Monday, February 27, 2017

Book Review: Things I Should Have Known

 Things I Should Have Known
by Claire LaZebnik

Released: March 28th, 2017
Read: January 2017
Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers
Format: ARC, 311 pages
Series: n/a

Description from Goodreads: From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy.
   Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.

Review: I almost didn't read this book, because contemporaries aren't really my kind of books, but because of Marianne's cupcake, here we are. And I am so glad! This book was great!
   This book was full of growing up. Everyone changes and understand themselves a bit better by the end, everything is closed up neatly, nicely and not too quickly.
   I'm also such a sucker for simple romances that are the backdrop for larger plots and character arcs. And if one of the people has opened up to the other? I'm dead. This book is so full of positivity it was almost blinding. Yet somehow, despite the cliches, it remained realistically open to not ending well. Or not ending at all, in that sort of lingering, closed-chapter-of-life kind of way.
   Altogether, the characters are lovely, the plot is great, and if you need a pick-me-up, this relatively short book is right up your alley!

Quotable Quotes:
"Why are you asking me? I'm seventeen and don't know anything about what to do when you're autistic and gay."

Rating: 9/10

Optimistically yours, Ola <3

Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review: A Darkly Beating Heart

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

Released: October 25th, 2016
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Format: ARC, 272 pages
Read: September/October 2016

Description from GoodReads: A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.
   No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.

Review: Time travelling thriller about bitter teenagers in Japan? Sign me right up! This book was exactly what I'd hoped it would be, without me knowing what was about to happen at every twist and turn.
   Miyu is a wonderfully deep character who contrasts well with Reiko, who seems to only want revenge. Along with this, I found Reikos subtle "Hi I'm bi" attitude refreshing. There was no "Wow maybe I'm not straight" moment that seems to accompany her romance with Jiro.
   The way we discover important plot points in the book is a work of art. There is no foreseeable plot twists here (or maybe I'm just oblivious!) and they all clicked wonderfully. There were parts that creeped and grossed me out in a good way. They were tasteful, if that's possible, and all added to the plot.
   However, this novel is just under 300 pages. About 250 pages (not literally) build the plot and characters up beautifully, making me care, and interested me in what would happen to these dark darlings. The last 50 pages was left to make a complete ending. I was pretty sure that no author could wrap up a book in a neat bow in a mere 50 pages. And oh boy... was I right. The ending didn't fit the novel. You would find this kind of ending in a book aimed at 12 year olds. (Is that too mean?)
   But I did love the book. I adored it! Give me more, Lindsay Smith! I would like a follow-up!

Quotable Quotes:
  • "I have mastered the path of hatred, and I know now where it ends. It ends with my revenge."
  • "I'm tired of walking around with these memories in me, throbbing like a knife I never bothered to pull from my back."
  • "Your mindset creates your reality, no matter what you believe."
  • "We are all defined by our past, our choices and circumstances have made us who we are. It's all there, carved into us indelibly. But... it is not our present. Or our future. That's what we control. It's what we choose to do with the past that is entirely up to us."
Rating: 8/10

Read if You Liked: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, confusing but generally ok time travel, Ink by Amanda Sun, Japan?

Optimistically yours, Ola <3

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Blog Tour: Black Dawn

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Hello loyal readers! We are here today to share with you all this super cool book, by a super sweet lady!

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About the Book:
Author: Mallory McCartney
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Pages: 352
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Find it: Amazon, B&N, Goodreads

 Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and bringing Emory back she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.

Displaying Mallory.jpg About Mallory:
Mallory McCartney currently lives in London, Ontario with her husband and their two dachshunds Link and Lola. Black Dawn is her debut novel, the first in a series. When she isn’t working on her next novel or reading, she can be found dog grooming, book shopping and hiking. Other favorite pastimes involve reorganizing perpetually overflowing bookshelves and seeking out new coffee and dessert shops.
Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Interview with Mallory:

1.What was the moment or thing that inspired the book?

Absolutely! When I was fourteen my cousin and I were having a sleep over at my family’s old farm house. We would always sit on the roof of the shop, it overlooked the fields behind the house and the woods beyond. This night I remember so clearly, it was a super beautiful night, the stars splayed in a brilliant display and not a cloud in sight. We stayed up that night talking about our dreams, and both of us being huge book lovers (some things will never change☺) This is where the world of Kiero, and writing, first came into discussion. I wrote the original manuscript for her sixteenth birthday, but nine years later I rewrote the manuscript after talking with my husband about it while we were walking our dogs. These were both two pivotal moments for the story, and the inspiration came from daring to dream, to breathe life into these characters with the excitement and support from two people who are, and will always be huge parts in my life. 

2. Was there someone who read the book first, before any editor or publisher?

There sure was, and I can’t thank them enough! Jess Kovacs (my cousin), Matt McCartney (my husband), and my mom (hi mom!). 

3. Which character do you identify with the most?

I love this question! This is a tough one for me, Black Dawn was written in third person because for this story I always had more than one voice in my mind for it. I wanted the reader to experience all sides of the characters. And though Emory Fae is my main heroine, in Black Dawn I feel I identify with Nyx the most. She is an interesting character, and in some parts I really don’t like her decisions, but I identify with her emotions and reasoning. Because above all she fights for love, the loyalty of her family which is the Rebellion, and her willingness to sacrifice everything she is for these things. When writing her character, I felt for her, even though she can be rough around the edges and quite brusque, at the end she just wants a shot at a normal life, with the people she loves. Her storyline as well is one of my favorites in the sequel, Queen to Ashes.  

4. In the same vein, if you had to choose a dream cast for the movie of your book, who would it be?

Oh I love this as well!! Okay so I will stick with my main characters for this question. 
Emory: Emmy Rossum 
Brokk: Diego Boneta
Memphis: Alexander Ludwig 
Nyx: Morena Baccarin
Alby & Azarius: Shawn and Aaron Ashmore 
Bryd: Chloe Moretz 
Adair: Bill Skarsgård 
Lana: Tina Desai 

5.What are some tips you can give young adults who want to start writing their own novels?

Never give up on your gut feeling! If you have a story that is demanding your attention, put it to page. Never give up on your dreams, and work away at it a little every day. Always write for you, and continue to write for your love of it and your story. As my older brother likes to say, you only miss at the shots you don’t take. (Hi Nate!  )
If you had to pick your favourite literary quote, which would it be? Why?
"Not all those who wander are lost” by J.R.R Tolkien.  This quote reminds me of my high school English classes, with the best teacher, Mr. Steffler who sadly passed away last year. I know these classes for me and for many others were inspiring and life changing. This quote strikes home with me, because it is okay to wander, to take risks, to seek adventure. Never stop challenging yourself and never stop appreciating the things in life that mean the most to you.  

 Giveaway Details:

 3 winners will receive a signed finished copy of BLACK DAWN & custom buttons, US & Canada Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Well did you have fun? Check out the other stops in the tour!

 Week One:
2/6/2017- Literary Meanderings - Interview
2/6/2017- Literary Dust- Review

2/7/2017- Daniel Riding- Excerpt
2/7/2017- Bibliobibuli YA- Review

2/8/2017- Books,Dreams,Life- Interview
2/8/2017- A Dream Within A Dream- Review

2/9/2017- Don't Judge, Read- Guest Post
2/9/2017- Book Briefs- Review

2/10/2017- Kayl's Krazy Obsession- Excerpt
2/10/2017- Taking It One Book at a Time- Review

Week Two:
2/13/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview
2/13/2017- YA and Wine- Review

2/14/2017- Margie's Must Reads- Excerpt
2/14/2017- Lost in Ever After- Review

2/15/2017- The Autumn Bookshelf- Interview
2/15/2017- Fiktshun- Review

2/16/2017- Wandering Bark Books - Guest Post
2/16/2017- Mundie Moms- Review

2/17/2017- Captivated Reading- Excerpt
2/17/2017- Owl Always Be Reading- Review

Hope to hear from you about you're thoughts on the book!
Your Friends,
The Autumn Bookshelf