Sunday, August 16, 2015

Finding Center by Katherine Locke - Review

Release Date: August 17, 2015

Zed and ballet are my two greatest loves

It took all of Aly's strength to get them back after a tragic accident ripped them from her six years ago. A long road to recovery led to her return, dancing full-time for the District Ballet Company and carrying Zed's child. But Aly is slipping. Each day becomes a fight to keep her career from crumbling under the weight of younger talent, the scrutiny of the public eye and the limitations of her ever-changing body. A fight she fears she's losing.

I'm scared Aly is broken to her core

Zed recognizes the signs, but he doesn't know how to fix her. The accident left him with his own demons, and while he wants nothing more than to take care of the woman he loves, it's getting harder the farther downward she spirals. When Aly's life is threatened and Zed's injuries prevent him from saving her, he's never felt so useless, so afraid he's not capable of being the man Aly and their child needs.

With new life comes new hope. And with their fractured lives already hanging by a thread, Aly and Zed must discover if they have what it takes—both together and apart—to rebuild and carry on.

Book Two of the District Ballet Company

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I fell absolutely, headfirst in love with Zed and Aly in the first book and prequel in The District Ballet Company series. Zed and Aly are such complicated, scarred, strong characters, and the way they deal with what life has given them is inspiring and interesting. I was so happy when NetGalley approved me to review the second book in the series. 

The machinations and inner workings of a ballet company and the careers of professional artists is interesting in and of itself, especially as a person who used to dance (tap) and loved dancing and ballet. The world of ballet and the love and drive the characters have for such a demanding art is fascinating and genuine and I love experiencing that world. However, I think the real reason I fell in love with this series is the complexity of the characters. 

Both Aly and Zed have gone through more than any person should ever have to, and the way they have grown and dealt with it all is a wonder to read. I love seeing how they support one another, strengthen one another, and push one another when need be. The love that Locke has created in her characters not only for ballet but for one another (a threesome that I see as being intertwined) is authentic and complicated and difficult and beautiful. 

It's hard to explain how I felt after finishing a book that has so many intense subjects - depression, eating disorders, pressure with your career, amputations, alcoholism, healthy relationships - except that I read the last page with a huge smile on my face and a feeling of joy (probably the same joy Aly felt after dancing with Zed all those years ago).  

I'm not sure if this is the last of District Ballet but I hope that I get to see Aly and Zed again. Their love for ballet, their family, for one other - for life - is contagious. 
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Learn more about Katherine and her books here:

Katherine Locke lives and writes in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she’s ruled by her feline overlords and her addiction to chai lattes. Her dayjobs always vary, but in the past she’s worked in nuclear weapons abolition activism, lead poisoning education and prevention, and food safety at a mushroom farm. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, and when she’s not reading, she’s tweeting about reading and writing. She likes her heroes with boyish charm and her heroines with dirty mouths.

Her debut novel, SECOND POSITION, arrives in early 2015 from Carina Press.

You can find her online at @bibliogato on Twitter, bibliogato on Tumblr, and

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Riot of Storm and Smoke by Jennifer Ellision - Review

Release Date: August 18, 2015*

War draws closer, like a tide to the shore.

Bree and her friends have escaped the clutches of the Egrian King, but their troubles are far from over. Still reeling from the secrets that drew new breath when her father took his last, Bree sets off for the safety of Nereidium-- the kingdom she's just learned is hers.

But with the King's ire at its peak and war a certainty, Nereidium is no longer safe. As Prince Caden rallies the Egrian people against his tyrant father, Bree, Princess Aleta, and Tregle race to the Nereid shore to warn them of the incoming danger—and to put the Nereid Princess on the throne.

The only trouble there: Bree can’t bring herself to reveal that the Princess is her.

It’s not a dilemma she can waste time pondering. With a new weapon in his arsenal, the King's strikes are sure to be bolder than ever before. And Bree may not be ready to wear a crown… but she won't let her kingdom down without a fight.

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I was so excited with Jennifer offered Riot of Storm and Smoke, the sequel to Threats of Sky and Sea, to bloggers. I really enjoyed the first book in this series and I was anxiously waiting for Riot, which starts right where Threats left off.

I am a huge fan of fantasy and characters that are more than they appear, and when it comes to magic,  battles, politics, and hidden identities, Riot has it all. I enjoyed seeing Bree continue to develop and grow, especially after the events that happened at the end of the first book. The rest of the cast are also present and always developing, especially Caden. New characters and ghosts of old ones work well in the story, never crowding too much despite the growing number. I loved the fantastical and magical elements -  the worlds seems developed and interesting and Bree's movements within the world are what really drove the story for me.

I cannot wait until the third book. The story ends on a cliff hanger and while I thought certain moments seemed a little slow, I really enjoyed the trajectory of the story and the overall pace. Perfect for fans of the Throne of Glass series and other fantasy adventure stories with strong heroines.
*It's available on Barnes and Noble RIGHT NOW! GO BUY IT A WEEK EARLY WOOOO!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Find out more about Jennifer and her books here:

Jennifer Ellision spent a great deal of her childhood staying up past her bedtime with a book and a flashlight. When she couldn’t find the stories she wanted to read, she started writing them. She loves words, has a soft spot for fanfiction, and is a master of the fangirl flail. She resides in South Florida with her family, where she lives in fear of temperatures below 60 Fahrenheit. She’s also one of the bloggers behind the book blog The Bevy Bibliotheque.

Her debut YA epic fantasy, Threats of Sky and Sea, is available now, as well as a short prequel entitled Sisters of Wind and Flame.

Happy Reading!


Monday, August 10, 2015

The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak - Review

"When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music."
Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD...for four hours. She's totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she'll never see him again.
Except, Stella's life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?
But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer? 
Ali Novak wrote her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was just 15 years old, and has since penned her next book, The Heartbreakers. First a hit on the online community Wattpad, her second novel has over 38 million reads and is loved by readers around the world.
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The Heartbreakers is filled with pranks, music, and heart. Strong characters and a plot made to rip at the heartstrings, Novak has written a hilarious, touching story of a girl, her sick sister, and the fear of letting go and growing up.
I loved Stella's voice. Much like Novak's other leading lady in My Life With the Walter Boys, sometimes she gets a little too stubborn and aggressive with encountering things she doesn't like. However, I think that the environment and driving worries/motivation makes for developed, complex characters. Stella is headstrong and her narrative is a wonderful balance of her present worry about her sister's health and her memories of what life was like before. I loved the triplets (triplets! Such a little touch that makes the story so different!) and thought their relationship was wonderful. 
The story was well-paced and was chalk full of eccentric characters. I loved the boys in the band and how they are family - family as close as they are different, much like Stella and her siblings. I thought that Stella and Oliver's relationship was well developed, if not a little love-at-first-sight-y, and their banter and growth is wonderful to read. Likewise, I thought that the growing friendship between Stella and the rest of the Heartbreakers, as well as her coming to terms with her (necessary) separation from her sister, Cara, were artfully placed and written. I wished that we got a little more tension between Cara and Stella, face to face. I loved the complexity of their situation, and I wanted just a little more from Stella's fear of letting go and Cara's fragility. 
A Cinderella-esque story, The Heartbreakers has all kinds of struggles of the heart - struggling to do what you love and follow your own heart while being mindful of those you love and being faced with someone who could possibly romantically love you. This story has a lot of heart and I can't wait to read the next installment.
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Check out her Wattpad (where this all began!) here:
Ali Novak is a twenty-three-year-old Wisconsin native and recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s creative writing program. She started writing her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was only fifteen, and since then, her work has received more than 100 million hits online. When she isn’t writing, Ali enjoys Netflix marathons and traveling with her husband Jared. You can follow Ali on Twitter @Fallzswimmer and Instagram @alinovak.
Happy Reading!