ARC Review: Dark Energy by Robison Wells

Title: Dark Energy
By:  Robison Wells
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed 


25816859We are not alone.

Five days ago, a massive UFO crashed in the Midwest. Since then, nothing—or no one—has come out.

They have arrived.

If it were up to Alice, she’d be watching all of this on the news from Miami, Florida. Instead, she’s the newest student at a boarding school not far from the crash site—because her dad is the director of special projects for NASA, and if anything is a special project, it’s this.

And there’s no going back.

A shell-shocked country is waiting, glued to televisions and computer screens, for a sign of what the new future holds. But when the aliens emerge, they’re nothing like what Alice expected. And only one thing is clear: Nothing will ever be the same again.

The Rants and Raves of Dark Energy

I LOVE novels about aliens, spaceships, or anything dealing with space. I had heard very little hype surrounding Dark Energy, so of course I was excited for a non-spoilery, non-hyped read of  Robison Wells’ newest book. Overall, Dark Energy is a very quick and well-paced read. I read it in one sitting and I really enjoyed the steady flow that Wells carries throughout the novel. From my understanding, the book is a standalone, so it has the basic bullet points of a good story: introduction of  a main character/conflict, the climax, and then the much anticipated resolution. 

First, I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Alice. She’s a rich teenager, with an expensive car,  who is forced to go to a boarding school in Minnesota, because her dad works for NASA and he’s on a special assignment in the Midwest where a gigantic spacecraft has crashed.  Alice is a “go-with-the-flow” type of girl. She does not have that much of a personality–she’s just blah (sorry, I don’t know how else to describe her…she’s just there and she’s making the most of her world that is now inhabited by aliens). She has a very dry sense of humor and reveals very little emotional responses to the people and hysteria that surrounds her. I’m a big fan of people with “dry” and “sarcastic” sense of humors, but overall I found Alice to be a typical stock character that was underdeveloped. 

Even though Alice’s voice and personality never clicked with me, the storyline  was definitely engaging and unpredictable. And without providing any spoilers for future readers, Wells’ aliens are definitely worth exploring in this book. The aliens may parallel human beings in numerous ways, but they also hold their own secrets and talents. The aliens and their background story made me question my own knowledge of the universe, and everything from human understanding, to science, to ancestry, and to historical events. I loved the path that Wells provides to his readers to help connect his characters to the aliens and the other conflicts that invade them. The aliens and the reasons behind their crash in Minnesota are definitely the key factors make Dark Energy an engaging read. 

Even though I found the main character, Alice, to be one-dimensional, I think the plot, the twists, and the well-constructed ending are well crafted and make the book a good contribution to the science fiction genre. 

3 star rating

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars


Amazon        Barnes and Noble         Book Depository 

NOTE:          Even though this is an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC), I borrowed this book from a fellow blogger. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher for a review. All statements and honest opinions are mine.

Waiting on Wednesday: The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker


The King Slayer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that highlights pre-publication/upcoming releases that readers cannot wait to get their hands on. It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week my most anticipated read is…The King Slayer (The Witch Hunter, #2) by Virginia Boecker

In all its glory, here is the book cover and a brief summary provided by Goodreads:


Title: The King Slayer
Author: Virginia Boecker
Release Date: June 14, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Find it at: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository 

An action-packed and suspenseful sequel to The Witch Hunter, perfect for fans of Graceling and the Grisha Trilogy.

“I think, in time, you’ll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory.”

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He’s readying for a war against those who would resist his rule–namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth’s strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she’ll go to save those she loves.

“[Filled] with everything a good fantasy book needs: swords, poison, black magic, and betrayal.”–April Tucholke, author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, on The Witch Hunter

Waiting on Wednesday: Reasons why I need this book in my life…

  1. ♥ I read the first book of the series, The Witch Hunter, and LOVED it!!! REVIEW HERE!  ♥
  2. ♥ FANTASY, WITCHES, and MAGIC…need I say more?! ♥
  3.  Elizabeth is a strong and feisty main character. I cannot wait to see how she deals with her enemies and the much anticipated twists that I know will be in this book. ♥
  4. The last book had pirates in it…I NEED MORE PIRATES!
  5. I am looking forward to reading more scenes with the swoon-worthy healer, John Raleigh. ♥ 

Have you read The Witch Hunter? What did you think about it? Which soon-to-be released book are you highly anticipating? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Bookworm Delights


HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is…

Top Ten Bookworm Delights

  1. BOOK MAIL:   Whenever I receive bookish mail, either it be books I ordered or a book I won, I get super excited. There is no better feeling than opening up a pre-ordered book, a subscription box, a surprise bookish gift from a friend, or a giveaway win. 
  2. NETGALLEY APPROVAL:  So much happiness happens inside my brain and heart whenever I receive an email from Netgalley and they tell me that the publisher has approved my request. THANK YOU PUBLISHERS/AUTHORS FOR GIVING ME THE CHANCE TO READ AND REVIEW YOUR BOOKS!!!!
  3. BOOKISH FRIENDS:   As an introvert, it is hard to connect with people, especially if crowds exhaust you. But over the last few years, I have been very thankful to grad school, local book events, YallFest, Decatur Book Fest, Southern Kentucky Book Festival, Twitter, #OTSPSecretSister, and book club. All of these bookish outlets have connected me to great, lifelong friends. 
  4. READING A 5-STAR BOOK:   I love and covet that sensation in finding that one book that gives me that HOLY-MOLY-THIS-BOOK-IS-FREAKIN’-AMAZING feeling. Or even that book that saves me from my month-long reading slump! Reading a book and rating it 5-out-5 stars might be rare for me, but that book definitely becomes a treasure and possibly a reread to save me from a reading slump.  
  5. AUTHOR INTERACTION:   Talking to authors online or even in-person at a book event is the most rewarding feeling in the bookish community. I get incredibly ecstatic and thankful when I find out that one of my favorite authors is visiting one of my local bookstores AND I am able to meet them. 
  6. DISCOVERING A BOOK-THEMED ETSY STORE:   I know I have an obsession with buying books, but I also have an obsession with buying book-themed items from Etsy stores, especially candles. GIVE ME ALL THE BOOKISH ITEMS!!!
  7. GETTING A BOOK SIGNED:  I have a problem. I love buying books, but more importantly, I love meeting authors and getting my books signed. I have over 350 books signed, and I love that each signature has a great memory along with it.
  8. PRE-ORDER INCENTIVES:  I’ve already established that I buy A LOT of books, and sometimes authors or the publishers like to add incentives (book swag, posters, autographed nameplates, etc.). I am a sucker for those incentives!  
  9. ORGANIZING BOOKS:  I buy between 10 to 20 books a month, so whenever I get my bookshelves organized, it is an incredible sense of accomplishment and relief to have organization in my life. Plus the beauty of all my books lined up in their right place is pure happiness for me. 
  10. DISCOVERING A NEW BOOK:   I will admit it, I am one of those people who will buy a book based on its cover. Magical realism books are an “instant” buy for me, and so are books with “queen” or “crown” in the title. If the cover is beautiful or it displays my favorite key words, then I WANT IT NOW! So whenever someone tweets, instagrams, or adds a book to their Goodreads and it shows up on my feed, I get incredibly happy to add it to my own “to-read” Goodreads shelf! 

What are some of your bookworm delights?

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: The Rose & the Dagger

We are so excited that THE ROSE & THE DAGGER by Renée Ahdieh releases today and that we get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by author Renée Ahdieh, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN and a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER and an awesome candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only!  So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


Author: Renée Ahdieh
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and audiobook

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks 
The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, applauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.


Praise for The Rose and the Dagger:

“Above all there is the shattering, triumphant catharsis of love… In a story about stories, love is ‘the power to speak without words.’ Thrillingly full of feeling.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Fiery romance, a spirited heroine, shifting loyalties… With more than a few heartrending twists and turns.”—Booklist 

Read an Excerpt: Prologue

About Renée:

Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.
She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN, a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER, and a His Calipha candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only.

Ends on May 3rd at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

Title: Starflight
By:  Melissa Landers
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Pages: 369 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: Hardcover
Source: Signed copy from Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati


21793182Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…


Overall, I found this book hard to put down–it is definitely a great page-turner. I am always a sucker for any outlet that encompasses space adventure and criminal runaways seeking refuge among other misfits. Starflight is definitely a novel that can stand on its own as a gift to the sci-fi genre. As I read the story, I started making connections to popular culture, and I most definitely saw a reflection and integration of two of my favorite fandoms: Joss Whedon’s Firefly and John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club

Similar to the TV show Firefly, Landers has created a story revolving around a female protagonist, in this case Solara Brooks, who wants to create new beginnings in the intergalactic abyss. Solara unwillingly tags along with rich and charming Doran Spaulding, who finds himself in his own predicament. And to make the tension between these two greater, they both despise each other. Through grand scheming and fate, both characters find themselves aboard a spaceship with its own band of misfits. And not to give too much away, the characters aboard this spacecraft have a slight parallelism to the cast of The Breakfast Club: a princess, a thief, a basket case, a brain, an athlete, and a criminal (well, there might be more than one criminal…hahaha).  

The conflicts, twists, and the space pirates that litter Starflight‘s plot kept me on the edge of my seat. Some of the conflicts were predictable, but other times I was caught off guard and completely surprised. I mostly enjoyed the love/hate relationships that are described in the story, which provides a tolerable angst that is worthy of being developed and transformed into new friendships and companionship. If you like a slow burn romance, you will quite enjoy and be entertained by the tempers, banters, and selfless sacrifices of several characters in this story. 


RANTS:          Some plot lines were predictable, but overall, the story is very unique and enjoyable. 

RAVES:          I love me a good space story, and Landers definitely provided a brilliant cast of misfits in a new and exciting setting of outer space. Plus, I enjoyed the development of friendship that is encountered throughout the whole novel. 

NOTE:          All statements and opinions are mine.

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Amazon        Barnes and Noble         Book Depository 

W…W…W… Wednesday: 04/20/2016

W…W…W… Wednesday

W…W…W.. Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words and includes Three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?







What does your W…W…W…Wednesday look like? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh


HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is…

Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh

(Click on the book cover for Goodreads link)


When you pick up a graphic novel about a sassy shapeshifter teaming up with a villain, there are bound to be some chuckles. This graphic novel is cute and outright hilarious.


Hale has a great way in handling serious subjects, such as mental illness, with dark humor and a character with a sassy attitude.


TASoaH is a feel-good YA book worth reading. Beatrix and Jack are adorable, and they don’t hold anything back when it comes to their funny banter.


There are so many laugh-out-loud moments in this book (ex. “man monster”). Both Hannah and Garrett are the perfect and playful couple.


The banter between Kate and Curran is witty, funny, and sexy. I love these two and this series.


This book is clever, weird, and magical. The main character, Lennie, is snarky and the wishes that come true in the book are hilarious and so scary.


Mim, the main character, has the most sarcastic and dark humor  I have ever read in YA literature and I LOVE IT! She is gritty, raw, and hilarious.



The Harry Potter series is perfect in every way, so obviously, it definitely has some hilarious moments. 


One of the most funniest Shakespeare plays. There’s confusion and fairy shenanigans–it doesn’t get any better than that. 


Emily steps out of her shell after her best friend, Sloane, leaves her a “to-do” list to complete. There are a lot of moments that are awkward and definitely made me giggle. 


ARC REVIEW: The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller

Title: The Forbidden Orchid
By:  Sharon Biggs Waller
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Viking
Format: ARC
Source: Blogger Giveaway 


22056895Staid, responsible Elodie Buchanan is the eldest of ten sisters living in a small English market town in 1861. The girls barely know their father, a plant hunter usually off adventuring through China. Then disaster strikes: Mr. Buchanan reneges on his contract to collect an extremely rare and valuable orchid. He will be thrown into debtors’ prison while his daughters are sent to the orphanage and the workhouse.

Elodie can’t stand by and see her family destroyed, so she persuades her father to return to China once more to try to hunt down the flower—only this time, despite everything she knows about her place in society, Elodie goes with him. She has never before left her village, but what starts as fear turns to wonder as she adapts to seafaring life aboard the tea clipper The Osprey, and later to the new sights, dangers, and romance of China. But now, even if she can find the orchid, how can she ever go back to being the staid, responsible Elodie that everybody needs?


I am a Victorian period enthusiast. It’s a period in history where the roles of women were evolving; adventure challenged Victorian ideas and socio-cultural understandings; and literature shaped societal outcomes. Similar to traditional Victorian novels, Sharon Biggs Waller’s The Forbidden Orchid reflects tropes commonly found in nineteenth-century literature. Ideally, the author includes a feisty female lead, patriarchy’s fear of female transgression, and the British Empire’s imperial ambitions to tame “other” civilizations.

Waller’s main character, Elodie Buchanan, is one of the most satisfying female characters I have read in a long time. She is funny, witty, and damn it, she doesn’t take anyone’s disapproval to heart, especially from her local clergyman. Like her father, who is a plant hunter, Elodie has an innate sense of adventure, discovery, and independence. Unlike her father, who seems to lack the idea that he needs to be more emotionally involved with his wife and ten daughters, Elodie takes on the responsibility to help her family unite emotionally, physically, and financially.

Additionally, the sense of adventure is scattered throughout the story. Elodie encounters thieves of the English streets, the sea sickness from the rough seas, and China’s beautiful plants but humid terrain. Elodie’s sly abilities to escape the thresholds of patriarchy’s rules and her safe English home, and then venture onto a clipper like the Osprey, allows her to transgress from the domestic sphere and gain access to the public sphere, suited “only” for men. Elodie, like many adventure-seekers, romanticizes about the journey to new discoveries. But Waller doesn’t make this a story of “happy travels”; she provides insightful perspectives, ruthless villains, and plot twists that focus on the upsets, tragedies, and obstacles many explorers encounter.

There is never a dull moment in Elodie’s adventure to China where she is in search of the Queen’s Fancy, a rare orchid with a beautiful aroma. Of course, one of my favorite moments of her adventure is when Elodie meets Alex, a Russian sailor, and his energetic dog, Kukla. Elodie’s relationship with Alex is a challenge, and I loved the development of friendship, companionship, and love between these two.


RANTS:          In all honesty, I don’t have a single rant for this book. I have been out of graduate school for three years, and The Forbidden Orchid projected me back to a time where I not only enjoyed reading, but loved learning from it too. The whole books stands as a true reflection of Victorian norms and changes that early suffragettes included in their steps to change patriarchal conventions.

RAVES:          The overall plot is filled with adventure, but Elodie definitely steals each scene with her witty banter, determination, and independent thoughts. She illuminates a powerful stance that disrupts the status quo in English society and even on a clipper ship full of bawdy males. I can definitely tell that Waller put a lot of thought, energy, and research into this novel, so she could capture a true depiction of the Victorian realm and the Chinese culture of the nineteenth century .

NOTE:          I won this Advance Reader’s Copy from a blogger’s giveaway, and was not asked to provide a review.  All statements and opinions are mine.

star rating

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars





Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books for Every New Contemporary Reader to Read


HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is…

Top Ten Books For Every X To Read 

so I picked…

Ten Books for Every New Contemporary Reader to Read

(Click on the book cover for Goodreads link)











W…W…W…Wednesday: 4/6/2016

W…W…W… Wednesday

W…W…W.. Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words and includes Three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?








♥ What does your W…W…W…Wednesday look like? ♥