Sunday, February 12, 2017

"A woman who seeks to rise in this world must be even more evil than men." ~ The Cruelty

The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom



Goodreads Review:

When her diplomat father is kidnapped and the U.S. Government is unable to help, 17 year-old Gwendolyn Bloom sets off across the sordid underbelly of Europe to rescue him. Following the only lead she has—the name of a Palestinian informer living in France—she plunges into a brutal world of arms smuggling and human trafficking. As she journeys from the slums of Paris, to the nightclubs of Berlin, to the heart of the most feared crime family in Prague, Gwendolyn discovers that to survive in this new world she must become every bit as cruel as the men she’s hunting. 


Let me start by saying wow.  I was given an audio copy of The Cruelty by Macmillan Audio in exchange for a honest review and that is exactly what you're about to get!!  With the criticism that Bergstrom got last year because of an interview and a sample of one of his chapters, I would say to that, don't let that stop you from reading a really good story.  A good story with good and developed characters and a shocking reality that Bergstrom captures expertly.

I'm not going to sugar coat this s*** for you guys, because neither did The Cruelty sugar coat anything for me.  This book was hard core.  It was tough, full of action, and sickening situations that you wouldn't want to even imagine your pretty little self in.  I read that this book is great for fans of Taken and let me say that statement is 100% accurate!  I couldn't get enough of it.  I was listening in my car, listening at home and I even took the CD into work with me!  


Gwendolyn Bloom is no joke.  With the perfect background of her childhood, being dragged all over the world due to her father's political career, she was born for this role of kicking some ass. She starts off in the book a little timid and though it seemed perfectly real, it pissed me off!  The author definitely makes you feel things while reading this.  Well done, Bergstrom.

I imagine that if I liked my father as much as Gwen does, I'd put myself in the dangerous and life threatening situations that Gwen did too, haha

There are disturbing situations spotlighted in this book, and I don't just mean break-ups, or kidnappings, or people just being mean, I mean sex trafficking, real criminals from other countries, and murder scenes, this YA is a hard kick in the face to open your eyes to reality, fiction but with real life scenarios thrown in.  This is my kind of book though. Full of corruption, lies, and desire to uncover the truth.  I love how Bergstrom made this fiction feel real, and I'm sure that is exactly why it was picked up for movie rights by Jerry Bruckheimer.


I think with some authors, pushing their female leads into roles of power, strength, and sometimes vengeful, now is a perfect time for Bergstrom's character Gwen to hit the ground running.  I loved this fast pace, girl kicking a** novel, and I think other fans of action, contemporary and young adult novels will to.  


Scott Bergstrom

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Presenting... Caraval by Stephanie Garber! An Audio Book Review from Macmillan Audio & Giveaway!!!

Goodreads Review:  Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.


If you've thought this book won't live up to the hype... think again.  Caraval turned out to be exactly what I was expecting it to be and thanks to Stephanie Garber, Flatiron Books and Macmillan Audio for making that happen!  There was no disappointment at all, and when a book gets a lot of hype, myself and a lot of fellow readers that I've spoken with are hesitant that the book won't live up to the hype.  Well guys... this one does!!!  

I love that the setting starts on a gloomy island, with her sister getting in over her head and her father is less than pleased.  You immediately get back story on Scarlett and her sister Tella, which I love.  I'm not a huge fan of when a book goes to chapter 2 or even 3 sometimes before you actually learn about the character.  Garber elaborates on her details of expression for each character where you can visualize each person and even hear the accents!  I was able to review Caraval through an audio book version from the lovely Macmillan Audio and I was able to hear Julian's sexy accent materialize, even if Rebecca Soler was the person behind his voice! lol May I just say, that Soler is the best voice actress that I've come to hear thus far in my audio book journey and I've listened to a lot.  


Once the characters, Scarlett, Tella and Julian all reach Caraval, the fun really begins.  Legend is no ordinary person, or ring master.  He is full of secrets and surprises that are not always good and safe and I loved every second of it!  The adventures in Caraval unfold to us as fast as a carousal, or a magical carousal is more like it!  Hahaha The characters that are exquisitely woven into the story present themselves with life, magic and a certain darkness that draws you as the reader into the story more and more.  Garber has a dark side, do not be fooled by her niceness!  Which, by the way if she actually reads this review, Stephanie, I want you to know that you are one of the nicest authors I've had the pleasure of reading tweets and instagram posts from, but I know there's something inside of you because, I mean come on!?  You wrote Caraval!!!  The story itself unfolds eerily, magically, and suspense-fully that it will be very hard to not turn the next page or to press stop or pause on your audio book.  If I may, the audio book, brings this book to life even more if it's possible and I would know, because I had the ARC and the audio book, so the reading could continue as much as possible! I would highly recommend buying the audio book version from Macmillan Audio!

I can't wait for the next installment, or at least I hope there will be one!  Garber may or may not lead you into thinking there will be another one hehehe.  May the excitement of Caraval live long and prosper!!!  Wait, can that saying go along with another installment of a novel?  Well, I say it can and this is Justicereads blog so there!!  Good bye my fellow friends and followers.  I hope you have enjoyed my review of a very magical Caraval and my biggest hope is that it will make you want to read it more than you may have already felt!! Bwahahaha!!! *Laughing evily**


And if you were kind enough to read my whole opinionated review, that I must return the favor with a giveaway!!  One lucky person will win an ARC copy of Caraval and some bookish goodies!!! Three other lucky winners will each win one amazing ARC from 2016, Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige, Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Gasglow and The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance! 

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/eca09b3a3/?

From Goodreads:  Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by this page. I’m only on this site occasionally, so if you’d like to send me a message, please use the contact form on my website: http://stephaniegarberauthor.com

I can also be found on Twitter, and I love connecting with readers. If you're looking for more information about my books, I try to update my website on a regular basis.



Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Highly Anticipated, Heartless by Marissa Meyer!!!!!!!

Can I just start with, I’m so bummed that this is a stand-alone novel? This book is AMAZING!!!!

Also, I'd like to mention that my review copy was an audio book and I would highly recommend listening to this book!! Rebecca Soler is amazingly talented and does complete justice to Marissa Meyer's novels, as she was the voice for the The Lunar Chronicles series.

I completely understand why, but oh I wish the story would’ve went on and on
I must admit, I completely forgot that this story was more of a prequel of how the Red Queen became the way that she is, and less of a romantic tale, or good feeling fantasy, even though I wanted it to be the latter. I love that we get to know Catherine and all of her likes, dislikes and loves!  The Red Queen had a heart once upon a time...


With the comical complexity of the descriptions of characters, I was able to put myself into the story fully and imagine all of the animals that carried themselves and spoke like humans. I was able to envision Catherine's parents faces of disapproval and Cath’s own expressions, when she was happy, angry, or melancholy. Cath’s character was well thought out, with clarity and concise word building, that let us as the readers fully get to know who she is and why she had chosen the path that she eventually had no other choice to. 

Jest was definitely my most favorite character in this story though. With such charm, mystery, and luring features, he drew me in and I was completely consumed, although maybe not by his court joker apparel so much. Though, it was very comical to read about bells hanging off of his hat. One particular scene had me oh so swooning over him and I imagine that I will have to reread this book very soon. 

Hatter was more than I knew I could handle. I couldn’t help but imagine Johnny Depp while reading his story lines, but Meyer did an evolutionary job on creating this character. In his Mad Hatter clothes and hats, he was artistically created with a personality like no other in this story. He made you more and more curious of his actions and reactions.

Marissa Meyer doesn’t fail to entertain us in this epic retelling of a well-loved fairytale. She did such a marvelous job with her Lunar Chronicles and I think fans will not be disappointed in the slightest, except for maybe the fact that this one was a standalone. I think it’s safe to say, that we all want more of her writing and we’re ready right now.  I highly recommend this read to all ages. Any lover of the classic Alice and Wonderland will surely love this fantastically written re-telling!

I received an audio copy of Heartless by Marissa Meyer from Macmillan Audio in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Stalking Jack The Ripper Exclusive Chapter Content!!!


The most anticipated read of the Fall!

By: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Paterson
Publication date: September 20th, 2016
Description:

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.



Stalking Jack The Ripper has finally been released and is now the object of affection in our bookish world!  Read more and join in on the Read-A-Long with Kerri Maniscalco herself, the hosts, Sabrina (Book blogger over at Beyond the Book Reviews) and Ava (Book blogger over at Bookishness and Tea) and the rest of us lucky Stalking Jack The Ripper obsessed readers!!



I know, I know what you're thinking. Come on already with the Exclusive Chapter content for chapters 15-19, right? Well, take a deep breath and get ready... because here they are!

Read-A-Long Exclusive: Chapter Thoughts


·        Chapters 15—19

One of my very favorite chapters to write and research in the book was “Greatest Show on Earth.” Victorian circuses were so extravagant and creepy, and the atmosphere practically breathed on its own it was so alive. Originally, I’d pulled a bunch of historical photographs to include with this section, but couldn’t find all of the proper credits/rights information before going to print. When Nathaniel talks about the “Devil’s Auction” there was an actual postcard and performer with that name. Other images totally creeped me out—spoiler alert: I have a HUGE fear of clowns—and I had to cut too much extraneous setting out.

Here are some of the photos that inspired and dazzled me (while others were plain creepy) during the creation of this chapter:

Xoxo,
Kerri

                                                                         
                                                           [The Payne brothers c. 1875]                                                                          

                                                               [The Devil’s Auction]

My Thoughts:

Chapter 15 started out epically!  With a circus that speaks excitement and horror, and a mystery that is begging to be solved, the middle of SJTR has the perfect amount of complexity and artistic world building that you are not only pleased that you've read this far, but that you will not be able to, for any reason, stop reading until you have reached the finale. With Audrey Rose, no second is wasted and she continues to surprise us with her cleverness and charm throughout these chapters.


Continue to follow along the Read-A-Long with these other lovely SJTR lovers!


         October 18th Chapters 1-4 thoughts ~Ava, Zee, and Booknut
         October 20th Chapters  5-9 thoughts~ Sabrina Tam, Nicole’s Novel Reads
          October 22nd Chapters 10-14 thoughts~ Nicole (Little Fantasy Land)
          October 24th Chapters 15-19 thoughts ~ Irene
                  October 26th Chapters 20-24 thoughts~ Sabrina (Library Luv                                             October 28th Chapters 25-end~ Jordan, Nisha        
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Here’s the schedule:
  • Monday, October (start date) 17th read chapter 1 and end at the start of chapter 5
  • Wednesday, October 19th read chapter 5 and end at the start of chapter 10
  • Friday, October 21st read chapter 10 and end at the start of chapter 15
  • Sunday, October 23rd read chapter 15 and end at the start of chapter 20
  • Tuesday, October 25th read chapter 20 and end at the start of chapter 25
  • Thursday, October 27th read chapter 25 and read  till end of the book
  • Saturday October 29th, there will be a non-spoiler twitter chat



AND...

There is even a Goodreads Group for those of us, who can't get enough!!

AND THEN...

Also the last information that is a need to know is the special swag to go along with this Read along! Kerri has been very generous and is opening up the opportunity to those who review the books to receive a signed personalized bookplate. To qualify for one of these bookplates, you would have to have participated in the read along in some way; be it by tweeting about it, commenting on one of the discussion threads, or simply joining us for the twitter chat on the 29th. The second thing that qualifies you, more so then just simply participating in the the read along is to post a review within a month after the read along concludes. SO by November 28th, have a review up on Goodreads or Amazon/Barnes and Noble or on your blog and you get the opportunity to receive a personalized bookplate.

To enter your information to receive a bookplate fill out this Google form (https://goo.gl/forms/1FhWZmvjjoiWSBNQ2 ) OR if you are feel more comfortable with emailing the address you can email sjtrreadalong@gmail.com

Amazing Right!?!?
All thanks to this amazing author!!!
Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.
STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, a #1 NYT Bestseller, is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Social Media Links:
Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Website  |  Tumblr  |  Pinterest

Buy Links:
Praise for STALKING JACK THE RIPPER
A 2016 BEA YA Buzz Book
#1 NYT Bestseller

“Audrey Rose Wadsworth prefers breeches to ball gowns, autopsies to afternoon tea, and scalpels to knitting needles. Though her father, Lord Edmund, has forbidden it, Audrey covertly studies forensic medicine…while “the Ripper” remains two steps ahead, lurking where Audrey least expects….Maniscalco’s portrayal of scientific invention in a newly industrial era will serve as a fine first foray into Victorian classics.”
Booklist

 “Maniscalco has created a serious, sharp-minded, and forward-thinking protagonist in Audrey Rose, whose fearlessness will endear her to readers looking for an engaging historical thriller. Abundant red herrings and a dash of romance round out this gruesome but engrossing story.”
Publisher’s Weekly

 “Sherlock Holmes meets Mary Shelley in this brilliant take on the legendary tale of Jack the Ripper. With memorable characters and deliciously sexy writing, Kerri Maniscalco paints a picture of nineteenth-century London that lives and breathes in wonderfully sinister fashion. You won’t want to put this book down.”

RenĂ©e Ahdieh – #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
“…clever, dark, twisty, and enthralling! Highly recommend this one.”

Julie Eshbaugh – author of IVORY AND BONE
“This story twists and turns until you have no idea who to trust. Maniscalco’s writing is lyrical, beautiful, and haunting all at the same time. How she was able to turn such gruesome descriptions into works of art astound me. Maniscalco takes time to weave the tale and sprinkle in just enough breadcrumbs that you wonder what’s going to happen until the twisty end. This is not a story I will soon forget.”

Erica Chapman – author of TEACH ME TO FORGET


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Throw Back Thursday: Marie Lu's "Legend"


Legend
Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

My Thoughts:

I had bought this book when it first came out and read it within a week.  Unfortunately, back then I never thought of writing my own reviews.  So now, here I am many years later finally giving the due credit to this amazing book, which took off and became a world wide sought after Young Adult series.  

One would never know that this was a debut novel for Marie Lu unless told otherwise.  Lu's writing is magnificent.  She sets a very nice mood and backdrop for the reader right away.  In a dystopian world, June and Day are living entirely opposite lifestyles.  While June is a soldier, fighting for what her government believes in, Day is a commoner, fighting for his freedoms, partially due to Day being the Republic's most wanted criminal.

June on the other hand, is perfect pick from the crop.  A prodigy, she is the best of the best and does what her commander tells her to do with no questions asked. I was less than thrilled with June's day job and personality in the beginning of this story, mostly because I'm more of Day than a June.  However, I decided to give June more of a chance with an open mind and I'm glad I did, because everyone has their own story, and you simply need to take the time to hear it, to try and understand why they are the way they are. 

The story here Lu creates has such a unique feel.  I felt like I was watching a movie while reading, with such vivid fighting scenes.  Legend is full of action and I most definitely love that aspect.  I feel that when an author is writing a dystopian, action is a must and Lu expertly executes what is desired by her readers.  With surprising twists and an unexpected romance, Legend is a perfect for debut for Marie Lu and a perfect beginning to an amazing trilogy.  Now, I must re-read Prodigy and Champion. Reviews to come!





Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An Ember In The Ashes ~ Do Not, Not Read This Book!


An Ember In The Ashes
Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


My Thoughts:

Oh boy, where could I possibly begin? At the beginning I suppose.  But can I just say, what a thrill ride!?  Reading the bio of this book doesn't do it justice in the slightest!  And I am an audio book lover!  However, if the actor's voice is annoying in anyway, I'm turned off immediately and will most likely not read the book, unless its been so hyped and comes off with a very unique story.  In my case, the voice of Laia is the same voice for a different character of a different book.  Now I know, I sound a bit crazy and that I shouldn't let that bother me, but how could I not?  While trying to picture Laia, I could only picture so and so from the other book!! Huge deal.  So what did I do? I deleted the audio book and said I guess I'll read it eventually.  And then that didn't work.  After seeing more reviews and pictures posted and A Torch Against the Night (the sequel to An Ember In The Ashes) promoted, I said to myself, "Self.  You really should try to listen to this again."  And so I did.  And after about 15 minutes of consecutive listening, I was hooked!!!  I do not say this lightly!  Ok, ok, to the actual review of the book!  


Elias has very quickly become my most favorite fictional boyfriend of all!  He is determined, resilient, and simply dreamy.  A little complexity, makes Elias a very intriguing character.  He knows what he wants, but seems to have so much doubt in his own capabilities that he holds himself back.  He seems to second guess his gut on more than one occasion, not always leaving him with the most desired outcome.  On the other hand, he seems so comfortable with other settings.  He does know where he wants to be, just maybe not so sure on how to get there or who to go there with.  The love triangles in the book, are definitely twisty and turny and I love them!!!


Laia on the other hand, is full of confidence.  Maybe not so much in herself, but in her mission, she is set like a stone.  She is determined to find her brother at all costs and willing to sacrifice herself and pretty much anyone else along the way, in order to achieve that goal.  I can totally relate because I have a strong relationship with my brother and would go to the ends of the earth to find and free him from any evil!  Back to Laia, a scholar, she was born a pheasant, but feels free.  Enjoys the little freedoms she has and doesn't take things for granted.  Very humble which makes for a strong willed character.  I love that slowly but not too slowly, Laia find her confidence and drive to continue and tries not to be too distracted by the handsomely charming roguish men that might stand in her way.


An Ember In The Ashes did not disappoint in any chapter.  It was one of those books that you want to slow down reading because you don't want it to end, but you also want to hurry up and get to the end because you want to know what its going to happen. With such vivid imagery, Tahir write the novel of a lifetime.  One that I can without a doubt 100% deserves to be a New York Times Bestseller.  I'm not any professional of course, but if I had to pick one book from here on out to recommend to someone interested in YA fiction, this would be it.  This will probably always be it, I can't even imagine another book having as much detail, love, stress, anger, devotion, and loyalty all wrapped into one YA book.  As you can probably guess, I highly recommend this!!!