Celia on the Run - Sarah Mandel - Win free eBook!

GENRE: Young Adult - Fiction, Romance, Road Trip
FORM: eBook

While I was asked to read this book for review by the author and publisher, Untreed Reads, I have received no compensation for this review outside of the joy of reading!
SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):  Nick Novaczek is a cautious soul, a 17-year old with a boring life, a predictable future, and a quiet thirst for danger. On the eve of his beloved grandmother's funeral, danger finds him by the motel swimming pool. Her name is Celia and she's everything he's not. This foul-mouthed beauty is hitchhiking across the country to make amends with her estranged father and doesn't carry an ounce of fear or hesitation in her tattered suitcase. She's bad news all around, but for a rule-follower like Nick, she's intoxicating.

Twenty-four hours after speaking to Celia for the very first time, following one extremely lucky night, Nick is hopelessly hooked and "borrows" his parents' car to join her cross-country mission, even though her story is full of holes. It's the mistake he's been waiting his whole life to make. Together, they dodge a train, jump off a bridge, and scam everyone in their path. Nick is blossoming into a teenage fugitive, just like Celia, and he's never been happier. She may not be who she says she is, but she's got his vulnerable heart.

After weeks of detours, with hundreds of miles left to go, their wild adventure starts to unravel. The money dries up, Celia's dark secrets begin to surface, and it's clear they both want vastly different things out of this partnership. Celia is all about no strings attached and severing whatever they may have between them once they reach their destination, while Nick is head over heels in love and wanting a future with the girl in his passenger seat. They seem to reach a new low on a daily basis, but she won't turn back, no matter how desperate things get. After all, this is her trip and Nick is just the driver. Celia's got a charming smile to pay her way, a willing accomplice, a hidden agenda, and an endless supply of lies. Not to mention a gun.

REVIEW:  A roadtrip gone mad; an adventure gone twisted. Celia on the Run is a trip with two young adults; one wild with love, one driven by something unknown, across the country in a sort of stolen car, forced to live on nothing but their next scam.

I am always attracted to road trip/travel type books. I love the way they are normally set up; with their destinations, and detours. I love how the characters move from Point A to Point B, not only in their trip, but also in their lives. In these types of books, the characters always have baggage of some sort or another. There is almost always attraction between characters, and a kinship formed between them. The books usually end up having playlists – as when you are traveling, music is always involved, and on more than one occasion I have actually purchased music to recreate one or two of the book’s playlists, because I feel like I’m connecting more with the characters and their world. I love “visiting” the stops and locations along the trip, and seeing the world through the eyes of the characters. In the end I’m left with that feeling of wishing I could just drop everything and take a trip of my own.

I can say that with Celia on the Run, most of these things are true; but not the last. This was a road trip I was actually happy not to be a part of in reality. Celia carries a lot of burden, and Nick is a bit oblivious for a good portion of the trip. He knows that there is something not quite right about her, but he is lost in his love and obsession of her to really stop and evaluate what really might be going on. I found this a little bit frustrating, especially when taking a closer look was just a passing thought in his head and then putting the whole thing off as “letting her have her space.” She was very obviously screaming for help.

I was describing reading this book to a friend recently, and I believe my words were something along these lines, “it’s not a bad book at all, actually its written very well and for the most part I like the characters, but I’m reading timidly; waiting on the train wreck that is going to inevitably happen.” The thing is, it is very evident from the start of the book that some major collision is going to happen at some point. Evidenced by the downward spiral of events that starts at Celia and Nick’s very first real encounter, you just know something very serious is going to happen. And it does. Well, many serious things do actually. I was so caught up in the characters, and the story I couldn’t put the book down, but I truly was reading with caution; almost afraid to become too attached to the characters in a way, mostly because I don't typically like too much reality in my books. I live reality; I read to escape it. However, sticking by this book, and finishing it out to the end was rewarding in a surprising way. I was not expecting how it ended, even though could see hints of it throughout, I just wasn’t positive how the author was going to spin the foreshadowing – but I was pretty happy with the results.

Sarah Mandell put not only a lot of time and obvious love into her novel, but there is an entire website that will make this trip even more real (complete with soundtrack!) that I encourage you to check out. 

So, I’d love to give you the chance to take this wild trip with Celia and Nick, and find out what happens on the other side of the train wreck. The publisher has offered a copy of Celia on the Run, therefore I have set up a giveaway  below.  To win a free ebook copy of Celia on the Run fill out the rafflecopter form. The first entry is free (even if you don't leave a comment - just click through, I'm not that particular), and there is an additional option for entry as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Temptation & Twilight - Charlotte Featherstone

GENRE:  Adult - Fiction, Romance
FORM: eBook - Netgalley
SERIES: The Guardian Brethren

While I was granted permission to read this book by a NetGalley affiliate publisher, HQNbooks, I have received no compensation for this review other than the joy of reading!

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):  Iain Sinclair, Marquis of Alynwick, is certain there is a special hell for him. An unrepentant rake, he holds nothing sacred – except for beautiful Elizabeth York. For years, Alynwick has tried to forget the woman he loved so well, and treated so badly. A woman who could hold nothing in her heart for him except hatred.

All of society believes Elizabeth, blind daughter of a duke, to be a proper young lady. But no one knows of her wanton affair with Alynwick. When Lizzy learns of her ancestor’s ancient diary – filled with exotic tales – she longs to uncover the identity of the unnamed lover within and hesitantly allows Alynwick, who claims to have knowledge of the “veiled lady,” to help her solve the mystery.

Eager to be Lizzy’s eyes, Alynwick brings the seductive text to life, and each night it takes greater effort for her to forget his betrayal. With each whispered word, her resolve gives way, without her knowing that a centuries-old secret will lead them to a present-day danger.

REVIEW:   I am in love with Charlotte Featherstone’s writing. She is like the epitome of a good romance writer in my eyes. You know how it is, you read books and you’re thinking, “yeah, that was a good book.” “Enjoyable, perfectly entertaining.” Well, when I read Charlotte Featherstone’s books, it’s more like “YES, this is exactly what I was looking for!” I have a feeling that her books could be rate G, and be written for 7 or 8 year old children, and they would still be excellent. She weaves a story that is interesting and engaging. You not only want to know what happens, you’ve got to know what happens. But what really does it for me are the characters. So unique and well formed. They are likeable, even if they are a bit ruthless and dark – if they have their reasons for their bad behavior, you love them for it. But since her books are not written for children (nor are they rated G,) – I have to admit, what I absolutely love the most is that her male leads are absolutely falling over themselves in love, they are gushing with it, it is their biggest downfall and greatest strength. It is wonderful, and absolutely without a doubt (to this extent) unrealistic. That’s exactly what you want out of a book, right?

Before you jump all over me, yes, it is possible to be absolutely crippled by love – but it’s not really healthy nor have I ever seen it as I have in these books. Reality is a little more…well, real.

Okay, so this is the third book in The Guardian Brethren series, and it is Iain and Elizabeth’s story. The mad marquis, Scottish rake and the blind sister of one of his “brothers,” Adrian. They have a past, they have had passion previously, but Iain walked away from everything that they had leaving Elizabeth broken and a bit hardened. You get little tidbits of their story in Pride and Passion, so going in you already know it’s going to be good. My favorite parts are the simple intimate impactful moments, like Elizabeth and Iain out in the snow. What a beautiful, heart pounding scene! I just re-read my review of Pride and Passion, and even then I said I wanted to give you a little sample of the writing – I denied you then, but I’m feeling a little more generous today I suppose, because I just have to share one little taste. This is a small part of the snow scene I just indicated, and you have to remember, Elizabeth is blind. This scene, in it’s entirety, is my favorite of the whole book, however this is just a portion of the very beginning:

“I have waited for this, Beth, this moment,” he whispered as he took her hands in his and brought her fingertips to his mouth, kissing each fingertip before placing her palms on either side of his face. “When Sussex, Black and I returned from the East, I watched you as you did this – touched Sussex, then Black. And I waited, holding my breath, barely able to control my feelings, waiting to feel your touch on my face. But you did not. You made a polite enquiry after my health and left me standing alone by the hearth. And, then, the other afternoon with Sheldon, you touched him, and I was alone, and apart again. Remembering what it was like to await your touch, and then never to feel it. Beth,” he whispered as he moved closer to her, “won’t you touch me? See me?”

This series is a little different from other series I’ve read. Usually in a series of books you get a straight line, with this one (well, at least the last two – I still need to read the first book) the line is a bit more jagged. Ms. Featherstone goes back and fills in a few gaps you didn’t even realize you were missing from the previous book. The story is the same in parts, yet continues in others. I’m anxious to get my hands on Seductions & Scandal, and I’ll likely revisit Pride & Passion. As much as I’ve enjoyed Temptation & Twilight, I think Pride & Passion is still my favorite thus far, the back story on that one is heart melting.


Bewitching - Alex Flinn

Title: Bewitching
Author: Alex Flinn
Rating: 5 stars
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Form:  ebook

Synopsis: (from goodreads)
Bewitching can be a beast. . . .
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t.
I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I’m not still here because I’m stupid; I just don’t age.
You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out.
I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it.
Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn’t an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching

Bewitching will not disappoint fans of Alex Flinn’s fairytale re-tellings. The synopsis says the book is about Kendra (the witch who turned Kyle into a beast in Beastly). This is true and not true. We learn more about Kendra and get a deeper feel for her personality and her start as a witch. However the majority of the story is taken up by Emma and Lisette.         
There are four fairytales that are retold in this book. I’m not telling which ones because it ruins the stories. Yes stories there are also four different stories being told. It works really well though. At times Emma and Lisette’s story got to be too tragic and too much for me to handle, I wanted to strangle Emma numerous times and usually when it got to that point, there would be a break and a short story like an intermission. It was a format I’ve never seen in a book before and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As for the characters; I believe they were well written. I mentioned before I wanted to strangle Emma a few times, but when you really think about it and think like her, you realize it’s no surprise why she does what she does. Now Lisette was sort of hard to figure out. Where she went with her was no surprise, but it took me a while to figure out that was definitely the personality being developed for this character.
I loved the ending of this book. I was rooting for one way and then the way the author ended it was not what I expected, but so much better than what I was rooting for. I especially liked how things end for Kendra. It’s a happy ending, but not all of the tales told in the book had a happy ending.
Now I will admit, I’ve only read two of Alex Flinn’s books: Cloaked and Bewitching. I did see the movie Beastly which is alluded to in Bewitching. I plan on reading A Kiss In Time, in fact I have it requested from my library now. I really liked Bewitching better than Cloaked. I’m not sure why but Cloaked didn’t grab my attention. It was good, but it wasn’t a favorite. Bewitching however, I couldn’t put down. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. If you love fairy re-tellings as much as I do, than this book is definitely one you should read.
Review by Stephany


Partials - Dan Wells

Title: Partials
Author: Dan Wells
Rating: 5 stars
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Form:  ebook

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Combining the fast-paced action of
 The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival

I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian future books lately: Hunger Games, Matched series, Divergent series, Under the Never Sky, and Eve to name a few. Partials is more post apocalyptic dystopian. It’s only been 11 years since a war and a plague has destroyed almost all of humanity. The first thing I liked about this book is the lack of the love triangle. There’s a little romance but the main character, Kira, is already established in who she likes. (I think who she likes will change in the second book, but I will say no more, spoiler).

A similarity this book shares with the other ones I mentioned is it’s about Kira discovering who she is. She’s a very headstrong character who does not let go of her beliefs, similar to Katniss. I like the relationships Kira has with her friends. Everything is very realistic. Her relationship with her boyfriend is not perfect and it wasn’t love at first sight. The situations the characters kept getting thrown into kept making me forget they were 16-19 years old. Kira is 17 and a nurse’s intern. She did salvage runs and already knew how to use a gun as well as any soldier.

The book was a little slow at first but towards the middle it starts to pick up. There’s quite a bit of action and political intrigue. Of course in all dystopian future novels the government has something to hide. What Kira finds out though, I’m not sure even the government is aware of it. The ending was slightly predictable, but not completely. There were enough twists that made me go, what?

I definitely can’t wait for the second book and Mr. Wells was kind enough to give us a novella in the fall to make the wait bearable. The novella is called Isolation and is more about the time before and during the war. The next book in the series is called Fragments.

Review by: Stephany