Friday, 27 July 2018

Blog Tour: Sanctuary by Caryn Lix - Review and Author Q&A

Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

Publishing Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 480
Young Adult Sci-Fi

The Premise from the Publisher: "Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything. As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward. But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners. At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely. As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows" (Simon Pulse).

My overall thoughts and review: This book was pitched as The Darkest Minds meets Alien, and I'd like to push it one further and mention that it also has similar components to the CW's The 100 tv show. I don't often read a ton of sci-fi even though I enjoy the genre quite a lot. I find a lot of it can seem similar and repetitive, and it really needs to be written in a way that is accessible. I knew I instantly liked this book when the first chapter opened with the main character, Kenzie, reading manga before bed. For Kenzie, her life has been consumed by Sanctuary, which is essentially a prison for superpowered teenagers. Her entire family works with her on Sanctuary and she is training to be a junior guard. The story opens with what seems to be drills that set up the story. However, the novel moves quite quickly that Kenzie is taken hostage by some prisoners that have planned a prison break. Through this tricky situation, Kenzie learns where her alliances lie, and what freedom actually looks like. Kenzie finds herself bonding with the prisoners and seeing that she connects with them on a much more deeper level. I had to remind myself a couple of times how quickly the novel moved because it was so action-packed. I liked that each chapter ended on a bit of a cliffhanger which had me turning the pages quite quickly. I also liked how the secondary characters were nicely developed, like Rune, Mia, Alexei, Tyler, and Anya. But the people that take center stage of the whole novel is definitely Kenzie and Cage. Both really strong characters that brought up a lot of questions about morality and freedom. I'm not usually a fan of insta-love, and it really isn't insta-love, but rather insta-attraction, but I immediately shipped them. I'm also all for a Mandarin Chinese love interest (kudos to Lix for all the diversity in characters). Overall, if you are looking for a fast-paced prison-break style sci-fi novel with a dash of aliens, this is the read for you. I look forward to seeing what Lix writes next for this group of teens and seeing where the story goes. Lix writes in a really digestible manner that even if you aren't a sci-fi reader regularly, you can definitely find something in this to enjoy!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon, and Book Depository

Author Question and Answer
1. Which character do you identify with most? 
I think I identify with all of them to one extent or another: Kenzie’s journey of exploration, Cage’s quiet exasperation that people don’t just do what he says, Mia’s frustrations, Rune’s desire for everything to work out well. Everyone in the book is a little bit of me!
2. What other other books, film, and/or television that take place in deep space inspire you? 
I am a huge Firefly fan, but there are a lot of deep space stories I love: the Expanse series, Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course Aliens. If it takes place in space, I’m pretty much there for it, all the way back to the original Star Trek series. 
3. What do you hope your readers take away from the book? 
I hope readers have a great time with this story. I think it’s a fast-paced thrill ride, and that’s most of what I hope they get from it: the allure of adventure and the rush of near misses. On a slightly deeper level, there are a lot of messages in Sanctuary about questioning what you’ve grown up believing, being open to other perspectives, and looking beyond the surface. I hope that makes it through too!
4. Is there more to come in the world of Omnistellar & Sanctuary? 
Absolutely! There is a sequel planned for next summer, and beyond that… who knows? 
5. Also, because I'm a big manga fan and you basically had me from the first page where Kenzie is reading manga way past her bedtime, what are some of your favorite manga titles? 
I have an unhealthy obsession with Attack on Titan. I will take any opportunity to dress up as Hange and run around town in my ODM gear. I’m also a big fan of Sword Art Online. But the anime that really caught my attention WAAAAY back in the day was Ranma ½!
Thank you so much, Caryn, for stopping by and answering some questions! I look forward to the next installment of Sanctuary next summer!  

Disclaimer: An advanced e-reader's copy of the book was provided by Simon and Schuster Canada for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards Book 1) by Sarah MacLean 

Publishing Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Avon Books / HarperCollins
Pages: 416
Historical Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "When Wicked Comes Calling . . . When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it. The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain . . . Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy. For the Promise of Passion . . .But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos and he must choose between everything he's ever wanted . . . and the only thing he's ever desired" (Avon).

My overall thoughts and review: So I have to admit something. This book was my first ever historical romance. :O I legit don't know why I waited so long to read historical romance. I think it's honestly feeling overwhelmed by where to start and who to read. I'm so glad that I decided to start with this one by Sarah MacLean, because 1) it's the start of a new series and 2) my good friend, Eden, recommended this and loved it. Since finishing this, I've been absolutely tearing through historical romance reads and I'm hooked! To begin with, I absolutely loved the premise of the book and how it takes place in a much darker part of London, and before Covent Garden is what it is today. We follow Felicity, who is witty, quick, strong, and brave. She agrees to make a bargain with the Devil, who promises to help her land the guy she wants, but she finds herself falling for him the process. They have an undeniable attraction and I just loved what they brought out in each other. They both saw more in each other and I loved that they were able to show the other why they loved one another.  Other things besides a beautiful and sexy relationship between the two leads that I really enjoyed about the story, was the secondary characters. I immediately liked Grace and Whit, and I just loved learning about their family and what led them to where they are today. I'm falling in love with historical romance reads because yes, it does take the reader to another time and place in history, but it deals with a lot of things that are relate-able to contemporary times. Felicity was once part of a popular friend group, and then she was an outcast. It looks at how others shape our identity, and what happens when that changes. I will say that MacLean also writes dialogue between characters really well. I feel immediately immersed into the conversation and I just love some of her quick-witted lines. All in all, I loved this book. I legit hugged it when I finished it. I've already went back to read some her backlist, but I totally see myself rereading this for years to come. Already counting down the days until the next book in the series! ;)

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Indigo, Kobo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Review: Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken

Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken

Publishing Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Pages: 304
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Blaire has never quite gotten over Jessie Beckett, the ex–NFL star whose kisses were hot enough to ignite the entire Eastern Seaboard. When he chose work over her, Blaire was left brokenhearted. Why else would she have married a skeezy two-timer, just to divorce him less than a year later? Now Blaire is getting even by becoming one half of Dirty Exes, a PI firm fully committed to humiliating cheating jerks. If only the new jerk she’s been hired to uncover wasn’t Jessie Beckett himself. Exposing Jessie isn’t going to be easy, especially when she still daydreams about his sexy smile. Further complicating matters is Colin, Jessie’s best friend. He’s gorgeous, a little bit cunning, and willing to help Blaire get the inside scoop on Jessie—for a price. Now caught between two men—one totally right and the other totally wrong—Blaire will need to decide just how much she’s willing to risk…and whom she’s willing to risk it for" (Amazon).

My overall thoughts and review: So I do this thing, when I finish a book and I love it so much, I sit there for a few moments afterwards just hugging it. This was definitely one of those books. I've been a fan of RVD's writing for a while now, and when I heard she was coming out with a new series, I was all for it. In many ways, this reminded me of her Fraternize book, because the lead is torn between two guys, and honestly, it could go either way. This book constantly surprised me and honestly had me smiling from ear to ear. To begin with, you follow Blaire, who has been dealt a horrible hand. She caught her husband Jason, cheating on her with her ex-bestfriend. From there, she forms a type of PI firm with her new friend, Isla. Their job is essentially to catch people cheating and expose them. Unfortunately one day, her new case involves the one that got away, Jessie Beckett. They both find themselves drawn to one another again, but also add Jessie's bestfriend, Colin to the mix (who also happens to have an interest in Blaire). The reader can easily see that Blaire never fully came to terms with what happened, and she didn't really process all her anger from before with Jason, and with Jessie. I was honestly so impressed with how much growth Blaire demonstrated in the book and how she was willing to take a chance on love again. I don't want to spoil it and mention which guy she ends up picking, but let me say, I was like half-way through and I was so torn. I really liked both the guys. It's also hard because RVD gave us their perspectives as well, along with Blaire's. I will say that the ending does set it up nicely for the next book in the series, Dangerous Exes, so I'm already counting down the days for that release so I can see Blaire/The-Guy-She-Chose again, but also because Isla's HEA!! The guy Blaire does choose though, might seriously be my favorite book boyfriend yet. Overall this was a super fun and sexy book with lots of adorable and laugh out loud moments. If you love RVD, you will love this one! Before, I end the review.. I want to share a passage from the book when I decided I was definitely Team-??? (I refuse to spoil it) - I just loved how comfortable Blaire felt with this person, and that's whats really important in a relationship, finding your equal, your partner <3
"Want some cereal?"
My heart almost leaped out of my chest. "What kinds do you have?"
"Amateur." He smirked. "At least fifteen, pick your poison, then we can talk trash about your ex the rest of the night while I contemplate the positions I'm going to get you in later this week--I'm thinking we could really make a great team in the shower...naked."
"Naturally." I bit down on my lip and went with it even though I was already looking forward to the adventure. "But it all rests on this one question."
He braced his body against the kitchen table, looking so sexy I wanted to throw something at him. "Do you have Cocoa Puffs?"
My answer was a box flying at my face and a question about spoon preference.
I smiled.
A real smile.
And when we clinked our empty bowls together fifteen minutes later, I genuinely felt...happy.
(Page 179-180)  
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.