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review 2018-03-15 17:43
No dragons despite cover.
Tess of the Road - Rachel Hartman

I got this book off of Netgalley as an eARC.

I have mixed feelings about this book.
It has a strong female protagonist as does Seraphina, however it has the whole rape backstory, which sucks.
So the whole premise is that Tess needs to get away from her mother as she's pretty much abusive and hates Tess for being raped and getting pregnant as the religion of her mom is St. Vitt which is an analog of Christianity.
Tess then gets the opportunity to run away from home and meets up with Pathka, her childhood quigtl friend.
We then find out that quigtl can change their sex so Pathka is now male instead of the female quigtl that Tess knew. This is important as quigtl have the gender neutral pronoun 'ko' which never gets used when talking about Pathka. This really bothered me because there is a correct pronoun and it's not being used.
There's also a homeless man that Tess is horribly cruel to, just so she can have a moment of redemption getting help for him.
After she meets Pathka then the whole book is about her going after ko goal of Anathuthia. After thus it's pretty much set in arcs of what happens. She gets to a place then thing happens, gets to another place and another thing happens. That may or may not be your thing, but to me it felt like it was padding.
Overall it felt as if there was a hatred of women as it was women that seemed to be the ones hurting Tess, even inadvertently, to where she'd run to the arms of a man to seek consoling. This is kind of painful to see for a book that wants strong women. They just don't seem to support each other as much as I'd like to see.

Overall it's not a bad book, but I really wish it wouldn't have done a lot of things it did.

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review 2017-09-03 00:00
Penguin Teen Game-Changers
Penguin Teen Game-Changers - Marie Lu,Kristin Cashore,Stephanie Perkins,Peter Bognanni,Julie C. Dao These little excerpt books are great, and totally can be 'game-changers'. This features five highly-anticipated Fall 2017 Release YA books, and I read this, thanks to NetGalley. I would say it was a game-changer for me, as I changed my mind about some books I'd set my sights on from reading this...

- WARCROSS (this may be the most anticipated book of them all, and of the Fall!) - to be honest, I wasn't totally engaged by the character, and I'm not usually into dystopian/gamer books, BUT there was something about the idea of the hunt, AND just having a hint of 'Back of The Future' for me (I still want to believe there will be hoverboards one day), that made me want to read more. Truth be told, I have preordered this and will be going to Marie Lu's signing next week.

- JANE, UNLIMITED - this has one of those pretty good book setups, where there's a dead relative (I did like that the Aunt was a deep sea photographer!), so there's suddenly a new environment for the protagonist to explore and for the story to be set. But right away I didn't feel hooked by the characters. I think I would have to read more, but from the amount I read, it wasn't really enough.

- THERE'S SOMEONE INSIDE YOUR HOUSE - the title is the sort to grab me immediately so you had me there. As for the short excerpt I got to read here, I've worked on too many horror movies to be that gullible...I thought the opening story hook of the egg timer was a little on the obvious side but there you go. I was also then very disappointed in the teens' reaction to a schoolmate's murder; I'm getting a bit tired of this being the clichéd response for teens today. Maybe I need to read more and find out if the teens' reactions change and to find out about the other murders. Plus I DO like that cover, I have to admit.

- THINGS I'M SEEING WITHOUT YOU - the cover of this is absolutely beautiful, I have to say. Stunning. And the title made me think immediately of what I'd say to myself soon after someone close to me had died. I didn't realize when I first saw the title that the book directly is about how the main character Tess reacts to a boy's suicide. I can tell right away that this is probably an emotion-laden read, and is a book that you should probably carefully choose just the right time to hold in your hands and absorb.

- FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS - this excerpt took me the most by surprise, as this book was the lowest on my radar. I loved the setting, the mythology, the language, the interesting characters: right away I was drawn in. I grew up in Hong Kong and particularly love the idea of the setting being in East Asia, which seems to make a change for me. This was a surprise addition to my TBR list after reading the sampler and the one I wanted to continue on with most.

Overall, great sampler! I'll probably end up reading them all at some point but 'Warcross', 'Forest of a Thousand Lanterns', and 'Things I'm Seeing Without You' became definites.
**I was disappointed that two of these books have school dropouts; it seems to be too much of a trend with YA novels.
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text 2015-01-16 21:33
AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir - Excerpt reveal & Giveaway!

Hey GCReaders!

I am seriously sitting here jumping with excitement! MTV shared an excerpt of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir today, and reading it reminded me of why I LOVED this book so, so, so, much!

Good Choice Reading, along with some other amazing bloggers, will be sharing a lot of post about AN EMBER IN THE ASHES leading up to it's release on April 28th!

Penguin Group/Razorbill has also thrown in an awesome prize for one lucky reader! All you have to do is follow along and enter via the rafflecopter. The giveaway is open all month long!

First, here is a little bit about the book that I am raving about...

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Pre-order today! 
You won't regret it!
Leave a comment below telling us your thoughts on the first two chapters! What did you think? 
Head over to Good Choice Reading for a chance to win!
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review 2015-01-07 00:23
All The Bright and Wonderful and Dark and Horrible and Amazing Places...
All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places is just one of those bowl you over, knock you for six books. It is wonderful and heartbreaking and … just …. Arghhh!


It’s difficult to write a coherent review because it should be done with the least amount of spoilers as possible. But I want to write about all the amazing and awful things, I am in serious need of an All The Bright Places wordvomitfest (like my new word?). I will try to keep it limited though while still providing you with all the reason to read it – wow reviewing can be hard!


All The Bright Places is the story of Violet Markey, dealing with the death of her sister, and Theodore Finch, who has an obsession with suicide that traces back to an abusive and neglectful past but just hasn’t brought himself to do it yet. They meet in the bell tower where Finch talks Violet out of jumping. Two very broken souls come together and it could either be the start of something magical, or something heartbreaking.


This book covers some heavy topics – its characters are both dealing with depression of different kinds and when they fall in love they not only have to deal with their own problems but each other’s while never asking for or receiving the help they really need from parents or teachers or counsellors. All they have is what they have found in each other and I spent the majority of the book hoping it would be enough. I have never wanted a fictional couple – or any couple, really – to be together so much and not only that, to be able to stay together against all odds. I wished, unrealistically, for them to fight harder, to want to survive. I hate suicide stories but I read so many of them because I’m looking for not necessarily a happy ending, but an ending that will convince likeminded people to stay. I just want them to stay.


Both Violet and Finch were such real characters who felt so alive which I think is why it got to me. They felt as if they could have been people I knew or had once met or even just passed in the street. From their adventures through Indiana that brought out the wandering nature in me, to their poignant moments with each other, to their interactions with their families and peers, everything about them felt real to me. I could have read a neverending book about Finch and Violet. I loved them even when I was annoyed, and when I tried to understand what they were going through but felt like I must have just been missing it, and when I was begging them to stay, I loved Finch and Violet all throughout this book. Jennifer Niven has crafted some wonderful characters and a poignant, moving story I won’t forget in a hurry. There were moments when they frustrated me, especially Finch, as much as I tried to understand him I just wanted to shake him and yell at him to GET HELP.


So please, if you ever feel depressed, if you ever experience something like this, like Violet or Finch or even something different – there are places you can go and people you can go to for help. You are never alone.


If you only read one contemporary this year, make it this one.

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review 2014-12-11 09:12
Modern fairytale retelling set in a theatre boarding school
The Rapunzel Dilemma - Jennifer Kloester

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

So me and this book had a few troubles. After being approved on Netgalley (which took so long it was already out by the time I was) I realised from reading other reviews that though it is a companion novel, The Cinderella Moment should be read before The Rapunzel Dilemma. Considering I’d been planning on reading it anyway I thought I would track it down, shouldn’t be too hard, right? Except Dymocks didn’t have it in so I had to wait a week for it to come in. So then I got it, finally, read it in a day. All good. I start The Rapunzel Dilemma that night only to get thirty pages in to my galley and encounter a blank page in the middle of a chapter and the next couple of pages seemingly out of order. Close Adobe Editions, open it again, restart laptop – nothing worked. And I couldn’t re-download it from Netgalley because I’d taken so long to get around to it that it had been archived. Great. However, I refused to be beaten and the next time I was in the city (Thursday) I bought myself a paperback copy (as well as some other goodies, because I can). I finished the book I’d moved on to and FINALLY I was on my way.

The Rapunzel Dilemma picks up a few weeks after the happy ending of The Cinderella Moment. Lily has convinced her father that he should let her attend the London Drama Academy, an idea he was not too keen on to begin with. But he has made her a deal: he will allow her three years at the Academy and then she will have to step into her role in the family business. She begrudgingly agrees, for now, and receives a rare audition for the Academy. Instantly, her new classmates believe that it is Lily’s money and connections that have got her there and as you can imagine they are livid. I would be too and I don’t blame them at all. So for the first time ever life is not easy for Lily de Tourney and she finds that at the Academy her status and privilege mean nothing other than being able to purchase an expensive bedspread to rub her roommates’ noses in (not literally!) which really is not going to make them like you any more than before. The classes are difficult, too, and Lily is also learning that even though she loves acting, she might not actually be as good as she thinks she is.

As well as handling all the drama of being the rich kid nobody likes, someone is also trying to sabotage Lily’s new friendships and things start to go missing, get ruined and trashed and all fingers point to Lily, even though she’s getting menacing letters in her locker. Oh wait, don’t forget the love interest! Cue entry of mysterious, angsty, good looking boy from the other side of the tracks.

The Rapunzel parallels are in Lily’s long blonde locks and the Tower in which she seeks refuge from the students who dislike her, the sabotage and from her teachers’ harsh (but in my opinion deserved) criticism. Basically, there’s a reason no one likes Lily. She is spoiled and privileged and has no idea about the real world and what goes on in it. Even when she recognises this she doesn’t change her attitude so it is hard to like her. She is incredibly naïve and I couldn’t believe that she didn’t realise that obviously she had help getting her audition at the Academy. I could still feel the fairytale element in this story but not quite as well, although overall I enjoyed it more than I did The Cinderella Moment. There were few parallels in the flow of the two stories, particularly in misunderstandings with the respective love interests and another rushed conclusion where everything is tied up with a neat bow in the last thirty pages or so.

So what did I like? Because I did like it, even though I didn’t like Lily, didn’t really like the romance and didn’t like how rushed the conclusion was. Wait….did I like this? Well, I did. I liked the boarding school setting and I liked the friendships, especially Angel and Lily’s friendship and how Lily had to more or less learn how to make friends with people who didn’t like her. I thought the blossoming friendships with her roommates were sweet but I didn’t particularly care for Max much at all, despite the fact that he was the first one to befriend her. Hands down my favourite character is still Grandmama, who has a more subtle role in this story but makes an appearance nonetheless. I completely understand Grandmama even when Lily doesn’t – imagine finding your 16-year-old granddaughter at a hotel in the English countryside and meet her male companion wearing nothing but a towel! Even if he had been the most upperclass young man ever she still would have thrown a fit (you would hope, in the name of good grandparenting) despite it all being a case of misunderstanding. Surely Lily and Ronan would realise that? But it’s a fairytale! There needs to be conflict for a nice resolution.

And look it was a nice, if somewhat unrealistic, resolution. It was a fairly enjoyable read and the ending was nice, but on further thought I have dropped my rating from 4 stars to 3.5. It wasn’t spectacular but it was a nice and light, fluffy read.

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