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Sanctuary by Caryn Lix Blog Tour | Review, Fav Quotes, & Giveaway!

Sanctuary by Caryn Lix Blog Tour | Review, Fav Quotes, & Giveaway!Sanctuary by Caryn Lix
Published by Simon Pulse on July 24, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Pages: 480
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

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My thoughts

I almost gave up on Sanctuary. The first 90 (give or take) pages gave us a great rundown on Kenzie’s world: how the society worked, which groups were in power, and why the ship, Sanctuary was created; but very little action. Just when I was close to marking this book as DNF – non-stop action kicked in – and I was hooked! 

Kenzie was a complex character. She was raised to believe that any individual with supernatural abilities was dangerous, and that it was a great honor to work, even die for Omnistellar, the most powerful corporation in the world that kept teen supes incarcerated. When Sanctuary was breached, and Kenzie was forced to team up with the teens for her own survival, she started to lose her loyalty and faith towards Omnistellar. The teens weren’t as non-human as she was led to believe. I admired Kenzie, because she was incredibly brave and compassionate. She couldn’t stand to see anyone in pain, and regardless of her upbringing, didn’t hesitate in helping and protecting the teens.

The setting was deliciously eerie. From the moment we met Kenzie, and the other guards on Sanctuary, I feared for them. Even though there was an advanced AI system monitoring and controlling the prison cells, the guards were seriously outnumbered by the “dangerous” teens. The story got even more nail-bitey when teens started disappearing, and strange creatures started roaming the halls. As promised, this book was full of suspense, thrill, and danger, and gave me major goosebumps.

Sanctuary was intense and shocking, and I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it. There was a big cliffhanger at the end of the book, and I really hope we get at least two sequels, because I think there’s a lot more story to tell. There’s also many characters I want to get to know better.


A few of my favorite quotes

I tucked myself behind him and drew my strength from his hand against my back, and just for one damn second, I didn’t let myself think. It was maybe the most freeing experience of my life.

There was a protective quality to his hold, as if he could somehow keep me safe if he just made me small enough.

We might be foolish. We might even be going to our deaths. But at least we were doing it together.


About the author

Caryn Lix has been writing since she was a teenager and delved deep into science fiction, fantasy, and the uncanny while working on her Masters in English literature. Caryn writes novels for teens and anyone else who likes a bit of the bizarre to mess up their day.

When not writing, Caryn spends her time obsessively consuming other people’s stories, plotting travel adventures, and exploring artistic endeavors. She lives with her husband and a horde of surly and entitled animals in southern Alberta.


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Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Starry Eyes by Jenn BennettStarry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse on April 3, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 432
Source: Library
Goodreads
three-stars

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?


I’m sad that I couldn’t give Starry Eyes more than 3 stars. So many readers love this book, and I’m over here like “meh”.

Zorie frustrated me a lot, because she refused to acknowledge how awful her “friend” Reagan was. Reagan is a total b*tch, who doesn’t mind hurting Zorie’s feelings, and Zorie just sits there and takes it. Multiple people tell Zorie that she deserves better, but she just ignores them, preferring to live in denial.

Lennon was definitely my favorite character. He’s just a really cool *out there* guy. He doesn’t care about labels. He dresses emo, loves reptiles, horror manga, and all things macabre, and doesn’t care what people say or think about him. I wish that I could be as confident and comfortable with myself like he is.

This book bored me for 200 pages, I loved it for 150, and then I got bored again. I think that it had far too many pages, and that the whole *Lennon and Zorie are alone in the woods* thing should have happened sooner than it did.

Even though I thought this book lacked some luster, I plan on reading other books by this author. I think she’s a good writer, and that this book just wasn’t for me.

three-stars
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Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch |Blog Tour| Review & Giveaway!

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch |Blog Tour| Review & Giveaway!Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Published by Simon Pulse on May 8, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-stars

Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding, and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing she did that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once inseparable siblings. Miserable, Addie can’t wait to visit her friend in Italy and leave her brother—and her problems—behind.

So when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s able to finally escape her anxious mind and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute, Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is if they don’t get completely lost along the way.


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My thoughts

Love & Luck was a quick, cute, fun read that had me laughing out loud often, and at one point, tearing up.

Addie is having a rough summer. Something awful happened between her and a guy named Cubby, right before she left for Ireland with her family. Whatever the something is, has caused a major rift between Addie and Ian, the brother that has always been her partner in crime, and her best friend. We don’t find out what happened with Cubby until nearly the end of the book, and the wait was nail-biting.

I didn’t like Addie in the beginning, because she was aggressive, and had a super bad temper that led to acts of violence against Ian. She took sibling squabbles to a whole new level, and I felt bad for her brother. Addie eventually grew on me, when she started contemplating and working through her misplaced anger.

My favorite character in Love & Luck, was definitely Rowan, because he’s a super nice guy, with a sweet disposition, and made a great mediator between the two feuding siblings. However, one of the main reasons I only gave this book 4 stars, was because I was disappointed with how Rowan’s dialogue was written. He’s supposed to have an accent that’s ‘100 percent Irish’, but his dialogue didn’t read as having that accent. I actually kept forgetting he was supposed to be Irish, because reading his lines was like listening to a 100 percent accented American.

I’ve never been to Ireland, but it’s on my top 5 list of must-travel places. Reading Love & Luck, has made me want to go to Ireland even more. Addie, Ian, and Rowan, are traveling across Ireland, stopping at historical landmarks, and every time they mentioned one, I immediately put the book down, and googled pictures. The landmarks in Ireland are breathtaking, and I really hope one day I can see them in person.

Before I finish this review, I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Love & Luck, because it really moved me.

You don’t need anyone, unless you want them. You’re enough all on your own.


About the author

         

Jenna Evans Welch was the kind of insatiable child reader who had no choice but to grow up to become a writer. She is the New York Times Bestselling author of LOVE & GELATO and the upcoming LOVE & LUCK.

When she isn’t writing girl abroad stories, Jenna can be found chasing her children or making elaborate messes in the kitchen. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and two young children.


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four-stars
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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep by Shea ErnshawThe Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Published by Simon Pulse on March 6, 2018
Genres: Supernatural, Romance, Young Adult, Macabre
Pages: 320
Source: Library
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I think my reading experience for The Wicked Deep was doomed from the beginning. My expectations were too high because of the many ravings by bloggers, authors, and the already announced Netflix adaptation. Don’t get me wrong, this book wasn’t horrible, but I felt like it should have been better.

I’m not 100% sure why this book didn’t workout for me, but I suspect it mostly had to do with the fact that I was often able to correctly guess where the story was headed. I try not to, but more often than not, I find myself scrutinizing characters, guessing the decisions they will make, and contemplating what the most logical and/or shocking outcome the author can conjure up . I really need to learn how to kick this bad habit, because it’s helped ruin too many books for me.

This review was purposefully left mini and vague, because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone interested in reading this book. The Wicked Deep is built on WTF moments, and I don’t think it has much else going for it once they are revealed.

If you love macabre, supernatural books, and aren’t the type to scrutinize story-lines, you might enjoy this book.

*One last irrelevant thought – this book cover is stunning! It’s a bummer I didn’t love this book, because it would have looked gorgeous on my bookshelf.

two-half-stars
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A Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca

A Kiss in the Dark by Gina CioccaA Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca
Published by Simon Pulse on March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 341
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-stars

When the lights go out at a Georgia high school football game, Macy Atwood finds herself in the arms of a boy who kisses her senseless – but is gone by the time the lights come back on. All she knows is that there was something special – and oddly familiar – about her mystery kisser.

Noah Granger, Ridgedale’s resident bad boy and newest transfer student, has no problem taking credit for the kiss, but Macy can’t shake the feeling that he’s lying. Especially since a photograph of Macy and former star football player Joel Hargrove resurfaced online moments before the blackout, a not-so random reminder of how hard she fell for Joel last year. And how doing so ultimately sent her lifelong friendships with Meredith Kopala and Ben Collins up in literal smoke.

Soon junior year’s wounds begin to reopen as Macy realizes the events that unfolded are somehow tied to her mystery kisser. Discovering how means finally facing what really went wrong with Meredith, Ben, and Joel – and finding out what Noah is covering up.

But the closer Macy gets to figuring it all out, the more she starts to worry that the boy who kissed her in the dark and the boy who is stealing her heart might be two very different people.

 


This was a cute, surprisingly non-soap-opera-y contemporary romance. Usually when there’s multiple teenage suitors in contemporaries it can get corny and over-dramatic. Thankfully the characters in A Kiss in the Dark were reasonably and refreshingly mature.

I really liked Macy. She’s always the first to befriend new students and the first to stand-up to bullies. Even though she had a tendency to cower when it came to her heart, she was always fearless when it came to protecting others.

It’s senior year when this book starts out, and during a football game, the stadium lights go out and Macy shares a kiss with a mystery boy. Macy spends her time in A Kiss in the Dark trying to figure out who the mystery kisser is, while also trying to process what led up to a falling out she had with three classmates junior year, two whom were good friends, and one who was a sort-of-almost boyfriend. I loved how Macy wasn’t one of those “poor me poor me” characters. She generally cares about her ex-friends and acknowledges that she played a part in the fall out.

This book flashes between the now (senior year) and the then (junior year). The swap back-and-forth was smooth and each timeline held my interest.

I couldn’t pick a favorite suitor, because I liked all the guys / potential mystery kissers. They were all wrapped in mystery and had secrets I was dying to find out. There wasn’t a single boring character in this book!

I’m not a fan of football, but strangely enough I loved the TV show Friday Night Lights, which this book reminded me of. A Kiss in the Dark is set in a quaint Southern town where football is life and the entire town comes together for spirit week and homecoming. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wished I had grown up in a town like that. My high school didn’t even have school dances and this book made me so jealous.

This book was paced nicely in the beginning, and then halfway through it started feeling off. I think it could have done with 50 or so less pages. Towards the last quarter of the book I guessed where the ending was headed for the characters, and even though I was right, I was still pleased and impressed with the wrap-up

I’d definitely read another contemporary by this author.

four-stars