Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Review: Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake (and Giveaway)

From Goodreads: Hadley St. Clair's life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone. Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably "feels like home" to Hadley. Hadley and Sam's connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything. 

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Going in, I knew that romance would be a prominent feature in Ashley Herring Blake’s Suffer Love due to the cover. What I wasn’t expecting from it was to explore how an extramarital affair can affect not just a spouse, but the children as well.

Early on in Suffer Love, it’s revealed that Sam’s mother and Hadley’s father had a year-long affair with each other. Months later, both families are still reeling from the news. Feeling betrayed by her father, Hadley no longer believes in love, and seeks meaningless comfort from guys. Meanwhile, Sam’s father has moved away, and his mother spends little time with him. Both Hadley and Sam’s emotions felt realistic, as did the connection between them.

Though it's obvious that Sam and Hadley will eventually fall for each other, I wanted to know whether their relationship would survive, given the awkward circumstances. Unfortunately, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the answer since it acknowledged, but didn't really address the problem.

Suffer Love will be released on May 3, 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers. 

Comments About the Cover: I’m glad I had an e-ARC because I wouldn’t be caught on the bus with a cover like that :) 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher for free via The Fantastic Flying Book Club. 

Suffer Love can be bought from: [Amazon] [Barnes and Noble] [Book Depository] [Kobo]

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You can follow the rest of the tour by clicking on this link. Also, visit Ashley Herring Blake's website to find out more about her and follow her on Twitter at @ashleyhblake.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

From Goodreads: Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters - the only two in Russia - and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side. And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill - the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death. Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter - even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has? For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with - beautiful, whip smart, imaginative - and he can’t stop thinking about her. And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love ... or be killed himself. As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear ... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose. 

My Rating: 2.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye was a book that I was really looking forward to reading because I thought it would involve two enchanters using magic to outduel, and possibly kill, each other. Unfortunately, my high expectations for this book were dashed as the plot mainly focused on romance, which involved both insta-love and a love triangle. Oh, and that magic … it’s pretty much only used to redecorate parts of Saint Petersburg. 

The characters were also not the best developed because I would frequently question their motivations and actions. Nikolai, for example, is an orphan who has had to fight to get whatever he wants. Why would he suddenly fall for a girl when the stakes involve death?!

Despite all that, I managed to be entertained by The Crown’s Game until close to the end, where it appears that the losing enchanter hasn’t actually died. Perhaps it’s just me, but I seriously don’t get why authors take the easy way out and not kill a main character if they’re supposed to die! 

The Crown’s Game will be released by Balzer + Bray on May 17, 2016.  

Comments About the Cover: It’s so stunning! I love that your eye is immediately captured by the Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood (which is in the shape of a crown), and that you can see Vika running on water in the corner. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Harpercollins) via Edelweiss.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Review: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

From Goodreads: Rose Howard has Asperger’s syndrome, and an obsession with homonyms (even her name is a homonym). She gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Rain was a lost dog Rose’s father brought home. Rose and Rain are practically inseparable. And they are often home alone, as Rose’s father spends most evenings at a bar, and doesn’t have much patience for his special-needs daughter. Just as a storm hits town, Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. Rose will find Rain, but so will Rain’s original owners.

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Way back in elementary school, I loved reading Ann M. Martin’s The Babysitter’s Club and Babysitters Little Sister series. So, when I saw her name on Rain Reign, I didn’t even bother reading the summary to see what Rain Reign was about.

When I began Rain Reign, I was a little worried that it might be too simplistic for me because it’s told from the perspective of a girl in Grade 5 who has Asperger’s syndrome and narrates her story using the rules she’s been taught about narrative writing. Rain Reign, however, did end up dealing with more mature themes. Rose, for example, has a mother who left her and an alcoholic father who doesn’t understand her. She has no friends at school due to impairments in social interaction (e.g. she constantly talks about prime numbers and homonyms, she needs everyone to follow the rules, etc.), and has been held back a year because her school isn’t equipped to deal with her needs. The only good things in Rose’s life appear to be her uncle and her dog, Rain.

Martin makes it really easy for the reader to root for Rose throughout the story. While I enjoyed Rain Reign, I know my younger self would have loved this book. I highly recommend it for kids in elementary and middle school!

Rain Reign was released by Feiwel and Friends in October 2014. 

Comments About the Cover: I like that the cover depicts the relationship between Rose and Rain.