Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Until You Find Me (Until You Find Me #1) by Amber Hart

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that features upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication 'can't-wait-to-read' selection is:

Title: Until You Find Me (Until You Find Me #1)
Author: Amber Hart
Release Date: 11th November 2014
Publisher: Random House Flirt
Find on: Goodreads

Amber Hart pushes contemporary romance to its wildest limits in this heart-pounding novel, the story of a girl who travels to Africa to protect the legacy of one man . . . and stays for the love of another.

Raven Moore, a twenty-year-old college student from Michigan, feels out of place in the beautiful, treacherous jungles of Cameroon, staying in the habitat where her father gave his life to help protect endangered gorillas. He left home years ago; now Raven refuses to return home until she unravels the truth about his last days.

Raven certainly doesn’t count on crossing paths with a handsome young hunter—especially one as charismatic and intense as Jospin Tondjii. Instantly, she’s hooked. But Jospin is hiding a dark truth: He is the heir to a powerful poaching empire, part of a ruthless black market that is responsible for the dwindling gorilla population.

Their fathers may have been enemies, but Raven and Jospin forge a bond that goes beyond blood, a relationship that is tested as Raven draws closer to the source of her father’s death. Can she and Jospin bear the weight of the secrets of the wild—and the secrets of their pasts? Or will the rain forest destroy them both?

Yes, this is the second week I'm featuring a book by Amber Hart. She has become one of my favourite contemporary authors since I read her first book, Before You. She's a stereotype breaker, so to speak, and I just love her writing style, which is descriptive and beautiful. Needless to say, I can't wait to see what Hart will bring in this book.

If you'd like to read about how much I loved Before You and why, click HERE for my review of Amber Hart's debut novel.

What are you waiting on this week? Comment below!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Review: Raging Star by Moira Young

Title: Raging Star (Dustlands #3)
Author: Moira Young
Release Date: 13th May 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewHer passion kept them alive. Now it may destroy them all.

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo...until she meets him and finds herself drawn to the man and his vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to build a stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The young and the healthy. Under his control.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Presumed dead, he's gone undercover, feeing Saba crucial information in secret meetings. Saba hides her connection with DeMalo and commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, and her sister, Emmi, Saba leads a small guerilla band against the settlers and the Tonton militia. But the odds are overwhelming. Saba knows how to fight—she's not called the Angel of Death for nothing. But what can she do when the fight cannot be won? Then DeMalo offers Saba a chance—a seductive chance she may not be able to refuse. How much will she sacrifice to save the people she loves?

The road has never been more dangerous, and betrayal lurks in the most unexpected places in the breathtaking conclusion to the Dust Lands Trilogy.

Detailed ReviewI am convinced that if I don't write a review for Raging Star, I don't deserve to live.

Raging Star is so twisted in a way that it makes me want to cry and laugh and scream at the same time. I thought Rebel Heart was the best the author could do.

Moira Young proved me wrong. Once again, she decides to throw everything you know right in your face and yell, 'Gotcha!'

If you read the last paragraph of the book's description, I have to let you know that it really applies to the book.

It was explosive, and yes, betrayal is a strong theme in the book.

And the best (or worst) part is that you can't possibly guess who the traitor will be. I was so shocked to find out who the real traitor was that I had to stop and honour that part for a few minutes. I wasn't just honouring it, I also paid great respect to Young's writing. 

She deserved it.

Anyways, moving on, the characters were just so well-written and had so much depth to them I couldn't help but feel a sense of loss when I finished reading the book. I felt such a strong connection to them, even minor characters like Emmi and Molly.

The mention of Emmi reminds me. I think Saba is not the only heroine in the book. I believe Emmi also deserves the title. She earned it in Raging Star. I don't think I've ever read about a more determined and stubborn ten-year-old than her.

The story isn't just made up of one plot, it's different plots interweaving together to finally contribute to one mind-blowing ending, which is the 'big rumble' Saba talked about in the book.

As for twists, no disappointments there. That department really worked full-time in Raging Star.

But I really wished the ending was more satiating... That's all I will say.

Brief Review: There is more than one incentive to read the book.  Complex characters with complex relationships, some gawdamn big rumbles (as Saba would say) and one magnificent story. That is more than enough. Being the last in a trilogy, this book is the best masterpiece Moira Young has ever written yet.

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'


I believe Raging Star wasn't just about love and starting anew, it's about heroes as well,

Hard times don't create heroes. It is during the hard times when the 'hero' within us is revealed--- Bob Riley

Your Reviewer:

GUEST POST: Fractured Dream by KM Randall

Hi everyone! Today we have a special guest! Let us welcome KM Randall, who will be guest posting on our blog on writing two series at the same time and her experiences with the process. Enjoy! Also, if you'd like to know about her debut book, Fractured Dream, then read on!

Keeping it straight: writing two series at the same time 
by KM Randall

I never thought I’d be writing more than one book or series at the same time. But I am. Fractured Dream, the first book in The Dreamer Saga series, was released in June. It took me eight years to write, and toward the end of it, I felt drained from the layers and world-building I put into it. I had this idea as I was closing in on the big finish about a girl who finds out her mother is the Grim Reaper. It started to unfold in my head, and before long I had started writing it, even before I was completely finished with Fractured Dream. I knew that before I could start working on Shattered World—the second book in The Dreamer Saga—I needed to write this book, which is called The Reaper’s Daughter, also the first in a series. 

I’ve found that it’s really not hard to keep the two straight when writing. My two main characters, Story from Fractured Dream and Blake from The Reaper’s Daughter, are very different themselves. Story lacks confidence in the beginning of her story; she’s unsure, and she fights against who she really is. Blake, on the other hand, is bold, sarcastic, and more readily accepting of her path.

There is a steady stream of friendship within both books, but the best friends have their own quirks. Story is flanked by Adam, her environmentalist best friend from childhood, and Elliott, a psychic gay man whom she grew close to in college. Meanwhile, Blake’s best friend is Shelby, a snarky blond vegan with Kool-Aid-dyed hair who has been by Blake’s side pretty much since they were babies. In Fractured Dream, there is a huge cast of characters; in The Reaper’s Daughter, not as many. While Fractured Dream is epic fantasy, The Reaper’s Daughter is paranormal young adult. The differences go on and on, although there are some common themes. For instance, Story and Blake both are initially lacking a parent. Another interwoven thread is the name of the town both heroines hail from. Specter, New York, is a town I made up in Fractured Dream, and I decided to use the same town for The Reaper’s Daughter. Although, the two girls won’t be hanging out anytime soon.

The hardest part, really, has come now that I'm nearing the end of writing The Reaper’s Daughter and itching to get started on Shattered World. I’ve had enough of a break, and I can’t wait to get back to those characters. My plan is to rotate. Time away is good; it’s given me time to breathe, to like everyone again after so much time spent together. But the characters and stories are so vivid and alive within me that I could never mix them up. Each story has its own reason and rhyme, its own place in my heart.

Some information about the author's first book, Fractured Dream. I've got to admit it, but that cover is making me salivate so much...

Published by: Booktrope
Published On: June 21, 2014
Genre: Fantasy

Have you ever wondered where fairytales go once they're created?

It's been eight years since Story Sparks last had a dream. Now they're back, tormenting her as nightmares she can't remember upon waking. The black waters of Lake Sandeen, where her Uncle Peter disappeared decades before, may hold the secret to Story's hidden memories, or a truth she'd rather not know. On a bright summer afternoon, Story and her two best friends, Elliott and Adam, take a hike to the lake, where they dive into the cool water and never reemerge. What they find is beyond anything they've ever imagined could be possible, a world where dangers lurk in the form of Big Bad Wolves, living Nightmares and meddlesome witches and gods.

Now Story must remember who she really is and somehow stop two worlds from ultimate annihilation, all while trying not to be too distracted by the inexplicable pull she feels toward a certain dark-eyed traveler who seems to have secrets of his own. The fates of the worlds are counting on her.

About the author

As a girl, K.M. always wished she’d suddenly come into magical powers or cross over into a Faerie circle. Although that has yet to happen, she instead lives vicariously through the characters she creates in writing fantasy and delving into the paranormal. When K.M. is not busy writing her next novel, she is the editor-in-chief of a blog covering the media industry, as well as an editor with Booktrope Publishing. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree in English-Lit from Nazareth College of Rochester. K.M. lives in Upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region with her husband and her extremely energetic little boy. Fractured Dream is her first novel.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

ARC Review: Before You by Amber Hart

Title: Before You (Before & After #2)
Author: Amber Hart
Release Date: 29th July 2014 
Publisher: K-Teen
Find on: Goodreads

Quick ReviewSome say love is deadly. Some say love is beautiful. I say it is both.

Faith Watters spent her junior year traveling the world, studying in exquisite places, before returning to Oviedo High School. From the outside her life is picture-perfect. Captain of the dance team. Popular. Happy. Too bad it’s all a lie.

It will haunt me. It will claim me. It will shatter me. And I don't care.

Eighteen-year-old Diego Alvarez hates his new life in the States, but staying in Cuba is not an option. Covered in tattoos and scars, Diego doesn't stand a chance of fitting in. Nor does he want to. His only concern is staying hidden from his past—a past, which if it were to surface, would cost him everything. Including his life.

At Oviedo High School, it seems that Faith Watters and Diego Alvarez do not belong together. But fate is as tricky as it is lovely. Freedom with no restraint is what they long for. What they get is something different entirely.

Love—it will ruin you and save you, both.

Detailed Review*I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Many YA contemporary romance books I've read so far have been __________ (fill in the blank with positive adjectives)

Before You was phenomenal. 

I don't think I've ever been able to read a contemporary romance with as much enthusiasm and excitement as I did Before You.

I guess I just hadn't actually stumbled upon a book with a story as good as Before You's. 

Diego was one of my all-time favourite characters. I admired his strength and independence. I was really getting tired of stereotypes in books like this, where the boy is a nerd or person who people think is a freak or loser.

Amber Hart breaks all stereotypes.

I repeat, ALL stereotypes. Instead, she brings in issues to do with racism, violence, poverty, etc. into the story, which I thought was no easy task, yet Hart managed to deliver everything in one explosive debut.

Faith Watters is not the perfect girl she is either. She maintains her perfect facade, one only her best friend Melissa can see through, and Diego. She has to set an example for everyone, being the pastor's daughter and live up to everyone's expectations. She feels trapped within the image she's created for herself.

Again, the girl is the perfect one, leader of the dance team, but has a secret. 

But she doesn't exactly follow the stereotype. She isn't exactly perfect.  People just think she's perfect. See the difference? It's people's perception of you that contributes to your personality.

One lesson we all have to learn in the end is: people will always judge us wherever we go. 

Who would have also thought that this book would have a scare factor? I cried in the last few chapters. I didn't see that coming. 

This is my reaction through the last few chapters:

Gasp-cry-cry-cry-cry-double gasp-cry-sob-cry-cry


This book has the most beautiful and heart-breaking ending ever. Just saying.

Brief ReviewYou want a contemporary that packs a punch? This is the one. Amber Hart  challenges society at a whole, challenges its views on racism, interracial relationships, violence, and so much more. When reading this book, expect ANYTHING. It's so easy to be caught up in her descriptive writing that goes to the heart, whether it's painful or beautiful to read. I really want to see what Hart brings up in After Us next!!!

Final Rating: 5/5 'Totally Amazing!'



I would have liked to say this to Faith at the beginning of the book,

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not---André Gide

Your Reviewer: