ARC REVIEW: The Secret Fire by C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld



The Secret Fire
The Alchemist Chronicles #1
C.J Daugherty & Carina Rozenfeld
Published September 3rd 2015 by Bookouture
YA >  Fantasy
357 pages
eARC for Review
 
 2★
 
Purchase links: Amazon | Nook
 
 
 
BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
Sacha Winters can’t die. Until his eighteenth birthday he is invincible. On that day it all ends for Sacha – the result of a curse that has plagued his family for centuries.
His death will fulfil the curse – and unleash a wave of destruction. He has no idea how to stop it, only the cryptic notes left behind by his father, and a strange connection with a girl he has only just met to guide him.
Taylor Montclair is a quiet, studious girl focused on her dream of getting into Oxford University. She’s also the only one who can save Sacha. Only neither of them knows that yet. And Sacha lives hundreds of miles away, in Paris.
Taylor and Sacha have eight weeks to find each other. To unravel the secrets buried in their families’ past. And to discover the power that lies within them.
Sacha’s life, and the fate of the world depends on it. The clock starts NOW.

 

REVIEW

So, apparently, books can suck from page one right up until the last page, and I have become tolerant enough to read the entire book.

Who knew?

Don’t get me wrong; this book did have good parts. There was the cover, obviously. Ooooh and the font, goodness gracious the font of the cover is so fantastic. But that’s where the good parts end. For reals.

If you find a more perfect, sweeter, more beautiful girl than Taylor Montclair, I will cut my hair off for real. Taylor was a total wet dream—non-rebellious, perfect grades, caring for and always helping her good-for-nothing best friend, unable to break up with psycho boyfriend because she’s afraid it will hurt his psycho feelings.

In other words, she was unbearable and made me feel nauseous. I don’t quite know how long it will take authors in general to grasp that people, real people are never so perfect. They make mistakes, they fuck up majorly, they stumble and fall and that’s how they learn. All these trials and problems and screw ups is what makes them human. But if you’re going to give me a character like Taylor Montclair who is so ridiculously flawless, then it goes without saying that I’m not going to be able to empathize with her in any way. Hannah Montana said “Nobody’s Perfect,” you guys. Doesn’t get any more real than that.

And okay. You’re trying to show a teen that thinks only about excelling at her studies all the time? Fucking fine! You’re giving me a teen that is supposed to be so kind she’s won an award for it? Great! But excuse me because I didn’t see any of this. Taylor was very condescending in nature, always eager to show her best friend that she was better in every way.

And of course, this:

“He didn’t like studying. She wasn’t interested in sport. He had no career ambitions that she recognised—she didn’t consider rugby a valid career path.” – ARC, location 499 

Where in the fuck is the kind, caring girl that we’re supposed to see because all I see is a fucking idiot who is quick to judge and obviously ignorant of the world around her.

To be honest, I didn’t mind Sacha so much. In fact, he was the only reason I continued to read the book, considering I was always looking forward to his chapters. They were well written—better than the Taylor chapters—and his POV was where all the action was.

Sacha Winters was a daredevil, but not out of choice. He could do whatever he liked—jump off buildings, get shot in the face, whatever—but he couldn’t be killed. It was a bizarre concept for sure, and it was one that kept me entertained. A teenage boy, running around in Paris doing all kinds of things that would lead to his death but being unable to die? Of course the entire catch is that he gets these “perks” only for eight weeks more. On his eighteenth birthday, Sacha will die.

But his dying has consequences beyond just his lack of existence. And the consequences are not the good kind. And so he has to find a way to stop himself from dying and that’s where Taylor comes in because she’s the only one who can save him.

Sacha’s POV was full of motorcycles and action and shooting and the cheeky Sacha himself. Again, even that turns to shit the moment that Taylor comes into his life—but at least he was more worried about dying than the girl who gives him a boner. Their interactions were cheesy and there is no “romance,” only teenage hormones.

The last 25% is when the story really picked up for me. And alas it was over too soon. The paranormal part of the book could have really worked wonders had it been supported with an interesting cast. However, the mystery and the allure of the surprisingly good premise may keep many readers hooked until the end, waiting for something substantial to happen. The characters apart from Taylor and Sacha are best kept mum about—they were paper-thin and fail to make me feel anything for them.

I’m not too sure about giving the sequel a try…although I will be looking out for it. The best parts of the book, like I mentioned earlier, came at the very end, and if Taylor gets more human (and we get rid of all the cliches) then maybe I’ll pick that one up. But as for this one? Definitely one book you can live without.

 

 

Rhea[1]

ARC REVIEW: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

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Vengeance Road
Erin Bowman
September 1st 2015
Young Adult > Historical > Western
336 pages (Kindle edition)
eARC via Netgalley

 

4 ★★★★1/2

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there’s room for love in a heart so full of hate.
In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

 

REVIEW:

I’ve never been fond of the Western genre before but this book just damn well swayed my mind. Vengeance Road is a book that doesn’t shy away from being merciless and gritty. This isn’t some cutesy YA western, no. You want nasty? Nasty is what you’ll get. Kate, the heroine, is out for revenge and her thirst for it shows. She’s badass, ruthless and won’t stop for nothing but at the same time still so kind to the core.

Despite being bloody and brutal, I still found myself laughing at some scenes of the book. I have the secondary characters to thank for that and the banter they shared with Kate because it gives us break from all the blood and grit. And yes, there’s romance but it took a backseat here and it’s so subtle yet it still made my heart aflutter. It’s definitely a pairing that I ship with all my heart.

And of course, it won’t be the west if there are no gun fights, gold hunts and ghost shooters. All these elements just added spirit to the whole wild west atmosphere and made the western feel so authentic and on point and damn, if you don’t read this book with an accent, then you’re doing it all wrong.

Vengeance Road just made me love this genre that I couldn’t care less about before and I’m just so glad that I took a chance on this book.

MARLAhbt

ARC REVIEW: Pieces of Why by K.L. Going + Giveaway!!

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Pieces of Why
K.L. Going
Published September 8th 2015 by Kathy Dawson Books
YA > Realistic Fiction | Contemporary
 
 

 

3 ★★★ 1/2

 

 

Purchase links:
AMAZON | BN | TBD
 
 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

From the award winning author of Fat Kid Rules the World andThe Liberation of Gabriel King comes a lyrical, middle grade gem that asks all the hard questions and hits all the right notes–perfect for fans of Cynthia Rylant and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine.
 Tia lives with her mom in a high-risk neighborhood in New Orleans and loves singing gospel in the Rainbow Choir with Keisha, her boisterous and assertive best friend. Tia’s dream is to change the world with her voice; and by all accounts, she might be talented enough. But when a shooting happens in her neighborhood and she learns the truth about the crime that sent her father to prison years ago, Tia finds she can’t sing anymore. The loss prompts her to start asking the people in her community hard questions–questions everyone has always been too afraid to ask.
 Full of humanity, Pieces of Why is a timely story that addresses grief, healing, and forgiveness, told through the eyes of a gifted girl who hears rhythm and song everywhere in her life.
 
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REVIEW:

 

 

“Did being the daughter of a murderer mean I’d grow up to do horrible things?”

Whenever we hear of a gun shooting incident, our thoughts are immediately about the victims. And there’s nothing remotely wrong about that, in fact, its the most obvious thing to do. To sympathize with the victims. And to think of all the vicious and nasty things we could think of towards the shooter. Some of us may do it unconsciously, but the point is, we still do it. What rarely pass on our thoughts though was the families of the shooter. When this kind of event happens, it’s not only hard for the victims… but for the shooters family as well.

Pieces of Why is such a thought provoking novel. My eyes and my mind was opened. And my heart was even tested. Who can really answer the questions that has been on Tia’s mind for so long? And who says if they’re right? With a situation like Tia’s, what is the definition of right and wrong?

Tia is an amazing character. A kid who is going through a lot and whose mind is filled with questions. Its amazing how PIECES OF WHY tackled lots of aspect when it comes to a teens life. This book touched puberty, friendship, family relationship and there’s even a hint of romance that I must say is truly appropriate.

I absolutely recommend Pieces of Why to every kind of reader out there. Some may be hesitant because of Tia’s age but you’ll be surprised by how Tia’s story can tug your heart strings. Poignant, thought provoking and beautifully written, KL Going just weaved a precious and brilliant story!

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | TWITTER | FACEBOOK |

 

KL Going is the award winning author of books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz honor book by the American Library Association, as well as one of the Best Books for Young Adults from the past decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild selections, winners of state book awards, and featured by Publishers

Weekly, School Library Journal, and Children’s Book Council as Best Books. Her work has been published in Korea, Italy, Japan and the UK.

KL began her career working at one of the oldest literary agencies in New York City. She used this inner knowledge of publishing to write Writing and Selling the Young Adult Novel — a how-to book for aspiring writers, published by Writer’s Digest. She has also written short stories for several anthologies and currently has two picture books under contract for future release. She currently lives in Glen Spey, NY where she both writes and runs a business critiquing manuscripts. To visit KL on-line go to www.klgoing.com.

 

 

 

 
   

GIVEAWAY:

 

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1st Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, a Fat Kid movie, a signed Fat Kid original book cover, a signed poster of Saint Iggy and Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)
2nd Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, a signed paperback of The Liberation of Gabriel King, a sign poster for The Garden of Eve and a Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)
3rd Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, an audio edition of The Garden of Eve, a signed poster for The Garden of Eve and a Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)

 

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ARC REVIEW: Gaia (The Wings of War #2) by Karen Ann Hopkins

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Gaia (The Wings of War #2)

Karen Ann Hopkins

Published July 26th 2015

YA > Paranormal | Fantasy

 

 

4 ★★★★

 

 

Purchase links:

AMAZON

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

 

As the Demons grow bolder and the walls between the planes of existence weaken, Ember is forced to develop her powers as quickly as possible, and she seeks out a powerful earth Watcher to continue her supernatural lessons. Her glimpse of the future demands she fight the dark forces spreading across the earth.

But her new mentor has his own agenda, making her question everyone and everything she ever trusted.

When Ember is thrust into the world of the Watchers, she learns of their plans—ones that defy the scripture and make them enemies of the Celestial Host. Ridding the world of evil gets complicated when it becomes impossible to take sides.

As Ember struggles with morality, she soon discovers that there’s something more frightening than anything she’s faced before.

 

 

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REVIEW:

 

Paula

I mentioned in my review of Embers that it was one of the best Angel/Demons book that I have ever read and I still stand by that statement. Embers left me wanting for more that’s why my hands was itching to hold and read the sequel. Like with every series that I love, I was afraid that Gaia will suffer from Second Book Syndrome. But Gaia did not disappoint, in fact, it even surpassed my expectations.

If you’re like me and you admired Ember so much in the first book, you’ll love her even more here. She is straight up badass and her character growth is just superbly shown. You will really see her maturity. She was a kid who learned about Angels and Demons and Watchers in EMBERS and she have no idea what to do with all of those information, but here in GAIA, she’s a woman with a mission. A mission that she can’t afford to fail.

Secondary characters really shined in here too like Sawyer, Ivan and Piper. Sawyer was phenomenal! He’s not here to please you and if you think Ember is badass…. then Sawyer is the master of all badasses. This guy knows how to make a girl’s heart melt, but he also knows how to make them scream from terror. We already learned that Sawyer is a demon from the first book but I feel like there’s still A LOT to know about him. Even Piper and Ivan showed what they’re capable of. I love how Hopkins made them more than props. They actually have a part in the whole story and how they helped our main character was just incredible!

Gaia is an explosion! Just when I thought Hopkins couldn’t do anything that will caught me off guard, she surprised me with a sequel like this! Truly, Hopkins is one of the best authors in this generation and I’m just incredibly happy that I get to experience her brilliance! Its not too late to catch up, be sure to grab a copy of Embers immediately!

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK |

Karen Ann Hopkins resides in northern Kentucky with her family on a farm that boasts a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats. Karen’s main job is home schooling the kids, but she finds time to give riding lessons, coach a youth equestrian drill team, and of course, write. She was inspired to create her first book, Temptation, by the Amish community she lived in. The experiential knowledge she gained through her interactions with her neighbors drove her to create the story of the star-crossed lovers, Rose and Noah.

Karen grew up about a mile from Lake Ontario in Upstate New York. She was bitten by the horse bug at the age of five, and after diligently taking riding lessons for several years, was rewarded with her first horse when she turned eleven. The feisty horse’s name was Lady, a Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred cross, who became Karen’s steadfast companion. Through the years, the constant force in her life was horses. Eventually, she found her place as a riding instructor herself. Before accepting her fate in the barnyard, she worked a short stint as a paralegal, traveled abroad, and guided tourists on horseback riding tours in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

Karen is currently working on her Amish mystery series, Serenity’s Plain Secrets, along with the YA paranormal/fantasy series, The Wings of War.  Karen is also excited to announce the Temptation series has been optioned for TV by Pilgrim Studios and is available on Audible. More books in the Temptation series are in the works.
 

 

 

 
   

GIVEAWAY:

 

One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card (Amazon, B&N, iTunes), as well as a complete set of Karen’s YA books, including Embers, Gaia, Temptation, Belonging, Forever, and Rachel’s Deception! Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open internationally.

 

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ARC REVIEW: Striking Out (Sharon Jackson #1) by Scarlet Bennett

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Striking Out (Sharon Jackson #1)

Scarlet Bennett

Published July 14th 2015 by Firefield Press

A > Contemporary | Music

 

arc via tour host

 

 

3 ★★★

 

 

Purchase links:

AMAZON 

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

 

Sparkling with distinctive Australian humour, this action-packed novel follows one small-town girl’s fight to reach the top.

Sharon Jackson is a small-town girl with big-city dreams. Forced out of her home in regional Western Australia with her singing career in ruins, she hits the big smoke in search of stardom. After signing with a sleazy agent who wants more than a ten percent cut of her earnings, she struggles to earn a place in the macho world of rock-‘n-roll, encountering a series of colourful characters along the way – like Todd, the sexy, brooding muso with a dragon tattoo and Kevin, the whip-smart fighter with some hidden demons of his own.

But when her troubled past follows her to the city, Shazza’s dreams begin to unravel. With no home to go back to and a past that won’t stay buried, everything she has worked for is on the line. Shazza must make a decision that will define the course of her future, and time is running out.

 

 

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REVIEW:

 

 

Anything music related lands on my shelf. And I was not wrong about liking Striking Out, Sharon Jackson deserves to have her own Autobiography and she got it, Although I did have some minor problems with the novel, I enjoyed the huge part of it. Striking Out is so real that even though I’m not a struggling musician, I can still relate to every characters.

Sharon Jackson is sassy, takes no crap from anybody and determined. She’s talented and she have dreams. Dreams that she knows she won’t get that easily that’s why she works hard for it. I guess its obvious why I adore her so so much. She’s the kind of woman that you wish to be when you grow up, she’s not perfect, oh no! Far from it. She made some stupid decisions throughout the novel which just showed how flawed her character was. But Scarlet Bennett did a good job when it comes to character development. And not only to Sharon’s character, but to others as well. Especially to Des who is surprisingly one of my favorite people in the book.

The romance was… complicated. I actually found myself liking two guys for the heroine. And that never happens!!! (At least to me) but by the end, I was just glad about who Sharon ended up with. The romance may be complicated, but it was realistic and appropriate.

I was warned about Striking Out’s language and way of writing. At first I was worried because all the Australian slang might confuse me and it’ll end up by me not finishing the book. But no, in fact, the whole setting and language and the way it was written was such a huge reason why Striking Out was such an enjoyable read.

Overall, I do recommend STRIKING OUT. It’s real, spunky and full of sass. The book will transport you into the world of a struggling but determined musician… and you’ll enjoy every adventure that she will take. You will laugh, you’ll get inspired and you’ll swoon. But most importantly, you will want to relive the experience. I can’t wait for more!!

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website | Facebook | TwitterFirefield Press

 

Scarlet Bennett spent her formative years in regional Western Australia, and it shows. Years  of city living have softened her broad accent, but the slang she’s stuck with. After earning a Masters degree in Psychology, the colourful characters of her childhood – and that irrepressible Aussie spirit – found their way onto the page. She is a graduate of Allaboutwriting’s mentoring program, and lives in Canberra with her husband, kids, and far more animals than can reasonably fit on a suburban plot.

 

 

 

 


 
   

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