Q&A Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Q&A

Written by: Katie McGarry
Release Date: May 26th 2015
Pages: 496, hardcover
Series: Thunder Road #1
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An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

1) Best Part of this Book?

I was excited to read a new series by McGarry, I loved all of the characters in Pushing the Limits and I couldn’t wait to see new characters and see what could be done with them. The best part of this book was the new world, it was a community and I see exactly where McGarry can pick up all kinds of new characters for this series. This is such a wonderful world and I want to see it developed down the road.

2) Favorite character?

I really adored and loved Olivia. She was such a wonderful character that was so beautifully fleshed out. It was also a side character that really stuck out to me. I loved so many of the side characters in this series and that makes me so excited to go forward with it.

3) Worst part of this book?

I feel like this book was so fleshed out. That it was so well developed that nothing really stuck out to me as bad. I enjoyed the fact the club is legal, and how that is dealt with both within and without the club. Especially Emily’s Dad.

4) Favorite Quote?

Emily hops up on a stool and props her elbows on the bar. “You wear the crazy crown. For real, who carries a knife and, seriously? Who walks in with a bra on and is okay leaving without one? Those things are expensive.”

5) Was it what’s expected?

Not exactly. I expected this to be an illegal club, I’m glad that it wasn’t, I liked how it worked within the world and the story. Overall I was just really happy with this book. I can’t wait to dig into the next one because Razor seems like such an interesting character.

I do also want to go off topic just a bit, but as someone who has an adopted sister, I loved the way that Emily’s adoption with her Dad was handled, it was handled so well and I’ve seen adoption go badly in books. This was so great and I thank McGarry for it.

 

Pickup

 

If you aren’t sure about starting with McGarry’s books since there’s four in the other series you can absolutely start here, it doesn’t go off her old books at all and it’s really fresh and different.

 

Sondra

Book Review: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Written by: Noelle Stevenson
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Pages: 266, Hardback
Series: Nope, Standalone
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The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it “a deadpan epic.”

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

LetsTalk

This review will be rather short and sweet. Mostly because that’s how Nimona was. I wasn’t 100% sure what I was getting into with this book, I’d seen people talking about it online, and I have this habit of every week looking through all the books my library has added to the catalog every week, which has led to some problems with my TBR, but beside the point. I saw Nimona come up on the new books and asked myself what was the harm? (I’m really good at ignoring my TBR. I think of it as a gift.) Aside from the fact that all library holds come in at once, someone should write a scientific paper on why that is always a thing that happens.

But I’m off topic, point is that I didn’t know what exactly Nimona was about, I knew people who’d read it when it was published online but this was new for me. Within about 18 pages I knew I was about to read pure gold. Nimona isn’t serious, in fact it’s pretty off the wall to the point my sister pointed at the page and went “is that a shark with boobs?” which in fact, it was.

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ARC Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Written by: Renee Ahdieh
Release Date: May 12th 2015
Pages: 395, Hardback
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn, #1
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Thanks to TXLA for the chance to meet Renee and get an ARC of this book!

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A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

 

LetsTalk

So this book was one that had been on my radar for a while, and I’d heard nothing but people who adored it or people who DNF’d within the first few chapters. But after my best friend and mother read it and raved to me I decided to dive in. I am so thrilled that I did.

The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights. Now I haven’t read the original tale, but it’s hard pressed to find people who don’t know it. One of the largest things I was worried about was how Ahdieh was going to deal with the murderous prince. In YA, the men have to be worthy of the crushing, and, well, a psychopathic murderer doesn’t exactly fit that category. Well, fear not. Not only does he have a reason, but the seeds of the reason and quite a bit of mystery are pulled right out in the prologue.

The writing in this book is absolutely amazing. The way that Ahdieh strings together words is something of an art. I do believe her writing is the reason that some people DNF this book. She uses honorifics that are native to the language of our characters which is something I love, but it did also lead me to flipping to the glossary often. As someone who loves beautiful writing and loves language I ate The Wrath and the Dawn up like nothing else.

Didn'tWork

In my ARC the glossary was on the page after the final page. So there were spoilers sitting right there whenever I had to go check what a word was it was a fun game of covering while I read. Now note I haven’t looked at a finished copy yet so this could likely be changed. (Update: I’ve looked at a finished copy and it’s still right on the final page.)

What? That doesn’t count? Drat. All right, fine.

I really wished that more of the past had been explained. There were a few stories here and there, but I really would have liked to know more about Shazi and Shiva. We know that she’s important to Shazi. But I would have liked to have gotten to know her myself.

DidWork

Now it’s time for the gushing……more than I already did…. heh. I mentioned a lot of the basic things that were wonderful about this book but I think some of the best things that worked in this story was the actual pacing of the plot. Yes, Khalid got on my nerves sometimes because I wanted him to just come clean already and he wasn’t. But the story flowed in such a way that it fit with his character, it fit with him getting to know Shazi, and it fit with the pacing of the entire book.

I really loved the slow burn romance of this book. It flowed so nicely and easily through the story and it took the reader through as many emotions as the characters and it created a wonderful reading experience. So few YA books keep with a slow burn instead of insta-love, which is to say if you know of more slow burn romances you should send them to me.

I loved seeing the changes in Shazi too: her anger melting away, her feelings changing as the story progressed. All of it was so beautifully done that as the reader your feelings change too, which is always the most masterful of writing I feel.

Pickup

Just go get this book. Seriously. Go get it. And read it. And love it. If the writing seems hard to you at first give it a bit longer to sink into the story, because you will.

Sondra

ARC Review: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Written by: Jenny Han
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Pages: 288, Hardback
Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2
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Thanks to TXLA for this ARC!

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Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

 

LetsTalkWhen I finished To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I knew right away that I needed to read the sequel. As much as I loved the first book, let’s be honest here, what happened on the last page was not an ending. At the same time, I was worried. I couldn’t really picture what kind of plot this book could possibly have, and given my experience with another Jenny Han series and the promise of a new guy showing up, I wasn’t sure whether the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter would play out the way I wanted it to.

As it turned out, there was no need to worry. P.S. I Still Love You has all the charm and cuteness and heartfelt writing of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and an ending I am ultimately very satisfied with. (Though I probably shouldn’t have read it on the same day I read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda because, yikes, cute romance overload).

There was a bit of a love triangle situation, and I don’t think love triangle here was necessary or brought anything to the story, but it didn’t end up bothering me as much as I thought it would. Partly, this is because John Ambrose MacLaren, despite not being my ideal shipping choice, was actually kind of adorable, and partly because it didn’t really come into full force until the last 1/3 of the book, so it didn’t have time to get on my nerves. Meanwhile, Josh from the first book has pretty much faded out of the story, and I can’t say I was sad to see him go.

Other than that? P.S. I Still Love You was well written, and had the same comforting feel the first book did. I also thought it handled certain themes much better than the first book. It was a story about love, and sisters, and growing up and understanding that the world around you will change and you will change with it and that’s not always a bad thing.

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ARC Review: I Am Princess X

Written by: Cherie Priest
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Pages: 256, hardcover
Series: Standalone
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Thanks to TXLA and Scholastic for this ARC!

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Best friends, big fans, a mysterious webcomic, and a long-lost girl collide in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of both Cory Doctorow and Sarah Dessen; illustrated throughout with comics.

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X?

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon—her best friend, Libby, who lives.

 

LetsTalk

I snagged this ARC from Scholastic at TXLA after hearing about it online. I didn’t realize at the time that it was Middle Grade, and at the time I was surprised at how small the book was. My second surprise came when I read it and I was blown away by how great the story was. The book felt more YA than MG, yes the plot was simple and straight forward but overall it was a really great book. Since I was so busy with finals I only had the time to read here and there, and I Am Princess X fell into that so easy.

I really loved the story in I Am Princess X, was it straight forward? Yes. Was it a good mystery? Yes. Even though I knew how things would end; I didn’t know how May and Trick were get there. The path wasn’t straightforward it took many twists and turns that had me flipping the pages. Continue reading

DNF Review: The Fangirls Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs

Written by: Sam Maggs
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Pages: 208, Hardcover
Series: Standalone
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Thanks so much to Quirk Books and NetGalley for this eARC!

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Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek.The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

DNF

I read until about 10%, then skimmed until 25%, where I finally DNF’d this one.

LetsTalk

 

When I first heard about Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy I was really excited. I thought that this book could really, really be something. Maybe it would open up a few eyes, let people see a new side to fangirls, especially those guys who still don’t view fangirls as a real thing. Admittedly Maggs did address these issues. She talked about times in her life when she was scorned at comic book shops. Moments like this made me really want to love this book. But unfortunately it was written at a level that I just didn’t expect. Rather than writing with a (well I don’t want to say cultured because that’s the wrong word here) but sophisticated edge Maggs just turned it into a 2012 Tumblr post.

Now I’ve got nothing wrong with “omg this is KILLINGGG MEEEE” I texted that message probably this week. But when I do text it I’m aware I’m talking to friends, and I’m not writing a novel to try and change how people view fangirls. As far as I’m aware the book was published as a feminist view on being a fangirl, on how we’re here to stay, and the guys of the world should get used to it. So when I started reading and I ran into nothing but ‘fangirl speak’ it caught me off guard, it wasn’t a bad thing at first. But as pages went on and there was nothing but fangirl speak? That was when it started to bother me.

Instead of this book changing views and becoming something that could’ve been really special, all I saw when I read this book was a book that was going to practically be out of date before it’s published. The book was written into something so simplistic and, truth be told, boring for me.

DidWork

As I mentioned earlier Maggs mentioned some things that happened to her in comic book shops, she brought up how girls are treated in the geek world. I think she was spot on about how guys treat us girls. She brought up hardships that we as girls face, things that even I dealt with a few weeks ago at PAXSouth. I liked reading about that, and I liked her talking about how we need to come together to get it to stop. Because it’s true. Being a fangirl is awesome and something we should be proud of. And it is. Being a fangirl is a great thing! We can be just as hard core as the guys. We’re here to stay and we’re not going anywhere.

This is what I wanted this book to be about. I wanted it to smack people in the face and be like “no. Let me explain to you everything.” But I didn’t get it, and I think that alone is what really pushed me to DNF this book.

 

Sondra

ARC Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Written by: Sarah J. Maas
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Pages: 432, hardcover
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
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My eternal thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for this e-ARC!

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A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

 

LetsTalk

I have been avoiding this review for a while, not because it was bad but because I simply don’t know what to say about this book. It was…the most amazing book. Seriously. I’ve always had a love of Beauty and the Beast, it’s been my go to movie when I’m sick for years. I watched it until my VHS broke, and then I got it for my birthday on DVD and I cherish it. I absolutely adore that movie, so finding out that A Court of Thorns and Roses was going to be a high fantasy Beauty and the Beast retelling? Oh I was down for it. Which isn’t even including the fact that it’s Sarah J. Maas. I only started reading her books this past summer and she quickly wound up on that list of authors that I will read anything she ever publishes, because wow can she write a story. This one is no different at all. Because in short? This book was epic. Truly. And I don’t even know what words to use for this review. That aren’t simply tears and images of me shoving this book into your hands.

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