Review: Glitterland (Glitterland #1) by Alexis Hall

Glitterland by Alexis Hall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: August 26th 2013
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 16+
Genres & Themes: Adult, M/M romance, Contemporary Romance, Mental Illness

BLURB:

The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own? Continue reading

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: March 31st 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Friendship, Family

BLURB:

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live? Continue reading

Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: April 14th 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, Abuse, Bullying, Romance

BLURB:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive? Continue reading

Review: The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 12th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: YA, Magical Realism, Contemporary, Romance,

BLURB:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.

What would you pay to cure your heartbreak? Banish your sadness? Transform your looks? The right spell can fix anything…. When Ari’s boyfriend Win dies, she gets a spell to erase all memory of him. But spells come at a cost, and this one sets off a chain of events that reveal the hidden—and sometimes dangerous—connections between Ari, her friends, and the boyfriend she can no longer remember.

Told from four different points of view, this original and affecting novel weaves past and present in a suspenseful narrative that unveils the truth behind a terrible tragedy. Continue reading

Review: The Thorn and the Sinking Stone by CJ Dushinski

The Thorn and the Sinking Stone by CJ Dushinski

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: March 10th 2015
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 11+
Genres & Themes: YA, Fantasy, Forbidden Love

BLURB:

Warring families. Forbidden love. And danger they can’t escape…

Daggers. Roses. Cowboys. Boat Men. Survivors of Earth’s Last War, four “families” vie to rule the dreary streets of Rain City through violence and blood. Valencia Hara, Princess of the wealthy Black Roses, is raised in warrior ways with sharpened steel. But she is no ordinary Rose. She is Cursed—tainted with the ability to see seconds into the future…

To avenge his father’s death, Sebastian Leold, of the rival gang Two Daggers, must face off against the Black Princess, he with his dagger, she with her katana sword. Yet a secret from a shared past leaves him unable to kill beautiful Valencia; nor can she kill him. For they once knew each other beyond their blood feud…and they have more secrets in common than they know.

But in a world filled with vengeance and violence, there can be no room for love… Continue reading

Review: Evenfall: Volume 1: Director’s Cut (In the Company of Shadows, #1 part #1) by Santino Hassell & Ais

Evenfall: Volume 1: Director’s Cut by Santino Hassell

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Free
Publication Date: June 2nd 2014
Publisher: /
Point of View: 3rd Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 16+
Genres & Themes: M/M romance, Dystopia, Military, Post-War, Psychological

BLURB:

Available at: www.inthecompanyofshadows.com

In a post-apocalyptic future, the Agency works behind the scenes to take down opposition groups that threaten the current government. Their goals justify all means, even when it comes to their own agents.

Sin is the Agency’s most efficient killer. His fighting skills and talent at assassination have led to him being described as a living weapon. However, he is also known to go off on unauthorized killing sprees, and his assigned partners have all wound up dead.

Boyd is not afraid to die. When his mother, a high-ranking Agency official, volunteers him to be Sin’s newest partner, he does not refuse. In fact, his life has been such an endless cycle of apathy and despair that he’d welcome death.

In the newly revised Director’s Cut of Evenfall, the first volume follows these two cast-offs as they go from strangers to partners who can only rely on each other while avoiding death, imprisonment, and dehumanization by the Agency that employs them.

120,000 words.

Warnings: Explicit violence, physical and psychological abuse.

Note: This is the first of the two volumes comprising Evenfall, the first book in the ICoS series. Continue reading

Review: In These Words, Volume 1

In These Words, Volume 1 by Kichiku Neko

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: June 12th 2012
Publisher: Media, Inc
Point of View: Masculine
Genres & Themes: Adult, Manga, Yaoi, BDSM, Dark, Thriller, Psychological, Death

BLURB:

Asano Katsuya is a US trained psychiatrist who has been recruited by the Tokyo Police Department to provide a profile through the victims’ data. Based on Asano’s profile and recommendation, an elaborate plan is put into place to lure the serial killer out – a plan that bore successful results Now, after three years and twelve victims, Shinohara Keiji is finally in police custody. Shinohara has promised a thorough confession, however, on the absolute terms that Asano has to be the one to receive it. Besides the curious request by the killer whom Asano was only familiar with on paper, disturbing nightmares begin to plague him as soon as he’s given the case… Continue reading

Review: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Author
Publication Date: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Steam Punk, Fairy Tale Retellings, Fantasy

BLURB:

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all. Continue reading

Mini-Review: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Supernatural, Romance, Fate

BLURB:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before. Continue reading