Monday, October 15, 2018

Mini Reviews [17], Blog Tours, and Giveaways

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on the blog tour for The Halves of Us and The Seven Torments of Amy & Craig hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on these book with you! My tour dates for these posts happened to fall on the same day, so I thought it would be fun to combine them in a single post.

Title: THE HALVES OF US (The Halves of Us Trilogy #1)
Author: Sydney Paige Richardson
Pub. Date: October 9, 2018
Publisher: The Parliament House
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 480
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks

Twin Sisters: one destined to rule, one cursed to destroy.

Some say blood is thicker than water. But for twin sisters, Adie and Aura, their connection runs even deeper than blood.

After investigating a surprise attack carried out by dark souls controlled by the Wicked Willow, an evil residing in a neighboring region, Aura uncovers a family secret: she is the fulfillment of a curse placed upon her family centuries ago.

While Aura is destined to destroy their planet, Thindoral, Adie is fated to follow in their mother’s footsteps and become Ruler, but even Adie’s path comes with revelations. Dangerous premonitions plague her dreams, all depicting Thindoral’s demise at the hand of her sister. 

As darkness takes control of her mind, Aura must determine whether defying fate and time is the choice that will seal her destruction, or if self-sacrifice will save all she holds dear. Meanwhile, Adie is faced with an impossible decision: save her sister, or protect their world? 
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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. 

Pro: Twins! I love books that focus on twins and their relationship. Despite its ups and downs, I thought Aura and Addie had a very special and unique bond. I wish Adie had been a little more forthcoming from the beginning, but I can also understand her secrecy.

Con: I liked one sister more than the other. I really wanted to like them both, but one sister is incredibly frustrating and makes horrible spur-of-the-moment decisions that have serious consequences. 

Con: Insta-love! I enjoy romance in books, but I'm not a huge fan of love at first sight. There was something that needed to happen in order for the story to progress the way that it did, but ugh. She "just knew" it was love, and I wish that had been done a little differently.

Pro: There are a lot of unexpected twists and turns that kept me on my toes! I enjoyed being tossed around the story without knowing where I would land. 

Con: It was more tell than show, and I like being able to see the story for myself without feeling like every little detail is being described. Being able to use your imagination is part of the experience!

Con: The Halves of Us had underdeveloped characters and an overdeveloped world. The villains were basic baddies and were lacking a clear motive to drive their decisions. As for the world, there's an entire glossary at the beginning that explains different creatures and places, but none of that information stayed with me as I read through the story. I was reading an electronic copy, and didn't like swiping back to the beginning when I was confused about something.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story and the characters. I wish some of them had been fleshed out a little more, but I'm hoping they get more attention in the second book. There were some unbelievable moments, like when the sisters slipped past guards in the beginning (they totally would have gotten caught), and I wish those scenarios had been more realistic. 

About Sydney:

Even before I could hold a pencil in my hand, I was making up stories in my head. I wrote my first book in the second grade, Girls [sorry Lena Dunham], about me and my best friends in college [because college was super cool when you were 8] who went on treasure hunts and fought bad guys with our super powers. My second grade teacher was so impressed with me, she laminated a cover and bound it. That will forever be the moment I dreamed of holding a copy of my own book and placing it on a shelf.

Now all grown up, my head still stays in the fantasy world, fashioning worlds where the power of a star can be harnessed and used for time travel, flying is just as easy as walking here on earth – and my best friends are fairies. My characters are dark and lost individuals, but your love for them will grow when you realize not everything is black and white. I am represented by Rebecca Angus at Golden Wheat Literary.

I have a three book deal with The Parliament House with Book One of my current trilogy, The Halves of Us, scheduled to be published in 10/9/2018.

Giveaway Details: 
1 winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 
http://www.rockstarbooktours.com/

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
10/8/2018- BookHounds- Interview
10/9/2018- Popthebutterfly Reads- Review
10/10/2018- Shortie Says- Excerpt
10/11/2018- Random Bookish Banter- Review
10/12/2018- Oh Hey! Books.- Interview

Week Two:

10/15/2018- Do You Dog-ear?- Review
10/16/2018- Ace Reads- Excerpt
10/17/2018- Rockin' Book Reviews- Excerpt
10/18/2018- here is what I read blog- Excerpt
10/19/2018- Two Chicks on Books- Excerpt

∕ 

Title: THE SEVEN TORMENTS OF AMY & CRAIG
Author: Don Zolidis
Pub. Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 352
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Audible, B&N, iBooks, TBD

Janesville, Wisconsin (cold in the sense that there is no God) 1994

The worst thing that's ever happened to Craig is also the best: Amy. Amy and Craig never should've gotten together. Craig is an awkward, Dungeons & Dragons-playing geek, and Amy is the beautiful, fiercely intelligent student-body president of their high school.

Yet somehow they did. Until Amy dumped him. Then got back together with him. Then dumped him again. Then got back together with him again. Over and over and over.

Unfolding during their senior year, Amy and Craig's exhilarating, tumultuous relationship is a kaleidoscope of joy, pain, and laughter as an uncertain future-and adult responsibility-loom on the horizon.

Craig fights for his dream of escaping Janesville and finding his place at a quirky college, while Amy's quest to uncover her true self sometimes involves being Craig's girlfriend, and sometimes doesn't.

Seven heartbreaks. Seven joys. Told non-sequentially, acclaimed playwright Don Zolidis's debut novel is a brutally funny, bittersweet taste of the utterly unique and utterly universal experience of first love.

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I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. 

Pro: I really liked Craig and thought he was a wonderful perspective for this story!

Pro: I thought the high school experience was authentic and made me remember a teenage version of myself. I remember falling in love and not being able to see when a relationship wasn't working. 

Pro: I loved the setting! I felt myself nodding in agreement to things that teenagers today might not understand (like not being able to use the phone after a certain time). It was very nostalgic.  

Con: There were a few times I found it difficult to follow the story. I would have to stop, flip back, and then try to read it again before it clicked. I don't know if it was Craig's way of thinking, or the writing.

Con: I didn't appreciate Craig's outlook on college -- it was narrow-minded and unrealistic. There are always options and choices, even if they aren't easy or enjoyable. 

The author warns readers that this book will not have a happy ending, but it's hard not to wish for one anyways. It reminded me of They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. Its title tells you they both die, but you hope for the best until the very last page.

In the end, there were a few things that irked me, but I enjoyed it overall. Craig was funny and viewed the world in an unorthodox way, but one that would make sense to a teenager in the 90s. As for Amy... she wasn't a horrible person, but she did do horrible things. I thought it was a very realistic portrayal of high school, love, and heartbreak.

About Don: 

Originally from Wisconsin, Don Zolidis is a novelist and one of the most-produced playwrights in America. 

His 102 published plays have received more than 12,000 productions and have appeared in every state and 64 countries.

His first novel, The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in October 2018.

He currently splits time between Texas and New York and aspires to owning a dog.

Giveaway Details: 
3 winners will win a finished copy of THE SEVEN TORMENTS OF AMY & CRAIG, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
10/8/2018- YA Books Central- Excerpt
10/9/2018- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
10/10/2018- Abellafairytale- Review
10/11/2018- Jena Brown Writes- Review
10/12/2018- A Gingerly Review- Review

Week Two:

10/15/2018- Do You Dog-ear?- Review
10/16/2018- Patriotic Bookaholic- Review
10/17/2018- A Bookish Dream- Review
10/18/2018- The Pages In-Between- Review
10/19/2018- Bookish Wisps- Review

Week Three:

10/22/2018- The Clever Reader- Review
10/23/2018- Life of a Literary Nerd- Review
10/24/2018- A Dream Within A Dream- Review
10/25/2018- We Love and Breathe Books- Review
10/26/2018- Fangirl Fury- Review

Week Four:

10/29/2018- Riddle’s Reviews- Review
10/30/2018- Twirling Book Princess- Excerpt
10/31/2018- Sweet Southern Home- Excerpt
11/1/2018- The Desert Bibliophile- Review
11/2/2018- Cindy's Love of Books- Review

Week Five:
11/5/2018- Novel Novice- Review
11/6/2018- BookHounds YA- Review
11/7/2018- Owl Always Be Reading- Review
11/8/2018- Two points of interest- Review
11/9/2018- Book-Keeping- Review

20 comments:

  1. I loved Craig as well. He was a fantastic narrator, and he grew so much from his "seven torments' as well as the other life disasters that he encountered during his senior year. I cried at the end too.

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    1. I didn't cry, but my emotions were all over the place! I really wanted the best for Craig, and I feel like he deserved so much better than Amy. However, I do think Amy helped him grow, like you said. It shaped him during his senior year, though Amy could have been a lot nicer. I didn't hate Amy, but thought she needed someone like Craig. She just didn't make the best decisions when it came to their relationship. I'm glad you enjoyed this one!

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  2. I love good twists and turns and both these authors are new to me!

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    1. They were new to me as well! I didn't love or hate them, but they were interesting reads. I'm glad I took a chance on them and had the experience! I'm looking forward to the sequel for The Halves of Us, and I'm hoping the characters are a little more developed. :)

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  3. Both of these sound interesting but Amy and Craig sound like the kind of couple I wanna smack so I don't know if I could tolerate that one. Seems like you enjoyed them though so that's great!

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    1. Haha! I will admit that I wanted to smack them a few times, but their story felt too raw and honest. I may not have agreed with their choices, but I understood them. I had to put myself in their shoes, which meant recalling what I was like in high school. Craig definitely deserved better than Amy, but she also helped him in a lot of ways. It was definitely an interesting story, and I liked that it wasn't linear!

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  4. insta love and I are so not friend!

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    1. Whenever I encounter insta-love within a story, it makes me reluctant to continue. The story loses some of its believability.

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  5. Often with stories about twins I always like one more than the other... and instalove, I think I'll skip that book. And The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig... that sounds way to sad for me right now haha. There are times when I'm in the mood for those kinds of stories but now isn't that time.

    Thanks for sharing,
    ~Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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    1. I'm the same way! I have to be in the mood for sad/dark books, but I'm always looking for thrilling and fun stories. What I read really impacts my thoughts and my mood, so the more positive the better! Insta-love... *cringes* It's just one of those things I cannot get past. Have you read Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong? It's told from the perspectives of twins and I LOVED the trilogy. I also really enjoyed both sisters.

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  6. I love books that have sisters at its center, but can definitely relate to not enjoying one character as much as another. Insta-love is always off putting, but am glad to hear the story still managed to surprise you.

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    1. I love books with siblings, but I've always thought twins were fascinating. Maybe it's because I have twins myself? I don't know! I think my interest started long before they were born. With this one... it was like one sister was level-headed and thought things through, while the other acted solely on impulse. They were basically two halves of a whole, and I wanted them to be their own person. Does that make sense? I feel like my explanation was confusing, haha.

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  7. I love books that can really capture an authentic high school experience!

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    1. They're so fun to read! It makes me reminisce about my teenage years. I really wish I knew then what I know now, but that's what everyone says! I guess I should have listened when I was younger, lol.

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  8. Halves of Us sounds intriguing but also kind of similar to other books I have read this year; I hate it when I resonate with one character over another... it really hampers my reading enjoyment. Glad you enjoyed these overall!

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    1. It makes me want to skip one perspective in favor of another, but then I wouldn't get the whole story. The Halves of Us sounded familiar to me, too, but there were a lot of differences that made it stand out. I just wish a few details had been tweaked!

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  9. I haven't heard of Halves of Us. But the second book I have an ARC of from ALA, don't know if I'll get to it though. Great reviews!

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    1. I didn't love or hate The Seven Torments of Amy & Craig, but it was an enjoyable read! I feel like those are the hardest books to review. If you do decide to read it, let me know what you think!

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  10. Glad you enjoyed the Seven Torments overall! It's hard when you like some things but dislike some things as well in a book, it's hard to tell what to rate it.

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    1. When I don't love or hate something, I tend to give it three stars. Three means it was good enough to finish, which is why I give books I DNF two stars. I believe I've only ever given one book a single star, and that's because I thought the content was perverse and awful without a reason. It felt like the author was condoning rape, and the character admitted to doing things like that before. I barely got through the first chapter and the content only got worse. The girl he raped was unconscious and couldn't give consent, and once he was finished with her, he gave her to his friend so he could do the same thing. It was truly awful to read about.

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless