304 Followers
88 Following
maryann

Chapter by Chapter

A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

First thing’s first: if you haven’t read Six of Crows, please get your life together and go read the book. With that in mind—Six of Crows is everything that it has been hyped up to be. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts showing up on my Tumblr dashboard regarding Six of Crows. I literally can’t go a day without seeing something Leigh Bardugo related showing up (which is totally fine considering how amazing her novels are), but Six of Crows is by far the best thing since sliced bread. If you’re a fan of the author’s Grisha trilogy and want to immerse yourself even further in that fictional world then strap yourself in for a ride into Ketterdam alongside Kaz Brekker.

A notorious thief in the streets of Ketterdam, Kaz Brekker is known as ‘Dirtyhands’. There’s no job that’s too much for Kaz and so long as he’s getting paid for his efforts, he’s pleased. When the opportunity to pull off an impossible heist is presented before him alongside a hefty sum of money, Kaz knows thatthis is the heist of a lifetime. The job? Break into the Ice Court and break out a prisoner harboring dangerous knowledge. Pulling together an unlikely team of six renegades, criminals and thugs alike, Kaz has his work cut out for him. But in the Barrel, nothing is ever what it seems, and breaking into the Ice Court could easily become the worst of Kaz and the Crows’ problems.

I could honestly just scream at the top of my lungs over Six of Crows and sing the novel’s praises. But, because I think typing in caps lock is time consuming (don’t ask me how) and definitely isn’t easy on the eyes, I’ll attempt to calmly convey my feelings for this book. I feel that I should mention right now that Six of Crows is written beautifully in the third person. If there is one thing that I should commend Bardugo for, it is how phenomenal her writing has grown. There wasn’t a moment where I skimmed a page or rolled my eyes at her prose. Every single thing about the way that Six of Crows is written just works. It’s an amazing read and definitely showcases her craft.

As a novel that is told between varying points of view, I fell in love with every single member of the Kaz’s team (the Crows, as I will reference them, for the purpose of this review). No two characters were alike. Each character had a unique voice and a refreshing, original presentation. This a group of flawed, well-written, morally ambiguous teens who are all so easily relatable. From Inej—the spy known as the Wraith—with her tragic backstory, to Jesper (a sharpshooter with a gambling problem), to Nina the Heartrender who is just trying to survive—I adored every single one of these characters. If you’re a reader who loves becoming invested in the protagonists of a novel then for the love of all things good, read Six of Crows. It will give you that and then some.

There was never a dull moment while reading Six of Crows. When the novel wasn’t throwing badass action sequences or pivotal scenes that deal with character development my way, it was giving me backstory. Typically, I’m not the kind of reader who likes having backstory given to me through flashback-esque storytelling, but I loved the way that Bardugo executed it. From the moment that we first meet Matthias, I knew that I was going to fall in love with the snippets of backstory that we’re offered.

And because I’ve decided to mention Matthias, I need to mention Matthias and Nina. If you are a reader who loves romance and loves slow burn romance in particular—read Six of Crows. Imagine this: two characters who have a romantic history together, giving you backstory regarding how their romantic history formed, while also potentially rekindling said romance. Matthias and Nina offer double the almost-romance, double the slow burn pain, and double the feels and angst. What I’m trying to say is that I came to Six of Crows for a story about a crazy heist and amazing characters, but I stayed (in partial) for the amazing story told between Matthias and Nina.

I would recommend Six of Crows to readers who want a novel that is very Suicide Squad meets Heist Society by Ally Carter. To any readers who want a novel that is high fantasy and kickass, look no further than this book. If you’re a reader who is looking for a story that is filled with romance, action, adventure, and turmoil—Six of Crows is for you. Overall, if you’re somebody who reads, I’m going to tell you to pick up Six of Crows. It’s that simple.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-six-of-crows-by-leigh-bardugo

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) - Marissa Meyer

If there’s one thing that I know about Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles it’s that it is a series that I was never able to put down. Admittedly, I got into the series a bit late in the game. I missed out on all the hype associated with waiting for Scarlet and Cress to come out. I finished the entirety of The Lunar Chronicles in about a week over the summer and was left feeling pretty dead knowing that Winter wouldn’t be out until later on in the year. Winter is, as all fans of the series know, the big conclusion to the epic series.

After kidnapping Kai and saving him from nearly crowning Levana as Empress of the Eastern Commonwealth, Cinder and her companions devise a plan that will take their fight against Levana directly to her home planet of Luna. Princess Winter is Queen Levana’s unwanted stepdaughter. Levana despises the princess for her breathtaking beauty sans glamour and has gone to extreme lengths to dampen her looks—including having Winter carve her face with a blade. Having gone years without using her gift, Winter has been plagued with vicious delusions and always relies on her childhood friend, Jacin. But Winter’s feelings for Jacin are forbidden and she knows that there is no possible way for the two of them to be together. When Cinder’s plan to take Luna’s throne for herself begin to fall into place, their worlds collide. The battle for Luna’s crown will begin and the fate of both planets will hang in the balance in the final novel of the Lunar Chronicles.

There is so much happening in Winter. If fans of the series are expecting a final novel that will pack a punch with each chapter, that is exactly what they’ll receive. Every moment in Winter is filled with conflict and action. In theory it sounds like there will never be a dull moment. We’re introduced to the character of Winter—a retelling of the classic character ‘Snow White’—and get to see what her life has looked like leading up to the events taking place in the novel. Personally, I adored Winter and her plucky, quirky behavior. Having spent years without utilizing her gift, Winter’s mind has begun to degrade, leaving her somewhat childish and naïve. There’s a lot of innocence surrounding Winter’s character that I found refreshing. Out of all the characters in the series, Meyer has easily made her my favorite. Easily, readers will be able to find a soft spot in their hearts for the series latest protagonist.

I won’t lie, I was somewhat disappointed by the way that Winter was executed. Meyer’s prose is still on point and riveting as always, but I strongly felt like Winter wasn’t the sole focus of the novel. Where Cinder, Scarlet, and even Cress all felt like novels oriented toward the retelling of a fairytale whilst also furthering the plot of the series, Winter felt like the opposite. Throughout reading, I constantly felt like the novel was focused more on furthering the plot of the Lunar Chronicles as opposed to telling us the titular character’s story. Winter does take a bit of a backseat to her cousin Cinder’s storyline as readers wonder if Cinder’s revolution will prove successful.

That being said, I won’t deny that Winter was a good book. It kept me engaged. It kept me excited. It kept me flipping pages until I could reach the very end and constantly kept me guessing. The action that took place in each chapter was always enjoyable, but I was also beginning to pick up a pattern while reading. It felt like a lot of the action sequences that would ensue had a bit of a uniform structure to them which, in turn, made points of the novel very predictable. I was still interested in what was happening—but at the same time, I was also a bit pouty whenever my predictions rang true.

I definitely do think that Winter is a very good choice for a final novel in an amazing series. Personally, I’m not entirely content with the way that everything ended—but what can I say? I’m a picky reader. If you’re a fan of The Lunar Chronicles then there’s no doubt in my mind that you will love Winter and that you will be weeping as you get closer and closer to the very real ending of the series. Luckily for all of us, it isn’t the very last that we’ll ever have of the series—we still have Stars Above to look forward to.

I would recommend The Lunar Chronicles to readers who are looking for fairytale retellings with a futuristic twist. Readers who are looking for a series that has the perfect combination of lightheartedness and darker, serious moments should definitely give it a read. Any readers who are looking for a series that mixes action and romance perfectly should also definitely pick up the series. Lastly, if you’re looking for a novel that you can easily finish in one sitting, The Lunar Chronicles is for you.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-winter-the-lunar-chronicles-4-by-marissa-meyer

Blood, Ink & Fire by Ashley Mansour

Blood, Ink & Fire - Ashley Mansour

Take a minute and try to imagine who you would be if books—if reading—had never been a part of your life. Considering the fact that you’re reading this review, I’m going to make the (somewhat broad) assumption that you consider yourself a reader, no matter how miniscule that consideration may be. A world without books and reading is what author Ashley Mansour has created in her novelBlood, Ink & Fire. It’s a world that is harrowing and exciting, dangerous and secretive. It’s everything you could imagine a world without books to be and summed up in one word, it can only be described as this: intense.

Living within the United Vales of Fell, teen Noelle Hartley has grown knowing only Verity, the unending stream of imagery that has rendered books and the written word obsolete. For years, Fell has ensured that books have remained out of the hands of the public, and that reading is a skill that nobody can utilize. And yet, after something goes terribly wrong within Verity, Noelle finds herself committing a forbidden act: she reads. Suddenly, Noelle is swept up into a perilous world in pursuit of a series of volumes alongside a mysterious boy named Ledger. Noelle’s epic journey just might bring books back from the brink and prove that nothing is ever what it seems.

There was something incredibly thought-provoking about Blood, Ink & Fire. A world without books and reading sounds like a scary place—and certainly unlike any place I would want to be in. One of the things I loved most about Blood, Ink & Fire in hindsight was just how the novel stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. Constantly after having finished Blood, Ink & fire, I couldn’t stop myself from constantly thinking of ‘what if’ scenarios. What if I was trapped under Fell’s thumb? What if Noelle hadn’t done the things that she had done? What if, what if, what if…

That being said, Blood, Ink & Fire is a relatable read that I think readers everywhere will enjoy. I think that readers will be able to easily connect with the world that Mansour has created and will have ease imagining the setting. I also think that readers will be able to relate to the novel’s protagonist, Noelle. Personally, I fell in love with Noelle’s character. I loved the way that she was portrayed by the author. Noelle is a character whose growth can be monitored from the very start of the novel to the very end. Noelle is a beacon of light in an otherwise dark world, and more than that, she is strong. What Noelle endures throughout Blood, Ink & Fire is truly endearing and makes her a protagonist that readers won’t be able to resist.

Mansour’s prose is also quite lovely. I found it easy to imagine a scene in my mind’s eye as it played out, and found her writing was able to grasp my attention and maintain it for some time. Blood, Ink & Fire does alternate between the first and third persons, but I absolutely adored the chapters that Mansour wrote from Ledger’s perspective. They were incredibly well-written and left me thinking ‘Wait… do that again’ because I just couldn’t get enough. Those chapters that were scattered through the novel were definitely a treat and some of my favorite parts.

The way that Mansour presents Blood, Ink & Fire is also very unique. I especially loved the way that she incorporated classical literature into her novel. And there are a ton of references to Macbeth and if there’s one thing I love more than reading, it’s re-reading me some Macbeth. Bring on the Macbeth!

I think that readers who want a novel that is equal parts entertaining and imaginative should give Blood, Ink & Fire a read. Readers who want a novel that contains an amazing romance and adventure. I would also recommend Blood, Ink & Fire to readers who want a novel that will leave them consumed with thoughts and eager to read more from the series.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-blood-ink-fire-by-ashley-mansour-bloodinkfire

Come Back to Me by Mila Gray

Come Back to Me - Mila Gray

I absolutely adored the story of Kit and Jessa in Mila Gray’s Come Back to Me.  The story opens up with a cliffhanger, and then starts at the beginning, recounting the moment we read in the beginning and onward.  I loved it!  What a way to start a story…

Jessa has been crushing on her brother Riley’s best friend, Kit Ryan, for some time now.  For years, it has been one-sided…admiring him from a far until the party being held for Riley, who is on leave for a month from the Marine’s (as is Kit).  Now Jessa notices that Kit’s looks are little more lingering, his smiles a little more flirty… and when Kit admits to her that he has feelings for her, one of the most romantic, memorable romances starts to bud.

Kit does everything he can to prove to Jessa that he has the ability to be the best boyfriend in the world, and that he’s not at all the player that he once was.  The only problem?  If Jessa’s brother and father find out, he is D.E.A.D.  And why Jessa’s father loathes the very existence of Kit is a mystery to him and pretty much everyone else.  So the relationship flourishing between Jessa and Ryan is done in secret, but as we all know, when two people have a true connection, no matter how hard you try to hide it, someone will notice.  It’s undeniable!  The sparks that fly between Kit and Jessa are so electric it’s impossible to ignore.

I can’t go on!  I can’t tell you anymore!  Going beyond that will just spoil everything else altogether.  Trust me when I tell you that you need to read this book.  And when you do start, be sure to bring some tissues.  It’s one of those reads that you just can’t stop reading!  The love that starts to grow between Kit and Jessa is reminiscent to me of The Notebook…powerful, unforgettable, soul changing.  It’s one of those stories that makes you fall in love all over again, or wish that you could find a love like Kit’s and Jessa’s.

Not only is this a story about love with a capital “L”, it also deals with PTSD, which is something that is so important to deal with and talk about.  Seeing Jessa’s father trying to deal with it on his own without any professional help is a scenario that is all too real.  Again, I can’t say too much, because even the littlest details will give away the whole of the story!

Fans of emotional, heart wrenching reads will fall head over heels in love with Come Back to Me by Mila Gray.  If you love reads that will make your soul cry, don’t hesitate to grab a copy ASAP.  You have been forewarned though, dear reader…this is definitely a tear jerker and just might leave you with a super huge book hangover…

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-come-back-to-me-by-mila-gray-review-and-giveaway

Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf By Wolf - Ryan Graudin

I freaking loved Ryan Graudin’s The Walled City. It was a novel that I ate up in almost one sitting. It was exciting, it was romantic, it was thrilling—it was exactly my cup of tea. So when I found out that they’d written another novel, Wolf by Wolf, that was described as ‘Code Name Verity meetsInglorious Basterds’ I knew that I was about to delve into something great. Novels set during the Second World War are ones that I find riveting considering the history surrounding timeline, and with Wolf by Wolf being set in another universe where the Nazis won the war—you could consider my curiosity piqued.

Yael witnessed the atrocities of the death camps firsthand. A survivor who has experienced her fair share of losses, Yael is disgusted by the Axis Power of the Third Reich who have successfully taken over the world. Each year a motorcycle race is held in the form of the Axis Tour where young German and Japanese teenagers are given the opportunity to represent their respective countries for the world to see. For Yael, winning means obtaining the means to see the reclusive Adolf Hitler in person.

Having been turned into a shapeshifter through experiments done on her in one of the camps during her childhood, Yael takes on the appearance and life of Adele Wolfe, the only female victor of the Axis Tour—and the only person within striking distance of Hitler. Yael’s job is simple. Win the race. Kill Hitler. Free the world. But Adele’s twin brother, Felix, poses another problem. And one of her competitors, Luka, has made it very clear that no amount of studying could prepare her for the truths of just who Adele Wolfe really was and how that alone might compromise her mission.

Straight up, I freaking loved this book. The way that Graudin writes is amazingly vivid and accurately depicts the setting. There were no instances where I couldn’t clearly imagine what was happening in the novel as I read. Everything from the German cities, to the deserts, to Imperial Japan—all of it was described with beautiful clarity. The fact that Graudin’s writing can also grip a reader from the very beginning and never let them go certainly helps too.

The storyline for Wolf by Wolf is fantastic. The narrative slips between Yael’s experiences during the Axis Tour as Adele Wolf to the experiences that lead her to become the woman she is in the present day. Yael’s character is unique andreal. She’s flawed. She’s caught between duty and morality constantly. You can’t help but sympathize with her character as she begins to slowly unravel the mystery behind the aspects of Adele Wolf’s life that she was unaware of, and has to learn how to properly portray that version of Adele for the greater good. Yael’s character is definitely one of my top favorites.

The relationships and characters in Wolf by Wolf are all incredible in their own ways. I think this is one of those novels where everybody will be able to find a character who they feel they can relate to the most. I personally loved Yael and the character Luka. Luka is your typical arrogant, attractive jerk, but there’s more to his character as you progress through the novel. If you’re a fan of characters like Jace from The Mortal Instruments or Adrian from Vampire Academy/Bloodlines then you’d definitely enjoy Luka just as much as I did.

I would recommend Wolf by Wolf to readers who are looking for a novel that’s freaking awesome. Readers who are fans of action, thrillers, and novels that deal with competition (a la Hunger Games, The Scorpio Races, etc.) should give it a read. Any readers who are also looking for a novel that takes place in the past but offers a new take and twist on history should also give Wolf by Wolf a read.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-wolf-by-wolf-by-ryan-graudin

What We Knew by Barbara Stewart

What We Knew - Barbara Stewart

I was curious about Barbara Stewart’s What We Knew based on the description of the novel alone. It sounded like a story that was all about a supernatural thriller. It sounded exciting and unexpected. I can say that, after having finished the novel, it definitely wasn’t what I expected.

In What We Knew our main character Tracy has grown up alongside her childhood best friend Lisa hearing stories of a monster living within the nearby forests. As children, the stories terrified the two of them. Now that the girls are teenagers, Tracy recognizes that the stories are nothing more than urban legends. But when Lisa begins to insist that something is out there, the two girls are launched into a pursuit of something unknown that will test the boundaries of their friendship. Truths will come to light as the two girls begin to come to terms with the past and the present as they venture into the unknown and realize the line between reality and paranoia.

Throughout reading What We Knew, I won’t deny that I wasn’t certain of what it was I was supposed to be experiencing. Typically each chapter of a novel pushes he storyline forward. My main problem with What We Knew was that I didn’t quite understand just what the novel was supposed to be about. A quarter of the book felt like it was about discovering whether the urban legend of the man in the woods was real; another quarter felt like a story of discovering friendship; another quarter discussed sexual assault and the impact it poses on survivors; and another quarter of the novel felt a lot like filler.

I won’t deny that Stewart’s writing was good at keeping me reading. The chapters I enjoyed most were written as emails between characters and I found them the most gripping, exciting parts of the entire book. They garnered intrigue and made me interested in continuing the novel. However, as a teen reader reading a novel about teens, what took away from reading the majority of the novel for me was how the characters sounded ‘forced’. The flow of making the characters sound young and hip was inconsistent and made me wince from time to time.

What I can say is that the ending for What We Knew wasn’t at all what we expected. I genuinely enjoyed the novel’s ending and was content with the way that the story came to a conclusion. I do like the way that Sterwart treated the topic of sexual abuse and assault and the way she portrayed that in a realistic sense. I just wish that the novel could have been clearer in terms of storyline and offered an experience that felt engaging throughout.

I would recommend What We Knew to readers who are fans of authors like Cherlyn Rainfield. Readers who are looking for a novel that deals with serious themes should also give What We Knew a read. Any readers who are looking for a novel that can also be read easily should give What We Knew a try.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-what-we-knew-by-barbara-stewart

Poet Anderson …Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young

Poet Anderson ...Of Nightmares - Tom DeLonge, Suzanne Young

This book!  OMG this book!  I loved this book with such an intense passion, you have no idea!  Truth be told, I didn’t even have this book on my radar.  I had no idea that it was even a thing, and thank the book gods that it was a thing!  When they say that this is “a thrilling, edge of your seat story”, they were not joking.  I couldn’t stop reading…I couldn’t put it down!

Authors Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young do an amazing job of mixing the dream world into reality.  I had anticipated that I would be confused with being able to rationalize which was the dream world and which was reality, but I was not confused at all.

You know how there are certain books that are split into 2 separate “worlds/realities” and you crave to read more about one world over the other? (Does that sentence even make sense?) In Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young, I craved both.  I had no preference over one or other because of how both worlds converge into one.  How you ask?  I really can’t tell you!  You have to read it yourself, and bask in the presence of something great.

Basically, the story revolves around two brothers, Jonas and Alan Anderson, who have only each other after the death of their parents, and both of whom are Lucid Dreamers.  For years, Alan has been all that Jonas has, and has had to grow up pretty quick to become the “parent” figure.  Traveling from one town to the next, from job to job, school to school just to make ends meet, and ensure that Jonas gets his education.

While en route to the next job at a hotel that used to employ their parents, Jonas and Alan, get into a terrible accident, landing Alan in hospital and in a coma, and Jonas having to figure out where he’s supposed to live and eat.  After being told that there is absolutely no way that he can stay in his brother’s hospital room, Jonas takes it upon himself to step in to his brother’s footsteps and do the job that his older brother was hired to do.

It is here that Jonas learns so much about his parents, his fellow employees, and his destiny.  Known as Poet Anderson in the Dream World, Jonas learns so much more about himself and the strengths he will need to defeat REM before the world of dreams and the world of reality become a living nightmare.

Secrets and realities come to light, and Jonas must find a way to conquer his own internal nightmares and become the hero that the Dream World knows he can be.

The characters in Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young jump right out at you.  They are unique unto themselves and there will be one that readers will relate to.  You can feel the emotions coming right off the pages and capturing your heart and soul.  The heartache and defeat that Jonas endures is one that will stick in your mind, days after reading the last page.

If you’re looking for a book that will quickly take you away to a new world and meet characters that will soon become unforgettable, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Poet Anderson…Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge and Suzanne Young.  You will soon find yourself immersed in a world that will have you imaging frightening images of nightmares come to life.

One of the cool things with the hardcover that was provided to us for the tour was that it included a CD of songs by Angels & Airwaves which served as a soundtrack for the book.  It only intensified the reading experience, which was pretty freakin’ awesome!

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-poet-anderson-of-nightmares-by-tom-delonge-and-suzanne-young-review-and-giveaway

Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver by Michele Brouder

Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver (Soul Saver, #1) - Michele Brouder

What would you do if the world as you knew it changed in the blink of an eye? If one day, you were a regular teen doing regular teen things, and then BAM, you find out that you have supernatural powers and that basically you are destined to help God in his crusade against evil?

Well, for Claire Daly, that. Just. Happened. One day, she’s helping her Gram with holy water by a well, and the next minute she’s got powerful white beams coming out of her hands. And that’s not even the half of it! It’s at this time when her Gram and her mom decide that the time has come to tell Claire what the what is all about.

Apparently, Claire is destined for greatness…way before she was born. She finds out that she has always been destined to become a part of the Illuminata, and save lost souls in the deeper circles of Hell. To fight alongside Michael, the Archangel. But Claire is just not quite ready to accept this fate.

But when a dark evil seems to be hunting her down, and hurting anyone who is close to her, Claire knows that she needs to learn how to harness this power she has been given. Enter Aunt Julia. A woman she thought long dead, but is actually one of the best people to teach her how to become what she was meant to be.

All the while, a mysterious stranger named Ari seems to have a destiny with Claire as well. A destiny that has transcended time. (Gosh, I loved Ari and Clair and am dying to know more about their story! I’m craving it!) He’s hot, he rides a motorcycle, and all it takes is a whisper of his name from Claire’s lips for him to come to her rescue. Ehrmagherd where can I get one!

With dealing with a new way of life to trying to figure out what her purpose is, Claire begins her journey and tests her faith (or lack thereof) in a game of life and death.

Claire Daly is a firecracker. I loved her character. She speaks her mind, is pretty funny, and is like a typical teenager. I can’t even begin to imagine how much the news of her new life path could affect her! One day she’s heartbroken over her lifetime crush, and the next she’s learning how to control powers that are pretty impossible to believe.

Her love for her little brother, Seth, is so endearing and had me loving her character all the more. And don’t get me started on Ari. In my mind, he was Greek Adonis who wants nothing more to ensure that Claire is completely safe, no matter the cost.

Author, Michele Brouder, does an excellent job grasping the reader’s attention, and maintaining it for the duration of the read. I flew through the pages, and was in need of more when the last page was turned. I especially want more of Claire and Ari. Give us more! Give us more!

Fans of reads involving good and evil will thoroughly enjoy Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver by Michele Brouder. I cannot wait to dig in to the next installment of this series.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-claire-daly-reluctant-soul-saver-by-michele-brouder-review-interview-and-giveaway

Thorn Jack (Night and Nothing #1) by Katherine Harbour

Thorn Jack  - Katherine Harbour

I’m not really a huge fan of reading books involving faeries.  I’ve read quite a few that just did not do it for me, and had quite honestly, turned me off of that genre.  But then, Thorn Jack (Night and Nothing #1) by Katherine Harbour was pitched to me, and I was intrigued!  And truth be told, I was not at all disappointed.  It was a read that I could not put down.

Finn Sullivan and her father leave their home that holds too many dark memories (her mother’s death and her sister’s suicide), and move to her father’s old hometown in New York.  Finn quickly becomes friends with Christie Hart and Sylvie Whitethorn, and are soon all inseparable.

At a party, Finn meets the mysteriously and irresistible Jack Fata.  And soon enough, Jack is all that occupies her mind.  But the encounter all has an effect on Jack, and Finn ends up being all that he can think about.  Eventually, Finn and her friends get “over their head” involved with the Fatas and their secrets, and soon everyone that is close to/involved with Finn Sullivan are in danger.

The way in which the intertwined the real world with the world with the Fatas was done superbly.  The characters were all had their own personalities, and I couldn’t help but fall for Jack.  You know me, I can’t resist a bad boy with a good heart.  It’s my weakness.  And I loved that I feared and loathed so many of the members in the Fata family, especially Reiko Fata and Caliban.

The author’s descriptions of the horrors that the Fatas can make their chosen victims see were terrifying!  Especially the Grindylow!  I was imagining them doing the jiggidy twitchy moving effect that you see in horror movies.  And Caliban’s character was like a nightmare come to life.  Charming yet lethal, whenever Caliban appeared I was intrigued and terrified at the same time.

Now Jack and Finn…if there were two people who should be together, to me, it was these two.  There was something in each of them that the other needed to feel whole.  Jack was irresistible.  The first time he showed up in the book, I was already hooked on him.  His mannerisms, the words he would say, his way of “flirting” had me smirking all over the place.  And the great thing about reading the copy of Thorn Jack by Katherine Harbour that we received for review was the short story at the end which was all about Jack.  Told in alternating times (past and present), it showed how Jack ended up the way he was, and shared a shocking truth about the Grindylow’s that had me gasping.

Thorn Jack by Katherine Harbour was a great Halloween read (seeing as how the big event happens on that day!).  With continuous twists and turns in the story, it was near impossible to stop reading.  Everything flowed well and the build up to the end was fantastic.  I will admit that there were certain times in the book that I felt were dragging and almost had me ceasing to continue.  But I’m so happy that I powered through because it was all worth it.

If you’re looking for a read that involves mythology and faeries, with a Romeo & Juliet feel, Thorn Jack by Katherine Harbour is the one for you.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-thorn-jack-night-and-nothing-1-by-katherine-harbour

Don’t Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom

Don't Ever Change - M. Beth Bloom

I had no clue what to expect from author M. Beth Bloom’s Don’t Ever Change. I’ve read her novelDrain You a few years ago and I recall having enjoyed the experience very much. The premise for Don’t Ever Change had my attention—a protagonist who is an aspiring author? Sounds about as relatable as it gets—and with that alone to comfort me, I jumped right in to Don’t Ever Change.

In Don’t Ever Change, Eva has just graduated high school. She should be elated. After all, the dreadful experience that is high school is finally over and done with! She can finally embark on the next chapter of her life—that is, if she can get her English teacher’s parting words out of her mind. Eva is an aspiring author who has been told to write about what she knows. But the only issue with that piece of advice is that Eva doesn’t know what she knows. Meeting new faces and forming new relationships, Eva decides to spend her final summer before University to figure out who she is. And, hopefully as a result, find out just what it is she knows.

I’ll just say it right now, if readers are looking for a novel told in the first person where you can easily slip into the character’s head—Don’t Ever Change is for you. Bloom is immensely talented when it comes to portraying a character through the first person in a way that gives them personality. I could easily place myself in Eva’s mind and see the story through her eyes with perfect clarity. There was a huge amount of realism in the narrative alone and I absolutely adored it

I seldom ever get irritated with a novel’s protagonist and often, found myself rolling my eyes at Eva. I know that that sounds very negative but it really isn’t. Eva’s a very unique character. She comes off as over-confident and full of herself, even though we know that she is the total opposite internally (sometimes). As a reader, we get to experience Eva’s internal turmoil while also watching her external actions say the opposite. So many times, listening to Eva and watching Eva interact with other characters had me ripping my hair out because of the way she would almost talk down to them. She’s such a flawed character and I really enjoyed that about her.

As Eva tries to discover herself, there is a bit of a side-plot romance that takes place in the story. First with a total wannabe rockstar in the form of Elliot, and a will-they-won’t-they thing going on with Zack. I’m a sucker for romance and actually really liked the way it was portrayed in Don’t Ever Change. It wasn’t overdone in a way that took over the plot or made it central to Eva’s character, but the additional romance definitely leaves readers interested and hooked. You want to know if Eva will fall in love. You want to know what this will do to her ‘mission’.  You just want to know.

The only issue that I had with Don’t Ever Change would be the instances where the narrative would drop. There would be a lull in action and my attention would often start wandering. This was often made up for through the more comedic scenes that would occur between Eva and her experiences as a camp counselor. Still, these were moments that did impact my time as a reader.

I would recommend Don’t Ever Change to readers who are looking for a novel that has a relatable character who can portray the ‘average’ girl. Any readers who are looking for a fun teen-fiction novel should also give Don’t Ever Change a go, as well as any readers who want a fun summer read.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-dont-ever-change-by-m-beth-bloom

Dead and Kicking by Lisa Emme

Dead and Kicking - Lisa  Emme

Dead and Kicking by Lisa Emme was a read that had me chuckling pretty much throughout the whole book.  With a quirky main character and a gruff sexy homicide detective, and a world filled with supernatural beings to satisfy your craving, Dead and Kicking was a solid book 1 in The Harry Russo Diaries.

Harry Russo has a gift.  Not only is she a witch, but she’s able to communicate with the dead AND another gift that comes to light later in the book.  A pretty kick ass gift if you ask me.

Unfortunately for Harry, her blind date winds up dead and contacts her for help.  Harry ends up mixed up in a whole lot of danger, and winds up making deals with one of the most feared vampires around.  And as if things couldn’t get any worse, throw in some zombies into the mix and a little shock and awe twist at the end, and I would say you’ve got a pretty good recipe for pretty intriguing supernatural read.

The opening chapter to Dead and Kicking by Lisa Emme was actually done so well that it would draw in many readers to continue.  I liked how it was revealing teaser of what to expect from main character, Harry Russo.  Harry Russo is a character that I feel people can relate to, and it always helps that she has some great one-liners.  My thoughts on the male lead, Cian Nash, is still debatable.  There’s no question that he’s a sexy brooding character, but he was way too grumpy.  Like, irritatingly grumpy.  It’s a good thing that he seems to arrive right at the nick of time, and does something/says something utterly sweet that makes up for SOME of his grumpiness.  I’m still waiting for him to make me swoon, folks.

The storyline was attention grabbing and progressed quite well.  I enjoyed the supernatural elements in the book, and parts kinda sorta reminded me of HBO’s True Blood.  Vamps, witches, werewolves, zombies…Dead and Kicking by Lisa Emme pretty much had it all.

I will say though that the way in which some of the story was written was confusing.  For example, the character is speaking directly to the reader, but some of it was in the past tense.  So I was waiting for the point in the book where the character would say something like “…and so now here I am”, and then change to present tense.  It was like a lead up to a current event.

With a little tweaking, I’m sure that The Harry Russo Diaries will become an instant hit with fans of True Blood or Supernatural.  A solid intro to the world of Harry Russo, author Lisa Emme will easily find a following with fans of supernatural reads.  Grab a copy, and check it out for yourself!

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-dead-and-kicking-by-lisa-emme-and-interview

I Am the Traitor (The Unknown Assassin #3) by Allen Zadoff

I Am the Traitor (The Unknown Assassin) - Allen Zadoff

Having kept up with author Alan Zadoff’s The Unknown Assassin trilogy from the very beginning, I was interested in getting to finally see how Boy Nobody’s—or, Zach—story would finally wrap up. Considering the unending action that filled I Am The Traitor’s predecessors, I was excited to delve into a novel that would offer a brand new story that would ultimately make or break the series.

In I Am The Traitor, we are reintroduced to Boy Nobody’s world full of espionage, betrayal, and secrets. His doubts toward the Program are made plain and he has no problem with bringing them down. But Zach’s defiance brings about a whole new problem when he discovers that his old friend and ally, Howard, is in trouble. Forced to look back to his past assignments, Zach is reconnected with past connections, as well as introduced to brand new faces who have also been affected by the Program. What Boy Nobody doesn’t anticipate is that you might not be able to let anybody too close and that the Program, no matter how hard he might fight to escape it, will never be too far behind.

Right off the bat I can say that, like the novels that came before it, I Am The Traitor is filled with action sequences and other badass goodness. I felt right at home reading fight sequences that flowed naturally, watching as Boy Nobody battled against his typical antagonists, and reading about the conflicts that have plagued him in every novel of the trilogy. Like always, if you are a fan of action then The Unknown Assassin trilogy is for you. What accompanies the fast-paced action scenes is a thrilling atmosphere that cannot be ignored and leaves readers on the edge of their seats.

Zadoff’s writing creates a unique world where readers can experience the life of an assassin and realize that it certainly isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Zadoff’s prose is simplistic and allows for a quick read. While I do wish that there were more instances where descriptors could have been provided, it was easy to establish an idea of the scene in my mind while reading.

However, I will admit that while all of the fighting was awesome, there was no denying the fact that the plot of the novel began to feel a lot like the same old same old. In previous novels, Zach/Boy Nobody has been given an assignment, typically involving a teenage girl, whom he gets close to and inevitably has sexual relations with the girl, before finishing his assignment off and moving on to whatever the Program has given him next.

While Zach is far from pro-Program in this novel, I did feel like the same song and dance was being repeated in I Am The Traitor. If you’ve read the novel, you know what I’m talking about—and if you haven’t and are about to, you will find out. I certainly wasn’t underwhelmed by I Am The Traitor, but I wasn’t blown away either. I’m a firm believer that the final novel in a trilogy should be definitive of the entire series, and that it should leave the reader with an experience that they’ve never had before.

I would recommend The Unknown Assassin trilogy to any readers who are big fans of spy thrillers a la the Bourne movies. Any readers who are looking for an interesting, thrilling read should also give The Unknown Assassin novels a read. Lastly, any readers who are fans of novels that feature major character development across a series should definitely give it a try.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-i-am-the-traitor-the-unknown-assassin-3-by-allen-zadoff

Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker

Surviving Ice: A Novel (The Burying Water Series) - K.A. Tucker

Just when I thought that K.A. Tucker’s Burying Water series couldn’t get any better, along came Surviving Ice. I made a silent (okay, not so silent) plea for Sebastian (the male lead) to make me swoon…and let me tell you…did.he.ever.

Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker follows a super talented tattoo artist, Ivy, who was never one to settle in one place. Jumping around all over the world, Ivy was surprised to find that she was ready to settle down in San Francisco with the uncle who got her love for tattoo artistry started.

But Ivy finds herself sucked into a world of secrets and death when she unwillingly witnesses the murder of her uncle…and she doesn’t have any information on who the murderers were or why they went after her uncle. Ivy now finds herself wanting to escape the horrors that she witnessed, but is forced to deal with the aftermath. Little does Ivy know that all is not what it seems, and when she finds out the truth, her whole world will get turned upside down.

A call from his boss has Sebastian back in San Francisco and face to face with a firecracker Asian tattoo. Sebastian has a mission, retrieve a video tape that has information that could incriminate his place of work. All he has to do is find the tape and give it back to his boss. Sounds easy enough. Not so much. When his target has zero knowledge of this tape or information leading to the tape, his “target” slowly becomes someone that he wants to protect…no matter what the cost.

I love Ivy’s character. An independent Asian with a kickass attitude and doesn’t take crap from anyone. She is a character that I have been waiting for, and props to author K.A. Tucker for making her come alive in the pages of Surviving Ice. What I thoroughly enjoyed was watching the walls that Ivy has put up, slowly come down, all with the help of a sexy ex-Navy Seal named Sebastian.

I also loved the character of Sebastian. Sexy, hot, and protective, and allllllllllllll man. He exudes sex appeal and it totally oozed off the pages. The interactions between Sebastian and Ivy were addictive, and had moments of humor. I had a good laugh with Sebastian and his thoughts on papercuts.

I didn’t think that author K.A. Tucker would be able to pull off yet another amazing read, but she did folks! I absolutely love her writing. I love her characters (main and the secondary characters). I love the storylines and the twists in the plot that she expertly writes. I don’t think there’s anything that I DON’T love. And the men…ehrmagherd the men. They keep getting hotter and hotter!

If you’re looking for a book that will have you swooning and laughing, Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker is the one for you. If you’re a fan of the Burrowing Water series, you definitely do NOT want to miss out on this one.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-surviving-ice-by-k-a-tucker-review-excerpt-and-giveaway

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae - Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufman

I need to start this review off by just saying that Annie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae is unlike anything that I have ever read before. From the plot to the actual storytelling—everything about Illuminae is unique. There wasn’t a moment spent while reading this novel where I wasn’t on the edge of my seat and completely into it. This book is everything. Honestly, if you don’t give it a read, you are missing out on something great.

Set in the year 2575, when Kady breaks up with her boyfriend Ezra, the very last thing she expects is for her planet to get invaded by a megacorporation that is interested in starting a war. Narrowly managing to escape on a fleet of ships, both Kady and Ezra find themselves trying to outrun a warship—the Lincoln—that is dead-set on leaving behind no survivors. The threat the warship poses is nothing compared to the threats that are beginning to appear onboard the ships Copernicus, Alexander, and Hypatia. A deadly airborne virus has begun to infect survivors, leaving them feral and bloodthirsty. And the Alexander’s AI, the only thing that can save them from the oncoming warship, is showing malicious intentions. For Kady and Ezra, safety and survival have never been so far away, and there’s no telling if they’ll make it.

I loved this book.

I cannot emphasize how much I love this book. I had my doubts before reading (because the few things I’d read about it were nothing but people raving about how fantastic it was), but now I can tell you with complete and total honesty that this book is just amazing. The way that Illuminae’s story is told is unique and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. There is no typical first person or third person point of view where everything is told through chapters of prose. Illuminaeis told through transcripts of conversations, IMs, documents detailing videos from security cameras, and other ‘found’ footage. It takes a bit of time getting used to, yes, but the way that Kaufman and Kristoff present the story is immersive and innovative.

The way that the story is told makes Illuminae all the more haunting to read. Readers will feel like they’re reading something that actually happened, something that was real, making Illuminae something forbidden to them. It’s a story that leaves you on the edge of your seat, hoping that your favorite characters make it to the very end and unscathed. There were far too many moments where I was left with a horrible feeling in my stomach as I watched some of my faves meet their utter demises.

The protagonists of the novel, Kady and Ezra, are both such flawed characters. They feel very real when you read their interactions with one another and the other characters in the plot. Even though they’re both exes, you can watch as they begin to fall back in touch with one another, and readers will wonder if there’s hope for their romance yet. Will they be able to get back together even though Kady is on the Hypatia and Ezra is on the Alexander? We just do not know, but there’s hope.

In the end, Illuminae is a novel that I’m going to end up holding on very closely to my heart. It’s been too long since I’ve read something as truly unique asIlluminae. The stakes are raised with every single new piece of information that’s offered to us. The characters are all amazing. The storytelling is on point. Nothing is ever what it seems, and I’ve shed far too many tears on the pages of this ARC. It’s with great excitement that I await the next installment to The Illuminae Files. I know only greatness will come from these stories.

I would recommend Illuminae to just about anyone. Fans of sci-fi, romance, action, adventure—whatever—Illuminae has it all. If you want a storyline that will suck you in and keep you flipping pages until the very end, then you’d best get reading.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/blog-tour-illuminae-by-amie-kaufman-and-jay-kristoff-review-and-giveaway-illuminae

The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence (Zodiac #1) by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong

The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence - Andie Tong, Stuart Moore, Stan Lee

As somebody who is a big fan of comic books in general, I was eager to get reading The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence by Stan Lee. (And yes thatStan Lee). Usually, I’m a bit hesitant towards reading novels that are claimed to be middle grade but I couldn’t resist. The Chinese zodiac is always something that I’ve been inclined towards and finding out that the main character’s sign, a particularly important fact in the plot, is a tiger grasped my attention. I needed to know what would happen to my fellow tiger and delved into the innovative world of The Zodiac Legacy.

In The Zodiac Legacy, teen Steven Lee witnesses something beyond his wildest dreams. While on a school trip, he watches as a man named Maxwell unleashes the power of the Zodiac into the world. Maxwell wants nothing more than to absorb each zodiac’s superpower into his body. What Maxwell, the Dragon, doesn’t expect is for Steven to absorb the Tiger into his body. And what Maxwell can’t anticipate is the assistance he receives in thwarting his maniacal schemes in the form of a woman named Jasmine and her companion, Carlos. With the remaining powers of the Zodiac absorbed into numerous other people around the planet, it’s up to Steven, Jasmine, and Carlos to find them and teach them how to use their newfound powers. Lest Maxwell find them first and take them for himself.

What I love, love, loved about The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence was the illustrations. Every few pages there would be some wonderfully drawn pictures, detailing the scene. For a novel dealing with a bunch of characters who literally wake up with super powers, it was interesting to get a bit of a comic book-y vibe while reading. Not to mention that, considering the sometimes limited detailing in a scene, it was nice to get an exact visual of what was going on. These images definitely helped get messages across often in the novel.

The entire cast of characters in The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence are extremely diverse and well-written. No two characters are the same and I’m certain that readers will be able to find somebody who they can relate to while reading. Personally, I took a liking towards Jasmine and her backstory. Not to mention he is a total badass lady who could kick you into a wall and have you thank her for it. She’s calm (mostly), she’s cool, she is insanely awesome. Every scene that featured her were ones that I absolutely adored.  Also, the point of view (POV) of the novel constantly changes with the cast. We get to see the story through the eyes of the good guys and the bad guys. It leaves readers on the edge of their seats, excited to find out what happens next in the story.

While there were instances where I, an older teenage girl, found certain pieces of dialogue and certain scenes to be a bit campy, I think that younger readers will definitely enjoy reading The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence. It’s a new take on superheroes without the masks and capes and is written in a way that will have you eager for the next installment in the series.

I would recommend The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence to readers who are younger (10-13 age demographic) and interested in starting lengthier reads. Any readers who want an imaginative story that features a ton of action, or just want a novel that will keep them guessing, should also give the story a shot.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-the-zodiac-legacy-convergence-zodiac-1-by-stan-lee-stuart-moore-and-andie-tong

Undaunted (Knights in Black Leather #1) by Ronnie Douglas

Undaunted: Knights in Black Leather - Ronnie Douglas

A book that made me think SOA (Son’s of Anarchy)?  Sold!  I had to jump on the opportunity to read Undaunted by Ronnie Douglas (aka Melissa Marr) because I love me a bad boy read.

But what I thought was going to be a book about a badass biker turned out to be not so badass.  I mean sure, Zion *swoon* (aka Killer) is one tough dude but not as tough as I would have liked him to be.  He was pretty tame, but dannnng he was sexy.  We did see little clips of just how tough this bad boy was, and don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing the softer side of these guys, I was hoping for more action!

There was mild teasing of action, and yes there is the big “fight scene” at the end, but it wasn’t explosive and didn’t’ carry me away.  The whole Wolf pack seemed more like puppies to me.

Aubrey…well, she was quite the character.  She was one girl who could NOT make up her mind.  There was so much back and forth with her when it came to Zion that my head was literally spinning.  It came to a point where I got so annoyed with her and the way she toyed with both Zion and Noah’s emotions that I wanted to quit reading.  Aside from Zion and gran, the other characters were just okay.  They didn’t leave a lasting impression on me.

The storyline had potential and there is a scene between Zion and Aubrey that prevented me from tearing my eyes away.  Some of the events that transpired were predictable, and interactions between characters seemed a little forced.  I had high hopes for this series, and am not yet ready to give up on it.  I’d be curious to see what the next book has in store.

Source: http://www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-undaunted-knights-in-black-leather-1-by-ronnie-douglas