SNEAK-A-PEEK: The Union (The Union #1) by T.H. Hernandez


TITLE: The Union (The Union #1)
AUTHOR: T.H Hernandez
PUBLICATION: Expected publication: November 18th 2014 by T.H. Hernandez
GENRE: YA > Dystopia |
PAGES: 325pages (kindle edition)
You can buy the Book here:


After global warming and a second civil war devastated the former United States, two different societies rose from the ashes – the Union, a towering high-tech utopia, hugging the perimeter of the continent, and the devastated, untamed midsection known as the Ruins.
Seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor has an easy, privileged life in the Union. What she doesn’t have is any idea what to do with the rest of her life. She only knows she wants to do something meaningful, to make a difference in the lives of others.
When she’s kidnapped and taken into the Ruins as a pawn in a dispute involving her boyfriend, Bryce, her ideal world is turned upside down. What she learns while in the Ruins shakes her faith in everything she’s ever known, from Bryce, to her family, and even the Union itself.
Now Evan must choose whether to stay with Cyrus, the sexy, resourceful survivor who believes she’s in the Ruins for a reason, or return to the only life she’s ever known. But when she stumbles upon a dangerous plot that threatens both worlds, her decision could tear her apart.



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The sun hangs low, balancing delicately on treetops when someone calls my name. One of the brothers is coming toward me holding hiking boots in one hand and a pair of socks in the other. Pale eyes. Cyrus. I guess they’re tag-teaming me now.

Relief washes over his features when he spots me. Seriously? After how they found me, just how stupid does he think I am?

Blowing out a mouthful of air, I realize I need to make the best of this situation until I can get home.

Cyrus hands me the boots and socks. “I got a size seven. Let me know if they don’t fit.”

“Thanks.” While lacing up my boots, I decide if I’m going to make the best of things, I need to start by apologizing. “I’m sorry about last night. About screaming at you the way I did.”

He studies me for a moment, his golden brown eyes sizing me up. I brace myself for a lecture on how I owe them for rescuing me, but all he says is, “Apology accepted.”

Not what I was expecting. “Can I ask you something?”

He reaches a hand out to help me off the rock. “Sure.”

“How many people live out here?”

We start back to the house and I need to take three steps for every two of his to keep up with his longer strides.

“If you mean the land mass outside the Union, I don’t know, but in this valley, a few thousand. Why?”

“Just curious, I guess.”

I survey my surroundings with objectivity for the first time and I’m struck by the raw beauty, so different from the planned and cultivated Union.

Cyrus stares at me, like he wants to say something more, but he just runs a hand through his hair. “We should get inside. It’s almost time to eat.”







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When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside my head, I live in San Diego, California, with one husband, three children, two cats, and one dog. In addition to my day job as a technical writer and editor, I write young adult fiction. I love the intensity of teen emotions and the way they’re still figuring out life. When I’m not writing, you can find me with my nose in a book, hanging out with family and friends, hiking, or knitting. I’m obsessed with Facebook, young adult novels, bad lip reading videos, pumpkin spice lattes, microbrewed beers, and the San Diego Chargers.









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ARC REVIEW: Dating Down by Stefanie Lyons a.k.a let’s talk about X


TITLE: Dating Down
AUTHOR: Stefanie Lyons
PUBLICATION: Expected publication: April 8th 2015 by Flux
GENRE: YA > Poetry
PAGES: 336pages (paperback)
SOURCE: arc via publisher (netgalley)


4 ★★★★


You can also buy/pre-order the Book here:



When a good girl falls for a bad boy

She thought she loved him. She thought she could change him. She thought if she just believed in him enough, his cheating and his drugs and his lying would stop, and she’d be his and he’d be hers and they’d love each other forever.

But for Samantha Henderson, X-the boy she will not name-is trouble. He’s older, edgier, bohemian . . . and when he starts paying attention to Sam, she can’t resist him. Samantha’s family and friends try to warn her, but still she stays with him, risking her future and everything that really matters.

As moody and vivid as it is captivating, Dating Down is told in scenes and bursts of poetry that create a story filled with hurt, healing, and hope.






“I will call him X.
for the reasons I crossed him out of my life.
for the number of times I plunged into self destruction.
because his name would only give him a place in your mind that he does not deserve.”


Do you have an EX? I have. [sorry you didn’t know mom :(] Anyway, if you have.. why did you bro– I mean, you will relate to this book 😉 If you don’t have, CONGRATS PLS FIND THE RIGHT GUY AND READ THIS TO FIND OUT ALL ABOUT EX.

Samantha Henderson thought it is love already with this guy she met in a coffee shop. Let’s call him X. X is the guy she thought she ever want in a guy. She started falling in love even though friends started saying he’s trouble. See, X is a bad boy. But Samantha is falling in love so she refuses to see it. But when Samantha started losing things and people that really matter, she must re-think if Love is what she’s really feeling.

Okay, let’s get to the point– the main character is stupid. She is. It’s not Insta-love, Smanatha already liked this guy befoooore and then he started noticing her and she started losing brain cells. Honestly, I don’t know what to feel because it was so stupid and naive of her.. but weren’t we in that position before? Like, haven’t you ever  thought ‘oh, this is love. this is it’ even though you’re the only one who actually thinks that? Hmmm? Hmm?

I guess Dating Down worked for me because even thought it was written in verse (which I am a fan of)  it was relatable. I found myself feeling for Samantha. I kept up with her struggles, her confusion and I was glad that she sought everything out before it was too late. Dating Down isn’t just about a girl liking a boy, it’s also about friendship, family and self realizations.

I mentioned that Dating Down is written in verse and it was amazing. Lyon’s verses is not that hard to understand, on point and yet intricately written. I really recommend this for people who love poetry, but even though you’re not, I still think that you will enjoy Samantha’s story.

Dating Down is for people who understands how to become a teenager, for people who has been confused about love and still figuring it out.



ARC REVIEW: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel + Giveaway!

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TITLE: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)
AUTHOR: Amy Engel
PUBLICATION: Published: November 11th 2014 by Entangled: Teen
GENRE: YA > SCiFi | Dystopia | Romance
PAGES: 304pages (paperback)
SOURCE: arc via tour host


4 ★★★★



You can buy the Book here:
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After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. 

This year, it is my turn. 

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power. 

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…





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“My mission is not to make him happy and bear his children and be his wife. My mission is to kill him”

Never mind that I have to wait for a year to read the sequel.


This book! This awesome and fantastic and brilliant book kept me up all night an I’m not even complaining! I remember saying ‘Okay, just the first chapter’ then BAM! After almost 5 hours, I’m still in the same position, I’ve forgotten my hunger and bladder and yes, I was bit of a mess. Amy Engel, you are one genius lady!

Ivy is the daughter of the founder (the losing side) of their community, and as a tradition, she’s part of the many teenagers who must marry the boys of the group who won to maintain peace. Because Ivy is special, the guy she’s marrying is pretty special too. Its none other than the son’s president, Bishop. Ivy doesn’t care all about that because she only have one mission. And that’s to kill Bishop, which should be easy because even before they met, she already hated him for his fathers doing. But Bishop turned out to be different from what Ivy is expecting, which made things complicated.

Ooooooh man. The characterization in this book is superb. Ivy is a very likeable protagonist. She may seem cold and distant at the first chapter, but as soon as she starts revealing the plans that she and her family planned, I started enjoying her POV’s more. I felt for her. I can really feel how torn she is between her loyalty to her family to the guy she’s starting to love. Talk about decisions!!

The plot was intense and absolutely thrilling. The author knows how to grip her readers. She knows when to make her readers gasps, or when to melt them with one of Bishop’s line or when to break their hearts from Ivy’s monologue. Seriously. For a debut novel, this is impressive.

What I really love about The Book of Ivy is that it will make you think. Morally, politically and you’ll find yourself asking if what would you do if you’re in Ivy’s shoes. What is the right thing to do? Who has the right to say that its right.. or that its wrong. And who’s side is the right one?

World building needs more improvement but for the first book, its very believable and convincing. The Book of Ivy has well written characters, gripping writing and heartfelt romance. Throw in some lies, twists and surprises… you have that successful dystopia book you’re looking for. One of my favorites this year!






amy engel



Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online at or @aengelwrites.












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ARC REVIEW: Last Train To Babylon by Charlee Fam + Giveaway!!


TITLE: Last Train to Babylon: A Novel
AUTHOR: Charlee Fam
PUBLICATION: Published October 28th 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks
GENRE: NA > Realistic Fiction
PAGES: 352pages (paperback)
SOURCE: arc via publisher

 4 ★★★★1/2

You can buy the Book here:
 Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo


Fans of Alice Sebold and John Green will be transfixed by this sophisticated, edgy debut novel packing dark humor, biting wit, and a lot of Jack Daniels
Who put the word fun in funeral? I can’t think of anything fun about Rachel’s funeral, except for the fact that she won’t be there.
Aubrey Glass has a collection of potential suicide notes—just in case. And now, five years—and five notes—after leaving her hometown, Rachel’s the one who goes and kills herself. Aubrey can’t believe her luck.
But Rachel’s death doesn’t leave Aubrey in peace. There’s a voicemail from her former friend, left only days before her death that Aubrey can’t bring herself to listen to—and worse, a macabre memorial-turned-high-school reunion that promises the opportunity to catch up with everyone… including the man responsible for everything that went wrong between she and Rachel.
In the days leading up to the funeral and infamous after party, Aubrey slips seamlessly between her past and present. Memories of friendship tangle with painful new encounters while underneath it all Aubrey feels the rush of something closing in, something she can no longer run from. And when the past and present collide in one devastating night, nothing will be the same again.
But facing the future means confronting herself and a shattering truth. Now, Aubrey must decide what will define her: what lies behind… or what waits ahead. 





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My mouth is literally hanging open when I finished this novel and I don’t even know what to feel. For real. I was angry, sad.. I wanna cry, and I want to hug someone too. I just don’t know!! But one thing is for sure, I was surprised. This book snuck up on me and totally squeezed my heart. It gripped me from the very first chapter and I never thought I’d like Aubrey so much. If you read this, you’ll be surprised.

You see, Aubrey is a b*tch. I’m sorry, but she is. According to her,she’s incapable of having feelings, which I thought was true until her story started to unravel. We found out that Rachel, Aubreys ex-bestfriend, has committed suicide. Now as Rachel’s ex-bestfriend, her mother is obligating her to go.. even if she really don’t want to. At first, I was a little confused. I mean, if you don’t want to go then don’t. But Aubrey still went home, not for Rachel, but for herself.

Aubrey must be one of the most cold hearted protagonist I’ve ever encountered. But god, my heart breaks for her too. I adore her actually for being so strong and for..surviving her tormentors in her life. I was shocked on how indifferent she feel when she found her Rachel died. And she’s so mean! She drinks a lot and yes, she’s also having suicidal thoughts, Rachel just beat her to it.

This is also one of the best beautifully written book I’ve read that deals with dark themes. Charlee Fam’s words slays. It literally cuts through you and her words just makes you.. feel. It doesn’t even matter what kind of feeling is that, whether its anger or happiness, as long as the protagonist is feeling it and Charlee Fam is describing it, you’ll definitely feel it. Charlee Fam is a brilliant author! I can’t believe this is her debut novel, it makes me excited for her upcoming books.

Last Train to Babylon is a very gritty and heartbreaking novel. Its about a woman’s journey to realizing that your past may not be the most beautiful one out there, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. Past mistakes are made to help us shape who we are right now and yes, whether we want it or not, we are gonna lose some people along the way. Especially if those people are the ones holding you back and reminds you of that past. They’re not helping, so just let them go.

Its beautiful and sad. Heartbreaking and moving. Last Train to Babylon is a wonderful debut novel!







Charlee Fam ap1

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CHARLEE FAM is a twenty-something novelist living in New York City. A Long Island native, Charlee graduated from Binghamton University in 2010 with a degree in creative writing and several awards to her name. LAST TRAIN TO BABYLON is her first novel.












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ARC REVIEW: Night Of Pan by Gail Strickland

TITLE: Night of Pan (The Oracle of Delphi Trilogy #1)
AUTHOR: Gail Strickland
PUBLICATION: Published November 7th 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press
GENRE: YA > Mythology
PAGES: 254pages (ebook)
SOURCE: arc via publisher

3 ★★★

You can buy the book here:


The slaughter of the Spartan Three Hundred at Thermopylae, Greece 480 BCE—when King Leonidas tried to stop the Persian army with only his elite guard—is well known. But just what did King Xerxes do after he defeated the Greeks?
Fifteen-year-old Thaleia is haunted by visions: roofs dripping blood, Athens burning. She tries to convince her best friend and all the villagers that she’s not crazy. The gods do speak to her.
And the gods have plans for this girl.
When Xerxes’ army of a million Persians marches straight to the mountain village Delphi to claim the Temple of Apollo’s treasures and sacred power, Thaleia’s gift may be her people’s last line of defense.
Her destiny may be to save Greece..
…but is one girl strong enough to stop an entire army?



Blog tour


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Thaleia has always been a wild one. She’s always in the mountains.. defying all the rules that are set in her village. So when the day comes that she’s about to get married to Brygos, the man who her father chose for since she was 5, Thaleia ran away.. intending to get away and never to come back again. That is until the god Pan appeared in front of her and m ade her realize that she have a purpose in their village.

First of all, Strickland has a very lovely writing. I’m a fan of Thaleia’s POV. Its a mix of mischief and innocence. I was easily gripped from the start because of the poetic and haunting way that Strickland is using in describing Thaleia’s environment and their culture. I was enamored and kind of shocked on how they do things. I mean, engaging a 5 year old to some man who is much much older? Man, I’m glad we don’t do that now.

The plot was entertaining.. though the pacing was a bit slow and I think some chapters should’ve been just cut short, I was still engrossed the whole time. I recommend Night of Pan for older fans of Rick Riordan’s novels. But then again, I think kids will love it too. They just have to know that Pan is a bit different here. Any mythology fans will find Night of Pan fascinating.. with rich characters and setting and lovely writing, I can’t wait how this series goes!!





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While studying the Classics in college, Gail Strickland translated much of Homer’s ILIAD and ODYSSEY, Herodotus’ prophecies and THE BACCHAI by Euripides. Living on the Greek islands after college, she discovered her love of myth, the wine-dark sea and retsina.

THE BALTIMORE REVIEW and WRITER’S DIGEST have recognized Gail’s fiction. She published stories and poems in Travelers’ Tales’ anthologies and the San Francisco Writer’s anthology. Her poetry and photography were published in a collection called CLUTTER.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Gail grew up in Northern California. She raised her children; was a musical director for CAT children’s theater; taught music in schools; mentored young poets and novelists and introduced thousands of youngsters to piano and Greek mythology. Gail is passionate about bringing the richness of Homer’s language and culture to today’s youth.