ARC REVIEW: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost a.k.a unexplainable love + Giveaway!

the beautiful ashes

TITLE: The Beautiful Ashes (Broken Destiny #1)
AUTHOR: Jeanine Frost
PUBLICATION: Published August 26th 2014 by Harlequin HQN
GENRE: YA/NA > Fantasy | Paranormal | Romance
PAGES: 304pages (Paperback)
SOURCE: paperback arc via publusher
RATING: 4 ★★★★
You can buy the Book here:
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In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who’s bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn’t mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn’t: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

 

 REVIEW:

 

The Beautiful Ashes is like a chocolate. I devoured it in one sitting while muttering hateful things I hate about it.

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Really, if you can see, my reading updates on Goodreads, you will read nothing but hate. Hate for the protagonist, hate for the love interest.. and much love for the plot. Okay, who could blame me?! In the first half of the book, the characters were nothing but annoying.

Ivy, our main protagonist, knows she is not normal. Ever since she was young she’s been seeing visions that no doctor can cure. When the story started, Ivy is in Bennington in hopes of finding her sister, Jasmine, who’s went missing. Her visions that she thought before as hallucinations were confirmed real when Adrian shows up at her room and together they embarked on a journey to not only find her sister but also find the weapons that can destroy the demons that has been haunting Adrian and herself. Did I mention that Adrian isn’t normal, too?

First of all, I LOVE THE PLOT. It’s absolutely interesting to me and I was amazed with the secrets between Ivy and Adrians ancestors. Because Frost is a new author in my radar (I know, what’s wrong with me) I don’t know her methods, her way of writing or how she captures her readers, but if all of her other works are like this, I’m pretty sure I’ll devour them all. I have no words on how readable this is. It was so fast paced, the world building is impressive and every time a new chapter ends, I was in the edge of my seat and looking forward to the next one. That’s how addictive this book is. Addictive I tell you, ADDICTIVE.

I had a hard time liking the characters though. Halfway through, I was surprised I’m still reading the book. I mean, in my experience, if I can’t enjoy the characters, I cannot enjoy the book as well. But this is a special case. I think it’s because the characters weren’t full annoying. The love interest, Adrian, just blurt out things like this:

“I don’t do subtle, it wastes time. Besides—” the silvery part of his eyes gleamed like liquid moonlight “—if you say you don’t find me attractive, I’ll know you’re lying.”

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Then say things like this:

“I’m not just drawn to you, Ivy. I’ve wanted you since the first time you touched me. It was as if you reached inside and claimed something that had always been yours.”

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IF THAT ISN’T SWOONY, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS. And the main protagonist, Ivy, does things like this:

“I don’t know why I reached out, awkwardly touching his arm to feel the hard muscles beneath that bulky jacket. If I’d thought about it, I wouldn’t have done it. Yet I couldn’t make myself pull away.”

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TO BE FAIR, the Instalove has a logical explanation. IT HAS A REASON.. and the reason, in my opinion is pretty awesome. And besides, she grew up (a little) when it was close to the end. And I think the author has some character developments planned out for her.

“No more. I’d fight and live, or I’d fight and die, but either way, I was fighting.”

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And SHE’S FUNNY. She is.

Overall, I’m still torn about how I feel about the characters. There’s still the following books to read so maybe I’ll learn to love them more. But if you’re asking about the whole book, then yes, I am completely and extremely captivated. Maybe I’ll busy myself with Frosts Nigh Huntress series while waiting for the book two to come out. The Beautiful Ashes is an addictive and gripping read for me. It grabbed from the very first chapter and didn’t let me go. Everything is just fascinating! I cannot wait for more!!

And because I love you all, I prepared an Excerpt for all of you, in other words, more reason to buy the book. Here it is:

 

EXCERPT:

“What is that?”
Adrian’s voice startled me. For a second, I was disoriented, the dream clinging to me as it always did. Yes, I was in a car, but I wasn’t the unknown woman driving away from her baby. That wasn’t real. The glare Adrian leveled at my chest was, though.

“Is that a mirror?” He sounded horrified.

I looked down. My locket was open, the mirrored side facing me. At some point while I was sleeping, I must’ve opened it. Adrian’s hand shot out, but this time, I was too fast for him.

“Don’t you dare,” I snapped, holding it out of his reach. “It’s the only picture I have of my sister after you left everything I own back at that hotel in Bennington!”

He lunged again, actually letting go of the steering wheel to reach the side of the car where I held it. With a sharp yank, he wrested the locket from my hands. I tried to snatch it back, but he shoved me into my seat with one hand, finally grabbing the steering wheel with the other.

“Are you crazy?” I shrieked. “You could’ve gotten us killed!” If this hadn’t been a lonely stretch of desert road, our careening into the next lane might’ve had permanent consequences.

“You’re going to get yourself killed,” was his chilling response. Then, still pinning me to my chair with that single hand, he held my locket up.

I gasped. Something dark poked out of the small mirror, like a snake made of blackest smoke. It disappeared when Adrian smashed the mirror against the steering wheel, but an eerie wind whistled through the car, ruffling my hair and stinging my nostrils with its acrid scent.

Adrian muttered a word in that unknown language, and I didn’t need a translator to tell me it was a curse.

“What was that?” My voice was hoarse.

He threw me a pitying glance, which frightened me even more. If he wasn’t angry, we must really be screwed.

His next words proved that. “Brace yourself, Ivy. You’re about to meet a demon.”

 

 

THE AUTHOR:

 

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TWITTER | FACEBOOK | WEBSITE

Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series, the Night Prince series, and the upcoming Broken Destiny series. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

For information on Jeaniene’s books, reading the first 20% of each book free, book trailers, deleted scenes, creature mythology, and more, please visit: www.jeanienefrost.com

 

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REVIEW: Arrow Of The Mist by Christina Mercer a.k.a for people who miss Katniss (yeah you read that right)

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TITLE: Arrow Of The Mist (Arrow of the Mist #1)
AUTHOR:Christina Mercer
PUBLICATION: Published March 21st 2013
GENRE: YA/MG > Fantasy | Adventure
PAGES: 257pages (Kindle Edition)
SOURCE: Review copy via tour host
RATING: 4 ★★★★
You can buy the Book here:
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Award-Winning Middle Grade Fantasy; YA Fantasy

Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

 

 

REVIEW:

 

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My only reaction is WHOAH. Like, WHOAH, I’m completely blown away! WHOAH, did I just read a High Fantasy book… and managed to finished it?! WHOAH, it’s epicness is too much to handle! And WHOAH, I need the book two now! I did not expect that much attachment towards this book. I don’t know if you guys noticed, but I’m not really a fan of this genre. I’m more of a YA contemporary reader.. but I was really captivated by the cover and I noticed from the other reviews that this was a little MG-y so… why not?!

Lia’s Da is one of the many people that has been poisoned by a root called Straif. And there’s only one way to come up with cure that will not only help Lia’s father, but everyone in her village, and that is to explore the forbidden and dangerous lands of Brume. The quest started with 4 of them, but only 2 were forced to go on.. and that is Lia and her cousin, Wynn.

Christina Mercers characters are very.. lovable. There’s an attachment now between me and these characters and that’s why it was kind of hard to let go at the part that says ‘The End’. They’re all brilliantly written and outstandingly believable. Our protagonist, Lia, is nothing but awesomeness and badassness even though she’s just 15. I’m older than her and I know that I cannot do half of what she can do. She’s fearless, smart and compassionate. I found myself rooting for all of them too, for Wynn and his adorable wit and impressive courage, for Granda’s exceptional knowledge, even for Kelven.. Even though I didn’t get to see him that much in here. That’s about to change in book two, though. I AM EXCITED.

Mercer’s writing is lyrical. Very compelling and gripping. To be honest, half of my e-reader is highlighted because of all the wisdom that Mercer bestowed upon me. But what I loved most about this book is that it’s so fast paced and there in no dull chapter! None, I tell you! Nada! You will find yourself always looking forward for the next chapters. It’s addictive. And lastly, this book has every mythical creatures you could think of! I swear, every chapter I meet a new creature. And I loved it!!

Overall, Arrow Of The Mist is an excellent fix for the fantasy junkies out there. With a small touch of romance, a fearless and likeable heroine and a fast paced and well thought plot, it’s nothing but brilliant! I cannot wait to get lost on Lia’s world again in book two!

 

 

THE AUTHOR:

 

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WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Christina Mercer is an award-winning author of fiction for children and young adults. She took Writer’s Best in Show at the 2012 SCBWI CA North/Central Regional Conference, was a Semi-Finalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakout Novel Award Contest, and won Honorable Mention in the 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards. She holds a degree in Accounting from California State University at Sacramento and a Certificate in Herbal Studies from Clayton College of Natural Health. Christina resides in Northern California enjoying life with her husband, two sons, four dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees.

 

 

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BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Edge of Falling by Valia Lind

22674926TITLE:Edge Of Falling (Falling #2)
AUTHOR:Valia Lind
PUBLICATION: Published August 13th 2014
GENRE: YA > Contemporary | Romance
PAGES: 360pages (Paperback)

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy the Book here:

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For Chance, there’s always only been Dakota. He’s been in love with the girl since the day they met. He’s tried everything to get her to notice him and nothing has worked. So when things suddenly start moving in the right direction, Chance can’t believe his luck.

Until Kyle comes along.

Kyle is like a new shiny toy and Dakota loves new and shiny. She falls for the tall, blonde and gorgeous fast and without looking back. Dating the summer before college wasn’t in the plans, but come on, Kyle is perfect. So why does Chance and his snarky grin keeps popping up in her mind now that Dakota has found her happiness?

When Chance’s world comes crashing down, Dakota proves the strength of their friendship, surprising herself and everyone around her, by helping him pick up the pieces. In return, Chance is finally able to crack her hard shell, discovering that not everything is sunny in Dakota-land. Her world is not what it seems on the outside, and together, they’re able to pull each other to the brink of safety and sanity.

Dakota likes that things are simple with Kyle, so why does she feel more like herself around Chance? As graduation grows closer, both Chance and Dakota learn that the plans you make for your life don’t always play out the way you expect them and sometimes, everything starts to make sense when you find yourself on the edge of falling.

 

THE AUTHOR:

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WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Author. Photographer. Artist. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valia Lind always had a love for the written word. She wrote her first full book on the bathroom floor of her dormitory, while procrastinating to study for her college classes. Upon graduation, she has moved her writing to more respectable places, and have found her voice in Young Adult fiction. Falling by Design is her debut young adult novel. You can visit her online at www.valialind.blogspot.com or follow her on twitter, where she spends way too much time, @ValiaLind.

 

 

 

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ARC REVIEW: Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan a.k.a i’m curious about that feeling as well

22328238TITLE: Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel
AUTHOR:Sara Farizan
PUBLICATION: Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers
GENRE: YA > Glbt | Contemporary | Realistic Fictiom
PAGES: 304pages (Hardcover)
SOURCE: e-arc via publisher (Netgalley)
RATING:3★★★
You can buy the Book here:
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High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia’s confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.

 

 

REVIEW:

 

“I want to stop living in fear. I want to stop coming up with excuses about why I’m not interested in dating. I want my family to know me… I want to stop feeling like everything I am is inadequate or makes me unworthy of love because of something  I can’t help.”

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There goes my feels..

Ever feel like you’re too old for the book you’re reading even though you’re just 2 years older than the protagonist? Or that’s just me being weird…

It wasn’t THAT great. But it was.. good. It was okay. I admit that I was expecting this to be a very deep and meaningful novel and even though I did not get THAT, I still enjoyed it. I’m not saying it’s shallow! Not at all. It just fell flat for me. Ever felt that? Like you were waiting for that chapter in the book where you will sob and cry and just weep and tell yourself that ‘this book is epic’. Well, I didn’t have that moment in this book. It feels a little Middle Grade-y to me, and no, I don’t have a problem with MG genre.. but with a tough topic like this, my expectations were high.

Leila is a Persian teenager and she is gay. Nobody knows it but her. And she’s okay that way, she was actually very confident that nobody will figure it out since she don’t have any crushes at her school.. until Saskia shows up. The flawless, beautiful and new girl Saskia. It was attraction at first sight for Leila and surprisingly, it seems like it’s the same with Saskia. I repeat, it seems.

First of all, CHEERS FOR THE CHARACTER DIVERSITY in here. I actually learned some cool stuff about Persian culture even though it wasn’t the center of the book. I was satisfied with the glimpse and mentions of traditions and stuff. But then again, this story is about Leila.. so let’s focus on her. Leila was an enjoyable character and protagonist. Her being witty helped me to get through the whole novel.. Honestly, there’s no dull moment from her mind. But! Like I mentioned above, I felt like she’s too young for me. The way she thinks is making me cringe sometimes and roll my eyes and there was even a ‘wait. what???’ moment from me. Side characters were well written! I didn’t have that cliche tingles everytime a character were introduced. My favorite was Lisa because out of all of them, I connected to her immediately. Even though she wasn’t the main character. Saskia, on the other hand has a huge potential to be a great character.. but the author did not explored it. I feel like she just discarded Saskia without even making a concrete ending for her even though she’s one of the main lead. And she’s a sick psycho. Now, what I WANNA KNOW IS WHY. But the author did not even dropped a backstory for her. I wonder if Saskia is getting her own book.

Anyway, I’m a fan of the writing as well. Farizan’s writing was easy and on point, I felt like I just glided through out the book. Also, the romance!!! Simple and touching. Unexpected too. The character relationships were greatly woven! Especially the one between Leila and her Mother.

“Just because I didn’t know who I was when I was young, doesn’t mean you can’t figure out who you are” – Leila’s MOM.

Don’t you just love when the Mother and the main protagonist actually gets along?! It made her coming out more poignant too.

Overall, Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel isn’t about crushes at all (disappointing) But it’s about growing up, learning what you want and finally having the guts to get it. Leila may not be a protagonist for everybody but she have a trait that I believe we can all relate to..

 

REVIEW: The Man Test by Amanda Aksel a.k.a say NO to serial cheaters

TheManTest_Cover1TITLE: The Man Test
AUTHOR:Amanda Aksel
PUBLICATION: Published March 24th 2014 by Elephantine Publishing
GENRE: A > Womens Fiction | Contemporary
PAGES: 310pages (Kindle Edition)
SOURCE: e-copy via tour host
RATING: 4 ★★★★

 

 

 

 

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Marin Johns is San Francisco’s Pollyanna couples therapist. She’s months away from wedded bliss when she discovers her fiancé is having an affair. After nursing her broken heart with Kleenex and break-up songs, she adopts a new brand of thinking when she uncovers a tell-all book that proves all men are liars and cheaters who will do and say anything so they’re not found out. No exceptions.

In an attempt to convince her friends of her newfound truth, she begins a fictitious relationship with James, a do-gooder from Montana. Marin seeks any means necessary to catch him cheating from hiring a PI to enlisting the help of a fidelity tester. Will her new “boyfriend” beat the statistic or will Marin regret the satisfaction of being right?

 

REVIEW:

 

When I first started reading The Man Test, a thought passed through my mind. Am I old enough to read this? ..Duh. Of course I am. What I was really concerned about is if I will connect with the character, be absorbed by the plot.. or if I will even relate to the story. Surprisingly, I did.

Can you believe I loved, enjoyed and cherished this story?! It’s about Marin, she’s a Couples Therapist and engaged to her ‘man of her dreams’ until he cheated on her

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Yes people. HE cheated. A Man cheating? WHAT A SHOCKER. (HA.  No bitterness there at all)

And then Marin got so so sad and mopey of course, that I just wanna hug her. Honestly, she acted normal. And then she found a book that says that ALL MEN ARE LIARS AND IT’S ALL IN THEIR NATURE. THEY CAN’T HELP IT.  Now, how to know if this statement is true? Why, you try a dry run of course! By doing it and proving it. And that’s exactly what Marin did.

It’s a completely messed up concept, if you ask me. I mean, dating a guy so you can catch him cheating so you can prove your theory to your friends? Pretty comical and messed up, right? Marin was so sure to catch this guy she’s currently dating because in her head, ALL MEN ARE LIARS. Well, what if she got a Faithful one?

I JUST LOVED IT! All of it! First of all, Marin is such a wonderful protagonist. With plotlines like this, MC’s were usually down right annoying. But she didn’t even irritate me even a bit. I have nothing but love, sympathy and … I adore her! Maybe because she’s really matured. But then again, I’ve read some books before with adult as MC and… let’s just say that their MC’s actions says otherwise. So, simply put… Alex made a brilliant character! Real, quirky, sassy and klutz! An adorable klutz. Side characters are no different. They’re vibrant and full of authenticity. Even the love interest stands out.  Swoony and totally makes-my-heart-sigh swoony, which is so weird because he’s old. For me, at least.

The way towards Marin’s own definition of happily ever after wasn’t easy of course. There were some begging that happened from her Ex. And I loved how Marin went all Taylor Swift on him.

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But The Man Test really worked for me because of Aksel’s writing. So humorous and honest. She has a way of making her readers laugh at Marin and feel for Marin. Her pacing was perfect. Not too slow but not too rushed either and OH! How I wished for more after reading the last page. It’s a well thought plot because every woman has been on this stage. The doubts, the is there still a decent guy out there stage, or the I’ll just be a Cat lady forever stage. But this story give us clarifications.. laughs.. and  a heartmelting experience. It’s entertaining, engaging and heartfelt! Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella!

THE AUTHOR:

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AMANDA (ah-MAHN-dah)- Latin- Meaning lovable or worthy of love. Fitting. I’ve always had an affinity for love. ​ Being born in sunny San Diego in the mid 80’s to a young military couple gave me plenty of insight into the dynamics of a romantic relationship. Somewhere between moving coasts every three years, I found myself engrossed in fairytale romances and dressing up like a bride. ​ My first real love was writing. By my sophomore year in a new high school in Virginia, I had a slew of short stories, songs, poems, and articles to my name. Writing was fun. It was a way to get the emotions, dialogue, and pictures out of my head, and create a destiny for my characters. ​I had no intention of making a career in writing, because it wasn’t what I did, it was who I was. In reality, I wanted to be an actress. Ah, to be the face of someone else’s authored story. The plan was to move in with my aunt in L.A. after graduation, but had a change of heart. Instead, I stayed with my high school sweetheart (now husband) and attended a film school in Norfolk, VA. It was at this school that I discovered my love for writing screenplays and felt compelled to follow that path. But…as the practical girl I was brought up to be, I decided to go to a real university. While working full time, I completed my BA in Psychology in four and a half years. Becoming a couple’s therapist had always been my “backup” career and there I was on my way to solving love’s most complicated quandaries one couple at a time. ​ With all my new free time after graduation, I decided to turn my full-length screenplay into a novel in hopes it would help my screenplay sell. I think I was in the middle of writing chapter two when I realized that everything I had ever written was to prepare me for that moment when I knew I was a novelist. Talk about the affirmation of my life. Now my plan is to solve love’s most complicated quandaries one novel at a time.