Thursday, March 30, 2017

Beautiful Nightmare: Some Dreams Become Your Reality by Ashley Marie Nestler

Beautiful Nightmare: Some Dreams Become Your Reality
Long ago, the world suffered a terrible war, leaving behind only a select few hundred people. Believing that strong emotions fueled the war, those who survived created a town named Lunamoon, where each new human would be altered to be unable to feel emotion. 
They decide to choose only one man in each generation to be named the dream maker, and he would create dreams for everyone to tell them what their jobs and life outcomes would be.
The dream maker is able to live in solitude for the duration of his life, but the moment that the current dream maker is born, everything changes. Shawneleigh, a premature child was born with narcolepsy on the same day as the dream maker, lives on her own in the hospital. Through her sporadic sleeping spells and the connection they made at birth, she and the dream maker are able to connect through her dreams. They become friends, and then, fall in love.
Beautiful Nightmare is a tale of love and faith, showing how we can stand up for ourselves, while standing against those who want others to fail. For through it all, in the end, there is love.
First-time author, Ashley Marie Nestler, grew up in Westminster, Colorado. "I have lived right by the mountains all of my live, and the beauty really inspired me with this novel. 

Review: 

I have to point this out before  I say anything about the book. I found this out shortly before I started reading it. This is the author's debut novel, and she wrote it during her senior year of high school. Let that sink in for a minute. Think about what you were doing during high school. In my case, I was a super boring honor's student, scared about graduating high school and going to college. I have always loved to read and have, on occasion, fantasized about writing a book someday. However, I couldn't imagine my 17 year old self sitting down, putting pen to paper and finishing a whole novel, much less having the courage to publish it myself. Needless to say, I was super impressed before I even read the first sentence.

Now on to the book: the story has an interesting and unique premise - the people of Lunamoon's brains are altered when they are born, removing their emotions. While this is a great concept, I think the follow through could have been better. It seemed like there were too many inconsistencies and contradictions, and things that didn't make much sense. For example, for people that are supposed to be devoid of emotions, they sure are prone to experiencing some pretty strong emotions, like jealousy, rage, and for some, love.

Also, I don't understand at all why a sex scene was included in this book. The world as they know it is turned upside down, and they sneak into an empty hospital-ish room for a quickie, when she wasn't even aware what kissing was earlier in the book? I thought that this was kind of tasteless and am not sure what the point was. This could be just me, though.

The ending of this book totally threw me for a loop. There were some aspects thrown in there that I didn't think really fit in with the rest of the story. I don't want to give away an spoilers, but the ending seemed like a completely different book. To me, it seems like too many different plot lines were popping up that didn't mesh with the rest of the story.

However, overall, I definitely respect the author for writing this book and putting it out there. If this is what she accomplished during her senior year in high school, I would definitely like to see what she can do later in life. Although this book wasn't my favorite, I would definitely read another book that she writes!

I received a copy of this book for free, in exchange for an honest review.



 Check out my review on GoodReads!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Numers Game by Rebecca Rode

Numbers Game (Numbers Game, #1)
Treena is nervous for Rating Day. A single number will brand her forever - a valuable citizen, or a pathetic waste of space. Her top-Rated boyfriend is confident their scores will coincide so they can attend academy together. But when the big day arrives, her true number shocks everyone. 
To get her life and boyfriend, she must go undercover and expose a military spy. Doesn't sound too hard, except that someone wants her dead. And then there's Vance, the mysterious soldier with a haunted past and beautiful brown eyes. Together, they discover a dark numbers conspiracy, one that shatters the nation's future. Treena must join up with Vance if she is to survive the dangerous game of numbers - and the terrible war that rages within her heart.

About the Author:

Rebecca Rode is the international bestselling author of the Numbers Game trilogy and Love Right, a sweet romance. Her published works also include the inspirational book for mothers, How to Have Peace When You're Falling to Pieces, and various freelance articles in the Deseret News, Provo Daily Herald, KSL.com, Family Share, and Schooled Magazine. She loves cheesy martial arts movies, chocolate-banana shakes, and good old fashioned romance. Rebecca lives with her husband and four children.

Check her out on Twitter and Facebook!

Review:

This book was excellent! I wasn't quite sure what to expect, with this being my first book from The Review Chain, and not being familiar with the author. I was super impressed! I'm dying to read the sequel! 

Although there was a bit of a love triangle included in the story, I was happy with how the author incorporated it. Although she did have the all too common, two completely opposite love interests, the main character remained strong and independent, and most importantly, did not turn into a mush-brained idiot that could only focus on her love interests and competing feelings for them. If you've read any of my other reviews, you probably realized that this is my pet peeve.

I really think that this author was able to find a perfect balance of romance. It is rare to find a YA fantasy book without some type of romantic interest, and too many authors just tend to take the cliche love triangle and insert it into the middle of the book, impacting everything else. I think the author found a great way to incorporate the love triangle aspect, without making that the main aspect and taking over the whole story, which is done way too often. 

I am super excited to read more by Rebecca Rode and can't wait to see what happens next in the Numbers Game series!

I received a copy of this book for free, in exchange for an honest review. 

 Check out my GoodReads review!



Monday, March 20, 2017

The Keeper and the Rulership (The Systems in the Rulership #1) by Emily Martha Sorensen

The Keeper and the Rulership (The Systems in the Rulership Book 1)

In a world where both magic and mathematics are forbidden, Raneh is growing magic, and she can't seem to stop. She'll face the death penalty if anybody ever catches her, so she hides it in the weeds of her family's land, pretending to be a typical eighteen-year-old heir. And it works.
Until the Ruler comes to visit.

An Excerpt from The Keeper and the Rulership:


"And the worst part is," Jontan went on, piling up a stack of carefully extracted slipgrass behind him, "you can't even get your magicians to help remove them! They absorb any magic that comes near."

"Uh... yeah." I pushed my magic far into the groverweed, which sucked it up eagerly. "I think I've heard that."

"I've heard, in the really bad infestations," Jontan said in a lowered voice, "they actually burn the ground to get rid of everything. Filias, roots, seeds, everything. Can you believe that?"

"Well, if the groverweed has taken over..." I began absently. The plant in front of me flourished and unfurled several buds. Blackedned lumps blossomed and spurted me with grey pollen dust that reeked faintly like ash. Argh!

Fortunately, Jontan still had his back turned. "I mean, it wouldn't be so bad if groverweed was actually useful for something. But you can't eat it, you can't make clothing out of it, and the flowers are the ugliest things I've ever seen. Have you ever seen one in full bloom?"

"Uhhh..." I stared at several in front of me in dismay. "Nope. Never."

About the Author:


Emily Martha Sorensen writes clean fantasy for every age level, particularly young adult, middle grade, and clean new adult. (Yes, there is such a thing, thank you very much! College students can have fun, clean fantasy adventures, too!)

She also draws comics: A Magical Roomate is about a wizard-in-training who's forced to go to college in our world, and To Prevent World Peace is a magical girl series from the point of view of the villains.

You can read more about her, or join her mailing list, by clicking here: http://www.emilymarthasorensen.com

Review:


I read this book in one day... really in a few hours. It was a great, easy read! It was also really well thought out. The world building was excellent, and while trying not to give much away, the positive aspects and faults of the world were highlighted nicely.

I really liked the main character. While pressure was put on her to find a husband, not only did she stick to her morals and standards, but she also didn't get dumb and goofy over any guy that gave her attention and she thought she might be attracted to. Although occasionally, I got a little annoyed at the way Renah reacted to some of the things some characters did, I couldn't get mad at it. It really fit in well with the story and portrayed the society she was raised in. 

This book was very unique in many ways, and I found it quite refreshing. It had romantic aspects, but it didn't fuss over them or dwell on them too much. 

This book was AWESOME, and I can't really find anything that I didn't like. I can say that I think it could have been longer and added a little more detail toward the beginning about Renah's world and the significance of the flowers. 

Overall, this was a great story! I was only upset with the ending, because I can't wait to find out what happens next! I just looked it up, and sequel, The Fires of the Rulership, was released in November! I can't wait to get a copy and learn what happens next with Renah and her family!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. 

 Click here to see my review on GoodReads!


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

I was born for killing - the gods made me to ruin.
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In a few, the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in ways of blade and fist.
But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don't truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.
Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent, her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin, if she is to survive...
If you read any of my other reviews, you might notice a trend... I have so many books on my TBR list, and there may be a good bit of time between when I request a book and when I actually get to read it. So, I have a tendency to request books after reading their description or reading good reviews, then not exactly remembering what they're about or why I requested them when it comes time to read them. 

This was was the case with Red Sister. I didn't remember what it was about, and the short description I read on NetGalley before downloading it only talked about the author's previous best-selling series and how this is the start to his new series. So, that's all I had to go on when I started reading the first line:
It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent and Lano Tacsis brought 200 men.
I've found that going into books you know you requested but don't know what they are about can be pretty exciting. It's not like just picking up any book at random and starting to read. That could spell disaster. Imagine instead, going through a bunch of books and reading descriptions and reviews, picking out 20 or so that you think you will like, then forgetting about them for six months. Then, randomly picking up one of those books and start reading, without looking at anything else about it.

I doubt the description said anything about armies killing nuns, but starting out a book with that first sentence, gave me an awesome first impression, and the rest of the book followed suit.

I absolutely loved everything about this book! The main character is strong and independent, and the author never takes away from that at all by adding a cliche love interest. The story doesn't call for it, and trying to add it in there would have ruined the story IMHO. The heroine is perfectly capable of rescuing her self, and she does (sometimes with a little help from her friends)!

After reading this book, I did a little more research and found out that it isn't going to be released until April, meaning that I could be waiting a long time for a sequel. :( While I might not be waiting patiently, I will be waiting anxiously awaiting more about Nona the nun! 

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

 Check out my review on GoodReads and add me as a friend!


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)

Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved. 
A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.
Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family' secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?
A boy dreams of revolution.
Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now, Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.
And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.
He is a shadow in the glittering world of Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate--or destroy? 
Our world belongs to the Equals--aristocrats with magical gifts--and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

Review:

It took me much longer than it normally would to finish reading this book, because I was so shocked at how Americans are really that terrible, insane, clueless and gullible. I will not rant anymore. If you want to read more about why I am so disappointed in our country, click here, but let's just say that I was not able to focus on reading while watching votes be tallied and going into shock after hearing something that I NEVER EVER EVER IN A MILLION YEARS thought could happen. EVER. 

However, I did not let that influence my perception of this book. It's not the book that wants to put the country back in the 1950's... In fact, this book is set in the future, one that I pray we aren't headed straight for...

The basic premise of The Gilded Cage is that the wealthy, powerful people in the US have Skill (crazy, magical powers), and the normal people are required to sacrifice 10 years of their life to work as a slave (and all that entails), to keep the country functioning smoothly. 

Luke's family decides that him, his older and younger sisters, and his parents will all do their 10 years of "slave days" together, and they have a plan they think will make it a primarily uneventful, "quick" 10 years, but of course, that's not how it goes. It wouldn't be a very good book if everything went perfectly according to plan, would it?

I like how Luke progresses rather quickly, from a teenager, whining about missing out on his last year in high school and hanging out with his friends, to a strong, confident man who wants to do whatever he can to help. 

This book was awesome! The author did an amazing job of world building. He also made sure to include twists and turns that are completely unexpected, and the ending is something that I never would have come to on my own. With all those surprises throughout the book, I didn't know how the book would end, but there is no way I would have been able to guess the ending.

I absolutely loved this book, but I am very disappointed that I have to wait to see what happens next! 

Although there is somewhat of a love interest included in the story, it doesn't shove it down your throat. It is only one of many small plots, interwoven into the grand scheme. 

I encourage anyone who reads any kind of YA, fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, or anyone else who just wants to read a really good book, to pick this one up! You definitely will not regret it! However, you may very well be upset that you have to wait to see what happens next. I know I am!

I was given a copy of this book by the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

 Read my review on GoodReads!



Monday, February 13, 2017

The Reader by MK Harkins

The Reader
Hunted, shot and without her memory, eighteen-year-old Ann Baker wakes in a shallow water on a deserted Pacific Northwest island. She is soon approached by two young men claiming to be her friends. Something isn't right, but when gunshots sound, Ann is left with little choice but to allow Devon and Archer to help her escape. Soon she finds herself in their North Bend mountain compound, where the higher evolved humans claim to be mind-readers. While Ann heals, she realizes that they believe her to be one of the last and most powerful of all - The Lost One.
She's welcomed by most with opened arms, but  not everyone is happy about her arrival. A jealous adversary has plans for Ann, which spirals the entire Reader community into chaos.
As lies, murder and betrayal threaten to rip apart the once harmonious mountain dwellers, Ann is thrust into making a decision that could save or devastate not only The Readers, but all of mankind. But there is just one glitch: by doing so it may require her to make the ultimate sacrifice.
I really enjoyed this book, but it seemed a little obvious what was going to happen at some points. Sometimes, I was worried that it wouldn't be very suspenseful and it was going to be predictable.

However, I was very pleasantly surprised! There were twists and turns that I could never have predicted! It turned out to be a great book!

With the way it ended, I am hoping that the author writes a sequel. I felt like this one could have been longer and could have benefited from some extra details in some places and elaboration on some parts of the story, but overall, it was a great concept. I look forward to reading more from MK Hawkins!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.

 Check out my review on GoodReads!


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Seasons Within Blog Tour & Giveaway


Seasons Within
Lele Iturrioz
(Acorn Publishing)
Publication date: December 15th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Most teenage girls know their name, where they came from, who they are. Not G, a beautiful redhead with unusual markings on her wrist. She gets her name from a silver locket she keeps around her neck, unaware the engraved letter “G” on its front holds the secret to her past.
G’s life before the age of six has been a mystery to her. Each night for the last twelve years she’s been haunted by the same nightmare—a war. Horrendous beasts, warriors able to wield the four elements, and a boy who saves her by means of blue fire taunt her memory. But on her eighteenth birthday, G’s life begins to unravel. When she meets her new Chemistry professor, a man with an uncanny resemblance to the boy who saves her, she knows there must be more to her dreams.
It’s dangerous not knowing who you are, what you’re capable of, and what future awaits you. Especially when the darkness that slaughtered your entire world, just found you.


Author Bio:
Major geek by day, hermit writer by night! Love books, sugar gliders and everything that comes in a delicious taco.
I’m the author of the YA fantasy series, Seasons Within
I spend my time writing, planning on writing, reading, drinking coffee like there was no tomorrow, MMA and chilling with my friends and loved ones.




Review

At the end of the year, I ambitiously signed up for several blog tours scheduled for the beginning of the year and had planned to start them the first week of the year. However, that was before I took the detour of reading The Darkest Minds, which resulted in me devouring the series without reading any of the books I had planned to read and review or posting anything to my blog until now. Happy New Year everyone!

While I don't plan to post reviews of The Darkest Minds books, because I have so many other books on my TBR list to review. I will tell you that the detour was well worth it! But moving on to Seasons Within...

I wish the rest of the books in this series were already released. If they were, I would be devouring them before moving on to the other books that I signed up to review. As you might have noticed, if you have read any of my previous posts, I have a tendency of requesting books to review or for blog tours like this one, then by the time I get to actually read the book, I forgot what it was about and why I requested it. If you haven't noticed this pattern, know that the struggle is real.

I tell you this so that you understand that I started reading this book blind. I didn't read the description to refresh myself on the book before starting to read. Needless to say, I went in not knowing what to expect. So, with the first page, heck, the first sentence clued me in a little:
Dust: Everything was covered in dust and ashes.
The next note I made about this book was a couple of chapters in, and I just had to point out how strange it is that other countries use the words "on" and "in" in different context than we do in America. For example, in chapter 4, the main character says "I never pictured him on a house," while I would have said "I never pictured him in a house." I actually thought the first couple of instances were typos, but I actually read a really interesting infographic the other day that cleared this up for me. I digress... Sorry! Now, on to the actual review of the book...

Overall, this was a great story! The author was great at world building and coming up with a unique plot for the story. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next! 

However, I must point out that G did some things that really irritated me. I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but for starters, I know she is supposed to be kind of reckless, and that's part of her personality, but seriously? How much of a sign do you need to realize that you should probably try to be more careful?

Also, I have to chime in about the love interest. Again, I'm trying to hold back so that I don't give too much away, but goodness, this girl drove me crazy with her romantic interest. This took a little bit away from what was otherwise an AWESOME story. When you have what is supposed to be a strong, independent, yet quirky female main character that has a complete meltdown when she finally realizes that those weird feelings she's getting are infatuation with a boy, and she has a complete meltdown, it takes away from her being that strong, independent female. I know that some people will love the romantic aspect to this story, but IMO, I hate when authors build awesome worlds with strong characters, only to turn them into complete idiots when it comes to their love interest.

Sorry, I always have to add my little rant, no matter how good the book is. It always gets me! However, please do not let this tidbit deter you from reading this book. Everything except my pet peeve explained above was great! My only other disappointment was that I have to wait to see what happens next! I will definitely be waiting not so patiently for the sequel!

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 Check out my GoodReads review of Seasons Within!