Review: Otherbound

Otherbound by Corinne DuyvisTitle: Otherbound
Author: Corinne Duyvis
Series: n/a

About: Amara is never alone. Not when she’s protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they’re fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she’s punished, ordered around, or neglected.

She can’t be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he’s yanked from his Arizona town into Amara’s mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He’s spent years as a powerless observer of Amara’s life. Amara has no idea . . . until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she’s furious.

All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan’s breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they’ll have to work together to survive — and discover the truth about their connection.

My Thoughts: What an interesting concept! I felt so bad for Nolan right from the start. Could you imagine not ever really being able to rest? Every time you close your eyes, being transported to another world — a far harsher world — can you imagine it? Not only does he see Amara’s life, he lives it through her — he feels what she feels, sees what she sees, and so on and so forth! As a youngster, he lost a foot because of an accident that happened as a result of this — can you imagine?

Amara’s existence is rather interesting. The idea of servants having their tongue removed … ick! And infuriating! That poor girl. She’s a strong character, despite her being a servant. She doesn’t see her own strength, though. But protecting the princess — when you read what that entails, you’ll see her strength.

Overall, the book kept my interest from start to finish. It’s quite the concept, and seeing how it worked — learning why it happened, what was going on — was pretty cool. It’s very well thought out and explained. And well executed. There are some twists and turns. Some were a bit obvious, but most were surprising. Despite the brevity of the book, the whole ordeal is very well explained. I felt like all ends were tied up, and I wasn’t left wondering about anything. Props to Ms. Duyvis for that!

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis is a fast-paced, intriguing story. Be warned, though: it’s brutal. Still, it’s a fast read with a lot going for it. Enjoy!

3.5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: Otherbound is scheduled for release around June 17, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Free to Fall

Free to Fall by Lauren MillerTitle: Free to Fall
Author: Lauren Miller
Series: n/a

About: What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness? What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?

What if you never had to fall?

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results. Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school. Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming

My Thoughts: This is such and interesting concept, and really not all that far-fetched. Given how much many people nowadays rely on their phones for many things, it’s not too hard to think that the society seen in Free to Fall by Lauren Miller is plausible. It was very intriguing, and had my attention from the get-go.

Yes, there were some predictable things, but there also were plenty of surprises. I loved it all. And, so far as things I could see coming, it didn’t bother me — it was exciting seeing if I was right and how my guess would come to fruition.

Rory is a great main character. I enjoyed her perspective and watching her remarkable growth throughout the course of this book. And North — awesome! A great match for her and really an all-around sweetie. Book boyfriend? Perhaps — he’s definitely a contender!

I would highly recommend this book. It’s a fun ride that takes place in a world that’s not a far cry from our own. Would I read this again? Sure! :-)

5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: Free to Fall is scheduled for release around May 13, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Far From You

Far From You by Tess SharpeTitle: Far From You
Author: Tess Sharpe
Series: n/a

About: Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.

The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick.

The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.

After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina’s brother won’t speak to her, her parents fear she’ll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina’s murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared.

My Thoughts: I’m gonna be straight forward and say that I’m rating this book higher than I feel the narrative deserves, because the writing is great — and the character development is very good. Sophie grows so much throughout the course of this book, and that’s written so well that you don’t see it happening; you just realize at one point toward the end that she’s matured a lot. I was very impressed.

The story, well, it’s fast-paced and a bit suspenseful at times. But it’s quite predictable, especially so far as the “secret they shared.” I found that big secret obvious and quite disappointing. (That’s all?) Somewhat anticlimactic. Still, the mystery surrounding the murder kept me going. I really wanted to see who did it and why. That part of the book was pretty good.

Would I read this again? No. Would I recommend it? Maybe. It depends on what you’re looking for.

3.5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: Far From You is scheduled for release around April 8, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Sleep No More

Sleep No More by Aprilynne PikeTitle: Sleep No More
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Series: n/a

About: Oracles see the future but are never supposed to interfere. Charlotte learned that the hard way. If she hadn’t tried to change one of her childhood visions, her father would still be alive. Since the accident, Charlotte has suppressed her visions to avoid making the same mistake. But when she receives a premonition of a classmate’s murder, she can no longer ignore her powerful gift.

Then Charlotte meets someone who not only knows her secret but who also has a way for her to stop the killer. He offers to teach her how to manipulate her visions to change the future. But doing so will put Charlotte in the path of the murderer.…

My Thoughts: I found Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike to be a quick read. And while I found myself engrossed and wanting to see how it all played out, two days after finishing I’m finding it’s not as memorable as I’d like. I enjoyed the book, and didn’t feel it was predictable or anything. Still, even reading the description (which usually is enough to jog the memory) isn’t helping. What does that mean? Well, I’m honestly not quite sure.

I do remember closing the book satisfied. I do remember times of wanting to keep reading to see what happens. I remember the characters: Charlotte, Sierra, Smith, Linden. But I honestly didn’t feel too connected to any of them. I know I felt bad for Charlotte, especially toward the end. I know I really didn’t think too highly of Sierra. And I know I was kinda suspicious of Smith. But, well, I didn’t really feel for them too much.

Still, I found the book had me hooked pretty much all the way through. So clearly it wasn’t bad at all. If you like a mystery with a bit of paranormal thrown in, give this one a read. At the very least, you’ll be entertained.

3.5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: Sleep No More is scheduled for release around April 29, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: After the End

After the End by Amy PlumTitle: After the End
Author: Amy Plum
Series: After the End #1

About: World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

My Thoughts: Let me start by saying that this book is as good as it sounds. I was sucked in right off the bat and finished it in less than 24 hours — without staying up until 4 a.m.! ;-)

Juneau’s life at the beginning is really interesting and neat to see. Before leaving Alaska, she leaves her Huskies with a woman who boards animals. And that scene was heart-breaking. I’m telling you this because Amy Plum is a very good writer. I could feel for the characters and really get wrapped up in the story. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. And, well, it ended way too soon for my tastes. But more on that later.

The story is told from both Juneau’s perspective and also from the perspective of a guy named Miles. And, yes, they cross each others’ paths. And I found reading from both perspectives quite easy to follow, and enjoyable. It was neat to see Juneau through Miles’ eyes. And it was good to know right off the bat that, while perhaps somewhat misguided, Miles is one of the “good” people. (And, no, I’m not spoiling anything.)

My one BIG complaint is that there is a HUGE cliffhanger. And by huge, I mean will-someone-be-OK-big. I don’t like cliffhangers like that. I like knowing everyone’s accounted for (or shown to be gone or whatever), and just that we are so not over with the story yet. I don’t like the ones where a character’s life is literally on the line. And that, dear friends, is why I couldn’t give this a full five stars. I was pissed that there wasn’t just one more chapter to tell me if this person was OK.

Aside from the maddening cliffhanger ending, After the End by Amy Plum is a fantastic novel. I am very eagerly awaiting the next book in this series — and not just on account of the cliffhanger! ;-)

4.5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: After the End is scheduled for release around May 6, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Vengeance

Vengeance by Megan MirandaTitle: Vengeance
Author: Megan Miranda
Series: Fracture #2

About: Nobody really believes in a curse. Until you know the people who disappear. Too much coincidence, you look for reason. Too much death, you grasp for something to blame. Carson pulled Delaney out and he died on the side of the road with her mouth pressed to his. Her air in his body. Troy. She told the cops it was suicide. Didn’t matter. The lake released her and grabbed another. But when Decker’s father dies in a pool of spilled water on their kitchen floor, all Decker can feel is a slow burning rage. Because he knows that Delaney knew that his dad was going to die. She knew and backed out of his house and never said a word. Falcon Lake still has a hold on them both, and Decker can’t forgive Delaney until he knows why.

My Thoughts: This is a fast-paced, exciting, fitting follow-up to Fracture. I found it pulled me in right away and held onto me until it was over. I was drawn by the mystery of what exactly was going on, and found it a bit difficult to put the pieces together on my own. However, once it was revealed, well, part of it made me feel silly. How did I miss that? ;-)

Unfortunately, I don’t remember Fracture well enough to compare this to it in pretty much any way. I can’t even really comment on characters now versus then. So I’m just gonna talk about the characters in this. For the most part, they were pretty good. Decker, though, in many cases made me a bit frustrated. The way he kept playing games with Delaney at times, just so not cool. (But also so typical of a teenage guy.) Still, I found myself feeling for him and rooting for him.

If you enjoyed Fracture, make sure to read this one, too. I found it rather interesting to get a glimpse of where everyone is several months after the events of the first novel. Who’s doing what, who’s hanging with who, and what exactly is going on with the lake. Vengeance by Megan Miranda is a sequel not to be missed.

4 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: You can order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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Review: Ask Again Later

Ask Again Later by Liz CzukasTitle: Ask Again Later
Author: Liz Czukas
Series: n/a

About: Despite what her name might suggest, Heart has zero interest in complicated romance. So when her brilliant plan to go to prom with a group of friends is disrupted by two surprise invites, Heart knows there’s only one drama-free solution: flip a coin.

Heads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother’s best friend really be?

Tails: The theater geek…with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart’s interests — even if he wants to share all his feelings?

Heart’s simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all.

My Thoughts: I read one snippet that compared this book to Sliding Doors, a movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow — one that happens to be one of my favorite movies. That made it an instant must-read for me. This book is just as much fun, just as sweet, and just as thought-provoking as the movie.

If I give it high praise, why not higher rating? For one thing, the narration didn’t work for me. While Heart seems like a sweet girl, and she has some wit, much of it felt forced. Like she was trying too hard. Or something. I didn’t feel like it flowed naturally in many places. It’s like one of those people who tries to hard to be witty and you can totally tell. Still, she did make me smile — and even chuckle — in a couple of spots, so it wasn’t all bad. There was some predictability that was mildly disappointing (in that it wasn’t a surprise) while also being exciting (in that it was what I was hoping would happen).

I mostly liked the characters. Heart is a sweet girl who has decided that romance is not for her. She’s got her own reasons for it, which are explained pretty much right away. They’re sound reasons, but it’s clear she’s not quite sure about that no-dating rule anymore. Her friends are pretty cool, and I must say I’m kinda partial to Chase. I could see through him like a freshly cleaned window! And, despite is butt-head moments, I found him sweet. Definite book boyfriend material! ;) Ryan is a great guy. I was hoping he’d be her date, rather than going with Troy (the brother’s BFF). Did she? Well, you read and decide for yourself. Keeping with the comparison to the movie, there is no 100% clear answer as to which one really happened. There are hints toward the end, but just when you think you know, something else is said that makes you wonder. In some ways, I think it’s cleverly done; in other ways, it drives me nuts! LOL The only thing that makes me not hate it is that the ending isn’t left unknown — something I abhor when authors do that. We know how it all ends. Which journey was the right one? As I said before, I’m not quite sure. Both were great, though!

Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas is a fun, quick read. If you like movies like Sliding Doors, you’ll get a kick out of this story. I think it’s good enough to allow a reader to ignore a not-so-eloquent narrator.

3.5 StarsSource: Received through Around the World Tours for review.

Read It: Ask Again Later is scheduled for release around March 11, 2014. You can pre-order your own copy via Amazon or Book Depository(These are affiliate links, and purchase through either link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

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