Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Release date: November 4, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 357
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
Cloud Atlas meets Orphan Black in this epic dimension-bending trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray about a girl who must chase her father's killer through multiple dimensions.

Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores an amazingly intricate multi-universe where fate is unavoidable, the truth elusive, and love the greatest mystery of all.
I've noticed a theme in books that I knew I wanted to read and got myself a copy of pre-publication or publication week, and then didn't read. For a long time. And that trend is that I end up loving them. A Thousand Pieces of You is just another example! I've been a fan of Claudia Gray for a long time, but I'd say this is my favorite of her books. Sure, that beautiful cover calls your name, but the extraordinary ideas she has and the fascinating journey Marguerite takes are what'll make you come back for the sequel

Though I knew I wanted to read this, and expected to like it, A Thousand Pieces of You was very different from what I thought it would be--in the best way possible. I loved the alternate worlds, and seeing the iterations of different characters throughout. I loved how there were differences amongst them, but the threads of who they were never changed, despite the extreme disparity in their circumstances.

Can I give Paul his own paragraph? Fun story: I actually bought this book as a gift for my best friend for Christmas, knowing it was exactly her kind of thing. Not too long after, she, of course, texted me her feelings--and most of them revolved around Paul. And distress. No spoilers, but he's wonderful and don't let anyone tell you differently. Back to real reviewing...

If I have qualms, there's a certain (oft-discussed, if you've read any reviews) thing that's a little less than palatable, and I wish the book had started with a little more preamble, but, honestly, I've got too much love for this to worry too much. Gimme more, gimme more, please! (In the meantime, I'll just drool at the covers. Because, seriously? Jaw dropping.)

About the author:

Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent, a bestselling, New Orleans-based novelist. She is perhaps best known for her four-book Evernight series, which follows a girl named Bianca, who is sent to Evernight Academy, a boarding school for vampires.

Gray has also published Balthazar, a spin-off of the Evernight series about Bianca's vampire friend, and a stand-alone novel entitled Fateful, the tale of a young serving woman aboard the doomed ship Titanic, and a dark stranger who is pursued by werewolves. Gray's short stories have been featured in anthologies such as Immortal, Enthralled, and Vacations from Hell. Before working as a full-time novelist, Gray worked as a lawyer, a disc jockey, a journalist, and a waitress (a terrible one by her reckoning). She enjoys hiking, traveling, reading, and listening to music, but says she loves writing best of all.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Blog Tour: Remembrance by Meg Cabot {Review + Giveaway}

Release date: February 2, 2016
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 400
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided for review through Edelweiss
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
The highly anticipated return of Meg’s bestselling Mediator series featuring fan-favorite ghost whisperer, Susannah Simon.

You can take the boy out of the darkness. But you can’t take the darkness out of the boy.

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight. 

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you? If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass. 

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child, to ghosts of a very different kind-including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself-Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past-including one she found nearly impossible to resist-strike first? 
Y'all didn't know me in middle school, but Meg Cabot's Mediator series was practically all my friends and I could talk about for a solid year. We all read them in succession, and to this day, any time anything Meg Cabot comes up, Mediator is a huge part of the conversation. Needless to say, I've been DYING for this book since it was announced. And if you're like me in your love and excitement, Remembrance will absolutely not disappoint.

Completely wonderfully, Suze and Jesse are still their awesome selves. Suze is definitely a highlight, because it's clear how much her character has grown in the time since the original books, and she works so hard to help everyone. But, at the same time, she's completely badass, swearing all the time and tromping around in high-heeled boots, ready to do what it takes--and you can't help but love her. Suze and Jesse aren't without their troubles, even being engaged, but their love for one another never fails. For them, it's a matter of communication and recognizing just what they need to tell one another. But, when you've been through what they've been to be together, how could anything else compare? (So, of course, they're adorable and perfect and will make you insanely jealous.)

While I don't know how much someone who didn't read the original series would appreciate some parts of the book, Meg Cabot does a really good job filling in the holes, at least the ones in my memory. But, in terms of plot, it's as good as can be--heartbreaking and personal. And not only does she make it easy to remember again, but, oh, are there references galore! It's wonderful, and the ending is a Mediator fan's dream come true.

(I might've cried.)

(I definitely cried.)

So. Read it, yes? And if you didn't read the series previously, read those first! You won't be disappointed by Suze and her butt-kicking ways.

About the author:

Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to her adult contemporary fiction she is the author of the bestselling young adult fiction series, The Princess Diaries. Over 25 million copies of her novels for children and adults have sold worldwide. Meg lives in Key West, FL, with her husband.

One winner will receive a copy of the first Mediator novel, Shadowland (and you'll be addicted!). US only. Must be 13+ to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if I haven't convinced you, you should probably check out the rest of the tour!

February 2 Born Bookish
February 3 Reader Girls
February 4 Paper Cuts
February 5 Pandora’s Books
February 6 Big Girls *Heart* Books
February 7 Defiantly Deviant
February 8 The Best Books Ever
February 9 Book Briefs

February 10 Paper Skies
February 11 Mary Had A Little Book Blog February 12 The Queen of Teen Fiction

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Guest Post from Lisa Maxwell, Author of Unhooked

I am so excited to have Lisa Maxwell visiting the blog today, and with a guest post, on her release day for her new novel, Unhooked! I've so enjoyed Lisa's books so far, so I'm dying for Unhooked! I mean, just read about it:

About Unhooked:

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?
You know you're with me now, eh? :D Anyway, on to the goodness you're here for, Lisa's post:

 Hi Rachel!

Thanks so much for having me on Paper Cuts to talk about my writing goals for 2016. 

I’ve just come off a really rough deadline, one that had me working straight through most of Christmas and New Years—all in the middle of getting ready to launch UNHOOKED—so thinking about my goals for the upcoming year has been on my mind. In the last two years I’ve written and edited five books: three that are in print, a Middle Grade that’s on submission, and one that’s sitting on my editor’s desk (that would be the deadline-of-doom book). I also have a full-time teaching job, two kids, and a husband who would like to see me occasionally, so my biggest goal for 2016 is finding some kind of balance.

Since I started writing in 2010, I’ve been kind of pedal-to-the-metal. I’ve been working all out and all the time, because I wanted make a real run at writing to make a living. But while I’m one of the truly lucky who has gotten to see my words turn into book-shaped objects, I think I’m still a looooong way from being able to make a living from my writing. If ever. When I first started writing, I was basically unemployed. I’m not anymore. I have a great job teaching writing and literature, and part of my goal for 2016 is accepting that it’s okay for writing to be the thing I do to fuel me instead of the thing I do to pay the bills. Doing that is hard, though. It means stepping back from the goal I once had and reevaluating. And it also means maybe pulling back a bit on my output and finding more of a balance between the teaching I do (and love), my family, and my books.

For 2016, I’ll be revising the deadline-of-doom book for a 2017 publication date. I love that book—or I will once it stops sucking so much—but I don’t think I ever want to ignore my family that much, for that long, again. I forget which author said it now, but she was absolutely right—books won’t love you back. I’ve got a couple of great kids and an amazingly supportive husband, but I want to make sure that I’m making time for the real people in my life…not just the ones I make up in my head.

Which isn’t to say I want to slow down too much. I pitched deadline-of-doom book as “Gangs of NY with magic.” I did an amazing amount of world building for that book, and I’d love to see it turn into something more than a book. So another one of my goals for 2016 is to write a proposal for my option book with Simon Pulse, which I’m hoping will be deadline-of-doom book’s sequel. 

But whatever happens to those books, my main goal is making sure that my primary relationship in life is no longer with my MacBook Air. I mean, I love it to pieces, but I think 2016 is going to be about making writing one of the things I do and focus on instead of the thing I do.

Thanks so much for having me! I’d love to know what some of your readers’ goals are for 2016—writing related or otherwise. I’ll choose one person who comments to receive an UNHOOKED swag pack.

About the author:

Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep, and Unhooked (Simon Pulse, 2-2-16). When she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.

This July, she will be teaching a writing workshop for a week in western Ireland. You can check out more information at
Find Lisa online: Website | Twitter

And all the biggest thanks to Lisa for visiting us today! I hope your launch day is the best! :) And, as Lisa mentioned, she's giving away a swag pack to one of y'all in the comments! So please let us know about your goals--you know I'd love to hear--and make sure I've got a way to get in touch should you win!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Stacking the Shelves {143}

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to share the books we've bought, been gifted, or received for review!

How was your week, y'all? Mine's been good! In exciting news, my best friend is getting married this fall and I'm the maid of honor! Last Sunday, we went to a bridal show and have a bunch of things happening--including a bachelorette trip to Disney World! Needless to say, I'm pumped, and planning is pretty much all I do now. ;) It's also a little crazy to me that I'm old enough to have a best friend getting married, especially since I've known her since first grade. Anyway, on to the books!

For review:

The Prey by Tom Isbell
The Capture by Tom Isbell
In paperback and hardcover, respectively, but taking a picture was too much effort for me. :)

The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine
Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Books I read this week:
Didn't finish a thing. Disney trip obsession is killing my reading time...

I'm currently reading:
Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

So that's been my week! I kind of thought HarperCollins had stopped with these mailings, since I'd not gotten them in a while, and then the Tom Isbell books showed up in my mailbox! I was so happy! Those were always my favorite packages! Also, did anyone else notice that Google apparently purged some people out of our followers? I dropped by a lot and am pretty sad. One day, I'd dropped by a few, and the next time I got on here it was more than fifty fewer. Laaaame.

Have a lovely Sunday and a fabulous week!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas {114}

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Release date: May 3, 2016
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Oh heeeey, ACOMAF! I could handle your wonderfully thick self being in my hands right, yes?

 So what are you guys waiting on this week? :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little {131}

Title: Forbidden
Author: Kimberley Griffiths Little
Release date: November 4, 2014
In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart. 

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying. 

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.

My teaser, from 8% in the egalley:
Tonight something powerful and magical had happened, just like my grandmother and mother had said. I had changed.

And I knew that my life would never be the same again.
I've had this sitting on my Kindle for ages, and am hoping the good reviews for this won't steer me wrong! Let's see, eh? :)

I'll be visiting around and visiting back, so leave me links to your teasers! :) Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Review: Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Release date: May 30, 2012
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 246
Format: Egalley
Source: Author provided for review through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon
For Princess Alyrra, choice is a luxury she's never had ... until she's betrayed.

Princess Alyrra has never enjoyed the security or power of her rank. Between her family's cruelty and the court's contempt, she has spent her life in the shadows. Forced to marry a powerful foreign prince, Alyrra embarks on a journey to meet her betrothed with little hope for a better future.

But powerful men have powerful enemies--and now, so does Alyrra. Betrayed during a magical attack, her identity is switched with another woman's, giving Alyrra the first choice she's ever had: to start a new life for herself or fight for a prince she's never met. But Alyrra soon finds that Prince Kestrin is not at all what she expected. While walking away will cost Kestrin his life, returning to the court may cost Alyrra her own. As Alyrra is coming to realize, sometime the hardest choice means learning to trust herself.
I really don't read self-published books often--and that's not because I don't think there are certainly wonderful self-published books. If I had to put it in words, it's...that I don't have a proven way of finding the good ones? I don't know that it makes sense, but it's the truth. But, sometimes those self-published novels pop up on Netgalley, and I see them in a much more limited way than the millions of books in the Kindle store. That was the case with Thorn, and the moment I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it. I've loved the goose girl story since reading Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl, and while that's a hard book to live up to, I loved the idea of another retelling. And pleasingly, I really enjoyed Thorn, and I'm pretty mad at myself for not reading it as soon as I got it.

What's so lovely about reading a fairy tale retelling is seeing a familiar story spun into something new yet familiar, and each author who takes on the story manages to make it different, seemingly no matter how many times it's adapted. And what I loved about Thorn was how true to the fairy tale it was, all while making the story fresh and adding a strong message.

Alyrra is rather a wonderful character. In the beginning, she's reticent and pliable, doing as others wish, mostly to protect herself. She's clearly a good person, kind to maids and happy to work hard, but she's trampled by those around her. Of course, it takes adversity for her to come out of her shell, and though she's only just found a safe space, she has to come to terms with a life larger than safety.

It's always moments like this that I get mad at myself for not branching out more and trying self-published titles. What lovely chance of fate brought me to Thorn? And what if I miss out on so many more? If I haven't made my message clear, I liked Thorn and definitely think you should read it. now it's clear!

About the author:

Intisar Khanani grew up a nomad and world traveler. Born in Wisconsin, she has lived in five different states as well as in Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. She first remembers seeing snow on a wintry street in Zurich, Switzerland, and vaguely recollects having breakfast with the orangutans at the Singapore Zoo when she was five. She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with her husband and two young daughters. Until recently, Intisar wrote grants and developed projects to address community health with the Cincinnati Health Department, which was as close as she could get to saving the world. Now she focuses her time on her two passions: raising her family and writing fantasy. Intisar's next two projects include a companion trilogy to Thorn, following the heroine introduced in her short story The Bone Knife, and The Sunbolt Chronicles, a novella serial following a young mage with a propensity to play hero, and her nemesis, a dark mage intent on taking over the Eleven Kingdoms.