Arc Review: Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Wild Beauty

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Love grows such strange things.
For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens. The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family. 
                                                             ♥My Thoughts♥
                                                          (sorry for my lateness)
Wild Beauty by Anna Marie McLemore deserved a special font (which wordpress wouldn't allow me to use :( ). This is the first book that I have read from this author and it did not disappoint. Reviewing Arc’s is tricky because you don’t want to give anything away but at the same time you want to tell people how much you love this book. Wild Beauty took me on a wild ride with multiple ups and downs and that is a good thing. For me, this is the sort of book that you would have to read more then once to fully grasp the beauty within the pages. I truly loved the magical realism, the floral imagery, the family loyalty as well as the strong female characters. I enjoyed the freedom of love and the fear that came along with it. Wild Beauty is filled with magical intrigue, mystery, and the power of love and family. This book should be on your list of what to read this fall and I hope you all pick up a copy or pre-order.

                     Some Book Love

photo by: Asma Iceybooks via Goodreads

About The Author: 
Anna-Marie McLemore
ANNA-MARIE MCLEMORE was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine's cratelitCamera Obscura's Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review. She is the author of The Weight of Feathers, When the Moon Was Ours, and Wild Beauty. She lives in Sacramento, California.

Arc Review: Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Release date: September 5th 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Pre-order: Barnes&Noble
Synopsis via Goodreads:
A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.
Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town.

When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.
What's more, she knows something most don't. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of 

💖💖💖💖  "One of the most successful elements of Kassel’s debut novel is its myth making. Rather than drawing on tired tropes such as vampire, werewolf, or fairy lore, she creates an original set of cursed beings with hints of a still-wider mythology…
—Kirkus Reviews

“Gorgeous writing, unique mythology, and epic sacrifice. Do not miss this one!”
— New York Times best selling author Pintip Dunn

“A dark, twisty thrill ride from beginning to end.”
— Mary Lindsey, author of Shattered Souls and Fragile Spirits

          My thoughts
                               Meg Kassel created a Book you thought you never needed.

I was lucky enough to have both gotten a copy and met the author, who was amazingly nice. I don't want ti give too much away because I really want everyone to enjoy this book as much as I did (i don't recommend reading while crossing the street). 'Black bird of the Gallows' follows Angie Dovage, our heroine and Reece Fernandez. Reece’s arrival brings about a variety of alarming incidents in Angie’s hometown– crows arrive in large numbers and begin behaving strangely( i don't really know how normal crows behave), if that isn't strange enough bee start stinging people and making them act crazy in the middle of winter. Between Reece’s familiarity with the crows and his warnings to keep away from the bees, Angie is certain there is something unusual about this boy. Nevertheless, she feels continuously drawn to him despite her better judgment, and despite his dodgy behavior. So you guys get the point and are thinking how is this story any different from books you have read in the past. well, its all about the story itself and the unique mythology around it. I love when authors stray away from whats common and safe and develop their own unique path that can compete with the rest of the book world (if that makes any sense). The story itself is unique. I haven't read anything in the past or recently about crows or deranged bees. some of the elements in this book reminded me of the movie 'The Birds' directed by Alfred Hitchcock, instead the evil villains were the bees. Like all debut books, there are going to be little things you didn't like or wish that were added. for me, i wanted an ultimate showdown between the beekeepers and the harbingers of death. Hopefully the story continues and I get my wish. From the cover to the story, i definitely enjoyed the originality of this book and the the drama escalated as the story came to an end. For a debut book, it ranks high on my list. Meg Kassel created a fascinating tale with crows and bees that will capture the attention of many readers. I truly wish this book great success when it comes out in September and hope everyone will pick up a copy and enjoy it.
I will never look at the birds that congregate outside of my window the same again.

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, she’s always been creating stories, whether with visuals or words. She worked as a graphic designer before realizing the thing she did for pleasure (writing) was something she should do for real. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. A fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, Meg has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. When she’s not writing, Meg is reading, hanging out with her family, hoarding peanut butter cups, or playing video games. She is a two-time finalist and the 2016 winner of the RWA Golden Heart© contest in YA.

Review of Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Friday, July 1, 2016

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: Hodder
Format: Hardcover
Released: February 3rd, 2011
Grade rating: B

Description: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Review: I'll start off by saying that I have been waiting for this book ever since I saw it on Goodreads. I love dystopian books, and with LOVE as the theme? It's like a dream come true. 

Delirium tells the story of Lena Haloway. She lives in a world where boys and girls are segregated. (Sorry, just learned about the Civil War and that word came to mind.) Boys and girls get an operation when they're 18 that prevents them from ever falling in love, which is also called amor deliria nervousa. Basically, it's a disease. It drives people insane and causes them to do irrational  things. Lena cannot wait for her operation because her mother committed suicide because of the disease, and Lena can feel it swimming around in her inside. 

Life in Portland is pretty different than what it is today. Oliver doesn't address the year, but apparently there was a war between the love-crazed and the 'healthy'. (Am I the only one who wants a book written about the events that lead us to this strange, dystopic world?) Only the rich have working cars and appliances, since oil is so scarce. Fans are used in exchange for air conditioning. The government controls what books, websites, music and movies you can experience. The US is isolated from other countries, and Portland is isolated from the US. Everything around Portland is called the Wilds. Basically, everything is different.

But then she meets Alex, a boy who she thinks is cured. So, it doesn't hurt to talk to him, right ? Since he's cured, he has a match, so she knows it can't go any further than just friendship. Then she finds out that he isn't from Portland. He's from the Wilds. So he's not cured and has feelings for her. Her operation is 3 months away, and she's falling in love with an Invalid. 

I thought Lena was a really great main character/ heroine. She's torn between her old, safe world that she's  known forever, and this new, dangerous world that Alex and Hana have introduced to her. Lying, sneaking out, and- oh my- kissing boys! are now what Lena does in her free time. She knows she has the disease running through her veins, but should she go with it or fight it? I really loved Lena because she reminded me of myself. Always playing by the rules, doing as she's told. She's been taught that love is a disease because what else is there is believe in? Unlike Lena, I've never had an illegal love affair, but I would do the same thing is I was in her shoes. 

The world Oliver creates is simply phenomenal. I know there's been a kick in dystopian novels in 2011, but I will always compare them with this beauty. Everything about it was unique, from the street names to the police officers.
And the writing? Oh my God. I have never read more beautiful writing than Lauren Oliver's. Her sentences are like song lyrics; everything just flows together effortlessly.I enjoyed the little tidbits added at the top of each chapter from The Book of Shh. The Book of Shh is the rules and guidelines for keeping a successful society. The ending was the best ending I have read in a while. Oh my lord Jesus, I finished it two weeks ago, and it still gives me chills.

Review - Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Review - Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Title: Cleopatra's Daughter
Author: Michelle Moran
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: September 2009

Summary (from Amazon): 

The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.

The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra’s Daughter. Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian’s handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia’s sardonic son and Marcellus’s great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian’s watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.

Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place–the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the times. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.

Based on meticulous research, Cleopatra’s Daughter is a fascinating portrait of imperial Rome and of the people and events of this glorious and most tumultuous period in human history. Emerging from the shadows of the past, Selene, a young woman of irresistible charm and preternatural intelligence, will capture your heart.

                                                                   ~~~MY THOUGHTS~~~

This story is about the children of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra and what happens to them after the death of their parents. From Egypt they are taken to Rome by Octavian where they live with Octavia in her villa and are raised as roman citizens. As the years pass, one thought stays with them: Will they ever return to Egypt? and what do their futures hold?

Selene is very observant and I enjoyed reading the story from her perspective. She sees the differences between Egypt and Rome, the class structure and the slavery issue in Rome. Seeing as how Octavian has kept Juba alive, she knows that she will be kept alive if only she can prove herself useful to Octavian in some way.

While reading, I could tell that a lot of research went into the book to make things accurate. The maps, character list and glossary in the book were really useful. I didn’t get overwhelmed by some of the language and the many characters that appear in the story. Also the characters were all true to their personalities of what I knew of them before reading the book. Definitely worth a read for historical fiction fans!

Rating: 4 Stars

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog, Book 2
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Book
Source: B&N
Buy: Amazon ● The Book Depository ● B&N ● iTunes ● Kobo
Goodreads ● Website

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

Prisoner of Night and Fog was one of the best books I’d read last year. I was a little bit afraid though going into this book, because at this point, I had really high expectations. Glad to say, I wasn’t disappointed! While I did miss the thrill of finding out everything in the first book–the tension between Gretchen and Daniel as our main character decides which side to pick, learning about Hitler’s ‘condition', and escaping Munich–this was a brilliant follow-up. New players enter this deadly game and there are a lot of twists and thrills that make this a gripping novel from start to finish.

The publication of this book seriously could not have been better well-timed for me personally. It just so happens that currently we’re learning about Fascism and Naziism in a social science course, and many of the events and people mentioned in this book–or even characters part of this book–have come up. The burning of the Reichstag, for instance. I would have had no idea what that was if I wasn’t learning about it at this point in time, so I felt that knowing a bit about Hitler’s rule as chancellor and his transition to dictator really helps with reading this book. There is a lot of history packed in this novel, and while you could get by without really knowing the roles that many of these characters played in real life, knowing about them makes this a more impacting read.

Then he kissed her. His lips on hers were as light as a breath. And she couldn't stop the horrible thought that his touch felt like a farewell.

My thoughts about Gretchen and Daniel’s characters haven’t really changed since the first book. Both are such great characters, determined to find out what happened at the Reichstag. Definitely a lot of fantastic tense moments between them too (and I don’t mean just romantically!). I also really enjoyed the addition of Gennat’s character–I love detective fiction and detectives in general and his addition into the book made my day. I hadn’t really heard about his previously and reading about him totally made me want to find out more about his time with the Berlin criminal police. Tons of other new faces as well, especially a certain underground crime ring that takes an interesting turn.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is an action-packed sequel that had me on the edge of my seat. Blankman’s blend of fact and fiction is absolutely mesmerising and the writing really makes you feel as though you’re really there during this terrible time in history. I hope there’s a third book coming soon, even though the ending seemed to be perfect and sounded like there wouldn’t be another book, but nonetheless if there is I’m ecstatic to read more about what happens after. If not, I’m glad to have been on this journey navigating one of the biggest turning points in European and World history through the eyes of an amazing and relatable protagonist.

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