Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: Trial by Fire


Title: Trial by Fire
By: Josephine Angelini
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 374
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

About Trial by Fire

The exhilaratingly seductive new series from the author of the bestselling Starcrossed series

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


I had the hardest time getting into this book and then the hardest time finishing it. I am a sucker for books about witches, especially witchy books that encompass a nod to the Salem Witch Trials, so I had high hopes for Trial by Fire. But in the end, sadly, this book did not win me over.

Trial by Fire started out so slow, and nothing hooked me to the plot. I am still unraveling the idea of mixing fantasy and science in the storyline, and creating a dynamic binary between magic versus science/scientific method/medicine/atomic theory/pollution, etc. But overall, I don’t think the meshing of fantasy and science is what lost me in the book. There are some holes in this novel that made me feel like I was missing an inside joke or that I was purposely being left out of big secrets. I need a reason why I should be rooting for the main character/heroine, Lily, and I never got that reason, or I at least didn’t understand that reason.

I thought the premise of Trial by Fire was interesting (hello, Salem witches!), but this book fell flat for me. Hopefully in the next book the characters are more developed and there is more information given on the driven force between each of the characters’ motives/motivations.

1 star rating

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

Note:  This review was previously posted on my Goodreads account on August 22, 2015, and has been edited/updated for my blog. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review. I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

W…W…W…Wednesday: 06/29/2016


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 own W…W…W…Wednesday look like? 

Cover Reveal + Giveaway w/ Rockstar Book Tours: 100 HOURS by Rachel Vincent

I am so excited to share the awesome cover for 100 HOURS, the first book in a new trilogy by New York Times best-selling author Rachel Vincent, which
releases on March 28, 2017 from Katherine Tegen Books, along with a note from the author about her upcoming novel and an amazing giveaway.

Scroll down to take check out the gorgeous cover, read what Rachel Vincent has to say about 100 HOURS, and enter for a chance to win. And be sure to share your thoughts about the cover in the comments!

The Cover Revealed

Title: 100 HOURS
Author: Rachel Vincent
Release date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 368
Formats available to pre-order: Hardcover



Maddie is beyond done with her cousin Genesis’s entitled and shallow entourage. Genesis is so over Miami’s predictable social scene with its velvet ropes, petty power plays, and backstabbing boyfriends.

While Maddie craves family time for spring break, Genesis seeks novelty—like a last-minute getaway to an untouched beach in Colombia. And when Genesis wants something, it happens.

But paradise has its price. Dragged from their tents under the cover of dark, Genesis, Maddie, and their friends are kidnapped and held for ransom deep inside the jungle—with no diva left behind. It all feels so random to everyone except Genesis. She knows they were targeted for a reason. And that reason is her.

Now, as the hours count down, only one thing’s for certain: If the Miami hostages can’t set aside their personal problems, no one will make
it out alive.

A Note from Rachel Vincent

In my upcoming YA suspense 100 HOURS, Genesis and her cousin Maddie come from opposite ends of the privilege spectrum, but when they wind up kidnapped for ransom during spring break in Colombia and have no one else to count on, they discover they have more in common than either of them thought.

If you’ve read any of my previous releases, 100 HOURS probably seems like a departure for a Rachel Vincent book. And that’s what I thought, back when it was just me and an idea. But as I wrote the story and got to know the characters, I realized that even though this book is set in the Colombian jungle and these characters have no supernatural abilities, 100 HOURS is very much a book about the themes that draw me in over and over. Survival. Family friction and loyalty. High-stakes pulse-racing action. Twists, turns, secrets, and revelations. Girls who can fend for themselves—and for anyone else who needs help.

About Rachel Vincent

Photo credit: Kim Haynes Photography

Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy—but social media is a close second.


The Giveaway

Courtesy of the author, there is a blitz-wide giveaway for…

  • ONE (1) winner will receive a SIGNED SET of a paperback copy of THE STARS NEVER RISE + an ARC of THE FLAME NEVER DIES

Giveaway is US only. Must be 13 or older to enter. Giveaway ends on July 11th at 11:59 PM Pacific. 

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

ARC Review: We Own the Night by Ashley Poston


Title: We Own the Night
By: Ashley Poston
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher:Bloomsbury Spark/ Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley

About We Own the Night:

“Happy midnight, my fellow Niteowls…”

As a candy store employee by day, and mysterious deejay “Niteowl” by night, eighteen-year-old Ingrid North is stuck between rock ‘n roll and a hard place. She can’t wait to get out of her tiny hometown of Steadfast, Nebraska (population three hundred and forty-seven) to chase her dreams, but small-town troubles keep getting in the way. She can’t abandon her grandmother with Alzheimer’s, or her best friend Micah–who she may or may not be in love with.

But for one hour each Saturday, she escapes all of that. On air, she isn’t timid, ugly-sweater-wearing Ingrid North. She’s the funny and daring Niteowl. Every boy’s manic pixie dream girl. Fearless. And there is one caller in particular– Dark and Brooding–whose raspy laugh and snarky humor is just sexy enough to take her mind off Micah. Not that she’s in love with Micah or anything. Cause she’s not.

As her grandmother slips further away and Micah begins dating a Mean-Girls-worthy nightmare, Ingrid runs to the mysterious Dark and Brooding as a disembodied voice to lean on, only to fall down a rabbit hole of punk rockstars, tabloid headlines, and kisses that taste like bubble tea. But the man behind the voice could be surprising in all the right, and wrong, ways.

And she just might find that her real life begins when Niteowl goes off the air.

LINKS: Goodreads | Kindle: Amazon | Nook: B&N 


WOW! WOW! WOW! We Own the Night is the perfect summery read. It is definitely an attention-grabbing and fast-paced novel (I read it in less than 5 hours, maybe 4), with heart-pounding moments, and a main character worth rooting for. From the first page, we are introduced to a young radio deejay named NiteOwl, who is going through the many motions of crushes, teenage life dilemmas, and graduating high school. NiteOwl turns out to be the main character, Ingrid North, a small town Nebraska native who adores music, is on the mends with her three best friends, and at the same time she has to care for her grandmother who has Alzheimer’s. 

I really loved Ingrid as a character. Even though she is cautious, she can also be fearless, and definitely sarcastic and snarky. She has spent months not hanging out or communicating with her friends, because she has been taking care of her grandmother, and to top off her senior year, she has a major crush on her childhood friend, best friend in fact, Micah. But it turns out Micah is in love with someone else, and that’s when hearts start crumbling in this story.

But Ingrid does not let her heartache outweigh her strength to make it through summer. Ingrid hosts her own Saturday midnight radio show, and this outlet allows her to be her true self, which is a smart, spunky, sassy, and determined young woman. I, in turn, loved how gritty and brave Ingrid truly is, especially when she is communicating with one of her notable callers, who she has dubbed “Dark and Brooding.” Ahhh…their banter is sexy, wildly angsty, and romantic all at the same time. *swoons* These two characters bounce off each other so well, that you will be praying for a chance for them to meet in real life.

Ingrid not only exchanges “laugh out loud” banter with strangers on the radio, but she also exchanges sarcastic comments and hilarious repartee with her best friends and her own grandmother. This banter is often used as a comedic relief in all the craziness and sadness that Ingrid and her friends have to face. Additionally, I loved that throughout the book we not only get fun banter, but there is the awesome littering of The Princess Bride and The Office references, just to name a few popular culture allusions. 

This whole story is a mesh of fighting bullies, experiencing both heartbreak and/or heart-pounding confessions of love, and truly understanding the good and the bad moments that life throws at people.  We Own the Night is an all-around, feel good story sprinkled with love and infinite snapshots of a female protagonist enduring change. Friendships are tested. Punches are thrown. Relationships blossom. Gumballs are spilled. Dreams are dared. Life lessons are learned. And in the end, we get a truly remarkable book about maturing, falling in love, adventuring out of your comfort zone, and accepting the contingent events of life.  

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

NOTE: Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Spark/ Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Top Ten Tuesday: FREEBIE! My Top Ten “Auto Buy” Authors


HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is…a FREEBIE!


  1. Ilona Andrews

  2. Patricia Briggs

  3. Marie Rutkoski

  4. Leigh Bardugo

  5. Emery Lord

  6. Sharon Biggs Waller

  7. Erin Morgenstern (when will we get another book by her? WHEN?!)

  8. J.K. Rowling

  9. Morgan Matson

  10. David Arnold

Are any of the authors I listed your “auto buy” authors? Who are your top “auto buy” authors? 

Book Review: Compulsion by Martina Boone


Title: Compulsion
By: Martina Boone
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy, Gothic, Souther Gothic, Paranormal
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

About Compulsion:

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository

My Rants and Raves of Compulsion

Compulsion by Martina Boone is a book that I never thought I would read. I just didn’t feel like the premise appealed to me. But during a recent book club meeting, it was voted as our reading book of the month. I didn’t go into this book with high expectations, but let me tell you, I came out loving Compulsion and I look forward to the rest of the series.

Barrie, the main character, is not the most approachable person, but I felt like she held a strong demeanor and went at life with a raw and straight-forward manner. Even though she is going through a lot of emotional baggage throughout the chapters, she stays sincere to herself and approaches the world with caution. Barrie can be a very go-with-the-flow young woman , but I liked that she also questions everything, and I mean everything. She’s not my favorite literary heroine, but I liked how realistic she is and stays throughout the story.

Additionally, I loved that Compulsion is a genuine Southern Gothic story. I love Charleston, South Carolina, and the historical atmosphere that comes with it. When I noticed that Compulsion’s setting was set outside of Charleston, I became more involved with the story. Plus as the story progresses, we get a tremendous and fascinating meshing of Native American folklore and local stories, mystical and innate powers, ghosts, murder, and riveting family drama and secrets that date back generations. If all those ideas engrossed in one book does not give you an adrenaline rush and goosebumps, I don’t know what will.

Overall, I found Compulsion to be a great debut novel to a fascinating series. Although the story has a few confusing loopholes and is slowly-paced at some points, I still cannot wait to read more into Barrie’s family history and powers, and the historical presence depicted throughout the novel. I’m so glad that my book club forced me to read this book, and I hope the other books in the series are as intriguing as Compulsion.

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Note: I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review.  I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo

22718802Title: How to Say I Love You Out Loud
By: Karole Cozzo
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Physical ARC
Source: Received in a Swoon Reads Tote Bag Giveaway at Joseph Beth Bookseller’s Cincinnati, Ohio book event

About How to Say I Love You Out Loud:

When Jordyn Michaelson’s autistic brother joins her at her elite school, she’s determined not to let anyone know they’re related. Even if that means closing herself off to all her closest friends, including charming football stud Alex Colby. But despite her best intentions, she just can’t shake the memory of kissing Alex last summer, and the desire to do it again. Can Jordyn find the courage to tell Alex how she really feels—and the truth about her family—before he slips away forever?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository

Mini-Review: My Rants and Raves of How to Say I Love You Out Loud

At first I thought this book was going to be a typical formulaic contemporary read, but I’m so glad I was wrong and kept reading.

I went into this story without reading its synopsis, and I think not knowing what the book was about made me like it more. Throughout the book, Jordyn, the main character, creates a boundary between her peers and her home life–the truth is that she has an autistic brother, and in the past she has always been labeled as the sister of the autistic kid. She is in her second year of starting a new school, and for once she is only Jordyn. But as the story progresses, her brother (Phillip) unintentionally bombards her school life, and people begin whispering how “weird” he is and find out that he’s related to Jordyn.

In the end, I loved the development of Jordyn. She accepts who she is, and more importantly she accepts the challenges that life throws at her. She becomes brave, opens up her heart, and doesn’t worry what other people think about her or her brother.

Karole Cozzo has a knack for real-life storytelling, and her development of creating Alex to push Jordyn to challenge herself is beautifully written. Jordyn’s story is beautiful and well worth the read.

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Note: This review was previously posted on my Goodreads account on August 2, 2015, and has been updated for my blog. I received an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) from a giveaway hosted by Swoon Reads at a book event held at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio during the summer of 2015.   I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

W…W…W…Wednesday: 06/22/2016


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 own W…W…W…Wednesday look like? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year


HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is…

Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

(Click the book cover to link to the book’s Goodreads’ page)











ARC Review: The King Slayer by Virginia Boecker

Title: The King Slayer
By: Virginia Boecker
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: June 14, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance


About The King Slayer:

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


Last year, NOVL introduced me to The Witch Hunter, the prequel to The King Slayer, and I automatically fell in love with this fantasy series. This duology is deeply rooted in a magical and historical atmosphere with well-developed characters, including a strong heroine named Elizabeth Grey. As a former witch hunter and now stigma-less, I noticed that Elizabeth is more watchful of her surroundings in The King Slayer, and luckily she can still hold her own ground in a good fight.

Even though Elizabeth has lost many friends, including her family, I like that she gains a strong support system throughout the series with new friends and allies: John, Peter, Fifer, and Schuyler. I love the different types of relationships and strong connections she has with each of these characters, and it is hard for me to pick out which friendship I love the most, hahahaha. But if I had to choose, I would definitely gush about the friendship between Elizabeth and Schulyer to any reader. Not only do they have a great bond, they are also so witty and humorous together. And overall, they always have each other’s backs.

Additionally, I greatly appreciated how Boecker depicted the romantic relationship between Elizabeth and John. Their kisses are swoony and captivating, and let’s just say some of their steamy scenes are often left up to the reader’s imagination *fans self.* I love that this couple is not always in that “honeymoon” stage where nothing goes wrong. Instead, their relationship is constantly tested. More importantly they test each other’s boundaries, patience, and loyalties. I appreciate that they completely understand that with love comes upsets, sacrifice, loss, and heartache. Elizabeth and John are definitely one of my favorite fantasy book couples, because they are honest, stubborn, and they wholeheartedly love each other.

In regards to some people from Elizabeth’s past, ones that she thought were long gone, they show up in the most surprising twists in The King Slayer, which leaves Elizabeth vulnerable and cautious. Blackwell is still as evil as ever, continuing to selfishly mistreat magic. In my opinion, Elizabeth does not always make the most rational choices when it comes to fighting Blackwell, but I appreciate that her actions and words show that she respects magic and its consequences.

Overall, I liked that The King Slayer is steady-paced, allowing each chapter to slowly tick like a clock to the next prominent scene. Every chapter of this book is usefully articulated to enhance an adventurous plot, build suspense, and develop some of the most memorable and caring characters. I love that the book focuses on friendships, and lightheartedly showcases friendships between witches, pirates, soldiers, revenants, and common folk. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The King Slayer, and this series overall. I look forward to reading anything and everything Virginia Boecker writes in the future.

4 star rating

4 out of 5 stars

NOTE:          I received this Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) through a book trade with a fellow blogger. I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher for a review. All statements and opinions are mine.