Monday, September 21, 2015

The Best of The Best: The Fixer - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Fixer (The Fixer, #1)The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 
Date Released: July 7, 2015
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 384 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Rating: LOVED IT! (5 Stars)
Series: Standalone!

Goodreads Synopsis: This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars.

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

Perfect for fans of Pretty Little Liars and Heist Society, readers will be clamoring for this compelling teen drama with a political twist.

From Goodreads

Wow. Just wow. I loved everything in Barnes's new book The Fixer, from it's strong heroine to a suspenseful story line set in the scandalous DC, it was perfect! I've read a couple of Barnes's other books, but The Fixer tops all of them off, and possibly is one of my favorite reads of 2015 so far! 

The Fixer begins when Tess Kendrick's life is turned in a whole different direction when her sister, Ivy Kendrick takes her away from her grandfather. Tess's relationship with grandfather has been strong ever since the death of her parents. Ivy then whisks her away into the political, social bubble of DC where she is enrolled in Hardwicke Academy, where all the rich and powerful elite children go. But Tess knows something is up and she begins question who her sister really is and the power she hold in DC, known as "the fixer". I absolutely loved Tess, she was a good smart, sassy, and knew what she had to do. She was the type of person you know would do anything to undercover a mystery and Barnes wrote her well. Plus all the other characters, such as Ivy, Adam, Vivie were all great, they each had their own struggles that brought the novel together. I honestly felt sooo sad for Vivie, especially the things she goes through, that was brutal!

Action and suspense are the bread and butter to the novel. I loved the suspense after each chapter, Barnes always leaves you hanging making you read more and more. Tess learns so much more about her family, herself, and the world she is now part of, I did feel sad for her, but she is a tough character and she fought it through. Another aspect I loved was the whole Scandal vibes I got from this! I felt like I saw Ivy as Olivia Pope and it oozed Scandal. If you have not picked up that TV show, it is a must watch! 

Overall, I LOVED The Fixer a perfect balance of romance, action, scandal, and drama. Perfect for any reader looking for a great suspenseful, scandalous novel, YOU NEED TO PICK THIS ONE UP!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#86) - These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Waiting on Wednesday is Hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine

These Shallow Graves
Goodreads Summary: Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.

Why I'm Waiting For It: I absolutely loved Donnelly's Revolution so when I received the book from Teenboard to review I was beyond happy!

These Shallow Graves sounds amazing and I love how it is set in the gilded age New York. But also the topic of dealing with the past and secrets. I already expect this one to be mind blowingly amazing! And if you haven't picked up Revolution from her, you must!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Western Inspired: Vengance Road - Erin Bowman

Vengeance RoadVengeance Road by Erin Bowman 
Date Released: September 1, 2015
HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 336 pages
Format: ARC
Source: For Review From Teenboard
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: Standalone!

Goodreads Synopsis: When Kate Thompson’s father is killed by the notorious Rose Riders for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.

In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.

From Goodreads

Thrilling. Racing. Action packed. Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman was a great novel that was so unique and fresh, I enjoyed reading it. Featuring a strong protagonist with a passion driving her around the dry, hot desert of the West. 

The novel begins with Kate Thompson, who is disguised as Nate Thompson in hopes of finding her father's journal. Her father was killed by the Rose Riders and now Kate has no one left but herself. She was a strong, fierce character is absolutely radiated off the pages. She has one goal and she achieves it. While there is tons of action and suspense in the novel, Bowman balances it with a growing romance between Kate and Jesse. She introduces two guys: Jesse and Will that help her on her path to vengeance and I enjoyed seeing how they worked together.  I thought Kate and Jesse were great for each other and I love the companionship they each had for one another. The novel may have a small cast of characters, Bowman does a fantastic job weaving in the Rose Riders, the wild West, and Kate. 

One thing that stood out from the novel that I enjoyed was the ending of the novel. It took me by surprise! Bowman mind blows you with a twist that I did not see coming at all. The least I could say was that it was suspenseful! I love how the book came together and it was well done :)

Overall, Vengeance Road was a great novel. I do wish the novel was more complex in terms of Kate as a character overall and her family relations. But that being said, it was still a fantastic novel that will have you looking at the West in a whole new light.

Pick this one up now!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What's On My Playlist? (#3)

I hope you guys had an amazing Labor Day weekend! I was mostly busy with school and college apps, but I did manage to go places and I went to a new cafe so be on the lookout for a new In LA feature! 

This week's playlist is definitely upbeat and fun! I think these songs are great to listen to if you looking to start your day or need a pick me up :)

1.) Should've Been Us - Tori Kelly

2.) In The Night - The Weeknd 

3.) Search Party - Sam Bruno 

4.) Runaway (U & I) - Galantis 

5.) Photograph - Ed Sheeran

That is it for this week's "what on my playlist"! Hope you listen to the songs and if you have any suggestions for music or new artists, I'd love to check them out, so leave a comment below!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Quick & Simple: Hide & Seek (Jess Tennant #3) - Jane Casey

Hide and SeekHide & Seek by Jane Casey 
Date Released: August 25, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Pages: 288 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review (Thanks!)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: (Jess Tennant #3)

Goodreads Synopsis: Jess Tennant's classmate is kidnapped right before the Christmas holiday in this third novel in Jane Casey's brilliant young adult mystery series.

It's Christmas in Port Sentinel, the tiny English town where Jess Tennant has been living for more than a year now. She wasn't sure how she felt about moving away from London when her mom dragged her to Port Sentinel right before the beginning of high school, but even Jess has to admit the town has completely outdone itself for the holidays. There's a Christmas market complete with mini ice-rink, and fairy lights decorate the bare trees all over town.

For one of Jess's classmates, though, the Christmas season is anything but magical. She's been kidnapped and is being held in a dilapidated cottage near a deserted beach. And Jess might be the only one who can figure out where she is in time to rescue her.

Hide and Seek is another delightfully clever young adult mystery from beloved author Jane Casey.

From Goodreads

I greatly enjoy the Jess Tennant series and the third book was a bit overshadowed by the first two. Don't get me wrong, I loved the second one, but the third one just felt flat, it was good, but I wished it was more complex in terms of mystery and plot. Ultimately, it turned out a great read and definitely still worth picking up seeing how everything in Jess's life turns out. 

Hide and Seek just by the title relates to a lot of what goes on in the novel. It is Christmas in Port Sentinel and the mystery begins when one of Jess's classmates is kidnapped and held in a cottage near a beach. The tensions in the novel were intense and everything moved pretty quickly. Jess is just as great of a protagonist as she is in the previous books, and in this one, she deals a lot more with her emotions towards Will and family circles. Casey does a great job with weaving together a mystery, but also exploring Jess and her emotions as well.

I'd have to admit, the mystery of the novel was bit cliche, but I didn't suspect who did what until the very end. I wish Casey added more plot to the whole novel, things just needed to be more developed. The action was okay, nothing super crazy, just was hoping for more out of Jess and her incredible abilities to rescue people and solve mysteries. It almost seemed too easy...

But overall, I enjoyed reading the finale to the Jess Tennant series! It was a quick and simple book and goes straight to the point. Be sure to pick this one up if your reading the Jess Tennant series or looking for a new mystery series to start!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Interview/Video + Giveaway: Dream Things True - Marie Marquardt

For my stop on Marquardt's Dream Things True tour, I'll be doing an interview, video, and giveaway! Be sure check out everything below as I update the post with an interview and a video clip from the author! :) Thanks so much for St. Martin's Press for reaching out to me and I'm glad to be on this tour!


1.) What was the inspiration behind the book?
Because I’ve written non-fiction books about undocumented immigration, I often get asked to talk with groups of non-immigrants about these issues. I know a lot of facts and figures, and these help people think about immigration in new ways, but I find that what really matters is relationship – knowing and loving a person who faces these issues is what makes a person care. Not everyone gets the chance to know and love an undocumented immigrant, but fiction can give us all the opportunity to step into others’ lives – in this case, the lives of undocumented immigrants and the people who love them.  This is powerful, and I believe it is so important – it helps us to overcome all of the politicized rhetoric, and simply see each other as human beings deserving of love and respect. So I decided to take all those years of research and write a love story with them. 

2.) Which character best resembles you and why?
Like Alma, I was a very driven student, and I dreamed of becoming (of all things!) a cultural anthropologist. Like Evan, I sort-of lived in a world of Southern comfort, but I never felt at home there. Probably, as an adult, I can relate most closely to Alma’s middle school counselor and mentor, Mrs. King. I have worked with many undocumented teens and, like Alma’s counselor, I have experienced the pain and frustration of trying to help them overcome barriers, knowing that those barriers are almost insurmountable. 

3.) In 140 words or less (Twitter style!), describe Dream Things True!
(Yikes. This is hard.)

Alma is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Evan is a privileged Southern boy. They fall in love, in a world that wants to keep them apart.

4.) Do you have a music playlist inspired by the book? If so, give a couple of the songs!

There’s a story in this answer! I sort of have the reverse – a book inspired by a music playlist. A few years ago, I reconnected with one of my best friends from high school who would always give me fabulous mixtapes. After we finished lunch he gave me a mix that had “18 Songs from JRB” (his initials) written on it.

I listened to the mix as I was driving across Florida, and when the eighteen songs were over, I pulled over and texted him: listening to this music felt like coming home. I had never heard of any of the songs on the mix. I didn’t even know the bands. It’s a totally random assortment of songs – from  “Boy with a Coin” by Iron & Wine to “Lazy Eye” by Silversun Pickups to “Be Mine!” by Robyn.

I listened obsessively to the mix and built Evan and Alma’s story around it. The music gave me the emotional arc for the story. It took me a very long time to write Dream Things True, because I kept having to set it aside. But whenever I listened to “18 Songs from JRB”, I was immersed right back into the story. So: Thanks JRB (and send me another mix ASAP)!

5.) One Wish. A Fav Quote. A Fav TV/Movie.
On days like today, it would be really great to slow down time. So I guess I’ll go with that wish, even though I suppose it’s a bit more selfish than, say, world peace. 

6.) What book are you currently reading? 
Like No Other by Una LaMarche. I’m loving it.


One winner, US/Int will win a brand new copy of Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt!

Enter the giveaway through the rafflecopter entries below!

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