Tag Archives: Review Copy

The Color Project

Read on 5th & 8th July, 2017

Author: Sierra Abrams

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5 Stars

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Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organisation called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

For fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson, The Color Project is a story about the three great loves of life—family, friendship, and romance—and the bonds that withstand tragedy.

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Thank you to Sierra Abrams for providing me with an eARC of The Color Project and Mollie the Reader for hosting the blog tour.

This has in no way influenced my review, all thoughts are my own.

The Color Project is a wonderful, heartwarming novel that captures the essence of interpersonal relationships – family, friendships and romantic. Up there with Queens of Geek, The Color Project is now one of my all-time favourite contemporary novels.

The Color Project features beautiful writing and a gorgeous design. However, the characters were by far the highlight of my reading experience.

First of all, the design of The Color Project is absolutely gorgeous. The cover, the chapter titles, the page breaks… beautiful. It’s definitely one of the prettiest books I’ve ever encountered and it really reflects the book well.

Sierra’s writing is beautiful, which is especially impressive considering this is her debut novel. Bee’s narrative voice is vivid and relatable, made unique through the inclusion of brackets to demonstrate her thought process (i.e. if Bee says one thing the brackets are used to reflect she’s really thinking something else) and “Thing You Should Know About Me [insert random number here]” randomly scattered throughout the text. The language, which is very contemporary with familiar colloquialisms, coupled with the incorporation of instant messaging conversations and references to current media such as The Book Thief and Hamilton, further allows the reader to be immersed in Bee’s narration.

Another unique formatting element is the fact that the chapter names are song titles. Personally, the only music I really listen to is Hamilton and Disney so I glossed over this part but for those who are interested, Sierra has compiled a Spotify playlist for all of the chapter title songs which can be found here. This element links in well with the story itself as Levi and Bee have several conversations regarding their taste in music.

Bee, our narrator, is a relatable, realistic character who is struggling with her own insecurities, identity and the pressure of not knowing what she wants to do with her life. She is also a bookworm (and book pusher) which I always love seeing. As challenges arose I didn’t always agree with how she dealt with them but I did understand where she was coming from when making her decisions.

Sadly, it’s incredibly rare to find present, positive family relationships within young adult literature as most novels either feature dead, absent or terrible parents – it’s almost as trite as the line “I let out a breath I hadn’t realised I was holding”. That said, Bee’s family were active and realistic; they teased and sometimes irritated one another but at the end of the day they were always there for each other. Individually Bee’s parents, Chloe and Matt, are wonderful people and great role models. Together, they have an amazing relationship that is actual goals. They are open and honest with each other and it’s apparent to all that they’re still madly in love. Bee’s siblings, Tom, Astrid and Millie, all have distinct personalities and were very much 3D characters.

Levi is an adorable cinnamon roll, a “precious heart”, and I love him so much. Not only is he incredibly kind, sweet, generous and selfless, but at the mere age of nineteen he runs his own charity – The Color Project – which administers financial aid to anyone who asks for it. His mother, Suzie, is equally amazing and I just want to hug them both and protect them from the world. Suffice to say, Levi is currently my top book boyfriend, even over Rhys from A Court of Mist and Fury and Jamie from Queens of Geek.

The Color Project is full of wonderful, kind, generous human beings. Gretchen, Bee’s best friend who lives across the county; Tracy, Bee’s manager at the flower shop; Ludwig, the delivery man; and all the volunteers at The Color Project are just a few of them.

Thus, in spite of the slightly darker themes that appear later in the narrative and a handful of terrible, selfish people, The Color Project leaves an overall light, fluffy, optimistic impression. It shows readers that yes, the world can be harsh, but it can be beautiful too.

The Color Project takes a relatively unique approach to relationships. Personally, I’ve found that young adult novels – particularly contemporaries – tend to build up to the moment the couple gets together and then stop. There usually isn’t anything past that; no models for navigating relationships, nothing on how to appropriately deal with conflict once the “honeymoon period” has gone by. The Color Project effectively navigates these waters; the relationship is developed, Bee and Levi start dating (and believe me, it’s adorable) but because of outside factors and some communication errors, there is hardship. To me, this is an incredibly important inclusion because that’s often how life is.

In terms of romantic relationships, I really appreciated that a) Bee wanted to wait until marriage to have sex and b) that her wishes were accepted, with no shame or judgement attached. I am a fan of sex-positive books and I believe they’re important but this element especially stood out to me as it’s something that I value.

Cute, fluffy and heartwarming while also making me ball my eyes out, The Color Project is a new favourite of mine. I loved it wholeheartedly and upon it’s release I will most certainly be shouting at people to read it.

The Color Project is now being released on August 17th as opposed to July 18th. Sierra addressed this in a Twitter thread which you can find here.

Sierra herself is super lovely and approachable. Her website can be found here and her Twitter here.

Let’s Discuss!

Have you heard of The Color Project?

If you’ve read The Color Project, what are your thoughts? If not, have I convinced you to read it upon release?

What are some of your favourite contemporaries?

What are some of your favourite novels featuring strong family relationships?

Please let me know! I love discussing with you guys 🙂

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Infinity (The Infinity Division #1)

Read on 9th November, 2016

Author: Jus Accardo

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4.5 Stars

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Nobody said being the daughter of an army general was easy. But when her dad sends a teenage subordinate to babysit her while he’s away… That’s taking it a step too far.

Cade, as beautiful as he is deadly, watches Kori with more than just interest. He looks at her like he knows her very soul. And when he saves her from a seemingly random attack, well, that’s when things get weird.

Turns out, Kori’s dad isn’t just an army general—he’s the head of a secret government project that has invented a way to travel between parallel dimensions. Dimensions where there are infinite Koris, infinite Cades…and apparently, on every other Earth, they’re madly in love.

Falling for a soldier is the last thing on Kori’s mind. Especially when she finds herself in a deadly crossfire, and someone from another Earth is hell-bent on revenge…

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Note: I was sent a copy of this book by Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review.

Infinity was an unexpectedly fantastic read. It had the potential to be extremely tropey and filled with instalove but (thankfully) was anything but that.

Very much a character-driven novel, Infinity was a thought-provoking read (even though I finished it months ago, I still sometimes think about it) complete with a compelling plot.

The characters in Infinity were realistic and flawed.

Kori is posed as a mature, rational person who is able to reasonably deal with issues and communicate well – which are not skills often represented in YA. Her emotions are vivid but she is able to think things through. Having lost her mother to cancer, she has experienced grief, which gives her a unique perspective and understanding when dealing with the other core characters.

Kori was also intelligent. Even though she was constantly placed in bad situations with her life on the line and her entire understanding of her parents was turned upside down, she never whined about it. Instead, she was practical in getting information and formulating a plan.

Cade was interesting. Guilt-ridden and tragic, I really felt for him and appreciated his depth of emotions. His character development was very well done.

I really appreciate the emphasis placed on perspective in this novel. As new information came to life, characters were seen differently, yet the core of them stayed the same.

Noah was a great example of this. At first, he was distanced and antagonistic but then as Kori, and therefore the audience, were explained the reasons as to why he was like this, an understanding formed and he became one of my favourite characters. He was very much a tragic cinnamon roll.

Infinity focuses on the complexity of humanity and the morally grey area; when is it okay to kill someone? Is the death penalty ever okay? If someone close to you has broken the law or is planning to, where do your loyalties lie? What is the right thing to do?

How do you know it’s love if you’ve only ever experienced it once? What can you really know about a person when you only glimpse them? How do you know happiness is real? How do you separate your feelings for someone if they look exactly the same as the last person you loved?

The romance in this book was fantastic – instead of instalove, it focused on potential rather than destiny, while also recognising unhealthy relationships and not labelling them as love.

Unexpectedly, family plays a significant role in Infinity. Although Kori’s mother is dead and her father absent for large portions of the novel, the impact and values they left behind was recognised and realised through the characters’ actions.

As mentioned, the plot itself was great. It was engaging yet realistic, gradually widening the parameters of the world as Kori got to know more, rather than engaging in the well known practice of info-dumping.

In a world of parallel dimensions, how do you define yourself? What makes one Kori different from another? Does fate play a part? What does it mean to interact with people who knew another version of yourself? 

Recommended for fans of Claudia Grey’s Firebird trilogy, character-driven narratives and general parallel dimension plots.

Let’s Discuss!

Have you read Infinity? 

If so, what were your thoughts?

If not, does it sound like something that would interest you? (Please say yes, I really need someone to fangirl discuss with!)

Have you read any other books featuring parallel dimensions? If so, please recommend – it’s a favourite trope of mine but I’ve only read a few.

Omari and the People

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Author: Stephen Whitfield

Narrator: Curt Simmons

3.5 Stars

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Goodreads

Audible | Book Depository

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In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based in part on the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home afire to start anew and to cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place which only he can lead them to, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The desperate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability  to lead – his very life – is jeopardized.

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Note: I received this book from Jess at Audiobook Promotions in exchange for an honest review as a part of this tour. The tour is being sponsored by Stephen Whitfield and Curt Simmons. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Although not a story I would usually reach for, Omari and the People was a solid read.

First of all, the narration in this book was fantastic. Curt’s slight accent kept me captivated and coming back for more. With a relatively slow plot and overall story arc, that was important for me. It also serves to further highlight that this was not, indeed, a european setting. I’m not great with accents, but I believe his was possibly arabic.

Omari and the People is largely character driven, rather than plot heavy. The characters, while slightly hard to keep track of due to similar sounding names on audio, were interesting and developed throughout the story. Umal, an older lady, was my favourite character as she was the most intriguing – shrouded in mystery, constantly surprising everyone, incredibly wise, and perhaps even possessing paranormal abilities, Umal was always one to look forward to. Sofia, mother of two young sons, and Umbaric, former captain of the city guard, were also quite interesting.

On a quick side note, shout out to Dab of Darkness for including character names in her review, for otherwise I would have no idea what any of them were (save Omari and perhaps Saba).

The setting, according to Stephen, is loosely based off Africa, but to me – perhaps because of the accent Curt assumes – it appears to be more Middle Eastern, the characters Arabic. However, due to the nature of the descriptions, the desert could really be anywhere. The whole “exodus across the desert” is reminiscent of the story of Moses, but there are no real religious mentions – with the exception of a few characters having possibly supernatural gifts. So, again, the story is one that encourages readers to build the overall world and time for themselves.

A character-driven exodus of a people lead by hope and just looking to survive, this story does have some elements of romance but it is more a side element than anything. I recommend giving Omari and the People a read (or listen, as I would suggest) if you’re looking for something slightly different but enjoyable none the less.

 

 

The Sway (Hidden #1.5)

Read on 24th May, 2015

Author: Amy Patrick

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5 Stars

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A member of the Dark Court, Vancia has spent her life among humans—together but separate, hiding in plain sight. Now Pappa says it’s time to put her glamour to use against the unsuspecting humans and worse, agree to an arranged political marriage with the reclusive Light Elven prince.

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Amy Patrick knows exactly how to mess with my emotions.

The Sway is a brilliant novella that focuses on Vancia, Lad’s proposed bride-to-be, and takes place before and during the last few scenes of Hidden Deep. (You can find my reviews of Hidden Deep and Hidden Heart here and here).

I love Vancia – so much. She is just such an awesome character who was not flushed out at all in the first two installments of the Hidden trilogy. I loved her perspective and I wish that I had read The Sway before Hidden Heart. I just- she is absolutely amazing.

I also loved finding out what Davis was actually like. He’s mentioned in the first two books of the trilogy, but this is the first time that we actually met him. It was… Interesting. Let’s just say that I am certainly not a fan.

In Hidden Deep, I shipped Ryann and Lad; in Hidden Heart, it was Ryann and Nox; and now… I’m conflicted. I really do love Ryann and Nox, but then after reading The Sway, I’m partial to the idea of Nox with Vancia and Lad with Ryann… You could say that I’m somewhat of a mess right now.

I would like to give a huge thank you to Amy Patrick, the author of the Hidden trilogy, for gifting me with a copy of this book in the anthology Faery Tales: Six Novellas of Magic and Adventure.
The Sway will be available for individual purchase after June 15, 2015.

Be sure to check out this series and let me know your thoughts! Who do you ship? Have you wound up as conflicted as I?

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.

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.)

True Calling (True Calling #1)

Read from May 3rd-4th, 2015

Author: Siobhan Davis

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4.5 Stars

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Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17 year old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana’s plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent preoccupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, ‘The Calling’, gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.

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A futuristic novel with dystopian vibes that had a touch a paranormal, True Calling was enthralling right from the start. Aside from a brief interlude when I had to physically force myself away from the book so that I could get some homework done, I could not put this book down, and hence neglected a stack of homework that I should have been doing instead… And who needs sleep on a Monday morning anyway? Pfft… *shakes head* No joke, some of my notes that I jotted down while reading included “just let me do my homework!!” and “I just want to read!! Why??” Yeah, so that happened…

So much happened in this book. Plot twists; huge character and story arcs; mystery; rebels; friendship; love; political intrigue; a Selection-like contest (except not); great family relationships and a range of dynamics; homo and bisexuality and what that means in terms of going from a modern society who largely accepts the different sexualities to a corrupt government controlling what was set out to be the perfect utopia; and so much more. As you can probably tell, chaos ensued – which I loved.

The only criticism that I have for this book is that despite the disasters that ripped the world apart and decimated the human population affected our entire species, on both Novo and Earth we only seem to hear about Americans. I mean, what happened to the rest of the world? In this reality, the claim is made that in 1996 various leaders from countries all over the world formed an alliance and started working on Nova – yet we don’t appear to see these other countries at all.

On a similar note, how did the new government come to be in power? Who chose? How were they chosen? Because they obviously weren’t the best choice… What’s the deal with the extrasensory abilities? The dreams and Ariana’s “6th sense”? What are the origins? Why do only a select few have them? Is there any correlation between them? Were they “chosen”? Maybe it has to do with one of the disasters that racked the Earth? Can the government impregnate people with their hormone injections? I have no clue, but I do love to speculate.

May I also note that the title was very aptly chosen – it tied into the story really well. Plus, the cover is beautiful. I mean, look at it.

True Calling was such a great, enjoyable read and I am super grateful to Siobhan Davis (the author) for approving my request on NetGallery for a copy of this book (and the next one!) in exchange for an honest review. She actually has a WordPress blog which I will be sure to check out and you should too. I cannot wait to dive into Beyond Reach which is the second installment in the series.