Showcase Sunday (40): "I Love HarperTeen" Edition

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Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicki at Books, Biscuits, and Tea, where we showcase what books we've gotten over the course of the week, whether it be bought, received from the library, from the publishers for review, etc.

For Review:


          


Bought:


How to Love: I am so excited to start this one. I've been in the mood for contemporaries lately, and this one has gotten rave reviews from friends of mine so far, and from the synopsis, I'm pretty sure it focuses on a mother/daughter relationship, so I'm looking forward to hopefully having my heart stomped on while reading this book. Thanks, Balzer + Bray!

The Beginning of Everything: This is another contemporary I got this week that has gotten rave reviews from friends of mine! I'm not exactly sure what it's about, but Christina says it's witty, and the author told me it has a lot of puns, and the original title (Severed Heads, Broken Hearts) intrigues me, so I think I'll love this one quite a bit. Thanks, Katherine Tegen Books!

Being Sloane Jacobs: I wouldn't normally be interested in this one, but I've heard great things about Lauren Morill's Meant to Be, so I hope this one is as fun as I've heard that one is. Thanks, Delacorte!

Once We Were: !!!!! I loved What's Left of Me, so words can't describe how excited I am for this one. I'm thinking of reading it while I'm waiting at the airport/on the plane on Tuesday. Can't wait! Thanks, HarperCollins!

The Burning Sky: I honestly don't know much about this one, but I've heard really good things, and I think it's about an elixir that goes wrong and screws everything up (though I could be completely wrong and am too lazy to actually check for myself and read the synopsis), so I look forward to it. Fantasy isn't usually my genre, but I've read some really good ones this year. Here's to hoping The Burning Sky joins those good ones. Thanks, Balzer + Bray!

Frostbite: I wasn't the hugest fan of Vampire Academy, but I fully intend to continue the series, and have heard that it gets much better after the second book, so I hope I like this one more than I did the first! 

What did you get this week? Let me know in the comments, or leave a link to your haul, and I'll check it out as soon as possible!

Reader's Choice Review #1: Vampire Academy

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Reader's Choice is a weekly meme inspired by Christina at Reader of Fiction's Sadie Hawkins Sunday, where you, the readers of this blog, get to choose what I read and review on the blog each Saturday/Monday, depending on the circumstances. 

Vampire Academy
Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy, #1
Release Date: August 16th, 2007
Publisher: Razorbill 
Rating: 2.5 stars
Word Rating: *sigh* 
Reviewed by: Blythe
Recommended by: Hayden and Steph of Cuddlebuggery

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St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Review: Faking It by Cora Carmack

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Faking It
Cora Carmack
Series: Losing It, #2
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow & Co
Rating: 4 stars
Word Rating: OMG So Cute
Reviewed by: Kate

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Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.


Review: Born of Illusion by Teri Brown

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Born of Illusion
Teri Brown
Series: Born of Illusion, #1
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Rating: 4 stars
Word Rating: I like you... a lot.
Reviewed by: Melanie

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ANNA VAN HOUSEN HAS A SECRET.

A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage shows and seances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians and mentalists in 1920s New York. For Anna, the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini - or so Marguerite claims - handcuffs and sleight-of-hand illusions have never been much of a challenge. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her mother: because while Marguerite's power may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people's feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna's powers intensify, she experiences frightening visions of her mother in peril, which lead her to explore the abilities she's tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a society that studies people with gifts like hers, she begins to wonder if there's more to life than keeping secrets.

As her visions become darker and her powers spin out of her control, Anna is forced to rethink all she's ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna's visions merely illusions? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite's tricks?

From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, with the temptations of Jazz Age New York --- and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.

'I was thirteen the first time I broke my mother out of jail. After that it got easier, though I have to admit, even I had trouble getting the door unlocked whole hanging off the back of a paddy wagon. Is not an experience I wish to repeat.'


Waiting on Wednesday - Split Second by Kasie West

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we post upcoming releases we're highly anticipating. My pre-publication selection for this week's Waiting on Wednesday is Split Second by Kasie West.

Split Second
Kasie West
Series: Pivot Point, #2
Release Date: February 11th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Waited on by: Blythe

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Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

To say I am merely waiting on this book would be a massive, massive understatement. Pivot Point is one of my favorite books of all time, and this just sounds so beyond amazing... And getting a POV from Laila? And more Trevor? I...I just can't. 

What are you waiting on?

 Let me know in the comments!

Release Day Review + Giveaway: In the After

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In the After
Demitria Lunetta
Series: In the After, #1
Release Date: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 400
Rating: 4 stars
Word Rating: Awesomely Intense
Reviewed by: Blythe

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They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.


Introducing Reader's Choice!

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I've been intending to do something like this ever since I saw Christina's awesome Sadie Hawkins Sunday feature take flight, and now I'm finally getting around to introducing a spinoff of Christina's SHS, Reader's Choice (name shamelessly stolen from Gillian--thanks, Gillian!), to Finding Bliss in Books! I've wanted to introduce this feature to Finding Bliss in Books because I am undeniably awful at reading books I have unless I am given a prompt, and the amount of unread ARCs and even more scary, the amount of unread bought books I have, is seriously a problem. So now I have a prompt--you guys! With Reader's Choice, you can have me read anything you'd like--a book you love and think I'll love, a book you hate and think I'll hate, an ARC you're looking forward to reading that I have--anything! Just fill out the form below and I'll choose entries randomly and read the book that is chosen! Note: I am clearly not the fastest reader (I'm not even a fast reader period), so while I would like to have this be a weekly feature (on Mondays, most likely), it may at some times have to end up being bi-weekly. (But not permanently, of course, there just may be one skipped week because I couldn't read the book in time.) Anyway, this is a long introduction, so lo and behold! The form! If you have anything you'd like me to read, fill it out and I'll choose an entry soon and read the book. 


Showcase Sunday (39): The Small To Not So Small

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Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicki at Books, Biscuits, and Tea, where we showcase what books we've gotten over the course of the week, whether it be bought, received from the library, from the publishers for review, etc.

As you may have noticed from the title, this week's haul was going to be small. But then Blythe, Kate and myself decided to combine our haul which then turned out to be not so small.

For Review:

Bought:


Won:

Thanks Shelleyrae!

Solstice: (Received by Blythe) I'm looking forward to reading Solstice because the Greek Mythology coupled with a dystopian setting intrigues me, but the mixed reviews and love triangle intimidate me.  Thanks Tor Teen!

Fairytales for Wilde Girls: (Received by Melanie) This seems to be a light and cute read. And the cover just makes me go all crazy.

Stung: (Received by Melanie) The idea of the novel is ingenious, nothing like I've ever heard of. Yet when I read this recently, the world building and characterisation turned out to be greatly disappointing. And the unfortunate, romance. What is with romance these days? Bleh. Thanks Bloomsbury Australia!

Banish: (Received by Melanie) Banish, to be completely honest, sounds crazy. Alyssa's mom is psychotic and her ex-boyfriend committed suicide. WUT. But it's another Aussie contemporary so I'm hoping it'll turn out to be something worthwile. Thanks Harlequin Australia!

Unseen: (Received by Kate) I am VERY excited about this book. It's the seventh in a crime series set in the part of Georgia where I grew up. Book six was genuinely terrible, but the first five were absolutely amazing.

Parasite: (Received by Kate) (I THINK I got this this week?) Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire is another of my absolute favorite authors, so this was an exciting ARC to get.

False Sight: (Received by Kate) This is the sequel to a book I REALLY enjoyed. I know a lot of bloggers have a problem with the author because he once reacted negatively to a negative review of a book written by a friend of his, but he was SUPER embarrassed about it and I think he handled himself well afterwards.

Down London Road: (Received by Kate) This is a garbage, soapy romance novel. I'm very excited about reading something that isn't SUPPOSED to be very good.

Tarnish: (Received by Kate) I need to read the book that came before it, first. I like historical fiction, so we'll see.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: (Received by Kate) He's one of my top five favorite authors of all time, so I'm pretty pumped about this.

Eleanor & Park: (Received by Kate) YA Romance, great author: obviously I'm psyched about this one.

Charm & Strange: (Received by Kate) I've heard great things about this from a lot of people (Blythe gave it, what five stars?), so I've been wanting to read it for a while.

Another Little Piece: (Received by Kate) This is another one I've been meaning to buy since I saw all the positive reviews on Goodreads.

Unnatural Creatures: (Received by Kate) I bought this for my little sister because it contains works by some of my favorite writers, but there are a few stories I haven't read in it, so I'm gonna check it out first.

Fury: (Received by Kate) This book is tough to get in the US. My friend Wendy let me borrow it so I don't have to pay a million dollars to get it shipped here.

The Reapers at the Angels: (Received by Kate) Also loaned to me by Wendy. I love creepy stuff, so this is high on my TBR list.

Proxy: (Received by Kate) My review of this went up on Thursday, but since I bought it on Wednesday, I guess it still counts.

Wildlife: (Received by Melanie) This is an Aussie contemporary which I'm uber excited for. I love books that deal with deep or difficult issues as it's always fascinating to see how the author tackles it. After seeing some convincing reviews, this one is on my high TBR. Thanks Shelleyrae!

What did you get this week? Let us know in the comments, or leave a link to your haul, and we'll check it out as soon as possible!

Review: Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

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Some Quiet Place
Kelsey Sutton
Series: Some Quiet Place, #1
Release Date: July 8th, 2013
Publisher: Flux
Rating: 3 stars
Word Rating: Meh
Reviewed by: Melanie

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I can’t weep. I can’t fear. I’ve grown talented at pretending.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.

Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?

'People are so complex. They want to hear the truth, but they want you to lie to them.'


Review: Proxy by Alex London

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Proxy
Alex London
Series: Proxy, #1
Release Date: June 18th, 2013
Publisher: Philomel
Rating: 3.5 stars
Word Rating: Almost
Reviewed by: Kate

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Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.


This book came very close to being extraordinary. The plot, the politics, the characters, the humor--it's all lovely in theory. I just wish the execution had been better. I wanted the author to dig deeper almost every step of the way.

Waiting on Wednesday - Antigoddess

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we post upcoming releases we're highly anticipating. My pre-publication selection for this week's Waiting on Wednesday is Antigoddess by Kendare Blake.

Antigoddess
Kendare Blake
Series: Goddess War, #1
Released: September 10th, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Waited on by: Melanie

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Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin
.

Being a full on Greek Mythology nerd, it is just another reason why I am so excited for Antigoddess. I haven't read a single book by Kendare Blake, but I heard her Anna series is really good and well, the synopsis and cover are amazeballs. It's so simple yet creepy and beautiful all at once. *grabby hands* 

What are you waiting on?

 Let me know in the comments!

Coming Attractions: Taste Test by Kelly Fiore

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Coming Attractions is inspired by The Perpetual Page Turner's Save The Date. Coming Attractions showcases a book that is not released for a while that I've read, and gives you a sneak peek (like a pre-review, if you will) as to what I thought about the book, since I can't post the review until closer to the release date.


Taste Test
Kelly Fiore
Series: None
Release Date: August 27th, 2013
Publisher: Walker Children's
Rating: 2 stars
Word Rating: What happened?
Reviewed by: Blythe

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Nora Henderson has been basting baby back ribs for as long as she could reach the counter of her dad's famous barbecue joint. When she's accepted to Taste Test, a teen reality cooking competition, Nora can't wait to leave her humble hometown behind. On set, run-ins with the maddeningly handsome and talented son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, make Nora wonder if it's him or the win she really wants, but as she and Christian emerge as front-runners for the final prize, Nora can't ignore the mysterious accidents plaguing the kitchen arena. Someone is conducting eliminations of their own, and if Nora doesn't stop them, she could be next to get "chopped" for good. 

With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.


Funny, yesterday I was contemplating giving this book five stars, and now I am tempted to give it one.

BUT, I have to keep in mind how much I loved the first quarter of this book, and that is practically this book's only saving grace from getting one star from me. We'll see how I feel once I write my review. Perhaps I won't be so generous. I have many, many thoughts, and have little to no idea as to how I'm going to organize them into a coherent review.

But first, a quick rundown of the things that pissed me off about this book:

THE CHARACTERS. They're awful. The MC, while snarky, is judgmental, slut-shames, can't make up her mind, and is just annoying as hell. The semi-love interest, Christian, is one of the biggest assholes ever, and he can take his infuriatingly arrogant self and go hump a cactus. The fact that the synopsis is making him look like a charming love interest just...ugh.

THE "COMPETITION." One of the main reasons I loved the first quarter of this so much was because of the competitions, and really the only reason I was interested in this book was because I wanted to read something that would be like a novelization of a MasterChef episode with some extra fun that would come with a YA novel. You will not find that in Taste Test. There are two or three competitions that are actually described (and irritatingly briefly and bluntly), and then for the remainder of the novel we're told the outcomes of the competition: who stays, who goes, who won the challenges, etc. Of all the things in the novel, I am probably most disappointed about that.

THE ROMANCE DESCRIBED AND PROMISED TO US IN THE SYNOPSIS? Practically nonexistent, unless you consider Christian going up to Nora and taking off her belt buckle without her consent romance. The only inch of actual romance throughout this entire book is towards the end, and even then, it's just...no.

Full review to come in July.

 This will not be a happy review. 

Showcase Sunday (38): The One With Sequels

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COMMENTS
Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicki at Books, Biscuits, and Tea, where we showcase what books we've gotten over the course of the week, whether it be from a book store, bought for your eReader, received from the library, or from the publishers for review, etc.


For Review:


 


Taste Test: Okay, so if you take Big Brother and MasterChef (two of my absolute favorite shows every), and you put them in a room and...science happens...the outcome would be Taste Test. I am not joking when I say that Taste Test is the lovechild of Big Brother and MasterChef, which means I absolutely love it so far. (Did I mention how fun it is? Because it is SO. MUCH. FUN.) Thanks, Walker Children's! 

The Mirk and Midnight Hour: So this is book 1/3 for the title of this post, meaning it's a sequel. A sequel to a book that hasn't been received quite well amongst good friends of mine, but granted that it's a companion novel set in the same world and not a direct sequel, and that it's a retelling of Tam Lin, I'm all in. Thanks, Random House!

Hereafter: Did I mention that all three of the sequels I got this week are for books whose predecessors I haven't read? (Oops? Also, yes, I might be weird to use 'whose' when concerning books, but shhh.) Anyway, I've heard that Shadowlands is really fun, and that this sequel is really creepy, so I jumped the gun and requested it. It's not that bad when you wholeheartedly plan to eventually read the first book! Shush! Thanks, Disney-Hyperion. 

Never Fade: Okay, now I have a good reason for requesting this one having not read The Darkest Minds, and that's because apparently The Darkest Minds ends in some monster cliffhanger and, while I have been dying to read it since it was published, I promised myself I would only read it when the sequel is released, or if I get an ARC of the sequel. And, now that I have an ARC of the sequel, I'm fully prepared to read The Darkest Minds! (But perhaps not emotionally prepared. Seriously, I've heard that this cliffhanger is a life-ruiner.) 

What did you get this week? Let me know in the comments, or leave a link to your haul, and I'll check it out as soon as possible!

Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

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Ink
Amanda Sun
Series: Paper Gods, #1
Release Date: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: 2 stars
Word Rating: Disappointing
Reviewed by: Melanie

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On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

'The liquid dropped down the stairs, and after a moment of panic, I realised it was ink, not blood.'


Review: The Impossibility of Tomorrow

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The Impossibility of Tomorrow
Avery Williams
Series: Incarnation, #2
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Rating: (A Very Generous) 2 stars
Word Rating: Ugh
Reviewed by: Blythe

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The immortal Seraphina is forced to face the darkness of her past—and risk losing the love of her life—in this second novel in the Incarnation series.

Seraphina has been living for centuries, thanks to a special method of alchemy, but only recently has she really felt alive. She’s finally broken free from her controlling boyfriend, Cyrus, and after years of swapping bodies to preserve her immortality, is happily settled into a life worth sticking with. Because in this life, she has Noah.

But Noah might not be as trustworthy as he seems. After he delivers an ominous message that could only come from Cyrus, Sera is worried that her new friends and family will find out her secret. And as her suspicions extend beyond Noah, Sera is forced to wonder about her new friends as well: Could her old coven be disguising themselves right under her nose?

Will Sera have to move to another body—and take another life—or can she find a way to keep what she’s got, forever?

I won't make an attempt at sugarcoating it--The Impossibility of Tomorrow was a really, really frustrating read for me, in a variety of ways. Having been an impressed reader with Avery William's debut, as well as this novel's predecessor, The Alchemy of Forever, I went into The Impossibility of Tomorrow with reasonably high expectations, predicting for all of those expectations to be surpassed. Ultimately, The Impossibility of Tomorrow proved to be an entirely disappointing read, meeting a portion of if not none of my preconceived expectations.