ARC Review: Under The Dusty Moon by Suzanne Sutherland


Under The Dusty Moon

Suzane Sutherland

Published January 23rd 2016 by Dundurn

YA >  Contemporary

272 pages

eARC for Review

 

 2 ★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

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She’s with the band, whether she likes it or not.

Victoria Mahler is the sixteen-year-old only daughter of rocker Micky Wayne, whose band, Dusty Moon, took the world by storm when Micky was just a teenager. The band broke up under mysterious circumstances, but, after years spent off the road being a mom, Micky’s solo career is finally starting to take off.

When an offer to tour Japan falls into her mom’s lap, Vic is left to spend the summer under the care of her distant grandmother, and without her built-in best friend. Fortunately, a boy with a secret geek side and a group of feminist game-makers save the season, and Vic starts to see herself as her own person, out from under her mother’s shadow.

But when Micky finally comes home — with a poorly chosen boyfriend in tow — all bets are off. Will Vic be able to maintain her newfound sense of self amidst the building thunder of Micky’s second chance at stardom? And through it all, will Micky still really be her best friend?

 

REVIEW

Under The Dusty Moon was disappointing on epic proportions.  You see, when I first went into this book, what I expected was girl power, plenty of gaming goodness, a protagonist I would love and a parent-daughter relationship that would be eye-opening in its goodness.  What I got—at least after the 35% mark—was basically a disaster in print form.The book follows one summer in the life of Victoria Mahler, a sixteen year old BRAT.  She was the epitome of a kind of girl you would not want to grow up with because damn.  She’s selfish and basically a fool, but the one thing that stood out most about this girl was how jealous she was.  See, Victoria’s mother Micky Wayne was the yesteryear star of Dusty Moon, which was a huge deal.  And the book—and Victoria’s POV—was more than 90% whining about how Micky was so famous, and how she should move on and be a  real mom, and whatnot.  Victoria just wouldn’t move beyond the fact that her mom had a life before her, separate from her, and it was annoying af.  She kept being a brat to her mother, and the entire “best-friends” thing that she had with her fell flat on its face for the very same reason.Micky, Victoria’s mother, was another major reason the entire book failed.  Being a part of a band (that split up years ago, btw) apparently gave the woman free reign to leave Victoria on her own for the summer and go traipsing around the other side of the world. I understand about working mothers who have to travel a lot (I have one), but the entire thing felt like something that normal moms just wouldn’t do.  Her entire character arc felt very confusing, and I couldn’t tell up from down where this woman was concerned.

Under The Dusty Moon started off really well.  For almost the first half, I found myself enjoying the book, its characters, the entire she-bang.  With the benefit of hindsight, I realise that I almost looked over the annoying parts of the book simply because I was way too excited to enjoy the book completely.  But in all honesty, I did not see this book going the way it did.  I thought there would be one pivotal point where the story would pick up pace, and Victoria would become more aware of things besides herself, more mature, but unfortunately, that point never came.  Throw in a best friend who bought the whole gaming thing in for a grand total of 3.67 pages, and a love interest who was as boring as he was flimsy, I really don’t see the point of recommending this book to anyone.

Rhea[1]

 

ARC REVIEW: Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk + Giveaway!!

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Arrows

Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Published January 26th 2016 by Delacorte Press

YA > Fantasy | Mythology

Purchase links: Amazon | BN 

4 ★★★★

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 A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom.

People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow. Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma andDanny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn’t reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny–perfect for fans of Katie McGarry’s novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

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REVIEW:

OMG YOU GUYSSSSS!!!

description

Oh my heartttt. Arrows is such a perfect book for this season. Don’t get me wrong, I would recommend Arrows anytime of the year but reading it at this month, when it’s all about love and… Love.. it’s just perfect. I wouldn’t exactly call ARROWS a retelling of the famous tale of Cupid and Psyche but I can say that the book was based on that particular mythology story. Only here, our main character is Cupids son himself, Aaryn.

The story opens up with Aaryn and his trainer, Phoebe, doing some love arrow shooting to the clueless couples in a highschool dance. It would’ve been perfect, Aaryn will pass his test and be an official cupid and then the couple will fall madly in love but… Aaryn messed up and now he has to clean up that mess.

What I liked the most about Arrows is it’s refreshing plotline. I can confidently say that I have never encountered a storyline like this before. I was anticipating every page while slowly absorbing every word. The pacing helped a lot too because I didn’t find any dull moment throughout the book. The book caught my attention the moment I started reading because it’s very easy to follow and Melissa’s writing is simple and beautiful at the same time. Of course I finished it in one day!

I don’t know about you but I adore the book even more when I can read the thoughts of the two main characters, in other words, if it has two POV’s. The characters are rich and vibrant. I wasn’t only fond of the leads but also with the secondary characters. Melissa effectively destroyed the conceited good looking greek god tradition with Aaryn. He’s such a swoony love interest. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about him. I’m not saying he’s perfect though, far from it. Even with his god-ness, the story revealed how flawed he is. Karma definitely belongs to my favorite heroines list. I adore this girl to bits! She made me feel a lot of things compared to Aaryn. Everytime I read her thoughts, I’m torn between hugging and crying with her and smacking and shaking some sense to her. In short, Melissa writes such authentic characters that will totally affect the readers hearts. They’re a hard bunch to let go, here’s me hoping for a second book!! I feel like the last chapters were a little rushed as well and that’s another reason why I am demanding for a follow up and that’s why I didn’t give a complete 5. Arrows ending is far from being a cliffhanger so no on should worry about that. Whatever the author decides abour Aaryn and Karmas journey, I’ll be fine with it.

And lastly, what is this book without its romance? This book is written to melt your heart and for you to explode of FEELS. What a magnificent debut by Melissa Gorzelanczyk! This novel clearly knows how it feels to fall in love, what it means to get your heart broken and how important it is to move on. With a Gorgeous writing, a dash of mythology and a heartwarming romance.. you don’t need to be shot by an arrow to love this novel.

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300 Twitter | Website | Goodreads 

Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a former magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. A dreamer for life, Melissa has been writing books since she was nine years old when she penned her first story about a beloved black horse. She is a member of the Class of 2k16, the SCBWI and The Sweet Sixteens. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family.

She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio & Olson.
See more at: www.melissagorzelanczyk.com

 

     

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ARC REVIEW: The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

25733270The Girl From Everywhere

Heidi Heilig

Published February 16th 2016 by Greenwillow Books

YA >  Fantasy

464 pages

eARC for Review

 

 3★★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

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Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

 

REVIEW

I bet the reason I didn’t pick up this book earlier was because I am a cranky bitch, and the number of pages this has probably scared the ever living shit out of me.  So.  After reading this book, my first emotion was contentment.  I was content.  The Girl From Everywhere has everything I need from a YA Fantasy—it has a maps, really picturesque locations, local food from said locations and oooh it has a swoony love interest.  I was content.  But here’s the thing—after hearing a shit ton of stuff about this book, after having pie squealed on receiving a copy for review, after seeing all the people of GR loving this book, “contentment” is really the wrong emotion.  I want to be happy and excited and thrilled.  And my rating should definitely be higher than a 3, right?

The Girl From Everywhere begins right in the centre of the action.  Nix Song, our protagonist, is a very clever, very talented time traveller on a ship.  With her father, Slate–the Captain, who has special gifts of his own—she uses maps to hurl the ship through time and reach a specific destination, in a specific year.  So far so great.  But as the story unfolds, you discover that the path the ship takes, the places it travels to aren’t just a random drivel of locations; it is, in fact, a part of a a thorough, well planned search that Slate carries out for Nix’s mother who died in childbirth.  Of course, Nix has no chance but to help her troubled father get back to the woman he loves, but going back to her would mean that Nix might never be born.  Which means that the Nix of the present may perish.  This is, I think, all you need to know before you hop into the book.  Any more research may be spoiler-y, so you might want to steer clear of that.
The Girl From Everywhere {Novel Aesthetic}The book mainly consists of the “pirates” aboard the ship—Slate, who is the Captain, and the crew including Nix, Kashmir, Rotgut, a ghost!  There is so much diversity among the people aboard, and that was one of the things I loved most about the crew.  They were a funny lot, a loyal crew,  and yet there was a kind of experience that these people had, that was unmatched.  The way they spoke, the way they did certain things was indicative that the whole time-travelling jig wasn’t all smooth sailing (he he, I love puns) and I loved seeing that piece of authenticity!

Nix was…difficult to hate.  That’s the closest I can get to describing my experience of reading from her point of view.  You see, she’s not exactly the type you love in an instant, but she’s also no Bella Swan.  She’s tougher than she looks, and more complacent than she shows.  Her loyalties are unmatched, but there are times when you wonder if she’s going to just pick up her skirts and make a run for it.  Basically? UNPREDICTABLE. Her habit of overthinking is abhorrent, almost annoying to the point of wanting to commit bloody murder, but this endeared her to me immensely.  I’m the “majorly over-think until you lose your shit” types, and this was something I understood.  Kashmir (or Kash) was my favourite character in the book.  He is the ultimate book boyfriend, but his friendship with Nix is #goals.  His sass is unmatched and he’s a thief who had my heart from the moment he entered.  Complete and absolute sweetheart.  He had some of the funniest lines in the book, and I’d say he was the perfect, charming yin to Nix’s complicated, troubled yang.

My main reason of the 3 star rating was a couple of things I’d like to talk about next.  Firstly, love triangle.  Cannot stand those if my life depended on it.  The premises does not even hint at a third player in the story, and so I went into the book not expecting this at all. The third guy was…bleh.  Bland.  Too perfect, if that is a thing.  I was all, “No no nO NIX WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! ABORT ABORT ABORT.”  The sad part?  Nix spends more time with this guy than Kash. sob. sob sob sob.  Secondly, like I said, I was still mainly undecided about whether or not I liked Nix or not.  Didn’t hate her—far from it—but gahh.  I can’t make up my mind about her.  Guess I’ll only know about her once the next book comes out.  NEXT YEAR. sob sob sob.

Heidi Heilig has created a very complex, well-written, and might I say, a very charming set of characters for a story that is more myth and plot driven than anything else.  I loved how each chapter, each thread of dialogue brought to light something new about the characters, something you might have missed before.  Add to that the fact that most of the book takes place in 19th century Hawaii, all the myths and traditions, and the entire *cough*heist*cough* she-bang was done beautifully, you can’t complain at all that the book isn’t well researched!  If you’re okay with the whole still-unresolved-love-traingle thing, please please go read this book!  Maps, diversity, swoons, ships, dragons—this book really does have everything!

 

 

 

Rhea[1]

 

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

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The Mystery of Hollow Places

Rebecca Podos

Published January 26th 2016 by Balzer & Bray

YA > Mystery | Thriller

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD | itunes | Kobo

 

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All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of her father’s books to track down a woman she’s never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos’ debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us – the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.

 

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AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website  | Instagram

Rebecca Podos’ debut YA novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) on 1/26/16. A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College where she won the M.F.A. Award for Best Thesis, her fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, Glyph, CAJE, Paper Darts, Bellows American Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. Past Awards include the Helman Award for Short Fiction, the David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Prize for Young Adult Writers, and the Hillerman-McGarrity Scholarship for Creative Writing. She works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.

 

 


   

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REVIEW: Blast From Two Pasts by Kristel Villar

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Blast From Two Pasts

Kristel Villar

Published April 1st 2014

NA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | Smashwords 

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

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Fate’s been playing tricks on Cara Nicolas lately. She agrees to go on a blind date with her best friend’s fiancé’s cousin, only to discover that the guy is her first love from high school, Lucas Lobregat. Now that would have been a charming story, except that the date turns out to be one of the worst ever. And they can’t even pretend it never happened, because they’re both suddenly part of the wedding preparations.

Just as she is starting to get to know more about the boy she used to love, Oliver Sta. Maria, an old flame who owes her some closure, surprisingly shows up. With two pasts resurfacing, which will Cara choose to rekindle? Or can she have the chance to choose at all?

 

 

 

REVIEW:

 

 “First love. Is it possible for someone that young to fall in love?”

 

Just when you thought your heart already found its peace and you have moved on.. Cara finds herself in a complicated situation when her best friend thrusts her in a blind date that she never wanted and when a person from her past that she already buried starts resurfacing again. Nothing is easy about Cara’s situation but I like how everything turned out in the end. I love that there is nothing cliché about this book and although the whole ordeal is complicated, the point is it happens in real life and Kristel Villar writes in a very realistic way.

Cara is a likeable character and it’s admirable that she acts her age most of the time when it comes to making decisions. I admit that there are moments that I want to scream at her but overall, she’s a well written protagonist. I love her voice and although we are not from the same group age, I can relate to her. We all had those first love/crushes, right?

I like the characters, the whole bunch of them! But I must say that Lloyd is my favorite. That friend who punches you with a verbal fist because YOU NEED IT. The author really made a set characters that are unforgettable and hilarious in their own different way. The love interest(s) are both swoony but each has a different trait that makes them charming. It was indeed hard to be in Cara’s situation. Good thing she have her friends with her.

Blast From Two Pasts isn’t exactly a story about love triangle, if that’s what some of the readers are worried about. It is a little short from what the books I usually read and the pacing moved faster than it should, in my opinion. But overall, Blast From Two Pasts is such a sweet and delightful book to read. Perfect for any romance junkie. No matter how old you are! 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website | Goodreads

Kristel S. Villar covers sporting events for a national broadsheet by day and tries to write fiction by night. In between, she takes care of her husband and son. She is addicted to books, movies, American TV shows, and coffee.

Blast From Two Pasts is her first contemporary romance novella. She has also penned “The Rumor About Me”, a short story for the young adult book anthology, Kids These Days: Stories From Luna East Arts Academy Vol. 1. Her second short story for Luna East Arts Academy, “One on One” is currently featured in Clara, a quarterly romance online journal (www.clararomance.com)

 

 


   

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