellent writing, a sound and intriguing plot, well-constructed characters, and a pinch of humor, what’s not to love? It just came out yesterday on the 31st so you don’t have to wait to grab your copy. Plus, there’s currently a giveaway where the prize is a free copy of Welcome to Sortilege Falls! You can enter here.
I received this book for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In Your Dreams by Amy Martin (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

“Sixteen-year-old Zara “Zip” McKee lives for three things: basketball, books, and bailing out of tiny Titusville, Illinois, where the junior high and high school are in the same building and everyone’s known everyone else since birth. But when Kieran Lanier moves to town and passes out on her desk on his first day at school, Zip’s life gets complicated in a way she never dreamed.

Kieran has narcolepsy, and although he sometimes struggles to stay awake, he has no trouble capturing Zip’s heart and trusting her with his most guarded secret–he sees bits and pieces of the future in his dreams.

But just when Zip thinks that maybe she can handle having a boyfriend who sees things before they happen, her budding relationship with Kieran gets a jolt when Kieran’s parents reveal that his sleeping disorder is not what it seems and may be putting them in harm’s way. And when Zip begins to have unsettling dreams, she must decide if she can live with knowing the future in advance when she’s afraid of what might happen.

*Recommended for Young Adult readers 13 and up (mild cursing, some adult situations)”

My Review:

When I was In Your Dreams’ synopsis I was suspicious. Was Martin going to play this off as a “we were destined to be together” kind of plot? Or, worse yet, a “I’m a mysteriously gorgeous man who saw you in my dreams but I have to stay away because I. Just. Can’t. Control. Myself. Argh!” Answer? None of the above.

I really liked that the majority of the book wasn’t focused on Kieran’s dreams. It’s true, his dreams are a large part of the plot, but it’s just as important to develop the rest of the book. I also liked that he wasn’t gorgeous or anything, but a regular kid with irregular tendencies. Martin took the time and care to create a relationship between Zip (love the nickname!) and Kieran and supporting characters before she introduced much else. It allowed me the time to learn about and eventually fall in love with the characters she presented and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Each character was well-rounded and the families were represented as they actually are in reality.

Zip is a “I’m not like other girls” kind of girl, but not in a bad or pompous way. She doesn’t have to say it because she is her own person without anyone needing to let you know.

Gosh, I loved Kieran. He’s like a really sweet book boyfriend that’s actually believable. He had moments when he needed to be alone, a gorgeous sense of humor, an equally wonderful personality, and was a great kid overall. Kieran had to ask tough questions and answer them and was always fighting to overcome his narcolepsy. Sometimes he needed to be alone and sometimes he needed friend so. There was an excellent balance.

The family dynamic, in both Zip and Kieran’s, was well done. There were arguments and tears and confusion and sometimes even mistrust and I liked that. No family is perfect and everyone has secrets, so to make sure that these families were not only involved in their children’s lives, but had differences that sometimes clashed was an excellent idea on Martin’s part.

The plot was excellent too. There was a sense of mystery and uncertainty that floated along. It was kind of like when you smell something in the air briefly and you’re not sure what you’re smelling, but you like it. Ever had that? By the end of the book, I was pleased to find that there was no cliffhanger, but everything was explained, but still had the hint that there could be a next book.
Would you recommend In Your Dreams? I would! I think it was a fun read and definitely something that’s perfect for a rainy day. It’s a book that will keep you occupied and interested for a good while. Plus, it’s free! The synopsis does say that there are adult situations, but I never saw them or felt uncomfortable with anything so I’m not sure what the warning is for. 

Children of Swan: The Land of Taron by Carol Walker (Review)

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 1.5/5

Synopsis:

“There is something small and peculiar in young Bo’s hand — it’s Dad’s ring. How could Dad have left without the ring?
Bo is abducted. Chasing after him, his older siblings Jack and Brianna dive into a wormhole that takes them to the land of Taron, a perilous land fuelled by hatred and plagued by vicious snake-like, man-eating bokwas.
Blue-skinned Baran people catch them and sell them to an arena where Barans entertain themselves watching slave boys fight to the death. Dad is there, staring at them like they are strangers.
The contest is brutal; the rules are clear — one game, one survivor.
There are boys as young as Jack. Can he kill?
And there’s Brianna, the one he has spent all his life squabbling with, and the last person he thought he would care about. If he doesn’t kill, she will die.
There’s no choice. He must kill, for Brianna, for Bo …”

My Review:

Have you ever lost something and you look around for it, but it isn’t in its usual place and you just can’t seem to figure out where it went? That’s how it felt reading Children of Swan: The Land of Taron because much was missing from it.

You need depth in most, if not all, things when it comes to writing. Characters, plot, worlds, even the conflict must have depth. But I couldn’t find depth in Children of Swan.

The worlds, firstly. Earth, Cygnore, and then of course, Taron. I already know what Earth is like (surprise!) but I don’t know what Walker’s dying Earth is like, but it wasn’t mentioned or explained so I still don’t know. I vaguely know of Cygnore and even more vaguely know of Taron, besides the fact that they have slaves, blue and red people live there, and they have some barbaric spin-off of the Roman colosseum/Roman gladiators only with children. You have to give more than just a few descriptions and call it a day. It is crucial to any story to build and create the world that your book is in, especially if it is a world you made up, so that the reader can explore it.

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Review)

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Kindle Price: $9.68

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

In this deliciously creepy novel by the author of the critically acclaimed Cuckoo Song, the fruit of a magical tree uncovers dangerous truths.

It was not enough. All knowledge- any knowledge – called to Faith, and there was a delicious, poisonous pleasure in stealing it unseen.

Faith has a thirst for science and secrets that the rigid confines of her class cannot supress. And so it is that she discovers her disgraced father’s journals, filled with the scribbled notes and theories of a man driven close to madness. Tales of a strange tree which, when told a lie, will uncover a truth: the greater the lie, the greater the truth revealed to the liar. Faith’s search for the tree leads her into great danger – for where lies seduce, truths shatter…

My Review:

I neither condone nor enjoy dabbling in lying. I take honesty very seriously. But is it okay to lie when you are searching for the truth?

Say hello to Faith Sunderly, a young woman, around 15, who must answer that questions. She is stuck in a time where women are believed to not have the mental capacity to be clever. A time when Faith is mistakenly taught that it is wrong, unGodly even, for her to be interested in science and things that were deemed only appropriate for men. And yet, Faith is incredibly interested and I loved her completely and entirely. It didn’t take long for her to cease being a character and become a real person with emotional reactions. I was constantly impressed with how clever Faith was and her amazing intuition, often I was a step behind her as hints and clues were being revealed. After she finds the Lie Tree, she begins to contribute to develop into a character with depth that I have only rarely seen. Faith is a remarkable character and I am thoroughly pleased with her.

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Defects by Sarah Noffke (Review)

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“In the happy, clean community of Austin Valley, everything appears to be perfect. Seventeen-year-old Em Fuller, however, fears something is askew. Em is one of the new generation of Dream Travelers. For some reason, the gods have not seen fit to gift all of them with their expected special abilities.
Em is a Defect—one of the unfortunate Dream Travelers not gifted with a psychic power. Desperate to do whatever it takes to earn her gift, she endures painful daily injections along with commands from her overbearing, loveless father. One of the few bright spots in her life is the return of a friend she had thought dead—but with his return comes the knowledge of a shocking, unforgivable truth. The society Em thought was protecting her has actually been betraying her, but she has no idea how to break away from its authority without hurting everyone she loves.”

My Review:

What an amazing ride. I have read countless paranormal books filled with people that have super powers or special abilities of some sort. But this one as truly impressed me.

Em Fuller is an amazing young woman. She endures constant verbal and sometimes physical about from her entire family save her younger sister and her ‘tutu.’ Yet, she manages to stay a lovely, but rebellious woman that always asks questions and never accepts the truth from liars. After being brainwashed for seventeen years of her life, she finally finds the truth and makes choices recklessly, but also carefully. You would think that that wouldn’t be possible, but it is with Em. There are many things that she doesn’t know about herself that she is exposed to later on and it makes this read that much more interesting. Unlike normal books, the plot doesn’t start with Em hating the government. It starts with her compliant to it, respecting it, and then realizing otherwise. I loved that. I already knew the government was corrupt, it always is in Dystopian novels, but it was still incredibly engaging to find out why. Em also doesn’t look in a mirror and describe herself, an easy way for authors to give details about the character, instead, she focuses on true matters at hand. (Because really, main characters already know what they look like, why would they randomly describe themselves?) Em remains focused, curious, and determined throughout the entire plot, never giving up, always thinking, and always planning. She was an incredibly lovable character.

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Forbidden Mind by Karpov Kinrade

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

“49% of Americans believe their government officials are honest. I don’t know these officials, or their supporters, but I know their secrets, and 49% of Americans are wrong.
My employers pay me well to be right, to know things others can’t. But I don’t know why they brought that boy in, strapped to a stretcher, barely conscious. He asked me for help when I could give none.
I’m a wealthy spy, a talented artist, a martial arts black belt, and a prisoner. They tell me that on my eighteenth birthday, I will be released, free to go to the college of my dreams. It’s my eighteenth birthday, and a man in black is at my door. I know he’s not here to free me.
I know, because I can read minds.
My name is Sam, and this is my story.
So begins the tale of Sam and Drake–from the time they link minds, forging a bond that leads to an unconventional romance–to their fight for survival against the corrupt, twisted organization known as ‘Rent-A-Kid.'”

My Review:

I was pleased with many aspects of Forbidden Mind. The romance, the characters, the plot, even the writing. It wasn’t a hard book to read and although I always try, I couldn’t find anything to truly gripe over.

Sam was a great female main character. You do have to wait a couple of chapters before she develops as a character, but it’s worth the wait. It was well placed, well written, appropriate, and I loved it. She ignored the consequences that may arise, even to her immediately physical health, and pushed until she did what she thought was right. That is true character development. I respected her after seeing that and it truly was the stepping stone for all of the growth that would take place. She didn’t cry much which was rather nice. Sure there were tears and sobbing every now and then, but overall she kept herself focused on the many tasks at hand without having a mental breakdown every two minutes. Would I blame her if she had had mental breakdowns? Nope. But the fact that Kinrade didn’t make her have three million in the course of five chapters was awesome. The way she handles her powers are amazing, there is constant self-control and it’s evident throughout the plot. As Sam learns things about the place that she has been for the past 18 years, which the she and the students call “Rent-A-Kid,” she doesn’t immediately believe that she must be everyone’s savior. There was no: “I am the only one who knows. I must save everyone.” or “I sobbed for the loss of my innocence. I now knew something so great, so powerful, that I had to do something. The task was completely and solely up to me and I felt the weight on my shoulders.” Nope. She included people (the ones she trusted) and didn’t try to save her world all on her own. That is a characteristic of a leader.

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For Ever by C.J. Valle (Review)

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Kindle Price: $0.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“For Ever starts now

A faded memory, something I saw behind Ever Casey’s eyes, begins to claw its way to the surface, and fuzzy impressions from my second day at Springview High School make the skin on my arms crawl. My limbs grow cold with fear. Whatever I saw in his mind was indistinct, but unmistakably sinister.
It hadn’t been nothing behind Ever Casey’s eyes. It had been something evil. Something he didn’t want me to see.
***
Sixteen-year-old Wren Sullivan doesn’t want to know what other people are thinking about her—because most of the time it sucks. Too bad since that’s what happens every time she looks into someone’s eyes.
When she moves to Portland, Oregon, after her parents’ divorce, she finally encounters someone whose thoughts are off limits. Looking into Ever Casey’s eyes, she finds … nothing. Or is there something he doesn’t want her to see there that will put her and anyone near her in danger?”

My Review:

When I saw the title and the cover of For Ever, I was scared that I would end up reading the book and finding out that it would be a disappointing story of two teens promising each other forever. I am so thankful that I was wrong.

Even though Wren is the main character, I need to talk about Ever first. Ever Casey is a mysterious male character written in the proper way. Valle omitted the stereotypical scenes of the male love interest treating the main female character with deplorable manners. Instead of the usual Young Adult genre plot that consists of the male yelling, “STAY AWAY FROM ME. DON’T YOU GET IT? I’M BAD FOR YOU. I WILL HURT YOU.” (which is actually terrifying and I have to say, I would stay away) until he just “can’t stay away anymore” because he “loves” her, and all is suddenly forgiven, Valle has Ever chooses an effectively mysterious path: He ignores her. I refuse to give away too much information, but Ever is a wonderful male main character. I could appreciate him in how he treats Wren, the way he treats the people that are associated with her, his (normal) levels of protection over certain people, and so on. His vast knowledge of the world and life and humanity, yet his almost innocent curiosity with Wren is, dare I say it, sexy. It may be too far to say that Ever is one of my favorite male main characters, but it is quite possible.

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Wink by Eric Trant (Review)

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Kindle Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“In this thriller set in a rural Gulf Coast town, twelve-year-old Marty Jameson finds refuge in the attic from his mother’s abusive rages. But only during the day. At night the attic holds terrors even beyond what he witnesses in his home. With a family made up of a psychotic mother, a drug-dealing father and a comatose older brother withering away in the spare bedroom, Marty feels trapped.
Next door, wheel-chair bound Sadie Marsh obsessively watches Marty’s comings and goings from her bedroom window, despite her mother’s warning about the evil in that house. Evil which appears to Sadie as huge black-winged creatures.
Marty, emotionally torn by the violence and dysfunction in his family, is drawn to Sadie and her kindly mother. But if he is to save his new friend from the supernatural horror threatening them all, Marty must transform himself from victim to hero. And to do so, he must first confront what lurks hidden in the shadows of his attic.”
My Review:

Books in the thriller section can be pretty terrifying or nerve wracking. But you know what I found out today? They’re much more terrifying if you aren’t even aware that it’s a thriller novel.

Yes, I picked up Wink thinking it was a ‘normal’ story about the friendship between a boy who suffers from domestic abuse and a girl who is paralyzed from the waist down. I had hoped that it would end with the boy, Marty Jameson, escaping the daily nightmare that resides in his home, and living ‘happily ever after’ with the girl, Sadie Marsh, and her mother. Instead, an entirely different door of horror was opened and I was sucked in without a chance to protest. While I am not completely clear on if Wink is a Young Adult novel, there’s no doubt that it is definitely meant for teenagers and up.

Surprisingly, I did enjoy Wink. Thrillers aren’t my favorite type of genre, but Trant made the plot really easy to get lost in. Trant’s tone of voice for the story written in an omniscient third-person perspective helped to bring each character, both human and otherwise, to life. The tone that was set for Wink, reminded me of the man who reads in the Narnia Audiobooks, if you have ever listened to those, but with a much eerier feel. Not quite soothing, but you could listen to him for hours. The descriptions were flawless to the point that I felt physically sick during a certain scene.

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