Mundie Moms

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

LIFEBLOOD by Gena Showalter / Book Blitz


It's finally here! LIFEBLOOD by Gena Showalter is out TODAY! I'm thrilled to be apart of The Irish Banana's book blitz tour, to spotlight the the second book in the Everlife series. I love the covers for this series. Here's a little bit about today's new release:


ABOUT LIFEBLOOD

By: Gena Showalter
Published by: HarlequinTeen
Released on: February 28th, 2017
Series: Everlife #2
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound
Add it to Goodreads

My Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley "Ten" Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten's competition is Killian, the boy she can't forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she's never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.
 


ABOUT GENA SHOWALTER


Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances, as well as young adult novels. Her series include White Rabbit Chronicles, Angels of the Dark, Otherworld Assassins, Lords of the Underworld, Alien Huntress and Intertwined.

Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated all over the world. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories", while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”. 

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest


OUT TODAY! 2/28/17 New YA Releases


February is ending with an awesome release day. Check out the newest YA releases hitting bookstore shelves today. I've read a few of these already and they're definitely worth picking up. Here's what's out today:

  1. Lifeblood by Gena Showalter, Harlequin Teen 
  2. The Ship Beyond by Heidi Heilig, Harper Teen 
  3. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller, Feiwel & Friends 
  4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Balzer & Bray 
  5. Wild Lily by K.M. Peyton, Scholastic 
  6. Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton, Diversion Publishing 
  7. A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho, Viking 
  8. Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliott, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux
  9. One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr, Harper Collins
Which new releases are you picking up today?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Cassie Clare Shares New Lord of Shadowhunters Snippet #Shadowhunters #LordofShadows


Image from Cassie's tumblr art by Cassandra JP

Shadowhunters, check out the newest Lord of Shadows snippet Cassie posted on her instagram alongside a fun image by Cassandra JP:

 “The shadows were lengthening by the time Julian and Emma fin ished their lunch. Julian bought some food and supplies at a small grocer’s shop, while Emma darted next door to pick up pajamas and t-shirts at a small New Age shop that sold tarot cards and crystal gnomes. When she emerged, she was grinning. She produced a blue and purple t-shirt emblazoned with a smiling unicorn for Jules, who stared at it in horror. She tucked it into his pack carefully before they started across the town to find the beginning of the path to the coast.” 

Lord of Shadows will be out on 5/23/17 We can't wait to get our hands on this book! You can also find a post with the snippet on her Tumblr account

DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING by Tricia Levenseller / Book Review


By: Tricia Levenseller
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Released on: February 28th, 2017
Series: Daughter of the Pirate King #1
Purchase from: The Publisher | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Stars - I LOVED It!
Source: e-arc from the publisher in exchange for my honest review 

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I've gotten what I came for. 


Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

In Daughter of the Pirate King, debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.
I absolutely loved Tricia Levenseller's DAUGHTER OF THE PIRATE KING. It's action packed, with plenty of adventure, a tough heroine, the best kind of romance, magic and so much more. This is one book that had me re-reading right after I had finished reading it for the first time. 

This is the book I've been waiting on. With plenty of wit, humor, sarcasm, and the right amount of sizzling character chemistry, I devoured this book in one sitting. The writing is awesome. It's the kind of writing that ensnares you, and leaves you wanting more. I absolutely loved all this story gave me. From the characters, to the high seas, to the dangers, and romance. It's a layered story that's pealed back little at a time, giving you enough to keep you reading. 
It wouldn't be a pirate story without fight scenes, romance, and a few twists. I love that there was the right amount of humor, which off sets a lot of the gore. Oh those twists are so good too. I didn't see two of those coming. I love the element of surprise Levenseller adds to the story when it comes to a certain revelation. Keeping it spoiler free....

I love a snarky character, and Alsoa has the mouth of a pirate (without the swearing), and the pose of a Princess. It's the perfect combination. What I loved the most about her, is she doesn't make excuses or apologize for who she is. She is the Pirate King's daughter, but she's her own person. She's someone who can take care of herself, but knows when to ask for help. She's intelligent, witty, sarcastic and is someone who takes her of her own, as well herself. I loved watching her in action, as well as getting to know her. Her has this fierce inner as well as outer strength, and unshakable courage, that I loved. She keeps her head in the game no matter what is going on. He is her perfect counterpart is Riden. 

I need more of Alosa and Riden! Their romance is my favorite kind. I love the banter between these two. They have this on going battle of wits and wills. It's so well written. While on the surface it may seem like they're trying to outsmart the other, there's really much more going on. They definitely have a character chemistry that sizzles. It's that 'much more going' I loved watching unfold as the story goes along. These two are the perfect match. There's so much more than meets the eye with each of them. It's so much fun watching these two try to best the other. I like that they don't dish out what they can't handle. Boy do they know how to ruffle each other's feathers, as well as how to leave each other breathless. 

Character wise, I really enjoyed the variety of characters in this story. There's the ones you love, ones you enjoy getting to know, and the ones you utterly despise. It's like the best of the best, and the worst of the worst of the pirating world. It's interesting to see how they all mesh together. The hierarchy on the pirate ships is fascinating. I enjoyed getting to see how it all works. I really enjoyed that the majority of this setting is on the pirate ships. The ships are described in great detail, making it incredibly easy to visualize. 

This book was awesome! It's my kind of book. It has the perfect combination of romance, unforgettable characters, and of course plenty of action and danger on the high seas. This is a book that will be sitting on my favorites shelf. If this is Levenseller's debut, I can't wait to read her sequel. This book will be out tomorrow, and I highly recommend picking it up. It will definitely be among my favorite reads of 2017. 


Mundane Monday 303 #Shadowhunters


Happy Mundane Monday Shadowhunters. Here's a little bit of Will to help get your days off to a great start. This is one of my favorite quotes from The Infernal Devices. *image source

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Any Boy But You by Julie Hammerle / Book Review



By: Julie Hammerle
Published by: Entangled Crush
Released on: February 13th, 2017
Series: North Pole, Minnesota #1
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars
I received an e-arc from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Elena Chestnut has been chatting with an anonymous boy late into the night. It’s a very You’ve Got Mail situation, and she has no idea who he is. He can’t be Oliver Prince, hot-and-bashful son of the family running the rival sporting goods store. Their fancy sales strategies are driving Elena’s family out of business. Elena’s mystery boy has teamed up with her in their latest sales strategy, an augmented reality game, to help her win the grand-prize plane tickets. Money’s so tight Elena’s going to miss senior year spring break with her friends if she can’t win this game.

The girl Oliver's fallen head-over-heels for online had better not be Elena Chestnut. She's his angry, vindictive Latin tutor, the daughter of his dad’s business rival, and the one girl he’d never even think of kissing. She’s definitely not his online crush, because that girl is funny, sweet, and perfect.

When Oliver asks to reveal their names at the Valentine’s Day dance, their IRL relationship will either ruin what they have online, or they’ll discover just how thin the line between love and hate really is.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains swearing, snowball fights, and sexual tension that could melt the North Pole. Read at your own risk.


Any Boy But You is a great modern day Romeo & Juliet, meets You've Got Mail and with a Hallmark Movie Channel storyline.  An enjoyable read, this is a cute, clean cut YA romance, about two teens you despise each other in real life, but have connected with each other online. Not realizing that who they're each crushing on is in-fact the person they can't stand. Each coming from the rival family who's for a generations have allowed a family feud get in the way of friendship, and compete over the other's family owned sporting good store. 

There's something about the way Hammerle wrote this book, that instead of putting it down, because it may not have been my cup of tea, I found that this was just the read I needed. It's the slow build up kind of storyline that I was intrigued with. I got wrapped up in all Elena and Oliver's stories. I like that this book is told from both of their points of views. Each comes from a family with it's own set of problems. After all, it wouldn't be good contemporary without having realistic, small town drama. That being that the two families have an ongoing feud, despite their parents being one time close friends. 

I liked that the small town feel to the story. I enjoyed each of the characters, and what they added to the story. I felt like I understood each of them and enjoyed getting to know them more. They each of their realistic strengths and weakness, and I enjoyed seeing them grow as characters, especially Elena and Oliver. Oliver definitely surprised me the most. He's not your typical main character who's a gifted athlete and has girls swooning over him. Instead he's the introverted character who's the perfect opposite for Elena's extroverted character. 

My favorite part of the story was watching two characters who despise each other in real life, connect with each other online. Not knowing that who they're crushing, and having heart to heart conversations with, is the one person they can't stand to be around. I loved watching the two of them piece together who their online crush was in real life. This is a cute, clean cut, fast paced read. I'm hoping this is the start to a series that will include some of the other character's own stories. I'm looking forward to reading more of Hammerle's books. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alywn Hamilton / Blog Tour: Rebel Recap Part 2 - Chapters 6-19 Recap / Giveaway


Welcome to today's stop in Penguin Teen's REBEL OF THE SANDS blog tour. This 3 week tour gives reads a look into the new cover of Rebel of the Sands, as well as the up release of this sequel, TRAITOR TO THE THRONE.  Today I'm sharing recap part 2, which is chapters 6-19. You can read my 4.5 star review for the book here. Please note there will be SPOILERS in today's recap. So, if you've not yet read the book, just skip ahead to read more about the books, and enter the giveaway below. 

On a side note, I have to mention these cover. Aren't the covers stunning? I absolutely love the new covers, and I'm normally not a huge fan of cover redesigns. Okay, back to the tour stop.



ABOUT REBEL OF THE SANDS 


By: Alwyn Hamilton
Published by: Viking Books
Released on: March 8th, 2016
SeriesRebel of the Sands #1
Purchase fromAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. 

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him... or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

REBEL RECAP #2 (Chapters 6 -19)


Ch. 6-8 

Amani escapes two marriage proposals, and a gun to the head, held by army commander. She sees her friend being shot, and takes a split second chance on the foreigner, Jin, and literally rides away/ escapes with on the back of the very Buraqi she caught. Jin knows Amani is the blue eye bandit. She also realizes Jin won't take her to Izman like she wanted to go to. He warns her about the town, and all the dangers she faces there. Knowing he won't take her, she drugs his drink, sells the Buraqi, and is on a train bound for Izman, which is a week's journey across the desert. We also learn more about the stories each on grew up being told about the Rebellion, and the differences in how they were told. 

Ch. 9- 11 
Also on the train is Shira, Amani's cousin, and the soldiers that are after her and Jin. Thankfully Jin catches up with Amani, before the soldiers do, thanks to her cousins for turning her in. We also get a good glimpse into the stubbornness and sexual tension between Jin and Amani. Once Jin corners Amani, he asks for the broken compass back. There's something very important about the broken compass, despite it sending Amani off in to the wrong direction when she tried to use it. To risk being caught, they jump from the train. For the sake of not dying in the desert, they come up with a plan on how to cross the dessert and get to Izman. Amani's straight shooting gets them hired by a caravan to begin their travels across the desert. Traveling this way will ensure more safety on the long journey. I love this quote, "I might have traitor eyes, but Jin had the sort of smile that would turn over who empires to the enemy-that made me fee like suddenly I understood him exactly, even though I knew other about him."

Ch. 12 -14 
I really liked the religious talks, and the brief history we get on both Amani and Jin's heritages. And just for a moment we get a tiny glimpse into secretive Jin... though he quickly closes down, after he tells Amani he has a brother. Jin tells Amani about the weapons that can wipe out whole cities, and what the army is planning to do. Things aren't looking good for the caravan. They come upon something they never excepted to see. Running low on water, the well they hoped to use, is destroyed. Their caravan is searched, and medicine made from magic is found. We also see that those who have magic are put to death. Now inside the city, Amani learns more about the Rebel Prince's family, the ties to the desert magic. She also finds an ally in Noorsham, a solider for the General. She frees the Barqi to run free back to the dessert where they belong. In the process she causes chaos, which for allows for a chance for her and Jin to escape back to the desert without notice.

Ch. 15 & 16
Trouble seems to follow these two everywhere. Back in the dessert, magic and nightmares combine. The caravan knows they're no longer brother and sister, and threaten Amani. A Nightmare attacks Jin, leaving him near death. In order to save Jin, Amani trusts in the stories she and Jin were told growing up. Though they might vary, she believed in the password, and says it right before she's attacked by Skinwalker who's bent on ending her life. At the last moment, she's saved by a girl on a leopard who says she must have been the one who said the password. Before Amani passes out from her wounds, she sees the girl kill the skin walker.

Ch. 17, 18 & 19 
All the stories are true. At least about the Rebel Prince, and the rebellion. Amani awakes in a beautiful place, full of color, life, and discovers all the secrets Jin kept from her. Not only does she learn that Jin is really a Prince, she discovers his brother is the Rebel Prince. Prince Ahmed, the rightful heir to Miraji, and the one who's inspired stories of revolution across the desert. Now, everything about the stories makes sense, and the magic of the desert is what has kept them hidden. Jin's stories were right.... We really get to understand the passion behind the rebellion, and why the Princes's are risking it all for it. We also learn more about Jin and Ahmed's growing up, their mother, and about those who are apart of the rebellion. 


ABOUT TRAITOR TO THE THRONE


By: Alwyn Hamilton
Published by: Viking Books
Released on: March 7th, 2017
SeriesRebel of the Sands #2
Purchase fromAmazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

The sizzling, un-put-downable sequel to the bestselling Rebel of the Sands!

Mere months ago, gunslinger Amani al'Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she's fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne. 

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan's palace—she's determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan's secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she's a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she's been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about djinni and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often. Follow her at @AlwynFJH.


ENTER TO WIN


Enter for a chance to win one (1) of ten (10) paperback copies of Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (ARV: $10.99 each).


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on February 13, 2017 and 12:00 AM on March 6, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about March 8, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


FOLLOW THE TOUR



Week One
2/13 – ButterMyBooks – Rebel Scents
2/14 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Reasons to Read Rebel
2/15 – My Friends Are Fiction – Guide to Bookstagram Featuring Rebel
2/16 – The Reader Bee – 5 Reasons to Look Forward to Traitor
2/17 – Fiction Fare – Rebel Recap Part 1

Week Two
2/20 – USA Today Happily Ever After – Excerpt
2/21 – The Eater of Books! – Rebel Mood Board
2/22 – The YA Book Traveler – Fan made Rebel Trailer
2/23 – Lost in Lit – Rebel Book Look
2/24 – Mundie Moms – Rebel Recap Part 2

Week Three 
2/27 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Rebel Makeup Looks
2/28 – A Page with a View – Favorite Repackages List Featuring Rebel
3/1 – What Sarah Read – Top 5 Reasons to Love Amani
3/2 – A Book and a Cup of Coffee – Rebel Playlist
3/3 – Once Upon a Twilight – Rebel Recap Part 3

Shadowhunters TV Series, S2 E8: LOVE IS A DEVIL / Review #shadowhunters

All gifs from FREEFORM's Shadowhunters website.
Happy Friday Shadowhunters. Check out our thoughts on this week's episode of Shadowunters below:

EMM'S REVIEW

This felt like another filler episode to me. Just when we start seeing a deeper side to our characters, they add more wet, soapy and unnecessary plot lines. Ok we did get to go to a party at Magnus' but that fun was short lived wasn't it!

I'm not sure why they are still dragging out the Yin Fen addiction with Izzy. Maybe to keep Raphael in the picture? Not sure where this is going, but I hope it gets there soon.

Max is back, yay! Sadly we need his presence to unfold a larger more tragic story later if they follow the books. It will be interesting to see how his character is further used.

Best line of the night has to go to Magnus when Alec asked him if he'd like to throw a party "Have you met me" I liked this storyline and how it gave Alec a chance to stand up to his mom about Alec & Magnus' relationship. It was a cool party. But as a party for a child who is about to go through their rune ceremony, there seemed like a distinct lack of other children. Apparently Max is the only child in this world.

Oh actually no he isn't, we forgot about the warlock girl. And now Valentine is using her to blackmail her adopted mother Iris Rouse. I thought her story line would be dead and buried, apparently not.

I did like Simon & Clary's love declaration. They are a cute couple. It will be interesting to see how they portray them in the TV show.

Just when I was thinking this might be an ok episode, and the party at Magnus' is looking good, the writers have to make us unhappy again don't they. There were some good bits, Jace & Magnus talking about Alec before the party, Maia & Jace's banter and poor Jace pining over Clary now being with Simon. But oh no is there something in the punch? Of course it can't run smoothly.

The hallucinating story line went too far for me. I had flash backs to the bazaaro world episode from season 1. I thought the new writers might leave bad non book stories alone. When they try to bring in too much of the supernatural themes and not enough of the Shadowhunter mythology that Cassie wrote so well, I just want to turn off.

Although how creepy does Valentine look with the warlock child!


SOPHIE'S REVIEW

Well, Constantin Films/showrunner and the writers get some props from me today. I know, you're thinking hey, has Sophie been dipping into yin-fen, too? File this under: Things You Never Thought You'd See.

So, we get to see Magnus throw a party. I KNOW! A glitter bomb  of happiness just went off in my head! But, the powers-that-be are giving us a glimpse into something we never saw in the books -- the First Rune Ceremony. And for once, I'm okay with this. I've always wondered what it would be like, and outside of The Infernal Devices (where we see my namesake's ceremony, I think, or at least it's referenced), there isn't too much discussion of it.

Magnus' party is glorious and just as we might have imagined it. Maryse is also back from Idris (I'll just bet that Freeform loved the cheating Robert part of the plot because cheating parents is something they love to recycle into all their series as a point of interest in the adult characters storylines,  and her exchange with Alec over his relationship was pretty darn true to book form. As was the very awkward moment with Magnus as she walked into the party. Who didn't laugh at this moment below?

From Freeform's Shadowhunters webpage.
The weird part (and completely unnecessary part) was when everyone began hallucinating things. WHAT WAS THAT? Simon kissing Maia, Maryse trying to kill Jace and Alec thinking Clary still blames him for Jocelyn's death. Weird scenarios and an even weirder explanation. Not sure if this is the showrunner's way of tying up a bunch of plot holes, but hey, remember there's a lot of material in the books. No need to make up stuff. No, really. There's a LOT in there.  Once we found out who was behind these hallucinations, my eyeroll could be seen from space.


Ugh, the unevenness of this episode killed me, but there were good moments. Even the Rizzy (that's what I'm calling it so go with it, please) moments felt okay-ish. Fanfiction-ish, but okay-ish. It paid a little homage to that other vast series, Twilight, yet again with Raphy (that's what I'm calling him now because his Mafioso persona is growing on me) unsure if he can stop:

Source: Freeform Shadowhunters' webpage
For comparison's sake, here's a glimpse of our favorite sparklepyre in much the same position:

Source:google 
I guess it's gentlemanly to bite a girl on her wrist.

I wish Freeform would leave out this yin-fen nonsense subplot and focus on what they do best -- the characterizations (which are definitely much better this season) and the chilling aspects of the plot. The best scene by far was at the end, where Valentine is eating an ice cream cone and talking to the little warlock child, letting her know that she will get along with his daughter. That's where the show is at its best.

**  **  **  **  **

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts on this week's episode. If you missed it, be sure to catch up with it here on Shadowhunterstv.com.  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

OFF THE ICE by Julie Cross / Book Review


By: Julie Cross
Published by: Entangled Teen
To Be Released on: February 28th, 2016
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 3 Stars
Source: e-arc / copy of book from the publisher to review exchange for my honest review 

All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

When it comes to contemporaries, I am a sucker for sports, and romance. In this case, this book had both. Cross is no stranger to writing gritty, realistic contemporaries. She doesn't sugar coat what her characters are going through, or what they are dealing with. There's heartbreak, bittersweet moments, moments that will leave you sighing, some will make you mad, and at all other times you'll be left cheering on these characters are they try and navigate their lives the best way they know how. It's messy, at times complicated, and sometimes it's just getting by, and living in the moment of the here and now. 

Claire and Tate are interesting. I felt no connection to them what so ever at all. Normally when that happens, I can't stand the book. But there was something about them I was intrigued with. These two have a long history together. Cross gives readers their backstory at the beginning of the book, and then jumps a year later. That year has changed both of them, and it was interesting to see how much things have changed with the two of them, and how they fit into each other's lives now. They both have a lot on their plates, and are in situations that are difficult, and have put a lot of pressure and strain on them. Watching them try to work through their own problems, as well as try to help each other out was at times complicated, and other times it was sweet.  

There is a large cast of characters of family and friends in this book. They each add something to Claire and Tate's story. Like the main characters, each of the characters has a natural progression, that adds something to the story. There's a lot of background to the characters, which adds a lot depth to the over all story. It's definitely a character driven story with a lot of showing, vs telling. 

I felt like Cross captures the small town feel perfectly. There's a lot that this emcompases, and she does a great job with showing readers this through both Claire and Tate's points of views. Having said that, there was a bit too much drama for my liking. It got some of it, but other times it felt like a filler that didn't need to be in the book. Same with the language. I got some of it, and it fit with the setting, and the characters, but I felt like it was over kill with all the f-bombs. 

I'm torn on how I feel about this book. Part of me liked it, and the other part of me got too annoyed with the things I didn't like about it, to like it as much as I was excepting to. Thankfully Claire and Tate kept me reading. I had to know how their story ends. Overall, this is a gritty, realistic, YA contemporary that has sports (ice hockey my favorite), romance, and realistic character journeys. It's a story about living in the moment. The here, and now, and enjoying the moments that make you happy. I'd recommend to older YA readers and NA readers. The characters are older, some are seniors in high school and some are freshmen in college. 

There is language, quite a few uses of the f-word, sensual scenes, sex, under age drinking, and mentions of abuse. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

THE VALIANT by Lesley Livingston / Blog Tour: Book Review #TheValiant


By: Lesley Livingston 
Published by: Razorbill 
Released on: February 14th, 2017
Series: The Valiant #1
Purchase fromPenguin | Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads
Source: arc from publisher / purchased copy
Rating: 5 Stars - I LOVED It

Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her place in her father's war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

Sensational! The Valiant has everything I love! A strong heroine, a romance that swept me off my feet, gladiator battles, lush world building, and a rich Roman history. Not to mention a sisterhood of female gladiator warriors, and a strong female lead character whom I loved getting to know. 


I absolutely love Fallon. She is brains, strength, both inner and outer, fearless, and a true leader. She is out to prove that through a lot of dedication and hard work, she can fight along side the men on the battle field. She can be the fearless warrior her sister was. Fallon has a drive, and fearlessness I greatly admire. I also love that she is intelligent as much as she is strong. She is not one to back down, and as she puts it, hide. She has nothing to lose. She's someone who channels her heartache, and her wanting to help others, and makes something of it. She takes action, even when she's backed into a corner or arena. Fallon is a character who knows how to play the role she's been thrown into, and I for one can not wait to see what she does next.


There are some well written characters in this book, all of whom I enjoyed getting to know. There's so much more to the characters than what meets the eye. I loved how intertwined some of them are, and the roles they play in this book. I absolutely love that the women in this book as just as strong as the men, both physically and mentally. They're intelligent, know what they're doing, and not to be underestimated. This book is girl power. 


Aside from Fallon, there's a few characters who may have stolen my heart. One of them is Cai. I really enjoyed the way Cai and Fallon's relationship was built. It's very complex, and for good reason. The societal status's are something that can't be ignored. What they both feel for each other can't be denied either. Their relationship is just so good! The romance is fabulous, and so well written, but it takes a back seat to the sisterhood in this story. The women in this book, both good and bad are so well written. 
I felt like I got them. I understand who they are and the decision they make. I loved the sisterhood of gladiators. Thought brutal at times, it's fierce, loyal, and something more. 


The history in this book is one of my favorite elements, second to the character development, and over all storyline. My word, I felt like I stepped back in time. I LOVED it! I can't imagine the research that went into this story. The world building is just as amazing! It's lush, vivid and one that is so detailed it was easy to visualize it as I read the book. I loved being apart of Fallon's story, and feeling like a piece of history came alive. 


THE VALIANT is epic story where freedom has a price and love can be a dangerous thing. This is a beautifully told, captivating story. With a sweeping romance, epic battles and a strong heroine, I couldn't put it down. I loved everything about this book, I didn't want it to end. This is Lindsey's best book yet! It's a must read.


** ** ** ** ** 

I have been waiting for this book to be out since I first read the manuscript last Spring. It was one of my favorite reads for last year, and having re-read the arc and book this year, it will be one of my favorite reads this year as well. I am so excited this book is finally out. It is SO good. I even stole my own quote off the back of the arc, and included it in my review. I love this book. I hope this one read you guys enjoy as much as I did. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it. 

Don't miss the first part of today's blog tour. Check it out & ENTER TO WIN HERE!

THE VALIANT by Lesley Livingston / Weapon Spotlight & Giveaway #TheValiant


Welcome to the next stop in THE VALIANT blog tour, hosted by Penguin Random House. I am so thrilled to finally talk about this book. I feel like I've been talking about ever since I read the manuscript. This book is one of my favorite reads. Today's stop features is a weapons spotlight, on the shield, and has a giveaway! Be sure to check out the giveaway at the end of the post. You can also read my 5 star review for The Valiant, here


The shield. I don't know why, but I totally love shields. Historically, they are something that was used both as a weapon, and as well as protection. More often than not, a shield is used as a protector. It's an advantage. A life savor. Shields have been used all through out history. 



Shields can be plain, or they can be decorative, showing off one's family crest or more. One of my favorite shields, is the one used in The Chronicles of Narnia. It's empowering, and one that symbolizes Peter's growth both physically, and emotionally. A shield is no light thing to swing around or hold. His shield yields power, wisdom, and nobility. Plus there's so much more to it than that. 




While I am fan of a well designed shield, one of my favorite moments in The Valiant has to do with a shield. NO SPOILERS, but I will say that this is a scene in an arena, and it's one that shows both Fallon's strength and a weakness. It's a significant scene both in showing readers the kind of character Fallon is, and also in what the scene reveals. 

I absolutely love Fallon's stance on the shield in this scene. I loved how frustrated her opponent gets her stance on the shield (and why, which is for a good reason). I love why Fallon makes her decision about the shield. It really displays her fearlessness, her strength, her courage and her choosing that just because she is a girl, she doesn't need to hide behind something. It also shows both her inner as well as physical strength, and her intelligence. 


For as much as I loved this moment, and her reasoning for it, I also like that she learns the value of having a shield. The more she understands her position, and the more cunning gladiator she becomes, she learns that the shield can be a valuable asset in battle. It's not always a weakness, but protection. For Fallon, the girl who has nothing to lose, shield or no shield, she proves it's the person that's wielding the shield, that has the real strength to come out the victor in a battle. 


ABOUT THE BOOK




By: Lesley Livingston 
Published by: Razorbill 
Released on: February 14th, 2017
Purchase from: Penguin | Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads

Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her place in her father's war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival.


Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR





Lesley Livingston is the author of Once Every Never, winner of the inaugural Copper Cylinder Award and shortlisted for the CLA Young Adult Book Award and the BC Stellar Book Award. She is also the author of the Wondrous Strange and Starling trilogies. She lives in Toronto. 



FOLLOW THE TOUR

Week One
2/13 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Gladiator Makeup
2/14 – Two Chicks on Books – Author Interview
2/15 – Alexa Loves Books – Weapon Spotlight: Bow & Arrow
2/16 – Novel Novice – Review
2/17 – Arctic Books – Review + Book Look

Week Two
2/20 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Author Guest Post
2/21 – What Sarah Read – Review + Mood Board
2/22 – Mundie Moms – Weapon Spotlight: Shield
2/23 – ButterMyBooks – Author Interview
2/24 – Fiction Fare – Weapon Spotlight: Dimachaerus

Week Three
2/27 – Oh the Book Feels – Author Interview
2/28 – Seeing Double in Neverland – Weapon Spotlight: Gladius
3/1 – No More Grumpy Bookseller – Review
3/2 – The YA Book Traveler – Weapon Spotlight: Trident & Net
3/3 – My Friends Are Fiction – Author Guest Post

Week Four
3/6 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Weapon Spotlight: Spear
3/7 – A Page with a View – Like/Try/Why
3/8 – The Young Folks – Author Guest Post
3/9 – Icey Books – Quote Candy + Review
3/10 – Book Addict’s Guide – Bookish Scents


ENTER TO WIN
Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of The Valiant by Lesley Livingston 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Labels