Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

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Title: Starflight
Author: Melissa Landers
Format I Read: Physical ARC
Pages: 320
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date:  February 2, 2016
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world–and each other–the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

General Impression


Having read Melissa Landers before, I had irrationally high hopes for Starflight. The second I heard about it, it jumped to the top of my “must read ASAP or I’ll die” list. From the cover to the synopsis to Landers’ writing – I was salivating for this book. Luckily, the lovely Becky @ Stories and Sweeties traded me a copy (thanks, Becky)!

And guys… oh, boy. This book did not disappoint. It was a page turner, a captivator – it pulled me in hook, line, and sinker. The intriguing worldbuilding, the blood pumping adventure, the heart stopping action, the swoonworthy romance, the multi-dimensional characters, the complicated plot, the exquisite writing: everything about this book made it an immediate all-time favorite. Starflight is an absolute must-read. Continue reading

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Mini-Review: Rusk University Series by Cora Carmack

Ms. Carmack is truly a literary genius and one of my absolute favorite authors. Of her extensive repertoire, I’ve read All Lined UpAll Broke DownAll Played Out, Losing It, Faking It, and Inspire. I’ve fallen in love each time (though I do have my favorites). Here, I’m going to include some mini-reviews of the 3 released books in the Rusk University Series (New Adult Romance read as Kindle eBooks).

5 stars to all of the following

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Review: This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup

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Title: This Ordinary Life
Author: Jennifer Walkup
Format I Read: Physical ARC
Pages: 240
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Publisher: Luminis Books
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


For those who don’t know what This Ordinary Life is about:

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres’s life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health–not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

General Impression


Though this book had an interesting concept, the characters and the plot fell a little flat for me. Honestly, if the book wasn’t such a short and sweet read, I may have given up and DNF’d this. I ended up giving it 3 stars, but I was actually planning on 2 stars until the very end. However, it did have some solid points and redeeming qualities!

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Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

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Title: Soundless
Author: Richelle Mead
Format I Read: Physical ARC
Pages: 272
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


For those who are unfamiliar with Soundless:

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

General Impression


There is nothing more satisfying than finishing an amazing standalone novel. There’s something about the perfectly packaged story of a standalone that just leaves you so content. Honestly, I have the loveliest feeling in my heart right now. I feel like I can move mountains and change the world. I feel that good–Soundless was that amazing.

Since reading the synopsis and seeing the absolutely gorgeous cover, I’ve been coveting this book. Luckily, I got it in a spontaneous galley drop at BEA this year. As I read this book, I savored it–I let it muse in my mind, spreading the relatively short book out over four days. I’ll have you know, this is not something I normally do. I’m a “devour the book in one sitting with no regrets” kind of girl. But Soundless was just different. There’s something about Mead’s writing that just makes me want to drown in her words. I really don’t know what it is about Richelle Mead’s books, but I just want to wrap myself up in her stories. Continue reading

Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

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Title: Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Format I Read: Physical ARC
Pages: 374
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


For those who are unfamiliar with Trial by Fire:

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

General Impression


I quite literally read this book nonstop, with only a mild pause for much-needed sleep. Angelini completely sucked me in. My mind is boggled. Boggled. This book has to be one of the most interesting, most intricately created, most fascinating books I’ve read in a while. Angelini did a damn good job at building this mind-blowing world.

I’ve read many reviews of this book, and it seems that a lot are not favorable. I picked up an ARC of the sequel, Firewalker, at BEA, not even realizing that it was a sequel. Thus, in order to read Firewalker, I had to get my hands on Trial by Fire. I then stalked the #booksfortrade tag until I got a copy. Unfortunately, with all the reviews that I’d read, I was extremely nervous that I was going to hate Trial by Fire and be stuck with an ARC that I totally didn’t want to read. So I went into Trial by Fire with lots of reservations. Fortunately, I ended up absolutely loving the book. Continue reading

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

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Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Format I Read: Kindle eBook
Pages: 296
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


In case you haven’t heard of Ten:

SHHHH!
Don’t spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

General Impression


For those of you who enjoy mysteries reminiscent of Agatha Christie, but like a little taste of YA, Ten is definitely a book you need to pick up. McNeil eloquently and expertly wove a tale that adapted And Then There Were None in our day and age, with a cast of teenagers who are somehow all connected.

I’m not one to normally read the mystery and thriller genre. My genre is typically romance with a side of paranormal, mystery, thriller, etc. However, above all, Ten was a mystery novel. It had a side of romance, but the main focus was the murder and the suspense. This was a really refreshing change of pace for me! I really adored this novel and couldn’t put it down.

Characters


I also really enjoyed the characters. McNeil adds a fantastic layer of casual diversity. There’s a girl with anxiety and other disorders who needs to take medication. There’s a black football star. There’s an Asian singer. It was really refreshing to see such a diverse cast of characters! I also loved all of their backstories, especially the friendship between Meg and Minnie. They had a really complex and interesting history.

 Plot


McNeil created a fantastic puzzle that kept the reader guessing. I spent the whole novel trying to figure out who the murderer was; I even fell for McNeil’s trap and guessed the wrong person, just like some of the other characters. In the end, I wasn’t disappointed. The murderer had such an intricate plan and the puzzle fit together perfectly. Everyone’s role made sense and it all just worked.

I also really loved the homage to And Then There Were None. It was cool how McNeil even included a dead fakeout, like Christie does in the novel. In Christie’s mystery, the deaths follow a nursery rhyme about ten little Indians. In McNeil’s story, the deaths follow a different pattern, though every single murder has a meaning. I thought that was a really cool addition to the puzzle! And, of course, the base of the story was the same. A mysteriously absent host invites the characters to a party on an abandoned island with no exit routes.

Writing


McNeil also added some cool aspects to make the story realistic. The characters were invited through Facebook. The storm prevented them from getting off the island. It definitely felt more believable. It’s easy to say, “There’s no way they’d be stuck on an island in the 21st century. They have so much technology!” However, McNeil makes sure to cover all of her bases and make it completely plausible that the characters are stranded.

Conclusion


Overall, I’d probably give Ten 4 stars. It was an interesting, pull-me-in, edge-of-your-seat novel that I ate right up. It just wasn’t a wow book. However, I had no complaints. I’d definitely recommend to anyone looking for a taste of suspense in their TBR!

4 stars

With lots of bookish love,

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Review: The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

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Title: The Masked Truth
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Format I Read: Physical ARC
Pages: 340
Genres: Thriller, Contemporary, Young Adult
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Publisher: Doubleday
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads


For those who are unfamiliar with The Masked Truth:

Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for.

Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal.

The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage.

The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree.

Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to find out that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.

General Impression


I honestly don’t know how to write this review. I’m still reeling from that wild ride. Wow. I’m quivering, shaking, absolutely dying right now. The Masked Truth deserves every single one of those five stars–it deserves more than just those five stars. Continue reading