Review, Author Q&A, and Giveaway: SANCTUARY BAY by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

Review

25663880Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: January 19th, 2016
Series: N/A
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Blog Tour)
Genre(s): Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this genre-bending YA thriller, will Sarah Merson’s shiny new prep school change her life forever or bring it to a dark and sinister end?

When Sarah Merson receives the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the most elite prep school in the country-Sanctuary Bay Academy-it seems almost too good to be true. But, after years of bouncing from foster home to foster home, escaping to its tranquil setting, nestled deep in Swans Island, couldn’t sound more appealing. Swiftly thrown into a world of privilege and secrets, Sarah quickly realizes finding herself noticed by class charmer, Nate, as well as her roommate’s dangerously attentive boyfriend, Ethan, are the least of her worries. When her roommate suddenly goes missing, she finds herself in a race against time, not only to find her, but to save herself and discover the dark truth behind Sanctuary Bay’s glossy reputation.

In this genre-bending YA thriller, Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz, Sarah’s new school may seem like an idyllic temple of learning, but as she unearths years of terrifying history and manipulation, she discovers this “school” is something much more sinister.

my rambles

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review, and for the opportunity to be on the blog tour!

I’ve mentioned before that I have a love for books set at boarding schools. There’s always mystery, intrigue, and thrilling plotlines! Sanctuary Bay did not disappoint on those aspects, and in fact, there’s a completely unexpected element to the story that made me like it even more!

The prologue of the book sets the ball rolling in a flashback scene that is filled with action, and leaves you wondering what the HECK just happened. It’s quite a way to start off a story! With Chapter One, the story flashes forward to the main character, Summer, who is now in foster care after her parents’ murder. She’s on her way to Sanctuary Bay Academy, an isolated and mysterious institution where she’ll stay for the rest of her high school career.

Continue reading “Review, Author Q&A, and Giveaway: SANCTUARY BAY by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz”

Review: THESE VICIOUS MASKS by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: February 9th, 2016
Series: These Vicious Masks, #1
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Jane Austen meets X-­Men in this gripping and adventure-­filled paranormal romance set in Victorian London.

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.

my rambles

Special thanks to Swoon Reads and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

This book was pretty darn awesome. But couldn’t you just tell it would be from the very first line of the synopsis? Um, YES! Well, These Vicious Masks combined two genres that I love to read: historical fiction and paranormal, in a way that was witty, snarky, fun, and exciting! The story was super fast-paced. There was tons of banter. And Evelyn was reminiscent of Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet. In other words, I was smiling throughout the entire book.

These Vicious Masks is one of those books that you can’t help but adore from the moment you begin reading. From the very beginning, only a few pages in, I was hooked. Right off the bat, the story is filled with everything I mentioned before that I loved: all the banter, all the wit, and lots of mystery!

The characters were one of my favorite parts of the story. When I said that Evelyn was like Lizzie, I wasn’t kidding. She’s snarky, clever, funny, and can hold her own. There’s of course two handsome men, Mr. Kent and Mr. Braddock. Both of them are equally swoony and each brings something different to the table. Mr. Kent is the happy-go-lucky, silly guy with a warm heart. And Mr. Braddock is the brooding, tall-dark-handsome. Evelyn totally calls Braddock on that fact, too. I loved those scenes between them! The banter between Evelyn, Kent, Braddock, and even the other side characters is light and oh so entertaining.

Not only were the characters awesome, but the story, of course was too. The paranormal abilities of the characters are freaking cool, and I can’t wait to learn more about them. Where did they come from? Where will it take them? We don’t yet know… The mystery surrounding the kidnapping of Evelyn’s sister Rose was made even more interesting thanks to those abilities. And of course there’s a revelation at the end that I can tell will be further investigated in the next books. I was getting a very Clockwork Angel vibe from the whole thing.

Well, now I’ve compared this book to two others. I don’t like it when I compare books, but to get the feeling of the book across to you, I can really only do it by way of referencing other titles. Not that These Vicious Masks is like a copy of either of the books — it’s definitely not. But I think that it takes the best qualities from those two novels and puts them together in a great way, and creates an awesome new story.

My one problem was the ending. I thought it seemed a bit rushed, and ended out of the blue. I would have liked more closure to bring the first installment of this series to a less convenient end. But, that was the least of my worries when looking at this book as a whole.

All in all, These Vicious Masks is simply tons of fun! There’s laughs, there’s action, and there are the slightest hints of a romance. It’s not your typical deep and dark historical fiction novel. There’s something in These Vicious Masks for everyone!

7

xo

Conflict over Blog Tours?

blog tours

If you at all follow the book blogging community, I’m sure you are probably aware of the #BloggerConfessions post that caused a big uproar in the last few days. I’m not here to comment on that, because we all know that enough people did. But if you’re really looking to hear my thoughts, or my own confessions, I tweeted about it a bit, so look to Twitter. But I am here to talk about one confession that I read. I can’t even remember who said it, where I saw it, or anything other than what it said, so I’m not trying to call anyone out here, but it basically said this: “I don’t read blog tour reviews anymore because they’re always positive.”

Now, I’d been pondering writing a post about blog tours for a while. There seems to be this widespread idea that blog tour posts are merely promotional posts, aren’t to be trusted, and are “cheats” at blogging, because often times posts are pre-written. For this reason, I’ve seen many people say that they don’t even click on blog tour posts anymore.

I can only speak for myself when I say this, but: All of my blog tour reviews are 100% honest. If I feel that I can’t give a book a high enough rating for a tour, I’ll contact the hosts and get out. I only participate in blog tours for books that I genuinely liked, same thing goes for when I promote a book in any kind of post. As for tackling the idea that some blog tour posts are “cheats,” I only sign up for review slots on the tours that I DO choose to be a part of. Sure, sometimes I’ll have something else along with it, too, but I try to always post original content for a tour.

I don’t really know what to believe when it comes to reading blog tour reviews. But if you find a blogger than you know and trust, don’t second-guess their thoughts on a book, unless they give you a good reason to. And of course blog tour reviews will generally be positive. Ask yourself: If you wrote a book and had the publisher or book tour group put together a promotional tour, would you want the reviews to be negative ones? Probably not. The comment sounded like it was a person looking to read negative reviews of a book. Maybe just read the review, and give the blogger a chance to tell you why they liked it enough to be on the blog tour.

One last thing on the subject: In my almost 2 years at this blog, and 2 years at various others (I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this, but I’ve blogged at 3 other places before I finally landed here. Don’t go looking for those horrors, they’ve long since been taken down.), I know that blog readers are skeptical of just regular blog tours, let alone book blitzes and blasts. I steer clear of any pre-written promo posts. They often have no value to blog readers other than possibly introducing them to a new title, which a meme like Waiting on Wednesday does much better with, in my humble opinion. And also: frequency. It’s okay to participate in blog tours every now and again — I do! I find them an awesome way to get to interact with authors to ask interview questions and share the love for a book you enjoyed. But don’t pack your blog up with too many blog tours! You know what they say about too much of a good thing…

What is your take on blog tours? Love ’em or hate ’em? Do you trust blog tour reviews?

xo

Shadowhunters, Snape, and a whole lot of books!

*In all honesty I wrote this post planning to go up on Sunday, but just didn’t get around to taking pictures of the books until today, hence the extreme lateness of this post.*

Week in Review
This is my first Week in Review post of 2016! Well, actually *cough* I haven’t done a WiR post since February 2015 *cough*. But, I’ve been reading responses from my feedback survey and discovered that a lot of you LOVE WiR posts! I love reading other people’s, too. But because of that, I’m making it a point to try and stick to bringing these posts back. These are also some of my favorite posts to write! They also allow me to give you life tidbits (another resolution for 2016), so I think I’ll definitely be keeping this up! Continue reading “Shadowhunters, Snape, and a whole lot of books!”

Review AKA a List of My Inner-Fangirl Thoughts Immediately After Reading: Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Release Date: January 12th, 2016
Series: Ever After, #1
Pages: 350
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

my rambles

Special thanks to Spencer Hill Contemporary and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

BEWARE: EXTREME FANGIRLING AHEAD. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

That gif emoji was me before, during, and after reading Bookishly Ever After:

  • From the moment I read the title I knew this book would be pretty much perfect.
  • Then I read the synopsis…
  • THEN I READ THE BOOK, GUYS!
  • It’s every book-loving, fangirl’s DREAM COME TRUE.
  • Know why? BECAUSE PHOEBE IS YOU. SHE IS ME. SHE IS US.
  • Phoebe reads tons of books and fangirls all the time. She met her favorite author and totally acted just like we do when we meet favorite authors. It’s just so accurate to the life of a real, true, fangirl.
  • Lots of fangirl slang included. I believe OTP was used more than once.
  • She has a crush on a guy that looks like one of her book boyfriends, okay? We all know this is a real problem for us. We must admit it.
  • But then her friend tries to set her up with a non-book-related person, AND IT’S SO CUTE!!!
  • Dev is so sweet and adorable, and their interactions are just CUTENESS OVERLOAD.
  • It’s also kind of a friend to more than a friend thing going on. I love those kinds of romances. Those are the best in my opinion, because they are already close they just have to realize their feelings for each other are romantic! *sighs*
  • So now I’m left pining for a romance like the one in this book therefore becoming MORE like Phoebe yet also less so…???
  • Oh, and speaking of fangirling, it’s a bit like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell in a way in that there are little excerpts of fake books that Phoebe loves to read between the chapters.
  • But what makes that even better is: PHOEBE TAKES NOTES ABOUT THE ROMANCES IN A NOTEBOOK. AND HOW TO ACT LIKE THE MAIN CHARACTERS! TO TRY AND FLIRT BETTER WITH DEV! ❤ ❤ ❤
  • There’s also diversity and LGBT characters which is always great to see.
  • BASICALLY, EVERYTHING IS ADORABLE.
  • Some parts are cheesey, but I was expecting that.

IN MORE OF A COHERENT SUMMARY: If you consider yourself a fangirl in the least, this book is perfect for you. It will make you smile, and you’ll relate to Phoebe on extremely high levels, and it’s just a good feeling kind of book! Of course it has it’s flaws, but I rate books mainly based on enjoyment level, and Bookishly Ever After was VERY enjoyable. I think this a book you can’t help but like, if even you are hyper-aware of some of the problems. I’m sure I’ll read some mediocre reviews, but I think the things people will find problems with are things like predictability, characters, etc. I bet I’ll find in each review though, that they REALLY ENJOYED it, and that’s what matters.

8

xo