Monday, May 2, 2016

ARC Review: Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

Title: Traitor Angels
Author: Anne Blankman
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:  May 3rd, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 336
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

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Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.

Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.

Until one night the reason becomes clear: the king’s man arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Vivani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?

When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father…and tear apart the very fabric of society.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 
  I have always been fascinated by authors who can incorporate fiction or myths into history, so when I first heard about Traitor Angels, I immediately wanted to read it. Although I lack knowledge in history, I always find these types of stories intriguing. Anne Blankman is no doubt a brilliant author to have been able to weave this story, and for that I admire her talent.

  Traitor Angels is unlike any other book I’ve read. Set in the time of King Charles II, Traitor Angels tells the tale of the fictional characters Elizabeth Milton, the daughter of John Milton, and Antonio Galleti, a man from Florence. In this novel, Blankman weaved a conspiracy tale involving John Milton, Galileo Gallilei, Vicencio Vivani and the throne of England.

  I really didn’t expect this book to have religion embedded into it. As a general rule, I usually avoid books where religion plays an important role in the novel. As a result, I was taken aback a little by this. I also didn’t expect there to be mention of Galileo, but that was actually fascinating.
“Regardless of how fast you run, how far you go, you cannot get away from yourself.”

  Traitor Angels is a novel with blood-pumping action. Led by the badass main character Elizabeth, the characters took on a dangerous journey to discover what her father and Galilio has planted for them to find. Although the story was interesting, I found a few phrases to be repetitive, especially while they were figuring out some clues. I found them to be mentioned repetitively, and that was a bit annoying. Also, I sometimes found myself skipping some of the narratives because I just wanted to get to the end already.

  Traitor Angels is no doubt a work of art, but it just wasn’t for me. It’s different from what I expected it to be, although I still found the story to be interesting. As a whole, I just found it to be an okay book.

2.5 not-for-me stars

Sunday, May 1, 2016

'Bout of Books 16.0

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

  This challenge coincides with the May Clean Sweep ARC Challenge, so I would just be reading ARCs throughout the challenge. My goal is to read 6 books to make it almost a book per day. I decided on 6 because I still want to be able to participate on challenges and Twitter chats, of course. :)

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

0/416 pages

26 Kisses by Anne Michels

0/320 pages

0/336 pages

What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle

0/384 pages

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

0/464 pages

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

0/512 pages

Clean Sweep ARC Challenge May 2016

Clean Sweep ARC Challenhe
Oh, it's on! 
  For the fourth year in a row during the month of May we will be challenging you to get those advanced reading copies read! These can be e-arc’s, finished copies, audio and physical arcs. (regardless of release date) As an added bonus you will be able to schedule advanced reviews and free up your time to enjoy the warmer weather. To make things fun there will be 24 hour readathon and a grand prize for a 2016 release.

  So roll up your sleeves grab your brooms and check your NetGalley stats, Edelweiss haul and those books you’ve meant to review in your ARC TBR pile..because it’s time to make a CLEAN SWEEP!

  This challenge is like a challenge sent from heaven because there are just too many interesting books coming out this year, and I couldn't help myself from requesting (too much) books! Also, I am on summer break until the 22nd, so yay me! Oh my gosh, just look at the ARCs that I still need to read for May and and early June! There are 22 books below, and I'm just gonna have to finish one book a day to survive, haha! 

Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers

0/288 pages

Suffer Love by Ashley Blake

0/352 pages

Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

400/400 pages

Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach

120/320 pages

This is my Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer

0/352 pages

0/368 pages

The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine

0/342 pages

Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia

0/304 pages

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

0/416 pages

26 Kisses by Anne Michels

0/320 pages

0/336 pages

What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle

0/384 pages

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

0/464 pages

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

0/512 pages

Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi

0/352 pages

Change Places With Me by Lois Metzger

0/224 pages

Cure for the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker

0/320 pages

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

0/384 pages

We Were Never Here by Jennifer Gilmore

0/320 pages

Dress Up That Cover #60 - Soundless

  Dress Up That Cover is a new feature where I create an outfit based merely on the cover, not the story nor what the characters would wear. Colors of the outfit will all be taken from the cover design, so the books may be ones that I haven't read yet. All sets will be created via Polyvore.
  This week's feature is Soundless by Richelle Mead! Soundless is a book about a village without sounds since everyone is deaf. Aaaand that's all I know about the book, haha!


Saturday, April 30, 2016

ARC Review: The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott

Title: The Way Back to You
Author: Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 384
My Rating: 4 Stars

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In this witty, heart-tugging novel, two teens take a spontaneous road trip across the Southwest to meet three strangers who received the life-saving organs of their late best friend—charting a journey of loss, hope, and love along the way.

Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they're barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her...and to each other.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. 

"What matters is that she found her way back. Just like we're all trying to do."

When I first read the synopsis of The Way Back to You last year, I immediately wanted to read it. I love romances filled with tension, and this seemed like the perfect book! I became wary of reading this book because I saw only so-so ratings from my friends in Goodreads, but I'm so glad that I read it anyway because I really enjoyed it! I used to hate road trip romance novels, but it seems like I've been having a lot of luck with them lately. 
"And everyone here, looking the opposite way. We're all staring out to the ocean like the answers are in front of us when, really, the whole world is at our backs. Waiting for us, hoping we'll take notice."

The Way Back to You is so much more than just a romance novel, but for once I actually want to focus on the romance aspect because I just loved it! This is my favorite kind of romance - one that progresses slowly, one that has history, one filled with tension. Cloudy and Kyle's attraction to each other wasn't a spur of the moment thing in the middle of the road trip. Nope, they both were already actually attracted to each other long before, and seeing how it blossomed within the road trip just gave me so much feels! Ah, I just loved it!
"I think we can believe whatever it takes to get us through."

Of course, more than that, the healing processes of Cloudy and Kyle were also amazing. Oh, did I mention that this book is a dual POV? Cloudy and Kyle took the same trip to start their individual healing processes, but their own methods were different. Where Kyle loved meeting the organ recipients, Cloudy dreaded them. Where Kyle hid in his bedroom, Cloudy was all smiles in front of everyone. This just shows that despite people having different healing processes, people can heal all the same. And what's amazing is how in the end, Cloudy was only beginning to heal, not already completely healed. Both Kyle and Cloudy realized their strengths and weaknesses, and were both willing to work towards becoming better.

"This is what I can do now: I can make it through the day, even when it sucks. Especially when it sucks. ... I'll fight for this new kind of life. And I'll face what's up ahead."

I know that there are a lot of books out there dealing with deaths of friends, and there are also a lot of books where two teenagers go on a road trip together, but I can't help but feel that this one is unique. I really enjoyed reading it, and it took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. The Way Back to You is definitely a book that I recommend.

4 fulfilling stars

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Title: Confess
Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: March 10th 2015
Publisher: Atria Books
My Rating: 4 Stars

  Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

  For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

  The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

  I usually trust Colleen Hoover enough that I don't read her books' synopsis before buying or reading them, and this one is no exception. And just as always, Colleen Hoover didn't disappoint!

  I only have to issues with Confess, and the rest of the book is perfection. First, I didn't like how Owen felt like he's the one who has the "power" or the one who calls the shots. He feels like he owns Auburn, and he tells her that he's the only one who deserves her. I mean, it's kind of true, but that didn't bode well for me because Auburn should be the one calling the shots in that case. Second, I didn't like the cheating. Auburn said so herself that once she makes a commitment, she follows through. But then she cheated on Trey. I get that Owen came first, but it's still cheating no matter the reason. And I know that it's all part of the story, but still. It's hard for me to read something against my morals.

“I'm afraid if I listen to my heart once, I'll never figure out how to ignore it again.” 

  That said, I still deeply enjoyed Confess, but maybe just a little bit less than her other books. Right from the start, this book made me feel all the feels, with words as well as with the art. The book is short, but I felt like CoHo was able to incorporate so much into the story. There's also a sense of mystery to it, and added with CoHo's beautiful writing style, I just couldn't put the book down!

“I think love is a hard word to define,” I say to her. “You can love a lot of things about a person but still not love the whole person.” 

  Gosh, the reveal at the end of the book! I just had to close the book and stare at my ceiling and smile at nothing for a while, imagining things in a chronological sense while everything started clicking into place. Ughhh, just. The feels! I can't wait to read my next CoHo book! I can't wait for November 9!

4.5 almost-there stars