Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Haze by Paula Weston

Follow the entire Haze blog tour schedule HERE.

Title: Haze (The Rephaim, #2)
Author: Paula Weston
Pages: 448
Publisher: Tundra Books
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Gaby Winters' life used to be pretty normal. She lived with her best friend. She worked in a library. She was slowly getting over the death of her twin brother, Jude. And then Rafa came looking for her.

With him, her blood-soaked nightmares stopped. But now they are reality. She is one of the Rephaim - a wingless half angel, descended from the Fallen. Demons exist and they are hunting her.

She knows she's alive when she's meant to be dead. And that means maybe Jude is too. So why isn't she out there looking for him?

My Thoughts: I was in a bit of a reading rut before I started Haze. I honestly believed it would have a negative effect on how I felt about this book. However, it turns out I was wrong, which was a huge relief! Haze was such a great book and ended up being exactly what I needed to read.

Haze is the second novel in Paula Weston's Rephaim series, and it starts off a week after the end of the first book Shadows. I was a little worried I wouldn't remember all the details from the previous book, since I read it over a year ago, but it was easy slipping back into the complicated and fascinating life of Gaby Winters.

Just like in Shadows, there was still plenty of mystery surrounding Gaby, including her past and the fate of her twin brother Jude. Being in the dark right along with her was killer because there were moments where it felt like some of the answers were in reach. At the same time, though, I loved that I was never able to figure out things before Gaby did. It made it that much easier to sympathize with her and that much harder to put the book down.

In this book, Gaby's main goal was searching for Jude. At least that's what Rafa, her (former?) rival and the guy she clearly has feelings for now, wanted. Unfortunately, yet understandably, it wasn't that simple. Gaby wanted her brother back, but what if they never found him? Or what if they did find him and he had his memories this entire time? Those were some of the scenarios Gaby couldn't help but to imagine and fear. Add in the necessary side missions that made Gaby and Rafa's search even more complicated, and the anticipation for any sign of Jude pretty much had me on the edge of my seat.

What helped ease my anxiety throughout the story were those sweet and intense moments between Gaby and Rafa. Even though Gaby and Rafa's tendency to not be one-hundred percent up front with each other ended up causing some frustrations, their relationship was the highlight of the novel for me. I just love Rafa's personality and how protective he is of Gaby, and I also love how Gaby is when she's with him. I hope that whatever happens between them, whether it's good or bad, makes the bond they share that much stronger.

Haze was a wonderful follow-up to Shadows. Enough was revealed to keep me satisfied, but enough was kept hidden to keep me wanting more. I'm so glad this is a four-book series, not a trilogy. I couldn't imagine everything being wrapped up in the third book. That being said, I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and unraveling more of the mystery of Gaby and Jude!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Can you guess which character from the series I'm most like? Okay, I won't keep you all in suspense. I am...

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...Ez! Yay! She's awesome and badass. Before you go, be sure to follow the rest of the Haze blog tour! Find the schedule HERE. :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

Title: Of Metal and Wishes
Author: Sarah Fine
Pages: 320
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: August 5, 2014
There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her … for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her … and she might go down with it.

My Thoughts: As soon as I finished reading chapter one, I just knew I was going to love this book. The eerie setting gave me a feeling similar to what I get when I look at photos of old buildings and factories. Wonder and awe. I felt this way not only with the setting but the entire story. It wasn't at all a surprise though because Of Metal and Wishes is the fourth novel I've read by Sarah Fine and her stories are some of my absolute favorites.

Of Metal and Wishes revolved around Wen, a sixteen-year-old girl trying to adjust to living with her doctor father at the local slaughterhouse Gochan One. Although she was friendly with many workers at the factory, it didn't stop the loneliness and sadness that consumed her ever since the death of her mother. Her responsibilities as her father's assistant kept her busy and were a comforting distraction, but life at Gochan One became complicated and dangerous for Wen once the barbaric Noor were hired to work there and she challenged the ghost haunting the factory.

While Wen seemed unsure of herself and what she wanted in the beginning, there was a quiet fierceness to her that was hard to miss. Her compassion and bravery were traits I really admired about her. When most of her people treated the Noor horribly, she took care of the Noor and stood up for them. Sometimes she made mistakes or acted impulsively, but she always tried to do the right thing and didn't allow others to influence her decisions. She went through a lot in this book and grew immensely, and I found her to be such a great and relatable character.

The Noor, specifically their leader Melik, had quite an impact on Wen. To most of Wen's people, the Noor are considered lower than dirt. Wen was quick to judge them too, but she eventually saw how wrong she was. Melik was honorable, hardworking, and treated his people with respect, which fascinated Wen because it didn't match what she had been told about the Noor at all. Melik had me swooning with his words, his actions, and the attention he gave Wen. I loved their tentative romance and how comfortable and protective they were of each other. What they shared was sweet and slow-burning, and I was always so happy when they had moments alone together. Being around Melik and the other Noor really helped Wen to see the world in a different way.

The mysterious Ghost was another important part of Wen's journey. He brought life to the factory, granting wishes to the workers and making Wen feel less alone. However, he also brought fear and death, and I didn't know whether or not to trust him. His obsession with Wen was a curse, but I admit, in a way, it was a blessing for her as well. If it weren't him, Wen wouldn't have gone through all the guilt that she did, but without him, she wouldn't have survived many of the things she experienced. I guess that's why I found myself sympathizing with him. He did some pretty horrible things in the factory, yet I thought he proved that redemption was possible. It even made me wish things had ended differently for him all those years ago, and I know Wen felt the same way.

I really liked that Of Metal and Wishes showed the importance of kindness, trust, friendship, and love. For Wen and those she cared about, the final chapters of the book were a bit heartbreaking and bittersweet. But it was also full of hope, which made it a fitting end to the story. With its beautiful and fluid writing and characters that were remarkable and inspiring, Of Metal and Wishes easily became one of my favorite books this year. I can't recommend it enough, and I can't wait to read the sequel!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Bookittyblog and Joyousreads have also read and reviewed Of Metal and Wishes, and you can read their reviews on their blogs. Not only that we're giving away a signed ARC to a lucky winner! The giveaway is open internationally and ends August 4. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email before a new winner is chosen. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass

Love and Other Theories by Alexis Bass
Release Date: December 31, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen

If you want more, you have to give less.

That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.

So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: Don’t fall in love.

Pre-order it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Bio: Alexis Bass grew up in Washington, went to college in Arizona, and spent her early twenties in Seattle. She currently lives in Northern California with Dylan McKay, her gorgeous and rambunctious golden retriever. She loves good fashion and good TV as much as a good book, and is a huge advocate of the three C’s: coffee, chocolate, and cheese. LOVE AND OTHER THEORIES is her first novel. Visit her at www.alexisbassbooks.com or on Twitter: @alexisbasswrite

Giveaway: Alexis is giving away a $50 gift card to the book retailer of your choice! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.