Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Ramblings on A Sadness Within by Sara Fiorenzo

A few weeks ago I did a cover reveal for this book and I've been waiting until the book was officially released- and I could give it one more good read- before putting up a review. Well, the book is out and I've read it again and it was every bit as good as I remember. Check out my ramblings and then go check out the book, and Sara Fiorenzo for yourself!

A Sadness Within
By Sara Fiorenzo
Release Date: August 7th, 2014
Author Website

After losing her entire family in a few short years, Julia Cavallo finds herself disconnected and tired of everyone's sympathy. Unable to move on, she feels that she is simply broken. A gifted pianist, Julia uses music to express herself where words fail.

Will Bradley is destined for an eternal life thanks to a hopeless disease. Believing he is soulless and empty, he returns to his hometown where he happens upon Julia playing the piano. Pieces of himself that he thought were lost begin to resurface making him truly feel alive. 

Part fantasy and part science-fiction, A Sadness Within is about the restorative power of love and its ability to heal and shows that no matter what, it is never too late to change.

My Ramblings: 

The short review is that I love this book and everyone should give it a read. 

The long version is that I love when authors take a known quantity- in this case the idea of vampirism and flip it on its head. When you start the boom you have an idea in your head about what's about to happen. Vampire boy meets mortal girl and the fall in love. Danger ensues and then it's happily ever after.... But here, the authors takes that story and adds so much more. In fact, without giving too much away, even just assuming that we are dealing with vampires here is assuming too much. Not only do you a new twist, but you also get a whole new reason that those who need blood to survive exist. Personally I found it all kind of fascinating. 

Beyond that twist of storytelling, the author has created some wonderful characters. They've experienced some heavy losses in their lives and have hit a place where they are just kind of stuck. Which happens amidst tragedy, you simply stop moving forward, you get stuck in your sadness and sometimes you need an outside force to get you moving forward again. In that way A Sadness Within is more then just a love story. When Will and Julia meet, it's more about finding that spark, that jolt of something new and surprising that rattles your world just enough to break you out of your stupor. It's not simple, it can be messy and dangerous, but in this story both Will and Julia need to go through it in order realize that having a life that difficult can be worth it in he end. 

The other character that I love is Will's sister Celia- she's kind of the voice of reason throughout and provides some much needed honesty to everyone involved. Fiorenzo hints at Celia's past and her hopes for the future, and in giving Celia the last word in the book she left me really wanting more of Celia's story. So here's hoping that we get more of this series in the future! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Ramblings on my Vacation Reads!

Every summer we head out on vacation and I always grab a stack of books to read in the car, on the plane, at night in the cabin or pretty much whenever there is a down moment. This year was no different. I managed to snag several books, in multiple genres and they were all great! So here's a look at what I read!

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
There was no way this book was not going to be amazing. Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors of all time and her books never fail to be great. This one is no different. Focusing on the lives of two of the secondary players from The Wolves of Mercy Falls Series, we find some of our favorite characters making their way in LA and trying to figure out who and what they want to really be. I loved both Cole and Isabel in the Shiver series, so when I grabbed this one off the shelf I knew it was going to be my first read. I plowed through the whole thing on the plane ride and immediately handed it off to my sister in law and told her to read up. Hopefully we haven't seen the last of either Cole or Isabel.

More about Sinner:
Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved? (from

Maggie Stiefvater's Website

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
This one kind of surprised me. The cover caught my attention and the jacket summary sounded great, but I wasn't 100% sure what I was going to find when I started reading. This was a really well organized book- it's not a ground breaking story, but the way in which it's told is really powerful. You know from the get go that Alice was once popular and that in one night, with seemingly one decision her social standing plummeted. By using the perspective of several characters the author slowly unravels the story about what really happened and more importantly why each person has a reason to act the way they do. The reasons aren't always good, and sometimes the people who you are following are downright despicable, but at all times they seem real. Every time someone tells a lie, or starts a rumor, or calls someone a name... or offers a smile, a helping hand or a look at the truth, you get the sense that this is pretty much the way it works every day in schools and neighborhoods all over the place. It's at once really sad and kind of uplifting. As Alice's world falls apart, there are other, perhaps better things that are ready to happen, so long as she's willing to take another chance. I loved this one!

More about The Truth About Alice
Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down. (from

Jennifer Matheiu's Website

The Apostle by Brad Thor
This one I bought at the grocery store in Colter Bay- let's just say the selection wasn't exactly large. So this is not a book that I would normally pick up, but I figured why not and gave it a try. It was really good! Like I mentioned the story isn't normally my cup of tea, but I really enjoyed the way that Thor laid it out. Centering around a kidnapping in Afghanistan we follow several threads that eventually come together to give us a complete picture of all the players and how their lives and their decisions intertwine. We see a president get taken down, how the Secret Service agents are often privy to information that weighs on their conscious, and how politics works in the middle east. I liked that right up tot he end I wasn't 100% sure how the story would tie up, and I was pleasantly surprised by the choices that Thor made. I'm really glad I stumbled across this one and seeing as this is actually the 8th book in a set- I'll be checking the others out as well!

More about The Apostle
Every politician has a secret. And when the daughter of a politically connected family is kidnapped abroad, America's new president will agree to anything, even a deadly and ill-advised rescue plan in order to keep his secret hidden. But when covert counter-terrorism operative Scot Harvath is assigned to infiltrate one of the world's most notorious prisons and free the man the kidnappers demand as ransom, he quickly learns that there is much more to the operation than anyone dares to admit. As the subterfuge is laid bare, Harvath must examine his own career of ruthlessly hunting down and killing terrorists and decide if he has what it takes to help one of the world's worst go free. (from

Brad Thor's Website

Game by Barry Lyga
Have you read I Hunt Killers? If you haven't, you should go do so, right now. I won't even be offended if you click off the page to do it and don't come back. It's that good. Just don't read it at night, or while you are alone. It's is one of the most terrifying books I've ever read. Amazing, but terrifying. Game is the second book in the series and I was really wondering how Lyga would be able to follow up on the story and make it still seem fresh. Part of the draw to I Hunt Killers was that you really weren't sure who was the killer, but now we know. We have a decent sense of who plays for which team and can sort of tell who the good guys are. I worried that Game wouldn't be able to keep up the suspense, and for part of the book, it didn't. But that really doesn't matter, because once the game really begins to be played the tension is drawn out and once again Lyga managed to scare the shit out of me. With Billy out there somewhere, and Jasper is trying to decide who he will be- will he join with the FBI to try and bring down another serial killer? Will he chase after Billy and try to end it once and for all? Will he attempt to live a normal life (if that's even possible)?

Game ends on an epic cliffhanger and I actually closed the book and reopened it a few times to make sure I wasn't missing something. I can not wait for book 3 to come out so I can see how it all ends!

More about Game:
Billy grinned. “Oh, New York,” he whispered. “We’re gonna have so much fun.”

I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history’s most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.

In an effort to prove murder didn’t run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo’s Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help, he can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force–running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game (from

Barry Lyga's Website

Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta
I grabbed this one from a very small store in Silver Gate, MT. The selection was extremely slim, in fact this was my only choice. Lucky for me it was an awesome one. The story is actually set in the area around Silver Gate and I love reading about places that I've been, so that was an instant draw. The story revolves around a boy named Jace who witnesses a brutal murder and is now being pursued by two hired killers. His family sends him to a remote wilderness camp for troubled teens, only the leader, Ethan and his wife Allison know that he is there, and they aren't even sure which boy it is, only that this will hopefully keep him safe. When the killers turn up and bodies start piling up Jace runs and must try to survive on his own. He faces killers, the wilderness and eventually a wildfire with minimal help from the camp leader and a fire tower ranger. There is ton's of action and suspense in this one and I really liked the twists and turns the story took as we raced towards the inevitable confrontation between good and evil.

More about Those Who Wish Me Dead
When 13-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.

The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.

The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind. (from

Michael Kortya's Website

Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott
This was my most pleasant surprise of the trip. I grabbed this one on a whim, and I loved it. It has a bit of a Hunger Games flavor to it- in that these people, old and young are plucked from their lives and thrown into a deadly game The Brimstone Bleed and for the bulk of the book we have no idea why. We don't know who runs the game or how it will end- we do know that the winner wins the cure for a disease for a loved one, in the case of the main character Tella, she could save her brother who is slowly dying at home. As the game plays out and Tella begins to make alliances and discover her enemies we also begin to learn about what exactly is going on behind the scenes and who might know more than they are letting on. I'm not going to give anything away on this one because I had so much fun unraveling story, so I'm not going to chance ruining for anyone else. Suffice it to say, go grab this one and then we can wait until the next book comes out in 2015!

More about Fire and Flood
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place? (from

Victoria Scott's Website


So those are all my vacation reads- they were all pretty awesome and I can't wait to read more from several of these authors! 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Ramblings on Rain Check by Gypsy Rae Choszer

Rain Check
By: Gypsy Rae Choszer
Release Date: May 28th 2014
Author Website

For Avery Montgomery, the devastation of losing her parents in a tragic accident has left her completely shattered. As she begins to pick up the pieces of her once perfect life, she uncovers a secret that will forever change her—she’s adopted!

In a search for answers, Avery ventures to Portland where she rents a room from Jonah, a quirky artist who quickly becomes her best friend. His house puts her in close proximity to the metaphysical shop run by her birth mother, the free-spirited Marianna Hutchins. Avery enters The Crystal Moon fully intending to confront Marianna, but instead she chickens out and inquires about a job. She's hired; yet remains leery about confessing her secret.

As Avery settles into town, she has an embarrassing encounter with Gabe, the incredibly attractive man who works a few doors down. Despite the awkward introduction, there is undeniable chemistry, but after a recent heartbreak all he’s looking for is friendship. 
Everyone deserves a second chance. Will Avery get hers with a new family? Will Gabe allow himself a second chance at love? Will they embrace their new relationships, or will they simply decide to take a rain check? (from Goodreads)

My Ramblings:
I've known Gypsy for several years and when I started reading this book I was a little worried. What if I didn't like it? Then what would I do? I should have known that I didn't have to worry. All the things that make Gypsy and awesome person come through in her writing and reading Rain Check felt like I was listening to Gypsy tell a story. She managed to take a story that could have taken a turn towards sadness and filled it with humor and hope. 

Avery is an awesome lead character. She's been hurt and left alone, but she's not falling victim to her circumstances. Instead she's going out and trying to create her own future by making some tough choices. Not always successfully, but always with a good attitude. Gabe comes across as a bit of an asshole for some of the book- when he's with Avery he's great, but then there's that other girl that just won't let him go, and you kind of want to reach into the book and smack him at least once since he isn't getting it all on his own. Even though Gabe is the love interest, as far as I'm concerned the leading man is Jonah, and he's fabulous. Everyone should have a Jonah as a best friend to remind you that you aren't alone and that the world can be made better with a few hours with the Winchester brothers and some snarky comments. 

These characters felt real to me. They weren't perfect and they weren't so tragic that it seemed their problems were insurmountable. They existed in the middle somewhere, taking their knocks and coming out of them scarred, but okay.  I felt like these characters could be my neighbors, or my friends, or me and that made reading the story really great. I can't wait to see what Gypsy does next!