Book Tour Review: Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca ~~ Crazy or Not?

28695529Title: Black Flowers, White Lies
Author: Yvonne Ventresca
Date of Publication: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: paranormal, young adult, thriller, contemporary, fiction
Pages: 272
Source: Edelweis

Rating:
3HalfBean

Short Summary:

Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a supernatural connection. Since her mother discourages these beliefs, Ella keeps her cemetery visits secret. But she may not be the only one with secrets. Ella’s mother might be lying about how Dad died sixteen years ago. Newfound evidence points to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not as a result of a tragic car accident as her mother always claimed. After a lifetime of just the two of them, Mom suddenly feels like a stranger.

When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, at first she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger as he did once before. If it’s not a warning, could her new too-good-to-be-true boyfriend be responsible for the strange occurrences? Or maybe it’s the grieving building superintendent whose dead daughter strongly resembles Ella? As the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, Ella becomes terrified about who—or what—might harm her.

Soon the evidence points to someone else entirely: Ella herself. What if, like her father, she’s suffering from a breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers, no matter how disturbing the truth might be.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound 

My Thoughts:

Moving on to my thoughts on this book.  I received this book for review however that does not affect my opinions on this book.
When I first received this book, I didn’t have much in the way of expectations for the story.  I knew very little about it and wanted to keep it that way, only knowing that it was a thriller and had a beautiful cover and was about a girl obsessed with cats.  However, by the end I was left wanting so much more.
I felt there was a good plot line, I followed it without issue.  The characters (mostly) were all explained well and I felt I understood them, at least by the end.  Ella really made me smile in her complete innocence and desire to simply help the cats and remember her father, while keeping her mother and new family members happy.  This turns out to become more and more difficult as new truths about her life keep popping up and she starts to believe that she might actually be going crazy.
Negative parts for me were that the story took quite a while to take off and then it felt like everything happened at once.  Nothing really wrong with that, but the ending just felt like either a set up for another book or as a way to make me upset.  I won’t say more due to spoilers, but yes, that’s my biggest issue: the ending.
Fun Fact: The original title for Black Flowers, White Lies was In the Dark, but when they realized there were several other book by that title, Yvonne and her editor decided to change it. The new title inspired the cover design.

ABOUT YVONNE VENTRESCA:

Yvonne Ventresca’s latest young adult novel, BLACK FLOWERS, WHITE LIES will be published by Sky Pony Press in October 2016.

Her debut YA novel, PANDEMIC, won a 2015 Crystal Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In PANDEMIC, a teen struggles to survive not only a deadly outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons. Ventresca’s other works include the short story “Escape to Orange Blossom,” which was selected for the dystopian anthology PREP FOR DOOM, along with two nonfiction books, PUBLISHING (Careers for the 21st Century) and AVRIL LAVIGNE (People in the News).

Author Links: 

TOUR SCHEDULE

Sep 7th – Falling For YA
Sep 8th – The YA’s Nightstand
Sep 9th – YA Book Madness
Sep 12th – Bibliobibuli YA
Sep 14th – Still Dreaming of Manderley
Sep 16th – Lost in Ever After
Sep 19th – With Love for Books
Sep 21st – YA Book Central
Sep 23rd – Bean’s Bookshelf and Coffee Break
Sep 26th – The Fake Steph
Sep 28th – Books, Dreams, Life
Sep 30th – All For Love of the Word
Oct 1st – The Silver Dagger Scriptorium
Oct 3rd – Book Lovers Life

GIVEAWAY

Prize pack includes a three panel rustic chalkboard with a $25 Amex gift card, a $25 Sephora gift card, and a signed copy of Black Flowers, White Lies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Waiting on Wednesday: Letters to the Lost

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released.

This week in my spotlight, I’ve chosen:

30038855Book: Letter to the Lost
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsberry USA Children's
Pages: 400

 

Summary:

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

 

My Thoughts:

This sounds so beautiful, but also potentially heartbreaking at the same time and I really want to read it!!  Not to mention I really love the cover😀

What did you all add to your TBR this week??

Stacking the Shelves [41]

IMG_0400

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books that you buy in a physical store or online, books your borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks.

~~~~

Ebooks:
For Review:

27414369Flashfall by Jenny Moyer

I don’t know a lot about this book, except there is caving involved and the hunt for a mineral that dispels radioactivity?  Which seems pretty cool! I’m part of a book tour for this book, so there’s a little bit of time for me to figure out what exactly I have gotten myself into and to get excited for it.  Plus I really love the cover!!

 

 

Physical:
For Review:

31363558Eye of the Storm by Frank Cavallo

I completely forgot that I was asked to review this book in all honesty, but that didn’t stop me from petting the softcover and admiring the cover art.  This is a fantasy novel that starts off set in the modern world and modern times, until the two main characters, an ex-Navy SEAL and a scientist, are thrust into a wormhole and end up in a whole other world where magic and magical creatures and characters thrive. So, I’m pretty excited to read this one!

 

I’ve amassed a very impressive pile of books (physical and digital) for review so I’m attempting to hold back on my book buying, so that should work for like a week or so right??  I have an addiction…

What did you guys get this week?  What are you reading??

 

Review: Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy #1) by Sally Green ~~ Don’t Trust Anyone

18079804Title: Half Bad
Series: Half Bad Trilogy #1
Author: Sally Green
Date of Publication: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Viking Books For Young Readers
Genre: fantasy, paranormal, young adult
Pages: 394
Source: BookOutlet

Rating:
4Bean

Short Summary:

Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

My Thoughts:

Let it be said, for some reason I thought this book was about werewolves.  It isn’t.  There’s implied ingestion of organs by the violent Marcus, but no werewolves as of now…which I’m not sure where I got that, but that needed to be said.  Moving on!

This book really was quite good, minus the first few pages.  I panicked slightly when I read the first few pages, but once the style changed a bit, it made a lot more sense.  There is nothing wrong with second person POV, it’s just not something that I enjoy reading.  The book as a whole was well thought out and well written, and I found myself engrossed in Nathan’s developing story.

Nathan’s life is a story about the determination to survive and prove that you are your own person and not what everyone labels you as.  Nathan has spent his entire life being told that he was evil, and that he would become evil because he is the son who ‘killed’ his mother.  He is taken away from his family, tortured, kept in a cage, and slowly roves to select individuals that he is not who they think he is.  He even meets a girl that he believes loves him as he is.  My favorite character is Gabriel, he’s so sassy and complements Nathan completely.  I ship them hardcore!

Anyways, after the initial few pages of confused POV, this book sucked me in and didn’t released me until the end.  I finished this book in one sitting.  I give it four out of five beans!

Waiting on Wednesday: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released.

This week in my spotlight, I’ve chosen:

30724132Book: Geekerella
Author: Ashley Poston
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 320

 

Summary:

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has toenter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad s old costume), Elle’s determined to win unless her stepsisters get there first. 

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again? 

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy talefor anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

My Thoughts:

I’m honestly a sucker for a good, solid Cinderella story.  Call it a guilty pleasure if you want, but I am a fan of the story and (surprisingly) the romance behind it.  Add in some nerd culture and you have what I hope to be a winning combo!  My favorite so far: Cinder & Ella. Maybe this one will top it? Who knows!!

Review: Smoke and Mirrors (Blackhollow Academy #1) by Jess Haines ~~ I Want a Dragon, Not a Knight!

29979322Title: Smoke and Mirrors
Series: Blackhollow Academy #1
Author: Jess Haines
Date of Publication: May 1, 2016
Publisher: Jess Haines
Genre: fantasy, paranormal, new adult, romance
Pages: 290
Source: publisher

Rating:
4Bean

Short Summary:
A girl who uses her illusions to fool the world into thinking she’s just like all the other magi.

A dragon who sees through her lies.

Together they just might survive a world that wants to control or destroy them both.

Kimberly may wield ultimate cosmic power, but even a mage has to pay the rent. No one will hire her for her magic talents until she’s got the credentials, so she’s stuck in a crappy rent controlled apartment with her mother, yearning for treats she can’t afford at her part time job in a café, counting down the days until she graduates the secret Blackhollow Academy school for magi. Only then will she have the certificate she needs to land her dream job in a coven.

The problem? She needs a familiar to graduate.

As an illusionist, she doesn’t have the ability to summon or create a familiar of her own. Her only option is to convince a supernatural creature to let her bind it instead. Since having a powerful Other at her beck and call would guarantee her a place in a coven after she graduates—and legendary treasure hoards are an added bonus—she thinks binding a dragon as her familiar will solve all her problems…

Because sometimes a girl needs a dragon, not a knight…

My Thoughts:

This book was not what I expected!  When you see a book that concerns a sorcerer meeting a dragon, certain cliches come to mind: the dragon having to keep rescuing the sorcerer, hordes of treasures, and lots of fire (SMAUG).  However, I have to say that while the traditional aspects of dragon-lore is here, they are well hidden and not noted right away. Jess Haines did an amazing job of showing how the supernatural can hide in plain sight, adding a modern twist to our stereotyped preconceptions of the supernatural.

Kimberly (not Kim) is such a modern girl in so many ways.  She wants to fit into a world that she doesn’t quite match and above all desires to keep her and her mother safe.  This is much easier than it seems when they discover she is a sorcerer who can create powerful illusions. As her power develops and she struggles to hide herself among her fellow mage students (none of whom know she is a sorcerer, not a mage) the requirements of the final graduation stand before her.  She needs to find a familiar to bind to, enter Cormac.  As a rich and powerful Other, he agrees to help her find a creature to bind to.  This leads to her delving deeper into the world of the other creatures of the supernatural world in a way she never thought she would, including falling for a certain powerful creature.

The impending romance between Kimberly and Cormac felt very rushed to me and confused me a bit, but it started to become a bit clearer near the end, but I’m anxious to see it become more solid and follow where these two go.  I also have to extend love to Xander, because he was just like the most awesome friend a sorcerer could ask for!  I really hope he is in the next book as well!  Over all 4 beans from me.  There was nothing wrong with the book, it just didn’t leave me breathless or shrieking in my seat.

Review: Travel Glasses (The Call to Search Everywhen #1) by Chess Desalts ~~ These Glasses Make My Eyes Change Color

22930322Title: Travel Glasses
Series: The Call To Search Everywhen #1
Author: Chess Desalls
Date of Publication: May 7, 2014
Publisher: Czidor Lore, LLC
Genre: science fiction, ya, fantasy, romance, time travel
Pages: 242
Source: NetGalley & publisher

Rating:
3HalfBean

Short Summary:
Calla Winston falls into a world of worlds after meeting Valcas, a time traveler who traverses time and space with a pair of altered sunglasses. He offers his further protection in exchange for a promise. After learning that his search for her was no mere coincidence, she tracks down the inventor of the Travel Glasses in hopes of discovering more about Valcas’ past and motivations. With Valcas hot on her trail, Calla hopes to find what she’s looking for before he catches up.

My Thoughts:

This book was a roller coaster for sure and I’m not 100% it was in a good way.  The book itself was thought out quite well, and written well, however out main character Calla deserved several slaps on the back of her ignorant little head.  She is dragged (quite literally) into a world where time travel is the most common source of getting from one place to another.  However, it requires having a physical description/image of the person or place in one’s head, which is pretty creative and I liked it! However, Calla is not satisfied with being pulled away from a world she doesn’t like, she has to know everything.  Fine. But then she goes and changes history, which for anyone who has ever seen any sort of classic science fiction show (*cough**DoctorWho**cough*) knows is a big no-no!

Ok, I’m done complaining now. In all honesty, considering how she was literally thrust into a world time travel and seeing the same person and different stages in their life, Calla handled herself very well. Valcus, our…antagonist(?), sounds like he becomes a very interesting if not very complicated character.  I see romance blooming in their future…past…timey-whimey.

Overall, I did enjoy the story but it left me more than a little annoyed with Calla and more concerned with the damage she has done to those around her.  But the story held my interest and I read it in one day, plus it made sense…sigh, give me the next book so I know what happens. 3.5 beans because it left me having to know what happens next.

August Wrap-Up and Mini-Reviews

 

August in general was a bit of a tough month for me.  It seemed like everything started all at once.  I’m currently balancing three jobs with attempting to sleep (maybe once or twice a week, that’s normal right?)  and getting moving on my own writing while reading and getting reviews up.  It sounds like a lot and honestly right now I’m feeling the pressure.  However, that will NOT stop me from bringing you reviews and new posts whenever I can (even if I die, I plan on being one of those annoying ghosts that haunts people in a not terrifying way…) as often or seldom as that may be.

Books Read:

I read quite the variety of stories this month, ten in total!  Everything from novels to manga and graphic novels to an audiobook or two!  I’m going to go in order, just because that’s what works for me.

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 11 by Yusei Matsui (paperback) – five beans  A continuation of my current favorite manga (don’t judge that I’m holding off on the anime for now!) that taught the importance of teamwork and not letting your skills or power go to your head.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (audiobook) – four beans – My first classic audiobook.  I’ve come to the conclusion that listening to the classics is almost a better way of going through them.  I was not a fan that the narrator kept changing my my version though, it made the story a bit inconsistent.

Paper Towns by John Green (paperback) – five beans – I think I would love just about anything that John Green writes, but I can’t way for sure because I haven’t had them all yet.  This book was relatable and surprisingly light and humorous. He certainly has a way of making us think!

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Vol. 2 by Kore Yamazaki (library paperback) – four point five beans –  A summary of this volume: cats, dogs, magic, and herbs! The development of this romance is very strange and I’m still not sure what to think of it. 

The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (ebook) – five beans – My suggestion: stop what you are reading now and go read this book!! Seriously! Five beans from me without hesitation!! A wonderfully written debut novel about the struggles of being human and acceptation that the devil may in fact lurk inside each and every one of us.

Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala (library paperback) – four beans – Too quick of a story but the art was pretty awesome. When all came to light, it was a very dark graphic novel and I was not expecting that.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Vol 3 by Kore Yamazaki (library paperback) – four point five beans – This was a very interesting one for me and I wasn’t sure exactly what to think of parts of it, but I LOVED the character addition of an older brother figure for Chise!!

Over the Underworld (The Unbelievable FIB #2) by Adam Shaughnessy (review copy paperback) – four point five beans – I found myself annoyed with one of our main characters and appreciating the viewpoint of the other so much more! Great book for any fan of norse mythology or any middle school teacher!

The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greenhouse (review ebook) – four point five beans – While a good book, I was left feeling very dissatisfied and unsure as to what age this was meant for.  Violent but childish, this is a fun book to read and a quick read in general.

Lies, Knives, and Girls in White Dresses by Ron Koertge (hardback) – four beans – Make sure you know the basics of Grimms Fairy Tales for this book, it’s dark.  If you don’t mind guts, gore, and dark humor then I highly recommend this book of poems and short stories.

Books Received/Bought/Borrowed:

I’m officially a book hoarder and not regretting it at all!!😀

Monthly Favorites:
Book: Paper Towns by John Green and The Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel (I can’t choose just one, but both are a must read!!!)
TV Show: Duarara!!! (NETFLIX!!)

Stacking the Shelves [40]

IMG_0400

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books that you buy in a physical store or online, books your borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks.

~~~~

Ebooks:
For Review:

28818301Useless Bay by M.J. Beaufrand

I did not expect this book to come through until I became part of a book tour for it and I’m pretty excited.  A young adult novel that mixes thriller with magical realism (which is a combination that I am SUPER excited about) and is about quintuplets who ‘work’ on an island as the unofficial search-and-rescue team. In this book they are searching for a missing boy but the find a body they weren’t looking for…*dramatic music*

 

30813842A Wizard’s Forge (The Woern Saga #1) by A.M. Justice

This book is interesting in that it’s about psychological torture and then getting back at the person who tortured you.  We follow Vic, a scholar who is tortured and then escapes only to join a group of rebels who are fighting against those who tortured her. She then meets a prince who she ends up having to save and sic overs she has magic along the way.  Sounds interesting and different.

 

30842388Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough

Honestly this one caught my eye because of the cover and I thought it was pretty fun looking.  It’s about a girl, Delilah, who ends up basically taking care of her family and their cafe after her dad takes a trip when her mom leaves him for someone else. So she’s worrying about school and the cafe and suddenly a new girl comes into class and Delilah basically falls in love with her and it sounds like this girl falls in love with her too? Sounds like a cute read, not as quick, but cute🙂

 

Audiobooks:
For Review:

23962975Omari and the People by Stephen Whitfield

I’m trying something brand new for me: an audiobook tour. I’ve listened to audiobooks and have gotten into a habit of listening to them whenever I color (currently an Alice in Wonderland coloring book, side note) which makes me feel as if I’m still accomplishing something.  The cover of this book completely caught my eye and I’m super excited to listen to it!!  It’s about a man who mistakenly sets his village on fire (in a desert) and then lies and tells the people that there’s a better place and they set out to find that place.  I’m interested and excited to see what happens.

 

Physical:

Bookmail!!!

I’m super excited because I got book mail this week! I was part of an online chain mail thing where you send books onto random people, and I got four in the mail this week (one I don’t have because I gave it to my father since it was more up his ally anyways, so that will not be here sorry).

186074The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

I have heard so many good things about this book and I’m not exactly sure why I haven’t bought it, but I do now realize that this book is huge! Like it’s a behemoth of a book!! From what I understand this is a coming of age story for a young but very powerful wizard? I’m not sure…but I’m still excited. A friend of mine of bookstagram and I may do a read-a-long…not sure yet.

 

38447The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I honestly don’t know a lot about this book except it has been said to be a tough book to read at points? I’m not going to look too much into it because I want to read it blind since it was a gift, but I’m very curious and it doesn’t seem too long so I’m guessing I could get it out pretty quickly.

 

 

303836The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer

I did a double take when I saw this book, but as I thought more about it I kinda got excited. I mean I love camping and it would be good to know this kind of stuff!  Don’t know when I’ll get around to reading it, but I’m guessing it will be something that takes me a bit. If nothing else I have several outdoors-y friends who might find this useful as well!

 

 

That’s my haul for this week!  What did you all get?? Happy weekend!!

Review: Lost in Wonderland (The Twisted and the Brave #1) by Nicky Peacock ~~ The Mad Hatter’s Bloody Tea Party

30117523Title: Lost in Wonderland
Series: The Twisted and the Brave #1
Author: Nicky Peacock
Date of Publication: February 25, 2016
Publisher: Ever
Genre: thriller, fiction, ya
Pages: 124
Source: NetGalley & publisher

Rating:
4HalfBean

Short Summary:
Monsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—being a Wonderlander can be murder… 

Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother… 

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.

My Thoughts:

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So, thanks to NetGalley and the publisher!  Onto the review!

There are so many different Alice in Wonderland spin offs floating around lately and each one has a different take on the story, which I suppose is one of the wonderful things about the story.  Anyways, Lost in Wonderland takes a stand that I haven’t really ever seen before.  Instead of an alternate universe, the people of Wonderland are a sort of non-government agency.  It was a very interesting and unique take on the original story.

Our two main characters are Mouse, a 19-year-old assassin, and her brother Shilo, who resides in an insane asylum and sees people who may have once been alive.  These two Alaskan natives don’t communicate and haven’t for quite a while, until an unlikely event brings them back together.  A monster, who Shilo believes killed their mother, has reappeared and Bean puts herself on the case dragging her mentally unstable brother along.

A fast paced thriller that had me turning the pages in ernest to learn what would happen next!! Blood, gore, serial killers, monsters, and possible supernatural influence? Not to forget all the WONDERFUL Alice in Wonderland references!  Highly recommended as a short thriller read. Well done! 4.5 beans from me!