Review: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

5th Oct 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: The Lie Tree by Frances HardingeThe Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Published by Amulet Books
Pub Date: April 19th 2016
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover | Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

To earn a secret so profound, I would need to tell momentous lies, and make as many people as possible believe them…

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is modest and well mannered—a proper young lady who knows her place. But inside, Faith is burning with questions and curiosity. She keeps sharp watch of her surroundings and, therefore, knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing—like the real reason her family fled Kent to the close-knit island of Vane. And that her father’s death was no accident.

In pursuit of revenge and justice for the father she idolizes, Faith hunts through his possessions, where she discovers a strange tree. A tree that only bears fruit when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit, in turn, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder. Or, it might lure the murderer directly to Faith herself, for lies—like fires, wild and crackling—quickly take on a life of their own.

Faith Sunderly and her family have just moved to the remote island of Vane. They fled their former home in Kent when Faiths reverend father made a discovery at a dig site that was not received well. Faith is a 14 year old well-mannered young lady on the outside. On the inside Faith is far more interested in science than housework and she has a ton of scientific questions she is dying to find the answers too.

When her father is found dead on the island, Faith knows it was no accident and she is determined to find his killer. Though Faith has a few ideas of who would hurt her father, she has no proof. Faith begins to run out of time proving the murder. In a desperate fit, she begins to rummage through her father’s belongings and discovers his biggest secret of all, a tree. Of course this is not an ordinary old tree, this is the sole reason Faiths father was murdered. This tree has the ability to reveal a truth to you, but in exchange you must tell it a lie. Once you tell it a lie, and the lie takes hold in the community, the tree produces a red fruit. Eat the fruit and it will send you into an opiate dream-like state where the truth is finally revealed. The tree must remain in very dark conditions though and to properly care for it, Faith has to sneak out in the middle of the night and somehow avoid leading her father’s killer directly to the tree.

I ran across this book at BEA this year and immediately fell in love with the cover and the premise. I admit I did have a little trouble getting into the book, it starting out a bit slow for me. I was immediately annoyed with Faiths father and his nonchalance toward her; Harding portrays the sexism of the time in almost every chapter. It’s completely accurate but frustrating none-the-less! I love Faith and her hunger for knowledge; her fierce persistence made her a woman to be feared in her time.  I did feel like the ending was somewhat abrupt, maybe I just wanted more. I do think this could easily be made into a series, I’d love to know more about what happened to Faith!

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

29th Sep 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Nevernight by Jay KristoffNevernight by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published by Thomas Dunne Books
Pub Date: August 9th 2016
Pages: 429
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Nevernight is a book that will take you on the craziest ride of your life. When I first saw the cover for this book I knew I was going to read it before I even knew what it was about. I was lucky enough to receive an eARC from NetGalley and it prompted me to pre-order both the US and the UK versions; I NEVER preorder anything. With that being said, I’d like to start this review with a cautionary note. Nevernight is a book that lives in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore, not Young Adult. I’ve seen a lot of talk on Twitter/Goodreads and several reviews confusing this idea, please don’t. If Nevernight was a movie it would be rated R for violence, grisly images, language, some nudity and sexuality. Anyhow…on to the good stuff!

“Be advised now that the pages in your hand speak of a girl who was to murder as maestros are to music. Who did to happy ever afters what a saw blade does to skin.”

Mia Corvere came from a wealthy family but after her father is publicly hung for being a traitor and her mother jailed, she begins to live a much different life. While on the run from the very men who killed her father, Mia runs into some trouble and is nearly beaten to death in an alley.  This is how she meets her mentor Mercuiro, he saves Mia and takes her under his wing. It doesn’t take long for him to learn how badly Mia wants vengeance against the men who ruined her family so he begins training her to be an apprentice in the Red Church. This is a church of a different kind, it teaches and trains assassins. Once you’re accepted to the Red Church there are only two ways out, you either die or graduate and be initiated as a Blade.

“Never Flinch, Never Fear and Never Ever Forget” 

There are 28 acolytes fighting for the coveted title of Blade. Of those 28 only 4 can become anointed. Which means everyone will do whatever they have to do to be one of those 4 left standing. The Red Church is unique and has a Harry Potteresque feel to it. Long winding passageways, ghosts and monsters hiding in the shadows and a history that goes back centuries, a potion ‘s professor. But that is where the similarities end. Nevernight is a revenge story and Mia will stop at nothing to avenge her family even if means she doesn’t become a blade.

I loved this book for many reasons. Mia Corvere is a cold-hearted killer on the outside. She has been through some serious shit and her determination is a force to be reckoned with. While she is perceived as heartless, she really isn’t. She ends up being the only acolyte who really cares about her peers and despite her need for revenge. Oh! and she has a familiar, a cat named Mister Kindly who appears shortly after her father’s death.

Even though I stand by my 4 star rating on Goodreads, there were a few things I was less enthusiastic about. The beginning of this book was hard to get into, it seemed a bit slow and I wasn’t impressed with the first few chapters. There are footnotes in this book. Yep, you heard me, footnotes. Since I read the eARC the footnotes were impossible to keep up with, I had to scroll back and forth and by the time I got to the end of the chapter, I wasn’t sure what the footnotes were talking about. To be honest, I stopped reading them. It didn’t seem like they mattered a whole lot to the actual story so I just opted out. Overall though, I am glad I read Nevernight and I will be continuing with the series.

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

17th Jun 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah BiancottiZeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
Series: Zeroes #1
Published by Simon Pulse
Pub Date: September 29th 2015
Pages: 546
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Don’t call them heroes.

But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. They can do stuff ordinary people can’t.

Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t—like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader.” After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. And at the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

Six Californian teens have powers like super heroes only not, which is why they call themselves The Zeroes. Their quirky dysfunctional group consists of:

Ethan (a.k.a. Scam) whose power affectionately is known as “The Voice”, can scam Ethan out of any situation, or into the arms of any girl. The Voice knows things about people even they don’t know.

Kelsie (a.k.a. Mob) has the ability to project her feelings into a crowd, so when she is happy and upbeat, so is everyone around her, but when she is sad or angry…so is everyone around her.

Riley (a.k.a. Flicker) is blind, as in she can not see, with her own eyes that is. Flicker has the ability to use the eyes of those around her to navigate through her surroundings.

Chizara (a.k.a. Crash) has the ability to shut down any electronic device in her general vicinity including cell phone towers, medical equipment and cars that heavily rely on electronics to operate.

Nate (a.k.a. Bellwether) has the ability to bend the will of individual people as well as groups of people and crowds, he is also the groups leader.

Thibault (a.k.a. Anonymous) Thibault’s ability is to remain unmemorable to everyone he meets. You could see him walk into your house and rob you but moments later you’ll have forgotten he existed.

After a year of not speaking, the Zeroes are thrust back together when Scam’s Voice gets him into some big trouble with some major mobsters; he accidentally stole a duffel bag full of money. Once Scam discovers the money, he decides the only way to hide it is to deposit it into the bank. Wouldn’t you know it, the bank gets robbed while Scam is waiting his turn in line flirting with a girl. Since someone triggered the silent alarm and the bank vault wasn’t unlocked as planned, the bank robbers decide to start taking money and jewelry from the hostages. Just before a robber tries to look into Scam’s bag, Scam unleashes The Voice on him and turns all the robbers against each other ending the robbery with gunshots and a dead robber. This is only the beginning of Scams troubles as he is hauled down to the police station for questioning. The story plays out as expected, the Zeroes come up with a plan and they begin to execute it but mobsters and police detectives keep getting in the way.

Told from 6 POV’s, I was pretty confused at the beginning of the book, especially because each chapter is named for it’s characters code name. For example: the first three chapters are called Scam then the fourth is called Mob. It doesn’t become clear until later that Scam and Mob are characters in the story.

I enjoyed this book for several reasons but I really like the zero vs hero storyline, it was different. The group has the ability to help people, they just lack the knowledge to make it happen without hurting themselves or others. Though I gave the book 4 stars, I did think it was unnecessarily long. I would have enjoyed reading more about characters individually. I’m not sure if this is a stand alone or not but it could definitely be made into a series and I would probably read the next installment.

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

13th Jun 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: The Girls by Emma ClineThe Girls by Emma Cline
Published by Random House
Pub Date: 14 June 2016
Pages: 368
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult Fiction, Historical
Goodreads
4.5 Stars

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.
 
Emma Cline’s remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction—and an indelible portrait of girls, and of the women they become.

When I first opened the ARC of The Girls and read the editorial note from Random House (it basically says the book is amazing and the editor couldn’t put it down) I thought “yeah, that’s what they all say”. Then I flipped the page and began reading, before I knew it I was half way through the book, completely entranced. On the back of the book there is a blurb that says something about “Clines first novel…” I kept thinking there was no way this is a debut author, NO WAY! I love the way Cline writes, she is such an amazing story teller. I don’t consider myself a picky reader by any means, but if a book doesn’t move quickly, if something doesn’t grab my attention in the first 50-60 pages, I’m out. I don’t want to sit and read about nothing, I want to be intrigued, mystified, scared SOMETHING or I will simply put the book down and never think of it again. The Girls is not a fast paced book, but Cline gives you just enough from chapter to chapter to make you want more. When I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about cults and susceptibility of impressionable young girls, myself at that age, the shit I got myself into, what I did to feel like I belonged. I even spent a few hours down a Charles Manson rabbit hole, then a few hours down a Emma Cline rabbit hole as well. I was VERY excited to discover this will not be a stand alone novel, it has been bought (for a very handsome sum) to be a three book deal including a second novel and a short-story collection.

As it turns out, the Random House editor (Kate Medina) was right (are you surprised? Me either.) This book is unputdownable. It’s weird too because this novel isn’t that surprising really, we all know what happens in cults, we know how crazy it was in 60’s, yet there is something about the way Cline develops the story of these women, their bond, the friendships, it’s simply amazing. I drank the Kool-Aid and I think you should too!

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke

2nd Jun 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve TucholkeSlasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published by Dial Books
Pub Date: August 18th 2015
Pages: 385
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

 

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Short stories and anthologies aren’t really my thing, to be fair I probably haven’t really given them a fair shot until now. I have to admit, I started by reading  my favorite authors first then going back to the others. I’m happy to report that I would give other anthologies like this a chance. Since the book has 14 short stories, I am going to touch briefly on each of them.

The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma

This one was so creepy, like everyday creepy. A male next-door neighbor is photographing young girls in the neighborhood. As if that’s not enough, there is a bird twist to the story that literally gave me the chills.

In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, the story follows Cassidy Evans through her teen years and her obsession with something very deadly in the clearing in the forest behind her house. {shudders}

Emmeline by Cat Winters

Set in Northern France in 1918, a historical story inspired by All Quiet on the Western Front, Nosferatu and Kiss Me Again Stranger. Definitely creeped me out.

Verse Chorus Verse Leigh Bardugo

This was one of my favorite stories. A disturbing inside look into celebrity rehab with a crazy twist.

Hide-and-Seek by Megan Shepherd

Another great story, inspired by one of my favorite movies The Crow. A game of hide and seek with death himself.

The Dark Scary Parts and All Danielle Paige

When your the dorkiest girl in high school and the most popular boy begins to show true interest in you it’s like a dream come true, right? It is until you find out who he really is.

The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke

Probably my least favorite of all. Inspired by Stephen Kings “Carrie” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and it read just like the movie.

Fat Girl With A Knife by Jonathan Mayberry

Very Mayberry in the zombie sense. Zombies take over a local high school and the girl with the pretty name who isn’t pretty fights them off with a knife.

Sleepless by Jay Kristoff

I couldn’t help but think about how real this story is or could be. Online dating with the worse outcome, almost.

M by Stefan Bachmann

One of my favorite stories in the book. Murder, mystery and revenge!

The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu

Probably my favorite story of all of them. Downright creepy in every sense of the word. Every action has a consequence and when you try to ignore that consequence it will come back and haunt you.

A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman

A plague is killing woman and those it doesn’t kill are being kidnapped and sold, until a determined woman takes matters into her own hands.

Stitches by A.G. Howard

What if you could cut the bad parts off your body and replace them with good parts? If your feet lead you astray, cut them off and replace them with ones that will not lead you astray…this story is wicked!

On the I-5 by Kendare Blake

Revenge is strong in this story. Again, so close to reality and horrible things that really do happen but with a ghostly twist.

Overall I enjoyed the book, even though there were a few stories I wasn’t all that impressed with. I’ve definitely been reminded why I steer clear of anthologies, I always end up wanting more.

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

18th May 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Don’t You Cry by Mary KubicaDon't You Cry by Mary Kubica
Published by Mira
Pub Date: May 17th 2016
Pages: 320
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession 

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl's spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

I’ve had a few Mary Kubica’s books on my TBR for a while now, so when this one came across my desk, I decided to give it a try. The book is broken up into days Sunday through Thursday (when Esther goes missing) and told in alternating points of view between Quinn and Alex.

Quinn wakes up on a Sunday morning to find her roommate Esther missing. With her bedroom window open and her alarm blaring, Esther is no where to be found. Whats more odd is her purse and phone are still at home. Even though Quinn knows something is wrong, she isn’t quite sure what to do and when the police tell her she has to wait to file a missing persons report, Quinn decides to start her own investigation. Ransacking Esther’s room Quinn discovers things about Esther’s past that makes her begin to question her own safety.

Alex was supposed to be starting college this year but he has to stay behind and take care of his alcoholic father. He works at the diner in town and knows mostly everyone who comes in, except the mysterious brunette who always sits by the window and watches the houses across the street. Alex becomes obsessed, he can’t stop thinking about her and even waits hours after his shift end just to catch a glimpse of her. When he does end up finding the mystery girl, she’s in an abandoned house across the street from his own house. The more Alex gets to know the woman, the more mysterious she becomes, and when he discovers who she really is, his whole world comes crashing down.

I enjoyed reading Don’t You Cry, it was very well written and fun to read. The way Kubica weaves the story and the character had me running in circles trying to figure out what was really going on. I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a good mystery, it’s not too scary or gory, and I love the creepy-ish cover!

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

14th Mar 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Passenger by Alexandra BrackenPassenger by Alexandra Bracken
Series: Passenger #1
Published by Disney Hyperion
Pub Date: January 5th 2016
Pages: 486
Format: ARC | Source: Author
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever 

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

Let me start by saying I waited for this book for what seemed like forever! It was on my list of books to grab at BEA last year, and when I didn’t get it I was pretty sad. Then I heard Alexandra Bracken was going to be at Y’ALL Fest (which is a mere 8 hr drive) I knew I had to go in hopes of getting this ARC…and I GOT ONE! I only had to stand in line for four hours but it was totally worth it!

Ashley Passenger

I have to admit, the beginning moved more slowly than I usually like in a book. Etta is lives in current day New York as is preparing for a big concert, as she plays her piece, she is drawn to a noise only she can hear. When she investigates the noise, she is suddenly transported back in time. She finds herself onboard a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in 1776, she’s in strange clothing and dripping wet with no recollection of how she got there.

It is on the ship she meets Nicholas, a teen about her age but from a completely different time. When it comes to Nicholas though, I kept going back and forth: I like him, I hate him…nope I like him, he means well…uh no he doesn’t…back and forth. I’ve decided I like him. (I think).

While on the ship, Etta learns she comes from a magical family that can time travel. Can you imagine? How cool would that be!? She also learns that she’s been kidnapped by a man called Cyrus (who I think of as The Grandfather) an old man who is the head of the family, the leader if you will.

Now that Etta knows who she is and what she has to do, the adventure really begins! Together her and Nicholas must find the only remaining astrolabe, the magical object used to create new portals, if Etta doesn’t find the astrolabe and return it to Cyrus someone Etta loves will die.

I’m telling you…this is the good stuff! Etta travels from Bhutan 1910, New York in 1776, 1940’s London, 1685 Angkor, Paris 1880 and Damascus in 1599. Each place she visits she gets closer and closer to the astrolabe and each place she visits she encounters people who want the astrolabe for themselves.

Now this book is well over 400 pages so it’s not a quick read, and the beginning is slow to get started but don’t discount Passenger just yet. Once you get started and the time traveling really begins, you won’t want to put it down!

 

About Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra Bracken is the New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved east to study history and English at the College of William&Mary in Virginia. Alex now lives in New York City, where you can find her hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that’s perpetually overflowing with books.

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston

12th Feb 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Bitsy Words: The Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston

Bitsy Words: The Truth by Jeffry W. JohnstonThe Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: February 2nd 2016
Pages: 240
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

When Chris wakes up tied to a chair in a dark basement, he knows that he's trapped—and why. He shot and killed Derek's little brother. He had his reasons, but no matter how far Derek goes to uncover the truth about that night, Chris's story won't change. It can't. There is far too much at stake…

Derek is desperate to prove his brother didn't deserve to die. And if kidnapping his brother's killer is the only way to the truth, than he'll go to extremes. But Chris's truth is far more dangerous than Derek could have imagined, and knowing could cost both their lives…

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

When the story starts, Chris finds himself duct taped to a chair in a strange room with Derek, a high school drop out just out of juvie. Chris only knows who Derek is because he killed Derek’s brother in a robbery gone bad. Now Derek wants answers only Chris can give him, if he doesn’t tell the truth, Derek will cut off his fingers with a pair garden shears. After hours of interrogation, Derek finally concludes Chris is leaving something out and he escalates the situation to the next level, putting someone Chris loves in danger.

I liked the format of this book, I found it easy to follow and interesting enough to keep my attention. Told from Chris’s point of view both as the story is happening and as he walks Derek through the events of the past that led up to his brothers death. A fast paced quick read that could totally be an episode of Criminal Minds!

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

10th Feb 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffIlluminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Published by Knopf BfYR
Pub Date: October 20th 2015
Pages: 599
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

This is the most unique book I have ever read, seriously. It took me a while to get into the book because it is so different and it took me a while to get into it. But let me tell you, once it grabbed me, I finished it all in one sitting. I don’t think I could accurately describe how amazing this book is so I’m going to do my best to  show you.

The Cover: One of my favorite things about a hardcover book is discovering what is under the dust jacket. The dust jacket alone is see through and fiery, it kind of looks like someone took a black sharpie marker to it to block out certain words and sentences, just like the rest of the book!

Do you see what I mean? Ugh, I just love it so much!

The Pages: Not only does this book tell an amazing story, it is full of pages that look like these…

I think you can tell how unique this book is by the pictures. The story is just as unique. From start to finish this book will never cease to surprise, taunt, anger and amaze you. Oh, and you might not want to start it unless you can devote an entire day to it!

Check out this book trailer:

I am so glad I decided to finish this one and am anxiously awaiting the next one!

Oh and it’s been announced it’s been optioned for a movie how cool!

 

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

11th Jan 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Wolf By Wolf by Ryan GraudinWolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf By Wolf #1
Published by Little, Brown BfYR
Pub Date: October 20th 2015
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

I’ve said it before, I don’t really read historical fiction. But after reading this book I’m questioning that decision! I’m sure not every historical fiction title has skinshifters but I’m really starting to warm up to the idea of reading more historical fiction, maybe!

With that being said, I’m not a big fan of reading sad and depressing books in which thousands of people die for no reason, I just get really angry. In this particular book though, the main character Yael, was brought to a Nazi death camp with her family. She was chosen for an expirement and was pumped full of mysterious drugs that allowed her to change her eye color, skin color and hair color, basically be anyone she wants to be. Now this puts a new twist to the story because Yael can change into anyone she needs to be to complete her mission (kill Hitler). The story bounces back and forth between the past and the present, which sometimes is bothersome and confusing but I found it to be more mysterious and surprising. I really enjoyed Wolf by Wolf, I thought it had an interesting twist and I didn’t get bored! Of course I got curious about the motorcycles they used for the race so I had to look them up! Here they are.

 

I am glad this book came across my radar, (through November Uppercase Box). I’m not sure this is a title I would have picked up on my own but I am really glad I read it!

 

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash

9th Dec 2015 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2015, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Bitsy Words: Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash

Bitsy Words: Above the Waterfall by Ron RashAbove the Waterfall by Ron Rash
Published by Ecco
Pub Date: September 8th 2015
Pages: 272
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult Fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

Les, a long-time sheriff nearing retirement, contends with the ravages of poverty and crystal meth in his small Appalachian town. Nestled in a beautiful hollow of the Appalachians, his is a tight-knit community rife with secrets and suspicious of outsiders.

Becky, a park ranger, arrives in this remote patch of North Carolina hoping to ease the anguish of a harrowing past. Searching for tranquility amid the verdant stillness, she finds solace in poetry and the splendor of the land.

A vicious crime will plunge both sheriff and ranger into deep and murky waters, forging an unexpected bond between them. Caught in a vortex of duplicity, lies, and betrayal, they must navigate the dangerous currents of a tragedy that turns neighbor against neighbor—and threatens to sweep them all over the edge.

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

Les is in his last three weeks as Sheriff of the town he grew up in and he is more than ready to retire to his newly built cabin in the woods. His past is haunted by a failed marriage and he still carries a lot of regret. Before he can retire, one more case comes across his desk and it’s a doozy! Becky is a nature enthusiast who works as a park ranger. She arrived in North Carolina to escape her past that is full of tragedy. Les and Becky’s relationship is complicated and it only gets more so during the case.Told in alternating chapters, Les and Becky work the case and begin piecing together the disturbing truth, what they discover will not only test their relationship but Les must decide where to draw the line between the law and his morals.

This is the first book I’ve read by Ron Rash so I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a quick easy read and I enjoyed reading it and I think I’ll try another one of his books soon.

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Playing With Fire by Tess Gerritsen

25th Nov 2015 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Playing With Fire by Tess GerritsenPlaying With Fire by Tess Gerritsen
Published by Ballantine Books
Pub Date: October 27th 2015
Pages: 250
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Mystery
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

A beautiful violinist is haunted by a very old piece of music she finds in a strange antique shop in Rome.

The first time Julia Ansdell picks up The Incendio Waltz, she knows it’s a strikingly unusual composition. But while playing the piece, Julia blacks out and awakens to find her young daughter implicated in acts of surprising violence. And when she travels to Venice to find the previous owner of the music, she uncovers a dark secret that involves dangerously powerful people—a family who would stop at nothing to keep Julia from bringing the truth to light. 

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

It’s no secret that I love Tess Gerritsen, I’ve fallen in love with her Mystery books about vivid characters, murder and medicine. I love the Rizzoli and Isles series but when I heard she had a new stand alone, I was overly excited to get my hands on it. Though the ending wasn’t what I expected, I found myself completely engrossed until the end.

I’m not musically inclined so when words like musical bars, measures, accidentals and arpeggios showed up in the first chapter, I was a worried they would keep me from truly understanding the musical aspect of the book. Thankfully I was able to comprehend without having to Google (too) many terms Gerristen used to describe the haunting music.

Present day takes place in Boston with Julia, her husband Rob and daughter Lily. Julia is a professional violinist and is Rome for work when she finds a piece of music called the Incendio waltz. Julia becomes awestruck with the music and it’s mysterious composer and purchases it from a local shop keep. Once she gets the music home and starts to play it, something in her daughter shifts-she is no longer Julia’s sweet innocent little girl. After two particularly bloody incidents with Lily, Julia decides to go back to Rome and find out as much information about the composer of the waltz as she can, even if it might kill her.

I really enjoyed Playing with Fire. It was a quick read that really captured my attention from the beginning. I devoured it in just a few hours and recommend it to any mystery fan.

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: My Fight / Your Fight by Ronda Rousey

21st Oct 2015 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: My Fight / Your Fight by Ronda RouseyMy Fight / Your Fight by Ronda Rousey
Published by Regan Arts
Pub Date: May 12th 2015
Pages: 301
Format: Hardcover | Source: Author
Genres: Non-fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

“The fight is yours to win.”

In this inspiring and moving book, Ronda Rousey, the Olympic medalist in judo, reigning UFC women's bantamweight champion, and Hollywood star charts her difficult path to glory.

Marked by her signature charm, barbed wit, and undeniable power, Rousey’s account of the toughest fights of her life—in and outside the Octagon—reveals the painful loss of her father when she was eight years old, the intensity of her judo training, her battles with love, her meteoric rise to fame, the secret behind her undefeated UFC record, and what it takes to become the toughest woman on Earth. Rousey shares hard-won lessons on how to be the best at what you do, including how to find fulfillment in the sacrifices, how to turn limitations into opportunities, and how to be the best on your worst day.

Packed with raw emotion, drama, and wisdom this is an unforgettable book by one of the most remarkable women in the world.

I don’t read non-fiction books very much, I don’t read them at all really. But I love reading/hearing about women paving the way for other women. Especially when those women are kicking asses and taking names! I hadn’t heard of Ronda Rousey until a few years ago when my husband was raving about “this bad-ass boxer chick”. My husband is not a sports guy so I knew I had to check her out, and when her book came out, I knew I had to own it. Ronda’s pure determination and persistence paved the way for women fighters everywhere, especially in the UFC.

I had followed UFC fighting off and on for about 10 years, I called it my guilty pleasure because no one I know watches. I stopped watching in 2011 when Dana White, the president of the UFC, said on camera women will never have a place in the UFC.  Enter Rowdy Ronda Rousey. The forward in her book is by this very same man who says Ronda is “a game changer” and “I almost feel like Ronda is writing her book too soon, because she’s just getting started”.

From losing her father at an early age, living in her car, constant fighting with her mother, and hitting rock bottom, this book tells a story of a woman striving to be more, better, the best. Her inspirational story isn’t all roses and rainbows however, she veers off into some dark places, but in true Ronda Rousey fashion, she always ends up on the top. I don’t want to give too much of Ronda’s story away because I think its better to take it all in at once with the inspirational quotes, black and white photos not to mention her drive, determination and devotion.

I really enjoyed reading My Fight / Your Fight and I seriously think every young female athlete should read it.

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

31st Aug 2015 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa DiffenbaughWe Never Asked For Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Published by Ballantine Books
Pub Date: August 18th 2015
Pages: 320
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult Fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Language of Flowers comes her much-anticipated new novel about young love, hard choices, and hope against all odds.

For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children—Alex, now fifteen, and Luna, six—in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life.

Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she’s worked for and her family’s fragile hopes for the future.

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

This book really got me, and in more ways than one. I had had a particularly hard week at work- not just regular work stress–I mean contemplating leaving my job after nearly 6 years–stress. When I came home to this book on my doorstep, I burst into tears and hugged it to my chest. To be completely honest, I don’t know how it arrived at my house, it had been so long since I’ve received a physical copy of an ARC I was really surprised and grateful that it appeared when it did. Was this something I signed up for on Goodreads? Was this sent from the Penguin Random House lovelies I met at BEA? I really didn’t know but I do know it arrived on my doorstep just in time.

Once I dived into this amazing story, I fell head over heels in love with every single character. It took me a while to warm up to Letty but once I did I really really loved her. She made some poor decisions early in her life and it took her a long time to figure out what really matters. When she finally pulled it together, nothing else mattered except her children Alex-15 and Luna-6.

Alex is easily my favorite character. He is smart, selfless, loving and unlike most teenagers I’ve ever met, I kind of want to be him! Of course every great book has to have a love interest-or two, when these two guys walk into Letty’s life, she doesn’t quite know what to do with them because they are both amazing in their own ways. In the end I love the choice she made, even though for a while I was rooting for the other guy!

Have I said yet that I love this book? Maybe it’s the timing in which it arrived in my life, (it could just be the amazing author too) but this easily falls into my “Favorite of all time” list and I will continue insisted everyone I know read it.

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Valiant by Sarah McGuire

19th Aug 2015 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Valiant by Sarah McGuireValiant by Sarah McGuire
Published by EgmontUSA
Pub Date: April 28th 2015
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Middle Grade
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Saville despises the bolts of velvet and silk that her father loves- he's always prized them more than he's ever loved her. Yet when he's struck ill, she'll do anything to survive, even donning boys' clothes and begging a commission to sew for the king.

Piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants led by a man who cannot be defeated. And they're marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. But Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.

Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. She tricks them into leaving, but tales of the daring tailor's triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And mere stories won't deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

Saville’s father is the best tailor in Daniver but he can’t seem to abide by the rules set in place by the cities tailors guild; so he decides to move Saville to Reggan, a city that has no such guild. Shortly after they arrive, the tailor falls ill and becomes completely paralyzed. It doesn’t take long before Saville is almost out of patience, money and food. Knowing that the only thing she can do to survive is the one thing she hates the most, sewing. She decides to follow through with her father’s plan–get to the king and prove to him that she is the best tailor in all the land then gain his trust–and his money. This proves to be problematic because girls are not trusted to touch the king let alone take his measurements. Saville must dress and act like a boy to wins the commission of the king.

Saville’s only friend is Will, a young homeless boy she takes in off the streets. The duo become quite the team and even though Will discovers Saville’s biggest secret but he swears to never tell.

Rumors begin in the city about an impending war with giants as big as trees and a mysterious new Duke who claims he is the rightful heir to the throne. Will is convinced the giants are real but Saville doesn’t believe in giants–they’re just fairy tales right? Wrong. When the giants make their first appearance in the field outside the city, the townspeople are frantic, the giants have picked someone out of the crowd and are tossing them around like a rag-doll. By the time Saville reaches the field, she is horrified to discover it’s Will the giants have in their grasp. Still dressed as a boy, Saville outsmarts the giants and saves Will. When the king finds out what has happened, he rewards the young tailor with the princess hand in marriage.

The events that follow will take the reader on a non-stop adventure through the castle’s long lost secret passageways,  over castle walls and into the giants camp, and up close with the feeble king of Reggan.

My Thoughts

I have to be honest here, the only reason I read this book is because I set up an author event with Sarah McGuire. This book may not have come across my radar any other way, but I am so glad it did!

Before the first chapter was over, I hated Saville’s father the Tailor. He loved his fabrics far more than his daughter and that didn’t sit well with me at all. He is a cold, unloving character and it’s sad that the Tailor is her only family left and he seems to not care for her at all. Perhaps that’s what made Saville the lovable, tough as nails heroine she turned out to be.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good fairy tale with a strong female heroine. I was pleasantly surprised with this debut author and can’t wait to see what else she comes up with!

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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