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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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The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista Blog Tour | Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista Blog Tour | Excerpt & Giveaway!The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista
Published by Swoon Reads on June 19, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads

Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother's best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she's always dreamed of—starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket.

Or it seems like the perfect plan...right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have?

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Excerpt

          “Oh, there’s pie!” Stella said. The excitement in her voice pulled him away from his thoughts. “My treat!”

          She opened her bag and grabbed her wallet. A small book fell out as she did so. Will was about to call her attention to it, but she had already scampered away to buy dessert. Curious, Will reached out for the book. It was handmade, and on the cover it said BOYFRIEND BRACKET in glittering letters.

          “What the hell?” He grimaced as he flipped through the book.

          Inside were pictures and information on eight guys. If Will remembered correctly, they all went to Oak Hills High. One of them had even been on the football team with him. The guy she was with at the frat party. On the back of the first four pages were notes in Stella’s cursive writing.

          For Tommy Larrabee, she’d written, “Give Tommy another chance. He’s a nice guy. Passionate.”

          For Kevin Marquez, she’d written, “Cute, but too self- involved. Totally no connection.”

          For Daniel Connors all she’d written was “Pervert.”

          And for the fourth guy, Joey Esposito, she’d written, “I like him.”

          Those three words were the worst of them all. They were three stabs in the gut for Will. Not only was she dating, but she had a roster of guys she had placed in a bracket so she could pick a boyfriend. Most of the guys in the book were total idiots. The kind he and Cam had worked hard to scare away from her.

54


About the author

        

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University – Manila with an Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently she writes full time and is based in the Philippines. To learn more about Kate, please visit her website at www.kateevangelista.com or follow her on Twitter @KateEvangelista


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Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga Blog Tour | Review, Fav Quotes, & Giveaway!

Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga Blog Tour | Review, Fav Quotes, & Giveaway!Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga
Published by Entangled Teen on July 3, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that.

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My thoughts

Kiss of the Royal surprised me. At first the book’s cover and description didn’t grab me, so I passed over it. I’m so glad I ended up going back for a second glance, because it turned out to be one of my favorite 2018 reads!

Goblins and griffins and wraiths oh my! Kiss of the Royal had a great, new magical setting, with a lot of evil creatures, new forms of magic (I.E. magical kisses), and original mythology.

A world that I wouldn’t want to live in. Ivy’s been conditioned into thinking that love doesn’t exist, only lust. She and the rest of the population are expected to produce children with specific people, at specific times, in order to breed the best and strongest soldiers. Kiss of the Royal reminded me of the The Handmaid’s Tale, because of the disturbing, oppresive society that controlled procreation.

Zach stole my heart. He’s not only goofy (knocking things over), and hilarious (constantly cracking jokes), he’s also incredibly passionate. He believes in true love and marriage, two things that are outlawed in his world. Even though being a romantic and preaching about it, can lead to a death sentence, Zach doesn’t hide who he is and what he believes in. I was scared and impressed by his refusal to back down.

Digestion problems. The one issue I had with Kiss of the Royal, was the info dump that happened in the beginning of the book. Instead of a slow introduction, we’re tossed headfirst into Ivy’s world, expected to easily grasp how it works, the creatures, magic, laws, and mythology.  It took about 50 pages before I was able to smoothly follow along. I’m so  glad I stuck it out too, because this book was worth it.

I’m still hungry. I was devastated when I realized this was a standalone book. Even though the story wrapped up nicely, I can’t help but crave more Ivy and Zach, one of my favorite 2018 couples.

Magic spells, sword fights, terrifying creatures, lots of romantic swoon – this book has it all! 


A few of my favorite quotes

An icy ball of fear weighed in my gut. It was so cold I thought it would freeze my insides. But at the same time, something much more powerful burned inside me. In my chest, melting that block of ice, were flames fueled by anger and passion.

Logically, I knew it was a good plan, but it didn’t feel like an evaluation or a test. It felt like a competition for me. And I didn’t like being viewed as a prize to be won.

Isn’t the irony hilarious? The girl I love begging me to kiss her everyday, and I have to refuse. And I have to. Not just for my own beliefs and this golden theory, but for my own sanity. Because a kiss would mean nothing to you, while it meant everything to me.


About the author

Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.


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four-half-stars
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Love Me, Love Me Not by S.M. Koz |Blog Tour| Review & Giveaway

Love Me, Love Me Not by S.M. Koz |Blog Tour| Review & GiveawayLove Me, Love Me Not by S.M. Koz
Published by Swoon Reads on June 19, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

When Hailey Brown is removed from her home and put into foster care, all she wants is a safe, comfortable place where she can finish school and move on with her life. It’s not easy adjusting to a new school and a new life, but Mr. and Mrs. Campbell and their teenage son, Brad, welcome Hailey with open arms.

As Hailey begins to adjust to her new life, she and Brad grow closer. For the first time, Hailey feels like she might have a real shot at a future. Soon, however, Hailey realizes her relationship with Brad has crossed the line from friendship into something more. But being with Brad would mean giving up the perfect life that Hailey has waited so long to have.

Can Hailey and Brad resist the feelings that are developing between them—or will they risk it all to be together?

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My thoughts

This book was glued to my hands. On a late Sunday morning I sat down and started reading Love Me, Love Me Not, by the evening I was finished with it. I couldn’t put it down! The moment Hailey was introduced, I wanted to know more about her. I wanted to know how she landed in foster care, and why she was with a guy named Chase, who was clearly a loser, and not good for her.

The short stick. My heart hurt for Hailey, because she had to grow up with a mother that abused her verbally, emotionally, and occasionally physically. Hailey’s boyfriend Chase was no better. He was always putting her down by telling her that she was nothing more than his property. Hailey’s upbringing prior to living with the Campbells was a nightmare, and I wanted to constantly give her hugs because of it. The Campbells, along with her new classmates, helped Hailey start to see that good people exist in the world, ones that want to build you up, not just knock you down.

K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Hailey and Brad had great chemistry and I was rooting for them wholly. I was also super nervous for them. Their romantic relationship is something they have to keep a secret, because dating your foster sibling is a big no-no. Hailey was constantly afraid that they’d be caught, and that she’d be kicked out of, yet again, another foster home. She was especially afraid because the Campbells were the best foster parents she’d ever had. They made her feel secure and wanted and treated her like a real member of their family.

So many feels. This book just really tugged at my heartstrings. I felt so much while reading. I felt joyous when Hailey started to feel safe and loved. I felt proud when she started to work harder in school, to bring up her gpa, and increase her chances of getting accepted into college. I felt scared when Chase started showing up unannounced, threatening to ruin Hailey’s new, good life. I felt sad, when pieces of Hailey’s horrible upbringing were revealed. Like I said, so many feels! The feels were overwhelming, and made me want to read and read, until I devoured every sentence in this book.

One bone to pick. The only thing I didn’t love about Love Me, Love Me Not was the ending. I thought it was a little anticlimactic. The emotions were always running high in Love Me, Love Me Not, and I was expecting an explosive ending. What we got was bittersweet, and emotional, but not quite the fireworks I thought the story was heading towards.


About the author

SM KOZ is a medical writer from North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and numerous pets. She has a BS in Biology from Duke University and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University.

When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, photographing nature and her family, gardening, travelling, and attempting, usually unsuccessfully, to decorate birthday cakes. Love Me, Love Me Not is her first traditionally published novel.


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four-half-stars
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Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina Pérez

Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1) by Kristina PérezSweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez
Published by Imprint on June 5, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Supernatural
Pages: 448
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-stars

Not you without me, not me without you.

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what's right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she's ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.


So I’m a complete mess right now. I’m stuck between wanting to scream or cry. Maybe I’ll just cry very, very loudly, because I’m angry and so intensely sad. The ending of Sweet Black Waves shattered me. This book is loosely based off of Tristan and Eseult, a story that I’m not entirely familiar with, except for the fact that it’s a tragedy. I knew going into Sweet Black Waves that it wasn’t going to end with sunshine and daisies, but ugh, I still didn’t expect it to hit me so harshly.

Branwen is a complex character, who I loved immediately. She’s got a huge heart, always giving, and putting everyone, especially Essy, first. Sometimes I was mad at her, because she kept harmful secrets and made dubious decisions. I wished that Branwen had been more forthcoming sometimes, and let herself lean on others, instead of always letting them lean on her. But that’s not in her nature. She wants to fix everything, and everyone, herself, and her constant love and sacrifice made me love and care about her even more.

The Tristan and Eseult connection wasn’t what drew me to Sweet Black Waves. I immediately knew I wanted to read Sweet Black Waves, because it was described as being a book that fans of The Mists of Avalon – a huge favorite of mine – would love. I’m also obsessed with the Mabinogion, which some of the characters and their stories in Sweet Black Waves, are loosely based on. I loved Pérez’s new spin on this beloved literature of mine! You can tell that she also really loves the Mabinogion.

I thought the story was dragging a bit during the last third of Sweet Black Waves, but then thankfully two hugely significant things happened. One that thrilled me, because I never ever expected it, and I’m really excited to see how it plays out in the future books. The second thing completely broke my heart. Even though I knew something of the sort was coming, it still caught me unawares.

I read an ARC of Sweet Black Waves, but fully plan on buying a finished copy for myself.

four-stars