Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani + Giveaway!

2nd Sep 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani + Giveaway!The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani
Published by SparkPress
Pub Date: 7 June 2016
Pages: 282
Format: Paperback | Source: Author
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

Fifteen year old Courtney wants to be normal like her friends. But there’s something frighteningly different about her—and it’s not just the mysterious tattoo her conspiracy-obsessed grandfather marked her with before he disappeared. She's being visited in her bedroom at night by aliens claiming to have shared an alliance with her grandfather. And imaginary or not, they're starting to to take over her mind. “Mental illness is a slippery slope,” her mother warns her.

The last thing Courtney wants to do is end up crazy and dead like her grandfather did. But what about the tattoo? And the aliens trying to recruit her? With her new alien-savvy friend Agatha and her apocalyptic visions, Courtney begins connecting the dots between the past, present and future—of her bloodline, and the ancient history that surrounds it. Is she going insane, like her family claims her grandfather did, or is she actually a "chosen one" with ancestral connections to another world? Either way, Courtney has a mission: untangle her past, discover the truth, and stop the apocalypse before it's too late for everyone.

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman follows Courtney through some crazy and out of this world adventures. When Courtney was seven years old her grandfather tried to drown her in a bathtub. He always spoke of aliens and people being out to get him, and after he died Courtney’s mom wrote him off as crazy. Courtney wants to think her grandfather was crazy too, except she sees the aliens too. Strange things just keep on happening to her, the aliens are visiting her in her dreams at night. So, maybe Courtney and her grandfather aren’t crazy after all. Maybe the aliens are real and it’s up to Courtney to figure out what they want.

This is a sci fi, alien story with some secret society mystery thrown in. Courtney meets a lot of interesting characters along her journey. It’s hard to know who she can and can’t trust. I trusted no one in this story. I thought everyone had ulterior motives, and didn’t know what to believe. Agatha is one of the first people Courtney meets. The aliens also visit Agatha’s brother and she looks exactly like Courtney’s imaginary friend Astra. She is the first one to believe Courtney and not write her off as crazy. All of this can’t be a coincidence.

There is a lot going on in this story and I never knew who to believe or trust. Most of all I felt bad for Courtney, being 15 years old and having to deal with all of this on her own. She isn’t just visited by aliens; she’s also alienated from her family and friends. These events keep her very isolated and alone. It’s hard for her because no one believes her and everyone just wants her to act normal.

The major thing I disliked about this book was Courtney’s mother. I know she’s not supposed to be likable but she was awful to an extreme. She treats Courtney like a nuisance. She believes her daughter is mentally ill and she is constantly shaming her for it or threatening to lock her up in an asylum. She seems to have no desire to actually help Courtney; she just wants her to shut up and act normal. She drove me crazy!

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is a great sci fi adventure with some conspiracy thrown into the mix. The bad guys are easy to root against and I found myself rooting for Courtney to figure out this mystery and finally find her place in the world.

I was lucky enough to receive a signed finished copy of this book from the author to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Giveaway

Signed paperback of The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani

 

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass

6th Jun 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Cresswell Plot by Eliza WassThe Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass
Published by Disney Hyperion
Pub Date: June 7th 2016
Pages: 272
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
2.5 Stars

Castella Cresswell and her five siblings—Hannan, Caspar, Mortimer, Delvive, and Jerusalem—know what it’s like to be different. For years, their world has been confined to their ramshackle family home deep in the woods of upstate New York. They abide by the strict rule of God, whose messages come directly from their father.

Slowly, Castley and her siblings start to test the boundaries of the laws that bind them. But, at school, they’re still the freaks they’ve always been to the outside world. Marked by their plain clothing. Unexplained bruising. Utter isolation from their classmates. That is, until Castley is forced to partner with the totally irritating, totally normal George Gray, who offers her a glimpse of a life filled with freedom and choice.

Castley’s world rapidly expands beyond the woods she knows so well and the beliefs she once thought were the only truths. There is a future waiting for her if she can escape her father’s grasp, but Castley refuses to leave her siblings behind. Just as she begins to form a plan, her father makes a chilling announcement: the Cresswells will soon return to their home in heaven. With time running out on all of their lives, Castley must expose the depth of her father’s lies. The forest has buried the truth in darkness for far too long. Castley might be their last hope for salvation.

Castella Cresswell lives deep in the woods with her five siblings. They live by the rules of their strict, religious father. He controls everything they do, from what they wear to who they can talk to. As they get older Castella and her siblings start to question their way of life.

I felt sorry for Castella and her family. Her family lives in such a strict and controlling household, but none of them are brave enough to completely go against the strict rules and religious beliefs of their father. Religion can be a scary thing. The father in this book based everything he did on his belief in God and his wanting to do what was best for his family in his mind. It is not very clear what exactly the father believes in, just that he is adamant about his beliefs. He does some seemingly crazy things like claiming he does not need a job because God will provide for them and telling his children that they will all grow up to marry each other. As a reader it’s easy to discredit him and write him off as crazy. It’s hard to believe that his wife and children just go along with his ideas, but then again they don’t know any other way to live. They truly believe in him and that his rules are God’s will, which makes them terrified to completely disobey him.

Castella and her siblings start to doubt her father’s teachings about the world around them. All of the children have their own interests that do not go along with their father’s teachings, yet none of them are really ready to rebel and stand up against him. Castilla starts to have questions and pushes her limits. She starts to see what life outside of her home is really like and what’s to be a part of it. She starts to question her father more and more, until she is ready to escape from her father’s control. The one thing that stops her is her siblings, she does not want to leave her family behind. She ends up finding out some harsh truths about her family, and has to fight to keep everyone safe.

This book wasn’t very long and I was able to get through it fairly quickly. The pace of the book was pretty good, and I never felt bored. There was something about it that kept me hooked. I was really intrigued by Castella and her father’s beliefs. I wanted to see how the story would play out and it there were any unsuspected turns coming. The ending did leave me feeling little disappointed and there were just too many questions left unanswered and things were wrapped up too quickly for me. All in all, it was a quick, interesting read with a slightly creepy vibe that kept me engaged the whole way through. I just wish that the book had a little more depth and explored the characters and ideas a bit more.

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

25th May 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve TucholkeWink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published by Dial
Pub Date: March 22nd 2016
Pages: 247
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

Wink Poppy Midnight is not like any other books I’ve read lately. The story is about three teens, Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. Each of them is very different and has their own story to tell. April Genevieve Tucholke’s writing style is mesmerizing. The whole book read like a lovely poem. This story was beautiful and addictive.

Poppy is a mean girl. She’s cruel and a bully, she has her own little group of followers called the Yellows that she loves to boss around and play games with. Midnight is in love with Poppy, but he doesn’t want to be. He sees the kind of person she is and he is trying so hard to break away from her and her manipulations. That’s when he meets Wink. Wink is one of the Bell children. She has the nickname “Feral Bell” because most of the other kids her age think she’s a little weird. She loves fairy tales and reading about adventures in books. When Midnight moves in next door she thinks it’s a sign that her own adventure is starting.

We follow all three of these characters throughout the book and get to see the story through each of their viewpoints. I enjoyed the different narrators and they all have such independent voices. You could tell who’s point of view it was without seeing the names in the beginnings of the chapters. Midnight is the main character, caught between two girls and trying to start over. I liked Midnight and felt his struggle when it came to Poppy and Wink. He is a nice guy and just wants to be with someone who actually wants him back. Poppy is easy to hate, she’s mean, cruel, and loves to play games. As the story goes on you start to see Poppy as more than just a mean girl and even start to sympathize with her at certain points. Wink is a strange character, she is obsessed with fairy tales and making real life just like a story. She seems too naive and childlike to be real. At time I just couldn’t take her character seriously at all, and she kind of annoyed me.

The messy little triangle between Poppy, Midnight, and Wink is really interesting. Poppy is determined not to lose Midnight, not because she loves him but just because she hates to lose. Midnight tries so hard to stay away from Poppy and he genuinely likes Wink and wants to spend time with her. In the beginning of the book it seems pretty clear that Poppy is the villain and Midnight and Wink might be the heroes of the story. As the book goes on it becomes harder and harder to tell who’s the villain and who’s the hero. The lines get really blurry and it’s hard to trust any of our narrators.

When I finished this book I realized there are no heroes or villains, just people with different motivations. It’s hard to point out who’s right or wrong in the end, everyone has their own baggage and does questionable things. I enjoyed the plot twist, which I didn’t see coming. The writing was enthralling and just drew me in. I loved the lyrical prose throughout the book and it just added to the atmosphere the author was building throughout the story. I recommend this book to anyone who like a mystery and a story that’s a little out there.

And the perfect gif to sum up this story…

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher

23rd Mar 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Opportunist by Tarryn FisherThe Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher
Series: Love Me with Lies #1
Published by Author
Pub Date: November 14th 2011
Pages: 278
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

Olivia and Caleb, these two are just one crazy and toxic couple. They both do some pretty extreme things in the name of love. Olivia and Caleb meet in college and their twisted story just spirals on from there. It’s hard to talk about details because there are so many twists and turns in this book that really shouldn’t be spoiled.

Olivia goes to extremes to get Caleb back and keep him. After their relationship ends, Olivia feel like she is getting another chance when she sees Caleb in a music store one day and he doesn’t seem to recognize her. She could tell him the truth or she could stick to her scheming ways and try to make things right with him again. Obviously, she chooses not to tell the truth and just go with it. Olivia is definitely complicated, she loves Caleb but she screws things up left and right.

Now lets talk about Caleb, he blames Olivia for a lot of things when he is equally guilty, if not a little more. I can’t say too much about what he does without giving things away, but let’s just say Olivia is not the only manipulative one. I had a problem with Caleb, he’s so quick to blame everything on Olivia but he’s not perfect at all. He made a lot of mistakes in their relationship and instead of owning it he just seems too pass the blame on to Olivia. He’s a pretty shady character himself.

Another major player in this book is Leah, she’s Caleb’s current girlfriend when he gets amnesia.  She is even more manipulative than Olivia and down right evil at times, it seems like Caleb has a type. She is not just sitting around letting Olivia have Caleb, she is fighting for him, and she’s fighting dirty. By the end of the book you just want her gone.

I’ve seen a lot of ranting about the ending of this book but I thought it was fitting. It was exactly how I thought these two would end up. It may not make everyone happy but I think it’s realistic.

Olivia and Caleb are not perfect, it’s hard to even tell if they’re good people. This isn’t a classic love story, sometimes it’s hard to root for them and it’s definitely not a fairytale. The Opportunist is a unique take on a love story where the two main characters are crazy about each other, but have no clue how to make things right.

 

 

About Tarryn Fisher

Tarryn Fisher

Tarryn Fisher is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of five novels, and is currently working on two more (Marrow and the second installment of Never Never). She is the co-founder of Clothed Caption, a fashion blog she runs with her friend, Madison Seidler. Tarryn resides in the Seattle area with her family. She loves rainy days, Coke, and thinks Instagram is the new Facebook. Tarryn is represented by Amy Tannenbaum of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Bitsy Words: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

17th Mar 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Bitsy Words: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

Bitsy Words: You Were Here by Cori McCarthyYou Were Here by Cori McCarthy
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: March 1st 2016
Pages: 400
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
2.5 Stars

Grief turned Jaycee into a daredevil, but can she dare to deal with her past?

On the anniversary of her daredevil brother's death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake's favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother's exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.

As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn't bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

Jaycee’s brother Jake loved to do crazy stunts, he’d take any dare, and he lived for the adrenaline rush. One day, that love of the thrill cost Jake his life when one of his dangerous stunts kills him. Five years later, his sister Jaycee is still recovering from the lost and the trauma. Now, she wants to be just like Jake and tries to recreate moments in his life to feel closer to him.

The book follows several characters. Jaycee’s ex-friend Natalie, Natalie’s boyfriend Zach, their friend Bishop, and Jake’s childhood friend Mikivikious. Honestly, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. I didn’t find any of them particularly likable. That being said, I did like how each character had their own struggles to overcome throughout the story. They all had their own personal demons that they had to deal with. Mik was by far my favorite. He was quiet and supportive, all he wants is to help Jaycee. Plus, I really loved the illustrations that we’re given for his POV. One major downside was that with all the different POVs it was hard to give the characters the depth and focus they needed to make them a little more well rounded.

The pace of this book was a little slow, it was more character driven than plot driven, which was difficult for me because the characters were pretty bland. Overall, It is a good story about grief, finding yourself, and figuring out who you want to be.

 

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

7th Mar 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy EngelThe Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy #2
Published by Entangled Teen
Pub Date: November 3rd 2015
Pages: 290
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty--forced marriages and murder plots--for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall's borders.

But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy's life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she's fought for.

I loved The Book of Ivy, it was one of the best books I read last year and I was so excited and ready for The Revolution of Ivy. While I enjoyed this book, I liked it a little less than the first book. This was a good wrap up of the story and the plots but it was missing a little bit of excitement I felt in the first one. That being said there were a lot of big decisions and risks taken in the story.

Ivy and Bishop were a little aggravating because they just wouldn’t talk to each other and work things out. They drove me crazy! I just wanted them to figure things out and move forward. A big part of the book is spent with these two dancing around each other and avoiding their issues. After a while it was just annoying.

The new characters Ash and Caleb were a great addition. I really liked them and their friendship with Ivy. I was a little wary at first, but they won me over, especially Ash. Ivy definitely needed some more trustworthy and loyal people in her life.

Life outside of the fence was what I was most excited about seeing in this book. Ivy has never left Westfall, and I knew life on the outside would be rough. I wanted to see how she would handle it. I was pleasantly surprised in this respect because Ivy did go through a lot of obstacles on the outside and it was not easy for her. Honestly, I would have loved a whole book about Ivy adjusting to the outside and leaving Westfall and her family behind but that just wouldn’t have worked for the character or the series. Ivy gets to make peace with some of the issues of her past and her family. All while proving that her awful father and sister definitely never deserved her loyalty.

I’m a little sad the series is over. I wish it was longer, but at the same time I’m glad the author didn’t drag the story out. All of the questions I had were answered and the story wraps up pretty nicely. Not too perfect, but still hopeful for the future of the characters. Even though this book didn’t quite live up to my expectations I still enjoyed it and was happy with how the series ended.

 

 

About Amy Engel

Amy Engel

Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which she says is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  :) When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

8th Feb 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria AveyardGlass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #2
Published by HarperTeen
Pub Date: February 9th 2016
Pages: 448
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

 

Don’t read this review if you haven’t read Red Queen because spoilers, spoilers, spoilers…

Glass Sword picks up right where Red Queen left off. Mare, Cal, and the rest of the Reds are on the run from Maven. The mood of this book feels a lot darker than the first one. There’s lots of betrayal and hurt going around. No one can be trusted and there are some shocking events. My favorite part, no more love triangle. I hate love triangles and that was my biggest issue with Red Queen, the whole torn between two brothers thing never appealed to me. Thankfully that isn’t a problem in this book. Mare is still torn between two brothers, but one of them wants to kill her, which is a lot more interesting.

Mare goes through a big change throughout this book, and you can see the effects of everything that happened in Red Queen. She’s colder, meaner, and a little more selfish. Her ability to trust people has been ruined and she has a very single minded focus in this book. All she can think about is the revolution and getting rid of Maven. Her single mindedness can be really frustrating at times, especially when her friends and family are trying to help her. She feels very alone, and she does things to push everyone away.

Maven, Maven, Maven. He turned out to be such an awesome villain. I hate him, but he is so interesting and you just have no clue what sick, twisted thing he’ll do next. Mare spends most of the book battling her guilt when it comes to Maven, he tricked her and she trusted him now all of this is happening because of him.

Overall, even though I had a slow start with this book I ended up getting caught up in this world and what was happening to the characters. The action kept building and building and it ended up drawing me in. Just a little warning, there is a huge cliffhanger that might make you want to throw your book against a wall :)

 

 

About Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard

Victoria Aveyard was born and raised in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, a small town known only for the worst traffic rotary in the continental United States. She moved to Los Angeles to earn a BFA in screenwriting at the University of Southern California. She currently splits her time between the East and West coasts. As an author and screenwriter, she uses her career as an excuse to read too many books and watch too many movies.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

27th Jan 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke NijkampThis Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: January 5th 2016
Pages: 292
Format: ARC | Source: Author
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

This is not an easy book to read, but it is also a very moving and powerful story. This is Where it Ends is a story about a school shooting, it takes place in the span of 54 minutes and it is nerve wracking. The students and teachers are trapped inside with the shooter and the reader gets to go on this terrifying journey with them. There are four different POV and while some people may not like this I think it added to the story. It allows the reader to see different sides of what’s going on during the shooting. Some of the characters are stuck inside with the shooter and others are on the outside worried for their friends and family. It lets you in on both sides of the story, the people who are experiencing the shooting first hand, and those on the outside scared for their friends and loved ones.

The writing in this book is really beautiful and heartbreaking. There were times when I just couldn’t put it down because I had to know what happened next and if the characters were safe. I really cared for the characters and felt their fear and pain while I was reading. This story just seemed very real to me, there are moment of bravery and utter terror from the characters and it easy to understand their actions and reasoning. All the the POV characters are connected to the shooter in some way and their reactions and interpretations to why he does this adds so much to the story. This isn’t a random person doing this horrible thing, it’s somebody they know, someone they dated, even someone one of them is related to. Going through the emotions with these characters is intense.

The only thing I didn’t like about the book were the tweets and blog posts shown in between chapters from the students and others about the shooting. I just didn’t think they were necessary. I understand that they were there to show the good that social media can do and how it can help to connect people, but the book would have been just fine without them.

This is Where it Ends may not be for everyone. It is violent and the different POV may not work for some readers, but I think everyone should give it a chance. It’s an important topic and a really gripping story.

 

About Marieke Nijkamp

Marieke Nijkamp

Marieke Nijkamp was born and raised in the Netherlands. A lifelong student of stories, language, and ideas, she is more or less proficient in about a dozen languages and holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. Her debut young adult novel This Is Where It Ends, a contemporary story that follows four teens over the course of the fifty-four minutes of a school shooting, is published by Sourcebooks Fire.

She is the founder of DiversifYA as well as founding member and advisor of We Need Diverse Books.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler

6th Jan 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Immaculate by Katelyn DetweilerImmaculate by Katelyn Detweiler
Published by Viking Children's
Pub Date: May 26th 2015
Pages: 464
Format: ARC | Source: Gifted
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Mina is seventeen. A virgin. And pregnant.

Mina is top of her class, girlfriend to the most ambitious guy in school, able to reason and study her way through anything. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant—despite having never had sex—her orderly world collapses. Almost nobody believes Mina’s claims of virginity. Her father assumes that her boyfriend is responsible; her boyfriend believes she must have cheated on him. As news of Mina’s story spreads, there are those who brand her a liar. There are those who brand her a heretic. And there are those who believe that miracles are possible—and that Mina’s unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.

When I read the premise of Immaculate I just had to get my hands on the book. An immaculate conception in present day? I was curious to see how this would go. Seventeen year old Mina is a virgin and she’s pregnant. Of course, everyone thinks she’s lying. Her friends and family turn on her, her boyfriend breaks up with her, and her perfect life starts to fall to pieces. I really loved the topic of this book because it made me think. If someone you knew told you this story would you believe them?

Mina is a good girl, she follows the rules, gets good grades, and never does anything reckless. One day an old woman comes into the restaurant where Mina works as a waitress and starts to tell her about her future and the baby she will have. Mina writes the old lady off as crazy and goes on with her life. A few weeks later Mina finds out she’s pregnant and maybe that old lady wasn’t so crazy after all.

Going into this book I thought it would be religious or preachy but it wasn’t at all. Mina is not religious and the book focuses more on having faith in things and believing in miracles. Mina goes through many ups and downs , she has to have faith that all this is happening for a reason and that it all means something.

I felt awful for Mina while I was reading. She goes through so much and so many people she trusts turn on her, even members of her family. The people at school make fun of her, her ex thinks she betrayed him, and even some of her best friends turn their backs on her. It’s hard to read sometimes because people are so awful to Mina. People she doesn’t even know feel the need to have input on her and the baby’s life. On the other hand, I can understand why people are so doubtful and unbelieving. If someone told me the same story I’m not sure I’d believe them. That disbelief and curiosity go to some extremes in this book. People are determined to find out if Mina’s lying and it’s really crazy how perfect strangers get so invested and involved in what’s going on with Mina and the baby.

My biggest problem with this book is the ending. I just wanted more. I felt like there was a lot more we needed to know and so many answers we never got. It was a really emotional book and the ending just felt very flat and vague. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book and the characters. Mina was a great protagonist and I was rooting for her the whole time. I really liked this book and the message it sends. It wasn’t too preachy or religious, it focuses more on family, bullying, friendships, and how to stand up for your beliefs.

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: Chasing River by K.A. Tucker

30th Nov 2015 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Chasing River by K.A. TuckerChasing River by K.A. Tucker
Series: Burying Water #3
Published by Atria Books
Pub Date: July 7th 2015
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback | Source: Borrowed
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Armed with two years' worth of savings and the need to experience life outside the bubble of her Oregon small town, twenty-five-year old Amber Welles is prepared for anything. Except dying in Dublin. Had it not been for the bravery of a stranger, she might have. But he takes off before she has the chance to offer her gratitude.

Twenty-four-year-old River Delaney is rattled. No one was supposed to get hurt. But then that American tourist showed up. He couldn't let her die, but he also couldn't risk being identified at the scene—so, he ran. Back to his everyday life of running his family’s pub. Only, everyday life is getting more and more complicated, thanks to his brother, Aengus, and his criminal associations. When the American girl tracks River down, he quickly realizes how much he likes her, how wrong she is for him. And how dangerous it is to have her around. Chasing her off would be the smart move.

Maybe it's because he saved her life, or maybe it's because he's completely different from everything she's left behind, but Amber finds herself chasing after River Delaney. Amber isn’t the kind of girl to chase after anyone.

And River isn't the kind of guy she'd want to catch.

Amber Welles has spent years saving up for a trip around the world. Amber is a nurse and the twin sister of Jesse Welles, who was a main character in Burying Water. She is finally taking the trip of a lifetime to see the world, and now she’s in Ireland. While she’s there she gets into a dangerous situation and is saved by a mysterious stranger, a stranger she just can’t seem to forget.

K.A. Tucker is one of my favorite New Adult authors. I just love her stories and can’t get enough of this series. I love getting to explore the new characters as well as getting little glimpses as to how the other characters are doing after their stories have ended. Amber was introduced in Burying Water and it’s nice to see more of her. Amber has always been the good girl, the sheriff’s daughter, and no one actually believed she would take this trip on her own and leave her small town. She ends up proving them all wrong.

River is the mysterious stranger that saves Amber’s life. I really enjoyed his character and the way there was so much history incorporated in his story. I actually learned a lot about Irish history and the IRA from reading this book. Especially considering the only thing I knew about the IRA is what I saw on Sons of Anarchy.

I liked the way the romance developed between Amber and River. They are an unlikely couple, but are perfect for each other at the same time. I mean, who wouldn’t fall for a guy that saves your life? River has a lot of secrets and family drama going on and Amber has to decide whether or not she’s okay with it all. There’s really good suspense and drama in this story and sometimes it really had you at the edge of your seat and worried about the fates of the different characters.

Chasing River is another K.A. Tucker hit for me. She just can’t seem to do any wrong in my eyes. I really loved the romance and each of the main characters. This is a great installment of the series. A fresh, new story that had me entertained and engaged from start to finish.

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

16th Nov 2015 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Fallout by Gwenda BondFallout by Gwenda Bond
Series: Lois Lane #1
Published by Switch Press
Pub Date: May 1st 2015
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Comics/Graphic Novels, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.

Lois Lane is an Army brat who has lived in many different places. Her newest home is Metropolis and she is determined to make things work. She’s making friends, keeping her head down, and most importantly she won’t get into any trouble. That plan goes right out the window on Lois’s first day of school where she stumbles upon a new job at the local paper and the perfect  story. The problem is that getting the truth will get her into all kinds of trouble. Good thing she gets a little help from her longtime online friend SmallvilleGuy (I wonder who that might be??).

This story shows how Lois becomes the Lois Lane we all know, the journalist who will stop at nothing to find the truth. We get to see her go after her first story This book is the perfect match for my comic book love and YA love. Teenage Lois is just as awesome and brave as she is in the comics. She is loyal to the people she cares about and can’t stand for anyone being mistreated. She never backs down from a challenge.

The mystery in this book involves bullying and some strange things happening with a group of kids in Lois’s new school. It’s really interesting and there’s a comic book feeling with the mystery too. The Warheads are the bullies in the story that Lois is trying to take down. They seem to be above rules and the principal excuses all their bad behavior. On top of that they are just plain creepy, they seem to be connected in some sort of hive mind and it is all very strange. Of course Lois can’t let this stand and she decides to uncover what’s really going on with the Warheads and put a stop to their bullying.

SmallvilleGuy is another fun part of this book. We all know it’s Clark Kent behind the screen name but Lois is completely clueless.  We get to see little bits of Lois and Clark’s relationship before they even really know each other. The book kind of has a Smallville, the tv show, vibe but with Lois as the hero.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to any comic book, Smallville fans or even Veronica Mars fans. This book has a little bit of everything and Lois is a dynamic character that you love rooting for.

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: Hollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie Tejeda

19th Oct 2015 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Hollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie TejedaHollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie Tejeda
Narrator: Connor Eiding
Published by Bloomsbury Spark
Pub Date: September 29th 2015
Length: 7 hrs and 13 mins
Format: Audiobook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

From the moment she first learned the truth about witches…she knew she was born to fight them.

Now, at sixteen, Iris is the lone girl on the Witch Hunters Special Ops Team.

But when Iris meets a boy named Arlo, he might just be the key to preventing an evil uprising in Southern California.

Together they're ready to protect the human race at all costs. Because that's what witch hunters do.

Welcome to Hollywood.

In Hollywood witches exist, and they have to kill to stay alive. The Hunters are there to protect the humans and keep the witches in line. The witches have to kill to stay young and beautiful, but they only kill the most selfish and self absorbed people.This makes it hard to put the witches in the category of good or evil.The hunters do not see that dilemma and are there to protect everyone no matter what. Iris is the first female born with the witch hunting gene, and no one makes it easy on her. She is the only girl in a big boy’s club and they all treat her like she isn’t as good as them. She has to work twice and hard and she still gets the most criticism.

There are actually two love interests in the book and Arlo, the wannabe rockstar, is the first one we meet. It took almost the whole book for me to warm up to Arlo and I’m still not sure I liked him in the end. Arlo is a new recruit to the witch hunters who came to Hollywood hoping to ditch the witch hunters and pursue he dreams of being a star. Iris is in charge of training him and showing him the ropes and of course sparks fly. There are a lot of twists, turns, and deceptions with this couple, but they do keep things interesting.

The other love interest Silos doesn’t get as much attention until the last half of the book. Silos was a lot more my speed, he’s from Scotland (accent swoon!) and he shares the same strange dreams as Iris which helps draw them together.There’s a lot more about him but I can’t go into it with out giving things away.

I really liked the witched in this book, they weren’t 100% evil and their powers were really interesting. Every witch has a different power, some can control air, others animals, and so on. I loved seeing all the different kinds of powers the witches had.

Another great part of the book is that Iris is half Colombian and very proud of that. It’s always good to see diversity and representation in YA books and this one does a really good job with it.

All in all, I enjoyed Hollywood Witch Hunter. It was more of a light, fun read that’s good for when you want to relax and have a little book adventure. Iris is a great main character, she goes through a lot in this book and never gives up no matter how many people are against her. The ending to this book is a bit of a cliffhanger, it just leaves you with some questions that you want answered right away. I can’t wait until the next book!

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams

26th Aug 2015 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee AdamsRuthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
Published by Simon Pulse
Pub Date: July 14th 2015
Pages: 256
Format: ARC | Source: Gifted
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.

Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.

When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.

At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.

The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.

Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.

Ruthless is a story about survival. It will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Ruth Carver wakes up blindfolded, in the bed of a moving truck and has no idea how she got there or where she’s going. When the truck finally stops and her blindfold is removed she realizes a creepy farmhand she asked her father to fire has abducted her. Now the guy she calls “The Wolfman” wants to punish her and get some payback for what she did. Ruth has to figure out how to stay alive and get away from him.

Ruth is strong and manages to figure out a lot of things while she’s being held captive. She realizes The Wolfman has done this before to other girls and she vows not to end up like them. Ruth really uses her head and manages to keep it together during this ordeal. I loved how smart she was and how she was determined to get through this, she did not let herself give up. This is one of those stories that really scares you because you have no idea how you would react if you were in it yourself. I have no idea if I could be as brave as her if I was in that situation.

This book also lets us see into The Wolfman’s world, we see what it was like for him growing up and it adds to the creepy factor. This guy is such a creep, we get little glimpses of why he felt the need to go after Ruth. It’s easy to see how he got so damaged and the twisted logic he uses to fuel his actions.

It was hard to put this book down, I kept telling myself “just one more chapter” and next thing I know it’s two in the morning and I’m done with the book. Like I said, this is a story about survival, not only does Ruth have to survive The Wolfman, she has to survive the unfamiliar wilderness she finds herself in. There were so many moments where Ruth could have given up and she almost does, but every time she finds a way to move forward and keep fighting. Ruth may not have been the nicest girl before all this happens but she didn’t deserve what The Wolfman planned for her and she refuses to let him win.

Ruthless is an amazing psychological thriller that keeps you engaged the whole way through. This definitely isn’t for younger readers and is a little scary because this situation could happen to anyone. This is an intriguing story about a girl who gets caught by a monster and she refuses to let herself be his next victim.  If you love a good thriller and mystery I would definitely pick this up.

 

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

13th Jul 2015 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la CruzThe Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz
Narrator: Sophia Carson
Series: The Descendants #1
Published by Disney Hyperion
Pub Date: May 5th 2015
Pages: 311
Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
Format: Audiobook | Source: Gifted
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that's been left to rot and forgotten by the world.

But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon's eye: the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it...who will it be?

Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.

Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent's daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon's eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.

Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen's daughter, Evie, doesn't know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she's a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal's little tricks.

Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he's not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon's eye.

Carlos: Cruella de Vil's son may not be bravest, but he's certainly clever. Carlos's inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon's eye and ending the banishment for good.

Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon's eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She'll just need a little help from her "friends." In their quest for the dragon's eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain't so bad.

The Isle of the Lost follows the children of Disney’s meanest villains. The villains and their children have been banished to an island and trapped under a dome so they can never leave. The “good” Disney characters like Belle, Beast, Sleep Beauty, and all their children live across the river in Auradon. The story follows Mal, Maleficent’s daughter, Jay, son of Jafar, Carlos, son of Cruella de Vil, and Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen. On the island these kids are learning to be just as bad as their parents.

The book is a really fun read especially for those who love fairy tales and shows like Once Upon a Time. This is a new take on the lives of our favorite villains, and even better we get to see what their children are like. The kids of the villains try their hardest to be just as wicked as their parents to make them proud. Just because these Disney villains have kids don’t think they’ve gone soft. They are just as bad as they were in their stories and are doing their best to make their kids just like them. Mal, Carlos, Jay, and Evie all have interesting dynamics with their parents. These villains aren’t exactly the warm and fuzzy types, and all of the kids are just dying for their parents’ approval.

I really enjoyed seeing the adventures and schemes that the kids got up to. They go through quite a change during the book and learn that they don’t always have to do everything on their own and they don’t have to be like their parents. They all start to become a little more comfortable in their own skin.

We also meet Ben, the son of Belle and Beast, the future king of Auradon. Ben is conflicted because he doesn’t know if he’ll be as good of a leader as his father. He starts to wonder about the way the kingdom is run, and questioning whether or not his father’s way is really the right way. I loved the glimpses into Auradon. All these characters are supposed to be living their “Happily Ever Afters” but nothing can ever be perfect. There are many citizens of Auradon who are not happy with the way things are.

When I finished the book I realized that it’s a prequel to a Disney Channel movie “The Descendants” since I liked the book so much I will probably check out the movie too. Just to see what Mal, Jay, Evie, and Carlos are up to.

Another note, if you get the chance to listen to the audiobook, do it! The narrator is great, she has that dramatic fairy tale voice that really draws you into the story.

 

About Melissa de la Cruz

MELISSA DE LA CRUZ is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling series Blue Bloods, which has three million copies in print. She spent many summers on Shelter Island, which served as the inspiration for the fictional town of North Hampton. She lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with her family.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

13th Apr 2015 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2015, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Book of Ivy by Amy EngelThe Book of Ivy by Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy #1
Published by Entangled Teen
Pub Date: November 11th 2014
Pages: 282
Format: eBook | Source: Gifted
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

The Book of Ivy was just brilliant! Full of twists, turns and amazing surprises, it really blew me away. In the future a nuclear war has left the United States in shambles. A group of survivors come together to create their own town, but the people couldn’t agree on how to run the town and war broke out between the two sides. Now, The Lattimer family presides over the town and the Westfalls may come from the founding family but have no power. In order to maintain peace it’s decided that each year all the 16 year olds will be matched up to marry, one member from each side of the town in order to keep the peace and prevent an uprising from happening. Now Ivy Westfall is turning 16 and set to marry Bishop Lattimer, the president’s son. What the Lattimer’s don’t know is that Ivy’s family has a plan, Ivy has been tasked with killing her new husband so her family can take over the town.

Ivy was an amazing main character; she was strong, smart and caring. She was often conflicted with what she had to do even though she has known about this plan since she was a child. Her dad and sister have majorly influenced her for most of her life. They have drilled their desire for power into her head and made her feel like she’s the weak link in the family. I was not a fan of Ivy’s father and her sister Callie. Callie was the one who was supposed to marry Bishop and kill him but Bishop decided he wanted to marry Ivy instead. Callie seems to hold a grudge about this, I can never tell if she is genuine or not but by the end I’m guessing not. Callie seems to be her father’s daughter through and through. She cares more about power and revenge than anything else.

The romance was well done. Ivy and Bishop don’t just fall in love right away, it takes time. They have to learn to trust each other and as that trust grows their feelings do too. I really loved their relationship and how it happened. They were forced into this marriage and they are both way too young and they know that. Bishop also helps Ivy to see through her father’s views. He shows her that not everything is so black and white and sometimes she has to question things.

The end of this book was really shocking to me. I did not expect it to end like that, and now the next book doesn’t come out until November and I don’t know what to do with myself. Overall I was really impressed with this book, it’s definitely a new favorite of mine.

 

About Amy Engel

Amy Engel

Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which she says is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  :) When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

View Post