Started book blogging in 2016 but missed sign ups? No worries! We have you covered.
Check out the details on the original post.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

, , ,

Our Top Reads of 2015 and We're Calling It A Year

Hey everyone! Happy New Year's Eve (or if you're on January 1, happy new year!)!
In the past couple of weeks, we've shared our favorite and least favorite book covers, female characters, and male characters of 2015. This week, we're unveiling a handful of our top reads of the year (in no particular order) before we close this post off and call it a year.

Lupe's Picks
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead (Sophia: She totally reread it for The Ruby Circle.)
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The Next Together by Lauren James
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

Sophia's Picks
Confessions of a Queen B* by Crista McHugh
Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen
Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee
Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

Side Note: Sophia removed the popular authors – along with those who were picked at In Wonderland – and decided to let the little ones shine.

Ella's Picks
A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman
P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Have you read any of the books we've picked as our favorites? If so, what did you think? And if you haven't, do you have plans to read those books soon? Let us know in the comments (and as Roberta @ Offbeat YA would say, "Start hoping we rescue your comment from moderation mode.")! <3

Signing off until next year....

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

, , , , ,

Audiobook Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes #1
Sabaa Tahir
Narrator: Fiona Hardingham, Steve West
Length: 15 Hours, 22 Minutes
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Listening Library
Reviewer: Sophia

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


In the Martial Empire, Laia lives as a scholar – until her brother is arrested by Masks. To save her brother, Laia looks for the rebellion, going undercover as a slave in an academy for Masks and spying for the rebellion in exchange for her brother's safety. She meets Elias, a soldier at the academy who has no desire to become one of them.

An Ember in the Ashes took forever to read listen – and I mean forever (which basically means two months).

I'm not exactly as hyped as everyone else. Primarily, I think this is just due to the fact An Ember in the Ashes is sooo bleeping long and my attention span is equivalent of a fly's when it comes to debut novels that are really long (I'm a lot more tolerant to authors whose works I'm familiar with). In Tahir's case, though, I just feel the descriptions and details are a little too long – but I certainly can't complain about it because I adore details that mean world building is taking place.

I will, however, complain about the academy in general, and the love triangle. Favoritism by the Commandant is obviously being played here – there are just so many levels of wrong when no explanation is needed when you're caught doing something wrong. >_<

And well... Keenan. He still feels like a stranger to me, so if I'm going to ship, I'll go ship Laia and Elias. I understand Elias, and I understand Laia. I secretly adore them, even if the book is whoppishly huge. And I will go down with that ship until I warm up to stranger boy Keenan who seems to not have a desire to be a part of a corrupt-ish rebellion, but does not seem to have a life otherwise.

And if the sequel does not have me warming up to stranger boy, then I will make a stranger danger sign.

Anyways, not jumping on the hype train.... (aside from best title ever).

It could also just be due to the fact Fiona Hardingham and Steve West (the entire narration, honestly) are just really, really quiet and I had to bring the volume to top notch to even hear clearly. I know audiobooks are more quiet compared to music – I just think bringing the volume up to the maximum is a horrible, horrible thing for me to have to do for clarity (it's all about my ears). In all honesty, though, they're not bad narrators – they bring out the perfect amount of accent without being too heavy.

Hands down, though, I think I would have enjoyed An Ember in the Ashes immensely if it weren't so daunting and didn't take so years.

3.5 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Sunday, December 27, 2015

, ,

Review: Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau (Becoming Whiny?)

Independent Study Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing #2

Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

I personally think The Testing was better than Independent Study. The second book in Charbonneau's Testing trilogy is quite literally another testing with higher chances of survival, significantly less paper tests, and an induction to their major. It's really just more testing and then some more.

Malencia (Cia) Vale begins to realize failing isn't allowed, because failing means inevitable fate (but of course, that's been drilled since the first book – this time it's more along the lines of, "So much for relief. I still can't fail or I'm toast.") that she really doesn't want to find out. With the inability to remember to her Testing aside from what she recorded and beginning to question the University's selection process, Cia tries to find ways to take down the Testing peacefully without an all out "let's take down the entire government" rebellion.

At this point in the series, I'm not exactly a huge fan of the overly brilliant main character of the series. I adore Cia's brilliance, and while I think this might actually be Charbonneau's motive (because the series is based off the ACT/SAT), I feel Cia's been over-brillianted – Is that a word? No? I don't care. It is in this sense. – in the series. Cia is basically the only one excelling compared to the rest of her classmates – the average number of classes is six, Cia gets a whopping nine (and that's not counting internships). It's like Cia is set apart deliberately and from all of her classmates, which, of course, would no doubt attract the attention of Villain Squad (yes, squad).

Okay, I don't mind brilliant characters. It means more cruising for me and less of calling the character shallow, innocent, naïve, stupid – anything along those lines. Except...

Cia is a little whiny in Independent Study. She wants to take down the Testing and stop a rebellion, but at the same time, she doesn't want to (mainly because she doesn't want to get caught – she's already sticking out like a weed in a pretty flower garden). She's beginning to rely on Tomas a little too much – "I need to know Tomas's thoughts, I need his advice, I need his opinion on this...."

I don't like it. Even if I completely understand why Cia would do so in a place where every move and word is monitored and tracked by a group of people who can end lives within any reason.

I intend to read Graduation Day for the purposes of closure.

Maybe then I'll have a better understanding of Cia's excelled brilliance and a better understanding of why Cia is becoming reliant on Tomas (aside from the fact they grew up together in the same colony).

4 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

, , , , , ,

ARC Review: Broken Dolls by Tyrolin Puxty (Doll Story!)

Broken Dolls Tyrolin Puxty

Broken Dolls #1
Tyrolin Puxty
Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | Goodreads
Publication Date: December 14, 2015
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Reviewer: Sophia

Ella doesn’t remember what it’s like to be human - after all, she’s lived as a doll for thirty years. She forgets what it’s like to taste, to breathe…to love.

She helps the professor create other dolls, but they don’t seem to hang around for long. His most recent creation is Lisa, a sly goth. Ella doesn’t like Lisa. How could she, when Lisa keeps trying to destroy her?

Ella likes the professor’s granddaughter though, even if she is dying. Gabby is like Ella’s personal bodyguard. It’s too bad the professor wants to turn Gabby into a doll too, depriving her of an education…depriving her of life.

With time running out and mad dolls on the rampage, Ella questions her very existence as she unearths the secrets buried in her past; secrets that will decide whether Gabby will befall the same fate…
Advanced copy provided by Curiosity Quills Press for the blog tour – thanks!

Broken Dolls is like a creepy version of Toy Story (I suppose Toy Story could be creepy...) with live, animated dolls created from humans. They're supposed to be unemotional and feel nothing – not pain, not happiness, not loneliness....

For three decades, Ella lived her life as a doll, assisting the Professor in his creations. In those years, she's forgotten about her humanity, and seems perfectly happy as a dancing doll until the Professor unveils his latest creation: a goth doll named Lisa.

Here are my thoughts on the Professor: I deem him an ingenious mad scientist. He is absolutely insane, feels guilty about the past, and wants to change the world. I honestly don't know what to say about the guy aside from the fact I actually feel just a tad bit bad for him in the long run.

But as odd as it might be, I enjoyed the aspect of humans being turned into dolls and living a supposedly ideal life with no emotions or feelings and a life controlled by the Professor. I didn't expect Ella to have much of a voice or a personality aside from what she knew during her time as a doll (also more robotic sounding), and it is definitely the case in the early parts of Broken Dolls when Puxty sets up Ella's world in a Toy Story-esque fashion.

Ella's world revolves around the Professor making her a comfy room (lots of pink) in a chest in the attic of his home (that sentence sounds weird). To pass the time away, Ella spends her days locked up in the attic practicing ballet and recording adventures from her imagination into a recorder. The attic comes out a little bland – nothing remotely interesting and Ella's day-to-day actions would have sounded repetitively boring if Puxty didn't bring Lisa and Gabby into the story.

When Ella meets Lisa, however, she doesn't like Lisa; Lisa makes multiple attempts to destroy Ella because of theory she has about Ella and all the other dolls. Around the same time, Ella meets the Professor's granddaughter, Gabby, a girl who has a virus that will eventually lead her to an inevitable fate. Like many kids, Gabby is adventurous, and she adores and protects Ella from the moment they meet. Unfortunately for Gabby, the Professor also has plans to turn Gabby into a doll like Ella and prevent her from dying.

In the time Ella meets Lisa and Gabby, she starts to develop feelings and emotions and becomes more curious about her time before she turned into a doll. With the help of Lisa and another doll, she also strives to dig out all of the Professor's secrets to his experiments before Gabby becomes an Ella-sized playmate. But not only does Ella uncovers the Professor's secrets, she uncovers hers as well and Puxty gives us a glimpse into Ella's human life before becoming a doll.

I personally think Ella is better off as a doll compared to being a human. With the brief glimpse of Ella's human life, she starts out extremely happy and becomes really pessimistic later on – I don't know how I would be able to handle human Ella. Since Broken Dolls has a sequel coming out sometime in 2016, I'm really curious how Ella will cope with her doll life as everyone around her knows who she really is and continues on with their lives.

4 Owls

Author Bio

I’m a Jack, or more accurately, a Tyrolin of all trades. In my 23 years, I have walked the red carpet for song nominations, was awarded Australian of the Year in 2014 for Music and in 2015 for the Arts, worked as a qualified paralegal, appeared in TV Shows, hired for product photography, modelled, became a Justice of the Peace, started my own club for school children interested in the arts, worked for a successful magazine company, published a book, hugged a koala and had a show ride collapse on my head.

Author Links:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Monday, December 21, 2015


Introducing Novel Newcomers! (Sign Ups CLOSED)

Hello, hello!

I hate to interrupt everyone's holiday preparations (because new books and chocolate is probably far more important at this moment), but Nori @ ReadWriteLove28 and I are extremely excited about sharing some awesome news with all of you!

We've been working on a brand new feature for a while that we’re debuting in 2016 featuring new book bloggers! We’ve been keeping most of the details under wraps- so we’re both happy to finally reveal the feature! Also, thank you to everyone who voted on the name of the feature – high fives and cookies all around. ^_^

Novel Newcomers

Novel Newcomers is a year-long feature featuring new book bloggers from the past year (for 2016, we're going to be featuring bloggers who started in 2015). The posts are going to consist of interviews and guest posts – blogger's choice – and will be posted every Monday over at Bookwyrming Thoughts or ReadWriteLove28. It's a way for us to welcome new book bloggers and introduce them to the community. ^_^

The Details

  • Must be a blogger who started sometime in 2015
  • Your blog has to primarily be about books. While this may change in future years, we're just sticking with book bloggers this year.
  • A total of 144 bloggers will be randomly chosen – only 150 bloggers will be accepted before sign ups close.
  • Novel Newcomers officially starts February 1, 2016 – we can’t wait to introduce you to some new bloggers in the community!

Sign Ups

We can’t wait to feature YOU! Make sure to sign up if you’re interested!

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Saturday, December 19, 2015

, , ,

Favourite and Least Favourite Male Characters of 2015!

Hey Booknerds!

Last week we shoved our favourite and and least favourite female characters of 2015 in your faces...well now it's time for the male round! See below our picks and tell us in the comments what you think about our choices! (Also, I SWEAR all the Leigh Bardugo love happened unintentionally!! Pinky swear!)


9833184The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Favourite Male Lead: Eddie Castle
Lupe's Thoughts: 
I know that this is not a shocker that I chose to discuss about this book. AGAIN. Let's be real guys, when will I NOT talk about this book? We all know Adrian is such a good male character but I gotta say that Eddie really is also one of all time favorite male characters. He has gone through so much from the vampire academy series but hey, he finally found his own happy ending. Eddie is such a strong person and never gives up the opportunity to protect someone. He is the real MVP.

(Wait... not Adrian??? ~Sophia *faints*)


Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Favourite Male Character: Misha

Sophia's Thoughts:
He is an adorable little kid. Enough said.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Favourite Male Lead: The Darkling A.K.A Aleksander Morozova and Malyen Oretsev A.K.A Mal
Lupe's Thoughts:
I am still conflicted and I pondered about it.In the end, I just went with my gut. It was between Mal and the Darkling and in my mind, the Darkling is awesome but in my heart, Mal is the real deal. Mal is Alina's old friend and c'mon it's adorable but then the Darkling is this bad boy over here helping Alina out with her power. Let me tell you, I am a sucker for the dark side. I can't choose between these two men. It's so hard! This is why I hate love triangles!


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Favourite Male Lead: Kaz

Ella's Thoughts:
KAZ MY LITTLE EVIL PUMPKIN! <3 Kaz managed to be evil and adorable at the same time and it was just marvelous!

23867175 Bridges Burned by Chris Cannon
Favourite Male Lead: Jaxon Westgate
Sophia's Thoughts:
I hated him back in Going Down in Flames, mainly due to the fact he reminded me a little too much of Draco Malfoy. MY FATHER WILL KNOW ABOUT THIS. Oh, and he just seemed really stereotypical. In this sequel, Jaxon finally has a distinguished personality that fits him much more naturally than the one depicted back in book one.



12814540The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
Least Favourite Male Lead: Cornelius Hollister
Lupe's Thoughts:
Cornelius is like your typical bad guy but this dude killed both Eliza's mother and father in front of her! Poor chic. I felt so bad for Eliza. Cornelius just likes to kill everyone and make huge murder scenes just to be in power. If a character kills someone for no good reason then I automatically dislike this character. Just no.


Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton
Least Favourite Male Lead: John Hart
Sophia's Thoughts:

Let's just say this particular guy had an interesting past to read about. Problem was, he just seemed a bit desperate. Either that, or he's really naïve in the romance department when it comes down to Quin. Perhaps it's something else entirely. But really... he spent a good part of a chapter talking about Quin's curves. Seriously? O_o

And there you have it! Our Favourite and Least Favourite Male Characters of 2015! (Ella honestly couldn't think up of a male character that she hated so forgive her terrible memory!) Do tell us in the comments what you think!

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Friday, December 18, 2015

, , , , ,

Fangirl Friday: Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts Trailer, and Demons Blast

Hello my good fellow friends!

Today is very exciting because Harry Potter has new eBook covers!
Check them out! They are so pretty!

My favorite is probably either the Deathly Hollows or The Prisoner of Azkaban. I can also probably guess Sophia's favorite cover as well! *PST PST* It's the one with the owl! (You really couldn't tell what the title was, could you? ~Sophia)

On other news....

The new trailer for the new movie FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM has been released!

Watch the trailer!
Guys, even though I still haven't finished watching the rest of the Harry Potter movies (please don't kill me!) This looks bomb! I am very exciting but first I have to go finish watching the rest of the Harry Potter movies. Woops!

Movie will will be in theaters on November 11, 2016.

Demons Book Blast + Giveaway

Title: Demons (Eirik #1)
Author: Ednah Walters
Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Publisher: Self Published

Demons continues the Runes series by USA Today bestselling author Ednah Walters. What happened to Eirik after he left his friends on Earth and went to Hel?

Eirik Baldurson—son of Baldur, God of Light—failed living as a Mortal. He lost the girl of his dreams and nearly got his friends killed. Now, he's gone to the underworld to meet the mother he’s never known. Torn between his duty to her and the man he used to be, Eirik struggles to find himself, until a witch appears in his world. Feisty and stubborn, she is a reminder of everything good he left behind.

Celestia Devereaux proudly attends a charter high school for “gifted” teenagers who embrace magic. Witches. However, she keeps a terrible secret—a prediction that she would one day be responsible for massive destruction and death. Though Celestia uses her clairvoyant abilities to help people, she worries that it is just a matter of time before she goes over to the dark side.

Her world changes when she unexpectedly astral projects to a place she didn’t believe existed and meets a tortured man who needs her help. Will helping him cause her fears to come true, or will he sacrifice everything to save her?

Enter to win an $100 Amazon GC or Paypal cash HERE.
Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Thursday, December 17, 2015

, ,

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Going Geek by Charlotte Huang

Cover Reveal
Hosted by Me, Myself, and I
Going Geek by Charlotte Huang
Publication Date: Fall 2016 by Delacorte Press

In GOING GEEK, a girl is forced to stand up for who she really is - if she even knows - when her friends dump her and she is forced to hang out with the fringe crowd at school.

Author Bio

Charlotte Huang is a graduate of Smith College and received an MBA from Columbia Business School, which is clearly something every aspiring writer should do. When not glued to her computer, she cheers her two sons on at sporting events and sometimes manages to stay up late enough to check out bands with her music agent husband. Charlotte lives in Los Angeles and is the author of For the Record (Delacorte, 2015).

Author Links


  • ARC of GOING GEEK (will be shipped when available)
  • US only
  • 13+ to enter
  • Giveaway/Sweeps account not allowed

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

, , , ,

Blog Tour: Name of Ra - Quiz + Giveaways

Title: Name of Ra (Descendants of Isis #3)
Publication Date: November 2, 2015
Publisher: Self Published

“Set has risen.”

After being on the run from a psychotic cult for a week, Natara “Natti” Stone has finally come to realize she and Seth are the only two people standing between the Sons of Set and the secret name of Ra. Holding a part of the key that unlocks Ra’s power, they relocate to a more isolated location in the California mountains. While laying low, Natti becomes even more determined to understand her mother’s bloodline and her blessing from the goddess, Isis. But when she starts seeing the truth behind her destiny, she begins to doubt her role in the events that are about to unfold.

Then the unthinkable happens . . .

All Seth O’Keefe wanted was to get Natti as far away from his father and the Sons of Set as possible. Unfortunately, after hearing of Natti’s destiny from Isis’s own lips, he realizes they have bigger issues to worry about. Especially when one stupid slip up leads the god of chaos himself straight to their doorstep. Now Natti is the god’s prisoner, and Set holds the key to unlocking the location of the secret name of Ra. Can Seth save Natti from her own destiny and thwart the demented god’s rise to power?

*Note: Content for Upper YA* 

Quiz: Which Descendants of Isis Character Are You Most Like?

Click on the question to view all the options!
1. Choose your favorite color from the list.

2. Pick a food item you most likely eat.

3. What interests you most?

4. What word best describes your personality?

5. What drink would you like to have with your order?

6. If you could live in any one of these cities, which would it be?

7. How do you describe your fashion style?

8. How would you describe your love life?

9. Which Egyptian God/Goddess do you relate to most?

Mostly A’s: You are most like Natara. You embrace life. Being healthy is important to you. You eat well and exercise, but you also don’t lose sight of what is truly meaningful in your life. You have the gift of seeing people for who they really are, and you accept them for it, no matter your differences. You also value honesty and trust in all your relationships.

Mostly B’s: You are most like Seth. You are extraordinarily confident. You have the looks and charm to win everyone over. Unfortunately, you feel there’s still something or someone keeping you from your greatest potential. You seek more from life. A destiny that will give you purpose. Look deep into your heart to find it.
Mostly C’s: You are most like Alison. You hide behind your work in the hopes that it’ll speak for itself. You tend to be a little too serious, making it harder to connect with others or even make friends. Yet behind the mask, you are still a sensitive individual with an uncanny ability to see things that others let go unnoticed. Your perception will serve you well.

Mostly D’s: You are most like Kevin. You are the classic small town American. You’re all about hanging with your friends, and visiting all the usual haunts you’ve known since you were five. You have a pure American palate, loving hotdogs and hamburgers; as well as enjoy American pass times such as American football and baseball.
Mostly E’s: You are most like Mandy. You have a presence that makes itself known the moment you step into the room. You are attractive, confident, and know exactly what you want in life. And you often wish to please others, some of whom might not have your best intentions in mind. When setbacks and bad choices lead you a stray, cling onto the hope that something better will be waiting on the other side.

Author Bio

During her high school years, Kelsey Ketch could always be found tucked away in a little corner of the hall or classroom, writing her fantasy worlds and creating illustrations and maps. Today is no different, except now she’s writing in the break room at her office building or at the tables of the Barnes and Noble Café in Cary, North Carolina. She is also an avid reader, a part-time book blogger at Ketch’s Book Nook, and lives with her two orange tabbies and awesome and humorous flat-mate. Daughter of Isis is her debut novel.

Author Bio
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Signed Descendants of Isis Series Paperbacks
Mini Anubis Plush Toy and Ma'at Feather Pendant and Chain
Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

, , ,

Review: Drawn by Chris Ledbetter (Soul Sucking Sketchbook???)

Drawn Chris Ledbetter

Chris Ledbetter
Publication Date: June 5, 2015
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Reviewer: Sophia

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

If he fails… they both die.
Review copy provided by the author via Xpresso Book Tours – thanks!

The only thing that really kept my attention through Drawn is the involvement of a soul-sucking sketchbook with the potential price of someone's life. Everything else can just go away. (I'm kidding. Oh, and hey! Alliteration! Sweeeeet.)

Plus, the book is about art, and Ledbetter's character brings art to life (literally) with a sketchbook he gets after an art mentor's sudden death. Cameron worships Da Vinci and has a massive crush on a girl named Farrah Spangled in his journalism class. Cameron's crushing from afar would probably be considered bordering on obsessed. For the first 10-20% of the book, Ledbetter focuses a lot on all of Farrah's beauty, grace, and flawlessness, and Cameron's admiration.

If not for the involvement of a soul-sucking sketchbook, I might not have lasted really long. The dark aspect is the light in the dark, but that's just irony playing with me. However, Cameron pining after Farrah bordered on annoyance in the very back of my mind. Lots of grumpy groaning ensues.

Although Ledbetter overplays it, Cameron's pining actually fits in the story nicely as the book continues. After getting the sketchbook, Cameron decides to draw a portrait of Farrah in the hopes of finally winning her over. The fun part now begins. Instead of winning her over, however, Cameron unknowingly puts her life in danger, and it's not until about a week later he finds out just how much risk he has put her in.

To save Farrah, Cameron is told he has to draw himself in the book, which will then allow him to see the real world, and another world where art comes to life with a price: if the person wants to leave the world, they have exactly twenty days to retrieve a Clavis, a device that transfers souls from the art world to the real world.

In the few days Farrah has left, Cameron feels guilty about what he has done to Farrah (although he really meant good intentions) so making a rescue attempt is how Cameron makes amends with himself, even if it means Farrah might not ever forgive him – bye bye to any chances he might have with her. He tries to gather reinforcements to not only help him rescue Farrah, but to lead a revolution in taking down a supposedly tyrannical king in the art world, all in exchange for the Clavis that will get everyone back safely and intact.

I didn't like Drawn as much as I hoped I would, but Ledbetter's novel isn't too shabby – I even feel like there might even be a potential sequel despite the solid ending. It's about art coming to life, a centuries old feud between two world-famous artists, and a boy's dream of getting the girl he wants. Not a terrible combination.

3.5 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More

Sunday, December 13, 2015

, , , ,

ARC Review: Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood

Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood

Inherit the Stars #1
Tessa Elwood
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Publisher: Running Press
Reviewer: Sophia

Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren's life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?
Advance copy provided by Running Press via Netgalley – thanks!

Elwood’s debut novel focuses on three royal kingdoms (known as Houses) set in space: Fane, Galton, and Westlet. As the youngest daughter of Fane, Asa hopes to solve her family’s (and the House’s) problems and save her oldest sister from death by posing as her sister in a marriage to the heir of Westlet.

Much as the romance is completely unrealistic, at least I have a fondness for Inherit the Stars. The heir of Westlet has scars. Legit scars. Half of his face scarred. And that resonates with me because of all the love interests I’ve read (and that’s a lot)?

None of them had scars. None, much less half their face. (Okay, occasionally there’s a scar or two, but none of them are major enough to send most girls running away to side two of a love triangle, if any exists.) I think my only major problem with this ship is dear Eagle and Asa avoid each other like they have the plague. Being sociably close means they’ll make their plagues worse than it is. One minute they’re avoiding each other, the next they accidentally get close, and the next? I love you is thrown.

Not to be overly blunt and crude, but tell me they won’t get extremely close (like really, really close) in the next minute. Now if the ILYs mean, “I think I love you, but I have to know you better before I finalize that,” then maybe I’m okay. Maybe.

But Eagle has SCARS. I'm okay with this. VERY okay.

Anyways, awkwardness aside, Inherit the Stars reminds me of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen, especially when it comes to Lady Westlet. She’s a little cold, indifferent, and cares about power, but she’s a warm character who cares just a little about Asa as well as the good of her House. Lady Westlet isn’t black and white – she has a gray area about her that I really like.

For the most part, Elwood focuses a good part of the book on the political intrigue between the three Houses and the romance between Asa and Eagle. But while I’m not a fan of politics or books with heavy romance, I may stick around for the sequel.

4 Owls

Thanks for stopping by! If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can also have future posts delivered to you via RSS, NetworkedBlogs or Bloglovin. Happy Reading!
Read More