Review: Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

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

Review: Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr (Blog Tour + Giveaway)Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr
Published by HarperCollins on March 1, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

This riveting fantasy marks Melissa Marr’s return to the world of faery courts that made her Wicked Lovely series an international phenomenon.

Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal—she’s half human, half fae, and since the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humans and faeries. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of the fae courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir due to the actions of reckless humans.

Lily’s father has always shielded her, but when she’s sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, she’s delivered straight into the arms of a fae sleeper cell—the Black Diamonds. The Diamonds are planted in the human world as the sons and daughters of the most influential families and tasked with destroying it from within. Against her will, Lilywhite’s been chosen to join them...and even the romantic attention of the fae rock singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the familiar world she knows.

Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there. The combination of ethereal fae powers, tumultuous romance, and a bloodthirsty faery queen will have longtime fans and new readers at the edge of their seats.


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Seven Black Diamonds 
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr! I’m a HUGE fan of Melissa Marr, so I’m incredibly excited to be on this blog tour! I hope you enjoy my review! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!!


As a huge Melissa Marr fan, I was so excited to see her return to the world of Faery! As is typical of Marr, the plot was intriguing, the characters were epic and the writing was perfection!

This book had a huge ensemble of characters. I won’t go into details for each one, but I’ll highlight some of the important stuff. Lily is fierce and badass and I adored her. I LOVED the direction her story went in and I LOVED how her story ended in this book. I’m really excited to see what happens next for her! Creed was an intriguing character and I liked the chemistry between him and Lily; however, I’m not sure I’m convinced of their ship yet. Though I definitely ship them more than I ship Lily and Zephyr. I think Zephyr is a natural leader and I liked him, I just got the friend vibe from him. Speaking of friends, I really liked the friendship between Lily and Kamy!

I really liked Eilidh, Rhys and Torquil and their storyline. Honestly, I think I liked their storyline more than the storyline between Lily and the rest of the Diamonds. Though both sets of characters/stories were intriguing, I love being in Marr’s Faery World more than her Human World and – more often than not – Eilidh, Rhys and Torquil were in the Faery World. I also just found their plot to be more intriguing in general.

I loved the way the two storylines came together, though. Sometimes, too many characters can make things confusing – you can’t keep track of who’s who and such. This happened a little bit in the beginning but, as the story went on, the characters distinguished themselves and I was able to tell them apart just fine.

My only issue with this book was that it started out a bit confusing. We were dropped into the world with little to no explanation and you had to just read to discover answers to your questions. Basically, the reader got answers as the characters got their answers. Some people enjoy that, some don’t. It only bothered me a little bit because I love Melissa Marr so much and the story itself was incredible, so I let the confusion slide – and eventually, I got the answers I needed and everything made sense. So it just depensd on how you feel about something like that.

Overall, this book was amazing. Confusing parts aside, this had everything that a signature Marr book always has – an intriguing plot, amazing characters and beautiful writing. If you loved Marr’s Wicked Lovely trilogy, I highly recommend Seven Black Diamonds – being back in Marr’s world of Faery will have you feeling nostalgic and desperate for book two!


And now for the giveaway! 6 winners will receive a finished copy of SEVEN BLACK DIAMONDS, US Only. To enter, complete the Rafflecopter below!

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MelissaAbout Melissa:
Melissa Marr is the author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novels Graveminder and The Arrivals. When not writing, editing, or traveling, Melissa is buried under a plethora of books, dogs, and children in Virginia or online

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:
2/22/2016 – Gone with the Words – Scavenger Hunt
2/23/2016 – Katie’s Book Blog – Review
2/24/2016 – YA Book Madness – Scavenger Hunt
2/25/2016 – Pandora’s Books – Review
2/26/2016 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Scavenger Hunt

Week Two:
2/29/2016 – The Best Books Ever – Review
3/1/2016 – Me, My Shelf and I – Scavenger Hunt
3/2/2016 – Rabid Reads – Review
3/3/2016 – Once Upon a Twilight – Scavenger Hunt
3/4/2016 – YA Bibliophile – Review


Review: The Leveller by Julia Durango

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

Review: The Leveller by Julia DurangoThe Leveller by Julia Durango
Series: The Leveller #1
Published by HarperCollins on June 23, 2015
Pages: 256
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

I’ve only read a small number of books that have virtual worlds and/or gaming. They were good, but they weren’t very engaging for one reason or another – usually because the virtual world felt under-developed or I didn’t connect with the characters. So I was hesitate to read The Leveller, but it really sounded amazing and I ended up really enjoying it.

I really liked Nixy as a whole – her character, her personality, her voice and especially the reasoning behind her avatar’s appearance. She could be a bit cocky, thinking she was the best at Levelling, but she also acknowledged her faults and weaknesses. When she went into the MEEP for Wyn, she had to conquer some epic fears and phobias. She didn’t always succeed on the first try but, through it all, she never gave up. She was determined to make it through and find Wyn and I really liked that about her. I also really liked her relationship with her parents. So many YA novels have the parents absent or they fight and don’t get along with their kids at all. While these things may be true for some families, it’s not true for all and it’s nice to see a great family dynamic for once.

Wyn was an interesting character. I liked him well enough and there wasn’t really anything I didn’t like about him.. He was usually nice to Nixy, though they had some heated moments – which is understandable, given their circumstances. He was pretty good at holding his own when he and Nixy had to fight their way out of a bad situation, too. But he didn’t really stand out among the sea of male YA love interests. He grew on me, though, and I liked him a lot more near the end.

My only thing with Wyn and Nixy was, while I really liked them together and don’t usually mind insta-love, it bugged me a bit this time. While I could sense the chemistry and the connection between them, I felt like they needed more time to get to know each other. This felt like the whole “bonding during a natural disaster” or crisis kind of situation – is it a real “I like/love you” thing or just the adrenaline from the situation and being forced to spend time together? I think, given more time, they’d make an adorable, epic couple. But not yet.

I have a LOT to say about Moose and Chang. They were hilarious and I really liked them in the beginning, but as the story went on, I started to feel like they knew more than they were letting on and I grew very suspicious of them. I won’t say more because I don’t want to risk spoilers but.. Ugh. On the flip side, I adored Nixy’s parents and Wyn’s Mama Beti! Wyn’s father, though.. He wasn’t always the nicest guy and his concern for the game felt like it took precedence over his concern for his son, which is wrong on so many levels.

The world-building in this book was epic! The MEEP – the virtual gaming world – was incredibly well-developed. I could visualize it so easily, I almost felt like I was there with Nixy. The world is really what pulled me into this story, more than anything else. At one point, Nixy is in this epic maze that made this book feel like gaming meets Labyrinth. Unlike the previous gaming/virtual reality books I’ve read, the MEEP felt like something that could actually exist. It also helped that, aside from the MEEP, it felt like the story was set in the present day. Most books with this level of technology are set in the future, making it feel like it could happen, but not for many years. The Leveller felt like it was happening right here, right now.

A little over half-way through the book, the pacing and action slowed down a bit, making the story drag. It didn’t last long, though. And overall, the story was pretty fast-paced and intriguing. Durango is a great writer, which helped keep me engaged during the slower parts.

There were a handful of crazy twists and character revelations. With one character, I didn’t expect what happened to happen at all and I was pretty shocked. But with another character, I saw the twist coming way before it happened. The ending was a bit of a let-down, though. I would have liked a little more closure, maybe at least an epilogue. But there’s apparently going to be a second book, so hopefully that will answer all my unanswered questions.

Overall, this book was a really fun read. I loved the MEEP, the characters and the writing. I’m very excited to see what happens in book two with Nixy and Wyn, Chang, Moose and LEGION. I definitely recommend this book if you’re a fan of virtual reality and/or gaming.


Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh MafiShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #1
Published by HarperCollins on November 15th 2011
Pages: 340
Format: Paperback
Buy on Amazon

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I honestly have no idea how to write this review because I’m not completely sure how I feel about this book. So many people love this trilogy and have been telling me it’s a MUST read. I was told to expect an epic story with great characters and lots of swoons. While Shatter Me has an interesting concept and Tahereh Mafi is a gorgeous writer, I wasn’t completely sold. The pacing was a bit slow, the writing style takes some getting used to and I didn’t realize how heavily-focused it was on the romance. While I usually don’t mind that kind of thing, I was under the impression Shatter Me would be more about the world and the Dystopian society and it just kind of caught me off guard.

Juliette was an interesting character… I’m not really sure how I feel about her. She was one of those characters where I didn’t really like her but I didn’t really dislike her, yet I have no idea why I feel that way. She kind of sat around and let things happen to her; she didn’t do much to improve her situation or take control, but she sure whined a lot about not wanting to hurt anyone – which was admirable of her, don’t get me wrong. I know her mind was broken from all those days of solitary confinement, but once everything started happening and plans went into motion, you’d think she would try to snap out of it and fight. She definitely came into her own by the end of the book, though. It was obvious her fractured mind was finally starting to piece itself back together and I think her character development is going to thrive in book two!

I’ve heard many things about Adam and Warner and so far, all those things are right. Warner seems psychotic and Adam seems too good to be true. Right now, I don’t really trust Adam. I know he’s supposed to be the “good guy” but I have a feeling he’s keeping some pretty dangerous secrets. Even though Warner is the “bad guy,” at least he’s (mostly) upfront about his intentions. Adam just had moments where he was very cagey and evasive. I also feel like I’ve heard/read somewhere that he has a big secret. I’ve mostly avoided seeing spoilers for this trilogy, but I’ve seen some conversations on Social Media and I’ve read the synopsis for all three books, so I have some idea.. But Warner’s just like, “Yeah, I want to use your power against the rebellion. I like you and you fascinate me. What do you say?” I’m sure he has some ulterior motives we don’t yet know about, but for now, he’s still much more upfront than I suspect Adam is being. But Warner can be soooo sick and twisted, so that’s a big negative against him!

KENJI! OMG I LOVE KENJI!!!!!! No, seriously. Kenji is amazing. He’s hilarious and so, so cocky and full of himself. And yeah, so is Warner, but Warner is cocky in an evil bastard kind of way, whereas Kenji is cocky in a hilarious, goofy way. Hands down, he’s my favorite of the guys, though I’ve heard he’s not part of the love triangle, sadly; he’s just a good friend/brother-type character. But that’s cool. If Juliette doesn’t want him, I can have him all for myself ;) Also, the twist at the end and the big reveal regarding Kenji?!? Too freaking cool!!!!!

Another character who deserves a quick (and short) shout-out is James. He was adorable and funny and so cute. He was like this innocent, comic relief who had no idea how mean and dangerous the world could be; yes, he knew to a certain extent because he was living in it, but he was also shielded from much of it, so he wasn’t tainted by how cruel people could be.

As for the rest of the book… Mafi has an intriguing writing style. On the one hand, it’s clunky and stilted and takes a long time to get used to. Every time I put the book down for extended periods of time, it took me awhile to get back into it. But at the same time, her writing was gorgeous and beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such a conflicting writing style. But I’ve heard the writing style gets better – that it reflects Juliette’s character development; as she becomes a little more whole, less fractured, there are fewer strikethroughs and her thoughts become more focused and centered.

Like I said, the pacing was pretty slow, though the book was a fast read, overall. If that makes sense. The middle section of the book lagged and didn’t seem to have much purpose. Honestly, the whole book felt like it was just meant for world-building and character development. It was like Second Book Syndrome but with book one! The ending was pretty epic, though, and picked up a lot. It has me excited for book two, especially since I’ve heard each book gets better and better. The whole twist at the end was just… epic and completely not expected. I’m definitely intrigued and can’t wait to see what happens next.

Overall, while the writing was beautiful and the characters were intriguing, Shatter Me was just an okay read. It was so difficult trying to get used to the writing style, it actually distracted me from the plot itself. And while I don’t mind love triangles and books that focus on the romance, I also didn’t expect that of this book and it’s really thrown me for a loop. I expected it to focus more on the world – which definitely seems horrible, bleak, cruel, dismal… – and I’m hoping it still will as I move forward with the trilogy. And yes, I’m definitely still planning to continue on with the trilogy. I’m actually currently reading the first novella, Destroy Me (which I’ve been told is a must). I’ll have to take a short hiatus (to read some review books) before I read Unravel Me, but I’m definitely going to try to read it soon, while Shatter Me is still fresh on my mind!

And yeah, I definitely recommend this book. I’ve seen mixed reviews, but those who love it? They love it beyond what words can express and a book that has such a loyal following deserves a lot of love! I’m also already excited to see what Mafi does next, outside of the Shatter Me world! Her strange, beautiful writing is hypnotizing and I’m eager to see what her next book world will look like.


Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Review: Panic by Lauren OliverPanic by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on March 4, 2014
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Panic is a thrill-ride of a novel. It will keep you on the edge of your seat from page one and refuse to let you go until the very last sentence. Panic is a game that’s played simply because “There was nothing else to do.” The shocking reality of this statement, the possibility that this could really happen, hits you almost immediately. Lauren Oliver comes up with the most intriguing ideas. Her writing has matured so much from Delirium to Panic.

Heather was a great character because she felt so real. One minute, you were rooting for her and worrying for her, hoping she was okay and wanting her to prevail. The next minute, you were angry with her, ashamed of her and her decisions. You wanted to yell at her, scold her, tell her to stop and think about what she was doing before she did it. She felt like a best friend who you couldn’t help but love and hate, who you could argue with and not speak to for months, only to pick right back up where you left off, as if no time had been lost.

Speaking of best friends, Natalie annoyed me. She was obnoxious, she didn’t pull her weight, she was a back-stabber. I just didn’t like her. She frustrated me. I never trusted her, I never liked her and, if I were Heather, I never would have forgiven her. But, so I don’t get spoilery on you, I’ll stop here. She kind of redeems herself in the end – in a big way, actually. So maybe I WOULD have forgiven her…

There was something about Dodge, right from the beginning, that had me intrigued. I couldn’t explain it then and I still can’t completely explain it now. I think, on some level, I knew what his ultimate plan was. There were enough hints dropped. I also think his character had the most growth throughout the book, though Heather was a close second, for sure (I don’t think Natalie had any growth at all. I don’t think she matured or changed at all. Just saying…). I still never completely fell for Dodge and I couldn’t see him as anyone’s love interest, but he still proved himself and he was still a great character.

Bishop.. Hah. Hah. Hah. Okay, first of all, I loved Bishop. Absolutely and completely loved him. But… There was a certain revelation that I completely saw coming from the very beginning. I figured it out really early on, but in the moment when it was officially revealed, I still went crazy. Enough said – or, again, I might get spoilery. Another character I loved and want to give a shout out to is Anne. She was amazing and she made me cry like a baby a few times!

I think my reactions via my Goodreads Status updates (below) speak for themselves:

Picture 2

Overall, this book was amazing, action-packed and filled with memorable characters. The concept, the plot – the game itself, with its crazy, daring and – sometimes – insane and dangerous challenges. There was very little I didn’t enjoy about this book! I would definitely recommend it to those who loved Oliver’s previous books, as well as to fans of fast-paced adventure books. And if you haven’t read any of Oliver’s books, I would recommend you read Panic first. It’s THAT amazing.


Guest Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

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

Guest Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan ShepherdThe Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Series: The Madman's Daughter #1
Published by HarperCollins on January 29, 2013
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

A Message from Meredith: Hey everyone! Today, I have something really cool for you guys – something that I’ve never done before. Nikki from Fiction Freak is doing a guest review! Hope you enjoy! Don’t forget to visit Nikki on her awesome blog!


Oh, where should I start with this fantastically thrilling book? This is possibly the best Gothic Horror book I’ve read in a while and it’s one that’s pretty much unforgettable. I blame the ending.

So, I guess we’ll start with what was so amazing about this–the horror. Even if you know what’s going to happen, what these creatures are, it’s still achingly creepy. I have no idea how she did it,, but Megan Shepherd delivers a story to match that of the original. I read this around midnight and ohmygosh. Every little thump I heard, I swore it was the monster trying to attack me and every hiss-like sound I heard made me…just a little scared. But it wasn’t just the creatures themselves, it was the way they became like that.

Leading us to Dr. Moreau. The title is definitely accurate–he’s definitely a madman. Throughout the book I sympathized for Juliet. The man she remembered from her childhood was definitely different; he was crazier, harsher, crueler, and an all around villain…well, with a parasol. Ha!

He made the perfect antagonist–but was he? What or who was the antagonist, really? The islanders? Dr. Moreau? The island itself? That’s an interesting question, isn’t it…huh.

The plot. Oh wow. There were so many twists I never expected that just made me put the book down for a second. My brain…definitely got a bit jumbled while reading! There’s definitely a sense of intrigue here that just pulls you in and makes this tale, put simply, addicting.

But, I have to say, I totally expected Edward’s twist.

Juliet was a likable character! I can’t say I loved her, but I could relate. Excusing your own parents is something that I think a lot of people do, whether they know it or not. After all, if they’re our parents, doesn’t it mean that we’re like them? Juliet was definitely a little mad herself, but it made her…let’s say, an interesting character.

The one thing I was a bit disappointed in: The romance. Oh, the love triangle. The love triangle. The love triangle. I honestly didn’t like the romantic part of this, and no, it’s not only because of the thing I repeated three times already. Okay, well maybe. I just honestly got annoyed by it. Juliet would think about one of the guys, then all of a sudden be infatuated with the other only a page later. Or, in one case, the line right after. Annoying! And there was also Edward. He wasn’t really a problem, but the speed of which he fell in love with Juliet…well. I can’t blame Montgomery since they grew up together, but having just met her, Edward seemed to be willing to risk his life. I just couldn’t understand it since their relationship didn’t really have a platform.

Although Montgomery and Edward getting jealous at each other did make me smile and laugh at times!
The Madman’s daughter is a book that really is unforgettable and will stay on your shelf of favorites for possibly forever. It’s haunting and definitely brings a new type of historical fiction to the table–one that’s not so high class. It’s incredibly unique and fascinatingly creepy, a great mix for readers of all kind!