Saturday, October 24, 2015

Review: The Clockwork Scarab

by Colleen Gleason

Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.

Goodreads/Amazon/Barnes and Noble
*Recieved for free in exchange for an honest review*

Are you a fan of Sherlock, British mysteries, or paranormal reads? Well, you have hit the jackpot with the new Stoker and Holmes series. I absolutely adored this novel! The Clockwork Scarab has amazing characters, an awesome plot, hints of romance, paranormal aspects, danger, and humor.

First of all, Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker are an amazing team and each girl has their own distinct voice and talents. Sure, they many not be BFFs yet. At first, they didn't even necessarily like each other. However, I can tell they will grow to be close friends in future books...

Mina definitely proves herself worthy to call herself Sherlock's niece. Her observation skill and knowledge are most admirable. Evaline was equally as awesome. She is super strong, popular in London society, and over all kickbutt... although she does have a problem with blood. One of my favorite scenes is when she goes to a pub and establishes dominance over Pix in an arm wrestling match. Pix is an awesome character who I loved!!! Other great male characters included Inspector Grayling and a really sweet time traveler. Personally, I am rooting for Mina to end up with Grayling. Both guys are awesome but he is a much better match for her!

The plot was great too! There is a mysterious, scary villain, Egyptian goddesses, scarabs, time travel, and, of course, murder. And the mystery starts with a task set from no one other than Irene Addler! Although the plot was full of danger and life-or-death situations, the author still managed to incorporate witty lines that made me laugh!

Overall, The Clockwork Scarab is definitely a new favorite. I cannot wait for the next book!
4.5/5 Stars

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Non YA Reviews: Bend Your Brain, The Thug Kitchen, and Hope in Ballet Shoe

Received for review from Blogging for Books. All opinions are honest and my own! Yeah, this is a strange one! However,  I wanted to try out this blogger's reviewing site and none of the fiction interested me :)                                  

I had a lot of fun flipping through the pages and testing my brain! There were five main sections, my favorites being Coordination and Visual Perception. As soon as I got it, I got to work solving... and I can imagine this book would be great for car rides and any time you're bored in public. Or, just challenge yourself to a few pages every night before bed.         
Also, Bend Your Brain was very witty and funny at times, and the problems were very clever. My dad and I had fun challenging each other. I wasn't so impressed with this book that I would consider buying more books like it, but I did enjoy stretching my brain and I feel very sophisticated having it on my shelf!

I bought this book... and I have no regrets. Thug Kitchen is hilarious with delicious looking recipes! I'm not even vegan, but I'm immensely loving this cookbook. My friend and I laughed so hard while flipping through the pages... Warning: there is profanity. 

I first saw Michaela DePrince in the documentary, First Position. Then, while in London, I came upon this book! The book was inspiring and had me rooting for Michaela the entire time. Her childhood was unimaginable... but she overcame the bad and became a dancer. I especially loved how one magazine cover started her dream!

Any dancers or fans of inspirational, true stories will love this novel to pieces.

I hope you enjoyed these Non-YA Reviews!

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Top Ten Books To Read If You Love Throne of Glass

What Throne of Glass Fans Should Read NEXT

1. Ettiquette and Espionage
Instead of just one Celeana... imagine a whole school flying airship of kickbutt girls! Plus, there are all sorts of magical creatures!

2. The False Prince
Sage is just as sassy and smart as Celeana. I would love to see them meet! Plus, there are many parallels between the novels (some I can't say) but both feature competitions for a royal job, etc.

3. Cruel Beauty 
A MUST read! The world is so interesting and ToG fans will lap the story up!

4. The Winner's Curse
For those who love the subtle complex, tough main characters who can fight with weapons and words.

5. The Wrath and the Dawn
Once again, a clever heroine with a wonderful romance!

6. Alanna
Sorry Celeana, but Alanna will always be my original kickbutt role model. Always.

7. Cinder
Both tales are loose (VERY loose for ToG) retellings of Cinderella with a delightful cast with funny and amazing characters!

8. Dragon Slippers
In the mood for a middle grade novel with dragons? (Who isn't?) Romance, magic, princes, adventure, and castles make this novel a perfect pairing for ToG!

9. Princess of the Midnight Ball
So I included two Jessica Day George books... sue me. They are amazing though! I can't help it.

10. A Court of Thorns and Roses
Of Course I include Maas's other work here! I might love ACOTAR even more than Throne of Glass. Read my review here

Link me up to your Top Ten Tuesdays! What a creative topic this week... I had fun. (Also read all the books above!)
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Review: Legacy of Kings


Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancĂ©e, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.


Despite a rocky start, I really ended up enjoying this book! SO many POVs could have been a disaster, but I looked forward to each character's chapters. I am excited for the next book!

Honestly, my favorite characters were Zo and Alexander. Although the evil, darker characters such as Olympias were fascinating to read about as well because they were given backstories that didn't excuse their actions, but led me to understand their motives better. Also, I loved the friendship dynamic between Alex and Heph... I questioned how they could continue to be true friends with so many barriers and misunderstandings, but I am a sucker for bromances!

Also, even though I kind of guessed the twist, the surprise ending has me anxious for the second novel. On an unrelated note, the aristotle quotes before each section, the descriptions, and the history bits really showed the author did her research and made the book feel very 340 BC. I haven't read any books about Alexander the Great or this time period in Greece so I was drawn in by the newness of the story.

Sadly, I had a hard time getting sucked into the novel initially. My second complaint was that I wasn't quite feeling the Jacob/Katerina love drama. Still, it barely detracted from the novel. And, I loved that Kat focused on other things than Jacob, as she never quite sorted out her true feelings for him! She was a strong character all on her own.

I read this book at the perfect time, as we are learning about Ancient Greece in History. Also, I flew through the last half. I highly recommend this to lovers of stories with magic, mythology, royalty, and epic settings!

4/5 Stars

*Received through a giveaway. This did not affect my opinion in any way*
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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Frostfire

(Please note that I received this book for review through Firstreads. However, this is a 100% honest review.)


Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who's determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She's not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

Oh what fun! I absolutely loved returning to Amanda Hocking's world of trolls, royalty, and trackers! I would whole heartedly recommend this book to almost anyone. There is humor, romance, and action. I can already tell the Kanin Chronicles will be an amazing series. 

First, we have our heroine. Bryn. I think I like her even more than I liked Wendy from the Trylle trilogy! She is a hard working tracker that stands out because of blonde hair, fair skin, and eyes, unlike the rest of the Kanin, that mark her a a half-breed. She is half Skojare, making her an outcast. 

As always, Amanda Hocking ha of provided us with two love interests. Love triangles aren't really my thing, but Amanda Hocking does it so well. I lapped it up! Currently, I really like Ridley. But, I feel like I could really grow to like Konstantin once I understand his background, his reasons for his actions, and just get to know him better! (Plus, I love his name.) Another character I liked was Linus, a changeling Bryn saved from Konstantin. He was really sweet and I hope he has parts in the upcoming sequels!

Also, there was all the royal intrigue and stuff. I love reading about riches and dances. It's so fun! Speaking of royalty, I really didn't like the king, and I am really intrigued by the queen. The king seems pretty stuck up to me, and it was implied that the queen was lying about loving her husband! What fun!

For those wondering, it is not necessary to read the Trylle trilogy first, but I would highly recommend doing so. There are a few cameos of characters from the trilogy, and the books would give you a deeper understanding of the world! Plus, it is just interesting to reading from both Wendy and Bryn's view points, since one is the equivalent of a princess and the other is a tracker and a "peasant".

Overall, I can't wait for the next book in the series. I can always count on Hocking for an entertaining, engaging read full of vibrant characters, swoony love interests, amazing settings and ideas, and fighting/action! 

4/5 stars
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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

What a fantastical, gripping, compelling read. ACK! This will probably be a long review...

A Court of Thorns and Roses is definitely a new favorite! Honestly, while reading, I was a reminded a bit of my favorite tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” although I know ACOTAR is said to be more of a loose Beauty and the Beast retelling. Either way, I LOVED this book. 

(For the rest of the review A Court of Thorns and Roses will be referred to as ACOTAR to save my poor typing fingers.)

Firstly, while reading ACOTAR, I realized it gave me a classic feeling no other Fantasy book has given me in 2015. I don’t know quite how to explain this phenomenon, but when I read books by Tamora Pierce, Jessica Day George, Shannon Hale, Brandon Sanderson, and OF COURSE Sarah J. Maas I always feel the same “floaty” feeling. I feel at home reading these books yet still they are exciting and unpredictable. So, when I felt this “floaty” feeling of utter enthrallment, I knew ACOTAR would be a novel I will reread for years to come.

Secondly, I loved the characters. Feyre was tough, flawed, likable, admirable, and I easily started seeing the Fae world through her eyes. As for the other characters, Feyre’s family all had more than one dimension to them, especially her sisters. Of course, the love interests were intriguing as well. I haven’t picked a “side” yet but I know I will probably be a wee bit more in favor of one by the second book!

Let’s talk about the world. The seasonal courts, the magic, the different creatures, the villains, the beautiful and terrifying locations such a castles, dungeons, forests, and more created a lush (and sometimes dark) setting. I never felt disconnected from the kingdoms of ACOTAR.

I read ACOTAR soooooooo fast. I sat down and was completely immersed. This book reminded me of why I LOVE fantasy. I will always be a sucker for the dresses, strong heroines, weapons, castles, forests, politics, descriptions, darkness, romance, conflicting kingdoms, and royalty. I loved reading about Feyre, Tamlin, Lucien, Rhysand, and the rest of the cast. I relished every minute. 

5/5 Stars 

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Revenge Playbook

The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 16th 2015
*Received for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Rating: 4.25 Stars


Don’t get mad, get even! In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

Brimming with sharp observations and pitch-perfect teen voices, fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Mlynowski are sure to fall head-over-heels for this sharp tale—by the author of 17 First Kisses—about the unexpected roads that can lead you to finding yourself.

What a gem! This book is everything I wanted and more. Sure, it was fun and hilarious at parts, but also dealt with serious issues. The Revenge Playbook is Important with a capital I, yet isn't yelling in your face. (Although at some parts you'll feel like yelling in anger... in a good way.) I urge you to pick up this read that I adored greatly!

Firstly, the friendship is on point. My heart was warmed and I LOVE seeing female friendship in books with different dynamics. Often, I feel as if the same friendship tropes are recycled and overused but Allen impressed me. It was sweet and empowering.

Each girl had her own story, but I didn’t feel as if the book was choppy as a result. In fact, knowing so much about each girl made their friendship all the more powerful and brought in so many more themes/discussion topics such as rape culture, stepping out of your comfort zone, teacher bias, religion, and divorce. Additionally, the author points out that girls shouldn't be ridiculed whether they wear very modest clothes or show skin... and points out other unfair double standards in which the girl can never win. (and there is dancing :D) 

There is romance, although it isn't the focus of the novel. I loved all the the love interests. They were real, and some made mistakes, but all were good guys (unlike some specific football team members).  I especially loved Trevor and Michael. 

Sure, you are supposed to hate some horrible football players and some unfair teachers and counselors (Ugh. I'm still angry about Peyton's geometry class!). However, there are still great characters such as the protagonists (duh), the aforementioned love interests, guy and girl friends, and even awesome bikers. You also get a glimpse into some of the girl's families and see so many different parent dynamics. There is such a great variety of characters! 

Of course, the scavenger hunt for the sacred football (or whatever) was so much fun and I had a blast reading about it! I felt as if something of mine was at stake while reading! (BEAT THAT HORRIBLE FOOTBALL TEAM GIRLS!) This leads me to the conclusion. I wanted to see MORE MORE MORE justice but I guess the book was trying to be realistic. *sigh* I still loved the ending though. It put me to tears and I felt a sense of rightness in the world finally. 

Overall, read this book. There is so much awesomeness to discuss. (And it is a feminist's dream!) 
On June 16, 2015, use the hashtag #BFFdraft to talk about who you’d want in your ultimate BFF group. You can pick YA characters, celebrities, girls who are doing cool stuff to make the world a better place, girls who are already your besties.

For more information go here or to the Thunderclap campaign. Or you can help us spread the word on June 16th, 2015, by tweeting the following message:

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Follow the The Revenge Playbook Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Rachael Allen lives in Atlanta, GA where she's working furiously on her PhD in neuroscience. When she's not doing science or writing YA, you can find her chasing after her toddler and her two sled dogs. Her debut YA novel 17 FIRST KISSES, is forthcoming from Harper Teen. Rachael may or may not have had 17 first kisses...luckily she doesn't kiss and tell.

US Only

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Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Favorite 2015 Reads... So far

As soon as school started last September, I decided to take a blogging break. Throughout the year I participated in a few blog tours, kept up with a few of my favorite blogs, but other than that I was MIA from the blogosphere :) I definitely missed being here on Reader Rising but I was super busy and honestly needed a break.

Now that I'm back, I need to start catching up and posting! I thought a good first post would be to prove to you I've still been a reading maniac with my...

Top Reads of 2015 List! 
(these are books I READ in 2015, they may have been published earlier)

Holy guacamole. I wasn't expecting to LOVE this book so much. I cried, laughed, and then cried some more. Who am I kidding? I was flat-out bawling at parts! The story was beautiful and amazing and raw. While this book features a fantastic romance, there is so much more to it. The themes of war, loss, and growing up impressed me and will stick with it's readers for a long time. You won't regret picking this baby up!

The Finishing School series by Gail Carriger continues to thrill me. This 3rd installment features excitement, dresses, steampunk everything, and an amazing cast of eccentric characters. I read through Sophronia's tale lightning fast and now I am DYING for the next book. That ending absolutely killed me... I cannot recommend this series highly enough. (Plus the alliteration in the titles is sooooo awesome!) 

Ahh, the amazing Lunar chronicles! I know many were disappointed they got Levana's story instead of Winter, but I was absolutely thrilled. I love backstories about villains and this one in particularly hit all the right chords. I was creeped out, sympathetic, and utterly intrigued. Meyer's world is so vivid and intricate that I couldn't help but be drawn into the pages. Fairest just increased my excitement for Winter tenfold. Plus, there's a beautiful art layout on the first page! 

Honorable Mentions

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts on my 2015 picks or recommend me some of your own favorites! 

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