Blind Spot Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway)

"It's a story about how sometimes we fail to see things that are right in front of us."

Since You've Been Gone (Review)

"fabulous, wonderful, endearing, amazing story"

Dissected by Megan Bostic (Blog Tour)

"Powerful & Thought Provoking"

In Honor by Jessi Kirby (Review)

"This is going on my favorites shelf and I will probably reread it again in the future."

Blog Tour: Hungry by H.A. Swain (Review + Giveaway)

"Hungry is a captivating and thought-provoking story set in a fascinating world."

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Review))

"All-in-all, a perfect summer read and you should totally pick up these books, if you haven't already!"

The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle (Review)

"The Edge of Falling is a beautifully told story, both in plot and writing."

Hexed by Michelle Krys (Review)

"Hexed was just the thing that I needed to get back into the reading world."

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Review + Giveaway)

Young Adult, Psychological Thriller, Supernatural, Mystery
Publication.Date  November 4th 2014
Published By:  Simon&Schuster Books For Young Readers 
AuthorMichelle Hodkin

The Retribution of Mara Dyer on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.


“Do not find peace. Find passion”
“I looked up at the video camera and stared. Then raised my hand and gave it the middle finger.
“I thought you were going to give it the District Twelve salute,” Jamie said.”
“I feel something, I do it. I want something, I take it.” 
“Everyone's a little crazy. Some people just hide it better than others.”
“You are what happiness means to me. And I would rather have today with you than forever with anyone else.” 

“This is a love story. Twisted and messy. Flawed and screwed up. But it's ours. It's us. I don't know how our story will end. but I know it will start. I pick up my pen and begin to write:

My name is not Mara Dyer, but my layer told me I had to choose something.”

     This book - this whole series - is pure madness. Also, I'm sure you have already seen this around, but it's M-A-D-N-E-S-S. As in: Mara Amitra Dyer and Noah Elliot Simon Shaw. (And no, I wasn't clever enough to figure it out myself, I found it on my blog partner's Tumblr. Yes, I have no shame). 

     But, seriously. I find myself at a loss for words. I don't know what to say. I don't even know where to begin. The Retribution of Mara Dyer is the epitome of perfection. This, along with the Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, was my most anticipated release this year (technically, I have been dying to get my hands on it for the past two years and 11 days, but who would keep track, right?). And it was everything I hoped for, everything and more! It was utterly amazing. F*cked up. Insane. Gutting. Tragic and beautiful, and beautifully tragic. So good. SO GOOD! 

     Yes, it was even better than the previous books in the series. Now, I know it's not possible, but trust me, somehow it was. All the loose ends were tied up perfectly, all the questions - answered, but in a way that still made you doubt everything and everyone and opened up the ending to interpretation. In the end, it's up to you if you choose to believe everything that Mara told you. You need to decide if you trust her, if you think she told you the truth, or if she was lying, or worse, if she was unhinged, completely insane and unreliable. The mind-fuckery never ends, we are all crazy down here. So pick your crazy and stick with it. 

     I won't discuss the plot line for obvious reasons, just know that it was the best plot line I have read in a very long time. So well thought out, so complex and emotionally gutting, so intelligent, brilliant and intense. Filled with multi-dimensional characters, jumping back and forth in different timelines and places, full of meaning and bad-assery. This series really has everything you could possibly hope for: mystery, romance, humor, mind-fucking twists and riddles. Amazing chemistry and sharp, clever dialogues. It's all there and it's good. So dang good. 

     Mara Dyer series kept me guessing from beginning to the very last pages. I was hopelessly addicted to Hodkin's writing and the crazy world she created. More than once, I have questioned my own sanity while reading these books. More than a few times, I have cried or laughed at some of the badass lines (especially Jamie's). I felt fear and sympathy, pain and happiness, doubt and longing. All thanks to this series. 

     I can't believe it's all over. I will miss these characters so much. The story is perfect and the conclusion is more than satisfying, but I can't help wishing there was more. Mainly because I got so attached to this series and the people, but also because I am worried that no other series will ever measure up.


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Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Review + Giveaway)

Mara Dyer #2
Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery, Thriller
Publication.Date:October 23, 2012
Pages:527 (paperback)
Published By:  Simon & Schuster for Young Readers
Website:Michelle Hodkin

The Evolution of Mara Dyer on Goodreads
My review copy:

Where to get:

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?


"The people we care about are always worth more to us than the people we don't. No matter what anyone pretends." And for the first time in what felt like a long time, Noah sounded real.
Her Mona Lisa smile appeared again. "Sometimes the biggest secrets you can only tell a stranger."
"I'm the creepy girl. In a mental hospital."

He grinned. "Nobody's perfect."

Mara Dyer books are so . . . I don't even know. Everything feels like a lie and nothing makes sense. Not in the aggravating way, but in the "I can't turn these pages fast enough" way.

Mara and Noah continue to dig deeper into finding out why Mara is the way she is while her family continues to think she's suffering from PTSD caused by the collapse of the building and death of her friends from book one. Oh, if only they knew.

Mara is convinced she saw Jude and that he is alive. She knows he is out there, but at the same time is also doubting herself. Is Jude really alive? Or is she really crazy? That's part of the beauty of Michelle's writing. We don't know ourselves either. Because we're being told the events from Mara's perspective, she could very well have gone off the deep end and is dragging us right along with her. Or, Jude is really alive and she's in serious danger.

Either way, The Evolution of Mara Dyer grabs a hold of you and refuses to let go. The pacing is fabulous. I never felt bored or any "come on, get one with it" moments. The scenes are full of detail and imagery. The characters are fabulous - can I just say how much I love Jamie? The romance is hot and electric (and not as overpowering as it was in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer). The mind fucks are still fucking with my mind.

This series is all I could have hoped for and more. The danger/horror is subtle. It's not in your face and it's not obvious. I'm a huge sucker for that type of horror. For me, that's scarier than staring at the guy with a knife outside my window. You don't know! You just don't know what is going to happen and when. I've got a pretty good idea what the guy with the knife is going to do, but I don't know what the maybe dead guy or the possibly crazy chick is going to do next.

I really struggled with this review as there were so many aspects of The Evolution of Mara Dyer that I want to discuss, but those aspects are also HUGE spoilers. One of the things I highly enjoyed about this novel is everything I read was a surprise. I hadn't read any reviews that hinted at this or that, so every occurrence of OMG was just that - OMG!

If you read and loved The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, you'll definitely enjoy The Evolution of Mara Dyer. If you read and were iffy about the first book, this book will make you a fan. And if you haven't read the first book? Well, I'm not exactly sure what you're waiting for.

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US Only // Giveaway Ends December 5, 2014

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Needing Her by Molly McAdams (Review)

New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication.Date  January 28th, 2014
Published By:  William Morrow Impulse
WebsiteMolly McAdams

Needing Her on Goodreads
My review copy:e-ARC review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review

Where to get:

She’s the Girl Next Door

Maci Price isn’t really into relationships. Having four very protective older brothers has always made having a boyfriend very difficult, anyway. But her friend is set on finding her the perfect guy – and thinks the mysterious Connor Green is the perfect pick.

He’s Her Brother’s Best Friend

Connor Green is trying to find himself again. He loved then lost and it’s time for him to pick up the pieces. His brooding is making his friends crazy, but, Maci Price, who has grown up into a gorgeous and incredibly sexy woman, is about to break the spell.

They’re Made for Each Other

When Maci starts up old pranks to get Connor out of his slump, an all out war leads to a night that will break all their rules, and a relationship they must keep hidden. Together they’re electric. Apart they’re safe. And soon they’ll find they’re exactly what the other needs.

A fabulous, fun, and sexy, New Adult novella from New York Times bestselling author Molly McAdams. If you loved Connor in From Ashes, this is the story for you.

I dropped my arms and let out a huff as I rounded the corner and found her fumbling with a lamp the table at the end of my couch. I scratched at my forehead and dropped my hand to cover my mouth when I started to laugh as I waited for her to get it stable again.
"Good boy, lamp. Now, stay!"
"Ooo, I love him. He's soft, and my face is in love with him."
"Oh, Jesus Christ. Maci, it's a pillow."
With a soft smile and another lingering kiss, he pulled me into his chest and held me there as I drifted to sleep from the exhaustion of the last hour.
Three hours later, my stomach woke me up.
Connor cracked one eye open, and his lips tilted up into a smile. "Jesus, woman, was that you?"
Pulling on his jeans, he leaned back down to grab his shirt, and I stole it from his hands. When he looked up at me, his blue eyes were dark, and he began biting on his bottom lip as he watched me put it on. He reached for me, and I twisted away from his grasp.
"Hey, you were the one who wanted to get out of bed. This is what you have to deal with now."
"Maci, I will never hurt you, I need you to know that."
"You say that now, but you can't know--"
"No. Maci. I swear to you I will never hurt you."
"And I know you act like a badass around your brothers, but I've seen you cry, Maci. I know you're not heartless, and I know, from drunken ramblings and what happened last night, that you're in this as bad as I am. So stop waiting for me to show you the door, and stop acting like you don't care."

It was already official, but is now OFFICIALLY official that Molly McAdams is an author who can pull me out of a reading slump. If I'm having trouble getting into things, I can pick up a Molly McAdams book and I'm back in the game. There's just a special something about McAdams' books that works for me. I think it's the way she creates the romance in her stories. I always swoon. But the point has been established--Molly McAdams is a go-to author for me, and Needing Her is a novella I was so glad to have on my Kindle to pick up. 

All of McAdams' books possess an addictive quality that draw me in pretty much right away. Even when the book is still in exposition and nothing is really happening yet. Doesn't matter, I get hooked right in to those characters and their stories and the romance I know is going to spark. Molly McAdams has some serious writing skills. After drawing me in from the beginning, she takes me on a roller coaster of feels all the way until the end.

And it's dual POV. I know I've mentioned once or twice or several times how much I adore dual POV. Being in both Conner and Maci's POV was so fun. Especially when they were playing pranks on each other. HILARIOUS. This also helped when Conner and Maci spent that time apart. It's always difficult for me when the two main characters break up. Chances are I'm shipping them hardcore, so getting time in both of their heads eases that pain a little. At the very least, I can know that they both still care. McAdams also does a great job of establishing separate voices for each of the characters so that they don't blend together. They're both distinctly THEM.

The female protagonist is Maci. She's a tough chick, probably even too tough. She acts like things don't affect her all the time, and that turns out going south later. It was something she needed to work through. The issue bothered me, but at least she DID face her issues. Plus, Maci had some good qualities, too. She can be quite funny. And she's a chick who can stand her ground. Holds her own against all of her brothers, heck yeah she can stand her ground. I have to respect that, being the only girl with three brothers myself. And I'm lucky enough that they're not extra crazy like Maci's brothers.

Honestly, though, I want to dislike her brothers. I want to sit here and be like "they should have been better for her, they have no reason to be so insanely protective of her all the time." Obviously I want to say that if I thought of those words to put there. But I can't. Because I don't really see them that way. They're good big brothers, but just so misguided. They need to work through their own problems--whatever it is driving them to want to protect her so fiercely--and then I think they'll be better. Talking to Maci about what she is and isn't cool with would go a long way, too.

But anyway. Back to the main characters. The male protagonist is Conner. He was in McAdams' novel, From Ashes. In that book, I thought he was nice. And sweet. But I wasn't too into him to the point where he was better than Gage. Which means I am SO HAPPY be got his own book so I can love all over him! It's so sad how haunted he is with his past and with what went down with Cassidy, but goodness gracious this guy has such a good heart. I was glad to see the little bit of overlap between From Ashes and this one in terms of information and Conner's issues, but I was also glad that it wasn't TOO MUCH. I wanted Conner and Maci to have their story--not be overshadowed by the after-effects of Cassidy. But Conner's a good guy and he does his best to do right by Maci. And sweet goodness, I heart him for it.

Conner and Maci's relationship is a delightful mix of fun and intensity. They're so serious about each other. So involved. And yet they joke and play pranks. It's cute and sweet and I love these two together. As I said, Molly McAdams writes some darn good romance. Conner and Maci are definitely included in that.

While I had a great time reading this book and loved the characters, I have to say that the lack of communication at some points bothered me. Maci would get closed off--which becomes an issue, like I pointed out--and Conner has his secret past he likes to hold close. I especially understand why Conner would want to keep it all to himself, but when it gets to a point where you know things are getting messed up because you're not telling your significant other about it, THEN it gets on my nerves. He had his own conflicts to work through within himself, and that's fine. But things went so downhill, and they didn't need to. Same goes for Maci, though her reasoning isn't as good as Conner's, which annoyed me even more.

The things that bothered me were greatly overshadowed by aspects of this novella that I loved. Like the romance and the characters and the humor. Needing Her is a great story, and I'm glad we finally got to see Conner getting his happy ending. He deserves it. 

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Past Encounters by Davina Blake {Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours Promo}

Publication Date: November 22, 2014 |  CreateSpace | Paperback; 442p
Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction

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England 1955.
The day Rhoda Middleton opens a letter from another woman, she becomes convinced her husband, Peter, is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks the mysterious woman down, she discovers she is not Peter?s lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem - Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster.
Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out why Peter has kept this friendship a secret for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter?s wartime experiences she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For Rhoda too cannot escape the ghosts of the past.
Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, PAST ENCOUNTERS explores themes of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.
Includes bonus material for reading groups.
Praise for Past Encounters

"Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly Recommended!" - The Historical Novels Review

Praise for Deborah Swift

"stellar historical fiction" -Orange Prize Nominee Ann Weisgarber

"compelling'" -Westmorland Gazette

"The past comes alive through impeccable research...and the sheer power of descriptive prose" -Lancashire Evening Post

Buy the Book
Amazon US | Amazon UK

About the Author
Deborah Swift

Davina Blake used to be a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, during which time she developed a love of research which fueled her passion for the past. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and also writes successful seventeenth century historicals under the pen name Deborah Swift. 'Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended.' The Historical Novels Review From Davina: 'I was inspired to write 'Past Encounters' because I live close to the railway station where the iconic 'Brief Encounter' was filmed in 1945. I have often used the refreshment room that featured in the film when waiting for a train. I love a good cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a chocolate brownie!'

For more information visit Davina Blake's website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter.

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, November 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 16
Review at Library Educated

Monday, November 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, November 18
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, November 19
Review at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 20
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 21
Review & Interview at Bookish

Saturday, November 22
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, November 24
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 25
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, November 27
Interview at The Maiden's Court

Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, December 1
Review at Layered Pages
Review & Interview at Casual Readers

Tuesday, December 2
Review at My Reader's Block
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Wednesday, December 3
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, December 4
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, December 5
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Saturday, December 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Historical Tapestry

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