Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2)

Title: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Expected publication: March 3rd 2015 by Farrar Straus Giroux
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review

"Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them."

First line: "She cut herself opening the envelope."

Thoughts: The inevitable moment when a book completely takes your breath away, and all you can do is put the book down and clap. That is the best way to sum up my feelings for THE WINNER'S CRIME. How is it that Marie Rutkoski can write my favorite book of 2014 and follow it up with (most likely) my favorite book of 2015? I mean, I loved THE WINNER'S CURSE, but I really, really, really loved THE WINNER'S CRIME regardless of how many times the author broke my heart and continued to stomp on it. If ever there was a book to look out for in 2015, this is the book!

The book starts off a few months after THE WINNER'S CURSE. Kestrel is in Valoria adjusting to her new life as the fiancee of the emperor's son. Though she is use to living a privileged life, she isn't use to the dynamics and drama that comes with living at court. People, including the emperor and her betrothed, are playing games with her, and she must choose her next move wisely.

Meanwhile, you have Arin back in Herran adjusting to his life as the governor. Of all the characters in this novel that affected me, my heart ached for Arin the most. He is trying his darndest to understand why Kestrel would chose Prince Verex over him. Of course, we know why and how this isn't the case at all, which probably makes reading Arin's point of view that much harder.

I don't think this is spoiling anything, being as it was inevitable, but whenever Kestrel and Arin finally saw each other for the first time since she sailed off, I pretty much fell out of my seat. Sparks everywhere, chemistry jumping out of the pages, and sweet mercy, all I wanted Kestrel to do was run off with Arin and give everyone the middle finger. Screw the politics and Valoria! Alas, they can't. Too much at stake. They're free but not free.

Now, fair warning to you all- This book is pure torture. I'm usually 50/50 when it comes to angst. THE WINNER'S CRIME, however, has plenty of it, and it is spectacular. I enjoyed watching the games unfold and seeing how both Valorians and Herrani can be manipulative. As they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Betrayal runs deep in this novel, and I'm not going to sit here, lie to you or tell you how everything will be okay. It will hurt, and you're going to love it.

If you thought the cliffhanger in the first book was shocking, wait until you read THE WINNER'S CRIME. Worst book hangover ever!


I cannot recommend this book enough. It has everything you could possibly want in a novel and so much more. If you don't enjoy well-written novels featuring the best heroine I've read in ages and a brooding, swoon worthy
love interest, this isn't the book for you. Otherwise, you need this book in your life, and you need it now! Of all the books I cannot wait to read, The Winner's Trilogy #3 is on the top of the list. Until then, I guess I'll just experiment and figure out how I can eat a bowl of pink mousse with a sugar spoon.


5 Stars

Monday, February 16, 2015

What's Your Winner's Curse?

For those who have read THE WINNER'S CURSE, you know that the curse is getting what you want, but at a price too high. As part of the tour, we're asked to answer this, let's be honest, complex question: What would you pay too much for?

Okay, I know I could pay too high a price to end hunger or for world peace, but I feel like having a bit more fun, since it's a hypothetical question and all. Thus, my entirely superficial and fangirly answer:

I would personally pay too high a price to visit the set of OUTLANDER and make out with Sam Heughan. Hello, he's Jamie! Can you really blame me?

I'd probably have to add him to my "list", being married and all...and this will never happen in a million, billion years, but a girl can dream, right? Let me just add an obligatory winky face ;), and we're all set!


Thanks to the fabulous people at Macmillan, I am giving away a copy of THE WINNER'S CRIME. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is only open to US participants and ends March 1st. Be sure to chat about the tour online using the hashtag #TheWinnersCurse! Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Also, be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them. "

*The Winner's Curse Site
*Play Bite and Sting

Friday, February 13, 2015

Review + Giveaway: Hero

Title: Hero
Author: Samantha Young
Published: February 3rd 2015 by NAL
Source: Copy sent by the publisher for an honest review

"The emotional and unforgettable new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.

Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren't his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.

Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.

Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they're on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…"

First line: "This wasn't happening."

Thoughts: Okay, I know what you guys are thinking. With the 50 Shades movie coming out this weekend, this book kind of sounds similar to it. Well, you wouldn't be wrong in this assumption, but that's where it ends. HERO is so much better and definitely more well-written than it's, oh let's call 50 Shades it's distant cousin twice removed. There's a reason samantha Young is one of my favorite authors, and HERO is just another example as to why.

First off, Alexa (known to those closest to her as Lexie) is really just having a bad go at life. She just lost her mother and is dealing with the crippling fact that her life isn't what she thought it was. After finding out what her father did to the Carraways, she decides to cut him off completely. The only connection she has with the Hollands now is through her grandfather, a relationship which can easily be summed up in one word: Complicated. It's not until she meets Caine that she realizes how insanely convoluted her life truly is.

What I love about this novel, and the author in general, is that she wastes no time in getting right to the punch. HERO immediately starts off with a double dose of intrigue, followed by a couple of seconds of sexiness, and then a bit of a "What the heck was that" moment. You see, Caine absolutely despises the Hollands, and it doesn't matter what kind of person Alexa is or what she does- He simply cannot and will not give her a chance. Alexa, being the fabulous woman she is, slowly begins to bring down his walls. It's not because she's attracted to him or feels guilty (even though she is), part of her just wants him to see past her family name.

In a way, this novel kind of reminds me of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, but only if you retitle it PRIDE, MORE PRIDE, AND SOME PREJUDICE. Caine is completely hell bent on hating Alexa, but it's obvious he's attracted to her. His jealous outbreaks are insane, yet also slightly hot. I found the instances where Henry was clearly messing with Caine humorous. Speaking of Henry, I have to say that of all of the characters in this novel, he was my favorite. I loved his witty banter with Alexa and just genuinely enjoyed his personality. He brought this lightheartedness to the story the other two couldn't, and I'm not sure I would have loved HERO as much as I did without him.

Needless to say, though I love standalone novels, I'm disappointed that there won't be a follow-up told through Henry's point of view. How fantastic would that have been? I'm also fairly certain this would've been Young's most comical novel yet. Alas, the story comes full circle, so while the hope is there, I'm not going to put all of my eggs in one basket.

Overall, I think fans of Young's ON DUBLIN STREET series will devour and enjoy HERO. The author has this way of forcing you into loving people, even if you want to hate them, and savoring every minute of it! Witty and downright sexy, this is a book you'll want to curl up ASAP. More, please!


4.5 Stars


Happy Valentine's Day! To celebrate one of my absolute favorite holidays (yes, it's a holiday!), I am giving away an ebook of HERO via Amazon. To enter, comment below and let me know which book boyfriend/girlfriend you'd like to spend this Valentine's Day with. Be sure to leave an email address, so I know who to gift the book to. This one will be a quickly, so the winner will be notified on February 16th. US Only.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chaos Blog Tour: Review

Title: Chaos (Fates #2)
Author: Lanie Bross
Published: January 27th 2015 by Delacorte Press

"Can they change their destiny?

They kissed only once—and it was electric, like the air before a storm. But Corinthe and Luc broke the rules of the universe, and learned too late that their love would have consequences. In the dizzying aftermath, Luc refuses to accept his destiny—not if it means a life without Corinthe. As a fire rages through the Crossroads that connect worlds, Luc must find a way to turn back time and save Corinthe once and for all.

Meanwhile, Luc's 15-year-old sister Jasmine starts to realize things are not as they seem when time begins stuttering, sending her everyday life in San Francisco spinning into chaos. She’s thrown into the path of Ford, a troubled soul with a secret past, who helps her unravel the mysterious threads that connect them all.

Two breathtaking romances interweave across time in this story of what lies on the other side of Fate, as both Jas and Luc discover the incredible lengths they will go for love. "

First Line: "'Close your eyes. Tell me what you see.'"

Thoughts: Going into the novel, I didn't know what to expect. Since Corinthe played such a huge role in the first novel, I wondered how this one would go. After all, Luc did promise to find a way to be with Corinthe, even if he has to travel back in time and change the past. How would this theme work? Overall, while I liked CHAOS, I have to admit that I did like FATES more.

First off, this novel is told through Luc and Jasmine's point of views. You have Luc who is trying to manipulate time and find/be with Corinthe, and then you have Jas who is both blacking out and trying to piece together lost days and also running from the Executors. Sadly, her fate is still to die even though Corinthe sacrificed herself for Jas.

One thing I did like about this novel is how you learn more about Jas' history. Her back story is interesting, and I appreciated her and found her more intriguing in this novel than the last. One of the misses for me, however, is her relationship with Ford. It very much falls into the instalove category, and just felt very forced to me. I know teenagers sometimes fall immediately in love and whatnot, but I guess I'm just the type of person that would've liked to see a friendship initially built rather than love at first sight. Preferences and whatnot.

All in all, I enjoyed the mythology, the character development, the beautiful writing, and the introductions to new characters. The writing is what originally drew me into FATES, and it is what kept me reading in CHAOS. I look forward to seeing what Lanie Bross has in store for us next!


3 Stars

About the Author:

Lanie Bross was born in a small town in Maine, where she spent the next 18 years dreaming of bigger places. After exploring city life, she and her husband and two young sons ended up coming right back to the wilds of Maine where they now live just one house down from where she grew up. Fate, perhaps? She loves chasing around her rambunctious kids, playing tug-o-war with her 95 pound Lab, and writing for Young Adults. Chaos is the sequel to Fates.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Tuck Everlasting- 40 Days for 40 Years

What if you could live forever?

Ironically enough, I've asked myself this question before. If you've read the book, which I grew up loving, you know one of the questions Winnie must ask herself is if she wants to drink from the spring and live forever like the Tucks. It's a beautiful take on immortality, and apparently you can be immortal without having to turn into a vampire!

Seriously though, I don't think I would personally drink from the spring. Living forever has its ups like being able to truly have all the time in the world. So many people die so young or far too soon, never really getting to check off every item on their bucket list. Drinking from the spring would solve this. I could travel the world (and take my time without feeling like I'd have to rush), eat every pastry I've always wanted to, and see how technology evolves. I love architecture and would love to see how houses and buildings look two hundred years from now. WHAT THE HECK WILL THE IPHONE 200s LOOK LIKE?!

But being immortal also comes with its downs. Clearly not everyone can drink from the spring. If I were 10 years old like Winnie, I'd have to eventually leave my family and live with the Tucks forever. Or I'd have to explain why I'm not growing up? Runaway and live by myself? Yikes! Being 10, she will never get to go to college, possibly meet someone new, get married, have children, or live the life she was meant to live. I think you get this eternal pause button, and you end up being stuck.

I love the idea of growing old with my husband. What will we look like when we're 50? 60? 70? I want to have children and watch them have children, see them get married, and do all of those motherly-grandmotherly things with them. I wouldn't want to have them leave me, die before me, and be stuck in a world without my loves and my friends. Am I suppose to just start over again? Live with the pain forever?

No thanks. I mean, one of my cats is already 12, and I'm dreading the day he leaves me (Don't you die, cat! Drink from the spring!). All in all, the idea definitely entices me, however, I just don't think I could live forever, always on the run or hiding, and never truly live. Part of the beauty in experiencing things for the first time is knowing how special that moment is, especially knowing there's an expiration date. I know, it's kind of morbid, but it's true.

Now, let me ask you guys that question. What if you could live forever? Let me know in the comments or by tweeting and using the hashtag #Tuck40th

Be sure to check out the 40th Anniversary edition and snag a copy for yourself. It's BEAUTIFUL, includes a foreward from Wicked author Gregory Maguire, and a classic you'll want to share with others.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Top 5 Books of 2014 With Chelsea Fine + Giveaway

Top 5 Books of 2014 with Chelsea Fine

Some of these books didn’t come out in 2014, but I finally got around to reading them last year so…yeah. Here were my 2014 faves:

1) Chase The Dark by Annette Marie – This book took me by complete surprise. I stumbled upon it on Amazon and bought it on a whim, and wow. I was sucked in from the first page. It’s a modern adventure with otherworldly characters and some nonstop sexual tension that held me captive until the last page. It was a rush!

2) The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi –I’ve never been so captivated by a writing style. The story was gripping and calculating, but the voice of the story was just…incredible. Completely unique. I loved every minute of these books.

3) Sins & Needles by Karina Halle –This was my first Karina Halle book and it was a wild ride! I loved her characters. They were passionate, flawed, and believable. So good.

4) Faking It by Cora Carmack – I love everything Cora writes—everything—and Faking It was just as amazing as all her other books. But it was also so much fun! I smiled throughout the whole story.

5) Splintered by A.G. Howard – I’ve never experienced such a twisted combination of horror and fantasy in one book. Like…this story crawled into my head and haunted my dreams. I’m not kidding. I had beautiful nightmares because of Splintered. Haha. It’s the best reimagining of Alice In Wonderland I’ve ever read.

About Chelsea Fine:
Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She's ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.

PERFECT KIND OF TROUBLE by Chelsea Fine (February 3, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; $12.00)

Sometimes when perfect falls apart, a little trouble fixes everything . . .

Twenty-one-year-old Kayla Turner has lost everything. After spending most of her life taking care of her ailing mother, she just wants to spot a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So when her late father-a man she barely knew-leaves her an inheritance, she finally breathes a sigh of relief . . . until she learns the inheritance comes with strings. Strings in the form of handsome playboy Daren Ackwood, her father's protégé. To see any of her inheritance, she's forced to team up with him. From his expensive car to those sexy dimples, Kayla's seen his type before. But Daren isn't who he seems to be . . .

Struggling to make amends for his family's mistakes, Daren has a life more Oliver Twist than Richie Rich these days. He's beyond grateful that James Turner included him in his will, but working with Turner's princess of a daughter to fulfill his cryptic last wish is making Daren wonder if being broke is really so bad. Still, she's just as beautiful as she is stubborn, and the more time he spends with Kayla, the less it feels right being without her. Soon Daren and Kayla begin to wonder if maybe the best gift Kayla's dad could have left them . . . was each other.


I reach Mr. Perkins’s office and quickly park before climbing out of the car in my high heels.
The inheritance really could be only twenty dollars—or less—and spending an afternoon chained to Daren Ackwood to find it could be a complete waste of time, not to mention horribly awkward given our romantic encounter last night, but it’s worth a shot. Because if it turns out to be a substantial amount of money, everything could change.

Not only could I go back to nursing school, but I could afford a decent apartment and buy myself some time to find a new job—one where my boss isn’t demanding I work for free or flash him in order to pay off my mother’s debt.

Ugh. My life can really only go uphill from where I’m at.

I know money can’t buy happiness, and I believe that. But it would be nice to be out from under Big Joe’s threatening thumb. And sleeping in a cockroach-free apartment while eating regular hot meals wouldn’t be bad either.

I hurry down the sidewalk toward Mr. Perkins’s office, tripping a little in my shoes. Maybe wearing the skirt and heels again wasn’t such a great idea. But I wanted to look professional and responsible, and the gray dress is too hot and the only other pair of shoes I own are my beat-up sneakers from last night. I didn’t think a pencil skirt and a pair of dirty sneakers really said I can be trusted with my deceased father’s money. So I went with the pumps.

I wobble as my shoe catches on a small pebble and curse under my breath.

High heels really are a bitch.

Up ahead, I see Daren round a corner and hurry toward the office, now just a few yards down the sidewalk. I relax a little, knowing he’s not there yet. As we near each other, my stomach fills with butterflies. I don’t know what I’m more anxious about—the inheritance or seeing Daren.

We reach Eddie’s door at the same time.

“Good morning.” He smiles broadly.

“Morning,” I respond with a cheerful smile of my own.

Our smiles are exaggerated, like we’re trying to prove just how “okay” we are with the thing that never happened last night. Then our eyes meet in brief a clash of lust, and tension fills the air.

Daren is the first to break it. “So. You ready to do this?”

“I am,” I say.

The tension returns, but this time it’s laced with nervousness. We’re about to lock ourselves together. For money. The morning after we dry humped each other against a bar. It’s nothing less than weird and desperate. Which begs the question, why is Daren doing this?

I know why I’m subjecting myself to this craziness but I’m still not sure why Daren has agreed—especially without knowing how much money is at stake. Is he in it for the thrill? Is he just bored?
Whatever his reasons are, I’m grateful.

We enter the office and Eddie looks up from his messy desk, his glasses perched on his shiny head. Today he’s wearing a yellow button-up shirt with a plaid bow tie to match his plaid pants. The look suits him.

“You’ve returned,” he says brightly, standing to greet us. “I guess this means you’ve come to a decision about Mr. Turner’s letter?”

“We have,” I say.

Daren nods. “Yes.”

“Excellent.” Eddie clasps his hands together. “What have you decided?”

Daren and I exchange an anxious look. My stomach does a flip-flop, afraid he’s going to change his mind, but then he gives me a subtle nod and I nod back.

We turn to face Eddie, hold out our wrists, and at the same time say, “Cuff us.”

Giveaway time! Enter to win one of five signed copies of PERFECT KIND OF TROUBLE. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below! US and CA only.

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