#ARC Review || The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles || Searching for a Friend When Everything Goes to Hell

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
ARC via Publisher
Published: January 31, 2017
Goodreads || Amazon

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

Gripping and full of heart, this epic journey will bring readers right to the edge of everything.

It all begins with Zoe’s dad falling down the depths of a cave and never coming back out. Fast-forward and we encounter X. As in unknown variable. As in one of the most adorable, naïve guys that I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. All X has ever known is the Lowlands, someplace that basically equates to hell. Our lovely main dude is tasked with killing the humans whose souls are basically evil and dragging them into the ever-neath before the Lords, who do who the hell (haha) knows what with them. When he meets Zoe, something in the air just changes. And he makes a choice that could very well change his fate, along with her’s, and that of everyone they care about.

With that brief summary out of the way, let’s talk a bit more about Zoe. She’s seriously cool. Not as cool as Ripper, but cool enough to make a zombie of a human look twice. After he dad dies she is sort of stuck in this give-and-give relationship with the world. And she’s just so dang tired of it. However, she’s positive. She tries to keep her annoyed but adorable younger brother happy and safe. She maintains a healthy relationship with her best friend, and a decent relationship with her ex, who she broke up with after it all went down.

She’s a bit of a fixer. I think that’s why her and X work so well together, and develop the romance that they do. With everything that’s thrown at them they’re still just young adult in a strange, magical world having to make hugely impactful decisions. Decisions that no other being ever really has to make.

Besides the gorgeous writing, there’s a bit of a moral story to this tale that is just the freaking cherry on top of the awesome sundae.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, Jackie, why did you not even give the book four stars when all you’re doing is going on (and on and on and on) about everything awesome in THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING? Well, dear reader, I’m getting there. Because I really do have some complaints.

I didn’t really buy the romance. It felt a bit forced on both sides, and also a little bit like clinging to the last bit on sunlight before the glowing ball of cosmic gas sinks beneath the horizon. X never really knew anyone to have a romance with besides her, and Zoe….I mean I just though the girl was making a few not so fantastic choices. Granted, she’s actually been through more horrid stuff than I’m able to comprehend. So, there’s that.

I also had a bit of a problem with the layout of the story itself. I can’t give much away without spoilers, so I’ll just say this: it felt a bit disjointed.

Overall, I liked it. I liked the write and Ripper the best. For a seeking a friend when everything goes to hell kind of book, I’d say this one is pretty good.


#ARC Review || Pack Enforcer by Lauren Dane

Pack Enforcer by Lauren Dane
Published || December 1, 2016
Goodreads || Amazon || Website
ARC via Publisher + Netgalley

This wolf mates for life…

Nina Reyes knows trouble when she sees it, and Lex Warden, Enforcer for the local werewolf pack, is nothing but. When her brother gets in too deep with some dangerous wolves and comes to Nina for help—dragging super alpha protector Lex into her life—she can handle it. She might have put her grifter past behind her, but she’s still got what it takes. If only she didn’t find Lex—his body, his scent, even his domineering nature—so intoxicating.

As Enforcer, it’s Lex’s job to protect his people. Nina might be more capable of handling herself than he initially thought, but that doesn’t mean she’s safe from their enemies. His need to protect her is more than just pack business—Nina, a human, is his mate. Bedding her once is not even close to enough; to satisfy his wolf, he needs a true bond.

The heat between them scares Nina, but sometimes the reward is worth the risk, and the thought of living without Lex terrifies her more than any threat the werewolf mafia can pose. Lex will do anything to keep her safe. And when the Rogues catch up to them, he’ll get a chance to prove it…

Y’all, I’m in Houston writing this review right now, and I’m freezing my toes off. And I have socks one. While reading this, I strongly recommend brewing yourself a cup of coffee, and, if you’re feeling as adventurous as I am, add yourself a nice hot chocolate package. I guarantee you won’t de disappointed. The ending of this book though? That might disappoint you a little. At least if you’re like me and like a side of drama with your morning pancakes.

After all hell breaks loose from Nina’s already unraveling life, she encounters the bold, the testosterone-ridden, and the wolfy Lex Warden. He’s the pack enforcer, and he’s all over Nina like Catholic on the Pope. Nina’s more than the cute as a button, nerdy to the core florist that she projects to the world: she’s actually a hardcore hacker. When these two collide: sparks folks. Of the acutest kind.

And, yes, I do mean cute. (hehehe)

Okay, y’all, I’m just going to come right out and say it: as much as I like a whole bunch of the concepts in PACK ENFORCER, some things just rubbed me the wrong way. The pet name that Nina insists on using—some of them were a bit much. In the beginning it was an endearing part of her quirky personality, but eventually I was all like gag me with a spoon. Y’all couples do you, but that was just so not my cup of tea.

The other thing that I just wasn’t happy with was the fall following the climax of the novel. I mean, when we’ve been building up, getting invested into this Thing, shouldn’t more be expected? Instead of this total flat falling-ness. I wasn’t happy. Literally I just looked at my Kindle for a bit thinking “Is that it? Really?”

Both of those things being said, there were plenty of things about this book that I loved: Nina’s independence, Lex’s protectiveness but inability to keep Nina from doing what she wants, our resident Alpha whose both amused/ longing in reference to Nina. The characters were awesome. I’ll take one of each, please. There was also this really cool addition to the pack dynamic which, when you read about it, will just add a whole new level to the family structure that we’ve all come to know and love with werewolf books.

Gah, I love werewolf books. Shape-shifting in general, really. This one is no exception. That being said, I had some issues with said book. These issues won’t stop me from saying that reading it is a pretty great idea, but I personally won’t be reading it again.

#ARC Review || Left at the Alter by Margaret Brownley || Happy Release Day!

Left at the Alter by Margaret Brownley
Published: November 1, 2016
eARC via Publisher + NetGalley
Amazon || Goodreads 

Welcome to Two-Time Texas: 

Where tempers burn hot

Love runs deep

And a single marriage can unite a feuding town
…or tear it apart for good

In the wild and untamed West, time is set by the local jeweler…but Two-Time Texas has two: two feuding jewelers and two wildly conflicting time zones. Meg Lockwood’s marriage was supposed to unite the families and finally bring peace. But when she’s left at the altar by her no-good fiance, Meg’s dreams of dragging her quarrelsome neighbors into a ceasefire are dashed.

No wedding bells? No one-time town.
Hired to defend the groom against a breach of promise lawsuit, Grant Garrison quickly realizes that the only thing worse than small-town trouble is falling for the jilted bride. But there’s something about Meg’s sweet smile and determined grit that draws him in…even as the whole crazy town seems set on keeping them apart.

Who knew being Left at the Altar could be such sweet, clean, madcap fun?

Welcome to the Wild West. Gunslingers and petticoats. Boston lawyers and jilted brides. Fierce female leads and..well..Texas.

Two feuding families were supposed to end said feud with the marriage of childhood best friends. When Meg is stood up, the new lawyer in town is there to witness it all go down. He’s also the legal representation for the jilter, and has the hots for the jiltee. LEFT AT THE ALTER is the tale of Grant and Meg, the town with two times, and overcoming tragedies.

I’m just going to start my opinions with this: this is what I needed. I miss my family and my books and my friends. LEFT AT THE ALTER is a good scoop of Blue Bell chocolate ice cream on a hot summer day. It’s comforting. Not something new, or fantastical. It’s not going to leave your earth shattered. What is it going to do? It’s going to make you remember sitting pool side with your toes in the water, when you can’t stay out of it because it’s hot AF outside, and the pool is way too cold to jump into. It’s going to feel a bit nostalgic with a good dose of family ties.

And while I say it’s not earth shattering, but, instead, supremely cozy, I mean it in the way that only some books can actually do. I was rooting for the characters, but not emotionally invested. I was expecting the best and I got to watch the twists and turns unfurl. It’s fun. And all over the place. And surprisingly girl power for the time period. I really want to hear Meg’s youngest sister’s story since she’s a suffragette, animal lover.

Then there’s the romance. I didn’t completely buy into it, and that’s pretty much why it’s a three-star and not a four-star. It’s cute in the way puppies are cute, but it just did not really work for me. I think the reason that it didn’t was because, while I do genuinely like the characters, I don’t really feel like I know them well enough for me to be in love. I like being in love, and with Meg and Grant, I just totally wasn’t.

Besides the romance, the actual plot follows the lawsuit Meg’s dad lobs against her jilter and how Grant deals with juggling his emotions and the case itself. He’s trying to find out what there’s to love about Texas, and how to not fall for Meg.

To rephrase Meg’s words, Two-Time is all about the people, the endless sky, and sea of bluebonnets. Those who love it stay forever. And Meg? She’s here to stay.

I liked LEFT AT THE ALTER. I read it in one sitting. And, if I’m in need of a quick pick-me-up, I’ll read it again.

#ARC Review || Stolen Away by Jennie Marts || Cute but Predictable

Stolen Away (3, Hearts of Montana) by Jennie Marts
aARC via Publisher + NetGalley for an honest review
Amazon || Goodreads
Published September 26, 2016

Elusive charmer Cash Walker is a tough-as-nails cowboy, except when it comes to the shy woman who shows up with a pretty smile, a wounded spirit, and a goat riding shotgun in her passenger seat. 

Recently divorced from an abusive husband, Emma Frank has come home to Broken Falls, Montana. Lost, alone, and unable to escape the bullying tactics of her ex-brothers-in-law, she finds solace and friendship at the Tucked Away farm and with the handsome cowboy who believes in her and who helps her find her own courage. 

There’s a darkness in Cash’s past that’s kept him from ever letting anyone get too close, but he can’t seem to stay away from Emma, who seems to be the one to finally break through his tough exterior and steal this cowboy’s heart. 

After escaping an abusive relationship, Emma Frank ventures back down to the town she grew up. There she runs into the man she had a crush on through high school, Cash Walker. All grown up, Cash has a few issues of his own weighing down on him. Emma can’t seem to shake off the tendrils of the past. STOLEN AWAY is about how these two people survive and thrive and grow. This is all the while the reader get’s some intrigue and suspense, begging the question: how do you get away from someone who is wherever you look, and, when you do get free, how do you begin again?

The Characters

I THINK WE NEED TO GIVE BEST CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT TO THE KITTENS BECAUSE THEY’RE JUST SO DANG CUTE AND FUZZY. But in all seriousness, this book did good letting me get to know the characters, who they are, and what makes them who they are. Emma’s been through some super horrible times, and so has Cash. Both varying degrees of similar abuse patterns. This makes it so that they have a human that understands where they’re coming from when they say they feel unlovable and broken. They’re not alone.

Besides them, there are also all the snazzy chicks and dudes from about town who help to keep Emma safe from her ass of an ex husband.

The Plot

The heartbreak! The drama! The learning to love again! The letting yourself be loved again! The twists and turns!

I may not completely adore this book, but it definitely kept me entertained. The premise was easy to follow, not overtly complicated (which, in my honest opinion, is both a good and a bad thing), and did not lack in romance.

I didn’t highlight the quote (I know, I’m cursing myself too) but in the beginning, Emma said something about re-building/discovering herself before getting into anything. Although I wish she had stuck with that idea a little bit more though the book (but, let’s be real—how many can resist a sweet+hot cowboy?) I think she did re-find herself, and heal. It may have not been the way that I was hoping, but it was how I was expecting.

Which isn’t a bad thing. But, the plot followed that. And, really, I liked it. She’s a heroine we can all root for. Her and her kitten pal.

So, In the End

While I do genuinely like the characters, the book wasn’t one-hundred percent for me. There were ups and downs. I wasn’t completely feeling it, and it was SUPER predictable. Not a bad thing—just not really what I was in the mood for.

#ARC Review || She’s Got a Way by Maggie McGinnis || One Cabin Doesn’t Fit All

She’s Got a Way by Maggie McGinnis 
Amazon || Goodreads
ARC via NetGalley + Publisher
Published August 30, 2016

Gabriela O’Brien is devoted to the girls at Briarwood Academy—even when their bad behavior earns them an entire summer at a remote campground in Echo Lake, Vermont. When the headmaster assigns Gabi to be their chaperone, how can she refuse? A long, hot summer with neither indoor plumbing nor wireless access might be just what she needs to get her own life in order…right?

Before Briarwood took over Camp Echo, Luke Magellan spent years there helping troubled boys. When four spoiled rich girls and their seemingly uptight den mother show up for the summer, it’s hard to hide his amusement as he watches them tackle the great outdoors. But it’s even tougher to resist the passion he sees in Gabi—especially when he learns about her past, and sees how much she cares about her students. Is this destined to be just a grownup version of a summer-camp romance—or can they find enough in common to build a love for all seasons?

When a group of group of four prep-school girls have finally crossed the line, they’re a hair away from expulsion. Instead, they’re subjected to a seemingly worse fate. The board of directors at the school decide that the girls will be camping (no cabins!) for four weeks as a consequence for their actions. The rest of the book follows the girls tentative team building, unveiling secrets, and Gabi, the girl’s housemother, who’s actually the main character of the book, dealing with a no-lesson plans summer camp, a vacation that is no more, and one hot as hell camp handyman who has a whole lot more to him than meets the eye.

First off, I had astronomical hopes for this book. And in general, the book, the characters, the love, the life (whoops, hello Pinterest quotes) fell a bit flat for me. I think the plot itself is incredibly adorable, and I even liked the characters. And by characters I mean especially Luke. Luke who vaguely reminded me of the Luke from The Bachelorette. All country bad boys who is good with his hands. He compliments our main girl rather well, I think.

Here is where my complaints begin—the relationship felt very strange. I don’t even really know how to put it. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t instantaneous. It just felt real awkward to me. I didn’t know what to make of it. I didn’t find it to be believable. That doesn’t mean that the growth wasn’t a super amusing and occasionally awkward event. It was cute, but cringe-worthy. Odd but also endearing.

It was also super fast, with no real reason for whatever was happening at that moment in time, whether that be poison ivy, hurt feelings, people generally being rude or whatever. To be completely honest with you, I liked the minor characters more than I did the main characters. \

So back to the astronomical hopes. They fell flat. The book had so much potential (sound like a renovation show much?) and it just wasn’t what I was in the mood for. I wanted a bit more of a build. Instead, I got some rocky jumps from emotion to emotion with no real connection. While I enjoyed reading the book, it had it’s flaws.

#ARC Review || I’m Still Here by Clelie Avit || A Modern Sleeping Beauty

I’m Still Here by Clelie Avit
ARC via Publisher + NetGalley
Published August 23, 2016
Amazon || Goodreads

A modern take on Sleeping Beauty, for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Elsa is spending her thirtieth birthday in the hospital bed where she’s lain for months after a devastating mountain accident. Unable to speak, see, or move, she appears to be in an irreversible coma, but her friends and family don’t know that she’s regained the power of hearing.

That day, a stranger named Thibault enters the hospital to visit his brother, who’s just been injured in an accident that killed two young girls. He instead seeks refuge in the room where Elsa lies, and quickly becomes intrigued by the young woman, returning day after day to sit beside her, convinced that his words are being heard.

As their connection grows, the doctors deliver a devastating blow to her family. Is it possible that Thibault knows something no one else does, and can he reach her before it’s too late?

Once upon a time, a girl who is desperately in love with snow covered mountains takes a fall. For five months she is in a coma. On the fifth month, and young man’s brother enters the hospital to bring his mother to his bother. His brother is currently hospitalized for driving under the influence and killing two children and injuring himself in the process. He does not visit him. Instead, he wanders the hallways and finds his way to the woman in the coma. He sits with her, falls asleep, and talks to her in a way that no one has in a long time: without treating her like she is made of glass.
Well, dear readers, I’M STILL HERE is pitched as a modern Sleeping Beauty. Human falls in love with a sleeping-like-the-dead human and proceeds to wake them up.
(of course, the original tale included necrophilia, rape, pregnancy and birth while in this sleeping-like-the-dead state, as well as a lovely dose of death and cannibalism. The olden days were grand indeed.)
I actually liked this more than I expected. The book follows the thoughts of the two main characters. She’s struggling with hearing the world move on without her, and he’s struggling with the crime his brother committed and where to take their relationship from where it left off. They’re both serving a purpose to the other. For her, he’s inspiration to wake up—to try harder to wake up. For him, it was like a really good therapy/ nap session.
To be honest, I could see how she fell for him. I mean he sat there and talked to her and was a different voice in the bleak. He was a nice deviation from the weekly grind. For him though? I was very questionable. He’s in love with a girl who hasn’t expressed a single though or emotion to him. Hasn’t contradicted a thing he has said. Hasn’t held his hand. Hasn’t met his family. Hasn’t shared her hopes and her dreams.
So, yeah, I can see her falling in love her his oddly placed affection for her. Not necessarily him falling for her. I mean all she did was be in a coma while he figured things out in his personal life.

So while I thought the plot was intriguing, I didn’t quite buy the romance aspect. For a The Sleeping Beauty retelling though, claps. Lots of claps.

#Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Published: April 8, 2014
Goodreads || Amazon
Putnam Juvenile

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

Magic, manners, and forces of evil find us in (and Harper Price) in the South. Harper Price has it all: a super hot boyfriend, a best friend who lacks cattiness, jealously, and is just a Good Person, a doting mother and father. However, when the school’s janitor dies on her and passes his magical powers onto her, she’s transformed from a well-behaving, no swearing southern belle, to a southern belle with some serious pow-pow skills. I like her. I also like David, the person she is tasked with protecting from said dark forces. Together, they’re trying to figure out what they each are exactly, and how their personal lives (or more adeptly Harper’s, more superficiallyà her boyfriend) are going to be affected by said new found magical powers and kick-butt ability.
This book, even though I am not completely in love with is, is absolutely hilarious. I mean snort-giggle funny. Harper is so dang proper and polite, but when she’s pushed she does what she thinks is right to the best of her abilities. With the decorum of a hormonal fairy godmother in training. She’s bubbly, confused, and has got the best kind of sidekick in her BFF. She rolls with the punches with a reasonable amount of wariness. I love her. She’s practical but still is willing to take a leap of faith.
Same kind of goes with David. He’s kind of a nasty human at first. However, the story goes on and we, the reader, and Harper get to know him and his Aunt a bit more. His magical powers lie directly with Harper’s. Their destinies are intertwined.
Overall, I liked the plot, liked the romance, loved Harper, loved the friendship. Honestly this book was super enjoyable. And the cover is cute beyond belief. I don’t adore the book, and I’m not totally itching for the next books in the series. After adding this book in 2013 and not getting to read it until now, I’m a bit disappointed. It was good, but it wasn’t great. It was, however, worth the read.

The portrayal of a female friendship is perfect.

#Review: Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Published: Feb 2, 2015
Goodreads || Amazon

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

Oh, beautiful cover and promising summary how you have deceived me. I wanted magic and murder, blood and romance. I wanted the brutality and the cunning nature of an assassin who kills for a living. Unfortunately, while I did get some of this, I did not get it all. And I certainly did not get it with the intensity that I was hoping for it. While the world was stunning, and I did like Lea sometimes, but to be honest I just wanted a whole lot more stabbing to occur. Death and murder and mayhem would have been exponentially appreciated.

The Plot ||

Y’all here is what really had me a little bit bored. I never felt invested in what was going to happen. Like—yes, you’re on a journey. That’s great, babe. But I do not really care. Lea is on this quest to avenge her family which have been brutally murdered by the family of boy she loved: the Da Via family. They have a bit of a Romeo + Juliet thing going on, as well as the struggle of disassociating the family with The Family. There are nine Families of Assassin’s, and these children just happen to come from two of them who happen to have a bit of a feud. And since they are assassin’s feuds typically involve stabbing.
(again, why wasn’t there more stabbing?!)
Basically the girl who wants the lives of the people who took her Family’s/family’s lives is just super clumsy and falls into unfortunate situations and just doesn’t act very assassin’s like. Which leads me into characters.

The Main Character ||

Here’s the main theme of my thoughts with ASSASSIN’S HEART; I liked the book and the characters and the plot, but I never loved any part of it.
When it comes to Lea, this is especially true. Death is a part of being an assassin, even in the Family, and I just though the way she reacted was equal parts unprofessional as true to her age. She’s 17, for goodness sakes. She’s lost everyone she’s ever loved. Even the boy she loved. He’s betrayed her. So (obviously) she’s got to destroy his entire Family like he destroyed her’s. But, then again, she’s also been in training since she was born. Weapons and murder are a part of her daily routine, and are a way of worshipping her Goddess (who, by the way, is my favorite part of this entire book. Like swooooon; she’s badass). When trying to get her revenge, she makes some pretty significant oopsies and I just…I don’t know. I didn’t really believe it.

The Romance ||

I wasn’t feeling it. I don’t really have a whole bunch to say about why I wasn’t feeling it, but I wasn’t. It felt a little bland. I was, however, happy that it wasn’t insta-love. Even without it being insta-love, I still didn’t find myself into it.

Overall ||

As I stated on my goodreads review when I finished the novel, it really was fine. Just fine. Not bad, not great. It didn’t set my world aflame, and I did finish the book. I won’t be reading it again, however. One time is good.
One time is just fine.

#ARC Review: A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Amazon || Goodreads 
Published August 2, 2016 || Sourcebooks Casablanca
eARC via Netgalley + Publisher

Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

Once upon a time, in a land overwhelmed by magic and mystic, there was a man and a woman. The woman went by the name of Cat: she has the power to rule the land, even though all she really wants to do is escape her blood-thirsty also magical mother. The man is named Griffin and he just took a kingdom from those with magic in their blood for the first time since anyone can remember. A PROMISE OF FIRE chronicles Cat’s accepting of her magic and Griffin’s first steps as a new royal. He finds her, kidnaps her, and falls in love with her. Cat doesn’t give away her emotions easily however. Chased by dragons, interfering gods, and a warlord who just won’t give up: Cat’s got her hands full.
I like Cat. She’s spunky, abrasive, a little bit shattered, and tells it like she means it. Even after getting kidnapped from the only family whose really loved her she continues to fight (even if some of the decisions are….less than) for her freedom and her safety. I really liked how I got to know her as the book went on instead of an information dump in the beginning. That all being said, I had a bit of an issue with how Griffin handled. Actually I had a bit of an issue with Griffin (not to be confused with his compatriots, who I love with all my being) overall.
It might be the whole kidnapping thing. That sort of set us off on the wrong foot. Or it could be the whole persistence thing. I usually am all for the never-give-up persona, but it just looked weird on Griffin. I wasn’t a fan of his character interactions. For a warlord he seemed to be all bark and no bite. (okay, yes. I read the fight scenes, but some of the other parts…ugh.) I just didn’t find him to be a believable character, even for a fantasy. I love magic and sorcery and strength and dragons and kingdoms being taken over as much as the next girl, but I wanted mooooore.
And I found myself thinking that quite a bit with this book. I really loved the story and I really liked Cat. I liked Griffin’s troop. I just didn’t like him all that much. I wanted to know more about the darker side of the magic-run kingdoms. This really felt like a First Book; it sets the stage for the continuation of the series and give background information. That’s not a bad thing—just not really what I wanted.

Overall, it was a good book. I enjoyed reading it. However, I wanted a more complete book. When I finished, the first thing I thought was ‘that’s it?’ and I don’t think that’s how a book should end emotion-wise.

#ARC Review || Leaning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

Leaning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy 

ARC via Publisher
Published July 5, 2016
Goodreads || Amazon

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize–if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri’s 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe.

When a meteor/ asteroid plummets towards earth, Yuri, a young scientist from Russia, is told to come to America and figure out a way to stop its path towards destruction. Once he gets here, he finds out he can’t leave. He also meets Dovie, a bright and quirky girl who is an artist and believer in good things. Two teens, end of the world, clashing cultures. It’s not your typical boy-meets-girl story.
I like the idea of the plot more than the actual plot itself, which, as you may be able to assume, that’s a bit of a problem when trying to finish the book. I really enjoyed the beginning of the book. It shows the trials that Yuri is facing in America with discrimination because of his race and his age. It also introduces us to Dovie, a girl on the search for the great perhaps.
One of the major problems I had with this book is that I just wasn’t really fond of the characters—any of them. I didn’t find myself overly sympathetic. I mean, yes, of course I felt horrible with all the issues Yuri is faced with in the United States, but none of that made me like him any more. I found him to be extremely awkward in a what-are-you-doing kind of way, as opposed to an awkward yup-I’ve-so-done-that way. Dovie is sweet. And I didn’t dislike her. Honestly. I just wasn’t enthralled with her and Yuri’s story liked I hoped I would be, and besides that, I don’t really know him.
While this story was focused on making sure the world didn’t implode, there was also the more human aspect. What was this, you may ask? Yuri is figuring out who he is a bit, and what’s really important. In Russia, he’s in line for a prize—something to scribe his name in the history book. In the US, all that work is in danger.
Through the trails they both face, a friendship blossoms. But, again, I don’t actually know Yuri all that well. I know Dovie better than I do him and he’s the true main character of the book. I was disconnected. This disconnect hurt my rating of the book.
Overall, I don’t hate the book, but I don’t love it either. I don’t have enough information on, well, anything. I can’t fall for something I know nothing about.