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

Book Review: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly BlackThe Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare, Holly Black
Series: Magisterium #1
Published by Scholastic Inc. on 2014-09-09
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Friendship, Middle-Grade
Pages: 295
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher at BookCon
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Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail. All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him. So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing. Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future. The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . . From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown.

I wish I had some really good things to talk about in a review for this book but I just don’t. This book is way too similar to Harry Potter for me to be able to like or recommend it. I feel horrible about this, especially because Clare’s The Infernal Devices series is one of my favorites. But this book does not offer good enough writing or an intriguing enough plot for me to be able to forgive the similarities. For me, if you’re looking for a book about a boy who is an outcast and a wizard who attends a boarding school to learn how to control his magic, meets some friends (one boy and one girl), is taken under the wing of one of a top mage, has a physical reminder of an early encounter with evil wizards, and who’s mother died during that encounter, I’d strongly recommend the Harry Potter series. Not this one.

Callum Hunt is a wizard but doesn’t want to be. All throughout his childhood, his father warned him about magic. When he comes of age he is required to sit for a test to see if he has the potential to be a magician. If he passes the test, he must remain at the Magisterium to learn how to control his magic. We know, of course, that he will be taken into the Magisterium, or else there would be no book. At school, he is chosen by one mage to be their apprentice. Call is chosen along with one boy and one girl by one of the best mages. They learn under him, they sleep in the same area, eat at the same table, and learn to be a team. But Callum has been taught all of his life to hate magic. So while he’s at school he must decide for himself what magic means to him and if he will want to stay after his first year. He sees the parts of magic he was warned about but his friends show him other parts that he knew nothing about. Some were secrets kept from him by his father. Secrets about the night his mother was killed. Secrets about dark magic. Secrets that Call wants to know. But doesn’t know where to get answers or who to trust. I won’t give anything away but by the end of the book he knows who he wants to trust and how he feels about magic and learns the answers to a lot of questions he had. And some he didn’t.

I had such a hard time with this book. As I was reading in the beginning, I was really enjoying it. I liked Callum and his father. I like the attention grabber in the prologue. And I like the tests at the Magisterium. Unfortunately, the similarities to Harry Potter just kept sneaking in. A few here and there I get. Stories about boy wizards are bound to have things in common. And perhaps it’s just that Harry Potter is my favorite book series ever so seeing a book with a lot of similarities just annoys me. But whether it’s me or not, there are more than enough parallels to Harry Potter in The Iron Trial for me to forgive. I can’t even say what they all are because I don’t want to spoil this book but I definitely saw a lot. If this would be a problem for you to, you should skip this book.

I will say that this book isn’t EXACTLY like Harry Potter. There are definitely some differences. But I just can’t forgive all of the similarities. I can’t. I’m sure some people can. And that’s great. If you want to read this book, definitely go for it. I’m going to have my son read it so I can see what he thinks of it. He is also a Harry Potter fan but is also the age that this book is geared towards. It could just be that I’m too old for this book. It didn’t have the heart and intrigue that I wanted, especially from a Clare book. Books for kids don’t have to be boring and emotionless. Still, I think some kids might really enjoy it. It did have some interesting and diverse characters and a plot twist that will be more surprising to kids than it was to my older, jaded self. Like I said earlier, I will be handing this to my son to see what he thinks, and I think he’ll enjoy it enough, but for me, there were just too many parallels to the Harry Potter series for me to be able to like it. If you do decide to give it a try, I really hope you enjoy it.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas

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Waiting on Wednesday: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted each week by Breaking the Spine and lets us spotlight a book that we are eagerly waiting to be released. This week I’ve chosen:
Waiting on Wednesday: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob ThomasMr. Kiss and Tell by Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas
Series: Veronica Mars #2
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on 2014-10-28
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, Thrillers
Pages: 288
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In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman's story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?

I don’t know about you but I’m a huge fan of the Veronica Mars tv show. If you like things like Sherlock and Clueless, I highly recommend you give Veronica Mars a try, if you haven’t already. I was a little skeptical when the first Veronica Mars book came out but I couldn’t resist buying it and reading it and I ended up loving that as well. (I’m going to leave my feelings on the movie out of this.) When I saw that it was a series and the second book was coming out this same year, I was even more excited. I can’t wait to read this book. I hope it has the sarcasm, humor, wit, heart, crime drama, and everything else that I’ve come to associate with Veronica Mars. I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on this one!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted each week by The Broke and The Bookish and allows us to combine our love of books with our love of lists. This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet.

It seems almost impossible for there to still be books out there that I don’t yet own and haven’t read, but there are. There are a lot. I’m sure all of you understand. Here are the books I most excited to read but don’t yet own. (All books on my list are ones that are already out in bookstores, not ones that I want but just don’t have.)


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, #1) Sabriel (Abhorsen, #1) Clash (Crash, #2) Forever, Jack (Eversea, #2)
Alice in Zombieland (The White Rabbit Chronicles, #1) Infinityglass (Hourglass, #3) The Cadet of Tildor Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy, #1) Lock and Key

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
Sabriel by Garth Nix
Clash by Nicole Williams
Forever, Jack by Natasha Boyd
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Infinityglass by Myra McEntire
The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

What do you guys think of my list? Are there any that I MUST HAVE NOW?


Book Review: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

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

Book Review: The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene FrostThe Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Broken Destiny #1
Published by Harlequin on 2014-08-26
Genres: Fiction, New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher at BookCon
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In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny, and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between….

I was really excited when I got my hands on this book at BookCon. I have admittedly only read one Jeaniene Frost book so far (Halfway to the Grave) but I definitely enjoyed it. It had chemistry and mystery and suspense and action and lots of great fun. I was hoping for all of those things again in this book with the added benefit of it being New Adult. I still haven’t read many New Adult paranormal books so all things combined, I was hopeful for this book. Unfortunately, it just didn’t deliver what I had wanted. On all accounts it was fine, enjoyable, and good enough. But I just didn’t fall for the book like I wanted to.

In The Beautiful Ashes we meet Ivy. Ivy is looking for her sister who went missing a week ago and is dealing with the very recent loss of her parents to a car crash. Her parents were looking for Jasmine, her sister, when they died. When Ivy goes to look for her, she ends up in a strange place with some strange people. But she is also about to get some answers to questions she’s had her whole life. Since she was a child, Ivy has had visions or hallucinations. Doctors couldn’t figure out what it was but when she meets Adrian, he knows why she sees what she sees. He can sense things as well. As the story progresses, we find out just how connected Ivy and Adrian are and what their destinies hold. The big questions in this book are can they save Ivy’s sister and will they fulfill their destinies?

My biggest problem with this book was that it was just okay. I didn’t really have any big problems with it but I also didn’t love anything about it. It was a perfectly good story with acceptable characters who did semi-interesting things. And I just don’t really know what else to say about it. It’s really unfortunate because if there is anything I remember about Halfway to the Grave it’s the chemistry between Cat and Bones. And while Ivy and Adrian are definitely attracted to each other, it felt more like “okay, that person is attractive, I think I want to kiss them” kind of attraction and not the “they are consuming me and I must be near them and the more I get to know them the more I like them” attraction. It was definitely disappointing.

I will say that if you aren’t a fan of the guy-knows-everything-and-doesn’t-tell-the-girl-anything-because-he-wants-to-protect-her-from-herself thing then you probably won’t enjoy this book much. I wasn’t really a big fan of Adrian because of this. He seemed to think he knew what Ivy needed to know and what she couldn’t handle more than she did. I don’t like that in male characters. I liked that Ivy really tried to fight and be a part of everything and really wanted to get her sister back and know everything and wasn’t stupid. I hate nothing more than an MC that’s just stupid. She didn’t always make the right choices but she also didn’t always have all of the information that would have helped her. She let Adrian get away with more than he should have but she also took matters into her own hands and didn’t just wait for someone else to save her sister. I hope she’ll continue to grow in strength as this series continues and I hope Adrian will learn that keeping secrets isn’t fun for anyone.

I wish I had more good things to say about this book. It was one I was really looking forward to. In the end, it really wasn’t bad. I’d still recommend it to people looking for a New Adult Paranormal book, especially fans of demons and angels and good vs evil stories. There were some fun parts and some action. But there was also a lot of secrets and a male lead that I wasn’t a huge fan of. If you can put those things aside and just enjoy this book for the fun escape it’s meant to be, I think you’ll really enjoy it. If you’re looking for a book on par with Halfway to the Grave, I think you’ll be disappointed.

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September 2014 YA New Releases

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I cannot even believe how many books are coming out in September! Guys, this month is going to be hard on the wallet. And reading time! I made this post and didn’t even put all of the books coming out on it because there are just so many. And so many great ones. Do you guys see Heir of Fire there?!?! It’s finally coming out!! I can’t wait to get my beautiful new copy for my shelves. Also, Falling Into Place, which was heartbreaking but beautiful. And Nightmares! by Jason Segel. I’m dying for that book! And In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis!! And I’ll Give You the Sun!! <—–Read. That. Book. And The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. And so many more that I’m really looking forward to. Seriously. Who plans these releases? I hope they’re also planning on adding hours to the days in September so that I’ll have time to read all of these!

Sept 2

Don't Touch The Jewel (The Lone City, #1) Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #1) Hider, Seeker, Secret Keeper

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) Starry Night Zac and Mia Anatomy of a Misfit

100 Sideways Miles Shattered (Scorched, #2) Girl Defective Destined for Doon (Doon, #2)

The Winter People

Sept 9

Falling into Place Kiss of Broken Glass The Terror of the Southlands (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, #2) Illusions of Fate

Egg and Spoon The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1) Nightmares! Rites of Passage
Evil Librarian Blood Of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3) Of Monsters and Madness Winterkill

Crown of Ice

Sept 16

I'll Give You the Sun The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2) Ashes to Ashes (Burn for Burn, #3) Blackbird (Blackbird Duology, #1)

The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2) The Vault of Dreamers Sway Jackaby

Get Even Hook's Revenge (Hook's Revenge, #1) Louder Than Words Falls the Shadow

Echoes of Us (The Hybrid Chronicles #3) Day 21 (The Hundred, #2) Made for You

Sept 23

In a Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink, #2) Rooms The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place Jessica Darling's It List 2: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Friends, Foes & Faux Friends
Salt & Storm Firebug (Firebug, #1) Afterworlds Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)

Remember Me (Find Me, #2) The Gifted Dead Adrenaline Crush Skink--No Surrender

On a Clear Day Starfire (The Guardian Herd, #1)

Sept 30

The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1) Winterspell Lies We Tell Ourselves As Long As You Love Me (2B Trilogy #2)

The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel, Volume 2 Sacrifice (Elemental, #5) Dead Zone  (Blackout, #2) Belzhar

The Queen of Zombie Hearts (The White Rabbit Chronicles, #3) Invisible (The Twixt, #2) Schizo Love Is the Drug

Famous Last Words

Well, I’m definitely on overload now. What do you think? Which ones are you most excited about?

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