Saturday, November 29, 2014

November 29, 2014: 'Amy and Roger's Epic Detour'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 29, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Morgan Matson

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Roger comes to Amy's house. Amy packs and leaves her house. They decide to take a detour. They go to Yosemite instead. They spend the night, sharing a bed. Amy sees someone she knows, and Roger shares that Amy's father is dead. Amy cries for a bit before the two go to Nevada. They go down Highway 50 the Loneliest Road in America. They end up in Utah where they stay in the honeymoon suite at a motel as the Udells. They go to Colorado and visit Roger's school. Amy gets dressed up by Bronwyn and attends a party. She leaves as soon as she came. They head for Kentucky where Rogers's ex-girlfriend Hadley supposedly is staying. Bronwyn, before Amy and Roger leave, replaces Amy's wardrobe almost entirely with her own clothes. They get to Kansas and meet Drew Roger's friend on a golf course. Amy admits that her father is dead at last to a stranger she won't see again. Roger asks Amy about her father's death, but she doesn't offer anything. They get to Missouri, and Amy finally calls her mother. Her mother gets angry that Amy isn't on the planned route, but Amy rebels and determines that she will do what she wants. They quickly pass through Illinois and Indiana. They reach Kentucky at last. They go to Hadley's house and discover she isn't there. They eat dinner with Lucien Hadley's brother. Roger and Amy stay the night. In the middle of the night, Amy and Lucien drive around. Amy finally drives ever since the accident. Hadley comes back. Roger says goodbye. The two leave with Amy getting a kiss from Lucien. The two go to Graceland a trip that Amy was supposed to go on with her father. She wanders through Elvis's house and starts to accept her father's death. She goes to see her brother Charlie in rehab. She talks to him about what happened. They promise to keep in touch. After that, Amy and Roger go to Virginia to deliver a note. Amy kisses Roger. They go to Maryland where they stay in a hotel as the Udells and have sex. Amy and Roger go to Philadelphia where they part. Amy drives herself to Connecticut to meet with her mother.
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Actress. Likes musicals' soundtracks. Trying to escape her father's death. In the beginning, blames herself for his death. Pretty girl. Tries to stay strong. Starts to accept his death as something she didn't cause. Has a twin named Charlie. 

College freshman. Kind. Nice. Funny. Likes odd-named bands. Looking to reconcile with his girlfriend Hadley. Likes history and explorers. Tall. Very tall. Toned but not too toned.

This book was just okay for me. It wasn't amazing nor was it terrible. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the story. But I did like certain things.
For example, I liked the change within Amy. I won't agree to how that happened, but the change itself is good. She discovered that even though she was driving, she is not to blame. She didn't cause the death. She wasn't speeding. Realizing that you aren't always to blame, even if you're in charge, is an important lesson to learn. It might be your fault. Sometimes. Sometimes no one is to blame. Amy blamed herself so much. She had stressed over it, turning over the 'what if's in her mind. But that isn't healthy. Talking it out is better. I think that blaming yourself isn't a good thing to do. No matter what the situation. 
I like that they are traveling. I'm a traveler myself. I enjoy when people travel to new places. You get the description of a new place. The sights. The sounds. The smells. Sure, globalization means that most places look like home unless you're isolated. Places do have little differences, though. A certain mom-and-pop shop. A certain indigenous plant. It depends on the place. But places do differ. And traveling is the best way to see the differences. I liked that Amy took note of the states she visited. It was nice to see some way to identifying a new place. 
But this book did have down points.
I disliked the romance. They seem to just be physically attracted to each other. Sure, Roger comforts Amy. But that isn't much to start a relationship on. I think that the two don't have chemistry. I think that Roger is reeling from the truth about Hadley. To defy her, in a way, he hooked up with Amy. I do think Amy sees something in Roger. Though it seems more physical. In my opinion, of course.  And don't get me started on the sex. Why do most young adult books have sex? It is just...wrong. Teens have sex. That's true. But young adult books make it seem like all teens have sex. Everyone. 
I also disliked that nothing really happened in this book. There wasn't much action or drama. It seemed like 'Amy's Road to Self-Discovery' more than anything. I mean...the change she went through is good, but not much else happened. We have Roger's end of the story. Which wasn't really told if you ask me. It was all about Amy and her realization. That's a bit dull. Why couldn't there be a meltdown? Or the car breaks down? I don't know. They encountered almost no problems. Nothing to affect their journey. Which seems dull to me.

Sunny with 50% chance of rain

Friday, November 28, 2014

Special Report: Book Giveaways You Should Enter

Hurricane Butterfly by MeChelle Vermeule

Twenty-year-old Sophie Blake, is trying her best to get her life back after a horrific dog attack ten months ago. However, this proves to be more difficult than she anticipated. With the help of her best friend Ben Slone, it seems as if she’s making progress, but the truth is that she can feel herself sinking deeper into a black hole…until a tall dark stranger comes knocking, looking for Ben.
Joshua Roxwell has been drowning his demons with Whiskey and woman in an attempt to deal with his guilt after the tragic death of his sister. When he finds an envelope addressed to Ben Slone, written by his sister before her death, he decides to track him down. Instead of resolving their differences, he meets the one girl who silences his demons…but redemption comes at a price.
This is a story of heartache, friendship and love, with a wicked twist…


Misperception by Morgan Black


The Finnegan brothers are constantly pulling Lena back in. Micah deserves her attention but when Blake calls she will always run to save the day, even against her better judgment.
With the wedding looming and love in the air Lena has to make a decision. Finally be rid of the Finnegan brothers for good and be with the mysteriously attractive Micah, or be thrown back into the madness?
In the end who will she choose?

These are both from Paranormal Book Reviews. Go check her out!
These are not my giveaways. Nor do I own that book blog. I am just promoting her giveaways. Go and enter! 
To those who entered, good luck!

November 28, 2014: 'This Song Will Save Your Life'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 28, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

This Song Will Save Your Life
Leila Sales

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Elise goes to her first day at school attempting to be a new person. She fails, ending up ridiculed. She almost kills herself. She is saved by 'friend' Amelia Kindl. Time passes. Elise goes out one night and finds a club called Start. She leaves quickly, leaving the people who let her in Vicky and Pippa behind. She goes to school and decides to go to Start again. She waits until she finds it a week later. She dances with Char the DJ. Thursday comes. She goes to the club and DJs while Char takes a drunk Pippa away. She goes to Char's house and learns how to DJ. She starts to DJ at Start as a guest DJ. She goes shopping with Vicky to get DJ clothes. She DJs and meets Vicky's hand Dirty Curtains. She kisses Char. At school, she discovers someone made a fake blog about her and her suicide attempt. She hangs out with Vicky more. She stays at Char's place, kissing him and sleeping in his bed until sunrise. One day, she sees Emily, Ashley, and Petra. She demands them to leave and makes Char get Mel the bouncer to take the three girls out. A freshman, encouraged by Elise's friends Sally and Chava, asks Elise to the summer dance, but Elise declines. She is offered a chance to be officially DJing by the manager. Pippa comes back and blames Elise for kissing Char. Char and Elise 'break up'. Elise talks to Vicky, Mel, and Harry about the truth. She rips her younger sister Alex's poetry castle, believing she will protect her sister by being ordinary. She is banned from her Mom's house and grounded. Sally and Chava drive Elise to Start when she intends to give Char her party on Friday. She is caught by her dad who found out about the 'diary'. Together with her family, Elise tries to find the culprit. She finds out Marissa an artist and friend of Amelia's did it. She talks to some people about Start during lunch. Emily tells Elise that she told the vice-principal who made the blog. Elise goes to Alex's fair and tries to apologize but isn't forgiven. After, her family goes to a pizza place. Elise sees Char there. She decides to DJ the Friday party. She DJs, and the Dirty Curtains play a set. Pippa and Elise talk about Char, and Elise is forgiven. Elise asks Harry to the dance. He agrees. The song that was playing stops because of a lose wire. The people keep singing, though. Elise fixes the wire, and the party keeps going. 
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
DJ. Used to hate life. Starts to accept life and being extraordinary. Loves music. Tried to be 'cool'. Funny. Not entirely caring and understanding. Thinks that special is 'bad' but that changes. Looking for acceptance and understanding the truth. 

This is a book that I thought I wouldn't like. The letters that are highlighted on the cover spells out love. Which is something I don't particularly like. And I've heard that this is a romance. It's not.
I like that this book has life-changing choices. Elise attempts to kill herself. She makes choices that could make or break the rest of her life. These choices affect her in many ways. She decides to DJ. She decides to leave the house at late night and DJ. This can reveal things to readers. Especially young adults. It shows that choices affect your life. I think that's a good lesson to learn. Getting good grades. Pursuing what you love. These things will change you. They will affect you. It's easier to see it in a book character. 
I also like the real problems. The real problems make you understand. This world focuses on perfection. But that is unattainable. Books portray imperfection perfectly. This book does it well. This book shows low self esteem in a different light. Low self esteem can lead to depression and anxiety. It just depends on who you talk to. This shows the world about the real problems in an understandable format. 
Elise is a relatable character. She has emotional problems like other people. She feels like she's useless. She feels like she has to be ordinary. Other people think that. I know some. Some have felt useless. Some want to die. Some attempted suicide. Some think they're attention seekers. This is one of the main reasons that I like this book. Elise is relatable. And her change is amazing. She starts to feel loved and useful. That's important in life. Feeling useful, I mean. 
The problem with this book is that it does have romance. The romance is lackluster. It doesn't pull me in. As I usually do, I'll bring up the argument of why they came together. Only on Elise's end, though. I know why Char wanted to be with Elise. Char wanted to be on top. He wanted to curb Elise. He wanted to be in control. But Elise? Did she just like the allure of a DJ she only met on Thursday nights? I'm not sure. They were just kissing. A lot. Not a lot of romance which is good, though. 
Char is also simply annoying. I can say that I do hate Char. He's controlling everyone. He let Elise play because he thought she wasn't good enough to overtake him. I hate those types of characters. If people deceive for a good reason, I won't mind too much. But Char was deceiving and lying and manipulating. On purpose. I hate that.

Sunny with a 20% chance of rain 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November 26, 2014: 'In the Shadow of Blackbirds'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 26, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

In the Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Mary Shelley gets to her aunt's house. She dreams about Stephen her love and the kiss they shared. She goes to Julius's photography studio and gets photographed and a present from Stephen. She talks to her aunt Eva about Stephen. She finds out that Stephen's dead. She finds out that her dad is on trial. Mary Shelley attempts to kill herself during a lightning storm but fails. She goes to Stephen's funeral and hears Stephen. She goes to Mr. Darning for a photo and talks about Stephen and the supernatural. She goes to the library afterwards and reads about lightning strikes and birds in war. She goes to a Red Cross Hospital. She reads Tom Sawyer to the soldiers. She goes home. Her aunt comes home with Julius who asks for a photo of Mary Shelley with spirits. Julius grabs Mary Shelley, and Aunt Eva demands for him to leave. Stephen comes in the night, talking to Mary Shelley. Mary Shelley goes to the Red Cross Hospital again and talks to one of Stephen's friends who says that Stephen was discharged early. Mr. Darning comes to see the compass phenomenon. Mary Shelley dreams of Stephen. She figures out that Stephen was at home when she got her photo done. Mary Shelley almost kills Oberon the bird because Stephen had a minor fear of birds. Gracie comes over and tells the truth, that Stephen was home at the time and that he shot himself. Mary Shelley speaks as Stephen. Aunt Eva gets the flu after Gracie leaves. Mr. Darning and Mary Shelley  go to Julius's house after Aunt Eva is taken, and Mary Shelley thinks she'll die. She finds out that Mr. Darning and Julius both helped make Stephen want to die. And that Stephen did shoot himself. By accident in an attempt to stop his attackers. She is knocked unconscious and finally lets Stephen go. She goes back into her body and is taken to the hospital. She wakes up after battling the flu and leaves the hospital after reading a letter written by Stephen and hidden by a photograph. She sees her aunt is well. Mary Shelley goes and sees all of Stephen's hidden photographs and taken them home. The war ends, and the people celebrate. 
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Mary Shelley Black.
Strong. Determined. Girlfriend to now-dead soldier named Stephen. Scientist. Hit by lightning and becomes a spiritual magnet. Brave. Cares for those she loves. Will do anything to help her loved ones. Forward thinking. Rational. Slowly starts to believe in life-after-death. 

I feel like I'm not exactly on the same side of this book.
I like the supernatural elements. It's interesting. I like it. I thought I would be terrified by the supernatural elements. But they weren't too bad. It was simply a confused and lost teenager boy. It wasn't scary which is a good thing. The supernatural elements are ghosts. But they aren't ghosts turning to haunt anyone. This ghost just wants to be at peace. Isn't that what all ghosts want? Isn't that what they all should want?
The main character Mary Shelley is a fantastic character. She's a brave heroine. I like that. She's not someone who needs to be saved. She has a plan. And she'll get it done. She doesn't get distracted by anything. She focuses on saving Stephen. And you know she will. I like strong heroines who know what they want to do. 
I also like the historical aspect. Most supernatural books focus on urban fantasy compared to the historical world. This book focuses on the past. It weaves in the war and the flu to make the spiritual photography make sense. The deaths make people desperate. They want to see their loved ones one last time. They will do anything. Even believe frauds. The historical aspect is part of the story. It seems like a character. You're constant reminded that the war is there. It is in almost every single page. You know about it. You can't stop thinking about it. It helps the story along. It's a major part of the mystery to Stephen's death. I wish there was  a bit more about the war. Maybe more war stories on Stephen's part? I don't know. 
But there's the other hand. 
I dislike the slow beginning. You don't get too much action until the end. Even then, there isn't much action. You don't have fighting. You don't have drama. You get a mystery. That really isn't a mystery if you think about it. The story has a lot of flashbacks in the beginning. Enough about that. We don't need to know all about the kiss and what happened. Can you stop? 
I also dislike the lack of clues. I thought that this would be a mystery that I could follow along. I wanted to follow along. We don't get clues. We don't get to guess. We know Julius did something. You could just tell. But the problem was that we didn't get anything from Mary Shelley. She hid things from the reader that could have moved the story along quicker.

Sunny with a 20% chance of rain 

November 26, 2014: 'The Living'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 26, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

The Living
Matt de La Peña

Shy took the summer job to make some money. In a few months on a luxury cruise liner, he'll rake in the tips and be able to help his mom and sister out with the bills. And how bad can it be? Bikinis, free food, maybe even a girl or two—every cruise has different passengers, after all.

But everything changes when the Big One hits. Shy's only weeks out at sea when an earthquake more massive than ever before recorded hits California, and his life is forever changed.

The earthquake is only the first disaster. Suddenly it's a fight to survive for those left living.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
A rich guy who co-owns a company jumps off the ship. Rodney celebrates his birthday. Kevin tells Shy about a guy asking around about Shy. Shy talks to Carmen about everything. They kiss, but Carmen pushes Shy off. The next day comes, and a storm comes. Shy goes to pack the deck. He sees Addison and Cassandra. They go inside, and Shy sees the guy who was asking about him named Bill. The storm officially hits the ship. Emergency procedures start. Some of the lifeboats sink. A tsunami comes. Many are killed. Shy gets on a life raft with some others, but the raft hits a wave. People are knocked off. Shy gets on a lifeboat that is sinking. He sees Addison and Mr. Henry the oilman. The oilman is hurt by the sharks surrounded their raft. They both get on board. Addie and Shy row the boat. The oilman jumps off, but he leaves Shy his ring. They find a boat. Shy goes inside and sees dead scientists. They are saved by Shoeshine. They go to an island. Addison faints. Shy finds Carmen. They find out that the survivors intend to leave the island. Shy finds out that the penthouse has people dying or dead from Romero Disease. Bill explains that Romero Disease was created by LasoTech Addie's dad's company. Shoeshine kills Bill who was going to kill Shy. The people go to leave, but they are killed by the 'researchers'. Marcus, Shy, Carmen, and Shoeshine escape the island.
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Teen boy. Has crush on Carmen. Looking to make money for his family. Has nephew with Romero Disease. Had grandmother who died of Romero Disease. Seventeen. Flirty. Brave. Puts grudges aside and will save people. Cares for friends. Good looking.

Daughter to co-owner of LasoTech. Snobby. Stuck-up. Ends up having a heart. Has panic attacks after ship is sunk. Loses her best friend. 

Has fiancé. Sexy and seductive. Flirts. Had father killed by Romero Disease. Shy likes her. Eighteen. Singer. Good looking. Understand Shy. Can be deep and understanding. 

I have mixed feelings about this book.
I love the action. It's quick and fast paced. It's quite amazing. I like the survival. They need water. They need food. The struggle for survival is in this book. They need to survive, and they have to find reasons to survive. I dislike that the survival isn't throughout the book. And we also don't get descriptions of the survival. No aching stomach. It's like the characters aren't exactly starving. Even if you know they are.
The love triangle and the romance are annoying. Shy. Choose one or the other. Love triangles aren't cool. At all. I think Shy and Addie are better. They have chemistry. They might not understand each other like Carmen understands Shy, but they have chemistry. That last line in the lifeboat? Perfect. It makes me root for Shy and Addie. But the romance isn't needed in this book. It would be okay if they were just friends. Truly.
I also dislike Shy. He's an annoying character. The characters are all mildly annoying. I dislike Shy the most. Even Addie grows on you. Shy is the guy who want to like...but can't. He whines a little to much. We get it. You have grieved. You are grieving. But please stop. You don't have to act like a total dunce around Carmen. Sex is a terrible way to get over grief. She has a fiancé. Stop. Get over her. Can't you just be friends? Can't you just not like anyone as anything more than friends? 

Cloudy with a 80% chance of rain

Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014: 'The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 24, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Jennifer E Smith

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Hadley misses her flight. She meets Oliver. Oliver and Hadley have lunch together. They get on the plane with Hadley going first. They talk about different things while they sit next to each other. They talk about marriage. Hadley finds a book from her dad. She reads a line her dad underlined. They both sleep. They wake up and talk some more. They almost kiss by the bathrooms. Hadley sleeps again. They land. Hadley and Oliver kiss by customs. They separate. Hadley gets to the chapel on time. She sees her dad get married. She finds out there is a funeral where Oliver said he was going. She finds the funeral and finds Oliver who is at his father's funeral. They kiss before Hadley leaves and sees Oliver with his ex-girlfriend. She goes back to the reception. She has a father-daughter dance with her dad. She goes outside and calls her mom. She sees Oliver waiting outside. They kiss. They go inside and dance.
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
American girl. Seventeen. On bad terms with Dad. A bit of a reader. Dreamer. Doesn't believe in marriage. Ends up with Oliver at the end. Doesn't want to go to her father's wedding. Loves her mother.

British boy. College guy. Funny. Knowledgable. Goes to his father's funeral. A bit of an artist. Ends up with Hadley. Has three older brothers. Goes to Yale.

I don't see why everyone loves this series. It is just okay with me. Just okay.
I like some of the quotes. These teenagers are quite smart. They aren't Augustus Waters. Which is actually good for me. They have nice quotes. They mean some things. They aren't the best, though. They're just endearing enough.
I also like how it has family as well. It isn't just romance. It's Hadley trying to come terms with her father moving on. She has to fight her first instinct  and what she finds out about her family. Family is an important thing. It isn't just romance between a couple. It's family. Blood before water, right?
The question that I have formed from this book is: what is love? I don't know. I don't think I'll ever know. It's confusing. It's complicated. And is love at first sight real? Another question. It makes me think. More than I usually do about love.
I don't like a lot more than I like. This book isn't a favorite book of mine. I don't see why everyone likes it so much.
I don't like the characters. They don't have much depth. They make lame jokes. They don't have much to their name. Hadley is boring. She doesn't change much. She starts as a single girl who hates her dad. And ends as a maybe-not-single girl who understands her dad better. She doesn't have an epiphany. She stays the same really. I prefer when the character realizes something major. Sure. She understands her dad, but that isn't a major change. Oliver is just...okay. He makes odd jokes. Awkward in a way. I don't particularly like these characters. Some might love him. British. College guy. Those might be enough for some people. But I prefer dark and mysterious characters.
I also don't like the rushed romance. They met only a day ago. Where does the romance form? I can't tell. If you look, as I say later on, they don't talk too much. Where is the chemistry? I know that the chemistry can be there even if I don't see the reason why the romance forms. But this book doesn't have the chemistry. They flirt for a bit. That isn't enough. Not enough for a full on relationship. Running away from the wedding to meet a guy? Why? Did he really make the best impression? Wow.
The romance seems slightly impossible. Love at first sight isn't something I believe in. I don't see why they have to kiss so soon. I feel like physical looks is part of this. Not entirely just romance. If you look at it, they have only a few parts of dialogue. And their conversations aren't with much depth. Marriage. The weather. Ducks. They just jump in and start kissing. Physical attraction. I can just tell.

Cloudy with a 80% chance of rain

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23, 2014: 'Chasing Shadows'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 23, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

Chasing Shadows
Swati Avasthi and Craig Phillips

Before: Corey, Holly, and Savitri are one unit—fast, strong, inseparable. Together they turn Chicago concrete and asphalt into a freerunner’s jungle gym, ricocheting off walls, scaling buildings, leaping from rooftops to rooftop. 

But acting like a superhero doesn’t make you bulletproof…

After: Holly and Savitri are coming unglued. Holly says she’s chasing Corey’s killer, chasing revenge. Savitri fears Holly’s just running wild—and leaving her behind. Friends should stand by each other in times of crisis. But can you hold on too tight? Too long?

In this intense novel, Swati Avasthi creates a gripping portrait of two girls teetering on the edge of grief and insanity. Two girls who will find out just how many ways there are to lose a friend…and how many ways to be lost.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Sav, Corey, and Holly freerun. Corey is shot. Holly and Corey are in the Shadowland. Sav waits for Holly to wake up from her coma. Holly wakes up. Corey's funeral happens, and Holly doesn't go. Holly is released from the hospital. She tries to explain that Kortha was there with Corey in the Shadowlands. Sav goes to school and hangs out with Holly's ex-boyfriend Josh. Holly finally goes to Corey's grave. She sees Kortha. She runs to Josh's house. Holly attempts to hook up with Josh but fails. Sav goes to freerun with Josh and his friends. Holly gets the case file for her brother's death. Holly cuts her hair off after realizing some of her hair was taken by the murderer. Holly sees Kortha and where Corey is. Holly determines that she is going to find Corey's killer. Sav and Josh talk. Sav confronts Holly. Holly goes to fine Wiry the killer. She finds him with Sav's help. Sav and Holly confront Wiry. Kortha appears. Holly goes to the Shadowlands for a bit. Wiry runs away. Sav and Holly get interrogated. Holly tells Sav about her plans to rescue Corey. Holly drugs Sav to go to the Shadowlands. Sav leaves. Both are in the hospital. Holly lets Corey go and wakes up in the psych ward. Sav goes and gets her comic about her namesake. Holly and Sav meet. Sav decides to go to Princeton. Holly stays in the psych ward. Sav finally goes a jump that she hadn't done before.
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
The Leopardess. Free runner. Twin to Corey. Uncontrollable. Insane. Will do anything to be with her brother. Risk taker. Hurts her friend indirectly. Was in coma. Becomes more and more crazy.

The Legend. Free runner. Calm. Controlled. Girlfriend to Corey. Hindi. Smart. Offered space at Princeton. Ends up not staying with Holly. Hurt by Holly. 

This book has nice supernatural elements. A new take on life-after-death. We have an empty wasteland and a snake-like man that represents Death. The dead are kept in a cage. And those in coma can be in this place as well. I didn't like that this place wasn't in the story more. I would have liked to see more of Kortha.
I also like how the characters were written. Sure. Holly's crazy, but she had good intentions. Or that's what she thought. And Sav is loyal to a fault. Loyalty is important. You need to be able to trust people. They have their faults. Holly is too focused on saving Corey. Sav can't tell Holly she is spiraling out of control. They compliment each other. 
I also like the graphics. They're well drawn. They portray the story in a different way. The problem is that there didn't seem to be enough of these beautiful graphics. I wanted more. I wanted to see the Shadowlands. I wanted to see Sav and Corey and Josh and Holly. I saw them, but I wanted to see free running in action. I wanted to see how they did it.
The bad thing was that the story seemed dull. There wasn't much action. I wanted more free running. I also would have liked more action. There were high tension scenes. But a lot more drama compared to fighting scenes. The fighting scenes would have been nice.

Mildly cloudy with a 75% chance of rain

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 22, 2014: 'The Evolution of Mara Dyer'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 22, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Michelle Hodkins

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.
She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.
They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.
She’s wrong.

In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Mara is in the psych ward. She goes out. She sees Noah who calms her down. She sees a mutilated cat and a message written in blood on her mirror. Mara goes to the inpatient program at Horizons. She sees Jamie. She almost gets hit by a car on her way home. Noah comes and stays at her house. Mara goes to Noah's house with her mom to burn a doll that seems to appear everywhere. She burns the doll. She finds a pendant similar to Noah's inside the doll. Noah finds a picture of Mara's grandmother and his mother together. They both go to a carnival. Mara gets her fortune told. She is told to leave Noah. Mara reads Noah's journal. She goes on a boat and meets Noah. She admits to reading his journal, and he gets a bit angry. They kiss. Mara goes back to Horizons and finds out that Anna is dead. She finds her own journal and sees 'help me' written all over one page. She goes out to dinner and comes back to find a DVD that shows the night Claire and Rachel die. She passes out and is kidnapped by Jude. Jude makes Mara slit her wrists. Mara ends up in the hospital. She goes to a RTS. She sees Noah got himself admitted. She goes to find her  file and sees what is written about her. She finds her roommate Phoebe dead. She tries to escape once she finishes reading the file. She finds Jude and the other people at the facility. Noah and Jude fight. Mara tells Noah to leave with her friends. Jude and Mara fight. Mara makes the building collapse. Mara is told that she is a test subject by Dr. Kells. She is told that Noah is dead and is determined to find him.
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Mara Dyer.
PTSD. Can cause death. Girlfriend to Noah. Shy. Can be funny. Loves her family and Noah. Traumatized by deaths of her best friends. Part Indian. Has similar symptoms as her grandmother. Curious about her powers and herself. Doesn't have many friends. Looking for the truth. 

Noah Shaw.
Boyfriend to Mara. Can heal himself. Cocky. Rude. Rich boy. Hates his father. British. Used to be a playboy. Looking to protect Mara and discover why they have powers. 

This book is an emotional roller coaster. I can't truly say one thing or the other. 
I like that Mara has real life problems. PTSD. More psychological issues. I didn't expect it. It was interesting to have this new take on these types of issues. You get to see it from another view.
I also like the supernatural elements. They're different and interesting. I can't say what the supernatural force is. It's not possession. It is something else. Something I've never read before. It's fresh. Different. It's creepy, but it's interesting.
The way Mara is changing is new. I expected her to be dull the entire series. But she's changing. She's turning into a new person. She isn't a whiny, wimpy person anymore. I think that she is still needy and scared. But I can understand why. Her fear was in and out of the entire book. I could even feel it. I like that she's growing into a new person. 
The bad thing is the romance. It's...heated. Sexual in the ways I don't like. The romance between Noah and Mara  is charged. I can see chemistry. But their actions and fights just aggravate me. I don't think that either of them is really perfect. Noah tries to act it. But it doesn't seem to work. The romance seems too awkward in places. And it's a rough shift from supernatural dolls and powers to kissing on beds. 
The creepy scenes made me shiver. I read them at night, it's true, but they still were freaky. A 'moving doll'. Dead animals. Bloody messages. I was paranoid the rest of the night. I am officially scared of mirrors. What will I find? I hate being freaked out. I truly do. 
I can say that I'm expecting more for the next book. This wasn't a truly bad book, but it did have its down points. I think that this series might get better. No. I can feel it. I hope it doesn't let me down.

Sunny with 50% chance of rain

Friday, November 21, 2014

November 21, 2014: 'The Island of Excess Love'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 21, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

The Island of Excess Love
Francesca Lia Block

Pen has lost her parents. She’s lost her eye. But she has fought Kronen; she has won back her fragile friends and her beloved brother. Now Pen, Hex, Ash, Ez, and Venice are living in the pink house by the sea, getting by on hard work, companionship, and dreams. Until the day a foreboding ship appears in the harbor across from their home. As soon as the ship arrives, they all start having strange visions of destruction and violence. Trance-like, they head for the ship and their new battles begin.

This companion to Love in the Time of Global Warming follows Pen as she searches for love among the ruins, this time using Virgil’s epic Aeneid as her guide. A powerful and stunning book filled with Francesca Lia Block’s beautiful language and inspiring characters.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Ship arrives at the house. Merk arrives with it. Pen, Ash, Ez, Hex, and Ven go on the ship. They, except Ven, see their worst nightmare. They flee. Bull the Giant Pen blinded comes. All of them go on the ship. They set sail. The ship crashes. Pen and Hex see dead versions of themselves and bury them. They are found by three harpies who take them to a king who claims Pen's his queen. They meet with their friends. Hex goes to sleep early and disappears. The king and Pen hang out with their friends. Hex leaves a note after Pen and the king see his magical orchids. The king takes Pen to bed. The king is burned to death by the harpies. The harpies attack Pen and her friends as they flee. They find Hex. They flee on a boat. They arrive at an island. Pen finds a young girl who takes them to the queen of the shades. Pen meets her friends. The dead king bargains for their freedom. They escape with Hex following them even though Pen thought he wouldn't. Pen tells a story, bridging the gap between her and Hex. The two start to make up. The group go home. 
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Storyteller. Brave. Lover to Hex. Cheater. Sees future and past. Loves her friends and family. Cares for people. Will do what she needs to to protect her family.

This book has magic. The magic is captivating. It is exciting. You don't always get magic like this. It does have problems, though. Some of it seems to be ignored. The magic all of the people who survived gained is one. I wish the elemental magic was more touched upon.
I also like the developing Pen. She develops. She is braver. She cares more. This book shows that. I like that. She was a bit dull earlier in the series.
I don't like the romance and the sex. I didn't like the romance to begin with. It just seems rushed and confusing. The chemistry is there, but I don't see the basis. And the sex? That's too much. They're everywhere. With Hex. With Dylan the king. There are too many. Could this book be a bit more censored?
I also don't like the rushed plot. The plot could be slower. More evenly paced. I feel like drama is thrown at you constantly. Sometimes it's okay. Sometimes it's not. It's the latter in this book's case.

Cloudy with a 50% chance of rain

Letter to the Editor: 'If I Stay'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 21, 2014

Topic: 'If I Stay' by Gayle Forman

Dear Gayle Forman,
Before I go any further, congrats on your success with your book.
Now. Onto my critique of your book. 
I do think there is a story here. Girl tries to decide to stay or not. But I feel like the plot was dull. Too much backstory. I wanted more drama. More action. The story seemed to lack the drama I wanted.
Sure. I'll admit that Adam grows on you. He's funny and in love with Mia. I can see that plain as day. I just feel like he's a bit plain. A bit...boring. He has some great lines. He has some great scenes. (Breaking into the ICU? Nice one. Applause for you, Adam.) 
The main character is...lackluster. I don't particularly like Mia. She seems...too plain. She doesn't have emotional pain. She is a bit dull. No drama. No theatrics. Mia is too good for her own good. That isn't a fantastic main character.
The plot was slow. We got some dramatic scenes. Those were far and few in between, though. We had thoughts. We had backstory. Drama? Little to none. 
Now. I'm done tearing you down. I'll admit that this book had too much hype. But you did write a great story.
The ending was predictable, but it was still sweet. It was a cute ending.
I also like the romance between Adam and Mia. They obviously love each other. They have one of those loves that other people want. I think they are a great couple. I don't see much charged chemistry, but they still work. What Adam and Mia do for each other...shows love. True love. If you believe in that.

A concerned citizen 

Sunny with a 78% chance of rain 

November 21, 2014: 'It's Kind of A Funny Story'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 21, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

It's Kind of a Funny Story
Ned Vizzini

Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Craig visits his doctor. He considers suicide. He calls the Suicide Hotline. They direct him to go to a hospital. He does so. He sees his mom who signs a form to get him into the psych ward. He meets many people including Bobby, Smitty, Armelio, and Ebony. He talks to Noelle an elusive girl who seems to always be leaving notes. He starts to draw again, drawing brain maps. This happens after he yells at Aaron. He plays a card game that ends with a friend going to the place where they put all the old patients. He starts to slowly get better. Nia comes to see him and kisses him. Noelle sees, and Craig explains. He decides to go to art school. Noelle and Craig start to become a couple. The day Craig is supposed to leave comes. Craig asks his dad to bring a movie. He draws brain maps for some people. He takes Noelle to his room and kisses her with his roommate listening to music and playing cards. He is let out and is free. 
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Depressed. Artist. Confused. Smart. Looking to start again. Wanted to die. Went to private school. Wants to go to art school. Has friends but isn't too close to them. Likes Nia at first then Noelle. 

I like that this book has real topics. It isn't all mush and gush. It's real. It's depression and confusion and teenage hormones. It has a side of the world people don't typically see. It's the nitty-gritty side. The 'mentally unstable' side. (I don't want to offend.) I like this. It's fresh.
This book makes you think. I analyzed my entire life after reading it. The bad moments. The good. I thought about my problems and my solutions. It wasn't all laid out. And I don't hope it will be all laid out.
I also like that I can relate. I have these moments. I get sad. I get angry. Like most people, I have those moments where the sun doesn't shine. I relate. It isn't 'kill myself' level, but I understand enough. 
Sadly, this book was awkward romance. I don't see where it forms. Are you just lusting, Craig? Or something else? I can't tell. It's confusing. Add in that moment with Nia. And I don't know what to think.
The beginning is odd too. A lot, maybe too much, backstory. We don't need to know everything. And we don't need it all at once. I would have preferred small bits and pieces not an entire helping of backstory. That would have been easier to swallow.

Sunny with 50% chance of rain

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 19, 2014: 'The Blood of Olympus'

Welcome to Book City
Date: November 19, 2014

Spoilers Ahead

The Blood of Olympus
Rick Riordan

Though the Greek and Roman crew members of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

City Calendar:
This is what happened during the week.
Jason, Piper, and Annabeth go to Ithaca. They talk to the dead suitors. Jason is hurt by a reborn Roman with imperial gold. Reyna, Nico, and Hedge land in Pompeii. They are attacked by earthen warriors. Leo, Percy, Hazel, and Frank go to fight Nike. They have to fight each other. Leo hatches a plan that ends up with the group capturing Nike. Nike reveals the physician's cure. The group decides to get the cure. Nico shadow-travels and ends up in Portugal. Nico talks to Hades in a temple made of bones. Nico, Reyna, and Hedge are attacked by werewolves. They flee. Piper and Frank go to a region where shape shifters live. They get a vial. Piper and Annabeth go to get Ares's heart in a temple that entices fear. They fight a giant and win. Piper gets the war spirits under her command. Nico, Reyna, and Hedge end up in San Juan a place Reyna never wanted to return to. Reyna is kidnapped by the Hunters of Artemis and the Amazons. She talks to her sister Hylla the Amazon Queen. The Amazons are attacked by Orion the hunter chasing Reyna. Reyna and her sister fight Orion before Hedge and Nico jump in. Reyna escapes. Jason and Percy fight Percy's sister the goddess of terrible storms and Polybotes. Jason makes a deal to make shrines for all the gods. Percy is poisoned. Jason and Percy win. Nico, Reyna, and Hedge land in the US at last. One of the Romans Bryce comes. Nico fights him. Leo and Hazel and Frank go to Delos Artemis and Apollo's birth place and home. Leo talks to Apollo who gives him the curse of Delos. Leo, Piper, and Jason go to see the son of Apollo the medicine god. Reyna, Nico, and Hedge arrive on the shores of Long Island. Reyna fights Orion with the power of Bellona and an aegis from Athena. She wins. The crew of Argo II meet the snake people who originally lived in Athens. Piper charms the snake people to help her after revealing their plans. Piper, Annabeth, and Percy to to the underground. Percy and Annabeth are caught by the giants. The demigods all jump in and fight. Things seem bleak until the gods appear in their Greek forms. They fight alongside their demigod children. Nico finds the Greeks. He helps them turn the onagers away from Half Half-Blood. The rest of the Greeks arrive. But Gaea wakes since Annabeth and Percy both bled. The gods and the demigods defeat the giants. Zeus sends the demigods on their way to Long Island. The ship starts to burn up. Leo stays on the ship while the others go to fight. Gaea appears. Leo burns up Gaea with Piper and Jason's help. The battle ends. The Romans and Greeks form an alliance between the camps. Leo is resurrected by the physician's cure. He goes to Calypso while the others determine which camp to stay at.
And that's what happened this week.

Personal Ads:
Son of Jupiter. Brave. Daring. Controls the wind and lightning. Friendly. Commanding. Dating Piper. Roman but went to the Greek camp. Ex-praetor.

Son of Hades. Can control the dead, if in skeletal form. Hundreds of years old. Typically seen as 'emo' and 'gloomy'. Had a crush on Percy. Brave. Determined to protect his friends.

Daughter of Aphrodite. Kind. Sweet. Mildly reckless. Dating Jason. Can use charm speak. Brave.

Daughter of Bellona. Strong. Tough. Has a bad past. Can lend her strength to others. Sister to Amazon Queen Hylla. Caring but not soft. Praetor.

Son of Hephaestus. Crazy. Silly. Adorably cute. Looking for Calypso his love. Mechanic. Cocky. Funny.

Son of Poseidon. Funny. Obsessed with blue food. Greek but went to the Roman camp. Brave. Strong. Dating Annabeth. Ex-praetor. Can control water.

Daughter of Pluto. Sister to Nico. Friendly. Caring. Dating Frank. Can bring metals from the earth. Has horse named Arion.

Son of Mars. Funny. Cute in a 'big' way. Praetor. Can turn into different animals.

Daughter of Athena. Brave. Genius. A bit stoic. Serious but not always. Caring for her friends. Dating Percy.

This series is fantastic. It's not just Greeks. It's Romans as well.
I like the action. It is fast paced and interesting. It keeps you on your toes. The demigods are brave and strong in their own ways.
The story has an interesting plot. You switch point of view so often. It is sometimes a bad thing, but this book forces you to stay alert. You want to keep reading to know what happens.
The ending was good. It was bittersweet. Sure, we all wish Leo stayed with his friends, but there are people in that group that want him with Calypso. Isn't it better if he finds love?
I like the diversity of characters. Chinese Canadian Frank. Hispanic Reyna. You get diversity and not a ton of Caucasians.
There are more gods as well. Lots of people know Zeus and Hera. But Nike? Not so many. It's nice to have minor gods and goddesses in books. You get more mythology. And it's interesting to know the complicated blood lines of the Olympians.
I like how Reyna is in this. You see a different side of her. She's not just a strong praetor. She has a past. She has depth. I like that. I also like that Nico is in this book as a narrator. He seems 'weak' at times. And is mostly portrayed as Hades's son or crushing on Percy. He gains voice and character in this book.
I am surprised to say that I miss the lack of romance. Percy and Annabeth. Jason and Piper. Hazel and Frank. I mean...they are good couples. I actually miss the romance. But I do appreciate the action-based plot.
I also dislike how childish this book sounds. You're seventeen. Or so. Speak like it. I know that means cursing, and I know that it is a book for 'middle grade', but the childish words and jokes just annoy me. I don't like how they make such...naive jokes. And it's Leo and Percy. But not just them. Leo and Percy are childish in nature. It's written as part of their character. But Jason? He should be more serious. I don't get why he is acting so childish.

Clear skies

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Special Report: The United States of YA

The United States of YA

I was looking through Epic Reads. (Which is a site I seem to be spending too much time on.) I found this interesting tidbit.
You know how books are set in places all over the US and the world? Well, Epic Reads found one book for each state. (Meaning the book's setting was that state.)

I've read ten of these.
Florida: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Illinois: Divergent
Indiana: The Fault in Our Stars
Iowa: Ashfall
Maine: Delirium
Minnesota: Shiver
Mississippi: Beneath a Meth Moon
New York: The Diviners
Ohio: I am Number Four
Virginia: The Raven Boys

What book is for your state? (That is, of course, if you're in the US.)
How many of them have you read?
Which states have you been to?
Comment below.

Special Report: Retellings


Recently, I found Epic Reads's chart of retellings. I thought that I would share a bit about retellings, my opinion on them, and the retellings on the chart that I've read. And what I've thought of them.

In case you want to know what the chart is, I've taken the liberty of adding the link to the chart below.
 (The chart is also below as a picture.)

What Are Retellings?
The Merriam-Webster definition is:
  a new version of a story
You might be wondering to yourself, 'What's it?' The answer is...pretty much.
Retellings are the original story told in a new format. Perhaps it's a new setting. Perhaps the character is slightly different. There are a lot of variables in retellings. There might be small changes. 
Maybe, as in 'Ash' by Malinda Lo, the main character is a lesbian Cinderella. 

What Do I Think?
I think retellings are interesting. If they are written in a way I like. They can't be princesses in a tower begging for help. No damsels in distress. I like when the retellings have a strong 'princess'. (That is mostly at fairy tale retellings. Which I have read more.) I think that retellings can be bad when the retelling isn't written correctly. By that, I mean, the story doesn't go along with the original. Or if the story is too much romance. That's just my opinion, though.

Fairy Tales
I've read:
Stung (I couldn't believe that this was a retelling!)
Of Beast and Beauty (It was an okay retelling.)
Cinder (Gosh. Cinder. Kai. -cue fangirling-)
Scarlet (I was just okay with this one. Scarlet isn't a favorite of mine.)
Cress (If you know of the original Rapunzel, you know there is a reason for Thorne's blindness.)
Throne of Glass (Wow. Was anyone else surprised that this was a retelling?) 

Looking Glass Wars (It's a good book. Trust me. It's a new Alice in Wonderland.)

Eyes Like Stars (This was just okay...)

The Red Pyramid (I didn't particularly enjoy this one...)
The Lightning Thief (Wow. This series. And the Heroes of Olympus series. Just wow.)

What retellings have you read? Which ones are not on the chart that you think should be?
Comment about it. 

Arcana Grand Finale

A themed tour through Prism Book Tours.

It's the GRAND FINALE for
Arcana by Jessica Leake
To be released November 18th.

This was a fabulous tour! The book was set in a beautiful historical world with a little bit of magic and a good dose of romance. If you didn't get a chance to read the reviews, learn more about the author, or find out more about the setting and this book, feel free to go back and check out each stop. We've summarized them for you here as well...

Share something about you that is unique - maybe about how/where you write... or favorite snack foods... or a favorite hobby? 
Before I made writing my career, I was a psychotherapist in a psychiatric hospital. Writing was already a big part of my life, and I found a background in psychology is wonderful for characterization! I'm also a stay-at-home mom to three little ones, all preschool age and younger.

MI Bookshelf - Excerpt
The horse’s hooves thunder across the hillside, and my heart pounds with each bunching of his muscles. My hair breaks free of its pins, pale strands sweeping across my cheek. Though the wind breaks through the thin barrier of my breeches and tall boots, the smile never leaves my face. Mild discomfort is a small price to pay for a journey unhindered by the heavy skirts of my riding habit.

Coffee Books & Art - Excerpt
“It only reveals a page at a time, so it may not say anything,” I warn as I open it. For an instant, the light shines as brightly as the sun reflecting off water and then it fades away. 

Pieces of Whimsy - Review & Interview
"I love historical romance and I love fantasy, in fact these are probably my two favourite book genres, and I will read almost anything these genres have to offer. Arcana is a brilliant mix of both these genres. The setting is wonderful, as are the characters, and the magic just adds that fun, exciting element to the story."

What was the best part about writing Arcana?
The research! Endless Downton Abbey marathons, anyone? ;). I also loved all the world-building required by the Sylvan realm and Katherine’s arcana. It was so much fun to imagine what the Sylvan realm might look like—especially the spirit fox J.

Kelly P's Blog - Things Lord Thornewood Noticed about Katherine...
3. Our sharp banter was the highlight of my miserable week. It was no secret that I vastly preferred my country estate to my cold, dreary London townhouse, and the constant harassment by scheming mothers had made me consider abandoning my promise to Lord Sinclair on more than one occasion. If Katherine heard my complaints on the subject, I have no doubt she'd say, "Oh yes, how trying it must be for you to be introduced to so many beautiful young women." And that is one of the many reasons I love her.

Lilac Reviews - Review
"I liked how smoothly this author worked in things about the characters, the culture of the time and the mystery behind Arcana. . . . Between the love story, the Arcana conflict and the colorful characters there was much to keep your interest. I hope there will be a sequel."

Typical Distractions - Review
"Arcana is able to couple the fantasy with romance and history in such a way that it creates greater depth. As the reader you cannot help but be drawn into the world of the London high society and irresistible magic. This story left me smiling. Jessica Leake has raised the bar for historical fantasy fiction and I am excited to see what she has in store for us next. Arcana is an incredibly written and fascinating debut that has put Jessica on the list of authors you need to know!"

A Thousand Words A Million Books - Review
"And the book itself? If the five star rating didn't give it away- absolutely 100% BRILLIANT! . . . Needless to say, for fans of the YA genre, the Adult one, The Historical Romance one or the Paranormal one- Arcana is THE book for you!"

Colorimetry - Excerpt
    Katherine, it whispers in my mind.
    With a jerk, I take my finger from the rune, and the lovely vision fades.

My Life, Loves and Passion - Review
"Historical books are some of my favorites right along with fantasy. This story was a great mix. You felt like you were being transported back in time. It was so well explained. The magical part was there but did not overtake the book."

Wishful Endings - 10 (Mostly Random) Facts about the Edwardian Era
1. The fashion at the time? S-bend corsets

The Wonderings of One Person - Interview
How has this story touched your life?
At its core, Arcana is a story about family—something that is extremely important to me. I admire Katherine’s willingness to be self-sacrificing and do what she needs to do to protect her brother and sister.

SBM Book Obsession - The Cover Process
I've had so many compliments and interest on the cover of Arcana. It was a surprisingly hands-on process for me, which is pretty unusual in the publishing world.

My Love for Reading Keeps Growing - Review
"There are so many great characters in this book. Both main and secondary. I loved them all. Well, some were more slimy than others, but they were all great characters. I truly love it when an author makes me interested in more than just the "main" characters. It really makes the story come more alive for me."

The Book Lovers' Lounge - Review
"I really had a great time reading this book. . . . Another thing I love about Arcana is the strong personality that is Katherine, which shows even right at the very beginning of the story."

100 Pages A Day - Review
"I loved the premise of this book, a girl born with magic fueled by the sun who must be careful with how she practices her magic, or be called a witch.  Katherine, or Wren, is a great character."

The Written Adventure - Debuting in the Edwardian Era
One of the central events in Arcana is Katherine's debut into high society. During the Edwardian Era, this meant being summoned to the Court of King Edward and Queen Alexandra.

Beck Valley Books - Excerpt
Mama, lend me your grace, I think like a prayer. I close my eyes for a moment, and I can almost hear her voice, telling me, as she always did, that there was always strength within me if I would but reach for it.
The queue of debutantes moves forward until I stand at the threshold of the Throne Room. Royal guards in scarlet line one side of the room, prominent members of the Court on the other. At the end of the long room are the king and queen, seated upon their thrones, but I try not to focus on anything but the veil of the girl in front of me.

"While this is a historical fantasy novel, not all the details are thrown at you at once.  It makes it much more interesting." 

My Devotional Thoughts - Excerpt

     “My lord,” I say through clenched teeth as I tug my hand free, “I didn’t say yes.”
     “You didn’t say no, either,” he says and takes his position beside me.
     Leaving him on the dance floor, though satisfying, would only cause a bigger scene. I sigh as I go through the steps of the waltz.

Avid Reviews - Review
"I was pleasantly surprised by how easily this novel captured my attention and ignited my imagination.  Arcana is a story that both emotionally involves the reader and contains a thrilling plot.  In addition, Katherine is an incredibly sympathetic protagonist, and a refreshingly strong female character."

Into the Written Word & Welcome to Book City - Review
     "The speech is quite fantastic. It seems right for the time period. It’s proper and a bit verbose. Exactly how I imagine London all those years ago.
     I also like the magic. It was nice. A bit confusing on what arcana was exactly. But still pretty fascinating."

Book Enthralled - Review
"I enjoyed this, the magic was interesting, it was beautifully written and the characters were well drawn out. I really enjoyed the romance and I remember myself saying “now that was a make out scene!” I also really like the historical side of things, the coming out, the balls, the parties etc. I would really like to read more from Jessica Leake in the future."

by Jessica Leake
Adult Historical Fantasy
Hardcover, 288 pages
November 18th 2014 by Talos

Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London Season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome – or dangerous. Through her late mother’s enchanted journal, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform Arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. The machinations of the fashionably elite are a constant threat, but worse still are those who covet Katherine’s Arcana, seeking the power of her birthright. They could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor, even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood. With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?

Purchase a special personalized/autographed copy of Arcana from Fiction Addiction HEREor at one of the following sellers:

About Jessica Leake

I’m a stay-at-home mom of three beautiful children (two toddlers and a newborn, in fact, so I think you can begin to see why my blog may be a bit neglected) and author of Arcana: A Novel (Skyhorse/Talos, November 4, 2014), my debut historical fantasy with a heavy dose of romance. I have a particular obsession with blending different genres, but almost everything I write has an element of fantasy and romance. I’ve been in love with historical England ever since my first literary crush: Mr. Darcy (I can’t even count the number of times I watched Pride & Prejudice–the A&E version, of course!!) I’m represented by the fabulous Brianne Johnson of Writers House, and I live in Greenville, SC.

Before I was a writer, I worked as a psychotherapist. I spent several years working at a psychiatric hospital in Birmingham, AL, but after my husband graduated as a pharmacist, we moved back to Greenville. I claim Greenville as my hometown now since I spent most of my childhood here, and I’m a proud alumna of St. Joseph’s Catholic School and Winthrop University.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- $25 Amazon gift card & personalized hardcover of Arcana (INT)
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Ends November 23rd

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