Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: E-galley
Source: Netgalley
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon


Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

MORAL OF THE STORY:
WHEN PEOPLE SAY THE TOWN IS CURSED, LISTEN TO THEM!

For fans of Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic? YES PLEASE!

The Wicked Deep is about 3 Sisters who were sentenced to their death two hundred years ago for Witchery. Every Summer they come back, inhabit the bodies of young girls so they can entrance and drown boys for their own sweet revenge. 

This was one. Epic. Read. The Wicked Deep hooks you from the very beginning. It blankets the salty sea air around you, sings its sweet song in your ear and doesn't let you go. Not even after you've finished the last page. You'll be left cast under its spell, still captivated by it. 

I may question Shea Ernshaw of witchery myself for creating such a spell-binding and addictive tale! Ernshaw crafted such compelling characters. Their stories unfolding at a beautiful pace.  I loved the romance between Bo and Penny. It wasn't a cliche or your typical young adult love story. 

The story itself had a great flow! Not once did I feel that it lagged or that any part of it was rushed. Each chapter ended in a way that made you want to move on to the next. It was nearly impossible to put down! It is a unique and fresh take on other Witch stories out there. The Swan sisters stand out strong against the popular genre. It's haunting and dark yet magical and lovely. The Wicked Deep will appeal to all readers, not just for fans of the Young Adult genre.  This book is just begging to be filmed. I would love to see it hit the big or small screen. 

The Wicked Deep will take you on an eerie and memorable adventure. Your heart will flutter and ache and the Swan Sisters will remain with you long after you've finished. 

“We wait for death. We hold our breath. We know it's coming, and still we flinch when it claws at our throats and pulls us under.” 

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg

The Tombs
Release Date: February 20th, 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 448 Pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: From publisher
Reason: For honest review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book


New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.
Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.
Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”…and no one knows why. 



MORAL OF THE STORY:
PEOPLE IN CROW MASKS ARE NEVER GOOD NEWS

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Like a boss! That my friends, is how Deborah Schaumberg blasted into the YA Book scene. If this is her debut, I cannot wait to see what else she has in store!

I knew as soon as I laid my eyes on the stunning cover of The Tombs that I had to have it, now! I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but look at that beauty! How can you possible ignore it's calling to you?! As soon as it arrived, I dove right in, head first. Kissing goodbye anything else life was throwing my way until I was done reading it. Who needs work, sleep or food when you can be reading, right? The Tombs did not disappoint. Between that gorgeous cover was a haunting yet beautiful tale about a girl and her mother. 

The Tombs is told from the perspective of Avery Kohl. A sixteen year old girl that is trying to make sense of her life and the visions that are troubling her. The very same powers that has her mother locked up in an asylum, the tombs. Avery is a just trying to navigate life, working at the ironworks and living with her father, who is battling his own demons. But, after a series of events Avery is given no choice but to accept this gift that she has within her and fight. Fight for herself, her mother and all of those around her. 

Deborah Schaumberg's writing is absolutely beautiful. It flows so effortlessly off of the pages. She penned a tale that will take you on a wild ride. The author transports you from your reading nook right into 19th century New York. A time when New York is evolving at a rapid pace. She crafted such a sensational cast of characters. The secondary characters are just as prominent of as the main characters. She also did a wonderful job at the back story of each character. We were given bits and pieces throughout the story, just as if you were truly getting to know someone. 

The Tombs is so much more than a story about a girl. It tackles race and discrimination. It touches on the hardships people had to live through just so they could be who they are. It is about a daughters love. I adored every single moment of this book. It was a powerful reading experience that has left me with a major book hangover!








Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Summer of Broken Things
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 400 Pages
Format: E-galley
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For honest review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Fourteen-year-old Avery Armisted is athletic, rich, and pretty. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Butts is known as “butt-girl” at school. The two girls were friends as little kids, but that’s ancient history now. So it’s a huge surprise when Avery’s father offers to bring Kayla along on a summer trip to Spain. Avery is horrified that her father thinks he can choose her friends—and make her miss soccer camp. Kayla struggles just to imagine leaving the confines of her small town.

But in Spain, the two uncover a secret their families had hidden from both of them their entire lives. Maybe the girls can put aside their differences and work through it together. Or maybe the lies and betrayal will only push them—and their families—farther apart.

MORAL OF THE STORY:
ONE SUMMER CAN CHANGE YOU 

*Sigh* Wow...just...wow.

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I was in a bit of a reading funk prior to reading The Summer of Broken Things. It wasn't for lack of good books, it was just a lack of motivation to read. Nothing was capturing my attention...but then this book happened. What I thought was just going to be your "run of the mill" coming of age story turned into the one that would break me out of my funk, wrap its pages around me like a warm blanket and tell me a great story!

Firstly, the characters for me were the star qualities of this book. Yes, the story is spectacular but the characters really bring it home. I loved the dual perspective and it was delivered flawlessly. Not once did the characters blend or get lost within one another. Margaret Haddix penned 2 very strong female characters; They really were the stars of the show. Having said that, nowhere did the book fall flat. Haddix crafted a perfectly paced story with twists and surprises that I never expected. Almost like a Russian nesting doll: beautifully detailed and layered.

The Summer of Broken Things went far beyond my expectations. A wonderful story of self-discovery and growth. An in-depth story about 2 girls and family secrets. It was everything I could have asked for in a book!



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Astonishing Color of After
Release Date: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Reader
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 480 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For an honest review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon


Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love



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This would be my genuine reaction if I were to ever be blessed with the presence of author, Emily Pan. Well done, Emily, well done! The Astonishing Color of After is one of the best books I've read in 2018...No, wait, it's one of the best books I've read ever.  Now that I am done fangirling, let me get serious.

The Astonishing Color of After tells the story of Leigh Chan Sanders, a teenage girl that is grieving the loss of her mother who committed suicide. Leigh is a beautiful character. Her artistic personality radiates off of the pages. To see the world through her eyes was quite the reading experience. The book is definitely a colourful read; it's hues ranging from vibrant yellows to the deep, endless shades of black.  It tackles the heavy subject matter of suicide and the ripple of it's after effects. The grief, turmoil and all of the unanswered questions. Emily Pan delivers this in a delicate yet raw and honest way.  Leigh is angry, she is frustrated and she is desperate. Desperate to found out the why.

The author takes you on Leigh's journey to find out the truth and to unravel the phenomenon that is taking place regarding the mysterious bird that might be her mother. The Astonishing Color of After unfolds at a wonderful pace, alternating between past and present. Giving you little pieces of the puzzle to put together along with Leigh.  You will be taken on a breathtaking journey, one both haunting yet magical. Emily Pans writing style is enough reason to fall in love with the book. It's lyrical and poetic and flows effortlessly off of the pages. But Pan backs up her writing style with an astonishingly beautiful story about a girl. A girl who is just as desperate to find herself as she is to find out why her mother decided to end her life. You will laugh, you will most definitely cry and you will never, ever forget the extraordinary story of Leigh and her bird. 

“There's no point in wishing. We can't change anything about the past. We can only remember. We can only move forward.” 

Monday, March 12, 2018

GIVEAWAY: PITCH PERFECT 3 BLU-RAY COMBO PACK


THE BELLAS ARE BACK IN

PITCH PERFECT 3

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL MARCH 1, 2018
4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY™ AND DVD ON MARCH 20, 2018
FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Universal City, California, January 25, 2018 – Now graduated from college, the fabulous Bellas of Barden University are back for one last call in Pitch Perfect 3. Beca, Fat Amy and the rest of the Bellas are off to face a post a cappella champion world in the high-spirited closing act to the franchise that sparked a worldwide phenomenon. Pitch Perfect 3 arrives on Digital on March 1, 2018 and Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand and via the all-new digital movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on March 20, 2018 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Filled with all-new musical performances, a hilarious gag reel, never-before-seen deleted footage and more, the exclusive behind-the-scenes bonus features make Pitch Perfect 3 a must-own film.

Now graduated from college, realizing it takes more than a cappella to get by, all the Bellas return in the final chapter in the
beloved series. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering
there are no job prospects for making music with only your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for a European USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

Oscar® nominee Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect series, Up in the Air) Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect series, How to be Single), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Pitch Perfect 2), Brittany Snow (Pitch Perfect series) Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect series, The Help), Hana Mae Lee (Pitch Perfect series, TV’s “The Patriot”), Ester Dean (Pitch Perfect series), Alexis Knapp (Pitch Perfect series), Chrissie Fit (Pitch Perfect series), Kelley Jakle (Pitch Perfect series, 42), Shelley Regner (Pitch Perfect series), Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect series, Hunger Games series) and John Michael Higgins (Pitch Perfect series,  TV’s “Great News”) all return and are joined by all-new
cast members including John Lithgow (Netflix’s “The Crown,”), Ruby Rose ( John Wick: Chapter 2, Amazon’s “Orange is the New Black”) and award-winning producer/musician DJ Khaled. Returning to produce Pitch Perfect 3 is Paul Brooks (My Big Fat Greek Wedding series, Pitch Perfect series) of Gold Circle Entertainment and Max Handelman & Elizabeth Banks of Brownstone Productions, with Trish Sie (Step Up All In) directing the heart-warming musical comedy.

BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAYTM:
  • Competition Crescendo – In this featurette we break down the riff-off scene, starting in pre-production in the
recording studio and moving into production. We’ll also discuss the Bellas’ competition: EverMoist, Saddle Up, DJ Young Sparrow and DJ Dragon Nutz.
  • Don’t Mess with Rebel – Rebel Wilson trained with stunts coordinator, Jennifer Badger, to prefect her many
stunts that we see throughout the film. In this featurette, we’ll catch a glimpse of Rebel’s training and discuss the most bad-ass stunt of all – Rebel taking down four grown men in order to save the Bellas.
  • The Headliner: DJ Khaled – We check in with cast and filmmakers to hear their reactions on the music
producer/personality being brought on, how he fits into the story and the love he has for
the Bellas.
  • The Final Note: John and Gail – Everyone’s favorite Talk-a-pella podcasters are back, combining their resources to produce an exclusive d’aca’mentary following the beloved classic Bellas. We discuss their far-fetched endeavor with the cast and filmmakers to better understand our favorite aca-duo.
  • Just Because He’s a Bad Guy – The cast and filmmakers were overjoyed to learn that legendary actor, John Lithgow was joining the Pitch Perfect family, and he did not disappoint! In this piece, we’ll witness how Rebel and John are two peas in a pod, making their on-screen chemistry as father and daughter truly sincere.
  • "Freedom! ’90 x Cups" Official Music Video

BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL:
  • Deleted Scene
  • Gag Reel
  • New Musical Performances
    • Fat Amy & Fergus Casino Duet
    • The Bellas: "See You Smile" Lullaby
  • A Cappella Action – In this piece, we break down the scene starting with Fergus betraying Fat Amy and kidnapping the Bellas, through the performance and wrapping up with Rebel Wilson as she performs the stunt of falling through the ceiling.
  • The Women of Pitch Perfect 3 – With Elizabeth Banks, Trish Sie, and an all-female cast, the Pitch Perfect franchise is breaking down stereotypes and industry norms left and right. In this piece, we learn why that’s so important throughout the development and production of Pitch Perfect 3.
  • The Final Performance In this heart-warming piece, fans will witness the genuine love and sisterhood between the Bellas both on and off camera as they get a behind-the-scenes look at the emotional wrap of the film and production.
  • Hollywood of the South – Hollywood may be the “Entertainment Capital of the World” but Atlanta is a close second - morphing into a metropolis for film productions and the cast and crews couldn’t be happier. We hear from them about the hospitality, versatility and southern welcome they experienced during their stay.
  • Extended Musical Performances
    • Evermoist: "How a Heart Unbreaks"
    • Young Sparrow / DJ Dragon Nutz: "You Got It"
    • Saddle Up: "Ex's and Oh's"

THE GIVEAWAY
Thank you to the spectacular folks at THINK JAM I have ONE copy of Pitch Perfect 3 Combo pack to giveaway.
Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada Only
Giveaway open from Monday, March 12th until March 19th at 11:59pm.
Fill out Rafflecopter form to enter.

Good luck!





Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories
Release Date: February 20th, 2018
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Genre: Short Stories | Fiction
Pages: 304 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For honest review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon


From award-winning, New York Times bestselling author Kelly Barnhill comes a stunning collection of stories, teeming with uncanny characters whose lives unfold in worlds at once strikingly human and eerily original.



MORAL OF THE STORY:
BUCKLE UP! YOU'RE IN FOR A WILD RIDE!

Dreadful Young Ladies is my first experience with Kelly Barnhill's writing and I can confidently say that she did not disappoint. I have currently ordered The Girl Who Drank the Moon and am eagerly awaiting it's arrival!

This collection of short stories will take you on a fun and eerie ride. You will fall down a rabbit hole of obscurity floating past creatures and dazzling characters. I found this collection of stories to be a quick read. Each one so very different and just as memorable than the last! It really made for a fun reading experience that will most definitely have your imagination running wild. 

The cover art is absolutely beautiful as well. The little trinkets and images that make up the wings and the long braid of hair for the body just confirm what kind of time you're in for when you crack this one open!

It is SO hard to pick a favourite but I have to say that the novella, The Unlicensed Magician was absolutely spectacular. All stories shined brightly on their own but this one just stole my heart!

If you're in the mood for something unlike anything you've ever read than Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories is for you. Dive into the unknown and enjoy the ride!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Tyler Johnson Was Here
Release Date: March 20th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 304 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From from Publisher
Reason: For honest review
Find the Author: Goodreads
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon


When Marvin Johnson's twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.
The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it's up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.


MORAL OF THE STORY:
SHINES A BRIGHT LIGHT ON POLICE BRUTALITY AND THE VICTIMS AT THE HANDS OF IT. 

Tyler Johnson Was Here is a very relevant story. You can't turn on the news in today's world without seeing another horrible story about a person being harassed, assaulted or even murdered by a person of the law. It truly is horrific and an abuse of power. 

Jay Coles has proven to be a natural at his craft. This is his debut novel and it was a spectacular one. His passion for the Black Lives Matter movement and his will to speak out against police brutality is bold and leaps off the pages. His conviction is strong. This all translates into his main character, Marvin. A teenage boy that is missing his father, who is serving a sentence for a crime he didn't commit, and fighting against the discrimination in his school system. Marvin has a twin brother but that is mostly where their similarities lie. Tyler tends to dabble with a different crowd while Marvin is perfectly content to stay home and watch A Different World or listen to Tupac. 

The character cast is small and intimate in this novel. While Marvin is the main character and narrative, there is only a small secondary cast behind him. They were all very well-written and each added their own depth that made the story a complete package. 

The one thing that felt out of place for me was the romance aspect of the novel. It just never clicked for me or seemed to come together. Maybe if the romance was already sparking prior to Tyler's disappearance, I may have felt different, but with it unfolding during the chaos of everything, it just felt odd to me. But, that was such a minor complaint and it did not take away from my over all reading experience. 

The cover art for Tyler Johnson Was Here is just absolutely stunning. It is so inviting and I think it will attract a lot of young readers to pick it up wanting to learn more about it. 

I am so glad that novels like this are starting to hit shelves because, fiction or not, they are relevant accounts of a big problem in the world today. Anyone in a uniform, any authority of the law should be someone we trust, not someone that should be feared. The thought that you have to worry about just walking down the street is terrifying.  Tyler Johnson Was Here shines a bright light on the ugliness that is faced in many communities not only in America, but around the world. I look forward to reading any future work from Jay Coles. 

"I don't know what, but I know that in this very moment I'm starting to really hate myself, really feel sorry for myself, because I've been black for too long, because of the words that come to mind when people see me" -Marvin Johnson
 
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