Review with GIVEAWAY: Eventide

Eventide by Christine Allen-RileyTitle: Eventide
Author: Christine Allen-Riley
Series: Iron Falls #1

About: The driver in a tragic car accident that killed her best friend, Devon Greer is consumed by guilt. When powerful hallucinations convince her that she’s seeing Rachael everywhere, Devon thinks she’s going crazy. But her friend isn’t truly gone.

To save Rachael from the faeries who stole her, Devon must pit herself against the Court of the Sidhe. Once she witnesses the true form of the fey, Devon’s life is in danger—and so are the lives of everyone she loves.

Now, Devon must not only protect herself, but also Jonah Seafort, Rachael’s cousin and the only person Devon can trust to help her. While the Sidhe walk among them, no one is safe.

My Thoughts: This book had me at the mention of faeries. I’m a bit of a sucker for books with faeries in them. I must say off the bat that this one reminded me a bit of Carrie Jones’ Need series. It’s different enough that it didn’t bother me, but there are definite similarities. And definite differences. I don’t think the similarities are enough to detract from the story.

Devon is an interesting person. Right off the bat, you feel kinda bad for her. Poor thing lost her best friend in one bad accident, and swiftly became the social pariah. Everyone in her small school turned on her, blaming her for the accident. And she, of course, blames herself, too. Sometimes, though, it felt like she’s bound and determined to hate herself for this, even when something positive happens. I didn’t particularly like that. She was somewhat inconsistent — mostly accepting her classmates’ abuse while occasionally standing up to them. I loved her witty comebacks whenever she dished them out. I wanted to see her stick up for herself more.

There were some eye-rolling moments in the book. Things where the solution was painfully obvious to me, and I couldn’t see how Devon couldn’t find the answers herself. In many instances, it was like she had to rediscover things that she’d clearly learned at a later date. I get that you can’t always remember everything you learn, but she seemed denser than I’d expect.

The stuff with the Sidhe seemed way too easily resolved, but then going into this you know it’s the start of a series. Even without the Queen’s threats, you know there’s no way it’s over yet. In fact, we’re just getting started! I do want to see how things play out. I do think I’ll read the next book, Darkling Night, which is slated for late next year.

3 StarsSource: Received through YA Bound Book Tours for review. (Click the button below for more tour stops.)

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Read It: You can purchase your own copy via Amazon(This is an affiliate link. Purchase through this link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

Christine Allen-RileyAbout the Author: Lover of books, nature, cats and shiny things. Active disliker of cooking, cleaning and stress. Mom, freelance editor & YA author – also a bit of a nerd.

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Review with GIVEAWAY: Prophecy

Prophecy by Julie Anne LindseyTitle: Prophecy
Author: Julie Anne Lindsey
Series: Calypso #1

About: On the other side of death, is destiny.

Callie Ingram is spending her senior year focused on one thing: swimming. Her skill as a competitive swimmer is going to secure a scholarship and her future, or so she hopes. She has big plans, and Liam Hale, her gorgeous new neighbor, isn’t going to affect them. But when Callie sees Liam beheading someone, she learns his family has a secret that will change everything. The Hales are Vikings, demi-gods who’ve been charged by The Fates to find their new destined leader.

Callie’s caught in the middle of a budding Norse apocalypse, in love with Liam Hale and desperate to protect her best friend…who the Hales believe is marked for transformation. Putting the clues together as fast as she can, Callie discovers she has the power to rewrite destiny, for herself and all humankind.

My Thoughts: This book had me at mythology. Hints at mythology are a good way to get me interested. Make it sound like an interesting twist to the tried-and-true tales, and I’m unable to say no. So … mythology? Check. Interesting twist? Check.

While, overall, I found myself wanting to keep going, wanting to see how it’s going to play out, how things are going to come together … well, overall? I wasn’t as impressed as I’d hoped I’d be. For one, there’s just so much implausible. Yes, yes, I know. It’s fantasy — and based on mythology — but even knowing that there just were things I found hard to accept. For example (no, not a spoiler), Callie’s easy acceptance of Liam’s explanation of exactly who/what he is and all that entails. Most girls raised normally, as Callie seems to have been, wouldn’t just accept all of that as fact without at least a small freakout moment. Even if she has seen Liam beheading someone. Especially once you read the circumstances — she could easily have written that off.

I do have a spoiler-type question, but I will refrain, as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. Although, this was highly predictable. Even the “twist” at the end? Yeah, saw that coming from way too early on in the story.

And we have more insta-love. I’m sorry, but it just does not work that way. I don’t care who you are — or who he is. Or how hot he is. Or anything else.

Callie was likable and annoying all rolled into one. She’s way too into hating on her dad for cheating on her mom. Yes, I know, that affects kids, too — but more than it would affect her mom? Doubtful. Not wanting to accept her dad’s money (he’s loaded, it seems) to make it through college? Made no sense to me. But, I supposed teenagers aren’t known for always making sense, right? ;) She is a strong lead, despite being wishy-washy about things.

Liam was a bit over-the-top for me, but I suspect many a young reader might fall for him. Or Justin (who wasn’t over-the-top). Or even Oliver.

Despite my complaints, I did enjoy the book. I found myself drawn in by the conflict and the mythology, waiting to see how things would unfold. I was also interested to see if my predictions were right. (Yes, they were.)

3 StarsSource: Received through YA Bound Book Tours for review. (Click the button below for more tour stops.)

Blog TourRead It: You can purchase your own copy via Amazon(This is an affiliate link. Purchase through this link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)

Julie Anne LindseyAbout the Author: Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.

Find Julie online:
Julieannelindsey.com | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Blogging at Musings from the Slush Pile

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Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie PerkinsTitle: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3

About: Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

My Thoughts: This was a fun, sweet, adorable book. While I didn’t love it the same way I did Anna and the French Kiss, it’s still a great story. And for those of you who are fans of the other books in this series, yes, we do see some of our favorite characters. Anna, St. Clair, Lola, and Cricket (plus a couple of others) do show up for a brief — and wonderful — time. :)

The characters … I’m not sure what to say. I did like Isla — most of the time. She has a sweet heart and is a smart girl. But, well, when the inevitable relationship drama surfaced … well, I wanted to smack her. Hard. I didn’t fully understand her in this. I get that she’s insecure — we all are to some degree or another — but this was extreme. In my opinion, her relationship drama was something she did to herself. But, she did learn a few things about herself through it all, and appears to have grown as a result.

Josh is interesting. I’m not sure we get to know him as well as we’d gotten to know others (St. Clair, especially) in previous books. But, he seems like a sweetheart, and might be book boyfriend material. He treats Isla well — even after what I can only call a meltdown on her part. And he’s fantastic with Kurt, Isla’s autistic best friend.

Fans who have been reading this fantastic series by Stephanie Perkins won’t be disappointed. It’s a highly enjoyable romantic read that is sure to leave readers happy.

4 StarsSource: Borrowed from my local library.

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: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless by Liz CzukasTitle: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
Author: Liz Czukas
Series: n/a

About: Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

My Thoughts: I found Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas to be a very fast read. If I’d had the chance to sit and just read, I probably could’ve finished this in a couple of hours easily. It goes by fast, and it’s a fun read that — despite its subject — is rather light. The whole novel takes place in a matter of a couple of hours. I think that helps with the pace.

In some ways, this reminded me of The Breakfast Club. Although, I can’t say too much about that — honestly, I’ve never seen the whole movie all the way through. (I know, I know!) But, I’ve seen enough to be able to see the similarity. (Interesting, as Ask Again Later, also by Liz Czukas, totally reminded me of the movie Sliding Doors. Perhaps this author is a film buff? Which is kinda cool! ;) )

Chloe is a pretty good narrator. She came across as likable and very natural. She’s a new kid, having somewhat recently moved, and having trouble fitting in. (I can relate.) What doesn’t help is that she has Type 1 Diabetes. And is a redhead. And wears glasses. And has this weird thing where she makes lists out of everything — I’m not kidding. Everything! But, she’s pretty cool, and I found myself pulling for her. Wanting her to get the guy, not get in trouble, etc. She doesn’t know much about her coworkers, but this “work jail” situation helps with that. Everyone bonds and forms a bit of a friendship through this experience. (That can happen when you’re stuck in the same room for several hours.)

I did kinda wonder about the legality of this whole situation. Especially since these kids are minors (mostly). And it’s Christmas Eve — I find it hard to believe these kids’ parents would just blindly accept that their child has to stay well past when the store closes. Especially not Chloe’s mom.

When it comes to the whodunnit part of the story, I found myself not quite figuring it out as quickly as I normally would. I think there’s some excellent diversion — I got so caught up in the moment, that except when Chloe was thinking about the missing money, I kinda forgot about it, too. I had a few different ideas in my head by the time the case is solved. And I’m happy to say I wasn’t right all along! ;)

Still, this was a fun, easy read. If you want some light, mildly holiday-inspired reading this December, consider givingTop Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas a try!

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

Read It: Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless is scheduled for release around December 9, 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: Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes by Sara RaaschTitle: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1

About: Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

My Thoughts: One word: Awesome! I absolutely loved this book! I thought this sounded interesting, so I gave it a shot. I almost didn’t read it, but I am so very glad that I did! Meira is a strong, realistic female lead — yes, this is fantasy. Obviously those parts aren’t the realistic things, but her persona. Very real. She’s telling the story in first person, and you see her self-doubt, her insecurities, her fears. She’s a fighter and a smart girl, but she’s also real. She’s like everyone else with hopes and fears and shortcomings. Very real.

I know he’s not mentioned in the synopsis, but absolute awesome book boyfriend material from this one is Theron. I liked him from the first time we meet him in the book, and just like him more and more as we get to know him. I sure hope we see lots and lots of him in the next book! ;-) Don’t get me wrong, Mather (mentioned above) is pretty cool, too. I just find Theron more to my liking. And while, yes, this sounds like the too-common love triangle, but it’s not. At least I don’t think it is.

This is awesome epic fantasy. There’s a quest, which — of course — ends up being so much more than originally thought. It takes them across the land — and back again. It leads to amazing discoveries and a chance for the heroine to shine. While I was able to see some of the “surprises” — or at least the gist of them — there were some that caught me by surprise. And they were delightful!

The ending is excellent. We have resolution. We have closure. We have a neat, tidy story. But we also have questions that beg for answers. We have unknowns that need discovering of their own. We have a thus-far-hinted overarching bigger issue coming. This story is one small bit of a much bigger picture. I look forward to seeing where this story is going next. I will be eagerly waiting on the as-of-yet-untitled sequel!

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

Read It: Snow Like Ashes is scheduled for release around October 14, 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: Day 21

Day 21 by Kass MorganTitle: Day 21
Author: Kass Morgan
Series: The Hundred #2

About: No one has set foot on Earth in centuries — until now.

It’s been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They’re the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries…or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.

My Thoughts: If you’re someone who’s been with Proud Book Nerd for a while, you know that I loved The 100. I was very eagerly anticipating the sequel — and the TV series. Unfortunately, the series I think worked against me in my enjoyment of this book.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed both — I’ll try to explain. The books and the TV show are quite different. While the premises and characters (names at least) are the same, there are some key differences between the two. Major plot points (like Clarke’s mom is still alive and on the ship in the show, and the Chancellor is not in a coma on TV but is alive and well) are different from one to the other. And they work between each other. It’s just that the last I was into this series, it was the TV version, so it was hard to reconcile what I was reading in the book to things I remembered according to the TV series, as opposed to the book. Now, I am very glad that the TV show and the novels can stand apart from each other. I think it works well that way. But I think it made it harder for me to get into the book like I had the first. If I had had a chance to reread the first before delving into this, I think I would’ve been much more into the book.

Still, I found Day 21 by Kass Morgan hard to put down. I wanted to see where things were going, how various scenarios were going to play out. Plus, I was excited to find out what’s going on with Glass and Luke, who are absent from the TV show.

Will I read this again? Quite possibly — especially once the series is completed (unless this ends up being one of those that goes on and on forever LOL). And I DEFINITELY will continue the series. Fortunately, the wait for Book 3, Homecoming, will be much shorter. It appears that’s scheduled for release in February! :)

3.5 StarsSource: Sent by FSB Associates in exchange for an honest 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: Talon

Talon by Julie KagawaTitle: Talon
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon #1

About: Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey; and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him; and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

My Thoughts: By the time I finished reading, I so wanted to give Talon by Julie Kagawa five stars. I really wanted to, because it was very good — especially by the end. But, there were a few things I felt required a lower rating. Not that 4.5 stars is all that low … it was good enough that I could forgive most shortcomings.

So, what didn’t I like? Well, let me think on that …

1. HUGE cliffhanger ending — on two fronts. We all know it’ll be roughly a year of waiting until the next one. I hate that. For one, I don’t like when books leave me hanging like this — well, unless I can get my hands on the next one in the very near future. Plus, by the time the next one comes out, I’ll have read close to 100 other books. This one most likely won’t be remembered well enough for me to fully enjoy the next — at least that’s normally how that happens for me. That’s not such a big deal when it’s not such a cliffhanger ending! ;)

2. Very predictable. Fortunately, the action and excitement are enough to make me (mostly) forgive the highly predictable events — betrayal? Check! (And I’ll give you ONE guess by whom!) Surprising rescue(s)? Check! (Again, pretty easy to guess who’s involved.) — and really enjoy the book. Predictable love triangle, if one can call it that. Very few surprises, if any. I honestly can’t think of anything — except maybe the very last thing in the Epilogue — that was all that surprising.

3. Various characters at various points through the book. Most of them redeemed themselves at one point or another. Only a small handful worth remembering: Ember, Garrett, Riley/Cobalt, Dante, Scary Talon Lady. If I think hard, I can remember some of the friends, but not without focused effort on my part.

Now, with all of that laid out on the table, let’s make it clear that I did thoroughly enjoy this book. If I didn’t have a crazy schedule this past week, I would’ve finished this book in a matter of a day or two. I found myself sucked in pretty quickly and wanting to find out how everyone meets and ends up working together, as the synopsis I read talked about how one “teen dragon” comes together with a “young soldier” and a “rogue dragon” to start a revolution. I wanted to see how that all worked together.

Speaking of the characters. Garrett is my favorite. Love him — and, yes, total book boyfriend! ;) I felt his account the most real, the most intriguing, and the least obnoxious. Ember would be my second favorite. While at first she comes across as a petulant, pain-in-the-butt child, she grew on me quickly. By the end of the book, I was totally rooting for her (and wanting her paired with Garrett, despite the human/dragon thing). Riley/Cobalt … let me say he sounds so beautiful when his dragon (Cobalt) is described. I can picture him, and just love it. I wanted to like him from the start, but quickly just couldn’t. Especially not toward the end, when he all but pushes Ember to act on an obvious “animal” attraction — their dragons being drawn to each other. Dante is a tough one. I started out liking him, but it’s clear he’s going to be a problem pretty early. Everything to do with him is probably the most predictable parts of the book. Any observant reader could see his issues coming a mile away. And Ember’s insistence that he’s still on her side? Yeah, I wanted to shake some sense into her. I get that she didn’t want to believe the truth, but I still wanted to see her get wise.

So, will I read this again? I just might. I definitely will make sure to read the series (so far looking to be at least five books long) — or at least the next book, Rogue. Although, honestly, barring a just downright awful next book (which I just don’t think is possible), I fully expect to follow the series. I have not yet read The Iron Fey, but it might be moving higher up the TBR list now! I’m guessing fans of that will enjoy this, but I’ve no idea. I can say that dragons is what piqued my interest, and it’s what’ll keep me coming back for more!

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

Read It: Talon is scheduled for release around October 28, 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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