Tag Archives: ARC

ARC Review: Hidden Heart (Hidden #2)

Read from 23rd-24th May, 2015

Author: Amy Patrick

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Release Date: Today (24th May)

4.5 Stars

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17-year-old Ryann Carroll thought she knew who she was… a small-town Southern girl just trying to survive her parents’ messy divorce and find some peace for herself. She thought she knew what she wanted… a summer job, a car, a first date that didn’t suck, and NO complications from a serious relationship— any guy in her life would simply be icing on the cake.

But now… she’s not only in love, her boyfriend Lad is a member of a secret race that’s lived secretly among humans for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore. Things could hardly get more complicated than that.

More importantly, she’s learned the world’s top celebrities… those actors, musicians, athletes, and politicians who seem a little too beautiful and talented to be true… actually are. They’re not human, and they’re using their glamour and the increasing popularity of fan pods to control more and more humans. But why?

With her best friend Emmy leaving soon to join the fan pod of a famous actor, Ryann has to find out the answer. And she can’t do it alone. But after a shocking murder, Lad can no longer fight his destiny or his duty, and Ryann’s not sure whether his top priority is their relationship or his people.

In this second book of the Hidden Trilogy, true friendship will take Ryann from rural Mississippi to the glittering city of Los Angeles. And true love will take her to places she never expected to go…

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You can find my review of Hidden Deep, the first book of the Hidden trilogy, here.

First of all, I would like to give a huge thank you to Amy Patrick, the author of the “Hidden” trilogy, for supplying me with an advanced reader copy (ARC) of this novel.

I really appreciated the world building of this series. Hidden Heart really showcased the fan pods – the dynamics, purpose and execution of them were brought to light in a scarily realistic manner. It was not hard to believe that this could happen in our society, our world, in the present time (or near future).

Although I loved Hidden Heart, it did take me about a hundred pages or so to really get into it – mainly because Ryann (the protagonist) was really frustrating me. She was stubborn and made some decisions that I didn’t necessarily agree with. However, she did have some growth and character development throughout the novel which I appreciated and the story really picked up towards the second half of the book.

As for Lad… I don’t even know. Hidden Heart made me fall in love with Nox, and now I ship him with Ryann way more than Ryan and Lad – I loved Lad in Hidden Deep, and I appreciate that he was her first love, but in real life, first loves are often not the last – or only – love someone has in their life.

I also currently love Nox’s character more than Lad’s. I don’t understand how anyone can read Hidden Heart and not fall in love with Nox. That end revelation only solidified my love for him. However, as much as I’d like to believe Nox is endgame, Amy has left space for it to go either way.

Despite my initial frustrations, I really admire Ryann’s loyalty to Emmy and I feel that it is a large part of what kept her grounded as a character.

I’m not sure what to make of Vancia. I wish that I’d read The Sway (a Hidden novella) before Hidden Heart as I would love to know what’s going on inside her head. We don’t really see much of her in the first two installments of the trilogy, but enough to get me intrigued. I feel that she will be a featured character in the next book, which I hope is the case.

Davis. Although I didn’t mention anything in my review of Hidden Deep, I had my suspicions of his true nature even then. – He was dating Ryann’s mother and despite exchanging a few phone calls, had never met Ryann in person. Also, he turned Ryann’s mother lovestruck, which is certainly a feat in itself. Everything about him screamed too good to be true…

I highly recommend the Hidden trilogy to fans of urban fantasy and faerie lore.

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ARC Review: The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks

Read 10th May, 2015

Author: Sam Maggs

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Release Date: 12th May, 2015

5 Stars

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Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

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The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geek Girls is everything that I had hoped it would be and more.

Told with an interesting, humorous voice, this book is an absolutely wonderful read. Whether you’re into books, movies, TV shows, gaming, anime, comic books or science, I highly recommend checking out The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galexy.

Aside from all the awesome points featured above, there are also short interviews at the end of each chapter with some iconic people including Beth Revis (author of the Across the Universe trilogy) and Victoria Schwab (also known as V. E. Schwab, author of The Archived, Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic). Plus, Tamora Piece is mentioned, who is one of my favourite authors of all time.

A quick, enjoyable, insightful read, why wouldn’t you want to pick it up? Do I also need to mention fandoms such as SuperWhoLock, Harry Potter, Tolkien, Marvel and DC? Oh, and don’t forget the mini section on fanfiction…

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Though I do not have the physical copy, I have seen it on BookTube and under the dust jacket is absolutely gorgeous – it even has a TARDIS and a book on it!

Thank you so much to Quirk Books for approving my request for this book on NetGallery! (Which I have literally just found out is pronounced and spelled NetGalley – whoops.)

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2)

Finished on 4th April, 2015

Author: Marie Rutkoski

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Release Date: March 12th, 2015

5 Stars

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Lady Kestrel’s engagement to Valoria’s crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust …

While Arin fights to keep his country’s freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking Winner’s trilogy.

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I was warned, but nothing – nothing – could have prepared me for the beautiful torture that is Marie Rutkoski’s Winner’s Crime. I just – I can’t. The worse part is, I allowed myself to hope.

A lot of people argue that this installment is Marie’s best yet – and I would be inclined to agree. However, don’t go into it expecting rainbows, butterflies and fun times. Because if you are… well, let’s just say that you are in for a huge surprise.

The Winner’s Crime is full of secrets, lies, tension, politics, high society, betrayal, intrigue, espionage and a whole lot of emotional manipulation. There will be tears, frustration, yelling at the characters to just get over themselves and hurt when others turn out not to be who you thought they were. This novel will have you on the edge of your seat, will make you hope and then crush that hope into a thousand pieces.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Now go and pick it up anyway because you do not want to miss out on this spectacular ride.

Thank you so much to Bloomsbury Publishing for approving my request for this book on NetGallery in exchange for an honest review. This copy of “The Winner’s Curse” is actually an ARC, but unfortunately I did not get around to reading it before the release date.

ARC Review: Hidden Deep (Hidden #1)

Finished on 16th March, 2015

Author: Amy Patrick

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Release Date: March 23rd, 2015

4.5 Stars

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Sixteen-year-old Ryann Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she’d be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She’s a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping) and he’s not supposed to exist.

After her father’s affair, all Ryann wants is to escape the family implosion fallout and find a little peace. She also wouldn’t mind a first date that didn’t suck, but she’s determined not to end up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryann’s recently moved back to her childhood home in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died.

She’s still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He’s still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she’s with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryann’s strict policy– never want someone more than he wants you.

Seventeen-year-old Lad knows the law of his people all too well: Don’t get careless and Don’t get caught. It’s allowed his race to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore…

Lad’s never been able to forget about Ryann since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He’s not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one.

And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark is widening, and mysterious celebrity fan pods are becoming more and more widespread and influential. Lad may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryann, blissfully unaware and safe.

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A beautiful urban fantasy, Hidden Deep features an amusing narrator, a love interest that is both adorable and mysterious, brilliant world building and a whole lot of foreshadowing that has you pulling up theories all over the place.

While I consider myself to be a fairly broad reader, I am always a sucker for a good fantasy – and elves? Altum? Absolutely fantastic.

“Oh God… icing on the cake, icing… oh hang it all.”

Ryann was a great narrator – she was amusing, relatable and strong. She loved her family and was just a really enjoyable character.

I loved Lad. He was thoughtful, innocent, adorable and sweet; while at the same time he was mysterious, protective and yes, rather attractive. Lad was so genuine about everything he did, especially when it came to Ryann.

The other characters were just as great – Grandma Neena was totally awesome, especially when suspicions are proven true; Nox was intense, and though I was highly skeptical of him, he didn’t turn out to be as bad as I’d presumed; I really liked Maria (Ryann’s Mum). I don’t quite know why, but I really hope things turn out well for her.

I also loved Lad’s family – his parents were kind of adorable. Again, I’m not entirely sure why I feel this way and that’s probably not the right word to describe it, but I can’t help the warm fuzzy feeling inside me after finishing this novel – maybe it’s just that stupid cliffhanger… That’s probably it. (Yes, I do understand that it was the right way to end the book but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it). Contradictory much? I tend to be that way.

I highly recommend Hidden Deep to fans of YA, urban fantasy and romance. Personally, I am definitely looking forward to the next installment of the trilogy – which will probably be in slightly over a year (totally guessing here, don’t quote me on that).

Thank you so much to All Night Reads for supplying me with a copy of this book via NetGallery in exchange for a review.

Friday Finds #7

Friday Finds, a weekly book meme by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm, showcases the books you ‘found’ or added to your To Be Read list… Whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library -wherever! (They aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

This week I would like to give a HUGE shout out to everyone at NetGalley that have approved my requests to gain electronic copies of books in exchange for an honest review (plural). In this week alone, I have received approval for eighteen books. That’s right – eighteen! I just – WOW. I am so thankful!!

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I have finally received my copy of The Winner’s Curse, which I ordered from The Book Depository. This is the first book in the Winner’s series by Marie Rutkoski and of which I actually received and ARC of the second book (released yesterday), but was unable to read it until The Winner’s Curse came through. Now I can finally marathon it! Whoo!

Now onto my NetGallery finds:

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A Lonely Magic by Sarah Wynde

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A Theory of Expanded Love by Caitlin Hicks. This is actually an ARC and is to be published on June 12th.

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Beyond Reach (True Calling #2) by Sibhan Davis. This is also an ARC and is to be published on April 30th.

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Bringing Narnia Home by Devin Brown. This too is an ARC, to be published on April 7th.

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Distance by Andrea Heltsley.

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Dreamwalker by Rhys Bowen and C.M. Broyles.

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Escape in Time by Ronit Lowenstein-Malz.

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Hidden Deep by Amy Patrick.

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Ignite by Erica Crouch. The first two installments and the first novella are currently on NetGalley, though I only have the first book. I believe that the second installment, Incite, was published on February 17th.

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Paranormal Keepers by Jen Naumann.

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Perfect Timing by Robin Mellon. This is not an ARC, but it was only published on March 1st.

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The Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sin by Jonathan L. Ferrara.

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Another ARC, The Catalyst by Helena Coggan is to be released on April 14th.

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The Jack of Souls by Stephen C. Merlino.

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The Summer Solstice Enchanted by K. K. Allen.

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Tied by Laney McMann.

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True Calling by Siobhan Davis. This is also a recent release, having been published on 28th January this year.

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You Are Mine by Janeal Falor.

That’s the end of this week’s Friday Finds! Please feel free to comment with your own Friday Finds – I would love to hear from you.

ARC Review: City of Fae (London Fae #1)

Read on 8th March, 2015

Author: Pippa DaCosta

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Release Date: May 7th, 2015

5 Stars

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From the moment Alina touches London’s hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect all of her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.

Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains … And to fight back, Alina risks sacrificing everything she has come to love.

This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.

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Thank you so much to Bloomsbury Publishing for supplying me with a free ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

An enchanting urban fantasy, City of Fae will ignite your imagination and capture your soul. A badass heroine, an alluring love interest, an enthralling mystery and a fascinating new world within the streets of London – what’s not to love about DaCosta’s newest novel?

The world building was absolutely fantastic. Set in an alternate reality where fae not only exist but are accepted and revered in society, City of Fae brings the familiar and the fantastical together in a unique and unexpected way. Plus, I have a not-so-slight obsession with London, so it certainly didn’t hurt that it was centered there.

The plot was also brilliant, constantly spiraling in unforseen directions and taking the story to new heights. Whatever you think will happen, probably won’t – this story will surpass your expectations and quite possibly cause your emotions to explode several times over.

At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to relate to the characters – a reporter and a rock star? I was skeptical, I admit. But boy was I glad to have been proven wrong. Alina was strong, sarcastic, witty and amusing. Her story had me enthralled the entire time and I loved how sassy she was. Reign was intense, layered, deep – and yes, extremely hot. He is both a walking cliche and a defiance to it. Backstories are everything, and DaCosta ticked that box for each of them – including Andrews and Shay, who I loved.

Everything was layered, nothing taken at surface value. City of Fae teaches us to not judge a book by its cover (though, to that effect, it does have a very pretty cover) but to always dig deeper, for you never know what hidden depths are to be found within.

Recommend to those looking for an enchanting New Adult urban fantasy read.

Take Me Tomorrow

Read on 11th July, 2014

Author: Shannon A. Thompson

I would like to thank Shannon A. Thompson for providing me with an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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4.5 Stars 🙂

Two years after the massacre, the State enforces stricter rules and harsher punishments on anyone rumored to support tomo – the clairvoyant drug that caused a regional uprising.

But sixteen-year-old Sophia Gray has other problems.

Between her father’s illegal forgery and her friend’s troubling history, the last thing Sophia needs is an unexpected encounter with a boy.

He’s wild, determined, and one step ahead of her. But when his involvement with tomo threatens her friends and family, Sophia has to make a decision: fight for a future she cannot see or sacrifice her loved ones to the world of tomorrow.

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While I loved this book, I do admit that it was confusing at times (hence the .5). It took me a while to fully grasp the concept of how the drug tomo was the symbol of hope for the oppressed. I came to the conclusion that it was because it made you see that tomorrow would come. There was a line in the book that said the tomo showed peace after the war – which got me slightly confused because I thought that it only showed what tomorrow would bring – not any farther into the future. However, tomo is based largely on interpretation – so that could be part of it.

A very unique story, Take Me Tomorrow had great characters that you couldn’t help but love (aside from those such as Phelps and Anthony/Tony which are the obvious enemies).

Sophia isn’t one to mess with and, even when she was in the dark, you could count on her to stick up for her friends and put up a fight. I loved her knives and how she wasn’t afraid to use them – I’ve always been partial to knife-throwing. In the opening scene, we really see her relationship with her dog, Argos, and how she finds freedom in the forest behind her house. I love how her nickname isn’t just “Sophie” but “Soph E”. Sophia’s such a pretty name ;).

Noah was an intriguing character. At first I, like Sophia, thought that he was a bad guy (government propaganda and all that). Luckily for us Noah fans out there, he’s not the one at fault here. However, the fact remains that he’s a tomo addict and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that other than gladness that here we have an obviously imperfect lead guy in fiction – which is surprisingly hard to find. I do believe though, his addiction isn’t that hard to believe and is perhaps even expected considering who his parents are. Despite his addiction, I do love Noah and it was rather amusing how he interacted with all the characters on an individual level.

Lily was the awesome best friend that I wish I had! (Ironically, one of my best friends is called Lily and she’s blonde and really smart – do with that what you will). As I was journeying throughout this book, I actually thought that Lily wouldn’t be much help but, as it turns out, she had a really big influence on how things turned out – and ended up “saving the day” more than once. I feel really bad for her about what happened at prom (and still don’t quite understand precisely why it had to happen but you know, I’m rolling with it). Even at a young age, Lily was amazing – she deciphered the boys’ codes and times without them suspecting a thing! Which brings me onto a side note…

I love those watches!! At first, when we’re introduced to Broden in the hospital, we learn about his watch and his strange habits – constantly checking the time even though the face is broken and the time’s completely wrong, etc. Sophia then makes the remark that Noah was the same watch, but black. I think nothing of it. However, as we go deeper into the story we learn just how cool these watches are – Broden, Miles and Noah each have one and it’s how they communicate (it acts like a walkie talkie kind of thing), the watches are in sync at the “wrong time” so they can meet at times unknown to others and the last epic thing that we see these watches do is unlock Noah’s house – pretty awesome, huh? The latter quality leads me to wonder – how many are there? Is it a family thing? A rebellion item for key members? Are they hand-me-downs? What else can these watches do?

Back to the characters now, Miles and Brody were really cool (I know what you’re thinking – if they’re so cool then why did you group them together? The real question however, is why not group them together?) Miles turned out to be super smart – after all, he stole a train as a pre-teen, how awesome is that?! I feel really sorry for Brody. First, he gets in a fight for which there’s word that he has to go back to military school (after only two years of freedom). Then, he gets himself arrested. Poor thing… In the beginning, he also tries really hard not to get Sophia involved in the whole tomo/illegal activity they’re got going on. Which, as you know by the synopsis, doesn’t work out too well.

Let’s talk about Dwayne Grey (otherwise known as Sophia’s father). I loved his character so much! While he was out of town a lot, when he appeared he was just the best! Teaching his daughter to throw knives, hiding a forgery in his basement and – this one’s the best – being hired to work for Phelps (the evil dictator dude) on the account of being caught crossing illegally – in other words, for being a criminal. Yep, doesn’t this dude sound like the best dad? Well, he was despite and probably because of hiding a huge part of his life that was only unearthed when Noah came to town.

Lyn was really cool. With her tattoos, nursing skills, baby bump and three-year-old son, she was the backbone to this odd group. Easy going despite her tough exterior, Lyn was the one to go to in a crisis – particularly if you needed something to aid in illegal activity. She was the getaway driver, nurse and motherly figure that kept them all in line.

All in all, a great story with awesome characters who had each other’s backs in a unique dystopian world. I highly recommend Take Me Tomorrow to those seeking an interesting read with characters that you can love and a plot line that twists and turns.