The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Posted on Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 by Chantal

The Rithmatist by Brandon SandersonThe Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Published by Tor Teen on May 14th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Friendship
Pages: 378
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The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson’s New York Times bestselling epic teen adventure is now available in paperback.

More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013

I think I should start every Sanderson review with: Brandon Sanderson does it again!

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An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay
Posted on Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 by Aimee

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy RibayAn Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay
Published by Merit Press on October 16th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Friendship, Gay, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: ARC, digital ARC
Source: the author
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As their senior year approaches, four diverse friends joined by their weekly Dungeons & Dragons game struggle to figure out real life. Archie's trying to cope with the lingering effects of his parents' divorce, Mari's considering an opportunity to contact her biological mother, Dante's working up the courage to come out to his friends, and Sam's clinging to a failing relationship. The four eventually embark on a cross-country road trip in an attempt to solve--or to avoid--their problems.

Told in the narrative style of Akira Kurosawa's RASHOMAN, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES is at turns geeky, funny, and lyrical as it tells a story about that time in life when friends need each other to become more than just people that hang out.

You know those books that are obviously flawed, but you still end up enjoying immensely? An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes is one of those books. It wasn’t a perfect book by any means, but it’s the kind of book that’ll bring a smile to your face on a rainy (or sunny) day.

One of the main things that’ll make you smile, of course, is the quirky cast of characters. Archie, Mari, Dante and Sam are all huge gaming geeks, with different and totally distinct personalities. They’re totally diverse physically and in terms of background as well–bonus points!

If there’s one thing they have in common, though, it’s that they’re all realistically portrayed. Each character has their own problems, insecurities, and little things that make them happy. They all have their lives outside of their little gaming circle, lives that they’re not always happy and confident with. But they try really hard to cope.

The best part about them is that they all grew throughout the course of the book. To be honest, at first I wanted to hit most of the characters upside the head at the beginning–Archie and Sam especially were huge assholes–but as we got to know them, I understood them better. They understood themselves better, too.

The characters’ relationship grew along with them, too. At first, it’s pretty obvious that the characters aren’t really close, but after they had their little road trip together, they grew into a pretty tight group of four quirky kids. (Although the romance grew in the opposite direction for me. I liked it more when it was just starting out.)

I did have a few gripes about the book, though. For one, the writing was just a tad too simple for me. Sentence structures hardly had any variation, and it made me feel disconnected from the story at some points. While I knew I understood a lot of what the characters felt, I didn’t feel them myself, you know?

The story was pretty typical, with a bit more charm and less of the “I’ve seen that before” feeling. But the lack of that feeling comes with a price–a few scenes seemed to come out of nowhere and were a bit random. At times, they bordered on unrealistic.

Overall, I’d still recommend An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes for anyone looking for a quick road-trip read about geeks and their geeky relationships.

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ONE lucky winner will receive a HARDCOVER copy of An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes! This giveaway is open internationally. For full terms and conditions, check out the Rafflecopter.

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 by Chantal

The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Published by HarperCollins on September 30th 2008
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Death & Dying, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Friendship
Pages: 312
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After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

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Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier
Posted on Sunday, October 4th, 2015 by Chantal

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet MarillierDreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier
Published by Roc on November 4th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Friendship, Romance
Pages: 448
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Award-winning author Juliet Marillier “weaves magic, mythology, and folklore into every sentence on the page” (The Book Smugglers). Now she begins an all-new and enchanting series that will transport readers to a magical vision of ancient Ireland…

In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she’ll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help. Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

About a year ago I read Juliet Marillier’s debut novel Daughter of the Forest and fell in love. The beauty of her writing, the complexity of the characters, the slow-burn romance and the atmosphere created was incredible and I knew immediately that I wanted to read other books by her. There is something unique about Marillier’s style, she has a very distinctive storyteller voice and the way she uses fairy tales, myths and lore in her stories is wonderful to read. She makes you feel like you’re sitting around a campfire in the middle of an Irish forest sipping hot tea.

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Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti
Posted on Sunday, September 27th, 2015 by Chantal

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah BiancottiZeroes Published by Simon Pulse on September 29th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Action & Adventure, Friendship
Pages: 560
Format: ARC, digital ARC
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Ethan, aka “Scam,” has a way with words. When he opens his mouth, whatever he wants you to hear comes out. But Ethan isn’t just a smooth talker. He has a unique ability to say things he doesn’t consciously even know. Sometimes the voice helps, but sometimes it hurts – like now, when the voice has lied and has landed Ethan in a massive mess. So now Ethan needs help. And he needs to go to the last people who would ever want to help him – his former group of friends, the self-named “zeros” who also all possess similarly double-edged abilities, and who are all angry at Ethan for their own respective reasons. Brought back together by Scam’s latest mischief, they find themselves entangled in an epic, whirlwind adventure packed with as much interpersonal drama as mind-bending action.

It’s always a great experience when you go into a book with no expectations and it turns out you really enjoy it. That’s what happened to me with Zeroes . I hadn’t read a single review beforehand, hadn’t read anything by Scott Westerfeld (though I think I will remedy that now) and have never even heard of the other two authors.

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The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
Posted on Sunday, September 20th, 2015 by Brandi

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. JemisinThe Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
on February 25th 2010
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Friendship, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 427
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Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

What a strange book. When I try to reason out why I enjoyed it I kind of can, but then I start thinking about how to explain it and it seems like my reasons fall apart. I enjoyed it enough to read late and put aside my school work to get just one more chapter in, but yet I’m not over the moon about it. Read more… »

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The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Posted on Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 by Chantal

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 24th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery & Thriller, Paranormal, Friendship
Pages: 336
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On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.

On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

Welcome to The Book Geek’s monthly feature, affectionately called The Genre Spotlight. It’s where we explore and choose one of the myriad genres. We’ll showcase it by having each Book Geek read and review at least one, but possibly a few books belonging to that month’s chosen genre. 

We’re hoping to expand our reading horizons to genre’s we haven’t or have barely read, and, hopefully, usher in gems our lives have been missing out on.

As we fall into September, our spotlight is on Mystery & Thrillers!

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon
Posted on Sunday, September 13th, 2015 by Angela

Making Faces by Amy HarmonMaking Faces by Amy Harmon
Published by Createspace on October 20th 2013
Genres: Friendship, New Adult, Romance, War, Young Adult
Pages: 502
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Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

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The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
Posted on Friday, August 28th, 2015 by Chantal

The Life List by Lori Nelson SpielmanThe Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
Published by Bantam on July 2nd 2013
Genres: Love & Romance, Family, Friendship
Pages: 368
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In this utterly charming debut — one woman sets out to complete her old list of childhood goals, and finds that her lifelong dreams lead her down a path she never expects.

1. Go to Paris
2. Perform live, on a super big stage
3. Have a baby, maybe two
4. Fall in love

Brett Bohlinger has forgotten all about the list of life goals she’d written as a naïve teenager. In fact, at thirty-four, Brett seems to have it all—a plum job at her family’s multimillion-dollar company and a spacious loft with her irresistibly handsome boyfriend. But when her beloved mother, Elizabeth, dies, Brett’s world is turned upside down. Rather than simply naming her daughter the new CEO of Bohlinger Cosmetics, Elizabeth’s will comes with one big stipulation: Brett must fulfill the list of childhood dreams she made so long ago.

Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother’s decision. Some of her old hopes seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other dreams (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future. For each goal attempted, her mother has left behind a bittersweet letter, offering words of wisdom, warmth, and—just when Brett needs it—tough love.

As Brett struggles to complete her abandoned life list, one thing becomes clear: Sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.

Welcome to The Book Geek’s monthly feature, affectionately called The Genre Spotlight. It’s where we explore and choose one of the myriad genres. We’ll showcase it by having each Book Geek read and review at least one, but possibly a few books belonging to that month’s chosen genre. 
We’re hoping to expand our reading horizons to genre’s we haven’t or have barely read, and, hopefully, usher in gems our lives have been missing out on.

For sizzling August, our spotlight is on Romance. 

Read more… »

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Crossed by Eliza Crewe
Posted on Sunday, August 16th, 2015 by Brandi

Crossed by Eliza CreweCrossed by Eliza Crewe
Series: Soul Eaters
Published by Self-Published on August 17, 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Friendship, Young Adult
Pages: 235
Format: digital ARC
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War is here.

Full-scale war has erupted between the Crusaders and demons and even Chi has to admit isn’t going well. Like any sensible rat, Meda’s eager to abandon the sinking ship but, unfortunately, her friends aren't nearly as pragmatic. Instead, Meda’s forced to try to keep them all alive until the dust settles.

As the Crusaders take more and more drastic measures, the tables turn and Meda suddenly finds herself in the role of voice of sanity. No one is more horrified than she is. When old enemies reappear as new allies and old friends become new enemies Meda has to decide—again—whose side she’s really on.

And then the Crusaders decide that Meda should go to Hell. Literally.

Can’t a monster ever catch a break?

There is something about an unapologetic character that gets me every time. Meda is consistently and completely amazing in all three books, and this conclusion was perfect for her story.

Meda and Jo are the ultimate in friendship goals. Read more… »

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Hi! I'm Emily May but feel free to call me Emily. I'm a book lover, beta-reader, and Politics graduate from the North of England.

Hey there! I'm Brandi; I'm a Navy veteran, Army wife, mother, feminist and book lover! My go-to genre would have to be Urban Fantasy, but any fiction is game really.

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