Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: Solstice by PJ Hoover

SolsticeTitle: Solstice 
Author: PJ Hoover
Publisher: TorTeen /McMillian
Publishing Date:  June 18th 2013
Pages:  384
Genre:  YA Fantasy/Mythology 
Series:  Stand Alone
Source:  Hardcover


Piper's world is dying.

Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.

An imaginative melding of mythology and dystopia, Solstice is the first YA novel by talented newcomer P. J. Hoover.

I  have this book sitting on my shelf for quite a while. I actually started the book off with audio but finished it with the hardcover due to technical difficulties with the audio. I enjoyed the book more as a read than a listen so I am glad I finished with the book. This was a very interesting and entertaining read. I loved the take on the Persephone/Hades myth. It was fresh and new and even though it was fantasy it had dystopian setting and that made the book even more interesting. It was good. I enjoyed it.

Piper lives in a world where its always hot, way hot. The world is dying kind of hot. She lives alone withe her mother and is in her last year of high school, turning 18, and looking forward to making it on her own, away from her overbearing, over controlling, over protective mother. Instead of planning for her future, she gets a visit from her past, a past she doesn't remember, a past that changes everything.

I really liked this story. The book had some issues for me but not enough to deter my enjoyment of the story.  What I had issues with were very small.... the pacing lacked for me. Sometimes it was very fast paced and exciting but those were very few in between. The story was slow for much of the book and it did take me a while to get through. There was much detail given with the underworld and the world that Piper lived in. Some may like this and find it to be a plus for the book, it was just a bit much for me. 

The ending lacked some for me too. I am glad Piper's story was wrapped up but I felt there was still more to tell from this world that I was brought into. The story of the dying world did not have an ending and that sort of saddened me. I would like to know if things will be fixed, if the world will be saved. 

The romance lacked just a tiny bit for me. I felt the story was more about Piper finding out the secrets of her past and of her identity. Which was good. I liked this part of the story, I felt that the romance should of felt a bit more exciting and intense than what I felt. It was sweet and I liked it, just a bit more tame than I would have imagined. It felt as if it was in the background and I felt it should have been much more of the center story. It was still very sweet and romantic though and I still liked it. I think I just needed more. 

What I did like. The characters. I liked them all. Piper was a pretty strong character, she held her own, independent, stubborn, caring, loyal. I also liked Shayne and even Reese. They were both great in their own way.When they were good they were good, when they were bad they were bad and I really didn't care if they were bad or good. I liked them. Reese had some moments that weren't very likable and he didn't feel safe, but I still liked his character and the part he played. I didn't like Shayne at first, but he grew on me and became a very sweet, caring boy that was a bit irresistible. The good was good, the crazy was crazy, and it all worked well together. 

The interaction between the character were good too. They all played very important parts and they meshed well together and were very amusing many times. Many, most of the interactions were very intense in a full spectrum of emotions. 

I also very much liked the story and the way everything came together in the end. It all made sense and I was worried at first how a dystopian turns into a fantasy and plays out an age old mythology tale. It was written well in the story aspect. It was very creative and very well crafted. 

The story kept me very interested. Even though it had it's slow parts, I never wanted to quit reading the book. I just had to read it slowly little bits at a time. I am very glad I finished Piper's story and I really hope to read more from this world. Like I said, the ending as only part of an ending, I can see so much more coming. 

It was a just at tad rough in parts, but overall I enjoyed it. 

P.J. Hoover
P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. P. J. is a member of THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing Kung Fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #84

Stacking The Shelves is a hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Come join the fun and share all the book you received this week. 

For Review:

Lies I Told
Lie I Told by Michelle Zink


What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you've told yourself?

Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family.

But it’s all a lie.

Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines' biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught...including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Perfect for fans of Ally Carter, Cecily von Ziegesar, and Gail Carriger, this thrilling, high-stakes novel deftly explores the roles of identity and loyalty while offering a window into the world of the rich and fabulous.


The Cemetery BoysThe Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1)
The Memory KeyPlaylist for the DeadThe Inquisitor's Mark (Eighth Day, #2)The Prey (The Hatchery, #1)No Parking at the End TimesLove and Other Theories


Curses and SmokeConversionIsla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Delightful Discoveries #77

Delightful Discoveries are books that I have discovered recently... old, new, just released... from blogs, Goodreads, libraries, friends, or bookstores. 

UnspeakableUnspeakable by Michelle K. Pickett 


“Breathe. No one will break me. I’m strong. Breathe. Just breathe.”

On the outside, Willow appears to have it all. She’s beautiful, smart, from an influential family, and she dates the most popular guy in school—Jaden. But she would walk away from it all in a second. Willow is tormented by lies and suffocating guilt, not the hearts and flowers people believe her life is full of.

She carries a dark secret. Plagued by nightmares and pain, the secret dominates her life. If she hadn’t walked away. If she had just…but she didn’t. And now she has to live with her choice. But when someone uncovers her family’s past, they use it against her, crushing her spirit little by little. She tells herself she just has to make it to graduation. Then she can leave Middleton, and her secret, far behind.

When Brody transfers to Cassidy High, he turns Willow’s life upside down. He shows her what it feels like to live again, really live. And suddenly, she isn’t satisfied with just surviving until graduation. She wants a normal life—with Brody—and he wants her. But the closer they become, the more it threatens to unravel the secret she’s worked so hard to hide.

Willow finds true love with Brody. Will she let his love save her, or walk away from him to keep her secret safe?

Better Than Perfect
Better than Perfect by Melissa Kantor 

Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.

But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it’s cracked up to be?

Melissa Kantor once again delivers a tale that is equal parts surprising, humorous, heartbreaking, and romantic. Powerful and honest, Juliet’s story brilliantly portrays the highs and lows of life in high school and will resonate with any reader who has experienced either.

What Waits in the Woods
What Waits in the Woods by Kieran Scott

An unputdownable thriller with twists and turns the reader won't see coming, from YA talent Kieran Scott.

It's a beautiful, sunny day. Callie Velasquez holds hands with her boyfriend Jeremy as they follow Callie's new BFFs Penelope and Lissa up the trail. The four friends are embarking on a camping trip -- a trip that immediately goes awry. They lose their way on the trail, and encounter a charismatic stranger with questionable motives. And when Callie stumbles upon a dead body, it becomes clear that the danger that lies in the woods is deadlier than she could have ever imagined. Tensions mount and friendships are tested as these teenagers try to survive the most sinister of circumstances.

Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys)

Kissing Ted Callahan and Other Guys by Amy Spalding

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist meets Easy A in this hilariously realistic story of sneaking out, making out, and playing in a band.

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

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

The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion
The Prom Goer's Interstellar Excursion by Chris McCoay

Just a few days before prom, Bennett pulls off something he never imagined possible: his dream girl, Sophie, agrees to be his date. Moments afterward, however, he watches Sophie get abducted by aliens in the middle of the New Mexico desert.

Faced with a dateless prom (and likely kidnapping charges), Bennett does the only thing he can think of: he catches a ride into outer space with a band of extraterrestrial musicians to bring her back.

Can he navigate alien concert venues, an extraterrestrial reality show, and the band's outlandish egos to rescue his date in time for the big dance? Fans of King Dork and Winger won't want to miss this!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #119

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

I Can't wait for:

Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.

"There's something hidden in the Maze." Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family's English country manor.

Haunted by her parents' deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin's untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion's aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself--and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?

Combining a fresh twist on the classic REBECCA with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride.

I love re-tellings, I must admit though that I have never read Rebecca so I didn't put this on my TBR because its a retelling. I think it sounds mysterious and dark and creepy. Just how I like them. The cover is so awesome too. So I can't wait to read this book. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington

One Past MidnightTitle: One Past Midnight
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publishing Date: July 22nd 2014
Pages: 352
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Audio

Above all else, though I try not to think about it, I know which life I prefer. And every night when I Cinderella myself from one life to the next a very small, but definite, piece of me dies. The hardest part is that nothing about my situation has ever changed. There is no loophole.

Until now, that is... 

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she Shifts to her ′other′ life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she′s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she′s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments which bring her dangerously close to the life she′s always wanted... But just what - and who - is she really risking?

I have had my eye on this book since I first spotted the Australian version a year ago. I didn't know it was coming out in the US but I am glad it did. I grabbed the audio, gave it a listen, and loved loved loved it. One of my favorite reads of the year. It was different, it was sci fi, it was romance, it was pretty awesome. 

Sabine has been different all her life. She lives two lives, she always has and she sees no end to it. She has one life where she is the perfect daughter, girlfriend, best friend, and so on. She has the perfect life. In her other life she is the outcast, has a best friend, no boyfriend, and not so perfect life. Since she can remember, midnight hits, she transfers from one life to the other. Lives every day twice. She sees no end until she notices a glitch, a glitch that could lead to one happy life. She only needs to decide what life to live, who to leave behind, and how to say goodbye. She has it all figured out until she meets the boy that changes it all. She isn't just choosing a life now, she is choosing whether to love or leave. 

This book was a killer read. It was a wonderful story, sci fi but it felt like a realistic fiction. It was a story about choices, taking the good with the bad, realizing nothing is perfect and that maybe one's life is about more than their life. The sci-fi part, parallel lives... and that was it. It ended after those two worlds. The rest of the book was romance, realistic fiction, life and death, and family. The writing was beautiful and I was submerged by the second chapter. I fell in love with the characters and I was totally into the happenings of the story. The author did a wonderful job at writing the two lives to feel separate but the same. I was never confused who was who and I could feel the character's differences and similarities. It was very strange how the same and different they are. One thing that I always felt through both lives, Sabine was never her true self. She was somewhere in the middle of the two lives and I was only seeing her show half of herself. It was quite a journey to get to her complete self, with the help from a boy of course. 

Sabine really was a wonderful character. I liked her from the very beginning. I can't imagine what it would be like living two lives. She makes some pretty good points on why it sucks.... twice through everything, hormones, school, growing up... must suck. In adulthood there would be two jobs, to families or no families if you didn't want to do two. It would be difficult to keep everything straight, not sound crazy, and it would very exhausting. I guess two vacations and holidays wouldn't be so bad though. Sabine knows how hard it is and wants to end one life and just have one. Finding the way to do so is hard and seemed hopeless for a very long time, and then of course there is the choosing of which life to choose. This is when Sabine really truly finds out how hard its gonna be. Sabine was pretty steady throughout the entire book for me. I never lost who she really was even when she was switching lives. She was independent, caring, loyal, very intelligent, and determined. She was well loved in both lives but never truly happy or satisfied. She was missing something, the wow factor which is what she found in Ethan. 

Ethan was an amazing character. I loved him. He was perfect and just what Sabine needed. Thoughtful, exciting, a rule breaker when needed. The only problem, he was only in one life, the life Sabine didn't want to keep as her permanent life. Ethan spends his time with Sabine showing her the reason to live, the reasons to embrace both lives. I really liked Ethan. The romance was sweet, slow building, and just right. I found it the highlight of the book, of course, because it was done so right. I felt the realness whenever Ethan and Sabine were together. 

This book had a little bit of everything for me taking my read to perfection. I would read this book again and can't wait to add it to my bookshelf. 

Whether you like Sci-fi, romance, or realistic fiction, this book is a real gem.

Jessica Shirvington
Jessica Shirvington is the author of THE VIOLET EDEN CHAPTERS also known as THE EMBRACE SERIES, stand alone novel, BETWEEN THE LIVES and has an exciting new duology called DISRUPTION on the way in 2014.

An entrepreneur, author, and mother living in Sydney, Australia, Jessica is also a 2011 & 2012 finalist for Cosmopolitan’s annual Fun, Fearless Female Award. She’s also one of the lucky few who met the love of her life at age seventeen: Matt Shirvington, a former Olympian and current sports broadcaster for Foxtel and Fox Sports. Married for twleve years with two beautiful daughters, Sienna and Winter, Jessica knows her early age romance and its longevity has definitely contributed to how she tackles relationships in her YA novels.
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