Thursday, October 16, 2014

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Black Ice
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 400
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Danger is hard to resist in this sexy thriller from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga. 

Britt Pheiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

Britt is forced to guide the men off the mountain, and knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there…and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

Black Ice is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…

My Thoughts: 
Reading Becca Fitzpatrick's Black Ice is a cinematic experience. When Britt and her best friend Korbie become stranded in the heart of a blizzard, they take shelter in a remote cabin only to be taken hostage by its two handsome occupants. Forced to help the men evade police capture by getting out of Grand Teton National Park before the storm is over, Britt hopes she stays alive long enough for Korbie's older brother Calvin, who's also her ex-boyfriend, to find and rescue her before it's too late. Black Ice is more than just a romantic thriller, it's a fight for survival against nature's terrifying strength.

I felt that Becca Fitzpatrick dropped too many hints about the overarching murder mystery because I figured out all the connections between the characters and the identity of the murderer within the first few chapters. It kind of ruined the fun for me because I expected this mystery to take much longer for me to unravel. The clues definitely needed more subtlety or ambiguity because the few attempts to throw readers off course were not convincing enough. In the end, all it did was cause me to become frustrated with Britt because, for an apparently smart girl, she couldn't see what was right in front of her face.

Britt places her faith in all the wrong people, even when the signs are SO obvious she shouldn't. Not only does Britt have a horrible sense of judgement, but she's also a perpetual liar; she lies to others and she lies to herself all the time. It makes Britt an unreliable narrator, and even though she claimed she'd trained how to backpack the Teton Range, I didn't fully believe she could actually survive in the wilderness. She even acknowledges several times that she's spoiled and relies on the men in her life to do everything for her. 

Calvin is an arrogant rich boy. Britt may have known him since she was a child, but she was—and still is—too blind to his faults to realize he was never a good boyfriend. Korbie is annoyingly melodramatic and self-centered, and I was so relieved she didn't have a large role in the novel. She and Britt seemed to share nothing in common; they may have been close when they were younger but now their separate interests are drifting them apart. Mason was the only character I didn't want to punch in the face or strangle. He may have helped to hold Britt as a hostage, but he's oddly protective of her and definitely hiding secrets...

While I wasn't really a fan of the characters (except Mason!), Becca Fitzpatrick's vivid descriptions of the Teton Range in Wyoming made up for it, helping to bring the novel to life. I was completely captivated by the suspense and danger of Britt's trek through the mountains as the relentless blizzard raged on. Despite some of my mixed feelings, I really do hope Becca Fitzpatrick's Black Ice is a success. After exhausting the YA paranormal and dystopian genres, there's still so much potential in the mystery/thriller genre to grow. Even though I didn't love Black Ice as much as I hoped I would, it hasn't dissuaded me from wanting to read similar novels.

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing this review copy!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shadows by Paula Weston

Title: Shadows (The Rephaim #1)
Author: Paula Weston
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Tundra Books
Pages: 400
Source: Copy received from publisher

Overall: 4 Stars

It's almost a year since Gaby Winters watched her twin brother die. In the sunshine of a new town her body has healed, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn't help that every night in her dreams she fights and kills hell-beasts. And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who's been appearing in Gaby's dreams, he tells her things about her brother and her life that cannot be true, things that are dangerous. Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And who is Gaby? The truth lies in the shadows of her nightmares. 

My Thoughts: 
When I began Paula Weston's Shadows, I was worried the book would become a victim of a reading slump I was having. I had been searching for a new book to read but nothing was really grabbing my attention until my sister recommended Shadows to me. I'm so glad I listened to her because Paula Weston's debut novel is an addictive paranormal read with a fresh take on angels, demons, and their descendants! And, okay, Shadows totally also gets bonus points for being Australian!

It's been almost a year since the night a car accident suddenly killed Gaby's twin brother Jude and left her hospitalized with serious injuries. On her own and now eighteen-years-old, Gaby has since then moved into the small tourist town of Pan Beach where she works at the local library and quietly grieves the loss of her brother. At night, she is plagued by terrifying nightmares featuring hell-beasts she must fight and kill with a sword. And when she wakes up, a vividly green-eyed young man who helps her fight these monsters always lingers in her mind.

When Gaby meets Rafael, her world is shattered all over again. She instantly recognizes Rafa as the handsome man from her dreams, but what is even more shocking is that he claims Jude was his best friend, even though Gaby cannot remember him. Gaby's life before the car accident is still a haze, and when Rafa asks her specific questions about her past, the details always seem to slip away before she can grasp them. Something happened to Gaby to make her forget her own life, and now that others are aware she is alive, they will be coming for her... 

What I really liked about Shadows is that Paula Weston has found a way to perfectly balance developing Gaby's character growth and exploring the world of the Rephaim. Despite Rafa's insistence that Gaby's memories have been twisted and tampered, it doesn't negate the fact that the trauma of the car accident still feels all too real to her and cannot be easily brushed aside. Gaby may now find herself being drawn into the dangerous life of the Rephaim as she searches for answers with Rafa's help, but we never forget that she also still mourns and misses her brother everyday.

Seriously, how did I miss reading Shadows sooner? I'm kind of annoyed that my sister didn't recommend the book to me right away! There is still so much mystery surrounding Gaby's past and how she lost her true memories. I need more of Rafa, too! He and Gaby had such amazing chemistry together. And while I think Paula Weston's Shadows is considered a YA novel, I loved the New Adult feel it had to it! There are definitely not enough NA paranormal books yet, but the Rephaim series is an encouraging glimpse of what the genre could be like. I'm definitely eager to read what happens next to Gaby and Rafa in Haze!

Thanks so much to Random House Canada for providing this review copy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cover Reveal: Pull by Claire Wallis

If you've read my review of Claire Wallis' PUSH, then you'll know just how much I loved her debut novel. After reading quite a few New Adult contemporary romances, they all begin to blur after awhile, but PUSH has been one of those rare exceptions. It's a romance meets psychological thriller, with an unforgettable cliffhanger that left me anxious to read the sequel. Well, that wait will soon be over!

I'm absolutely thrilled to be helping reveal the cover for PULL, the continuation of the shocking events in PUSH! If you've read the first book, then you'll understand the significance of the bridge on the cover... 

PULL will be available in digital format via Amazon, Nook, and iBooks on November 6. Pre-orders can be placed on Amazon beginning Monday, October 20th! (And if you still haven't read PUSH, then now is a good time to start it so you're ready for PULL's release!)

Are you excited to read Claire Wallis' PULL?

Release Date: November 6, 2014
Publisher: Claire Wallis

Summary (from author): 
***PULL is the continuation of Claire Wallis' sharp and shocking debut novel, PUSH. It is the second book in the series and is not intended to be a standalone.*** 

"It is impossible for someone like me—someone with a sin-list capable of wrapping itself around the world—to find redemption. To be repaired."

David Calgaro has secrets, and the only woman he's ever loved is about to pay the ultimate price to protect them. He's spent a lifetime searching for purpose and control. And the only place he's managed to find them is in a single, perfect moment; a moment in which he has absolute control over someone else's life.

David is unredeemable, unfixable, unsalvageable. But Emma Searfoss has forced a tiny sliver of hope to penetrate his soul. Hope that, even though redemption is impossible, maybe life isn't. Maybe he isn't who he thought he was. Maybe he's meant to be more.

This is a new adult novel with mature content for readers 17 and up.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cover Reveal: Fall With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I'm absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Fall With Me, the fourth book in Jennifer L. Armentrout's Wait for You series! I can't wait to read Roxy and Reece's story, and since we have a long wait ahead to get ours hands on Fall With Me, I'm sure I'll be finding myself rereading the previous books in the series all over again.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the cover! Are you a fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout and her addictive NA contemporary romance novels?

 Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Avon

Summary (from Harper Collins): 
Eleven months ago, bartender and weird-shirt-wearing extraordinaire Roxy and Officer Reece Anders had a one night stand. Well, kind of. She’s been in love with him since she was fifteen, and he wishes that night they shared never happened. She’s sworn him off forever, but the past and future collide, forcing her to rely on the one man who broke her heart not once, but twice.

Her best friend since birth has been in a long-term care facility since he became a victim of a hate crime years ago, and the person who put him in there is out of prison and wanting to make amends with him and Roxy. She’s not sure she has room for forgiveness in her and when she begins to receive frightening messages and is on the receiving end of escalating violence, she thinks she knows who is to blame. The man who already destroyed one life already.

But Reece isn’t convinced. The threats are too personal, and even if Roxy doesn’t believe him, he’s not willing to let anyone hurt her. Including himself. He’s already messed up more than once when it comes to Roxy and he’s not going to let history repeat itself.



About Jennifer L. Armentrout: 
# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. 

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. 

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins. Image Map

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Title: The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1)
Author: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 304
Source: ARC provided by publisher

Overall: 4 Stars

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown. 
My Thoughts: 
The Iron Trial is an imaginative introduction to the Magisterium series that promises to only become better and better with time. There is much mystery surrounding the Magisterium, a school for young mages to learn and control their elemental magic. It's both a wondrous and dangerous place, connected to a world that Callum Hunt's father has taught him to fear since he was a child. But after failing to fail the Iron Trial, a test which determines if a mage will be accepted to the Magisterium, Call learns that his father has withheld information from him all his life and now he wants those missing answers.

What I really like about Callum is that he doesn't really meet the conventions of a hero at first. He's a twelve-year-old boy who's wary to get close to others, often readily using sarcastic comebacks as a defense to protect himself. The pronounced limp when he walks has not only limited him physically, but has also, for years, made him a target for bullies to pick on. That's why, despite his father's warnings, Call is secretly happy to attend the Magisterium once he gets past his initial fears. The school offers Call a chance to reinvent himself and find acceptance with other misfits like him.

Joining Call under the training of Master Rufus are Tamara and Aaron, whom both come from very different backgrounds. Aaron is a kind and friendly boy, happy to be learning magic instead of being tossed around foster care homes, while Tamara feels pressured to succeed because of her overachieving family. Together, they form an unlikely friendship that soon strengthens as they face challenges set by the Masters of the school. While their little adventures are often fun and thrilling, the feared presence of the Enemy of Death threatens the safety of all the mages and casts a heavy shadow over the school, hinting at much more seriousness to come in the future.

Reading Holly Black and Cassandra Clare's The Iron Trial is a truly magical experience! I cannot wait to see what adventures are in store next for Callum and his friends in The Copper Gauntlet. While the groundwork has definitely been laid out in The Iron Trial, I'm sure the best is still yet to come in the Magisterium series.

Thanks so much to Scholastic Canada for providing this review copy!
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