Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Flight of Arrows (The Pathfinders #2) by Lori Benton

28246434This review was written by: B
Received: Blogging for Books
Publication Date of Book: April 2016
Pages: 400
Stars: 4.25/5

Official Summary:
It is said that what a man sows he will reap -- and for such a harvest there is no set season.  No one connected to Reginald Aubrey is untouched by the crime he committed twenty years ago.

Not William, the Oneida child Reginald stole and raised as his own.  Identity shattered, enlisted in the British army, William trains with Loyalist refugees eager to annihilate the rebels who forced them into exile.  Coming to terms with who and what he is proves impossible, but if he breaks his Loyalist oath, he'll be no better than the man who constructed his life of lies.

Not Anna, Reginald's adopted daughter, nor Two Hawks, William's twin, both who long for Reginald to accept their love despite the challenges they will face, building a marriage that bridges two cultures.

Not Good Voice and Stone Thrower, freed of bitterness by a courageous act of forgiveness, but still yearning for their firstborn son and fearful for the future of their Oneida people.

As the British prepare to attack frontier New York and Patriot regiments rally to defend it, two families separated by culture, united by love, will do all in their power to reclaim the son marching toward them in the ranks of their enemies.

My Thoughts:
I never would have thought in a million years that I would highly anticipate a historical fiction novel.  In fact, I would have bet a billion dollars against it.  (And thank goodness I didn't because I would be so far in debt right now that it wouldn't even be funny!)   I can't even begin to explain to you guys how I would literally cross the street in the busiest of traffic to avoid any manifestation whatsoever of historical fiction, big or small.  I originally thought it radiated the horrific essence of boredom itself, neatly wrapped up in a tiny page bound package.  Lori Benton has thankfully made me a changed reader, though, seeing as The Wood's Edge blew my book-obsessed mind away with its passionate, tender characters and intricately woven story line.  I have more than the author to thank for setting me on this new path, though, because, even as I hate to admit it, I wanted to read The Wood's Edge because of its glorious cover design.  (Who ever said I couldn't judge a book by its cover?!)

After finishing the first book to The Pathfinders series, I obsessively pondered over how A Flight of Arrows would play out, particularly with William's story.  As you most likely know, The Woods Edge had a cliffhanger ending that left you wondering what was going to happen on multiple fronts, and when I finally decided to pick up its sequel I was highly hesitant.  I'm one of those readers that will go over a million different scenarios in their head, making tiny alterations each time, just for the sake of imagining how I wish one scene would play out.  (Is that sad? It makes it sound like I don't have anything better to do.)  As a result, there were so many expectations I'd placed on this book that I was scared it would leave me disappointed, but I guess I should have known better since Lori Benton was behind it all.  Also, as I usually have the unfortunate tendency to do, I read some hinted at spoilers online from GoodReads reviews (I know, I'm cursing myself even now for doing it), and I was still not completely prepared for one of the ending sequences.

William is a character that burrowed deep into my heart to the point where the character truly influenced my emotions.  He's so conflicted and confused, and all I wanted was for him to find peace and happiness.  What I thought was going to happen with his storyline was flipped on its head, and I just on the edge of my seat waiting to see how his narrative would play out.  I thought I was going to have a heart attack! I cannot say that I was completely satisfied with the ending of the story, but it was still one that warms the heart.

This was one of the most beautifully written books I have read in awhile.  The depth of the characters, the complex interweaving scenes, and the emotional depth that explored forgiveness, guilt, acceptance, and family.  This is just a warning that the feels may be coming at you if you pick up this book!  I have every intention of picking up the rest of this author's books.

Please note that I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Additional Information

Author Information

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Coven Princess by Lily Luchesi

This review was written by: B and C
Received: Ebook from Author 
Date of Publication: March 2018
Stars: 4.5/5

Official Synopsis: 

Your blood does not define you.

Harley Torrance's parents were killed in a home invasion when she was three.  Adopted by a nice couple, Harley begins to develop strange powers.  At fourteen she brews a potion so strong it gains the attention of the Coven King, and changes her world forever.

She's not human, she's a witch.

Now a part of the magical community, Harley must learn to control her powers lest the Darkness already in her blood overcome her.  Can she dampen her lust for power in order to stop the Dark from taking over the Coven and killing everyone in their way?


As avid fans of Luchesi's adult works, we were ecstatic to find that she was entering the world of YA, our favorite genre!  There was no doubt in our minds that The Coven Princess would be yet another amazing work with a kickass female and complex, real characters.  And oh did this book deliver!  We loved how the beginning possessed the classic

moment.  (However, Harley's a girl and a witch, but you get what we mean!).  And we were like

Give us those Harry Potter vibes, please!!!!!!!!!!!!  What we really loved, though, was how this book was original but at the same time gave nostalgic vibes for other series.  There was a low-key Harry Potter undertone, and the beginning made us reminisce about The School for Good and Evil for some reason, which we were all for.  At the same time, though, this book was original with the classic Luchesi voice shining through.  It never ceases to amaze us what Luchesi can churn onto the page, gracing us with new, wonderful, and emotional stories each time.

We had no idea that this took place in the same world as her adult Paranormal Detective series (cue the squeals), which will make the story even more meaningful for returning readers and will be an excellent segue for young adults if they want to take an even bigger bite out of Luchesi's earlier works (which we totally recommend!).  It was like finding Easter eggs on Sunday.

The Coven Princess explores the story of fighting for what you believe in and for others, which was done beautifully and with thought-provoking care.  It elaborates on choosing your own path due to your history and other's expectations, following Harley as she was deciding how to own who she was.  We believe these topics to be extremely important, especially for young adults.  Thus, the audience is sure to connect with Harley and follow this exciting, fast-paced story eagerly.

Release Day: The Coven Princess by Lily Luchesi

Now available from USA Today bestselling author Lily Luchesi and Vamptasy Publishing:

The Coven Princess

Your blood does not define you.
Harley Torrance's parents were killed in a home invasion when she was three. Adopted by a nice couple, Harley begins to develop strange powers. At fourteen she brews a potion so strong it gains the attention of the Coven King, and changes her world forever.
She's not human, she's a witch.
Now a part of the magical community, Harley must learn to control her powers lest the Darkness already in her blood overcomes her. Can she dampen her lust for power in order to stop the Dark from taking over the Coven and killing everyone in their way?

About the author:

Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula.
She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing's Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.

She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things "dark". At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she's not writing, she's going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Wintersong (Wintersong #1) by S. Jae-Jones

24763621This review was written by: C
Received: Checked out from Library
Date of Publication: February 2017
Pages: 436 (Hardcover)
Stars: 3.75/5

Official Summary:

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

My Thoughts:

“This was the Goblin King. The abductor of maidens, the punisher of misdeeds, the Lord of Mischief and the Underground.” 

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't picked up this book solely because the summary reminded me of Labyrinth. In fact, I have never come across a book before that even mentioned the Goblin King (aside from perhaps a few that referred to him as a creature that was more fairy-like and held the position of king of the fairies), but when I saw the previously mentioned movie, I thought that the concept was magical and strange. So you can imagine my excitement when I chanced upon a book focusing on the Goblin King or Erlkönig. The idea is fascinating, and I wanted to find out how S. Jae-Jones took the mythology of such a figure and wove it into an enticing tale.

Wintersong's female protagonist is Elizabeth, eldest daughter and child of innkeepers. Her father was once renowned for his musical abilities and her mother for her beauty and voice. Out of all of her siblings, Elizabeth seems to have the fewest prospects in life. Käthe has her beauty and way with men, Josef expertly plays the violin, and Elizabeth lacks physical beauty and a father who will not allow her musical talents to flourish (simply because she was born female). Thus, Elizabeth feels lost in life, and often only sees herself as a caretaker for Josef, whom she composes for.

One day, Elizabeth's sister is stolen by the Goblin King in order for him to attain the one person he truly wants -- Elizabeth. They once played together as children in the Goblin Grove, but her childhood memories of this boy have been long forgotten. Nonetheless, she chooses to give herself to the Goblin King for the love of her sister and to protect the world above from an eternal winter. Once the ceremony is complete, their marriage must be consummated, but the Goblin King refuses her, claiming that he wants all of her, not just a few pieces:

“There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.” 
~The Goblin King

This brings us to an interesting topic. First of all, Elizabeth often mentions that she is quite ugly in regards of what is defined as beautiful. She envies her younger sister, who possesses immense physical beauty and understands how her body affects those around her, especially men. In fact, she often mentions it in the beginning of the book:

“What I wouldn’t give to be the object of someone’s desire, just for one moment. What I wouldn’t give to taste that fruit, that heady sweetness, of being wanted. I wanted. I wanted what Käthe took for granted. I wanted wantonness.”

She also learns that Erlkönig's previous brides were all physically beautiful. What's interesting, though, is that the goblins in the market mention this:

“That one,” the merchant said, pointing to Käthe, “burns like kindling. All flash, and no real heat. But you,” he said. “You smolder, mistress. There is a fire burning within you, but it is a slow burn. It shimmers with heat, waiting only for a breath to fan it to life.” 

This is a particularly fascinating passage when even the Goblin King mentions that she is physically unattractive, but he explains that she possesses something that is far more beautiful and unique -- her soul. I thought that it was a perfect choice for Jae-Jones to make Elizabeth physically unappealing. The author doesn't go into great detail as to what Elizabeth looks like and Liesl often mentions that she knows she is not the "apple" of anyone's eye back home. However, her beautiful soul is something that is far more valuable and amazing than her outward appearance, and I love the fact that this is the reason as to why the Goblin King fell in love with her. Her music is a reflection of her soul and deepest emotions, and he fell for a talent and intangible aspect of Liesl that few acknowledged. You don't really see this in many YA novels of today, as the protagonists are usually attractive and this results in an attractive love interest. In the end, this love seemed far more sincere, wholesome, and real. 

Jae-Jones also has an amazing writing style. The book was truly a work of art in this sense. In fact, it was pure poetry. Just read this:

“You are a man with music in his soul. You are capricious, contrary, contradictory. You delight in childish games, and delight even more in winning. For a man of such intense piety, you are surprisingly petty. You are a gentleman, a virtuoso, a scholar, and a martyr, and of those masks, I like the martyr least of all. You are austere, you are pompous, you are pretentious, you are foolish.” 

As you can see, Jae-Jones doesn't just have a way with words, she's capable of truly portraying what's on a character's mind. The emotions are tangible and brought forth with such vigor. The characters were emotionally complex, well thought-out, and I just adored the chemistry between Elizabeth and Erlkönig. Most of all, I loved experiencing all aspects of the main characters, including their sadness, joy, anger, beauty, and darkness.

There were only a few things that I was disappointed in with this book, one being the origin of Erlkönig. The Goblin King mentions a story of how this being came into existence, but there's a bit of confusion as to who the original Goblin King was or how the power passes from one to another. I believe this ambiguity was intentional, but the Goblin King himself often insists that the Goblin King always was and always will be. Thus, even though it seems as if multiple people possessed the mantle of Goblin King, Erlkönig acts as if it has only been one entity.

The second confusing aspect was the explanation of how changelings come into existence. A few exist in the Underground, but their origins are mysterious and the goblins don't like them very much. There seem to be various ways in which they can come into existence, but the poetic explanation didn't come across very clearly. 

Lastly, most of the book takes place in the Underground, so there isn't much change in setting. Although the Underground is interesting in some ways, it can become doldrum after a while, especially when Elizabeth spends so much time in the same rooms. Also, I felt that the entire consummation arc of the story drug on quite a bit. It seemed as if sleeping with the Goblin King was validation of being truly loved by someone and she just seemed to pine a little too much for this event to finally occur. It's also revealed that the consummation is the beginning of Elizabeth's end. Thus, her life begins to feed the Underground and allow spring to return. It was just a little strange that they referred to the consummation and further visits to the Goblin King's bed as "lighting a candle." Maybe it was just a euphemism I could have lived without:

“Life,” he said softly, “is more than flesh. Your body is a candle, your soul the flame. The longer I burn the candle...” He did not finish. 
“A candle unused is nothing but wax and wick,” I said.“I would rather light the flame, knowing it will go out than sit forever in darkness.” 

Overall, I would definitely recommend Wintersong. I have never come across anything quite like it before and it's definitely a work of art. I also can't wait to see what Jae-Jones does with the next installment.

If you enjoyed this book, you may also like:


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Coven Princess by Lily Luchesi

Coming March 7th, 2018 from USA Today bestselling author Lily Luchesi and Vamptasy Publishing:


Your blood does not define you.
Harley Torrance's parents were killed in a home invasion when she was three. Adopted by a nice couple, Harley begins to develop strange powers. At fourteen she brews a potion so strong it gains the attention of the Coven King, and changes her world forever.
She's not human, she's a witch.
Now a part of the magical community, Harley must learn to control her powers lest the Darkness already in her blood overcomes her. Can she dampen her lust for power in order to stop the Dark from taking over the Coven and killing everyone in their way?

About the author:

Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula.
She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing's Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.
She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things "dark". At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she's not writing, she's going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Books Whose Publication Ended

Over the years, I've noticed that some books are never published even after they've been announced. Although sometimes reasons are given to address the sudden end to their serialization, I have come across some books that were never published without an explanation as to why they were canceled. So, I thought I'd share a few books that suddenly disappeared whether it be due to a choice the author made or mysterious circumstances that were never addressed.


P.S. If you happen to know why these books never came out, let me know!!!

The Way of the Dodo (Candle Man #3) by Glenn Dakin

7760936    7507938

Book 1 Official Summary:

Murder, mystery, and adventure aren't your typical birthday presents...

But for Theo, anything that breaks up his ordinary routine is the perfect gift.

A mysterious "illness" and Theo's guardians force him into a life indoors, where gloves must be worn and daily medical treatments are the norm. When Theo discovers a suspicious package on his birthday, one person from the past will unlock the secret behind Theo's "illness" and change his life forever.

Molded into an exhilarating steampunk adventures that gives birth to the next great fantasy hero, Theo Wickland, Candle Man: The Society of Unrelenting Vigilence is the first book in a trilogy by debut author Glenn Dakin.

What happened?

Way back in 2009, a book titled The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance (Candle Man #1) was published. Then, in 2010, Candle Man: The Society of Dread (Candle Man #2) was released. I ate this series up when it came out. I loved the premise of a young boy who could kill with a touch being hidden away from society. However, the third book NEVER came out.

I really have no idea what happened to this one. The back of the second book actually has a Coming Soon announcement with the third book's title (The Way of the Dodo) and a release year of 2012. However, it never happened. I've scoured the internet, especially the author's website, to find out what happened. The series was definitely meant to continue based on the events of the second book (the official summary even says it's a trilogy), but the third book mysteriously disappeared from existence.  

Tandem Justice (Justice #3) by Kim Jewell

12190651     14407829

Book 1 Official Summary:

Book #1 in a series about teenagers that were tampered with as babies - injected with a combination of drugs that were designed to leave them with super abilities. 

Over time the teens start to find each other, form a team, and search for answers and the man who did this to them. Likened by readers to X-Men and Heroes, Invisible Justice is a contemporary take on teenage super heroes. 

Sam Dixon is a fairly typical teenage boy - great parents, active school life, pesky sister - with a nice life. That is until it is turned upside down when he begins to experience crippling flashes of pain that take over his entire body. It doesn't take him long to realize that these moments of burning torture are changing his body's makeup and leaving behind extra abilities - heightened senses. His new sight, hearing, touch, taste and sense of smell give him powers beyond anything he thought possible. A random meeting at the local hardware store connects Sam with another teen - Leesha Conway - who has also experienced similar flashes, and a very different but powerful ability - telekinesis. As they compare notes and try to make sense of what is physically happening to them, a mystery unfolds. 

Each clue they uncover brings more questions to the table, and thus begins the search for the person that is responsible for both the pain and the powers left with them. Dr. Carl Blevins is the man they seek, the one who can give them all the answers. His medical education, combined with his special unit military training, has given him the knowledge he needs to play God with people's lives. His goal is to create an army of super humans equipped to do his bidding. Blevins' past experimentation on adults - conducted in clinical trials during a military research project - ended in death and disaster. Not wanting to give up, he transferred his medical practice to obstetrics and, unbeknownst to the military officials that pulled the plug on the dangerous experiment, restarted his work on newborns. 
The combination of dormant drugs he administered in the neonatal unit was designed to kick in as each patient's body matured fully, allowing them to realize their added potential. 

As Sam and Leesha look for answers, they discover a list of other teens who could be just like them, and find two more to add to their research team. Lexi, Sam's twin, experiences her series of flashes shortly after Sam's are nearing the end - and finds her gift is the ability to make her body transparent. Clint, the fourth to join the team - and unaffected yet by any flashes - is mysteriously sent by the evil Dr. Blevins to help in the team's efforts. Little do they know it has always been part of Blevins' plan to reunite his kids to work together as a unit. 

The four work together to uncover a number of professionals who aided in the medical experiment seventeen years ago, which leads the team on a cross-country trip to interview a pathologist that may have valuable information and ultimately lead them to Dr. Blevins. The teens combine their powers to search for the truth, which takes them down a dangerous journey, but one that is filled with new bonds of friendship and camaraderie.

What happened???

I bought both books in this series and checked often to find out when the third would come out. I remember there being a cover reveal a really long time ago for the third book. There's even a GoodReads page for it: However, one day the author just stopped talking about the book's release.


I've looked everywhere for an answer as to why this book disappeared. However, the author's blog is no longer available and there doesn't seem to be a single explanation for why the third book was never published.

Untitled Intertwined #4 by Gena Showalter

6344423     7696564    10479340

Book 1 Official Summary:

There’s something about the new guy at Crossroads High…

Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:

One can time travel.
One can raise the dead.
One can possess another human.
One can tell the future.

Everyone thinks he’s crazy, which is why he’s spent his entire life shuffled between mental institutions and juvie. All of that is about to change, however. For months Aden has been having visions of a beautiful girl—a girl who carries centuries-old secrets. A girl who will either save him or destroy him.

Together they’ll enter a dark world of intrigue and danger... but not everyone will come out alive. 

What happened???

Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't read the ending to book 3!!!

A lot of people may be familiar with Gena Showalter for her adult romance novels or her Alice in Zombieland series, but I know her for one of my favorite YA series -- Intertwined. This series hasn't had a new publication since 2011, and there's been a fourth book in limbo for a very long time. In fact, it's publication date changes every year (this has been happening since 2012). 

I know a lot of people have been holding out for this fourth book due to the ending of the third. It was definitely one of those copout endings that pretty much undoes the events of the entire series. Everyone wanted to find out what would happen next: Would Aden do things differently? What will happen to Aden? What's going to happen to Mary Ann?!!!

Due to such a huge build-up of people demanding to know why the "announced" fourth book has not yet been released, Showalter actually addressed what was happening with the series. Essentially, Intertwined is not as popular as and does not make as much money as her other works, so she has chosen to work on the books that are in higher demand. She answered the question on GoodReads ( and here's her quote:

"The Intertwined series just couldn't find a place in the market, and they were such difficult books to write, I lost my joy for them. They became a chore. I want to love what I do. Had I known it would come to this, I would have given the 3rd a happy ending. I'm truly sorry to those who loved the series!"

However, she recently released a post on her site about how the fourth book could potentially unfold and the direction she wanted the series to go in: So, along with many fans of this series, I'll keep my fingers crossed that the fourth book will one day become a reality. We're begging you Ms. Showalter!!!!!


Thursday, January 4, 2018

B's Favorite Books of 2016

B's Favorite Books of 2016

While we're already chugging through 2018, I still haven't been able to share my favorite books of 2016 yet.  I'm always fashionably late to the point of a public stoning, and I'm very sorry for that. . . it's rather embarrassing. I really have no excuse.  But anyway, I'm still excited as ever to share with you some fabtastic reads!  (The following books are placed in the chronological order in which I read them because I couldn't rank their awesomeness against one another!)


Official Summary:

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself. 

What's to love about it?

I've never been truly able to appreciate that many YA contemporary novels and have more than struggled with, actually it was more like painfully waded through, so many of them . . . one . . . by . . . painful . . . one.  (It's really what I imagine drowning in quicksand to feel like.)  And it was when I came to the conclusion that it was just becoming too hard to carry on and wanted to accept that the genre just wasn't for me that I read My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga.  My world had made a complete 180!  I found a contemporary I didn't want to hurl out of the window into a muddy puddle that was somehow simultaneously set on fire, but as soon as I rejoiced over this wondrous revelation, I fell into that same awful YA contemporary rut...until this book!  My second find that I didn't want to throw out the window into a burning puddle of doom!  That's all you really need to know.

(BUT, if you want to know more.......I found the personal growth in this novel to be FLAWLESS and emotionally impactful.  Plus, the various friendships and their developments, including how Ezra and Foster interacted with each other, made me melt into a big gooey puddle.  (Now I kind of want brothers (and not the religious kind), which presents me with a huge dilemma: How do I find some?)  I've honestly never read or seen Pride and Prejudice --unless you count Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies -- or watched Friday Night Lights, but I know I need an Ezra.  In fact, everyone deserves an Ezra. PRONTO.)


Official Summary:

Listen -- Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn't.

Now he's alive.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a bit fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado.  Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy's body, and well, here he is.  Despite all logic, he's still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed.  That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend.  Or maybe she's not his girlfriend anymore?  That's a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

What's to love about it?

Noggin is phenomenal largely due to John Corey Whaley's writing style.  Right after I read this book and returned it to the library, I went out and bought myself my own copy to treasure (granted it was paperback and not hardback like the original copy I read because of . . . ya know . . . my uncontrollable need to spend all of my money on books.  Also, by treasure I mean set in a box in my basement to give to the grandchildren I plan to have in my life 50 plus years down the road.)  The story drives a knife through your heart multiple times and the sheer beauty and pain I found within its pages was something that I don't think I'll be forgetting any time soon.  I can't say that I was one hundred percent satisfied by the ending, but the writing was so darn good that this year I went and read JCW's other two books (Highly Illogical Behavior and Where Things Come Back).  His stories are unique, and strange and make you feel human.  I'm definitely planning to read any and all releases he makes in the future.  You can count on that!


Official Summary:

Valerie Torrey took her son Alex and fled Los Angeles six years ago -- leaving both her role on a cult sci-fi TV show and her costar husband after a tragedy blew their small family apart.  Now Val must reunite nine-year-old Alex with his estranged father, so they set out on a road trip from New York, Val making appearances at comic book conventions along the way.

As they travel west, encountering superheroes, monsters, time travelers, and robots, Val and Alex are drawn into the orbit of the comic-con regulars, from a hapless twenty something illustrator to a lesbian comics writer to a group of cosplay women who provide a chorus of knowing commentary.  For Alex, this world is a magical place where fiction becomes reality, but as they get closer to their destination, he begins to realize that the story his mother is telling him about their journey might have a very different ending than he imagined.

A literary-meets-genre pleasure from an exciting new writer, A Hundred Thousand Worlds is as tribute to the fierce and complicated love between a mother and son -- and the way the stories we create come to shape us.  There just aren't articulate enough words in the English language to describe his books. 

What's to love about it?

I first thought that this book was just going to be about crazy shenanigans and the happenings at cons with panels, cosplayers, fandoms, and all of the nerdy feels.  In reality, this book touches on the profound, which I definitely was not emotionally prepared for at the time.  It's gracefully sculpted and leaves you speechless at the end.  It's about family, possibilities, and heartbreak.  Adult novels are not always enjoyable for me, but this one was a true and unexpected gem.  It just might be easier to understand what I mean if you read my review here because I could go on and on about this one.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.


Official Summary:

The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it's little more than a ruin.  General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who's gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished.  Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death?  Or do they have plans of their own?

What's to love about it?

This is the second book in The Divine Cities series by Robert Jackson Bennett, and I've never loved a fantasy series more than I love this one.  Each one is full of complexity, mystery, magic, and emotion.  (So yeah,  characters you love are subject to die at any time.)  The history that RJB weaves for his stories and the immense amount of detail he puts into his gods and goddesses is not only enthralling but also mind-blowingly captivating.  Also, I never thought I could ever truly come to love Turyin Mulaghesh and was highly hesitant to read (essentially) solely about her for 400 plus pages since she was merely a side character in A City of Stairs, but I was wrong.  This book made me realize how truly amazing this woman is.  She is a soldier with battles of her own that no one else can see with scars that go beyond the mere surface, and I love her for her resilience and her wounds.  Yes, this book is a kick-butt fantasy novel, but it's a kick-butt fantasy novel with humanity at its core.


Official Summary:

Artemis Fowl 12, rich genius guarded by his only friend Butler, wants back dad lost in Russia, and mum lost in daydreams.  For leprechaun gold, he kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance Unit.  But Commander Root has centaur Foaly's high tech, dwarf Mulch Diggums, time-stop bubble, fatal bio-bomb, and willingness to break rules.

What's to love about it?

Different people will argue as to whether the Artemis Fowl series is Middle Grade or Young Adult, but whichever one you care to categorize it under, it's sure to be one of the best fantasy adventures you'll ever read whether you're twelve or eighteen.  I've read it twice now and have allowed it to take me away to an Ireland that's home to a child millionaire (and also mastermind) by the name of Artemis, his steadfast bodyguard, and an elf who may be small, but packs a mighty punch. The story is comprised of almost everything you could ask for -- magic, mayhem, humor, and a smart-ass genius that you just can't get enough of.  Plus, the side characters are to die for.  (Go Butler and Commander Root!  I love those guys.)  Artemis is literally a genius, and he'll have you turning the pages more than furiously to find out what he's got up his sleeve next.  (You can bet it's mischievous. Mwahaha!!!)  Though, at the end of the day guys, I can't even begin to use words to describe how flipping fantastic it is.  Plus, some of the actors like Josh Gad have finally been cast for the Disney movie, and I'm becoming beyond excited for Artemis on the big screen!  (See, it is okay that I didn't finish this until now because I have movie news to gush about!)


Official Summary:

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady.  She's much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dress, or dances.  So when her father sends her to London for a season, she's determined not to form any attachments.  Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research. 

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears.  He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies.  Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other.  Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana's traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

What's to love about it?

I'm not gonna lie.  I read this book right after watching Pride, Prejudice and Zombies (which is the second time I've mentioned it in this post -- which means you should definitely check it out!), and I absolutely loved that bloody movie, especially for the wee romantic tidbits in it.  It made me truly fall in love with Regency period pieces, as it was my first.  (So yeah, it took my Regency virginity.  We won't make a big deal out of it.)  I was desperate for anything that could give me that vibe again, and this book happily delivered.  The witty banter between Juliana and Spencer was beyond cute and terribly sweet, too.


Official Summary:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the high school musical.  But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight.  Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn't play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone's business.  Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he's been emailing, will be compromised.  

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon's junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated.  Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he's pushed out -- without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he's never met.

What's to love about it?

I'm usually highly hesitant to read hyped books, but I don't really have a reason why.  I still haven't read Harry Potter for crying out loud!

But I swear that I'll read it one day!  I've already read book years ago. But I will finish them in the next decade.  Pinky promise.  Back to the matter at hand.  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was getting some of the greatest love ever at the time of its release and still is, and something just pushed me to read it, and then I couldn't get enough.  So many people say it's one of their favorite fluffy contemporaries, which to be fair, it is a fluffy contemporary, but that's true only to a degree in my opinion.  It's so much more than that and deserves more credit for its content.  It's got tons of heart in it, and gave me palpitations -- that might just be because I'm weak though -- and I could gush about this book all day, ever day.  I literally went out and bought a HARDCOVER copy of this book.  That's right. A. HARDCOVER.  It's just that kind of book.  Thus, you must read it.  Now.  No arguing with me. Plus, Love, Simon is coming out soon!  (Cue annoyingly high pitched squeal of unadulterated excitement that won't let up until the movie is released!) 


Official Summary:

He's in love with the boy next door.

Gideon always has a plan.  His plans include running for class president, leading the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges.  They do not include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle.  It's a distraction.  It's pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby.  And Gideon doesn't know that to do . . . 

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life.  He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team.  Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can't quite figure out what he did wrong . . . 

What's to love about it?

I think a large part of the reason that I love this book is because of the timing when I read it.  Let me set up the scene:  A senior in Catholic high school is forced to participate in a KAIROS retreat two and a half hours away from home where the air smells solely of cow manure or else she will not receive her diploma.  The shock!  The injustice!


That was my exact situation.  I was subjected to sitting down in small groups and listening to people talk about terribly depressing situations (death, bullying, more death) and trying to make me cry, and was threatened that I wouldn't be able to graduate unless I came.  I was criticized by several people for being a quite introvert, and it was an entirely unpleasant nightmare, so I didn't enjoy a single bit of it.  Okay, that's a lie.  I enjoyed the bus ride back because I knew I would be free in 2.5 hours, the K-Pop songs my best friend let me listen to with her when no one was near (bringing electronic devices like cell phones and iPods was illegal but we did it anyway because we were unsuspected rebels!), and this book I brought with me.  It's the little things I had to focus on.  (There was a large cat on the loose in the area at the time, and the people at the retreat facility told us it had killed a cow the other day so it was supposedly not going to be hungry for several more days.  I was on edge people!  This is not an exaggeration of my experience.)  This book I kept at my side for two days of the retreat, reading it every spare second I had to keep myself sane.  I thought Been Here All Along was undeniably cute and just the thing to keep me from rampaging around like a mad woman in the face of utter injustice! (I'm proud to say that I made it through KAIROS and graduated in May.)  I felt bad for Ruby and the ending could have definitely been fleshed out further, but, at the end of the day, Kyle and Gideon were #goals.  Rock on you cute ass couple.  Rock on!


Official Summary:

"I walk around the school hallways and look at the people.  I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here.  Not in a mean way.  In a curious way.  It's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that day . . . or wondering who did the heart breaking and wondering why."

Charlie is a freshman.  And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular.  Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.  Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory" the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.  But Charlie won't stay on the sideline forever.  Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective.  But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

What's to love about it?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower literally has a cult following, which is both admirable and frightening as all heck.  Thus, I needed to watch the movie.  As usual, I watched the movie before reading the book (oops!), but I didn't really like it except for Patrick.  Then I decided to watch it again a year later, and absolutely fell in love with the film.  Strange how time makes all the difference.  I ended up borrowing the book several months later and also connected with the original story, but in a completely different way than with the film.  I didn't connect with Patrick like in the movie, instead gravitating towards Charlie's sister.  Do I think this book is a little over-hyped?  Yes (says while cowering in fear), but it's still an important and addicting story.  However, I just wish Charlie refrained from drinking, smoking, and taking all those drugs.  That could have definitely been dialed down.  Just saying.  However, Charlie is so sweet, and I really want to 3-D print him.  Is that possible?  I'm going to go try.