Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Illusionarium by Heather Dixon

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22840398-illusionarium
Illusionarium
by Heather Dixon
Website | Tumblr

Publication Date: May 19th 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062001054
Genre: Young Adult | Sci-Fi | SteamPunk
Source: Publisher

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What if the world holds more dangers—and more wonders—than we have ever known? And what if there is more than one world? From Heather Dixon, author of the acclaimed Entwined, comes a brilliantly conceived adventure that sweeps us from the inner workings of our souls to the far reaches of our imaginations.

Jonathan is perfectly ordinary. But then—as every good adventure begins—the king swoops into port, and Jonathan and his father are enlisted to find the cure to a deadly plague. Jonathan discovers that he's a prodigy at working with a new chemical called fantillium, which creates shared hallucinations—or illusions. And just like that, Jonathan is knocked off his path. Through richly developed parallel worlds, vivid action, a healthy dose of humor, and gorgeous writing, Heather Dixon spins a story that calls to mind The Night Circus and Pixar movies, but is wholly its own.
(Goodreads)
I was super excited to check out Illusionarium by Heather Dixon! The summary for the book sounded really unique and entertaining. I’ve had Dixon’s Entwined on my to-read list for forever, but have never had a chance to read it, so I was excited to finally be able to read something by her.

The story is told from Jonathon, the main character’s, point of view. Jonathon describes himself as pretty average in every single way, until he’s not. When he discovers that he can create illusions, everything changes for him. It was interesting to watch him grow as a character that pretty much thought himself to be ordinary, into something completely extraordinary.

The storyline for the book was really imaginative. It did take me a while to catch on to a few things, but once I did, the story held my interest.  The world-building was super creative. Imagine living in London in 1882, but there are airships in the sky and a deadly plague that is targeting only women. Then there is the alternate universe London, which is completely different in almost every single way, and is a place that I would never want to visit. Haha! There’s a plot twist towards the end of the book that I totally saw coming, but still cheered myself for being right about it. There is a teeny-tiny bit of romance in the book, but it’s completely overshadowed by the storyline. I do wish that we had seen more of it.

Overall; I found Illusionarium to be a very unique and entertaining read. The storyline, characters and world-building really made for an interesting story. Now that I’ve read something by Heather Dixon, I’m definitely going to have to make time to read Entwined soon!



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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #199 - Beautiful Sacrifice by Jamie McGuire

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23714532-beautiful-sacrifice
Beautiful Sacrifice
(The Maddox Brothers #3)
by Jamie McGuire
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Publication Date: May 31st 2015
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 1511847506

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23714532-beautiful-sacrifice

Available for Purchase:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Falyn Fairchild can walk away from anything. Having already left her car, her education, and even her parents, the daughter of the next governor of Colorado is back in her hometown, broke and waiting tables for the Bucksaw Café. After every shift, Falyn adds to her shoebox of cash, hoping to one day save enough to buy her a plane ticket to the only place she can find forgiveness: Eakins, Illinois.

The moment Taylor Maddox is seated in Falyn’s section at the Bucksaw, she knows he’s trouble. Taylor is charming, breaks promises, and gorgeous even when covered in filth—making him everything Falyn believes a hotshot firefighter to be. Falyn isn’t interested in becoming another statistic, and for a Maddox boy, a disinterested girl is the ultimate challenge.

Once Falyn learns where Taylor calls home, everything changes. In the end, Maddox persistence is met with Falyn’s talent for leaving, and for the first time, Taylor may be the one to get burned. (Goodreads)

Whoot! I'm super excited for another Maddox Brothers book!
Of course, I still need to read Beautiful Redemption, but it's on my summer reading list!
At least I can read Beautiful Redemption and Beautiful Sacrifice at the same time!
Whoo hooo! :)
**"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine,
that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.**


Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22718710-love-fortunes-and-other-disasters
Love Fortunes and Other Disasters
by Kimberly Karalius
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Publication Date: May 12th 2015
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781250047205
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Source: Publisher

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In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.

Love is real in the town of Grimbaud, and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.

Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.

Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love? (Goodreads)
The first thing that drew me to Love Fortunes and Other Disasters was the adorable cover. I am a sucker for cute covers, and I just couldn’t resist this one. The summary for the book sounded really cute as well, so I couldn’t wait to check it out.

There are a wide variety of characters in the novel and each has a different personality. Some are super eccentric, while others are pretty laid-back. The main character in the story is Fallon, who for years has dreamed of attending high school in Grimbaud and finally getting her love fortune, and who is completely devastated when she receives a disheartening fortune. Fallon’s star-crossed love in the story is Sebastian. I really appreciated the relationship between these two characters, as there was no insta-love; when they first meet they pretty much hated each other! And it was fun to watch the relationship grow. Sebastian was probably my favorite character in the novel; though at first I didn’t think I’d like him much. There were a lot of interesting secondary characters in the novel as well, some who are super eccentric, and I loved them for it.

The story line for the book was cute, and despite a few slow parts, held my interest throughout the story. The world-building for the book was really creative. The city sounded very magical, especially considering all the spells that you could purchase. I found myself really wanting to visit this fictional city, although I would be terrified of actually getting any type of love fortune!

Overall; Love Fortunes and Other Disasters was a really cute read. I can tell that the author put a lot of thought into the book, and she did a good job of getting everything out in the story. I’m really looking forward to reading more by Kimberly Karalius in the future!

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21393526-magonia
Magonia
by Maria Dahvana Headley
Website | Twitter

Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780062320520
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
Source: Publisher

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Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds... two races…and two destinies.

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie? (Goodreads)
Before I was sent a copy of Magonia to review, I had seen quite a bit of hype going around for the book, and I was super curious to see what the fuss was about. I’m so glad I decided to read this book. It definitely lives up to the hype, and in the end left me wanting more!

Aza is girl torn between two worlds; the ground below in which she has lived all her life, and the sky that belongs to the Magonian’s. All her life, Aza has had struggled to breathe, and the doctors don’t know why. They can only help her to live the best life that she can, while she can. And that works for Aza, until she out the window one afternoon and sees a ship in the sky. At first she thinks it is a hallucination, but when she hears her name being called from the ship, she realizes that it may just be something more.

The characters in the story were so well written, especially Aza. We get to see two completely different Aza’s in the story, the one who lives on the ground who can’t breathe the air and who is weak and slowly dying. Then there is Aza in the sky, who is curious and full of courage and determination. It really was interesting to see these different sides of her.

Aza’s best friend, Jason, was probably my most favorite character in the whole story. He knew that Aza had not just died, that something else had happened to her, and he was so determined to find out what. And, he’s super swoon-worthy as well.  Aza’s family was really interesting as well; both her family on the ground and the one in the air. I enjoyed them all, and each for so many different reasons.

When I first started reading the book, things were a little confusing. But I kept reading, and I managed to catch on to what was going on pretty quickly. I’m glad I stuck with it, because the story is definitely worth the read. The world-building was so creative; I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where half of the story has taken place in a sky world. I loved it!

Overall; Magonia was such a super unique read, just so different from any other fantasy I’ve read before. I loved the characters and the world-building and just EVERYTHING. I hear there may be a sequel in the works as well, so I’m super excited to check it out to see where this story will go for Aza and crew. Check it out if you haven’t already!!


_______________________________________________

*Event Recap*


The girls and I attended the last stop on the Epic Reads Spring Book Tour on May 1st and met Maria Dahvana Headley, Susane Colasanti & Katie Cotugno!! These ladies were lovely, and they talked about many great things. Maria talked a lot about the amazing things that she has done in the past,  which included negotiating with pirates and searching for Amelia Earhart. She seriously has to be one of the most adventurous people I've ever met.
It was SO much fun chatting with these three ladies, and I loved hearing about their inspirations and lives. If you've not read these books, I highly recommend that you check them out!

Magonia  |  City Love  |  99 Days

_______________________________________________

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20345202-the-girl-at-midnight
The Girl at Midnight
(The Girl at Midnight #1)
by Melissa Grey
Website | Twitter | Instagram

Publication Date: April 28th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780385744652
Genre: Young Adult | Paranormal | Fantasy
Source: Publisher

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Available for Purchase:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire. (Goodreads)
When I first read the summary for The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, I knew this book was going to make for an epic read. And it totally did! I love it when a book is even better than expected!

The story is about a girl, Echo, a human, who is caught right in the middle of an ancient war between the creatures that live under the streets of New York City. These creatures are called the Avicen, and they are an ancient race of people with feathers instead of hair, and who also have magic. When the centuries-old war gets a little too close to home, Echo doesn’t hesitate. It’s up to her to find the Firebird, the thing that is known as a myth, but what could, in fact, bring an end to the war altogether.

Echo was a super awesome main character.  Characters like her that are my absolute favorite! She’s strong and determined but also has a loyal heart and even a bit of the sarcastic attitude that I can totally relate to. And the best part is that she’s the one human in world that is hidden from all humans. She’s so different from the creatures in her world, but still, so loyal and so determined throughout the story. I love her for this.

Can we take a moment to talk about the main men in this book? There are two, and I somehow managed to fall in love with both of them; Rowan, because he’s almost perfection, and Caius, because he’s the complete opposite, but still also perfection. Haha!

The storyline for the book, as well as the characters and setting were so creative, and it all blended together wonderfully to make quite an impressive story. I love that the story was told from multiple points of view as well; it let us look at both sides of the story. I was hooked as I turned the pages of the book, and after the ending, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book!

Overall; The Girl at Midnight was just as good as everyone said it was going to be, and more. I really can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series, as I’m sure it’s going to be just as good, and I can’t wait to get back into this story. If you have not yet read this book, or do not have it on your to-read list, I highly suggest that you get your hands on the book as soon as possible. Then you will be hooked as well!

____________________________________________

*The Giveaway*

Win a copy of The Girl at Midnight!!

US Only.
Must be 13 years or older enter.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review & Giveaway: A Matter Of Heart by Amy Fellner Dominy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21921032-a-matter-of-heart
A Matter of Heart
by Amy Fellner Dominy
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Publication Date: May 15th 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780385744430
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Source: Publisher

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Available for Purchase:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Readers will happily sink into this emotionally grounded, contemporary young adult novel about the sudden end of one girl's Olympic swimming dreams and the struggles she endures before realizing there are many things that define who we are.

Sixteen-year-old Abby Lipman is on track to win the state swim championships and qualify for the Olympic trials when a fainting incident at a swim meet leads to the diagnosis of a deadly heart condition. Now Abby is forced to discover who she is without the one thing that's defined her entire life.
(Goodreads)
I was definitely intrigued when A Matter of Heart crossed my radar. I’d had it on my to-read list for quite a while, and when the opportunity rose to review the book, I jumped on it, of course! I’m so glad I did. This book was a really wonderful, emotional read.

The story is about high school swimmer Abby Lipman, who has loved to swim all her life and is well on her way to qualifying for not only the state swim championship, but also Olympic swim trials as well. Everything changes for her one afternoon when a dizzy spell leads to Abby fainting at a swim meet, which leads to her being diagnosed with a deadly heart condition. How can Abby go on when she can no longer do the one thing she loves the most?

Abby was an interesting character. I really appreciated love and passion for her swimming, and her determination was definitely inspiring. I didn’t agree with everything that she did throughout the story, but I can see why she would make some of the decisions that she made. To be honest, I would have been completely terrified if I was her parents, but I thought her mother handled the situation beautifully, so kudos to her.

I love the storyline for the book. It’s about coming to terms with losing something you love more than anything, and dealing with how your new life is going to be. The book made me emotional more than a few times as I turned the pages. There were a few things that I felt were left hanging at the end of the story, but I suppose they weren’t important enough to really matter anyways. Otherwise this was a very enjoyable read for me.

Overall; I really enjoyed reading A Matter of Heart. It really was a great read. I can’t wait to read more by this author in the future; I’m especially looking forward the book she’s releasing in 2016, Die For You. It sounds awesome as well. I hope you check her books out!

_____________________________________________

*The Giveaway*

Win a copy of A Matter of Heart!!

US Only.
Must be 13 years or older enter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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