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Posts Tagged: Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: First & Then by Emma MillsFirst & Then by Emma Mills
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on 13 October 2015
Genres: Adaptation, Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Parents, Sports & Athletics, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Temple Sterling, Florida // Reeding, South Carolina

First Line(s): My college essay was titled “School Lunches, TS High, and Me,” and it was every bit as terrible as you’d expect.

When I hear that a book is an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel I am both excited and wary not unlike how I feel when Hollywood announces that it will be making a movie out of a favorite read. This is how I felt went I began Emma Mill’s book FIRST & THEN which is based off PRIDE & PREJUDICE, one of my favorite Jane Austen books. (Though much like Devon all Austen books can be my favorite when I read them.) I really enjoyed the character of Devon, even though there were times when I wanted to shake her. FIRST & THEN like so many other books suffers from a lack of character communication and that just frustrates me to no end. This frustration could also be passed on to Ezra who also could have benefited from talking more. But much like Mr Darcy, Ezra definitely falls into the broody, silent type category.

Frustrations aside though I really adored this story. I enjoyed the secondary characters and how both Devon and Ezra interacted with Foster. Foster was adorable and I just loved all the scenes that he was in. I could have done without Devon’s crush on Cas and some of that whole plot line but it was realistic though I do feel that it went on too long in this book. I also wasn’t a fan of how Cas dealt with it all and I seriously could have smacked him at times. But have I mentioned how much I liked Devon and Ezra? Because I did. And I enjoyed how this story played out. FIRST & THEN was a quick read and I finished it in rapid time because once I picked it up I hated to put it down. While its not a perfect book it definitely was the right book for me in that moment that I read it.

First & Then Quote

On thing I did wish in this book was that there was more to the relationship of Ezra and Devon. I get that its a PRIDE & PREJUDICE retelling and Mills really followed that story line well but I wanted more kissing! I wish that there was more to the story so we could see Ezra and Devon as a couple because so much of the book was spent with them apart and being all angsty and in like with each other. This is where communication skills really could have helped the situation. Although, this again is reflective of real life as humans often have trouble talking about feelings with other humans.

Overall, I thought that FIRST & THEN was smart and funny and I loved how it was written. This is a great modern adaptation for PRIDE & PREJUDICE and I think it will appeal to fans of that story as well as those who have never read a Jane Austen novel. There is a simplicity to this story that works well and makes a good escape from the every day. FIRST & THEN is a feel good novel that will make your heart ache (in that way that I love) and will leave you with a smile on your face. This is a book that I know I’ll be reading more than once and this is an author that I am looking forward to reading more books from.

irishdarkblue

IR - First & Then

 

Add Play On by Michelle Smith to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Trouble From the Start by Rachel Hawthorne to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Friday, May 1, 2015

Review: Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles, Book 2
Also in this series: The Kiss of Deception
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on 07 July 2015
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 470
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Kiss of Deception

Place(s) Traveled To: Venda

First Line(s): One swift act. I had thought that was all it would take. A knife to the gut. A firm twist for good measure.

 

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (my review) wasn’t my most favorite book and it certainly didn’t live up to the hype of those that I know read it before me. I found it to be a little predictable and slow. Oh so very slow. But by the end of that story I did like it. So when I received a copy of Heart of Betrayal for review I picked it up eagerly since I head that it was better than the first and to try and beat any hype that might get built up around the story. Whenever possible I like to walk into a new story with little expectations so I can enjoy it (or not) based on its own merits. One thing that I do really enjoy with the second book in a series is that the world and characters are already established which means that more time can be spent on the plot and further fleshing out the other details. That was the case with Heart of Betrayal and it started off strong with lots of tension and mystery. Though Lia and her snobbery did still annoy. She doesn’t always make the best choices throughout Heart of Betrayal but overall I did like her better in this story than in Kiss of Deception.

Unlike with Kiss of Deception there isn’t much mystery in this book just some political intrigue and tension from not know what will happen to Lia and the Prince. Will they escape? Will they be killed at the whim of the Komisar? Which side will Kaden land on if there is a fight between Lia and his leader? I liked how Heart of Betrayal kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the book, eagerly flipping the pages to see how things would end. I liked the new details that were revealed and I just loved the barbarian lands of Venda which were so much more interesting than the wastelands where Lia and Kaden spent much of book 1. But Heart of Betrayal wasn’t all action packed and I did find that it dragged a bit in the middle. There events that were a bit slow to develop and I feel as though some parts could have been edited out to make things flow a little better.

Heart of Betrayal Quote

But the middle of Heart of Betrayal wasn’t as painful for me as the middle of Kiss of Deception and the rewards for making my way through it were far better in this book than with the first. Because that ending!! What a crazy action fueled thing that was! This one has a bit of a cliff hanger, much like the first book did, but many of the threads in this story were closed. Lives are still in balance and the fate of Lia’s world is unknown but the characters all end in a decent place and aren’t left dangling from a cliff by their fingernails. I liked the ending and know that if I can get my hands on a copy of the final book in the series that I will jump on it wanting to know how it all ends. Because I have my theories and I want to see if they will come true.

If you were on the fence when you finished Kiss of Deception then I encourage you to try Heart of Betrayal as I think that you’ll like it more. And fans of the first book will also be really pleased with how things go with this one. The stakes are higher and the tension is real. Even with its flaws this one was a fun read and I want to know what will happen next.

 

irishdarkblue

 IR - Kiss of Deception

Add Death Sworn by Leah Cypess to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

Add Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

four-stars
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E PearsonThe Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles,
Also in this series: The Heart of Betrayal
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on 08 July 2014
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Magic, Mythology, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 492
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Heart of Betrayal

Place(s) Traveled To: Civica, Morrighan // Terravin, Morrighan // Gaudrel Tribe Camp, Cam Lanteux // Sanctum, Venda

First Line(s): Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.

Dear reader,

You may have heard a lot about Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson, I know this because since even before it was released mentions of it were all over my social media. There was much love for this book and I was curious but also wary. So very wary. You know me reader, you know that for whatever reason these popular over-hyped books tend to not connect with me as they do with most everyone else in the known universe. But I was curious, even with the knowledge that Kiss of Deception contained a love triangle, I was curious.

I started this one with hope of something amazing but quickly wondered why I was reading. I was bored and Lia was annoying and I kept wondering why I should care about her and her story. I sighed and rolled my eyes and figured out who was the prince and who was the assassin pretty quickly. Lia is judgmental and naive but thinks that she is oh so very clever. There were a few times when I wanted to toss this book aside and call it a DNF. But Twitter friends urged me on and told me to keep reading that it got better so I plodded on.

 

Kiss of Deception Quote

 

And reader, let me tell you true, those friends on Twitter were right because The Kiss of Deception did get better. There was more action in the second half than in the first, the characters all showed more life, and Lia went through some much needed growth. It took awhile but I grew to like these characters and care about their story. It made my heart ache at times and I was happy when certain choices were made. This isn’t to say that I fell in love with the book because I didn’t. Lia still made my head hurt and there were times when I seriously wanted to throttle her. But I could better understand the hype and appeal of this story.

By the end I wanted to know more. I am curious about the next book in the series, The Heart of Betrayal (Goodread) and where this story will go. Second books are always a tricksy thing though and it could be better or maybe not. But I am hopeful for this series and that is saying a lot coming from me. Because if you are a regular reader of Ticket to Anywhere than you know just how picky I can be with fantasy book, especially YA fantasy. So the fact that I want to read more of The Remnant Chronicles is a good thing and if you like fantasy then you might want to check this one out.

 

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Kiss of Deception

 

Add Death Sworn by Leah Cypess to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

Add Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch to Goodreads! (Click here for my review)

three-stars
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on 03 February 2015
Genres: Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Something Real

Place(s) Traveled To: Creek View, California

First Line(s): The Mitchells’ backyard was packed, full of recent and not-so-recent grads in various stages of party decay.

I first was introduced to Heather Demetrios’s writing when people on Twitter kept harassing me to read her debut, Something Real. I say harass but as any bibliophile know book harassing (aka book bullying) is the best thing that one book lover can do to another and I was so glad that I picked that book up. When I learned that Demetrios had another contemporary coming out I was beyond ecstatic and was all bouncy with excitement even as my fingers itched to hold it in my hands. When I was able to read I’ll Meet You There I did it in a single sitting and was totally blown away by it. OMG the feelings that this novel managed to make me feel. Wow. Just wow. To compare this book with Something Real is kind of an impossible thing because the two are just so very different and if I didn’t know any better I’d almost swear they were written by an entirely different person. This isn’t a bad thing, not at all, it just shows how much Demertrios’s writing has grown since her debut and instills in me a very real fear. The fear that one day she really might kill me with her words. Although that might not be a bad way to go.

I’ll Meet You There is the story of Skylar, a girl who has spent her whole life trying to escape her small town. She doesn’t want to end up like so many of her friends and the adults she knows; married with children working a mediocre job. She has big dreams and she only has a few months left in Creek View before she can go and never look back. But then her mother loses her job and seems to fall apart and she bumps into her old friend Josh, home from Afghanistan wounded and different from the boy she knew. Skylar is a girl that has always wanted to go but now there are all these reasons for her to stay and she is at a loss on what to do. For sometimes, the dream you thought you wanted may not be the dream that is meant for you. I’ll Meet You There is an amazing story of friendship and falling in love. Its about learning to see the world in a new way and accepting that sometimes things can’t be changed and that maybe things aren’t as bad as you initially thought.

I’ll Meet You There is an amazing journey and I can’t even tell you the number of times it made my heart ache and brought tears to my eyes. Josh and Skylar are just so amazing together and yet at the same time you just want to shake them when they go off and do something stupid. Because they both do stupid things and they make assumptions and they are both scared and so push the other way and it all just breaks a poor readers heart. But even as Demetrios breaks your heart she works to put the pieces back together again and even if the heart is a little bruised afterwards the end result is stronger than it was before. Skylar’s summer is one of change and making choices and its a struggle that every reader can relate to. Life doesn’t always follow the plans that you have and you need to learn to roll with the punches or take an unexpected detour in order to get where you are going. This is a book that shows that sometimes its not the end result that is important but the journey that takes you there. The memories you make, the friendships you have, and the love that grows along the way.

There are not enough words to tell you how much I loved I’ll Meet You There but even if there were I’m not sure that I would be able use them well enough to express my thoughts. I’ll Meet You There is like a sucker punch to a gut and I could not put it down. It is filled with raw emotion and it will suck you in from the very first page and it won’t let you go until the words run out. Its a book where you’ll keep flipping that last page needing more and yet at the same time the ending is so real and perfect and filled with the right amount of closure. I’ll Meet You There is not a book to be missed so you need to run out to your nearest bookstore and bring it home today. Then come back here and tell me how much you loved it.

irishdarkblue

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I'll Meet You There Quote

five-stars
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Review: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Review: Something Real by Heather DemetriosSomething Real by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on 04 February 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, GLBT, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Parents, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 403
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: I'll Meet You There

Place(s) Traveled To: Clovis, California

First Line(s): It took me four years, seven shrinks, three different hair colors, one Zen meditation retreat, and over six hundred mochas to get to this moment.

I am not a big fan of reality tv and there are only a couple of reality shows that I will watch but ones the follow around the lives of celebrities or similar aren’t among them. So the fact that I was drawn to Something Real by Heather Demetrios is out of the ordinary for me as it is a book that goes behind the scenes of a large family who spent the bulk of their life starring on a reality tv show. Something Real is told from the point of view of Bonnie(TM) as she struggles with being forced back on reality tv. Her mom and stepdad come up with a slew of reasons why its necessary to do the show again but Bonnie(TM) wants none of it especially with all the reasons why the show went off the air in the first place. To make matters worse, Bonnie(TM) seems to finally moving forward with her crush, Patrick Sheldon, and she fears that being constantly watched and edited for tv will ruin her budding romance.

Words can not accurately describe how much I loved Something Real I loved Bonnie(TM)’s story and loved her relationship with Patrick. They were just so sweet and genuine and they just made my heart ache. But the relationship that I loved most of all was that between Bonnie(TM) and her brother, Benny(TM). They were siblings and best friends and I would have been happy if the entire book was just those two talking to each other. There were moments of pure joy when Bonnie(TM), Benny(TM), Patrick, and Matt were all on the page together. I would have loved this book if it was just a straight romance but there was more to Something Real than that. There was conflict in this book and drama…oh so much drama. But not the sort that you normally see that causes a break up of the main love interests so praise be an hallelujah for that.

No the conflict comes between Bonnie(TM) and her mother. Oh. My. Stars. I have not seen such an evil, manipulative parent in a long time. I almost prefer the absent parents to ones like Beth Baker-Miller. Ok so she wasn’t really evil but she wasn’t a good mother either always putting her own wants and desires above those of her children. Letting her kids get exploited all for ratings and not caring about the damage that the show did to them. If I could have reached into the pages and shaken one character it would have been her. Though Bonnie(TM)’s stepdad and real father weren’t all that much better either. My heart broke for Bonnie(TM) over some of the things that she had to deal with in the story and if it wasn’t for Benny(TM) and Patrick she might not have survived it with her sanity.

Something Real is one of those books that you don’t necessarily expect much of when you first pick it up but then you find yourself lost within its pages. When you hit the end of the story your heart aches because there is no more. The writing is strong and compelling and its hard to believe that this is a debut novel. I fell in love with Demetrios’s writing style and I am eagerly awaiting her next contemporary story, I’ll Meet You There (February 2015, Henry Holt), as I am sure that it will be another emotional, feel good story that will make my soul happy. I am less sure of her fantast story, Exquisite Captive (Oct 2014, Balzer + Bray). I’m sure that the writing is good but I’m just not sure if I want to get started on another series at this time. Have you read Exquisite Captive? If so, let me know in the comments if its worth the read. And if you have checked out Something Real yet then you really need to get on that as its such a good book.

 

irishdarkblue

 

 

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Something Real Quote

five-stars
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