Review: A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Gray

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia GrayA Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Series: Fire Bird #1
Published by Harper Collins
Published: November 4th 2014
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four-stars

Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father's killer through multiple dimensions. Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in the Firebird trilogy, explores an amazingly intricate multiverse where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.

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.

Parallel life books are totally my jam. Just the idea that a parallel world can exist just because I took a left instead of a right, a world where I read and hated Anna and the French Kiss instead of loved it, a world where books don’t even exist, fascinates me. So when I heard about A Thousand Pieces of You I knew I needed to read it. And then when I saw the cover it was a MUST READ. Was I nervous? Sure. I mean the cover is amazing. Would the book live up to that beauty? 100% yes! A Thousand Pieces of You was pretty great.

A Thousand Pieces of You is about Marguerite Caine, the daughter of two brilliant scientists that have developed a device that allows people to travel through parallel dimensions. But with power like that, there is always a danger. And when Marguerite’s father is killed Marguerite has a suspect and it is a close family friend, her parent’s research assistant, Paul. The Paul goes missing and Marguerite is left with a choice. Do nothing or go after the guy she thought she knew and find out just what actually happened. With the help of Theo, another assistant to her parents, Marguerite travels from parallel dimension to parallel dimension in search of Paul. But while finding him may be easy, finding answers may not be as easy as it looks.

This book was quite a ride. I had feelings from the very beginning (I even sent messages to a reading friend that read it about my theories and feels!) on how some of this would go down. I mean I had strong feelings how I wanted it to go down and really just hoped I was right. (Spoiler alert, I was half right. HEHE.) The mystery woven into the details of the parallel dimensions really made the story totally enjoyable. And the characters and their slightly changing personalities helped that as well.

But my favorite part of the book was 100% the world building of the other worlds. That world building was a character of its own. Gray was able to really have the freedom to run with her imagination. She was able to really anything she wanted because, with parallel universes, anything and everything is possible. And what I liked even more than the world building was the characters in the world. Gray wrote this book in such a way that really made you think what part of you is still part of the parallel you. It was really mind-blowing when you start to think about it and see what Gray did. Basically loved it.

A Thousand Pieces of You was a great read and lived up to the expectations of the cover. It was a great story of finding out who you are even when pieces of you are all over the place. How you can feel whole and what really can matter to you. The mystery and back story was great and the characters were awesome. I loved the worlds created and I positively can’t wait for the next book. And not just for the story, but the cover too.

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Review: All Broke Down – Cora Carmack

Review: All Broke Down – Cora CarmackAll Broke Down by Cora Carmack
Series: Rusk University, #2
Published by Harper Collins
Published: October 28th 2014
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five-stars

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she's probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He's in for a different kind of fighting. And though he's arrogant and infuriating, she can't help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it's trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He's met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn't think he's broken, and he definitely doesn't need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

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.

thoughts

Sometimes when you pick up a book that mixes romance and football either the romance suffers or the football suffers. It’s rare to find an author that nails both and nails it seamlessly. Cora Carmack is one of those rare finds. All Broke Down is the perfect combination of football, sexy times, testosterone, and feels. Basically I loved it to tiny little pieces so I could love more of it.

All Broke Down is the second book in the Rusk University series. It follows the life of Silas, a running back we met in All Lined Up, and Dylan, a new character that is a hardcore do-gooder. Both Silas and Dylan couldn’t be any different. He’s all anger and walls and she is all help save the world and be perfect. But when their paths collide in an unexpected place they embark on something they never could of imagined. Instead of saving the planet Dylan might just be able to save Silas from himself, but what she doesn’t expect is him actually helping to save her.

Man did I love this book. I mean I knew I would enjoy it after having read All Lined Up. Silas wasn’t really a favorite of mine, but I still thought the book would be good. But what I got kind of blew me out of the water. It was a very character driven story that had heart, emotion and a lot of lust. I actually ended up loving Silas more and more as I saw all the layers under the posturing in the first book. He kind of broke my heart with how broken and lonely and scared he was. He was a deeply flawed character and I love that Dylan saw beneath those flaws that so few did.

Now what to say about Dylan. When I read the blurb about her I admit that I rolled my eyes. I thought she would be annoying and would try to change Silas in a typical kind of way. But boy was I wrong. Dylan was the perfect partner for Silas. She wasn’t judgmental, she understood him in a surprising way, and she was supportive. She never tried to make Silas feel unworthy of her or the life he wanted. They were pretty smoking together to be honest. The pages just oozed chemistry and it all just worked. I just loved how their stories unfolded.

I truly don’t want to give too much away, and I fear that I may have a little, but this is a book you need to read. It will tug at your heartstrings, make you smile, and maybe even fan yourself. It has a great balance of football and romance and drama that ties all Mickey together when all is said and done. Definitely a new favorite of mine and I think it will be for you too.

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Review: Rites of Passage – Joy N. Hensley

Review: Rites of Passage – Joy N. HensleyRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Published by Harper Teen
Published: September 9th 2014
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three-half-stars

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty... no matter how much she wants him.As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.At any cost.Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust... and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

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

This book is getting a lot of buzz. Lately it seems everyone is either reading it or trying to get someone to read it. From what I see it has really high ratings so I was really excited to get a chance to sink my teeth into it myself. Sadly it is an unpopular opinion time. Although I liked the book, a solid 3.5 like, I wasn’t wowed by it like all the rest. It was interesting, some parts more than others, and had a unique idea that you don’t read a lot about and had good characters, but something just didn’t resonate with me. I certainly didn’t hate it, I just didn’t get that wow factor either.

Rites of Passage is about Samantha McKenna, a military brat that enters a prestigious military academy because of a dare from her recently deceased brother. Sam is one of the first females to enter the Denmark Military Academy. She knows she will have her work cut out for her. She isn’t going to be wanted there by a lot of people. She is prepared as she refuses to be the McKenna that lets her father down. But as soon as hell week starts things get even more complicated. ‘Mac’ as she is known, forms a crush on someone in the academy. But that is the least of her problems. The main problem is the secret society that is out to get her and they aren’t scared to shed some blood.

True story, I was 100% impressed by Mac. She was doing something most guys wouldn’t have the guts to do and she was doing it well. She was excelling every way she could and training in her spare time. She was hardcore and I loved that about her. She didn’t back down or complain or run scared. She was pretty awesome. That was the one thing I really loved in this story. Books need more female characters like this that aren’t dealing with a dystopian world war. And I also liked the relationship she formed with Drill. It seemed very organic and real. There was nothing forced about it, and I could feel the spark. That was another pleasant surprise.

I guess where some of my problem with this book that made it not have the wow factor was all the buildup it took to get to the intense action. It was definitely what you would call a slow burn. There was a lot of set up and use of military terms and background information. For me it was just a little too much as it made parts just seem a little duller. I mean I didn’t have to force myself to read the book or anything like that, but I just wish it moved a tab quicker. Also I really had an issue with that end. I mean what was that??!! I don’t want to give anything away but when I was done I was all like, HUH???

But all in all I enjoyed Rites of Passage. It was unique and kind of cool. I don’t see or read a lot of military kind of books so this was a nice change of pace. And when the action started to happen it was really good, end of your seat good. I would definitely recommend taking a look at it and I would definitely read more from the author in the future.

 

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Review: The Jewel – Amy Ewing

 

Review: The Jewel – Amy EwingThe Jewel by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #1
Published by HarperTeen
Published: September 2nd 2014
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five-stars

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

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

What the what was that??? Holy crap I have new book crack.

That was my immediate thought after I finished The Jewel. Which basically summed up my thoughts on the whole book. Simply put, I’m in love!

I was first attracted to The Jewel when I saw the cover. With The Selection series “ending” I knew I was going to need a new book I was addicted to. And when I saw the dress on the cover I hoped The Jewel would fill that void. Then I read what it was about and I was intrigued. I was not a fan of The Handmaids Tale so I was leery since surrogacy was a huge theme in both books, but I wasn’t ready to back off. And thank goodness I didn’t. This book was just amazing! I was hooked right off the start.

The Jewel is about Violet, a teenager that has been tested for certain abilities and forced into surrogacy. When Violet reaches a certain age she is auctioned off to the royals that live in The Jewel and forced to carry a child for the woman that buys her. With all choices taken away from her Violet has resigned herself to the life she must live of abuse and invisibility. That is until she meets a boy that changes everything. As Violet learns more about The Jewel and the royals and gets closer to the guy she shouldn’t her world unravels in a way she never expected leaving her not knowing who to trust and how she will survive.

What really pulled me into The Jewel was the concept. The idea that these poor girls had no say over their bodies, that they became property to these rich women, was both interesting and disgusting. My heart completely ached for Violet. Not all was she taken from everything she knew but she was no longer in control of her own life or her own body. But even with everything against her Violet was still herself. She refused to lose her personality or her drive. She maintained her compassion for others and wasn’t afraid to take a chance. Especially when it came to Ash.

Oh Ash, what a complicated story with Ash. First he is just adorable. He did this half smirk, try to hide a smile thing and I swooned. He was just enough parts innocent and arrogant and he was a risk taker for things that mattered. But what really fascinated me about Ash was his job. His character wasn’t in a job that is typically connected with the male sex. I thought Ewing’s choice to go this way was interesting and a little gutsy. It switched things up and made it fresh and interesting. Plus his chemistry with Violet, insta or not, was spot on. The two of them yearned to want to feel love and to be wanted and not to just be a piece of property that was sold and passed around like they had no feelings or emotions. They both just wanted to be considered in decisions regarding their emotions and their bodies and connected so profoundly because of that. They gave me the tummy flutters guys, tummy flutters!

Anyway, I was basically addicted to The Jewel. It had a compelling plot, great characters and interesting developments that left my mouth hanging open and my heart pounding. I was invested and that’s thanks to the amazing narrative Amy Ewing created. I wanted to finish but I knew finishing would suck because I would want more. And more I want. Get on that Ms. Ewing, get on that.

Side note: Pay attention to the character names. It says something about each person that I found pretty cool.

Also, I think this is the first time that I have liked the US cover more than the UK cover. That never seems to happen lately.

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Review: Magnolia – Kristi Cook

Review: Magnolia – Kristi CookMagnolia by Kristi Cook
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: August 5th 2014
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four-stars

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

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

A swoonworthy contemporary; that was my first thought upon finishing Magnolia. It had all of the elements I love in a good contemporary. The love and hate vibe, the flirting, the scary storm that pushes them closer together and traps them making them deal with either feelings. Basically the perfect example of what all contemporary lovers love in a book. I started it at 7am one day and finished it by 11pm that night even with running out and doing errands. It was that kind of book and I’m so happy to have read it.

Magnolia is the story of Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden two teens that just so happen to be the same age and born into families that have been trying to unite as one for decades. Southern royalty is what they are referred to as. It has never worked out in the past but Jemma and Ryder are the chance to make everything perfect, to give their parents the dream they and their ancestors have dreamed of. Only problem is that Ryder and Jemma don’t actually get along. At one time they did get along and were maybe, possibly, kind of, on the verge of something, but that is no longer the case. That is until life happens and a storm rips through Mississippi forcing Ryder and Jemma to make peace with their past and start thinking about a future and what that means for each other.

I’m a sucker for these kinds of books. I very rarely dislike a book that has a couple that “hate” each other as the main plot of the story. I know, it is an old and tired plot device, but I love it. It is like Joey and Pacey on Dawson’s Creek and if you know me at all you know how I feel about Joey and Pacey. There is something about the fighting that brings out the chemistry between two characters and the chemistry was definitely there between Jemma and Ryder. I pretty much swooned through all 300+ pages of the book. Was there stuff in it that I thought was weird and just added for conflict sake, totally, but I still swooned. It was like an opposite Romeo and Juliet which was a ton of fun.

I don’t know, there isn’t really much to say about this book. It was well written and I had a blast reading it and enjoyed the characters a lot. It didn’t have all that heavy of a plot which was nice. It was just a good book for the contemporary fan that I am. I would recommend it for sure if you are looking for some non-heavy lifting.

 

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