ARC Review: The Wrong Marquess by Vivienne Lorret

The Wrong Marquess by Vivienne Lorret
The Wrong Marquess
Vivienne Lorret
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Series or Standalone: The Mating Habits of Scoundrels #3
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars


MY REVIEW

If My Kind of Earl was the definition of fun, then The Wrong Marquess was the definition of delightful. Vivienne Lorret has written a pitch-perfect romance that hits all the right notes!

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ARC Review: A Scot to the Heart by Caroline Linden

A Scot to the Heart by Caroline Linden
A Scot to the Heart
by Caroline Linden
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Series or Standalone: Desperately Seeking Duke #2
Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

MY REVIEW

I have to say, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get with A Scot to the Heart. I liked the first book in the Desperately Seeking Duke series, About a Rogue, but I didn’t love it and the story wasn’t particularly memorable. However, A Scot to the Heart was a delightful story that I felt I instantly connected to and ended up really loving!

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Icons by Margaret Stohl

Icons
Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Series or Standalone: Icons #1
ISBN: 0316205184
Format: ARC
Pages: 428
Websites:
Rating: 3 Stars
Icons was one of those books that I couldn’t fully get into. I didn’t hate but I didn’t love it, it was mehh. Icons had a lot of potential and I am interested to see were this series goes, but as the first book in a series it felt very jumbled and disconnected.
Icons is set in the not so distant future in a post-invasion world where aliens hold the complete control and most of the population has been killed. As the tagline says “Your heart only beats with their permission.” It is hard for me to describe what sort of world, Dol, the main character, is living in because I couldn’t really get a clear picture of what it was like. This post-invasion world didn’t seem to be fully constructed which oftentimes left me feeling confused. The politics of this world also were confusing. I did not really understand why things were happening, or why the Ambassadors were so bad or what was up with the rebellion faction. I felt I had to struggle to put together the pieces of this world, something that should be clearly developed in the first book of a series.
The characters in the book left me wanting more. I couldn’t connect to any of them. They were all so flat and emotionless, though as children of the Icon, emotionless they shouldn’t be. The romance in the book felt stale, probably because of the lack of depth in the characters. The only character I found remotely interesting was Doc, and he was an artificial intelligence.
The plot was intriguing enough that it kept me turning the pages. There was plenty of action and mystery to keep me interested in finding out more. I really enjoyed how between chapters there would be different artifacts or clips that related to the plot in a  not so clear way until the end. The biggest thing that kept me reading was the mystery of the Icons. Well, that’s not fully answered in this book, but I look forward to finding more out of them.
As a first book in a series, Icons left me feeling confused and wanting more. I expected more from this book than it gave me. I’ll be reading the sequel because the story was interesting enough to make me want to keep reading, but I hope in the next book the world and characters are more developed. I can’t help but compare this post-alien invasion book to another new alien invasion book, The 5thWave by Rick Yancey, and this just falls flat in comparison to that. Hopefully Margaret Stohl can deliver more in the next Icon series book.   

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us

Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: November 21, 2011
Series or Standalone:  Standalone
ISBN: 9781595144911
Format: ARC
Pages: 309
Source: BEA
Websites:
Jay Asher – Website/Blog 
Carolyn Mackler – Website 
Jay Asher – Twitter
Carolyn Mackler – Twitter


Rating: 4 Stars
I was super excited to read The Future of Us and it did not disappoint me. The Future of Us is a fun read that really makes you question what you would do if you could see what your life would be like in the future.
This book is told from alternating points of view of Josh and Emma. I really liked both of these characters. They were different from each other but I still really liked them. Emma and Josh are both effected by seeing their future on Facebook differently. Emma, I think, went a bit overboard with seeing her future. For Emma, she was constantly worried about being unhappy, about having a bad future. She got a bit obsessed with creating her own perfect future, that she ended up making decisions that made her future even worse. Emma was so obsessed with getting her perfect future, she seemed to neglect living in the present.
Josh, on the other hand, was the boy next door (literally). The disc that brings them both to Facebook brings them back together. I loved Josh. He was a sweet guy and you really could see that. Emma and Josh have a history, one that involves some heart-ache. I really liked that Emma and Josh had a past relationship that was not perfect, but that this weird fluke of seeing the future could bring them back together as friends. Josh was the more level-headed one of the pair. Josh, unlike Emma, realized that seeing his future was not the best thing and that maybe they should just let it be.
I really like how Josh and Emma’s relationship grew over the course of the book. There were ups and there were downs for Emma and Josh, mostly because of what Emma was learning in her future, but their relationship was perfect. I loved the ending and how their relationship was building to that point the entire book.
While I was reading this book, I felt like I was thrust back into my childhood. I grew up in the 90s and this book just reminded me of everything from it with dial-up internet that used the phone lines, walk-man, CD-roms for free internet, and a world without Facebook. I loved it. I also really liked how Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler incorporated Facebook into the story. Facebook is a completely foreign concept in 1996 and I loved Emma and Josh’s reactions to the website. Who would have imagined that through Facebook we would be sharing our life’s details with the world. I liked how Facebook was integral to the plot, but the story did not focus solely on Facebook. This book was very character driven and what they learned on Facebook influenced the characters. 
The Future of Us is an enjoyable read that makes you question if you had the chance to see your future would you and would you try to change it? With friendship, romance, and the future, The Future of Us is an interesting new story that is fun to read. 

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick
Joe Schreiber
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone 
ISBN: 9780547577388
Format: ARC
Pages: 192
Source: Borrowed
Websites:
Rating: 4 Stars
 
 
 
An action adventure movie meets young adult novel in Joe Schreiber’s young adult debut novel Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick. In a relatively short novel, Joe Schreiber manages to lead his characters on a wild adventure that takes course over one surreal night.
 
It is anything but an ordinary prom night for Perry Stormaire. Much more willing to play in his band then go to prom, Perry’s mom forces him to take their quiet and geeky Lithuanian exchange student Gobi to prom. The night is going to be a disaster, but not in the way Perry expected. Gobi turns out to be a trained assassin who leads Perry on a wild and dangerous adventure through out Manhattan whether he wants to go or not. The escapades grow as Gobi’s intentions become clear, leaving Perry with one wild story to tell at night’s end.
 
In a book that is little shy of two hundred pages, a lot happens. Perry’s world is literally flipped upside down in the course of one night. One minute Perry and Gobi are at prom, and then they are in a New York City club and a dead man is being flown through a window and landing on Perry’s car. The events in the book continue in a rapid-fire pace until the very last chapter. The quick pace wraps the reader up in the action of the book, feeling flung around and confused at times just like Perry is. The fight and action sequences of the book occur very quickly, but are detailed enough that the reader understands who is fighting who and what is occurring. The plot builds momentum until the climax where a large, epic, action-packed scene occurs that wraps up the major storylines in a hail of bullets.
Since the story is so plot driven and fast-paced, the characters almost become secondary figures to action of the book. Perry is meant to be a typical high school boy who enjoys playing in his band and worrying about getting into a good college. He develops little as a character, even though he is put in situations that threat his life and would have a stronger impact on most people’s lives. . He goes on a wild adventure, but in the end, he is still the same Perry as in the beginning, but has an awesome story to tell. Gobi, on the other hand, was a more complex character. Gobi seemed to be a shy, strange foreign exchange student but was really covering up a mountain of secrets that are revealed over the course of one night. While Gobi might be an assassin who is leaving a trail of bodies across Manhattan, the reasons for her actions are noble and the reader can sympathize with her.
Schreiber’s writing captures the voice of a teenage boy thrown into some crazy situations perfectly. Perry’s reactions to the far-fetched situations he was in were exactly the sort of reactions I would have had if I were being forced to participate in car chases, heists, and murder. Perry is just as bewildered and confused by Gobi’s actions as the reader is. Schreiber also is able to balance the intense action with humor. Some of Perry’s comments on the events he is taking place on made me giggle aloud. Schreiber had some very witty lines that highlighted the absurdity of the actions Perry countering the high-paced action with some well needed humor.
The book tries to incorporate romance between Gobi and Perry but the romance falls short. The action is the primary focus of this book and everything else gets pushed aside. Perry goes from not wanting to associate with Gobi to somehow falling for her while she is putting his life in danger. The characters and their relationship needed to be better developed to make the romance between them plausible, but the focus was mostly on the action instead.
Each chapter in Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick starts out with a college essay from different college. I was a bit unsure if these were real college essay questions or ones that Schreiber created for the purpose of the book, but the events that took place in each chapter could loosely be related in some form to the college essay topic. Each chapter could be read separately as a college essay and would still make sense, but could also be read together as one large story. The essay questions as chapter titles ended up tying all the action in the book together and become part of the plot itself. The book is Perry’s college essay, albeit a very long college essay, telling the story of one night that changed his life.
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is a quirky quick read that would appeal to both boys and girls. Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick is not too serious or extremely special, but it will take the reader on an action packed adventure. With the pacing of an action movie and the humor of high school comedy, Schreiber’s young adult debut is full of fun.

Blood by K.J Wignall

Blood
K.J. Wignall
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Series or Standalone:  Mercian Trilogy #1
ISBN: 9781606842201
Format: eGalley
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
Websites:
Rating: 4.5 Stars
This book surprised me. From the title, cover and summary I thought I was in store for just another vampire book, but I was wrong. This book was not what I was expecting and I mean that in the best way possible.
I really loved the characters in Blood. This book was very character driven and the two main characters were really authentic, even if one of them is a vampire. Will is the last Earl of Mercia, even though he died way back in the 13th century. He is a vampire, but has no clue how he became how he is. He is all alone, up until now in the 21stcentury. I really sympathized with will because he has no one. He is lonely until he meets Eloise. Will is also a genuinely nice guy who was made into one of the “undead” as he likes to call himself. And then there is Eloise, a girl who seems to be part of Will’s destiny. I loved that Eloise was not some weak, defenseless female character. Instead, she takes everything in stride and offers Will friendship, something he hasn’t had in years. While Eloise seems to be tied up in Will’s destiny, the relationship between them does not feel forced. Even though Will and Eloise haven’t known each other for a long time, their relationship just works, it clicks. Eloise understands Will and his loneliness and will stick by him even if it buts her life in danger. They just work together.
Blood’s story literally blew me away. I’m not really sure what I was expecting from this book, probably some typical cheesy vampire story, but that was not what Blood was about. I loved that Will being a vampire or “undead” was not the true center point of the story. At times I even forget he was a vampire. The plot unraveled at a perfect pace and all the pieces of the mystery of who Will really is and why he is the way he is slowly clicked into place perfectly. As the first book in a trilogy, Blood set up the story perfectly. It wrapped up certain questions but left others unanswered and established a larger story arc for the series.
The writing in this book fit the story extremely well. I really liked that the writing made it very easy to visualize everything that was going on. For me, this book read like a movie in my head. It kept me engaged with the story. The writing definitely was more sophisticated then I was expecting.
I’m really glad I just randomly picked up Blood because it blew me away. This was a great first book in a series and now I really want to find out what happens next with Will. Enough questions were answered to leave me satisfied but some still have not been answered and I cannot wait to find out the answer. I am greatly looking forward to next two books in this trilogy! 

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Shut
Out

Kody Keplinger
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: September 5,
2011           
Series or Standalone:  Standalone
ISBN: 9780316175562
Format: ARC
Pages: 288
Source: BEA
Websites:

Rating: 4.5 Stars



Shut Out was
a cute, enjoyable read. I picked it up late last night and finished it in
hours. It’s a book that’s great for teenager girls and made me just feel very
happy.

This is Kody Keplinger’s
second book, and I have to say, I enjoyed it a lot more than her first one.
Kody Keplinger has a real talent for capturing the spirit and voice of teens.
Her characters feel like real teenagers and face real problems that many people
confront in high school. One thing I really liked about Shut Out and that I liked about the DUFF was that Kody Keplinger does not shy away from the topic of
sex. Sex is not a taboo in her books. Instead, especially in this book which is
about a sex strike, she in some ways offers a forum for the girls in the book
to discuss the topic of sex which seems to be an out of bound subject for girls
to discuss. I really loved how she handled the topic of sex and the
conversations the girls had about it and each of the girls different feelings,
fears and concerns with sex and the gender roles assigned to it.

I really loved the
characters in this book. Lissa was a great character. I really liked that she
had flaws, including OCD tendencies such as counting. She wasn’t perfect, but
she was very strong. Lissa wanted to do the right thing, she wanted to end a
stupid feud and came up with a very clever way to do it. I loved that she was
someone who actually went out and did something and stuck to it until the end,
no matter what was thrown in her way. Chloe, Lissa’s best friend, was also another
great character. While Chloe is known as a slut or whore at school, she was a
good friend to Lissa, always there supporting her no matter what. And then
there is Cash. Cash the soccer player. Cash was like the perfect boy. He was
devoted to his family and friends, and was a sweet guy. I loved his character
and the interactions between Lissa and Cash. I do have to say I HATED Lissa’s
boyfriend Randy, which is the point, but still, he is a huge tool and I could
tell that from the beginning.

The romance in this book was
so perfect. I loved the relationship between Cash and Lissa. It felt natural
and I loved seeing how it would play out, especially since Lissa has her
boyfriend Randy. I felt that Kody Keplinger handled the romance perfectly.
There were obstacles, banter, heartache and some great kissing scenes. I loved
seeing Lissa’s relationship arcs and her heartache, pain and joy.

Shut Out was
a clever and very enjoyable read. This book just really clicked with me. I felt
it dealt with a serious such as sex, in a not super serious way and it had a
great story that kept me wanting to read more. And then there was some great romance
and romantic tension which I am always a fan of.  I cannot wait to see what Kody Keplinger writes next because
she has a huge talent for writing great novels about teens and I’m sure her
next book will be even better.

Bargains and Betrayals by Shannon Delany

Bargains
and Betrayals

Shannon Delany
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Griffin
Release Date: August 16,
2011
Series or Standalone:  13 to Life #3
ISBN:  9780312609160
Format: ARC
Pages: 307
Websites:
Rating: 5 Stars
I just want to start out by
warning you this is a long review but I do not care because I have a lot to say
about this wonderful little book. It’s also completely free of spoilers from
previous books and this book. And it’s a long review filled with lots of love.
I did not think it was
possible for me to love the 13 to Life series anymore than I already did, but Bargains and Betrayals proves I can love
it even more. And boy, do I love it. I have previously reviewed both 13 to Life and Secrets and Shadows here on the blog and have confessed my love for
them, but Bargains and Betrayals blew
me away. Everything about Bargains and
Betrayals
was spot on: the writing, the characters, the story. Everything.
So initially I was a bit
worried about this book because Shannon Delany decided to do something a little
different in the third book in this series which was to tell the story from
both Jessie’s and Alexi’s point of view. Up until this book, the story had been
told only from Jessie’s point of view so this switched worried me a bit.
However, as I was reading, I realized this decision worked perfectly. It was
really interesting to learn more about Alexi and see a different perspective on
the story. There was a lot about Alexi that I did not know about before this
book but I learned through his point of view. One thing that Shannon Delany was
really good at was deciding when to switch between the point of views of the
two characters. Every time the story jumped from Jessie to Alexi or vice versa,
it made perfect sense and the story continued to flow as one. I really hope
that Shannon Delany continues utilizing multiple point of view in future books
in this series because it really adds to the writing and the story. And I would
really like a book that has Max’s perspective, but that’s just cause I love
Max.
Shannon Delany’s writing in
this book was her best yet. I feel like the writing in this book was the strongest
it has been in the series. Shannon Delany was able to balance the really
serious scenes with some hilarity which I always love. But seriously, this book
had so many beautifully written in lines and phrases that I was in love. I
actually have a list of them because they were just perfect. One of my favorite
quotes in the entire book was “Sometimes are hearts should rule our heads.” It
just really describes the feeling of the book for me and was such a great line
in the scene. I definitely feel like that as this series has gone on the
writing has gotten stronger in each book and truly, the writing was the best in
this book so far. It flowed perfectly and had some really heart breaking scenes
and lines.
Bargains and Betrayals was one of those books that I was very emotionally
invested in. So much, that at points I was yelling at the book because I did
not want characters to do something that I knew they were going to do anyways.
I was very into this book, so into that I found myself talking to (in a good,
not crazy way). Which leads me to the story. The stakes were definitely the
highest they have been for Jess and Pietr and the Rusakovas. I’m going to keep
this spoiler free for previous books, but if you know what happened in Secrets and Shadows I bet you can figure
out why. A lot of what happened in Bargains
and Betrayals
I seriously did not see coming. I should have know from the
title that there would be huge bargains and huge betrayals, but seriously, I
did not think some of those bargains would ever occur, nor some of those
betrayals. This book changes everything for the characters. A lot of things
happen that will have a huge impact on their lives in the following books. I
really want to talk about some huge spoilery things in the book, but will hold
back because you need to experience them on your own. The story will keep you
on the edge of your seat and even have you yelling at some of the character’s
choices.
One of my favorite things in
this book was the character development. Jessie, Pietr, Alexi, Max, Kat, Amy,
Derek, Sarah, Wanda, and Leon have come so far since 13 to Life and there growth is really apparent in this book. Pietr
and Jessie have come so far. They are drastically different people because of
what occurs in Bargains and Betrayals. I
really like the people Jess and Pietr have become. I love how both of them are
willing to put those they love first. New depth has been added to the
characters in this book. I just want to say, I still love the same characters,
like Jessie, Pietr, Max, Kat and Alexi but my hatred for some characters * cough * Derek * cough * grew even more. I
felt like some of the decisions the characters made in this book really will
define them in coming books and change who they are.
Also,
I really need to talk about Pietr and Jess’s relationship in this book. It was
perfect. Seriously, this is what their relationship should have been from the
beginning. Jess and Pietr truly care for each other and I felt their
relationship really shows that. When you see what each of them risks for the
other, what they give up for each other, it tugs at your heartstrings. Also,
there was a certain scene in this book that was done perfectly and made me
extremely happy and you will definitely know what it is when you read it.
Now,
I have to sit back and wait until Destiny
and Deception
comes out. And once again, the wait is going to be torturous
because of the ending. Shannon Delany really knows how to write an ending that
leaves you wanting more. When I got to the ending of this book, I did not
realize there was no more pages left and then burst out “What?” because it just
another killer ending. I want Destiny and
Deception
now to find out what happens next!
Bargains and Betrayals is by far the best book in
the 13 to Life series. If you haven’t
read this series I HIGHLY recommend you pick it up and read it. Each book gets
better and better and I cannot wait to see where Shannon Delany takes the story
next in Destiny and Deception.

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

A Long, Long Sleep

Anna Sheehan
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Series or Standalone:  Standalone
ISBN: 9780763652609
Format: ARC
Pages: 352
Source: BEA
Websites:
Anna Sheehan – Website 
Anna Sheehan – Facebook
A Long, Long Sleep – Candlewick Page 

Rating: 4 Stars
I was really surprised by A Long, Long Sleep. I don’t know what I was expecting from this book when I started reading it, but I was very happy with what this book turned out to be.  A Long, Long Sleepwas a lot more than just a new retelling of Sleeping Beauty, it felt like it’s own new story.
Initially, this book started out a bit slow. I had to set it down and come back to it, but once I picked up again, the story really began to come into it’s own. Around a hundred pages in, I became engrossed by the book. I really wanted to know more about Rose’s past. Rose wakes up 62 years after she was put into stasis by her parents. Everyone she knows has passed away, the world she new has changed. One thing that kept me constantly engaged in reading was the mystery of why she was constantly stass as a child. That was a mystery that I really wanted to learn more about. And I was shocked and sadden when I found the answer.
I felt really bad for Rose, the life she knew has disappeared while she was in stasis. The world has changed, with half the world’s population getting wiped out by disease in the Dark Times and then being rebuilt. Rose awoke to a world were she was an outsider, and a famous outsider at that has inherited basically everything. Initially, I was really annoyed by Rose because she was weak, and self-deprecating. But then I began to see why she was that way and sympathized with her. Over the course of the book, Rose really comes into her own too. Her world has changed, and she too has to change. With the help of Brendan, the boy who awoke her with a kiss, and Otto, a very sweet alien friend, Rose starts to gain self-confidence and self-respect and strength.
When I started this book, I was worried it was going to be a heavy sci-fiction book. However, the sci-fi element was just a platform for the rest of the story. Sure, the book does take place in the future and there are stasis tubes and such, but the sci-fi element of the story isn’t overbearing and provides the basis for a story that is very driven by characters.
The story and the characters really grew on me as I continued reading. I wanted to learn about Rose’s past, about her parents and what happened between her and her boyfriend Xavier. When Rose’s past is finally revealed I was deeply sadden and shocked. I really wanted to give a Rose a hug because her life SUCKED. And if you thought your parents are bad, wait until you learn about Rose’s parents.
I loved how the different plot lines were woven together to reveal the bigger story arc. I loved how the thing that was chasing Rose tied into Rose’s mysterious past and helped reveal answers to bigger questions. And I must say, this book did have a twist that left me shocked and deeply saddened for poor Rose. It was a bittersweet twist I would say.
A Long, Long Sleep is an emotional, unique, new read. The book and the characters grow on you as you continue reading. I really liked the ending, not everything was wrapped up in a neat bow, but enough was wrapped up to leave you satisfied. I really enjoyed this fresh take on a classic fairy tale.