Review for Shattered Ties (Ties #1) by K A Robinson

Shattered Ties by K A Robinson

TITLE: Shattered Ties
SERIES: Ties #1
AUTHOR: K A Robinson
NARRATOR: Kirsten Leigh
PUBLICATION DATE: November 27, 2013 (book) / December 2, 2014 (audio)
PUBLISHER: K.A. Robinson Publishing LLC (book) / K.A. Robinson Publishing LLC (audio)
PAGES: 231 pages / 7 hours & 6 minutes
FORMAT: Audiobook
SOURCE: Review copy via Audible
RATING: 2 bows


Emma Preston has always had the best life could offer. Her mom is a former supermodel and her dad is a rock star and she has never wanted for anything money could buy. But that doesn’t mean her life is perfect. Her dad is always off touring with his band and her mother cares more about becoming the biggest socialite than she does about being a parent. Jesse is Emma’s opposite in every way. He has lived his entire life in a trailer park with a single mother and works part time after school at a tattoo parlor to help make ends meet. He gets a scholarship to the snooty rich kids school and his mom forces him to go. Suddenly his world and Emma’s world collide and things will never be the same for either of them. Emma knows that her mother would never accept Jesse in their lives and Jesse knows that he has no place with Emma, but they can’t seem to fight their attraction to each other. Can they find a way to make it work or is their relationship doomed to fail before it even starts?

Emma is a character that I liked in the beginning. I’m not normally one to sympathize with the poor little rich girl plight. Sorry, I spent too much of my childhood worrying how my parents would make sure the bills got paid to believe that money can’t truly buy happiness. But Emma quickly won me over with her sweet disposition and the way she treated Jesse. Despite her upbringing, she isn’t snotty or uppity or of that I’m better than you because I have money attitude. She actually seems relatively normal. She doesn’t flaunt her money. In fact, we don’t see her spent any throughout the entire novel. There is nary a shopping trip to be found. I become slightly irritated with her as we get deeper into the novel. She seems a bit naive, which is probably to be expected in a household with that much money, but it was irritating none the less. There is a scene towards the end where she is talking about moving out from her mother’s house after she turns 18 and flat out expecting her father to pay rent for a place for her to live. Basically, I was jealous. Insanely jealous. I want that life. The one where bills aren’t a worry. The one where you know if you fail at life, Mommy and Daddy can easily pick up the pieces and pay your debts. She was also a bit…quick? Emotionally, she does everything quickly. She’s quick to fall for Jesse. The minute Jesse suggests a tattoo, she instantly wants it (and then they go do it). She puts no real thought into the consequences of those actions. The tattoo especially bugged me. You are going to let this boy you’ve only known for a few weeks put a permanent mark on your skin? He’s not even legally authorized to do that. If he fucks you, well sucks to be you! They literally discuss the idea of a tattoo and then immediately leave to go do it.

As for Jesse, well, I’m still not sure how I feel about him. On one hand, his situation is much easier for me to relate to. Though I didn’t come from a single mother household, I know the trailer park life. I lived in a trailer park until right before I turned 18, so I see through his eyes pretty clearly. But the boy was cocky and it bugged me. He was too sure of himself for a 17 year old. Really, both characters felt a bit older. If there weren’t multiple scenes in a high school, I would never have realize that this was about teenagers. Well, except the uber immature moments. Like when Jesse’s mom falls in love and wants to move away with him and Jesse flat out refuses to acknowledge that she might just feel the same way about her beau that he feels about Emma. That’s not possible, right? Or maybe his refusal to even treat the guy with an ounce of respect. He’s whole attitude felt a bit off.

Then there was Ally, Jesse’s friend and the sister to Alan. She was the point in the semi love triangle. It’s apparent from minute one that the reason she hates Emma is because she wants Jesse for herself. There is no other reason for her to possible hate Emma so much so quickly. Besides, the sister falling for her brother’s best friend is the oldest story in the book. Of course she has a thing for him. But idiot Jesse has no idea. And no one feels the need to clue him in. Not Emma once she figures it out, not Alan who has to fucking know that his sister is crushing on his best friend, and definitely not Ally herself. But Ally creates that triangle that we all know I hate so much. From the synopsis of book 2, the triangle is worse there.

Starting off, I was hooked on this pretty quickly. I’m a sucker for contemporary romances lately, regardless of what genre they adhere to. Romance, young adult, new adult, erotica, I’ll read it all. I’ll devour it so quickly that even I’m a little shocked when it’s over. Rich girl meets poor boy and romance ensues? GIMME! This will be perfect. BUT, it wasn’t. The closer I got to the end, the more I knew it wasn’t going to end well. There wasn’t enough time to wrap this up in a positive way. Oh boy, was I right on the money there. This does not end well. This ends pretty terribly. Had it ended better, it probably would have gotten 3 stars instead of 2. But it does not. At the end, Jesse and Emma are broken up and Jesse is moving away with his mother. All because they fought it then Ally made it look like he slept with her. To top that off, Jesse loses Alan as a friend because Ally runs home and tells him they slept together and then he kicked her out. That tells you what kind of friend Alan is pretty quickly, if he won’t even hear Jesse out.

My other comment is that this was written pretty graphically for a young adult novel. It was probably the most explicit YA I’ve ever read. DI like smut as much as the next girl, but I feel a bit weird listening to it about teenagers. It’s not really a bad thing, just very unexpected. Especially when I’m listening to parts of it with my husband when the naughty bits start. That was kinda funny. He ran from the room and kept screaming so he couldn’t hear anything. He said reading it was one thing, but listening to someone read it to you was just too weird.

Even though this ended terribly, I’m not sure I want to read the next one. The summary makes it seem like there is a lot more love triangle drama ahead and I don’t know if I want to subject myself to that when I’m not swoony over Jesse as I assume I was supposed to. He just seems like a weird juxtaposition of mature and immature and I can’t say I’m a huge fan of him. Emma can’t hold the story up on her own, so I’m undecided if I’ll give the next book a try yet or not. Time will tell!

Audio notes:
This was my first Kirsten Leigh and I’m not unhappy with her performance. She actually does a pretty awesome job narrating the two separate points of view. Her Jesse voice is noticeably different than her Emma voice. She even does special accents for the parent characters, adding a slight southern twang to Jesse’s mom and a more extreme accent for Emma’s mom. She reads at a nice pace, giving you just the right amount of time to absorb her words before moving on. She enunciates pretty clearly as well. Trust me, there is nothing worse than a narrator who doesn’t enunciate properly and you don’t understand them. Or better yet, the ones who completely mispronounce words.
Dean eye roll gif
You’d think that they would know how to properly pronounce the words since it is part of their job, but it isn’t always the case. There is none of that here though! Kirsten does an excellent job and I will definitely make sure to check out some of her other work.

****Thank you to Esther Bochner at Audible for providing me with an audio copy in exchange for an honest review****

2 bows
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Review for Until We Burn (Beautifully Broken #2.5) by Courtney Cole

Until We Burn by Courtney Cole

TITLE: Untile We Burn
SERIES: Beautifully Broken #2.5
AUTHOR: Courtney Cole
PUBLICATION DATE: November 21, 2013
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 84 pages
FORMAT: ebook
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 3 bows

Dominic Kinkaide is the epitome of bad boy. He does bad things with no guilty conscious nagging him about them. The 24 year old actor hides behind the mask of gentleman in public, but in private he is anything but. The bad things he does allows him to feel something, which is the only thing he desires these days. He figures he’s already going to hell, might as well have fun on the way.

I…um….am unsure how I feel about Dominic. I know this novella is just to introduce me to the character before I read Before We Fall, to show me his a jackass and that worked pretty well. I’m left with the question of if he is redeemable. I think he is. He isn’t deliberately mean to any of the woman he screws around with, but he’s not wholly nice either. He uses them and then discards them, but makes no misleading promises otherwise. The question that really plagues me is, do I like him. At this exact moment, no, I don’t. I’m not a big fan of bad boys. I like a few, but I prefer the sweet boy-next-door type. We’ll see if my opinion changes with the next book.

Dominic’s past kinda bugged me throughout this whole thing. I know it’s a tiny novella and there isn’t adequate space to get into his issues, but what the hell happened? I want to know because I cannot envision a scenario that would force Dom to turn out this way. He has a pretty specific quirk that I just don’t understand.

Basically what you need to know is that it’s not great, but it’s not bad. It’s a kinky little novella introducing you to a kinky little actor who I hope improves some in the next book.

3 bows
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Review for Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles #1) by Sophie Jordan

Foreplay by Sophie Jordan

TITLE: Foreplay
SERIES: The Ivy Chronicles #1
AUTHOR: Sophie Jordan
PUBLICATION DATE: November 5, 2013
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PAGES: 320 pages
FORMAT: Book / ebook
SOURCE: Purchased / Won from A Book And A Latte
RATING: 4 bows

Pepper has always been in love with Hunter, her best friend’s brother. They would be perfect together and now the opportunity has arrived because he just broke up with his long time girlfriend. Her lack of experience has her wondering why he would ever want her so she devises a plan, become talented in the bedroom. For this she will need a teacher and her college roomies have the perfect man picked out, but Reese is more than Pepper expects him to be. Instead of a suave ladies man, she’s a cool and caring, with a troubled past. The deeper into her “lessons” they get, the more she wonders if maybe Hunter isn’t the perfect man for her. Which guy will she choose?

Pepper is that slightly nerdy, slightly sheltered college girl we have all known at some point. She’s very sweet and a bit shy, but also pretty determined to make Hunter see her as a woman, not just his sisters best friend. She was a pretty easy character to relate to and it’s hard not to sympathize with her plight. Who hasn’t experienced that type of crush where you’d do just about anything to make it work? Even fool around with someone you don’t know well to amp-up your boudoir skills. But this is made incredibly difficult by her shyness. How exactly to you come on to a man when you can’t even look him in the eye without blushing?

Reese was entirely too swoon-worthy. He’s hot and mature and caring and sooo much better than Hunter. Once she starts seeing Reese, I don’t understand why she still thought Hunter was perfect. Look at this specimen of man in front of you! LOOK!

You can easily have all of that and you still want Hunter?

It was a concept I couldn’t understand because Reese is perfect and the chemistry between him and Pepper was amazing.

The writing was really good, which I’m coming to expect from Sophie Jordan. The plot was a touch predictable, but you know what you are getting as soon as you start this. The concept behind it is pretty straight forward and we all know she’s going to fall for Reese and end up with him, but there were those terrible moments when we weren’t as sure of that as we’d liked to be.

When it comes down to it, this is an amazing NA that I only had a few minor issues with. The first one being I hate the name Pepper. But beyond that and a handful of tiny things not even worthy mentioning, this was an awesome novel with lovable characters and just the right amount of smut. Smutty enough that you don’t feel like you are reading YA, but not quite overdone where you feel like you are reading erotica. I think anyone who likes NA novels will love this!

4 bows
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Review for Brooke (Under The Never Sky #2.5) by Veronica Rossi

Brooke by Veronica Rossi

TITLE: Brooke
SERIES: Under The Never Sky #2.5
AUTHOR: Veronica Rossi
PUBLICATION DATE: November 26, 2013
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
PAGES: 82 pages
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 bows

All Brooke has ever wanted was for Perry to love her the way she loves him and for the people of the Tides to be safe, but neither seems possible. Though Perry was hers for a short while, he is now head over heels for Aria, a useless Dweller. The Aether storms are getting progressively worse and things aren’t looking good for the Tides, but she is determined to keep her spirits up for Clara, the sister who she has finally got back. She is also determined to let Perry go because it’s apparent to anyone with eyes that he is never coming back to her.

Like everyone else, I think, I was a bit disappointed when I learned the new novella from Veronica Rossi would be about Brooke. Really? I don’t care for Brooke at all. Why couldn’t you write it about Cinder? Or maybe from Talon’s perspective? No? Damn. Unlike most people, however, this doesn’t make me fall in love with Brooke’s character. I can tolerate her a tad more now, but I still don’t like her. She annoyed me more in this. I can sympathize with her situation, being in love with someone who she can never have and I completely understand her desire to move on, but I was not a fan of how she handled it.****SPOILER****Within the pages of this minuscule novella, she makes out with two different guys and then kisses a third, and she’s sure she doesn’t want to be with any of them, but she doesn’t make that clear to either guy. I get wanting to distract yourself from the pain of losing Liv and the angst of a Perry-lite lifestyle, but if you are just looking to fool around with no strings attached, at least have the decency to be upfront about it.****END SPOILER****

I was also a bit annoyed by her overconfidence. On one hand, YA needs many more female leads who know they are attractive and project that confidence so more young girls can accept that and try to be that way, but Brooke came off almost cocky and it annoyed the fuck out of me. Every male in the compound looks at you with lust-filled eyes? Awesome, your sexy and you know it. You are the best Seer in the group, as well as a highly talented archer? Even better, keeps you in shape. While I admire her for knowing her assets and being proud of them, I didn’t need to hear about it constantly. Yes, we know you think your awesome, but get on with it already!

While I do want to see Brooke get a happy ending for all the shit she has dealt with, I don’t particularly want to read anymore from her perspective. You can tell by the end that she’ll grow to be more tolerant of Dwellers, and people in general, but she is never going to be a character that I root for. Hopefully you’ll like her more than I did!

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Blog Tour for The Double Life Of Incorporate Things (Magic Most Foul #3) by Leanna Renee Hieber (with review & giveaway)

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The Double Life Of Incorporate Things by Leanna Renee Hieber

TITLE: The Double Life Of Incorporate Things
SERIES: Magic Most Foul #3
AUTHOR: Leanna Renee Hieber
PUBLICATION DATE: November 28, 2013
PUBLISHER: Deus Ex Victoriana
PAGES: 250 pages
SOURCE: Blog Tour
RATING: 4 bows
BUY LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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“Just when we think our nightmares are over, the Society has invented a new horror. Around every corner a shadow, behind every whisper a demon. If we don’t end what the devils began, we will die haunted…”

The Magic Most Foul saga takes a deadly turn as The Master’s Society unveils its next ungodly avenue of paranormal experimentation. First, souls were split from bodies. Then the dead were reanimated. Now, a mind-altering chemical has been unleashed in Manhattan. Demonic trauma and terror escalates for the dashing Lord Denbury and brave, feisty Miss Natalie Stewart. Together with their stalwart friends and unlikely heroes, they take the fight directly to the Denbury estate, where a collective evil has awakened. But are Natalie and Jonathon prepared for all the sacrifices that shall be asked of them? With their very lives and the sanctity of their mortal souls at stake, these lovers are past the point of no return…


I set the paper down slowly enough to see the thin edges shake as the full, personal impact of the newspaper article hit me.

“Natalie, what is it?” Jonathon asked, staring at me with those eviscerating blue eyes of his. I opened my mouth but no sound came out. Damn my unpredictable, inconstant voice.

For the past many months now, I’d been pummeled by one strange event after another, pulled into the center of a paranormal whirlpool. At least in this case, we had an inkling, some sense of the next onslaught. Still, a foreshadow was hardly a comfort. We couldn’t have guessed the scope.

Now it wasn’t just myself or Jonathon Whitby, Lord Denbury in danger, with the occasional collateral victim. Now it was a crowd. I knew the Association. I adored them. They weren’t hooligans or criminals, they were gentle souls, artistic and individual. Overdramatic, yes, but a threat? Hardly. This maligning was the work of The Master’s Society, turning lambs into lions in ungodly experiments, leaving them for fodder in sensational, indelicate journalism. It could only get worse. Exponentially worse.

“It’s begun,” I finally managed to reply quietly, sliding the paper across the lacquered console table behind the sofa toward Jonathon’s reach. “Another phase. They’ve gone after the Association. And the papers will vilify those poor dears, every last one of them. Jonathon, the demons won’t give up…”


Leanna Renee Hieber

Author, actress and playwright Leanna Renee Hieber grew up in rural Ohio inventing ghost stories. She graduated with a BFA in Theatre and a focus in the Victorian Era from Miami University. She began her theatrical career with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and began adapting works of 19th Century literature for the stage. Her one-act plays have been published, awarded and produced around the country. Her fiction career began with Dark Nest, which won the 2009 Prism Award for best novella.

Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, landed on Barnes & Noble’s bestseller lists, was named a favourite of 2009 by 14 book blogs, won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book), the 2010 Orange County Book Buyer’s Best Award (Young Adult category) and is in development as a musical theatre production with Broadway talent on board. The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, prequel in the Strangely Beautiful series, won the 2012 Prism Award (Best Fantasy). This currently out of print series will be reissued by 2014.

DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul, first in the Magic Most Foul saga of Gothic Victorian romantic thrillers (Sourcebooks), hit the Kid’s/YA Indie Next List as a recommended title by the American Booksellers Association. The book has been praised by Seventeen and Pixie Magazines, Shelf Awareness, The Chicago Tribune and more, selected as a “highly recommended” title by Scholastic. The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart continues the Magic Most Foul series and has been praised by Booklist, RT Bookreviews and more. She is serializing the finale, The Double Life of Incorporate Things on her blog in true Gothic Victorian fashion.

Leanna’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies such as Willful Impropriety: Tales of Society and Scandal, “Too Fond” featured on and Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy (March 2013, Tor). Her new Gaslamp Fantasy series with Tor/Macmillan, THE ETERNA FILES, launches 2014. Her books have been translated into many languages and have been selected for multiple book club editions.

Represented by Nicholas Roman Lewis, Leanna is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. She is a proud co-founder of the original Lady Jane’s Salon Reading Series in New York. Leanna was named the 2010 RWA NYC Chapter Author of the Year.

A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Leanna works often in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire. When not writing or on set, she’s telling ghost stories, frequenting Goth clubs, corset shopping, channeling Narcissa Malfoy, wandering graveyards and adventuring in full Victorian regalia. She resides in New York City with her husband and their beloved rescued lab rabbit.

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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In this final installment of the Magic Most Foul series, we see Natalie and Jonathan battle their foes one last time. The couple is determined to end the society responsible for the dangers drug labeled “The Cure” which claims to cure the ailment of Melancholy and working on resurrection of long dead spirits. Not to mention the raising of murderous demons. But in order to shut them down, Jonathan must once again play the role of the demon that once wore his face, which makes everything indefinitely harder because he hates the role and Natalie can see he plays it a bit too well. Is there still a bit of the demon left in him? Will good defeat evil, or will evil prevail?

Natalie has lost a bit of her confidence in this novel. Though her and Lord Denbury are still completely in love, there is friction in the relationship that causes Natalie much stress. Is it possible she could lose the man she fought so hard to free? They work it out in the end, but they struggle for a while. Natalie has to really take others into account when making decisions here, more so than before. She is quickly realizing that her every decision affects everyone around her. She’s still haunted by nightmares, but those nightmares feed her clues that will *hopefully* help her band of misfits bring down the society. What really made me continue to sympathize with was her constant concern over Maggie. Even though Maggie made some bad decisions, Natalie has a great need to make things right between them.

Then there is Lord Denbury, who is just as charming as ever, if a bit more controlling. He’s trying to state his independence, which is admirable, but it constantly requires him to leave Natalie out, which doesn’t please anyone involved, reader included. Jonathan doing what he thinks is right is swoon-worthy, but the overbearing need to protect Natalie that was absent before rears it’s ugly head here. He gets over it by the end, but it’s more than a little irritating.

Nathaniel Veil, my other favorite character, gets a bit more facetime here. Can I just say I love him? Here is a man that follows his own path and doesn’t care what anyone has to say about it. He’s so compassionate about helping those who are similarly afflicted with melancholy. I loved watching him try to protect his group of friends.

This novel is the perfect ending to the trilogy, except the one character death. The writing and story-telling is just as beautiful as it has been in previous novels. Trying to puzzle out what the society was up to and their master-plan had be on the edge of my seat. I can’t wait to get my hands on the spin-off series that’s up next!

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Review for Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter

Pawn by Aimee Carter

SERIES: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
AUTHOR: Aimee Carter
PUBLICATION DATE: November 26, 2013
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 346 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Kitty Doe is in a bit of bind; she’s been officially marked as a III. AND she’s been assigned to work in Denver, so far away from DC that she has not chance of ever coming back to visit her boyfriend, Benjy. Her choice is either accept her assignment and live her life compliantly or risk death to defy them and stay in DC. Then a third option presents itself: become a VII. Before she can even get all the details, she has agreed because anything is better than prostitution or life as a III, right? Turns out she has agreed to impersonate Lila, the prime minister’s daughter, and that includes major masking (basically plastic surgery) to make her identical to said daughter. It seems, however, that Lila was on the brink of starting a rebellion and it’s now up to Kitty to continue her work or put an end to it. With every person aware of the situation she gets different instructions, but which set would she choose to follow?

For someone who claims to be tired of dystopian novels, I’m reading bunchies of them lately. This, however, didn’t have that overly predictable edge that seems to cloud over most of the ones I read. Yes, the government has gotten too powerful and need to be taught a lesson, but beyond that basic idea, I didn’t see much of this coming. Aimee Carter really gets high praise from me for being able to keep me guessing through this entire novel. I have already been planning on reading her Goddess Test series for a while now, but I’m definitely more excited after reading this. The levels of this particular brand of dystopian made more sense than others I’ve read. At 17, everyone is given a test and their school determines what level of society they will be part of, the brains getting to be scientists or something equally important as V’s or VI’s and the more intellectually challenged individuals get the lower level jobs like farming and cleaning. If you score a I, then you are deemed too dumb to be part of society and are sent Elsewhere. Theoretically everyone has an equal chance at being a higher-up, but once Kitty gets her VII, she realizes that it might not be as fair as she has been lead to believe.

Speaking of Kitty, let’s get down to the characters, shall we? She was easy to sympathize with in the beginning, being marked with a III and forced to leave her sweet Benjy. As the novel progresses, I was equally in supportive of and irritated with her. It’s a tough choice she’s faced with and I know that Benjy’s life is threatened with every move she makes, but either go and help the rebellion or live under Augusta’s thumb. Most of the time, a character’s inner struggle with doing what’s right versus what’s expected is humanizing and grounding and makes it that much easier to connect, but here it bordered on annoying. By the end, though, she’s made her mind up so hopefully book 2 won’t contain so much inner monologue antagonizing over every decision.

Knox, Lila’s fiance, is a big mystery. I really wanted to like him (and did enjoy his sarcasm and wit), but he was too secretive for me (or Kitty) to ever really trust. He comes off a little too smooth so you know he has to be hiding something. Then there is Benjy, Kitty’s boyfriend. He’s so smart that no one has a doubt he’ll score well on his test, and…wait for it…he’s bookish! There are so few bookish males in YA that I can’t help falling for every single one.

Something else that may spark some interest is the lack of a love triangle. Kitty and Benjy are so adorably devoted to one another that no one has any hope of coming between them. I was very apprehensive when Knox entered the picture, but nothing beyond friendship ever develops between the two. Can I say how much I really loved that? How refreshing it was to read a character who doesn’t discover someone new and drop her former “love” like a hot potato?

But my favorite character by far was Greyson. He’s so observant that he catches onto EVERYTHING, especially the things his family tries to hide from him, like the fact that the real Lila is dead and Kitty is her replacement. Somehow in this family of manipulative asshats, he has managed to become a kind and compassionate young man. All he wants is to be able to spend his days tinkering with his inventions, but he’s forced to train for his future role as Prime Minister.

Carter’s biggest success here has to be the villain. Augusta strikes fear in everyone, but wholeheartedly believes in her cause. Despite the fact that I desperately wanted this bitch to die, it was fascinating to listen to her logic and come close to admiring her for doing what she believed was right for her country, regardless of the consequences. It was eerie to read a character so devoted to their cause that they were not only willing to murder for it, but sacrifice their loved ones if that is what it took.

This reminded me a great deal of Sarah Zettel’s Palace Of Spies, with the body doubles impersonating royalty but learning that everyone around is lying or feeding her half truths. It is a fresh twist on a genre that is running a bit ragged. I recommend it for those who love all things dystopian, for those who are tired of the genre, and for those who have never tried it. It has enough intrigue to keep everyone guess and dying to get the next page to find out what happens, a light romance, and witty prose. It has something for everyone and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one!

****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Review For Crash Into You (Pushing The Limits #3) by Katie McGarry

Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

TITLE: Crash Into You
SERIES: Pushing The Limits #3
AUTHOR: Katie McGarry
PUBLICATION DATE: November 26, 2013
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 474 pages
SOURCE: Edelweiss
RATING: 4 bows

Rachel Young has lead a lonely life. Though she is surrounded by family, no one really gets her and she has no friends outside to close circle of brothers. No one really wants to deal with the weird girl with panic attacks, though as far as anyone knows she hasn’t had one in several years. The only thing that sooths her is being behind the wheel of her mustang, letting the speed set her free. So when the opportunity to race comes along, she’s all for it. Unfortunately that sets up a chain of events ultimately leading to her needing to come up with $5000 or else be put in the hospital for fucking with the wrong guy. Isaiah Walker is the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, with nothing to his name but the car he drives and the clothes on his back. He shouldn’t be getting involved in this rich girl’s drama, but she helped him when everyone else ran and that kind of favor deserves his upmost attention. Now, he finds himself feeling much more than gratitude towards her and wonders how this could possibly end well.

I was over the moon when I was granted access to this E-ARC. I’ve been dying for Isaiah’s book since I finished Pushing The Limits. Actually right when I finished, I was dying for the book where we see Beth & Isaiah finally be together…yeah, that didn’t happen. It was clear from the moment he appeared in PTL that there was more to him than meets the eye and he doesn’t disappoint. At first, I had a bit of a hard time really loving him he because he’s outer appearance (and the fact that he drives a fourth generation Mustang) reminds me way too much of my best friend’s husband (whom I despise beyond reasonable logic). But the further into the story you get, the more you see that shell fall away, leaving a vulnerable guy who really just wants to be loved. Poor Isaiah has been abandoned by everyone (except Noah) and he doesn’t understand what he’s doing or what’s so wrong with him that no one will love him. He’s literally waiting for the day when Rachel realizes she deserves better, just like Beth did. And Beth is the thing that stings the most. He did everything for her, helped her when she was down, fought for her when she went away, and she still didn’t want him. Watching him become more and more protective of Rachel, even though he does it in a sometimes pig-headed manner, was all the reason I needed to start swooning. Don’t get me wrong, I think I still love Noah more, but Isaiah is a close second.

Rachel was even more of a surprise. The level of emotional abuse this girl is put through without a second thought from her family is astounding. She is boxed into this role of being like her dead older sister even though it’s apparent to anyone who pays even a little attention that the two are nothing alike. But she plays the role, even though it literally makes her sick, because her mother’s happiness is paramount. Her hidden panic attacks are a small price to pay to see her mother smile, instead of seeing her mother spiral back into depression. She’s lonelier than she’d care to admit, with no one outside her brothers daring to even breathe close to her. So when Isaiah saves her from the cops, she’s grateful enough to not leave him behind when he’s car fails him. There is something mesmerizing in his grey eyes and she can’t stop thinking about what it would be like to finally get her first him, from him. She’s this amazingly shy form of brave, doing things she desperately wishes to avoid just to please a mother who doesn’t even care enough to realize that it’s killing her.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Katie McGarry knows how to write tortured characters. The plotline of this, finally learning more about Isaiah’s past and seeing how blind Rachel’s family is to what’s happening with her, was just as heart-breaking as the previous novels. Isaiah’s past isn’t as bad as Beth’s, but he’s definitely been through some bad shit and you can’t help but sympathize with his dilemma of hating the system but being so dependent on it that the thought of finding means to support himself after is ages out is terrifying. Despite not wanting to be a criminal, sometimes the illegal options look infinitely more appealing than flipping burgers.

I’ve seen several reviews complaining that they couldn’t get into this because both characters are so obsessed with cars and that took them out of the story. I whole-heartedly disagree. Seeing them connect about their passion made it all the better for me. I’m not a fanatic like them, but I can appreciate a pretty car as much as the next girl. My issue was more that they both obviously loved the fourth generation Mustang, which is my least favorite incarnation of the classic car. Okay, I’ll go ahead and say that a rant awaits below, so if you want to skip the next few paragraphs, feel free. You won’t miss anything particularly important pertaining to the writing or the plot, just my personal opinion about the cars and a few inconsistencies with them. It’s nothing that will bother the average person, but it really irritated me. The first one being that Rachel prefers the 2004 Mustang Cobra over the 2005 Mustang GT. For those of you who don’t know, I’ll provide pictures (this is eerily similar to my review for Dare You To):
2004 Mustang Cobra:

2005 Mustang GT:

As you can see, the 2005 is a throwback to the original design and, in my opinion, so much prettier. But hey, I guess I can respect an opinion that differs from mine. Whatever floats you boat. But then, if you look at the cover of this novel, I really start getting annoyed. The car color is the first thing that pops out at you. It’s red. But Rachel’s is white and Isaiah’s is black so….where’s the red come from? Then, for those of us who look a bit more closely, you’ll notice that they seat they are in does not resemble the seat of a newer model Mustang. In fact, it looks a lot like the 60’s model Mustang’s…which is what lead me to believe there would be one within these pages. There isn’t. The oldest one that appears is 1989. Then, there is the same issue that bugged me in Dare You To. It’s made clear that Rachel’s car has a manual transmissions. There are multiple mentions of them shifting gears and only a moron would race an automatic. SO THAN WHY THE FUCK DOES IT MENTION RAHCEL PUTTING HER CAR IN “PARK”? Come on, really? Again? I know the average person wouldn’t even notice this, but it obvious bugs the shit out of me. It completely pulls me out of the story. Out of all the people who proof-read this, did no one notice this? Did not one of you drive a straight drive? Seriously people, it’s not complicated. When you “park” a straight drive, you just kill the engine. If you are on a upward incline you can leave it in first gear or pull up the emergency break to keep it from moving or if you are on a downwards incline, you leave it in reverse (or pull up the emergency break) to keep it still, but there is not “park.”

Beyond that little blimp, this novel is near perfect. It gets 4 stars simply because it doesn’t quite live up to Pushing The Limits amazing-ness. It’s great, but PTL is better. I’m still super excited to read the next book. I am excited to see West’s story, though I’d be more interested to read about Abby. It’s obvious she has a bad past and an…interesting life and I would adore seeing more of her.

****Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

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Palace Of Spies (Palace Of Spies #1) by Sarah Zettel

Palace Of Spies by Sarah Zettel

TITLE: Palace Of Spies
SERIES: Palace Of Spies #1
AUTHOR: Sarah Zettel
PUBLICATION DATE: November 5, 2013
PUBLISHER: Harcourt Children’s Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
PAGES: 368 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 5 bows

Peggy Fitzroy’s led a normal life. That is, until her uncle kicked her out for refusing to marry the dastardly scoundrel he chose for her. Forced into the streets, Peggy is desperate for a way to support herself in a time where women were not allow to have an occupation. Under duress, she allows herself to be convinced to impersonate Lady Francesca, a lady-in-waiting in King George I’s court. Lady Fran died, supposedly of a fever, and now they need someone to take her place. Though Peggy is sure she doesn’t understand their motives, she knows that this will keep her fed, clothed, and sheltered until she can find other reputable employment. But she soon realizes that there is more going on in court than meets the eye and if she doesn’t figure out what it is soon, she may follow in Fran’s footsteps to an untimely demise.

Peggy is a very entertaining character. She’s clever enough to give Hermione Granger a run for her money, but balanced out with a healthy dose of fear at the appropriate moments and a penchant for hysteria if things get too out of hand. She’s stubborn enough to want to stay around and figure out what game is afoot instead of running off with the jewels she has collected, which she could easily live off of the rest of her life. Then there is her cousin, Olivia. If I loved Peggy, then I adore Olivia. Smart and sassy, with a flair for drama, this girl had me begging for a sequel from her perspective. In the first chapter, when her and Peggy where play-acting to an imagined drama, I was rolling with laughter. My one lament of this novel is we don’t get nearly enough of her, or the leading man.

Speaking of the leading man, Matthew Reade is also a hilarious character. From his first meeting with Peggy, to the end of the last battle, he screamed swoon-worhty male. Funny and hot, with a passion and talent for the arts, I was instantly in love. He has an ultra-sweet side and genuinely cares for Peggy, regardless of the façade.
He fits right into the role of leading man with perfection. The fact that he isn’t royalty or even a sir, simply a lowly apothecary’s son with the desire to pursue a career in the arts.

Given my love for historical romance novels, is it really any wonder that I loved this? Though it is very different, the setting and the writing style is the same and it had me swooning anew for this genre. I’ve read a handful of historical YA’s before, but nothing compares to this. It has the added bonus of no love triangles and no cliffhanger, so I have not a single thing to complain about. This has it all, intrigue, mystery, humor, with a romance light enough to not overtake the plot. It was everything I was looking for and more. If you like historical YA’s or just want to give something a little different a try, definitely check this one out.

****Thank you to Harcourt Children’s Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

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