Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review: CORNERED (Holloway Pack #5) by J.A. Belfield

Source: Received an egalley from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Release Date: May 30, 2016


Description from Goodreads:
Daniel Larsen is playing a dangerous game, and he doesn't even know it.

A two-wheeled speedster. A little redhead in a bar. Evenings spent away from his pack. Innocent enough for most, but for Danny, the combination leads down a path of destruction and straight to a hell he doesn’t even see coming.

Entangled in a nightmare that started with his own brother and the cat he brought into their home, Dan’s driving himself toward a solitary existence—except for the curvaceous Olivia Fanella. Seduced by his new companion, and happy to ignore the divide growing between himself and the pack, Danny is oblivious to the trap being laid out for him.

Before long, Danny's integrity gets questioned. His loyalty gets questioned. Hell, he even questions himself.

On top of that, just when he believes life might be going a little better, he gets served the roughest shot he could never have imagined—not even in his worst nightmares—and Danny has no idea how to come back from a hit like that.


**Cornered contains scenes that some readers might find upsetting**
It's been a while since the last Holloway Pack book, so I was extremely excited to read CORNERED!! This time, it's Danny's turn to be the focus of the story. Last we saw of the Holloway pack, there was some major tension between the Larsen brothers over Kyle's new relationship...well, when this one starts, things are still pretty tense. 

I really love this series, and there have been some pretty dark moments in the previous books, but CORNERED was really dark. Most of the story deals with Danny's internal struggles, and I have to admit, it was hard to read at times. I wavered between wanting to smack some sense into Danny to get him to finally open up and talk to his family, and wanting to just pull him in for a hug. Poor guy. He goes through so much!

I really enjoyed getting back into the world of the Holloway Pack, and I loved getting to see the guys and their mates again. It was like coming home! While I did enjoy Danny's story, it wasn't my favourite of the series. I think Jem and Sean's stories are still my faves just because it's where it all started. In these later books, the world that the pack lives in has changed so much. Their knowledge of the paranormal world has grown, and they've become entrenched in things that they didn't even know existed. 

In CORNERED, everything comes crashing down and Danny finds himself in the midst of some pretty horrible stuff. At the same time, he's struggling to make things right with his family⎯his whole life is spiraling downward. He's turned into quite the lone wolf, and during his solitary outings, he finds comfort in Liv, a feisty redhead. She's snarky with him, and calls out all of his crap, which is exactly what Danny needs. I really enjoyed Danny and Liv together. Their dynamics were fantastic, and they had amazing chemistry. I did feel like their relationship was pretty rushed near the conclusion of the story, but I still really loved them together.

As for the plot itself, it was packed full of tension and extremely fast-paced! Danny's brooding does drag the story down a little bit, but I think it was a necessary progression after how things ended in UNNATURAL. There was a lot of unresolved tension and Danny bore the brunt of it. When it comes to this story though, expect the unexpected. It's one of those stories with plenty of twists, and they'll be sure to keep you on the edge of your seat!

I'd definitely recommend CORNERED to fans of the Holloway Pack series, and I'd recommend the series as a whole to fans of paranormal and urban fantasy. I'd like to give a warning though, CORNERED is the darkest Holloway book yet, and Danny encounters some situations that may be triggering to victims of sexual assault. While it is a dark story, I still really enjoyed CORNERED, and I'm looking forward to what happens with Danny and the rest of the Holloway Pack next. Here's hoping for Josh's story next!!! I absolutely love Josh!! Spoiler that isn't really a spoiler...he was listening to Ed Sheeran in CORNERED at one point, and I swear, my heart melted. I'm an Ed fangirl to the max, so that fangirlness definitely spread to Josh a bit there. :P 




What do you think?

 
Have you read any of the Holloway Pack books yet?

Are you a fan of werewolves?

And are you a fan of stories that are a bit darker?

I don't read them often myself, but I do find it interesting to get inside of someone's during internal struggles like Danny went through in CORNERED.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cover Catch-Up (30): Two Titles I'm Highly Anticipating!

In "Cover Catch-Up" I share some covers that have either been recently revealed, or that I've just found and really wanted to share. 

I've been procastinating with my Cover Catch-up posts lately, so now I'm a bit late to the party with these covers. I still couldn't help sharing them and gushing over them though!!



The first cover that I have to share today is one that I'm sure you've all seen by now! It's the cover for Veronica Roth's CARVE THE MARK!

CARVE THE MARK (Untitled Duology #1 )by Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 17, 2017

Description:

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not — their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuve, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive — no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive — or to destroy one another.
 
While I wasn't as happy with the ending of the Divergent trilogy as I could've been, I still love Veronica Roth's writing style and her characters, so I'm EXTREMELY excited for this one! The story sounds intense, and I'm really eager to see Veronica write something new! As for the cover, I love it! It's eerie, a little spooky...and very foreboding!! And the description⎯wow! CARVE THE MARK sounds amazing! :D



I'm sure the second cover that I have to share today is another one that you've likely seen. It's the cover for THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon!

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 1, 2016

Description:
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
I borrowed EVERYTHING EVERYTHING from the library just shortly after its release, and it completely blew me away!! It was an amazing story, and I immediately became a Nicola Yoon fangirl. When I saw this cover, I was speechless! It's absolutely GORGEOUS...and the story, it sounds absolutely amaze-balls!! I can't wait to read THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR!



What do you think?
Do you love these covers, too?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: Follies Past: A Prequel to Pride & Prejudice by Melanie Kerr

Source: Received an ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Petticoat Press
Release Date: January 6, 2014
Number of Pages: 281 (Kindle Edition)


Description from Goodreads:
Follies Past is the result of a 5 year project to recreate the voice of Jane Austen herself by linguist and author Melanie Kerr. The story, characters, and setting are meticulously researched and written to give Jane Austen fans the closest thing to a new novel from her.

The story follows the events surrounding the wicked Mr. Wickham's seduction of the beautiful and innocent 14 year old Georgiana Darcy and breathes new life into characters such as Caroline Bingley, Wickham, and Mr. Darcy himself by following them through their scandalous ordeal starting almost a year before the opening of Pride and Prejudice at Pemberley during Christmastime.

The story opens at a time when Caroline Bingley is convinced of Mr. Darcy’s affection and determined to convert his regard into matrimony as swiftly as possible. Fourteen-year-old Georgiana Darcy has been taken from school, and is about to be sent off to face the rigours of a life in London. Wickham has only begun to plot against his ancient rival, and Mr. Darcy is still a bit open to the world and a little less full of both pride and prejudice.

As the cast turn their faces to the city of London, one gentleman awaits them with all the charm and fascination that a handsome face and merciless ambition can beget. The story follows young Georgiana to London, to Ramsgate and to the brink of a perilous elopement, bringing readers all the wit, the drama and the delights of their beloved Pride and Prejudice. Authentic in its use of language, meticulously researched, and faithful to Austen’s classic, it is the book Austen fans have been waiting for!
About the Author

Melanie Kerr studied linguistics, English, and theatre at the University of British Columbia, and law at the University of Alberta. Kerr is a reckless lover of clotted cream, a staunch defender of the semi-colon, and a fierce opponent of unpleasant music. She wooed her current and only husband with false promises of skill at word games and eternally good hair. She lives in Edmonton, where she raises her three young children, sews her own Regency costumes, organizes Regency costume events, blogs on all things old and English, endeavours to take over the world, and occasionally practices law.

Connect with Melanie: Website | Twitter

MY REVIEW

I was extremely excited to read FOLLIES PAST and it definitely didn't disappoint. When it comes to PRIDE & PREJUDICE, I can never get enough. I'm always eager for more re-tellings, or anything that adds to the story itself. In FOLLIES PAST, Melanie Kerr gives readers a more in-depth backstory to P&P...and I have to say, she did a remarkable job!

What I loved most about FOLLIES PAST was the fact that it is immediately obvious that Melanie Kerr loves Austen. This book is like a love letter, or an ode, to all things Austen and P&P. It adds a lot of depth to Caroline, Mr. Darcy, and Georgiana's characters, and it also introduces a few new characters that really help to round out the story. While FOLLIES PAST doesn't actually feature Elizabeth like P&P, it does still feel like something Austen would've written...if Austen were around now and had been pestered...or should I say "encouraged," to write some kind of prequel or sequel to P&P, I think FOLLIES PAST could definitely be that work!

Not only does FOLLIES PAST feel like something Austen would've written, it adds so much to Austen's own characters. We see what happens between Mr. Wickham and Georgiana Darcy in a completely new way, and we even get to see what happened when Caroline Bingley and Mr. Darcy were introduced. We get to see so many more aspects to the backstory that I never even imagined! I also loved that we even get to see more of characters that are almost invisible in P&P, like Lady Catherine's daughter, Anne! And we're introduced to several characters that don't appear in P&P, my favourites were Lord Ashwell, Colonel Fitzwilliam's brother, and Georgiana's school friend, Clare...and trust me, if you love Austen, you'll LOVE their parts in the story! :D

I loved getting to read an in-depth view of what happened before Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth ever met. I definitely still love their story, but it was also a pleasure to peek behind the curtain into the past that Mr. Darcy relates to Elizabeth in his letter. So, since I've been raving about this book during this whole review, it should come as no surprise that I loved every single minute of this story and reveled in getting to read it! I think the only thing that might've made me love it more would have been if we could've seen inside Mr. Darcy's and Mr. Bingley's heads when they meet Jane and Elizabeth for the first time. ;)

Overall, I absolutely ADORED FOLLIES PAST! It was absolutely perfect for PRIDE & PREJUDICE fans, and I believe that Melanie Kerr has PERFECTLY captured all of these characters and she's also given us even more characters to love!! I definitely hope that she writes more Austen-inspired works in the future because I cannot get enough of them! ;D


What do you think?
Do you think you'd enjoy FOLLIES PAST?

Friday, May 20, 2016

THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER Blog Tour: Review & Q&A!


Woo hoo!! I'm extremely excited to be a part of Raincoast Books's Canadian blog tour for THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER! Some of you might already know that I am a HUGE fan of time travel...and I love contemporary YA romance, so this is an absolutely PERFECT fit! :D

Today I have my review and a little Q&A with the fabulous author of THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER, Harriet Rueter Hapgood! :D


 
THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER
by Harriet Rueter Hapgood
Source: Received an ARC to participate in the blog tour and give an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press 
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Number of Pages: 295 (Hardcover)
Description from Goodreads:
This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It's a little bit like a black hole. It's a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone's heart is about to be broken.

With time travel, quantum physics, and sweeping romance, The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.
About the Author

Harriet Reuter Hapgood is a freelance fashion journalist and author of THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER (coming May 2016). Her first-ever professional writing credit was for Just Seventeen magazine, and she's been YA obsessed ever since. She likes burritos, cats, Gwyneth Paltrow and young adult fiction, which she plans to write more of, though she's also considering a PhD in Dawson’s Creek. Follow her on Twitter: @hapgoodness and on Instagram: @hapgo0dness if you like pictures of cats

Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Tumblr


MY REVIEW:

I remember hearing about THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER months ago, and I was immediately intrigued! A contemporary romance...but with time travel. Super interesting! It's not often that contemporary and science fiction mix in that way without the sci-fi taking over, so I was extremely interested to see how the story was going to be handled, especially when you add in the fact that the main character, Gottie, is a math genius! Turns out that Harriet Reuter Hapgood handled it in a completely unique way, and once I started reading it, I couldn't stop!

There are so many things to love about THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER, but for me one of the best parts was the fact that the story is so mult-faceted! Right from the description, it's clear that this story isn't just about first love, it's also about loss, heartbreak, falling in love again, and time travel, too...and once I started reading, I realized that while parts of it were definitely light-hearted and fun, it was also an incredibly introspective story. I do love light and fluffy contemporary romances, but I also love the stories that wrench your heart a little bit and make you appreciate the things in your life, and this story really does that.

When the book starts, Gottie is so detached from life and she's spent the last year not really processing or moving on. I loved seeing her begin to open up to the world, and to embrace life again. I'm a huge time travel fan, and I'm so used to people actively traveling through time or unintentionally lapsing into time and making irrevocable changes when they do, but this story wasn't quite like that. In fact, I wasn't really sure what to expect with the whole "time travel" aspect of this story since it is still mostly a contemporary story, but I still really enjoyed it. There was a whole hypothetical and theoretical side to time travel that was extremely unique, and Harriet Reuter Hapgood described it all in a super interesting way! You definitely won't learn how to time travel yourself after reading THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER, but you will love reading about Gottie's experiences with it!

 I spent over three years working in a German deli, so I have to admit, all of the German elements to this story made me smile so freaking much...and they made me really nostalgic! I especially loved the little bit of German that slipped into the dialogue. :D Along with the time travel and German bits, I also really enjoyed the characters! While Gottie was pretty distracted with the whole weird time travel outbursts and wasn't always quite "in" the present, I really enjoyed her interactions with her family and friends when she was. I loved her dad, and the bits we saw of her grandpa, Grey, were so fantastic, too! I also loved her dynamics with her brother, even more so once she started to become less stuck in her past. Most of all, I really enjoyed seeing everything between her and Thomas though!!! Super duper cute and sweet...and I also loved her cat, Umlaut (hehe more German goodness! :D).

Overall, I absolutely adored THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER! I loved how the time travel aspects of the story complemented the contemporary parts, and I really loved Gottie's growth throughout the story.
I'd recommend this one to contemporary romance fans, especially if you find the idea of time travel fascinating, too! 



Q&A with Harriet

My Question: What inspired you to write a contemporary romance with time travel? And who's your favourite time traveler?

Harriet's Answer: I set myself a somewhat impossible task with my original goal for the book, which was to write about a girl who’d already had her big YA coming of age summer the previous year, and was now dealing with the aftermath. It meant a lot of the big storylines of the book were in the past, and that got me to thinking about time travel and memory and revisiting your past. Grief and mourning are exercises in memory and living in the past, so it all came together as a time travelly whole. When I decided that the love story was going to be someone from Gottie’s past, too, coming into her present, it all just made sense. At least to me! I think once you’ve had your first love and your first heartbreak, you begin to bring baggage from your past into every new crush, kiss, encounter, relationship. We’re the sum of our past, for better or worse – really, doesn’t all contemporary YA have some time travel in it? Just maybe not so literally… Time-travel wise, I’m a fan of Back to the Future and The Time Traveller’s Wife.



What do you think?
Does THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER sound like your kind of story?
What did you think of Harriet's answer to my question?
And who else absolutely LOVES time travel?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Review: Mary Green by Melanie Kerr

Source: Received an ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Publisher: Stonehouse Publishing
Release Date: May 1, 2016
Number of Pages: 316 (Paperback)


Description from Goodreads:
Mary Green, obscure orphan and ward of the wealthy Hargreaves family, has always accepted her inferior position with grace, humility, and gratitude. When she discovers that her only friend is to leave the country forever, that her confidence has been betrayed by the unfeeling youngest daughter of the family, and that her very deprivation is the object of the mockery and scorn of everyone she has sought to honour, she determines to cast them off and make her own way in the world. On her twenty-first birthday, free to choose her own destiny, she dreams of peace and tolerance, and perhaps a partner who might be noble enough to love her in all her simplicity. But when an unexpected foray into London society disrupts all her plans, she is faced with an uncharacteristic storm of feelings. Will she grow strong and happy in her independence, or will her character be lost amidst her newfound ambition? Unable to trust the whims of her own heart, Mary is forced to confront the question that has forever plagued her: Who is she and where does she come from?
About the Author

Melanie Kerr studied linguistics, English, and theatre at the University of British Columbia, and law at the University of Alberta. Kerr is a reckless lover of clotted cream, a staunch defender of the semi-colon, and a fierce opponent of unpleasant music. She wooed her current and only husband with false promises of skill at word games and eternally good hair. She lives in Edmonton, where she raises her three young children, sews her own Regency costumes, organizes Regency costume events, blogs on all things old and English, endeavours to take over the world, and occasionally practices law.

Connect with Melanie: Website | Twitter

MY REVIEW

I'm a HUGE fan of Jane Austen, so I'm always on the lookout for books that are similar to hers! As soon as I heard about MARY GREEN, I was intrigued! I loved the idea of a book that was Austen-inspired, but completely unique, too. I was extremely excited to read it and it completely met and then greatly surpassed my expectations!

While MARY GREEN did have elements that reminded me of Austen's works, it was still so strong on its own! Melanie Kerr has written an absolutely wonderful story, and I loved everything about it. Her characters were fantastic, the writing was superb, and it definitely had a tone that I've come to adore from classic titles like Austen's. The story definitely isn't a retelling, but it did have certain elements and twists that reminded me of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and EMMA, and if I'm forced to choose those are my favourite of Austen's books, so I loved that!

 I've always been a reader who generally loves character-driven stories over plot-driven ones, and MARY GREEN is definitely all about character! It fits extremely well in the novel genre that Austen herself is so well known for, and when it comes to novels, the main character really does make or break a story. In the case of MARY GREEN, Mary was a wonderful narrator. She definitely wasn't perfect, but she was aware, intelligent, generous, and she was willing to change or listen when she realized her own mistakes. Mary starts the story with a rather mysterious past, and it was extremely interesting to see it all become clear. The story was full of twists and turns, which I loved! I've always been a fan of stories with twists, and I love trying to guess what will happen later in a story. I'm usually pretty good at figuring out what will come, so it's always a pleasure to be surprised and there were a few times where this story went far further than I expected and I loved that!!

Overall, I absolutely LOVED MARY GREEN! I'd definitely recommend this one to other Jane Austen fans because Melanie Kerr has written a wonderful story that will warm the hearts of Austen fans! Don't worry though, even if you've yet to read any of Jane Austen's books, I think you could still love this story! It has a strong, dynamic main character who faces many challenges after her life drastically changes. It's a story of friendship, love, growing up, and self-discovery, so it covers some extremely universal themes!

What do you think?
Does MARY GREEN sound like a book you'd enjoy?