Saturday, April 29, 2017

#Stacking the Shelves / Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged #61 Whole Lot of YA In My Diet

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Bought Borrowed and Bagged is all about the latest additions to your library – virtual or actual, with books that are  bought, borrowed, won or ARCs  you will be reading soon. Bought Borrowed and Bagged is a homage to to Barron’s Books and Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s amazing Fever series, and is hosted by Braine over at Talk Supe. 

Thanks for Shopping by! 
Have a great weekend!

This Weeks Reviews: 

Monday - The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine (YA, Fantasy)

Tuesday - Corruption by Jessica Shirvington (YA, Dystopia)

Thursday - The Wishing Heart by J.C Welker (YA, Fantasy)

Friday - Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott (YA, Thriller)

Saturday - Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray (YA, SyFy)

*Received from Library, NetGalley, Edelweiss, Amazon*


Friday, April 28, 2017

Saturday #Review - Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray #YALit #Science Fiction

Series: Defy the Stars # 1
Format: Hardcover, 512 pages
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher 
Genre: YA, Science Fiction

She’s a soldier.
Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything—including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.
He’s a machine.
Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.
Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true. 

Defy the Stars is the first installment in author Claudia Gray's Defy the Stars series. There are two key characters in this story. 17-year old Ensign Noemi Vidal from the planet of Genesis, and Abel, an artificial intelligence mech who has been stranded in space for 30 years on a ship called Daedalus. As we meet our first character, Noemi Vidal, she's getting read for what will be called the Masada Run. It will take place in 3 weeks. It is where Noemi expects that she will die while protecting her home world from Earth's aggression. 

If you are familiar with history, then you know that Masada is an actual place where Romans and Jews met in battle. To quote, "Masada became a symbol for a heroic 'last stand' for the State of Israel and played a major role for Israel in forging national identity". Why is this important you ask? Because the People of Genesis are at war with Earth. Earth is relentless in their desire to bring Genesis to heel. The leaders of Genesis have deemed that an all out blitz will happen with every single ship blowing themselves up in order to keep Earth from getting to Genesis via wormhole.

But, before that happens, Noemi is thrown into an adventure that will see her ally herself with a mech called Abel. The same Abel who has been floating in Zero G for the past 30 years. While Noemi understands that to save her world, she must learn how to stand alone, Abel is a character that is brilliant, loyal to a fault, and makes you really pay attention to whether someone who is supposed to be a mech, can actually have human feelings, or a human soul. Noemi and Abel's journey will take them to all (5) planets in Gray's world (Kismet, Earth, Stronghold, Cray, & Genesis).

They will meet some people who are more than happy to help them, to those who want to kill Noemi, and force Abel to return to Earth, and his creator. They will meet the rebellion called Remedy who is trying to stop Earth from using up every planet's resources. They will become friends. They will become a hope for an entire planet. While we are deciding whether or not to like Noemi's personality traits, which I totally did, Abel is stealing the limelight. He's the first of his kind. He has the combination of all 25 mech models ever made, and he quickly develops curious and humorous human traits which really breaks through Noemi's tough exterior. 

Science fiction is like cat nip to me. I will read almost read almost everything if given the opportunity, the time, or the availability via my local library. Defy the Stars brings up a whole lot of questions about science, religion, and what makes a human being human. Genesis is a curious planet. They have abandoned scientific technological advancement. They prefer to use outdated ships, while Earth, which is slowly bleeding itself to death, continues to throw mechs against Genesis in hopes of using the planets resources. Defy the Stars ends in a way that gives readers hope that the next installment will be just as interesting, action packed, and fun as this book was.

#Friday Review - Violet Grenade by @AuthorVScott #YALit #Contemporary #Thriller @EntangledTeen

Series: Standalone
Format: EBook, 300 pages
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

DOMINO (def.): A girl with blue hair and a demon in her mind.
CAIN (def.): A stone giant on the brink of exploding.
MADAM KARINA (def.): A woman who demands obedience.
WILSON (def.): The one who will destroy them all.
When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind. Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

Victoria Scott, author of books such as Fire & Flood, and Salt & Stone, returns with Violet Grenade, a story that is dark, gritty, & engaging. It is a story that is stunning brilliant in the way the author interweaves her story between Domino Ray, and Wilson, a character who will have you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next.  17-year old Domino Ray lives on the streets. She desperately wants wants a home of her own, and a safe place where she won't have to worry about where she gets her next meal. 

But, there is more to Domino than meets the eye test. Domino, you see, has a dark secret that lurks just under the skin waiting to pop out at any moment. After her closest friend is caught by the police, Domino realizes that she has to find a way to make money quickly to spring him from jail. Riding on a white horse she comes in the form of Madame Karina. Karina, it seems, has a place called "Home for Burgeoning Entertainers." Domino's acceptance of Karina's offer takes her from Detroit to Pox, Texas.

Upon arrival in Texas, Domino finds herself in a secluded farmhouse where a brothel of girls are billed for anything, and everything & must entertain in order to make any money to pay off their debts. Each girl can work their way up the rank which includes Carnation, Daisy, Tulip, before going to the dark side where anything is possible, including sexual services. This level is where Domino & readers will find the Lily's and the Violets, as well as the girl of the house, Lola. The higher you go in rank, the more of a profit you make. Each rank is filled with cutting, backstabbing, and manipulative girls who have no desire to make friends.

The most intriguing parts about Karina's home, are Poppet, and Cain, as well as the dangerous secrets which lie not only with Karina, but with other characters as well. Poppet is the most adorable character in the book. Poppet quickly becomes Domino's only friend in the house. She may not be the most talented, but her desire to help Domino, concreted her way into my heart. Cain and Domino play off each other extremely well. Domino and Cain each have deep, dark secrets that bring them close together in finding a way to change their fates. 

As Domino explores the house system, and how to rise up through the ranks, she also has to deal with Karina who may be charming one minute, but the devil in a black dress the next. There is also Angie who has some interesting scenes in the book which bring Domino's situation to the seriousness it really is. But, along for the ride is Wilson. What can I say about Wilson that isn't spoiler-y? Hmm. He's a protector of sorts. He loves violence. He could be an alter-ego of Domino in some fashion. He has protected her from some of the worst things that a human being can be subjected to, and kept Domino safe. He makes this book fun, dark, and twisted. Just the way I like it. 

Violet Grenade will make you question how many young girls have been taken off the street by those like Madame Karina who makes them feel as though they will be safe. Later, they discover that they are caught in an inescapable situation. If you try to run, well, let's not spoil what happens. I do often wonder how many girls disappeared while trying to escape from those like Madam Karina, Eric, and Hodges. How many have tried to escape brutal pimps, or sexual slavers, or traffickers and not been seen or hear from again? 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

#Thursday Review - The Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker #YALit #Fantasy @jcwelker @EntangledTeen

Series: Unknown
Format: E-Book, 370 pages
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

With a book in her bag and a switchblade in her pocket, Rebel's been thieving her way through life while hoping for a cure to fix her ailing heart.
But when the bejeweled vase she just tried to hawk turns out to be a jinni's vessel, Rebel gets lost to her world and dragged within another. Now every magical being in the city wants the vase for himself.

Thrust into a game of cat and mouse in a world she never knew existed, Rebel must use her uncanny skills to find a way to free Anjeline the Wishmaker.
But wishes have consequences. And contracts. Anjeline's freedom could unravel a love like Rebel has never known, or it could come at the cost of Rebel's heart...

The Wishing Heart, by author J.C. Welker, is a story told in alternating narratives by 17-year old Rebel, known as the Fingersmith, and Anjeline, known as the Wishmaker. Rebel was abandoned when she was just a baby at the Gramone's Institute for Displaced Youth. The only thing her mother left her was a book, which she takes with her everywhere she goes, and a pendant. 

Rebel is a character who has never met a lock that she couldn't pick. Some say she has the hands of a magician. But, unfortunately, her heart is another issue entirely. Rebel’s heart has gotten to the point where she needs one big heist in order to pay for surgery to fix it. When she breaks into an apartment, and steals a vase, Rebel finds herself discovering a world that she never knew existed or imagined after trying to sell it. 

Oh sure, Rebel, who is a bibliophile after my own heart, has wished every night for magical things, like the ability to fly, but nothing could prepare her for a world filled with lycanthropes, mermaids, sirens & mermen, Sun and Moon courts (Fae), or a Jinni who has been bound to a vassal by a diabolical Magician with an ax to grind. And, to top it off, Anjeline discovers that Rebel may be the one person who can free her. The one person with a selfless heart. 

But, all things come with a cost, and it will be a matter of making impossible choices. Can two unlikely friends find a way to fix Rebel's heart, free Anjeline from her prison, and find a happy ever after? I adore both of these characters. Rebel is a character with real issues, and problems that may end up killing her. But, she never lays down and feels sorry for herself. Anjeline has been forced to make wishes for the most ignorant people ever to live and stand back and watch the consequences of making these wishes. After meeting Rebel, Anjeline finds something she hasn't had in a long while. Hope.  

The Wishing Heart is an action packed story from start to finish. It features two genuinely fun characters who are both in bad situations, but by working together, they not only find a way to face their own demons, issues, and those trying to stop them, but an adorable romance blossoms as well. Something that Rebel definitely needs after growing up in a place where she never really got the chance to have the things she wanted without resorting to thieving with her cohort Jaxon, aka the Fox. The Wishing Heart reads as a standalone, and I can't find any other information if there will be a sequel or not. But, let me tell you the end of this story makes it abundantly clear that there is yet another adventure for Rebel, Anjeline, Jaxon, and a curious character named Piran, who is a Sun Court Fairie.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

#Wednesday Review - Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton #YALit #Fantasy @AlwynFJH ‏@VikingBooks ‏

Series: Rebel of the Sands # 2
Format: Hardcover, 521 pages
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Mere months ago, gunslinger Amani al'Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she's fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne. 
When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan's palace—she's determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan's secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she's a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she's been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.
Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about djinni and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

Traitor to the Throne is the second installment in author Alwyn Hamilton's Rebel of the Sand series. The story picks up (6) months after Rebel of the Sands ended. If you've read Rebel of the Sands recently, you will have no issues with jumping right back into the world that Hamilton has created. Protagonist Amani Al-Hiza has gone all in by joining the Rebellion led by Prince Ahmed. Amani's newly discovered powers are more than helpful when going up against all sorts of challenges. But, things are much, much different than in Rebel of the Sands. 

Amani's journey is one that sees her go on a rescue mission with fellow Demdji, to being betrayed, captured, and sold to the Sultan where she finds herself under his control and without any of her abilities. The old adage about never burning down your bridges because one day you might need to use that bridge to escape comes into play. This is a story that isn't filled with shootouts like Rebel of the Sands. This is a book that Amani has to choose whether she is a rebel, or a traitor, or something else entirely. 

While Amani may be under the Sultan's protection, she still has to live in a harem filled with backstabbing women, one she knows very well. But, being in the palace also has it's advantages. She can uncover certain secrets of the Sultan's that may be helpful to the Rebellion. That is if she can find a way to contact them without being caught. She has to decide who she can trust, and who she should stab, stab, stab. Lastly, she has to find a way to escape before having her real identity of the Blue-Eyed Bandit exposed. 

This is a story where you question whether or not the rebellion or the Sultan are the real villains. The Sultan has his uses, that is not in question. He also has some interesting plans for his Kingdom which means that Amani gets a first hand look at deciding whether Prince Ahmed is correct, or the Sultan. One of the most interesting aspects of Amani's story is that she, as a Demdji, can't tell a lie, which comes in handy to the Sultan. But, Amani is also a pawn in a much larger game. 

I am not all in on the romance between Amani and Jin, and probably won't be until he becomes less of an asshat. Jin isn't really around for most of this story having walked away after an event that found Amani being hurt badly. Yet, it is Jin who expects Amani will fall all over herself to forgive him for leaving, or not being there for her when she was hurt, or later when she is betrayed, and taken to the Sultan's palace. Once again, the story ends on a really heart aching cliffhanger. One in which we see a whole lot of character growth by Amani, and an acceptance that she needs to step up her game if those she loves are to survive what happens next.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#Tuesday Review - Corruption by @JessShirvington #YALit #Dystopia @HarperCollins

Series: Disruption # 2
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Library
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia

The thrilling finale to bestselling author Jessica Shirvington's Disruption series.
How do you live with yourself when you've deceived the one you love? 
How do you move on when the person you've been fighting to save betrays you? 
Two years ago, Maggie Stevens began the hunt. Four weeks ago, Maggie's world fell apart, when she finally found what she'd been looking for. And when Quentin, who had blindly trusted her, unraveled her web of lies. 
Now, Maggie lives in the dark. But she's not about to stay there. Not when she still has to bring M-Corp down. Not when there is still a chance she could win him back. 
In the exhilarating conclusion to Disruption, Maggie must do whatever it takes to show the world the truth. And the price for her quest? Everything. 
But for who?

Corruption is the second and final installment in Jessica Shirvington's Disruption duology. Corruption finds protagonist Maggie Stevens in a dark place. Literally and figuratively. It has been (4) weeks since her world came unglued and the truth about her father came out. (4) weeks since Maggie's search for answers ended in betrayal, capture, and being imprisoned underground. 

Maggie's world was shattered two years ago after her father was taken away and labeled a Reg. A Reg is a person who fails to have (3) matches in a month. They are considered to be dangerous and are taken away to education farms, or worse, underground prisons where they will never be seen again. For two years, Maggie did everything she could possibly do to find her father. 

She broke into underground places where Regs were being kept. She blackmailed powerful people into doing her bidding, including her partner in crime, Gus who was last seen leaving Maggie behind after some truths came out. She also used Quentin Mercer, the son of the M-Corp's founder Gareth Mercer, who ended up being more than she thought. Maggie's determination to find her father put her into several categories: Calculated, Manipulative, Selfish, and a Blackmailer.

Maggie's world is one in which everyone is expected to be chipped. The chip scientifically manages everyone's pheromones that leads to supposed perfect, or near perfect matches. In the previous installment, Maggie manipulated Quentin into helping her, but it came with some really interesting surprises which I won't spoil. She also found herself being betrayed by those she manipulated and blackmailed into helping her. It was one of those moments where the villain calmly stated, checkmate.

After being suddenly released from her cell without any explanations, Maggie realizes that the game is not over yet. Gareth isn't done trying to ruin her life, and will do everything in his power to keep her away from Quentin. As Maggie tries to pick up the pieces of her life, she has to ensure that neither she, nor her mother, nor her brother aren't caught up in certain powerful people's aspirations or face becoming a Reg herself. Maggie pushes herself to the limits in this story by declaring war on M-Corp, and the one person who has done all he can to destroy her life. 

But, it won't be easy. Quentin isn't happy about being used. He doesn't forgive her for using him, or lying to him even though they are more than compatible. But, he obviously knows that they are fated to be together. While Maggie's spiraling out of control with her desire for revenge, Quentin and Gus may be the only two people who are able to talk her off that long drop to the very bottom of her existence. With Quentin, and Gus alongside, Maggie knows that the stakes are much higher than before. But, the payoff might lead to saving many, many people who have been affected by M-Corp and their technology. 

This is the sort of story that if you give up on it early, you miss the most important parts and the most action packed parts of the story, as well as the most emotional scene in the entire series. It is worthwhile to read these books back to back to ensure that you keep events of the first book fresh in your mind. Definitely recommended.

Monday, April 24, 2017

#Monday Review - The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine #YALit #Fantasy @cjredwine @BalzerandBray

Series: Ravenspire # 2
Format: Ebook, 432 pages
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss 
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.
Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague, who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.
So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.
But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul. 

"He'll grant you the deepest desire of your heart, but in ten years he'll return for your soul." 

The Wish Granter is the second installment in author C.J. Redwine's Ravenspire series, and an interesting twist on a German fairy tale called RumpelstiltskinThe Wish Granter's key characters are Princess Arianna, Sebastian Vaughn, and Alistair Teague, aka the villain aka The Wish Granter. Arianna and Vaughn are thrown together to face off against a man who grants your hearts desire, and then comes back to collect your soul in (10) years. There is no getting out of the bargain you make with Teague. If you try, he will find a way to may you pay.

Arianna and her brother Prince Thaddeus are the bastard twins of the King of Súndraille. After the Queen gives birth to a son, they find themselves being hunted by the Queen's hunters who wants them dead. After their mother is killed, Thaddeus one desire is to make sure that Arianna is safe no matter what. So, in doing what's, he makes a wish and a deal with Teague. (3) weeks later, the Royal family is suddenly dead, and Thaddeus is King of Súndraille, while Arianna, who describes herself  as curvaceous, which terms means she has some meat on her bones, becomes a Princess who is expected to act way beyond what she was born into.

But, in making his wish, Thaddeus is manipulated to the point where he is a King with no real standing. Nobody really trusts Thad. They question whether or not he had anything to do with the Royal families demise. Nobody except for his own sister who finds out about the wish, and Teague, and makes her plans to help Thaddeus break is agreement without losing his soul in the process. Teague now has an in towards all of the (7) Kingdoms that make up this world. Teague is also a Fae who has been living off the high horse for 200 years. He knows everything there is about tricking people into doing what he wants them to do.

I really liked Arianna. I liked that she considers herself a bit on the chunky side. I loved that she is eager to bake, and have fun, as well as find a way to defeat Teague which leads to some interesting twists and surprises. I love that she isn't just thrust into the spotlight, and becomes everyone's darling Princess. I love her connection to her best friend Cleo, and Mama Eleni. Ari is really good at baking, and numbers, and no so good at handling weapons, which makes Sebastian all that more important in the general scheme of things.

Sebastian is a character who knows a thing or two about living in squalor, having a father who is brutal, a mother who is addicted, and losing a brother thanks to Teague's business dealings. He becomes the King's weapon's master where he meets Arianna. Sebastian is a man of little words, but enough experience to understand Arianna's goals. Sebastian is curious about Arianna's request to make certain weapons. He becomes caught up in her desire to help find a way to defeat Teague and break his hold over her brother, and the kingdom of  Súndraille which has seen a dramatic uptick in violence.

The Wish Granter is told in the third person narrative rotating between Ari, Sebastian, and of course, Teague who really is a twisted sort of villain. You can call this a retelling, if you like. Or, you can say that the author made her own tale of a man who grants wishes, and takes souls without any reservation or hesitation. Even though it's not like the original story, Redwine still manages to write about fascinating characters, and twisted villains who face off against those who are more than up to the task of winning. I am all in regarding the romance. It is rather sweet, and yes I know that I normally don't use that word. The romance doesn't hinder the story. It enhances it, and makes it more intriguing to know that two characters can find a way to find chemistry when things are not exactly copacetic. 

While The Wish Granter may be the second installment in Ravenspire series, it is actually a standalone within the series itself. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

#Stacking the Shelves / Bought, Borrowed & Bagged # 60

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Bought Borrowed and Bagged is all about the latest additions to your library – virtual or actual, with books that are  bought, borrowed, won or ARCs  you will be reading soon. Bought Borrowed and Bagged is a homage to to Barron’s Books and Baubles from Karen Marie Moning’s amazing Fever series, and is hosted by Braine over at Talk Supe. 

Thanks for Shopping by! 
Thanks go out to Entangled Teen, Pocket Star, Berkley, DAW, & Ace!
Have a great weekend!

This Weeks Reviews: 

Tuesday - Blacklist by Alyson Noel (YA, Mystery)

Thursday - Brimstone by Cherie Priest (Historical Fiction)

Blog Tour Friday - Snared by Jennifer Estep (UF) 

Saturday - Red Sister by Mark Lawrence (YA, Fantasy)

*Received from NetGalley, Library, Publisher, Edelweiss*

((Finished Copies from Publisher))