Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Truthwitch

Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Let me start off by saying, sorry for being MIA the past few months.  Another state-to-state move and job change means very little time to actually sit down and blog...however I have not forgotten you and I have certainly NOT stopped reading!  So stay tuned becuase when I get some free time, there will be some massive book review love coming your way! 

So on to our WoW (Waiting on Wednesday)...Being a blogger has it's benefits of sometimes getting ARCs early to read - I love it! However, sometimes I admit that I get massive book/ARC envy from those who have particularly killer reads that I just am dying to get my hands on and this my friends is one of those instances!  Let me introduce you to the lovely and highly anticipated read of 2016 - Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard!  I mean come on!!! Look at this cover?  Does it not convey some serious bad-ass-ness?! I don't think that's a word but i mean, wow!  What a stunning cover and we all know I judge my books by their covers.   Clearly there will be magic ("witch" in the title and mystical wateryness surrounding her...duh), and fighting (did you see the sword AND dagger?) and of course love/romance/friendships (I mean she is GORG, someone's bound to fall in love or have a hardcore ship here)...and this is just the cover!  Let's dive into the synopsis (courtesy of Goodreads):

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

So all in all, yes, I'm figuratively drooling over this book.  If the book gods love me I'll hope to get it before the January 5th release but if they love others before me (and it happens) then I will gladly wait my turn and get my pre-order when the rest of the world many days?  Let the countdown begin!!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Midnight Thieif

Since I now travel for 50% of my job I sometimes feel like I live in airports and hotels.  That being said, I found myself the other day browsing the shelves of an unnamed airport bookstore and found myself buying Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief #1) by Livia Blackburne.  Now, I will preface this review by saying that I typically do not trust books purchased without research (either word of mouth, recommendation, Goodreads or Amazon or even Barnes & Noble reviews to rely on), but this cover did look interesting and I vaguely remembered seeing some hype around this when it released back in 2014.  So all that being said, let me tell you, this book did not disappoint!  My 4 hour flight went by in a flash and at the end all I could think about was getting my hands on the next installment! 

Blackburne does a great job with Midnight Thief by having all of the cornerstones I personally feel I need, first, a strong hero/heroine - Kyra definitely fits this bill as leading lady.  Kyra is full of strength and wit that helps her survive but she is not without flaws which helps her character feel genuine throughout.  She grows up a street thief to get by and provide for those in need (think Robin Hood) and is fairly decent at her craft.  She has a small group of urchins (the only family she knows) that she watches over and helps to mentor.  All in all her heart is in the right place, she has drive and is talented but she is fairly naive.  

Second key, a personal journey/great story-line - Kyra starts off in the streets of the Forge and is content there until there is a promise of more that will help her protect and care for those she loves, but it comes with a price. She takes this leap of faith and trains to help the Assassins Guild that starts off great until she gets in too deep... 

Third key, a love interest - now this can be changed out with a key second point of view or a intense friendship, but come on, we all need a little tug at the heartstrings and our "knight in shining armor" Tristam does not let us down. He is everything Kyra is not and they fit each-other perfectly in every way - except technically they are fighting on the opposite sides.  I mean if that didn't spell out star crossed then i don't know what would...

There's a fantastic twist at the end that will leave readers aching for the next installment but trust me when I say this book has it all! 

Overall, Midnight Thief has an amazing cast (a heroine you want to root for and bad guys you want to fail), magical creatures, epic fights, and a romantic pairing that is a slow build to perfection!  Definitely pick this one up for your trip, even if that trip only takes you to your favorite reading chair. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

ARC Review: Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys)

Okay I have to start by saying that I absolutely fell in love with this novel! Amy Spalding, you stole my heart with your amazingly addictive characters, witty banter and impossible situations that feel all too real! If you have not checked this one out yet, please do! It's well worth a read!

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

After catching their bandmates in a compromising position, sixteen-year-old Los Angelenos Riley and Reid become painfully aware of the romance missing from their own lives. And so a pact is formed: they'll both try to make something happen with their respective crushes and document the experiences in a shared notebook.

While Reid struggles with the moral dilemma of adopting a dog to win over someone's heart, Riley tries to make progress with Ted Callahan, who she's been obsessed with forever-His floppy hair! His undeniable intelligence! But suddenly cute guys are popping up everywhere. How did she never notice them before?! With their love lives going from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye, Riley and Reid realize the results of their pact may be more than they bargained for.

Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) is one of those books that takes you by surprise! I went into it not expecting much but really wow, I feel like I stumbled across a real GEM! I laughed, I giggled, I empathized and I was constantly expecting to be taken one way and would find myself taken in a totally different (and wonderful) direction!

The characters that Spalding creates are amazingly real and diverse and full of faults that make them so delicious and adorable and frustrating all at the same time. I want Riley and Reid to be my BFFs and seriously, the guys are all so unique and imperfect in their perfectly realistic ways. And the world building is perfect! I feel like I'm there walking the school halls, chatting in the parking lot, and in the garage during rehearsals creating, I mean avoiding awkward situations...

I will warn, for our younger readers, there is sex...brief, respectful and well done but also awkward and imperfect in a very realistically hilarious sort of way, but I do feel I should make you aware.

I love that this was written in a way where we really get two points of view - Riley (our main gal) with Passenger Manifest (aka diary/journal) entries by both Riley and Reid! The inner dialog of Riley is so perfect. Really she cracks me up and makes me want to laugh with her and yell at her at the same time. Riley really lives it up, but will her casual dating (Garrick, Milo and Ted - so many!) help or hurt her chances to really land her big fish - Ted Callahan? You would think with all these guys there would be some tortured love triangle but surprisingly there are no love triangles to be found! Hooray! 

Amy Spalding, I cannot wait to read more of your books!  Bravo!  What a complicated and yet so perfectly perfect spring read! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Blitz - Sword by Amy Bai

While we are by far mainly reviews here at All Booked Up YA, today we are participating in a Book Blitz put on by Xpresso Book Tours!  We signed up for Sword by Amy Bai because it sounds EXACTLY like the type of book we love to LOVE!

First off look at this cover?!  Who doesn't love a fiery red-headed female heroine that also has strength behind her?!  I mean really!  Wow! Love this cover art!
Second off, read this killer synopsis...can we say "WANT!"

Sword shall guide the hands of men . . .
For over a thousand years the kingdom of Lardan has been at peace: isolated from the world, safe from the wars of its neighbors, slowly forgetting the wild and deadly magic of its origins. Now the deepest truths of the past and the darkest predictions for the future survive only in the verses of nursery rhymes.

For over a thousand years, some of Lardan’s fractious provinces have been biding their time.
Kyali Corwynall is the daughter of the Lord General, a child of one of the royal Houses, and the court’s only sword-wielding girl. She has known for all of her sixteen years what the future holds for her–politics and duty, the management of a House, and protecting her best friend, the princess and presumed heir to the throne. But one day an old nursery rhyme begins to come true, an ancient magic wakes, and the future changes for everyone. In the space of a single night her entire life unravels into violence and chaos. Now Kyali must find a way to master the magic her people have left behind, or watch her world–and her closest friends–fall to a war older than the kingdom itself.

I mean right?!  Swords...Kingdoms...Magic...Royalty!  Did we say this is exactly the types of books we love to read because YES, this is EXACTLY the types of books we love to read!

Lastly, why we're so looking forward to this book...THE AUTHOR!  She just sounds like the type of person I want...NEED to know!  I mean right?!  Sheepdog lover, coffee-slinger, farm girl...can I have a girl crush? 

Check her out:
Amy Bai has been, by order of neither chronology nor preference, a barista, a numbers-cruncher, a paper-pusher, and a farmhand. She likes thunderstorms, the enthusiasm of dogs, tall boots and long jackets, cinnamon basil, margaritas, and being surprised by the weirdness of her fellow humans. She lives in New England with her guitar-playing Russian husband and two very goofy sheepdogs.

Author links:
The best news...drum roll please...
Wait, what?  That's right, you can go out and get your copy here!
Also don't forget to try your luck with the contest below!

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for hosting this Book Blitz!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Tour Stop: Sleeping Tom by E.V. Fairfall + Giveaway

All Booked Up YA is pleased to present to you, our lovely readers, Sleeping Tom by E.V. Fairfall!  Let me tell you, this book is one of those books that delivers and hits on the nerve of mental disorder - a refreshing and unique read that will leave a lasting impact.

What really initially drew me to this read was that, unlike so many YAs of current, Sleeping Tom focuses around a very real mental disorder but does it in such a tactful and engaging way. 

In Sleeping Tom we meet Rebecca/Caden a teen girl who is trying to figure out who she is.  Caden is confused and alone just getting out of her abusive relationship and that's how she meets dark, handsome and complex Gabriel/Tom.  Gabriel battles with dissociative identity disorder and at night "Tom" comes out and he's kind, patient, caring and by day he's Gabriel - testy, moody, complicated.  What's interesting is that on the flip side, Caden is struggling to really come to reality with who she is beyond who she is in relation to a boy.  Her identity grows and morphs throughout the novel and is really revealing and powerful to see.  How many of us haven't tried on different "selfs" in our lives?

While I didn't love this book to begin with (Caden was hard for me to relate to in the begining) I really did grow to love these two characters as the story unfolded and I really enjoyed that this novel broke that typical YA storyline and didn't leave you with a sickly sweet ending.  A wonderful read from an author I hope to read again in the future!

Enter to win a tote and a copy of Transformed! *US ONLY*

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February 16th
-Blushing Babes Book Blog
-Freshly Baked Books
-Livre It To Me
-beyond boyfriend reviews
-Books Direct
February 17th
-All in One Place
-The Bookwhore Diaries
-Cosying Up With Books
-TNT Reviews
-Reading Is Dreaming With Open Eyes
February 18th
-Jazzy Book Reviews
-Collector of Book Boyfriends
-What’s Beyond Forks?
-A British Bookworm’s Blog
-See Kiki Read
-we stole your book boyfriend
February 19th
-Kimber Leigh Writes
-The Phantom Paragrapher
-between the pages book blog
-The Shadow Realm
February 20th
-Creating Serenity
-DJ’s Book Corner
-Crystal’s Many Reviewers
-Cover to Cover
February 21st
-Forever Obsession
-Ogitchida Kwe’s Book Blog
-Kookie Krysp Reads
-Lita’s Book Blog
-Books and Ashes

Thursday, January 29, 2015

ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep

There are books out there that seem to hook you from the very first sentence...The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver is exactly that kind of book! Leaver will have you hook, line and sinker before you even realize it. I remember thinking within the first page, "Yup, and I'm hooked!" The Secrets We Keep is a thrilling ride that will have you eager to see what happens next on this spiraling journey about family, love and loss.

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:
Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

This book first jumped out at me because (1) I love stories about family - this one is about twins and their bond (2) I am intrigued by stories of great struggle/loss/emotion and this one has it all and (3) I have to admit this cover art had me at first glance! It's absolutely breathtaking.

TSWK is a well written story about a teen girl who loses her twin sister in an auto accident and really the two of them could not be different however it didn't always used to be that way. They used to be close and as they hit high school they drifted. This coming of age story really explores the way we see ourselves and the power that emotionally has especially in the teen years. Ella is amazing, and intelligent and has everything going for her only, like so many of us, she doesn't see that until she can see through someone else's eyes.

This is such a powerful story about family, friends and most of all sisters and also touches on the stressors of adolescence and belonging and the lengths that some will go to maintain popularity no matter how fragile a web that is. There were moments in this novel that really left me breathless and as Ella uncovered the world of popularity and family dynamics. Now don't get me wrong, there were many moments when I wanted to shake Ella and ask her what in the world she was doing but really, I think we've all had moments in our lives where someone had wanted to shake some sense in us! That's high school for you.

This is a story about life. About the fact that sometimes the grass is not always greener. This is a story about love. About how a family loves differently but the same. About how friendship is often the greatest form of love we can ever have. This is a story about life and how fantastically complicated it all become and how one lie can spin a web that can seem endless and suffocating. This is a story about finding one's self and where one belongs. This is a story about life.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Thorns and Roses

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

So first off let me say, wow it's been FOREVER since I've posted a WoW post and there are SOOOOO many amazing reads that I am looking forward to for 2015!  I wish I could list them all and eventually I do hope to list them all here but let's start with one at a time!  

Okay, so without further delay, the book that I am seriously crushing/stalking is none other than the much loved Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses!  OMG!  Seriously take a look at this synopsis (courtesy of Goodreads):
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.
Beyond the synopsis I read a teaser of the first four chapters (that can be found HERE and HERE) and OMG, I desperately need this now! And by now I mean PRONTO! ASAP! Can it please please please be May 5th? What am I to do with myself until then...let the countdown begin because with all of these teasers and talk around this one I seriously am salivating here.  We all know how much I love a re-telling and this has the promise of a loose nod to the adored Beauty and the Beast story.  It really doesn't get better than faeries, amazing world building, hot steamy love interests and a fierce and strong leading lady!

I mean don't just take my word for it, check out some of the reviews on Goodreads and be sure to add this to your TBR pile because this one looks like one to DEFINITELY not miss in 2015!  EEeee let the wait begin...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review: The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2)

Wow, I COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN! Initial overall thoughts: If you loved The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) then you will LOVE The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2)! Drop what you're doing and carve out a day, afternoon or several bus rides to dive into the depths of the world of the Scion and get ready to lose yourself to the world of Samantha Shannon!

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads:

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London...

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city's gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

Where do I start? This is a hard review to write only because I want to do TMO justice and I can't really divulge all of the wonderfulness because of spoiler-y-ness. I mean come on, I seriously finished this in about 7 hours and it was a whirlwind of amazingness! I will warn that the first 60-70% felt rather slow for my general taste but because of Shannon's amazing writing/world building/characters I really did not mind it especially when she gifted us readers with the last 30-40%! Hold on to your seat because that part is AH-MAZ-ING!

Let me start by saying that Samantha Shannon is a true master of her craft! She can spin a web so intricate that you feel as if you have actually fallen into a world so real that you can actually touch, hear, feel and smell everything around you! Oh, I could read her words forever. Honestly, because she is such a talented writer that is what helped me through the slow start.

Secondly, the characters just get better! We learn so much more not only about Paige and Jaxon (who I seriously love, but I hate...I love to hate him) but also from our secondary characters who really seem to fill in and wow, I love Shannon for giving them some depth! Warden to me is still mysterious but OMG how much do I LOVE their romance. Again, Warden does not really come back in until the last 30% of the novel but when he does it's SOOOOO worth it! There is one scene...and, well, you will know when it hits you! The romance in TMO is subtle but adds so much to the story without overwhelming it. It's perfection.

Honestly if you're still on the fence about this book, trust me (and many others) when I say, this is worth the read! It's slow to start but it's absolutely stunning and one that I would hate for you all to miss out on! So what are you waiting for?

**Update: If you're on the go, know that there is also a FANTASTIC audio version narrated by Alana Kerr available for purchase HERE!  Check out this sample and enjoy on your commute!**