Size Doesn’t Matter (125): Out of Darkness; The Careful Undressing of Love

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

Size Doesn’t Matter (125): Out of Darkness; The Careful Undressing of LoveOut of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez
Published by Carolrhoda Lab on September 1, 2015
Genres: Historical
Pages: 402
Format: Hardcover
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-stars

“This is East Texas, and there’s lines. Lines you cross, lines you don’t cross. That clear?”

New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them.

“No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs.”

They know the people who enforce them.

“They all decided they’d ride out in their sheets and pay Blue a visit.”

But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive.

“More than grief, more than anger, there is a need. Someone to blame. Someone to make pay.”

Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history—as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.

I grabbed Out of Darkness at this past ALA Annual in Orlando. Or, perhaps I should say that Out of Darkness grabbed me. The author had a signing, and I was walking past when one of the publicists pitched the book to me. I generally avoid getting pulled into signing lines that are too short, but historical fiction with a diverse cast and an interracial romance sounded way too good to pass up. I never would have found this book otherwise, and I’m grateful I read it, even though it’s super fucking sad.

(more…)

Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Review: Etched in Bone by Anne BishopEtched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #5
Published by Roc on March 7, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to her world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shapeshifters and vampires far more powerful than themselves…

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders—a primitive and lethal form of the Others—the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them now know to fear the no-man’s-land beyond their borders—and the darkness…

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relatively unscathed, though Simon Wolfgard, its wolf shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will all end—with her standing beside a grave.

Though it’s hard for me to choose just one, it’s definitely possible that Etched in Bone was my most highly anticipated book of 2017. Certainly, it’s the series I’ve put the most time into in the last couple years. I’ve read the first three books three times, and the fourth twice. Bishop recaps stuff well enough that there’s not a need to reread, but I wanted to because of how much I love this series and these characters. I wanted a bit more from the conclusion to this series, but I also couldn’t put it down. I’m just so not ready to say goodbye to the Lakeside Courtyard.

(more…)

Size Doesn’t Matter (124): How to Break a Boy; Vision in Silver

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

Size Doesn’t Matter (124): How to Break a Boy; Vision in SilverHow to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
Published by Imprint on January 31, 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself

Devore’s How to Break a Boy wasn’t remotely what I was expecting. The cover and title had me ready for an adorable fake dating contemporary romance. I mean, obviously I saw the darker stuff in the blurb, but the marketing made me think that would be more of a back story than it was. Instead, How to Break a Boy is a hard to take story with an often unlikable heroine who is struggling to escape an incredibly toxic friendship.

(more…)

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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

Review: Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 407
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
two-stars

Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Apparently the time has come for me to be a black sheep again. Caraval has been massively hyped for months now, and a sea of high ratings has been coming in. This is one of those times where I end up feeling as if maybe I’ve read a different book than everyone else.
(more…)

Cover Snark (216): Snark a Circle Round

Welcome to Cover Snark, where the people are snarky and the covers quiver in fear. Since I don’t write many snarky book reviews here on A Reader of Fictions, Cover Snark is my outlet. If you click on the title of the book, where possible, I’ve linked to Goodreads. Clicking on the cover itself will show you the cover in a larger size, in most cases. Feel free to love covers I hate and vice versa. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Please note that you should by no means contact the author if you do not like their cover; they likely have ZERO control. Feel free to express opinions of the covers in the comments, but please do not @ an author on Twitter because of anything you’ve seen here.

Shiny and New:

1. The Prince’s Rogue (Golden Guard #2) – Elise Kova

Thoughts: Never stop using this cover artist.

(more…)