Tag Archive | St. Martin’s Griffin

Review: Signal to Noise

Title: Signal to Noise

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Date of Publication: February 10th, 2015

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Goodreads Summary:

A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City.

Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends — Sebastian and Daniela — and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love…

Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?

My Review:

The Beautiful Ones is still my favorite book so far by Silvia, but this one was pretty darn awesome. Also the cover on this one is redesigned, which the book is nothing like Stranger Things besides have a 1980’s setting. I’m all about the 80’s so the setting rocked my socks!

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As for characters, this was a very character driven novel. Meche was freaking cool and could also be utterly cruel, too—which I liked! Sebastian was so sweet and Daniela was adorable, especially with her Easy Bake Oven. So, Meche could basically do magic when records are playing, and she enlists these two friends to help her.

Meche’s dad is a real piece of work. We get some glimpses from his POV, and he constantly feels sorry for himself instead of working hard for his family. And he pissed me off with the things he did!

The book rotates back and forth between 1988 and 2009, and I liked in the later chapters that you got to see the characters grow, including Meche who needed it the most. The ending was great, and this was a fun book to get a magical nostalgia feel!

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Review: Bad Girl Gone

Title: Bad Girl Gone

Author: Temple Mathews

Date of Publication: August 8th, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids.

There s just one problem: she s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.

She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents car drives right through her.

She was right. Her parents are alive but she s not.

She s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn’t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.

My Review:

This book started out really good, and I mean really good! But after the first fifty pages, I don’t know what the crap happened. Oh wait, I do! A weird love triangle that was as annoying as one could get.

Echo apparently dies, finds herself in some orphanage for murdered kids. That part was interesting. Enter ghost love interest… I liked it!!! Then enter boyfriend that Echo is still in love with… Okay that’s even fine. But when the indecisiveness starts, that’s when I can’t handle it!!! Kiss one boy, then kiss another… then… “I love them both!” Screw that!

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Not to mention I should have put the book down when I saw Iggy Azalea gave the author blurb on the front cover… Thanks to one of my book friends BookDragonGirl for letting me know apparently she bought film rights for this to be made into a movie…

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Anyway, the concept was pretty awesome, the writing was good, and if you can get over the stupid love triangle, you might find yourself liking this book!

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Review: Death and Night

Title: Death and Night

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Date of Publication: May 2nd, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

An exclusive Star-Touched novella over 100 pages long!

Before The Star-Touched Queen there was only Death and Night.

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

My Review:

I love love love Roshani’s writing. I liked A Crown of Wishes a lot more than The Star-Touched Queen, but I really wanted to read this prequel to TSTQ. It pretty much entails how Maya (Night) meets Amar (Death).

The writing is exquisite and captures my soul into its beautiful pages. There was also some humor with Gupta and Death. Gupta is one of my favorite characters, and I feel like he needs his own book! The meetings between Death and Night had me feeling butterflies, and I need more!

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“She tasted like the edge of imagination, like the shadows of a new idea, which chases away your thoughts and leaves you lost in dreams.”

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Review: The Beautiful Ones

Title: The Beautiful Ones

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Date of Publication: October 24th, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society in hopes of landing a suitable husband. But Antonina is telekinetic, and strange events in her past have made her the subject of malicious gossip and hardly a sought-after bride. Now, under the tutelage of her cousin’s wife, she is finally ready to shed the past and learn the proper ways of society.

But Antonina, who prefers her family’s country home to the glamorous ballrooms of the wealthy, finds it increasingly difficult to conform to society’s ideals for women, especially when she falls under the spell of the dazzling telekinetic performer Hector Auvray. As their romance blossoms, and he teaches her how to hone and control her telekinetic gift, she can’t help but feel a marriage proposal is imminent.

Little does Antonina know that Hector and those closest to her are hiding a devastating secret that will crush her world and force her to confront who she really is and what she’s willing to sacrifice.

My Review:

So, I really loved this one. It had a slow pace that was very character driven, but I never found myself bored with it at all. I was really interested in the characters throughout. There are three POV’s which include Hector, Antonina, and Valerie.

Valerie was a real piece of work, and I truly hated her throughout the book. Hector at first was just so melancholy with his love (obsession) over Valerie. This guy had been pining away for this woman for ten years even though she had married someone else more for status. I wanted to shake him—-HARD.

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Antonina was my favorite character because she was just so cool, she was interested in different types of bugs, and maybe that is the nerdy side of me kicking in, but it was great! I never quite knew how the story was going to play out with betrayal going on, misunderstandings happening and heartbreak occurring. Overall, I definitely recommend this one.

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Review: A Crown of Wishes

Title: A Crown of Wishes

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Date of Publication: March 28th, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes—a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

My Review:

I liked the first book, The Star-Touched Queen, minus the idiotic mistakes that Maya made in that book. This book however, has two awesome leads. Gauri is fierce from the life that she has had to live and has been imprisoned by another kingdom. Her own brother from Bharata has asked for her to be killed.

Vikrim is the adopted son of the ruler of Ujijain and because he is not the blood son of him, the counsel isn’t fully loyal to Vikrim. He wants to find a way to change that. He learns of a way to win a wish in a place known as Alaka that he had always believe was just a myth. Vikrim needs Gauri’s help and therefore helps her escape to find this mysterious place.

This book was magical and beautiful, and the way that Roshani writes is nothing less of captivating. She doesn’t hold back on the world building and can twist and mold words in such a way that the reader is left breathless.

I loved these lead characters. Gauri was strong and independent but could still fall for someone like Vikrim and remain having those things. Vikrim was full of sass, and I loved it! The book is told from both of their point of views, but one more is thrown into the mix. Aasha is a Vishakanya who is poison to any human she touches. I didn’t know if I would like having her point of view in there, but I did. I could easily connect with her.

There was action, friendship, romance, and a couple of cameos from the previous book that had me saying yes!

There were times in the book when the descriptions did get to be a lot, and I feel like a lot of the metaphors don’t even make sense at times, but being in that world I feel like everything doesn’t have to be exact. I definitely recommend this book to anyone that liked The Star-Touched Queen, and if you didn’t I would still read it since this one was a lot better.

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Freeks: Excerpt + Giveaway

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Date of Publication: January 3rd, 2017

 

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Summary:

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Excerpt:

1. Premonitions

My feet rested against the dashboard of the Winnebago as we lumbered down the road, the second vehicle in a small caravan of beat-up trailers and motorhomes.

The sun hadn’t completely risen yet, but it was light enough that I could see outside. Not that there was much to see. The bridge stretched on for miles across Lake Tristeaux, and I could see nothing but the water around us, looking gray in the early morning light.

The AC had gone out sometime in Texas, and we wouldn’t have the money to fix it until after this stint in Caudry, if we were lucky. I’d cracked the window, and despite the chill, the air felt thick with humidity. That’s why I never liked traveling to the southeastern part of the country—too humid and too many bugs.

But we took the work that we got, and after a long dry spell waiting in Oklahoma for something to come up, I was grateful for this. We all were. If we hadn’t gotten the recommendation to Caudry, I’m not sure what we would’ve done, but we were spending our last dimes and nickels just to make it down here.

I stared ahead at Gideon’s motorhome in front of us. The whole thing had been painted black with brightly colored designs swirling around it, meant to invoke images of mystery and magic. The name “Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow” was painted across the back and both the sides. Once sparkles had outlined it, but they’d long since worn off.

My eyelids began to feel heavy, but I tried to ward off sleep. The radio in the car was playing old Pink Floyd songs that my mom hummed along to, and that wasn’t helping anything.

“You can go lay down in the back,” Mom suggested.

She did look awake, her dark gray eyes wide and a little frantic, and both her hands gripped the wheel. Rings made of painted gold and cheap stones adorned her fingers, glinting as the sun began to rise over the lake, and black vine tattoos wrapped around her hands and down her arms.

For a while, people had mistaken us for sisters since we looked so much alike. The rich caramel skin we both shared helped keep her looking young, but the strain of recent years had begun to wear on her, causing crow’s feet to sprout around her eyes and worried creases to deepen in her brow.

I’d been slouching low in the seat but I sat up straighter. “No, I’m okay.”

“We’re almost there. I’ll be fine,” she insisted.

“You say we’re almost there, but it feels like we’re driving across the Gulf of Mexico,” I said, and she laughed. “We’ve probably reached the Atlantic by now.”

She’d been driving the night shift, which was why I was hesitant to leave her. We normally would’ve switched spots about an hour or two ago, with me driving while she lay down. But since we were so close to our destination, she didn’t see the point in it.

On the worn padded bench beside the dining table, Blossom Mandelbaum snored loudly, as if to remind us we both should be sleeping. I glanced back at her. Her head lay at a weird angle, propped up on a cushion, and her brown curls fell around her face.

Ordinarily, Blossom would be in the Airstream she shared with Carrie Lu, but since Carrie and the Strongman had started dating (and he had begun staying over in their trailer), Blossom had taken to crashing in our trailer sometimes to give them privacy.

It wasn’t much of a bother when she slept here, and in fact, my mom kind of liked it. As one of the oldest members of the carnival—both in age and the length of time she’d been working here—my mom had become a surrogate mother to many of the runaways and lost souls that found us.

Blossom was two years younger than me, on the run from a group home that didn’t understand her or what she could do, and my mom had been more than happy to take her under her wing. The only downside was her snoring.

Well, that and the telekinesis.

“Mara,” Mom said, her eyes on the rearview mirror. “She’s doing it again.”

“What?” I asked, but I’d already turned around to look back over the seat.

At first, I didn’t know what had caught my mom’s eye, but then I saw it—the old toaster we’d left out on the counter was now floating in the air, hovering precariously above Blossom’s head.

The ability to move things with her mind served Blossom well when she worked as the Magician’s Assistant in Gideon’s act, but it could be real problematic sometimes. She had this awful habit of unintentionally pulling things toward her when she was dreaming. At least a dozen times, she’d woken up to books and tapes dropping on her. Once my mom’s favorite coffee mug had smacked her right in the head.

“Got it,” I told my mom, and I unbuckled my seat belt and went over to get it.

The toaster floated in front of me, as if suspended by a string, and when I grabbed it, Blossom made a snorting sound and shifted in her sleep. I turned around with the toaster under my arm, and I looked in front of us just in time to see Gideon’s trailer skid to the side of the road and nearly smash into the guardrail.

“Mom! Look out!” I shouted.

Mom slammed on the brakes, causing most of our possessions in the trailer to go hurtling toward the floor, and I slammed into the seat in front of me before falling to the ground. The toaster had slipped free from my grasp and clattered into the dashboard.

Fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic, but I could hear the sound of squealing tires and honking behind us as the rest of the caravan came to an abrupt stop.

“What happened?” Blossom asked, waking up in a daze from where she’d landed on the floor beneath the dining table.

“Mara!” Mom had already leapt from her seat and crouched in front of where I still lay on the worn carpet. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I assured her.

“What about you?” Mom reached out, brushing back Blossom’s frizzy curls from her face. “Are you all right?”

Blossom nodded. “I think so.”

“Good.” That was all the reassurance my mom needed, and then she was on her feet and jumping out of the Winnebago. “Gideon!”

“What happened?” Blossom asked again, blinking the sleep out of her dark brown eyes.

“I don’t know. Gideon slammed on his brakes for some reason.” I stood up, moving much slower than my mother.

We had very narrowly avoided crashing into Gideon. He’d overcorrected and jerked to the other side of the road, so his motorhome was parked at an angle across both lanes of the highway.

“Is everyone okay?” Blossom had sat up, rubbing her head, and a dark splotch of a bruise was already forming on her forehead. That explained why she seemed even foggier than normal—she’d hit her head pretty good.

“I hope so. I’ll go check it out,” I said. “Stay here.”

By the time I’d gotten out, Seth Holden had already gotten out of the motorhome behind us. Since he was the Strongman, he was usually the first to rush into an accident. He wanted to help if he could, and he usually could.

“Lyanka, I’m fine,” Gideon was saying to my mother, his British accent sounding firm and annoyed.

“You are not fine, albi,” Mom said, using a term of affection despite the irritation in her voice.

I rounded the back of his motorhome to find Gideon leaning against it with my mom hovering at his side. Seth reached them first, his t-shirt pulled taut against his muscular torso.

“What’s going on? What happened?” Seth asked.

“Nothing. I just dozed off for a second.” Gideon waved it off. “Go tell everyone I’m fine. I just need a second, and we’ll be on our way again.”

“Do you want me to drive for you?” Seth asked. “Carrie can handle the Airstream.”

Gideon shook his head and stood up straighter. “I’ve got it. We’re almost there.”

“All right.” Seth looked uncertainly at my mom, and she nodded at him. “I’ll leave you in Lyanka’s care and get everyone settled down.”

As soon as Seth disappeared back around the motorhome, loudly announcing that everything was fine to everyone else, Gideon slumped against the trailer. His black hair had fallen over his forehead. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up, revealing the thick black tattoos that covered both his arms.

“Gideon, what’s really going on?” Mom demanded with a worried tremor.

He swallowed and rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know.”

Even though the sun was up now, the air seemed to have gotten chillier. I pulled my sweater tighter around me and walked closer to them. Gideon leaned forward, his head bowed down, and Mom rubbed his back.

“You didn’t fall asleep, did you?” I asked.

Gideon lifted his eyes, looking as though he didn’t know I was there. And guessing by how pained he was allowing himself to look, he probably hadn’t. Gideon was only in his early thirties, but right now, he appeared much older than that.

That wasn’t what scared me, though. It was how dark his blue eyes were. Normally, they were light, almost like the sky. But whenever he’d had a vision or some kind of premonition, his eyes turned so dark they were nearly black.

“It was a headache,” Gideon said finally.

“There’s something off here,” Mom said. “I felt it as soon as we got on the bridge. I knew we should turn back, but I hoped that maybe I was imagining things. Now that I look at you, I know.”

That explained that frantic look in her eyes I’d seen earlier in the Winnebago, and how alert she’d been even though she’d been awake and driving for nearly twenty hours straight. Mom didn’t see things in the way Gideon did, but she had her own senses.

“It’s fine, Lyanka,” Gideon insisted. He straightened up again, and his eyes had begun to lighten. “It was only a migraine, but it passed. I am capable of having pain without supernatural reasons, too.”

Mom crossed her arms over her chest, and her lips were pressed into a thin line. “We should go back.”

“We’re almost there.” Gideon gestured to the end of the road, and I looked ahead for the first time and realized that we could see land. The town was nestled right up to the lake, and we couldn’t be more than ten minutes outside the city limits.

“We could still turn around,” Mom suggested.

“We can’t.” He put his hands on her arms to ease her worries. “We don’t have any money, love. The only way we can go is forward.”

“Gideon.” She sighed and stared up at the sky, the violet fabric of her dress billowing out around her as the wind blew over us, then she looked back at him. “Are you sure you’re okay to drive?”

“Yes, I’m sure. Whatever pain I had, it’s passed.” He smiled to reassure her. “We should go before the others get restless.”

She lowered her eyes, but when he leaned in to kiss her, she let him. She turned to go back to our motorhome, and as she walked past me, she muttered, “I knew we should never travel on Friday the thirteenth. No good ever comes of it.”

I’d waited until she’d gone around the corner to turn back to Gideon, who attempted to give me the same reassuring smile he’d given my mom.

“We could go back,” I said. “There’s always a way. We’ve made it on less before.”

“Not this time, darling.” He shook his head. “And there’s no reason to. Leonid assured me there’d be a big payday here, and I’ve got no reason to doubt him. We can make a go of it here.”

“As long as you’re sure we’ll be okay.”

“I haven’t steered you all wrong yet.” Gideon winked at me then, but he was telling the truth. In the ten years that my mom and I had been following him around the country, he’d always done the best he could by us.

I went back and got into the Winnebago with my mom and Blossom. Within a couple minutes, Gideon had straightened his motorhome out, and the caravan was heading back down the road. At the end of the bridge was a large sign that read WELCOME TO CAUDRY, POPULATION 13,665.

As soon as we crossed the line into town, the air seemed even colder than before. That’s when I realized the chill wasn’t coming from outside—it was coming from within me.

Copyright © 2016 by Amanda Hocking and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

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Author: Amanda Hocking

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Review: Freeks

Title: Freeks

Author: Amanda Hocking

Date of Publication: January 3rd, 2017

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Goodreads Summary:

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.

My Review:

Mara has been with a traveling sideshow pretty much her whole life with her mother who is a necromancer. This time the sideshow is coming to Caudry which a small town that is going to give a pretty nice payout. Mara meets a guy in town who she is instantly attracted to named Gabe. Mysterious attacks begin to take place at the carnival to the workers, and Mara is going to find out what is going on.

I love this cover! The cover automatically drew me in along with the fact that I love anything that has to do with oddities. Not only that but set in the 80’s??? Count me in!!

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I loved the beginning and learning that a lot of people that worked at the carnival had actual powers, and I really liked all of the side characters. As for Mara the main character I loved reading from her point of view. She was a good character and didn’t make dumb decisions.

Gabe was a very likable character, but as for the romance to me it is what brought the book down a little. There was pretty much no build up to the relationship and every time they were together they were kissing. I really liked Mara and Gabe together I just wanted to see more dialogue and more of them getting to know each other.

The mystery aspect of the book is what had me on my toes and wanting to know what the heck was going on and what was attacking these people and why. The author was great about adding details to the attacks!

The paranormal elements towards the end were a little far fetched for me, but I still enjoyed them. I did however want to see more carnival themed elements throughout the book. This was a quick read and while I did not like this as much as Amanda’s Trylle/Kanin series I still liked it.

 

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