Monday, July 24, 2017

Trial By Fire (Worldwalker #1) by Josephine Angelini #0by18 #Bookreview

Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #1)Title: Trial By Fire
Series: Worldwalker #1
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published Date: September 2nd 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Witches
Format: Audiobook
Audio Time: 12 hours 19 minutes

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary: 
The exhilaratingly seductive new series from the author of the bestselling Starcrossed series

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?


 My Review:
“I remember what I must do, even if it makes me the villain of my own story”   

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blog Tour: Artificial Sweethearts by Julie Hammerle #Bookreview

Artificial SweetheartsTitle: Artificial Sweethearts
Series: North Pole Minnesota #2
Author: Julie Hammerle
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Published Date: July 10, 2017
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, YA
Format: Kindle

My Rating: ★ ★ ★.5

Goodreads Summary: 
It’s not chemistry between Tinka Foster and Sam Anderson that made them agree to fake date. With her parents trying to set her up with an annoying student golf coach, and intentionally single Sam’s family pressuring him to bring a date to his brother’s wedding, they could both use a drama-free summer.

So it’s not his muscular arms and quick wit that makes Tinka suggest they tell everyone they’re both taken. Definitely not. And it’s not butterflies that makes a kiss for appearances during the lake party go on way too long—so long that Sam wishes it were real.

But Tinka keeps people at arm’s length—she’s always been second best, even to her parents. And her relationship-for-show could crush everything when she realizes she’s done with fake, pretend, and second-best.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains bikinis at the lake, a lot of making out in dark theaters, and a meet-cute you’ll read twice.


 My Review:

I love reading fake romance books because I'm always interested to see if they will fall for each other for real or just go back to being friends, etc after the romance need is over.
Artificial Sweethearts did not disappoint.

Tinka and Sam are from two different worlds it seems. Sam is expected to help everyone in the family and make sure everyone is okay, after the death of his mom. While Tinka is left having to constantly please her parents after a death in the family left them heartbroken. Together they share stories, memories and how hard it is to live up to the expectations placed on them by others. All while having a fake romance to avoid family chosen bf/gf relationships. The big question is though will they actually fall for each other? Or will they be able to end the summer as nothing more than friends?

Overall I really enjoyed this story. First, it's Christmas in July and Christmas is one of my favorite holidays so an excuse to celebrate it I am all for. Add a character who changes throughout the book and goes from keeping everyone at arm's length or just simply pushing them away when they get too close to someone who is able to have good relationships I'm all for as well.
We all know I'm not much of a romance reader, but as it is summer and I have been reading so much fantasy, and historical fiction recently I figured it was time to read a contemporary book. This one did not disappoint and I actually enjoyed the romance/relationship for a change. The tension between Sam and Tinka was really the driving force in this book as it caused them to do or say certain things to try and keep things even.
The friendships that are also shown while very rocky at the start, I really grew to like and it was nice to see characters actually work through their problems, instead of just jumping over them and everything being all sunshine and rainbows.

If you're not much of a romance reader than I would still say this is a good choice as it's a fake relationship that deals with so much more.

Thank you to YAReads, NetGalley and Entangled Teen for an e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest review and as a part of this blog tour!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hider, Seeker, Secret Keeper (Bolshoi Saga #2) by Elizabeth Kiem #Bookreview

Hider, Seeker, Secret Keeper (Dukovskaya #2)Title: Hider, Seeker, Secret Keeper
Series: Bolshoi Saga #2
Author: Elizabeth Kiem
Publisher: Soho Teen
Published Date: September 2nd, 2014
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary, Ballet, Russia, YA
Page Count: 272
Format: Hardcover

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary: 

Lana travels to New York City, on tour dancing with the world famous Bolshoi Ballet in this thrilling follow up to Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy.

Lana Dukovskaya has spent her life in her mother, Marina’s, shadow, and nowhere more so than at Russia’s world-famous Bolshoi ballet, where Marina danced years ago. But when Daniela, Lana’s friend and chief rival, is brutally attacked on the eve of a New York tour, Lana is given her coveted solo—an unlikely stroke of luck that makes Lana the chief suspect in the attack.

Once in New York, Lana meets Georgi Levshik, a powerful Russian √©migr√© who claims to know the truth about Marina's past. She’s torn between her distrust of Levshik's offered patronage and her need for answers. But when another young dancer is struck down on the day of her debut, Lana becomes the prime suspect in not one, but two attacks.

On the run and still in the dark, Lana puts her trust in Levshik's alluring young bodyguard, Roma. Together they must uncover the truth about a Bolshoi blood feud involving three generations of Dukovskaya dancers.

 My Review:

May Contain Spoilers
While the first book Dancer, Daughter, Traitor, Spy was set in Russia/America in the early 1980's this one is present day Russia/America. We get to follow Lana who is a third generation, ballerina at the Bolshoi. Yet no one including Lana knows much about her grandmother who was the chosen one and set things into motion for her daughter, and now granddaughter.

"My mother, Marina Dukovoskaya, is a cipher. A riddle. A mystery she refuses to help me solve."

Lana Viktorovna Dukovskaya is a young woman who speaks her mind (still a dangerous thing to be doing), she questions when things shouldn't be questioned and she isn't afraid to take risks.

"I can't help it. It's hard for me to bite my tongue. Maybe it's because my mother can. And does. My mother's the champ of keeping quiet."

While she is her mother's daughter, she is also left with a lot of unknowns in her life. She doesn't have a father or any family besides Marina who seems to be there but not there all at the same time. Marina has kept many secrets from Lana, secrets that turn out to have major consequences once Lana is in America.

"Marina, still limp and pliant as a puppet, is now pulling the strings. I feel her direction, feel her repel me and encourage me. She is muting my outrage, cooling my heat, lowering me to earth. She is offering me an alternative. Maybe it is a disguise. Maybe it is a mask. Certainly it is easier to wear than a crown of a martyred maiden."

Lana starts to learn things about her mother's past once she meets Uncle Georgi (yes I too was surprised to see him still alive), and his young worker Roma.

"Is he a criminal?"
"You know the answer. He's a business man. An old soviet. An ex-Sovok. A self-made American. A philanthropist. You know exactly what he is. A rich man with rich tastes and many resources. He breaks the rules that hurt the fewest. He plays the games that benefit most."

 She gets to know things about her family that were kept hidden from her in Russia. She learns why her mother is the way she is and even finally gets an answer to a question she had never gotten an answer to. She is learning all of this while someone in the ballet company is trying to make her look guilty for multiple things that could make her vanish if convicted forever!

"You played your part flawlessly, Lana Dukovskaya. You were a perfect Chosen One. You fought me, you ran from me, and now you will keep my secret. Now you will pay for the sins of your elders. I have been waiting for this moment, Lana, since before you were born." 

While I liked Marina's story, I loved Lana's. Lana is so much like Marina at times it is truly amazing, but she is also different with the fact that she is tired of the new status quo that is in Russian Ballet and because of that she is unpredictable. The people in charge see her as a threat, and are willing to risk everything to try, and take her down.
"You don't have the experience."
"Spit on experience. I have a huge stake in this and it's time for you to make room."

Hider, Seeker, Secret Keeper really does build off of the groundwork placed in the first book. We get answers to things that were glossed over in the first one and learned what happened after everything went down. Characters from the first one are back in this one as well with a few new added in for Lana.
Kiem's writing is so easy to read (even the Russian). You really feel like you are right there with Lana while everything is happening, and while a lot does happen in a very short amount of time it works! It has to go at breakneck speed so we can really feel the pressure that Lana and the others are under in order to stop the person in the company. People's lives are literally depending on it and the possibility of more people getting hurt is very real.

"It's the only thing I need to hear. The only thing. I am strong. I am innocent. I'm like my mother." 

The closure we do find at the end of this book is nice, we also get a surprise ending that I was not expecting to have happened. I'm really hoping in the final book, we get to learn more about Uncle Georgi and how exactly he came to be so close to the family. I can't wait to read the final book now and see how this all concludes!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Once Upon A Summertime by Melody Carlson #Bookreview

Once Upon a Summertime: A New York City RomanceTitle: Once Upon A Summertime
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
Published Date: June 2nd, 2015
Genre: Christian Fiction, New Adult
Page Count:320
Format: Paperback

My Rating: ★.5

Goodreads Summary: 
Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it's a safe choice for a woman whose childhood was anything but stable. Out of the blue, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reinvent herself by moving to New York City, where she hopes for a management position at a stylish new boutique hotel. The big city is full of surprises--not the least of which is Sean O'Neil. Her childhood crush has applied for the very same position! 


 My Review:

"Oh, she knew the odds were stacked against her, but it didn't cost anything to entertain a dream." 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

With You Always by Jody Hedlund ARC #Bookreview

With You Always (Orphan Train, #1)Title: With You Always
Series: Orphan Train #1
Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
Published Date: June 6, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, New adult?
Page Count:368
Format: Kindle

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Goodreads Summary: 

A Riveting Look at the Orphan Train from Historical Novelist Jody Hedlund
When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.


 My Review:

When I heard the title of this series, I was expecting it to be about children, or maybe a few young teenagers. Instead, this one was about a young woman (new adult age range) who has to take care of her younger siblings and some other children they have taken in, during a time when money was nonexistent for the poor single women. We see Elise struggle to keep shelter and food for her family young siblings, and we see some incredibly kind people try and help her. But we also see how tough things were, and how limited women's choices really were during this time in history.
After exhausting all of their options in the city, Elise decides she has to go west on the orphan train to a small railroad town, and to send money back to her young siblings until she can afford for them to come and be with her.
This is when the story really started to get interesting to me. Not only do we get to see how these small railroad towns started, but also how little the real owners of the railroad companies understood what their employees were having to deal with for such little pay. We see the struggles and compassions that these women went through and how over time they all started protecting one another. They knew nobody else was going to stop certain things from happening so they had to do it themselves.

Overall I really loved this story. Learning about a different part of the orphan train and some of the societies that helped bring people west was fascinating. It's something that I haven't really read much about before, despite being absolutely fascinated by it. That is fully my fault because after reading several stories about how awful the children were treated by their adoptive parents, I just could keep reading them. It's nice now to have a different side of the orphan train stories and to really see what might have happened with women wanting to go west as well. I've always wondered how women were able to go west that didn't already have family or friends out there and this really showed how, and why they were sent or allowed to go 'alone'.
As for the romance, it was extremely cliche and honestly was so easy to tell what was going to happen from the first time the two characters met.

I can't wait to read the next book in this series and see if we continue on with this character, or get a companion novel?
Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House for giving me an e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Trial By Fire (Worldwalker #1) by Josephine Angelini #0by18 #Bookreview

Title: Trial By Fire Series:  Worldwalker #1 Author:  Josephine Angelini Publisher:  Macmillan Audio Published Date:  September 2nd 2014...