On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)

Over the summer I did two separate posts (HERE and HERE) about books On my Radar. Sadly I wasn’t that great with my August post, but such is the way of things. I still plan to read those…I hope…but I have 5 more books to add to that list. Now these I really hope to get done in October/early November, but we shall see:

On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)The Black Key by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #3
Published by HarperTeen
on October 4th 2016
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For too long, Violet and the people of the outer circles of the Lone City have lived in service to the royalty of the Jewel. But now the secret society known as the Black Key is preparing to seize power.

And while Violet knows she is at the center of this rebellion, she has a more personal stake in it—her sister, Hazel, has been taken by the Duchess of the Lake. Now, after fighting so hard to escape the Jewel, Violet must do everything in her power to return to save not only Hazel, but the future of the Lone City.

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On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Published by Scholastic Press
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What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes. Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories -- of parents, children, love, life, and self -- are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence -- before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

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On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)Fireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
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From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.
But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

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On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.

Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.

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On My Radar: Top TBR Books (3)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
Published by Scholastic Inc.
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Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

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What are the books on your radar?

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Review: The Beauty of Darkness – Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Beauty of Darkness – Mary E. PearsonThe Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #3
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
on August 2nd 2016
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous - what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson's combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Truth…when I finished The Beauty of Darkness I kept tapping (I was reading on my iPad) for more pages. I was looking for more words; I was looking for the story to continue and sadly it was over. That’s the problem with the final book in a series, when it’s done it’s done and you’re left wanting more. Especially if it a series finale as good as Mary Pearson’s The Beauty of Darkness.

This is probably the hardest book to review. It was so good and Mary did an amazing job connecting all three and that is where the problem is. All three books are so connected with tiny details and stories that it is hard to point out just what I loved most in BoD. I mean the first book, The Kiss of Deception, is built entirely on the audience not knowing which boy is which in Lia’s life. It’s hard because I can’t say which boy is my favorite and I can’t say what impact each have on Lia without giving it all away.

I guess what I can talk about was how Mary made me an emotional mess reading. Some of the story just gutted me and made me cry. It was so hard to read which is a testament to Pearson’s story telling. She really used everything she gave you in the first two books and interwove them into a final story in the life of these beloved characters. I was on the end of my seat, I was scared, I was sad, I was happy, I was swooning. I felt a plethora of emotions (Mary can attest to this because I was DMing her these feelings) and in the end I still want more. I want more of the side characters and I want more of the main characters and I just want more of all of their lives after everything that went down did.

This is probably the vaguest review I have ever written but it is truly for your benefit. Nothing in these books should be given away as it all unfolds beautifully and it is something you should enjoy while reading. If you haven’t started the series I insist you do and if you have then definitely finish it. You won’t be disappointed.

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Mini Reviews #2

 

Mini Reviews #2Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
on September 15th 2015
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Recklessly loyal.

That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.

Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her. Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

I liked this book, I did. I wasn’t crazy in love with it like I had wanted to be after This Song Will Save Your Life, but I liked it. Arden grew a lot in this story. She saw how she wasn’t who she thought she was and that there was more to her than expected. That was the part that I really enjoyed. What I didn’t like was the Peter part and the “stalking” him in NYC part and his reaction. Personally I found his reaction to the whole thing just odd. It didn’t make sense to me that he would be so calm that someone that found him online went to the length Arden did to meet him. That was strange to me. But all in all this was a good book. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. It did make me want a Just Like Me doll, real bad. 😉

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Mini Reviews #2First & Then by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m not really sure what to say about this one that hasn’t been said already. I guess I should start with the fact that I wanted to shake Devon A LOT! She was super judgmental most of the time and it got on my nerves. But the great things about books are the judgmental main characters usually grow and change by the end of the story and Devon certainly did that. She started to open her eyes and see what was what and that she may have over romanticized some situations. When she started to be less of a snob she was actually pretty likable. And I loved her with Ezra and her interaction with Foster, her cousin. That was the highlight for me. I know a lot of people LOVED this book and I think many more will too. I will admit I’m not a huge Jane Austen fan so that might be why I was over the moon for First and Then, but I definitely really liked it. You should check it out if you haven’t already.

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 Mini Reviews #2Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan have only one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night leads them to family and friends, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

Charming, bittersweet, and full of wisdom and heart, this irresistible novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that arise when life and love lead in different directions.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

This was possibly one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time. I mean I don’t know if I didn’t connect with it because I never did the leaving for college thing or the potential break-up because of distance thing, but Clare depressed the crap out of me. She was such doom and gloom through just about every page. She over reacted to everything and expected Aidan to have all the answers and it really got on my nerves. I had to remind myself a few times that I was reading about teenagers which is not something I enjoy when I read a book. I prefer to just read it and not worry about ages but I couldn’t do it with this book. The side characters were the bright spot for me (and the end which I wish there was more of in the book). They were way more interesting and weren’t wrapped up in themselves so much. I mean I was 50% in and *I* wanted to break-up with Clare. I should have trusted my gut when I saw the mixed reviews but I didn’t and found out the hard way that this book was not for me.

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Favorite Class Clowns + a Giveaway

I’m really excited to be part of the First & Then Superlative Blog Tour hosted by Macmillan. It’s a fun take on high school life and fits in with the book (look out for my review soon-ish). We were each assigned a superlative to work with and I got…

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I had a little bit of a hard time with this when I first got it. I mean mostly the class clown is a secondary character s I really had to work my brain muscles to come up with some. With a little help from my friends (I mean what is more high school than asking your friends for help with “homework”) I was able to add a couple more class clowns to the list I had formed.

To me a class clown isn’t always the “funny” guy. Sure he can be. But I also think of people like Pacey Witter from Dawson’s Creek and how he was more the guy that didn’t take anything seriously. And that is what I based my list on, a combination of the two.

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Since You’ve Been Gone || My Life Next Door || Shatter Me || Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging || Meant to Be || The Sea of Tranquility

Besides naming my favorite Class Clowns I got to ask Emma Mills, the author of First & Then, a question about her thoughts on Class Clowns. I went in a different direction with it and I really liked her answer:

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Why do you think the class clown is usually the one that ends up alone? Why can’t the funny guy be the one that is the “hero” in the end?

Emma: I have to say, I’m a big fan of the class clown being the hero in the end! But I suppose the class clown or the funny person may end up alone because they often serve to ease a group dynamic. The class clown may be more busy thinking about everyone as a whole than focusing on one person specifically. But Chandler landed Monica in the end, so there’s definitely hope for the class clown!

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Also Macmillan is kind enough to offer one of my readers (US ONLY) a finished copy of First & Then as part of the tour. Enter below!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to see what other superlatives are on the tour? Check out the blogs in the awesome graphic below designed by the creative people at Macmillan.

FirstAndThenBlogTourImage_9.9-1

Favorite Class Clowns + a GiveawayFirst & Then by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
on October 13th 2015
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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.

*besides the tour banner, all graphics made be me on Canva/Picmonkey

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Review: The Heart of Betrayal – Mary E. Pearson

Review: The Heart of Betrayal – Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
on July 7th 2015
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

I didn’t know what to expect from book two of The Remnant Chronicles. I mean The Kiss of Deception was a pretty epic book for me and the ending had me dying to see where it would go. But it also had me terrified. I mean a book with Heart AND Betrayal in the title can lead to NO WHERE GOOD! But also, I needed to know so I had to read it. Verdict…it was excellent! The end killed me, but really strong second book.

The Heart of Betrayal picks up where The Kiss of Deception left off. To be honest I don’t want to say too much about the plot as it may give some stuff away. Basically Lia and Rafe are being held in Venda thanks to Kaden. They are all they have and must depend on each other for survival and safety but they also must rely on deception if they want to live. Both Lia and Rafe, and even Kaden, play dangerous games of lies and half-truths in order to live. But while this is all going on Lia is also trying to figure out her life and the two men in it that lied to her. With all of their secrets out in the open, well almost all, Lia has no idea what is right and what is wrong anymore and if she should trust people or her gut or even her own gift and destiny.

I liked Lia a lot in this story. In The Kiss of Deception she was very much still a young girl that didn’t really understand the way of the world. Her eyes were open to a lot but she still didn’t see it. Not until she was in Venda and was fighting to stay alive anyway she could. For me she grew-up in The Heart of Betrayal. Her eyes were opened to things she was shielded from and saw people and things for what they were. It was refreshing to see this side of her.

I really enjoyed Lia’s relationships with both Kaden and Rafe. There are a lot of feelings and emotions on both ends. She feels certain things for each of these men that have become important to her, but she never really questions what those feelings are. She knows in her heart of heart where she belongs and with who but she has to allow herself to see that even though it is clear from the beginning in my opinion. This really helped in making Lia a great character.

Truthfully, I thought the Komizar was a total creeper. He reminded me of the guy in Slumdog Millionaire that Latika lived with and totally gave me the heebie-jeebies. But he was interesting and I was not able to really figure him out. I almost wished for more of him just so I could see other sides that were hinted at. And his relationship with Kaden was definitely one to be examined. Komizar was probably one of the most complex characters in the book by far.

All in all I enjoyed The Heart of Betrayal. I didn’t love it like I loved The Kiss of Deception, but it was a solid book that moved the story along and that makes we want to know where else Pearson will be taking us. The end was ACTION PACKED and left me dying for book 3. And it left me with a lot of questions. All I can say for sure is that book 3 will be a doozy!

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