Thursday, March 31, 2016

Blog Tour Swoon Thursday (#166) and Giveaway: The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

Welcome to the blog tour for The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows! This is the highly anticipated sequel to The Orphan Queen, as well as it is the conclusion to the duology. Today I'm sharing a swoony excerpt from the book! Check it out, and enter to win prizes!

Swoon Thursday is a hot meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at YA Bound!

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows!

(POSSIBLE spoilers if you have not read book one, The Orphan Queen.)

His fingers slid beneath the mask, cool against my throat. Slowly, the silk slipped up and off my mouth and nose and eyes, then dropped to the bed as Tobiah moved close. There was a long, hesitating moment with fire surging through me. All the places we touched were bright and sharp and sensitive. More than anything, I wanted this part to linger - this aching and wanting, with his fingertips glancing off my jaw, when anything was possible. We might still make the right choice.

But what was one more mistake?

A soft groan escaped as I pushed toward him, and he pulled me in, and then I sat astride his lap, kissing him. Our mouths, touching. Our breaths, gasping. Our hands, grasping. The silk of his shirt slid across his skin where I caressed. His shoulders and arms were strong and toned, and the muscles flexed when he pulled the tie off the end of my braid and combed his fingers through my hair. His palm pressed flat against my spine and lit fires at the small of my back. His free hand rested on my hip, holding me in place.

He whsipered my name between kisses, moving from my lips to my cheeks to my jaw to my throat. He made me feel alive.

- ARC, pages 193-194

About the Book:

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
Book Two of The Orphan Queen series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 5, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right. 

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

About the Author:

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).

*A Kippy is a cat.

The Giveaway:

One (1) copy of The Orphan Queen + one (1) copy of The Mirror King for one lucky winner! The giveaway will be open internationally (as long as Book Depository ships to you).

Release Week Blitz and Giveaway: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

Welcome to the release week blitz for Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry! I really enjoyed this book, and I recommend it if you're a fan of YA contemporary romance, Katie McGarry, or both. Check it out, and enter the fantastic giveaway!

About the Book:

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
Book Two of the Thunder Road series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: March 29, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds 

Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life. 

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules. 

And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.

About the Author:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

The Excerpt:

“This is going to be the best night of our lives,” announces Reagan. Addison sits at the desk in front of me and Reagan’s to the left of Addison. 

I check the clock on the wall over our English teacher’s desk. In exactly two minutes, the bell will ring and the first day of my senior year will begin. It’s not only the first day of school, but also the first Friday of the school year. 

Three years ago, Addison, Reagan, and I promised we’d do something crazy on the first Friday of our senior year. After notifying High Grove that I declined their scholarship, crazy is exactly what I need. “Are you sure your parents aren’t going to check on us?”

“Trust me, everything will be golden.” Reagan uses the camera on her phone to fix stray pieces of her dirty blond hair. She curled it this morning and much to her displeasure the curls are falling out. “Has Cass started following you yet? I told her you created a Bragger account.”

I sigh and Addison scowls. She’s less than thrilled with my lack of excitement. I currently have twenty-five followers. It’s better than none, but not nearly reaching Addison and Reagan’s totals. Not sure how this whole social media thing is supposed to be fun. It’s like being back in elementary school and waiting to be picked for kickball.

“To gain followers you must post something.” Addison has this teacher to pupil reprimand going on, and it’s scary on her. “Don’t make me start posting for you, brat. You’re the one that wanted to join the world. Reagan and I are trying to catch you up on how to participate in the land of the living.”

“Because everyone will love reading how I was up doing dishes until midnight,” I say. 

“Tell them you were doing it naked and half the boys in school will follow you.” Reagan tosses me a sly smirk and I laugh. She’s always saying things that push the envelope. “Tell them you’ll post the picture if you reach five hundred followers. Watch your stats climb, girl.”

“That would be interesting.” A new voice joins the conversation. 

I see the jeans first. Actually I see a rip in the jeans, and that rip is an inch above the knee, and I’m staring at a very muscular male thigh. I enter this weird zone, because there’s this sinking feeling of where this is heading, and ominous sirens are sounding off. 

It’s like being stuck in slow motion as I glance up. My heart stops. Starts. And when it starts again, I find I can’t breathe. Golden hair that’s a little long on top. Light blue eyes drinking me in. All I see is a whole lot of gorgeous…and dangerous. 

It’s Thomas freaking Turner. He wears the same leather vest that he had on the other night, and underneath it is a black T-shirt with the name of an old-school metal band. My eyes automatically scan his patches and I wonder which one is the warning that he carries a gun. 

His fingers skim my desk as he strides past. There are small cuts on his knuckles, and the skin on his hands look rough—like him. For some reason, I find that attractive. It reminds me of him hunched in front of his bike yesterday as he was repairing his machine. The steady way he moved. The serious set of his face. The way the muscles in his arms flexed as he worked. 

“Hello, Breana.” Thomas’s voice is deep, smooth and feels like a caress along my skin. 

The Preorder Incentive:

Order Walk the Edge, register your order by April 1st and receive an exclusive Echo and Noah short story and a chance to be in the next Thunder Road novel!  Register at

The Giveaway:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (#170): Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
Book One of an untitled series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 27, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.

The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.

Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.

Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.

Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . . 

This lady sure knows how to write a good story! I'm excited to read a new one.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Sweet Talk with the Sweet Sixteens: March 29th

Welcome to Week Thirteen of Sweet Talk with the Sweet Sixteens! To see more details about Sweet Talk as well as previous posts, see the introduction post. Thanks to Charlene (Bookish Whimsy), for designing the banner and button for Sweet Talk.

There are NO Sweet Sixteens books publishing on March 29th! There are a number of April 1st publications from the Sweet Sixteens, but because those are part of a new calendar month, I didn't want to have to combine the March and April prizes/Rafflecopters.

 I debated not having a post at all, but I already put the March 29th entry in the Rafflecopter, and, well, my inner perfectionist refuses to not have a post for one week of the year (this is a weekly feature!). 

So today, since there are no Sweet Sixteens publications, I'm going to spotlight some March 29th releases that are not debuts! 

Be sure to check out the previous March posts, featuring Sweet Sixteens authors:

March 1st
March 8th
March 15th
March 22nd

Non-Sweet-Sixteens Books Publishing This Week:




(Click on the covers to go to Goodreads!)

The Giveaway:

- Beyond the Red swag
- The Girl Who Fell swag
- Holding Court swag
- I Woke Up Dead at the Mall swag
- Save Me, Kurt Cobain swag
- The Serpent King swag
- Finished copy of Seven Ways We Lie
- The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez swag
- Liars and Losers Like Us swag

Preorder Promo: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Hi everyone! Today I'm sharing the promo for preorders of The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead. If you haven't seen the campaign, you'll get really familiar with it by the end of this post! I've read this book and really enjoyed it, and I do highly recommend it!

About the Book:

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Book One of The Glittering Court series
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: April 5, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

A dazzling new fantasy series set in a mix of Elizabethan and frontier worlds that’s dripping with romance from Richelle Mead, #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy.

Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court. 

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies capable of arranging powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together, they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first, as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and later, when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands. . . 

Follow the author!

Check out the preorder campaign!

You'll receive a welcome kit containing gemstone tattoos and a guide to The Glittering Court (while supplies last) and be entered to win the grand prize! Check out the website for more details, and submit your preorder receipt! You only have a few more days to do so, so get to it. :)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Book One of The Crown's Game series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

What I Liked:

When I started reading this book, I had extremely low expectations. For about a year, I'd been so excited to read it! Nineteenth-century Russia and magic? Count me in! But then I heard from early (earlier?) reviewers that there was a love triangle and... my excitement plummeted. But at that point, I had the eARC, so I knew I would be reading the book regardless. While I obviously didn't absolutely adore the book, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would! My rating is more like 3.5 stars, but I'm definitely rounding down.

Vika has been brought up by her father to believe that she is the only Enchanter in Russia (usually, only one is born per generation). There hasn't been an Imperial Enchanter in years. When the Crown's Game is called, Vika and her father are confused; the Game is between two Enchanters, the other being Nikolai Karimov. Nikolai used to be a poor orphan from the steppe, but he was taken in by a Russian noblewoman to train him and help sharpen his magic. Nikolai has been friends with Pasha, the crown prince of the Russian tsardom. When the Game is called, Vika and Nikolai meet behind veils and shadows, but their aura and magic are recognizable to each other anywhere. Like calls to like, and while the Crown's Game is a fierce magical tournament in which one Enchanter wins and the other dies, Vika and Nikolai discover that they do not how to play this game against each other, when their feelings grow. The Crown's Game is unfolding, but so is the empire and its secrets, secrets that could change everything.

This book is told from a looooooot of people's POVs. We have Vika, Nikolai, Pasha, Renata, Galina, Sergei, Ludmila, Aizhana, Yuliana, and a small part from the Tsar himself. Vika and Nikolai are our Enchanters. Pasha is the crown prince (very rogueish, flirtatious, fun-loving, not-series future tsar), Yuliana his younger sister (no-nonsense, iron will, would be a better heir, in my opinion). Sergei is Vika's father. Ludmila is a baker whom Vika buys bread from, and Ludmila comes to St. Petersburg when Vika is called to the Crown's Game. Galina is the woman that took Nikolai in when he was only seven or eight. Renata is a servant in Galina's household, and a friend of Nikolai. Aizhana is... extremely important, but I won't reveal who she is. This book is written entirely in third person (of which I am a huge fan).

The most important three characters (arguably) are Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha. I didn't hate or love Vika; she's stereotypical in that she is fierce and determined and powerful (a lot of heroines in YA fantasy seem to be so, these days). Her magic is highly elemental, and she wields it well. Nikolai is elegant and poised and quiet and responsible. His magic is (in my opinion) just as powerful as Vika's, but more subtle and less wild. Pasha is the complete opposite of Nikolai (in temperament) - he is always dragging Nikolai to some new adventure, or skipping important meetings, or not being interested in crops or uprisings or potential for war. Yuliana, on the other hand... she's got the brains to be a really structured tsarina (too bad she's not the heir - right?).

My favorite protagonist was Nikolai. Among the secondary characters, I think Ludmila was my favorite. She is kind and hilarious and a genuinely good person. Sergei too, and Renata. 

The author did an amazing job with the world-building, the setting, and all the imagery supporting the setting. I haven't read too many books set in historical Russia (1820s), but I can tell how well the author knows what she is writing about. There were a lot of times in the book in which the author needed to vividly describe different places in Russia, and each scene was very realistic and yet imaginative. I can see why so many people fell in love with this book's world-building, setting.

I can't believe I'm going to say this... I like where the romance is heading. You can probably tell but I'm a huge fan of Nikolai, and therefore, a huge fan of Nikolai and Vika. It's very obvious that these two are slowly falling for each other throughout the story. Pasha thinks he is falling for Vika as well, but to me, it seemed more like an obsession (new shiny thing, you know?). I'll talk about the love triangle in the next section, but I don't think this will grow to be one anymore than it is in this book. And in this book, Vika only returns the feelings of one boy. And she kisses neither/neither kiss her (though she thinks about kissing one of them, and he does the same). You can probably figure out which one I'm talking about. *winks*

The ending was cruel (which I'll talk about below), but at the same time, there was a VERY hopeful tone to it, especially within the last few sentences of the epilogue. I didn't think I would find myself looking forward to reading the sequel, but, I will be looking out for it next year!

What I Did Not Like:

It took me forever to really get into the story. The beginning is very slow. Now, it could be because the author was busy setting up the world and the setting and the scene. But the first, hmmm, one third of the book? Pretty boring.

Obviously, the love triangle. This love triangle really isn't bad, but the fact that it even exists bothers me. This one, in this story, is a nuisance. To me, it seems so obvious that Vika and Nikolai are a great pair together, and their feelings run deep. Pasha... he's too flirtatious. Too charmed by pretty things. He hasn't even thought far enough ahead about things like marriage (no, I don't think you can marry your potential future Imperial Enchanter, that would present a conflict of interest), or the tsardom.

I don't see the love triangle "blooming" in the next book, especially given that this is book one of two (yay duology). But can we talk about HOW CLICHE it is, for the crown prince and his best friend to both fall for the "shiny new thing" female? I'm over it!
While I'm on the topic of romance -- the romance in this book was NOT steamy at all. There were no kisses, no touches, no heated glances. I mean, you can clearly tell that Nikolai and Vika have some serious tension, and you can also tell that anything Pasha "feels" is completely in his head. But this book lacks physical evidence of chemistry (though you know it is there, between Nikolai and Vika).

I actually didn't really like Pasha; he's too carefree and naive and a little selfish. He would make a terrible tsar, and it's obvious that if his younger sister had a chance, she would walk all over him and rule as tsarina through him as tsar. Pasha has no spine, not even at the ending, when he did some bad things. He was just being a complete dumba**.

The ending was so bad. I had been seeing it coming ever since the beginning, ever since reading the synopsis and seeing that Nikolai would fall for Vika. But that didn't make the ending any less painful. It was painful! But as I said above, hopeful too. I have a good feeling that the ending won't stick.

For the people that already read this book, and are concerned about the love triangle and/or the ending of this book staying or sticking, I recommend reading the acknowledgements in the back of the book. See what the author mentions, when she first started writing the story. And maybe look up the history of Russia.

Would I Recommend It:

I see the appeal. I really do. I was determined to hate this book, upon starting it, because of what I had heard about the love triangle. But before I had heard about the love triangle, I had been SO excited to read this book. So... I get it. I see the appeal. And I kind of would recommend this to mot people. But maybe not someone like me who hates love triangles (hey, someone has to be the love triangle filterer though, right?). It's an incredible story and has beautiful world-building, but maybe wait until book two publishes to binge-read the series (if you hate love triangles).


3.5 stars -> rounded down to 3 stars. I enjoyed the book! Slow start, and the love triangle was a thing, and the ending was unreal, but I liked this book. I will be reading the sequel, which is the conclusion to this series.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

    There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

    Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

    Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

    But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

    Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

What I Liked:

My goodness, this book was chilling! I was thoroughly engrossed but also extremely terrified, from start to finish. I admit, I don't read a ton of YA psychological thrillers, or mystery, so this was a huge change of pace for me. And quite good, too!

Ten years ago, Tessa and Callie testified that they saw the face of the person who killed Callie's cousin, Lori, one night at Callie's house. Tessa left Fayette after the trial and moved to Florida with her grandmother. Callie and her parents remained in Fayette, but Callie has been stuck. Ten years later, Callie relies on alcohol and substances and boys to help her forget. Ten years later, Tessa's father is dying of cancer in Fayette's prison, and Tessa leaves Florida to stay with Callie and her parents. Ten years later, there is a new murder like the ones ten years ago - but the man who Callie and Tessa helped put behind bars is still behind bars. Nothing is adding up, neither past nor present. Tessa and Callie may not have talked to each other since the trial, but they both know something with this recent murder is very wrong.

I can't say I'm an expert on psychological thrillers, or mysteries, but I think this psychological thriller was EXCELLENT! Probably the best I've read (I'm drawing a blank, trying to think of others I've read, but I'm pretty sure none have come close to how great I think this book was). Thomas wrote a completely twisted and jaw-dropping story. Usually I'm one of those readers that figures out the whodunit and the twists fairly early on, but I didn't catch on until the protagonists (Tessa and Callie) caught on.

I am in awe of how intricate and twisted the whole story is! There are several events that Tessa questions, several situations/cases that don't make sense to her, that have never made sense to her, and/or about which she's trying to find out more. For one, the latest murder, of Ari (someone who Tessa new when she was little and living in Fayette). Also, where Tessa's sister is (her sister visited their father when he was dying, but Tessa hasn't seen her in ten years). Furthermore, where Tessa's mother is. Tessa hasn't seen her in years, and neither has anyone else. And finally, who the real Ohio River Monster really is - is it really Stokes, the man that Tessa and Callie helped put behind bars?

Believe it or not, all of these situations are somewhat connected... twisted, yeah? I won't say anything else about the plot and the murders and whatnot, but just know that the author does a really good job of weaving this story. Nothing is obvious, nothing is predictable.

There is a lot of emotional growth in this book, in terms of both Tessa and Callie. This book is written from Tessa's first-person point-of-view; Tessa has a strong, distinct voice, very blunt and almost crude and somewhat pessimistic. Tessa learns to open up and lean on others, throughout this story. Callie is different. She hasn't been handling the trial well over the past ten years, and she pretty much abandoned Tessa when Tessa had to live with her grandmother in Florida. Callie is, in my opinion, a mess, but she grows a lot throughout the story.

There is no romance in this book - which is both good and bad. Good, because not every story needs romance, and I didn't think this one needed it. Bad, because a little romance never hurts (no love triangles though), and there was a boy that I thought would play more of a role, on Tessa's part. But that's okay! He's a sweetie but he's definitely a periphery character.

Like I said, I don't want to go into details, and I definitely don't want to spoil anything, so I'll wrap up here! I'm so impressed with this story and the way it was written and constructed. I was chilled and freaked out and worried and desperate while reading this book - I couldn't read fast enough! Don't read this one at night, people.

What I Did Not Like:

This isn't getting five stars from me (it's not a new favorite - as much as I loved this book, I don't think I could see myself reading it again; I'm a scaredy cat!). But it was really good and I think others will enjoy. I mentioned the lack of romance being both good and bad - see my explanation for that above! That's the only thing I think I would complain about specifically.

Would I Recommend It:

If you're a psychological thriller fan, definitely do not miss this book. Or maybe you like crime shows, or mysteries; definitely do not miss this book. And if this is something out of your comfort zone (like in my case!), hey, you might be surprised!


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. I'm glad I decided to give this book a shot! I liked Kara Taylor's books, so I knew I would give Kara Thomas's books a chance (same author, different pseudonyms!). I highly recommend this (chilling) book!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

The Giveaway:

Win a copy of The Darkest Corners! USA only, as per the publisher's rules. Good luck!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (#170)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, March 20th to Saturday, March 26th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

We'll see about this on Saturday night! I don't think I got anything this week though.

From Edelweiss:

I adored Lady Bridget's Diary (book one), and cannot wait to dig into this one!

I've been looking forward to reading this book, ever since the cover reveal. Thank you, HMH!

For Review:

For the blog tour! Thank you so much, Macmillan. :)

A quiet week! I thought I'd be staying here at uni this weekend (instead of going home), but I decided that I really should go home and not miss Easter. So, to friends who celebrate, happy Easter!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Review: Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Book One of the Rokesbys series
Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

Sometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places...

This is not one of those times.

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband... someday.

Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should...

Or not.

There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest and heir to the earldom, but he's arrogant, annoying, and she's absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can't stand the sight of him, either.

But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor...

Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can't abide is the one person they can't live without...

What I Liked:

What a charming and delightful novel! I've not read any of Julia Quinn's books before, but I've always wanted to try her Bridgerton series, at least. I'd like to thank Avon for providing me not only with this ARC, but copies of the Bridgerton books (which I hope to binge-read sometime soon!). This in no way affected my opinion/my review. But I am ever so grateful! I adored this book, which didn't quite surprise me, but I'm glad I did!

Sybilla "Billie" Bridgerton and the Bridgertons have lived like family with the Rokesby family, who lives very close to them. Billie grew up like a sister to Andrew, Edward, and Mary, three of the five Rokesby siblings. But the oldest Rokesby has never liked her, but that's okay, because she's never liked him. George is somewhat stern and quiet and dependable, not free-spirited and fun like Andrew. But after Billie and George collide in a fateful event, both see the other in a completely different light, and neither can stop thinking about the other.

This was the cutest romance story! Most of the novel features Billie and George falling in love (emotionally). This does not happen overnight, despite how the synopsis might seem! The event jolts the awareness, but George and Billie continue their relationship that they've had in the past - bickering, sarcasm, witty statements, barbs, silly insults that aren't quite insulting. So it wasn't an insta-love story!

I don't think I immediately clicked with Billie; she's kind of wild and unmannerly in a way, not at all the proper lady. She never even had a Season or was a debutante. Her family spoils her and lets her run amok. It's strange for the time period, and I didn't quite like her because of her ways. But as I got to know and understand her better, I liked her more! She comes off as wild and irresponsible, but she actually has a good head on her shoulders, and she is quite intelligent and caring. She is loyal to her Rokesby friends, and loves her family and friends dearly.

George, I liked as soon as we meet him (in which he has to rescue Billie from the most ridiculous situation she got herself into). He's always been straight-laced and dignified and dependable and confident in a quiet way, as he is the heir to the earldom. George has always felt the pressure of being heir, and he was never able to do what he wanted - buy a commission and fight for his country. In some ways, he used to be envious of his four younger siblings, who grew up much more carefree than him. THIS aspect is something that is not always expounded upon in historical romance novels - how the heir feels about being the heir, how he grew up feeling, etc. So I like that the author added this extra depth to George. George is not a rogue or a flirt or a charmer, but he is quiet and intelligent and observant and kind.

So as individuals, these two seem so different. But as a pair, they clash in the funniest ways. Every conversation between them is hilarious; each of them trying to one-up the other, or insult the other (in not-mean ways though), or trade barbs. It's great! And so much of the dialogue was so original and so entertaining. I loved their interactions!

What struck me was how little physical interactions there were - you would think that the pair had little chemistry. I think a lot of their compatibility was in how well they matched intellectually and emotionally and mentally, but both of these noticed each other, in a physical way. There was a new-found awareness between them after the beginning scene (the incident). I wouldn't say that this book is sizzling and full of sparks of chemistry. There is also only one sex scene, and it comes within the last thirty pages of the book. BUT the pair is well-matched, physically included.

I like that there is another story going on, while these two characters' story is happening! I'm not sure whose book is next in the series, but besides the love story that we're going to be expecting, we'll get more details on the subplot of this book, which kind of ended on a cliffhanger-y note. Don't misunderstand - George and Billie's story wraps up and ends with this book! But the subplot involving another important character does not. I'd like to know more!

Overall, I was really pleased with this cute story. It was charming! I can't think of a better word to describe it. While there definitely was not enough physical interactions, I liked how well Quinn digs into the characters' emotional relationship! I'm looking forward to reading future books in the series.

What I Did Not Like:

Definitely not enough chemistry, and physical interactions (first/second/third base, home run, etc.). I think there was ONE kiss, and ONE sex scene. There were not sparks flying between these two characters, but I didn't quite mind the physical lack of chemistry because the pair has such good compatibility in general. But... this was a very un-steamy historical romance novel! Like if I had to give it a heat rating, one being the lowest and five being the highest, this book might get 0.5 to 1. I don't know if this is a Julia Quinn thing, or specific to this book, but BOOO!

Also, the ending kind of felt... abrupt. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adored George and Billie's ending. But it felt anticlimactic! Especially with the subplot not being resolved in this book.

Would I Recommend It:

I recommend this book to historical romance readers! I can see why Julia Quinn is so popular - she really knows how to write a good love story and capture great characters.


4 stars. I can't wait to read more books from this series! I'd love to read Andrew's book next, or maybe Edward's. But I also really want to know about that subplot! This book didn't feel as resolved as it could have been, so I especially want to read the next books to know what happens to a certain specific character!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!