Friday, October 21, 2016

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Welcome to our stop on the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop, hosted by the awesome Mary at Bookhounds.  It's that time of year when we're selecting nail-biting reads and picking out movies that make us jump!  To celebrate, we're giving away a book of your choice from Amazon ($15 limit). Fill out the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win!

 -one winner will win a book of their choice ($15 limit) from Amazon
 -please see terms and conditions on the Rafflecopter widget
 -giveaway is open to those who can enter and receive books from Amazon
 -must be 18 years of age to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other participating blogs here.

We'd love to know what scary or suspenseful books you're reading!

© at A Belle's Tales


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Release Day Review: What Light by Jay Asher

Title: What Light 
Author: Jay Asher 
Publisher: Razorbill 
Source: Publisher 
Published: October 18th, 2016 
Purchase: Amazon  |  B&N 

Summary: Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.


Jay Asher captured my heart with Thirteen Reasons Why, so I was beyond thrilled to read What Light; and even though I knew from the summary that it would be a different kind of read, I was curious to see how it measured up to the novel I adored so much. Unfortunately... it didn't. It actually breaks my heart that I wasn't able to love this book. Asher's writing is still wonderful; but hard as I tried, I simply could not connect with the characters or the storyline.

This seemed like such a great concept for a story; Sierra gets to leave home every Christmas to sell trees and has a completely separate life in another state, but it's a tradition that might soon be cut short. While I love the image that paints, I was hoping for a little less fluff and a bit more depth. There was some predictability, but I was more concerned with the unbelievability, especially with the MC's parents. Speaking of the main character, Sierra annoyed me a bit, but it was her friends back home that truly frustrated me. I actually would probably prefer hanging out with the seemingly shady love interest instead of Sierra's overly dramatic teenage friends. (I know what you're thinking, but no, we're not ALL overly dramatic. Mostly.) I did, however, enjoy some of the secondary characters, namely Heather and Devon.

Even with the love interest's dark past and the fear that this could be Sierra's last year doing what she loves, this book was still a little too light for me. I recommend this for younger teens who enjoy lighter reads and are fans of contemporary romance.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book in exchange for my honest review. 

© at A Belle's Tales


Friday, October 14, 2016

On My Shelf: Pure (Pure, #1) by Julianna Baggott

Teresa at Readers Live A Thousand Lives has an awesome feature called "On My Shelf" that anyone can join. The idea is to spotlight a book from your TBR shelf; it's a fun way to discuss books with fellow bloggers and, with their help, decide which books are must-reads... and which ones can wait a while longer.

I bought Pure by Julianna Baggott as a new release in 2012 and then bought the sequel, Fuse, in 2013. Before I buy the final book, Burn, I really need to start this trilogy and see what it's all about. I've seen it shelved as science fiction, dystopian, and post-apocalpytic; and the summary is definitely intriguing. Not to mention the covers in this series are so pretty... and I'm such a sucker for a pretty cover.

Have you read Pure? What are your thoughts? 
Do I drop everything and start reading -- or put it back on my shelf?

Hope everyone has a great weekend! We'll see you Monday!

© at A Belle's Tales


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Review: Only Daughter by Anna Snoekstra

Title: Only Daughter 
Author: Anna Snoekstra 
Publisher: MIRA 
Source: Publisher 
Published: September 20th, 2016 
Purchase: Amazon  |  B&N 

Summary: In 2003, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Winter disappeared.  

She'd been enjoying her teenage summer break: working at a fast-food restaurant, crushing on an older boy and shoplifting with her best friend. Mysteriously ominous things began to happen—blood in the bed, periods of blackouts, a feeling of being watched—though Bec remained oblivious of what was to come. 

Eleven years later she is replaced.

A young woman, desperate after being arrested, claims to be the decade-missing Bec.  

Soon the imposter is living Bec's life. Sleeping in her bed. Hugging her mother and father. Learning her best friends' names. Playing with her twin brothers. 

But Bec's welcoming family and enthusiastic friends are not quite as they seem. As the imposter dodges the detective investigating her case, she begins to delve into the life of the real Bec Winter—and soon realizes that whoever took Bec is still at large, and that she is in imminent danger. 


Australian author Anna Snoekstra's debut novel Only Daughter is a distinct, attention-holding thriller that I read in one sitting. When a young woman is detained after being caught shoplifting, she'll do anything to avoid being arrested. She'll even go as far as to claim that she is Rebecca Winter, the sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared eleven years ago. A girl she just happens to resemble. A girl she is not.

I loved the dual narratives, one from Rebecca 'Bec' Winter as she tells her own story leading up to the day she vanished in 2003 and the other from the imposter who has stepped into Bec's shoes. As the days go by, our imposter cannot help but question what happened to the young woman she masquerades as. As she slips deeper into Bec's skin, she attempts to solve the puzzle that is Bec’s disappearance as well as the mystery surrounding her newfound family and friends.

Another thing that stood out for me was the lengths the imposter went to in order to avoid being exposed and the steps she took to evade the officers investigating her case. The twists, the paranoia, and the foreboding all kept my heart in my throat. I may have begun to suspect what happened, but I wasn't prepared for the depth of it.

I love a well written book filled with suspicious characters, and in Only Daughter, I couldn't trust a single one. But after reading this addictive story, I know who I can trust – author Anna Snoekstra; and I can't wait to read what she writes next.

A huge thank-you to the publisher for providing this ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Warning: I'm very sensitive when it comes to certain subject matter (animals), and the inclusion of particular details toward the end were very difficult for me and I had to skim those. But this was only a small part of the story and I understand how the author would feel it necessary to include. I know sensitive readers such as myself would be tempted to skip the book, but I’d recommend skimming over skipping as it is a small but relevant portion and the overall story is a fascinating one. 
© at A Belle's Tales


Monday, October 10, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a great weekly meme now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It's where we share what we're currently reading and what we're starting next. 

We are so excited to get back to blogging! We've had a rough few weeks with school projects and sickness that kept us not only from posting but also from visiting the blogs we love. We made it through Matthew with minimal damage (blown-in window, limbs down, etc.) but our part of NC will remain under flood warnings and curfew until Thursday. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those who were in its path, who lost loved ones, and who are recovering from the destruction.

Previously read: 


Currently reading: 


Now that I'm caught up with school projects, I can finally tackle The Fever Code by James Dashner! The publisher sent me these awesome stickers in celebration of its release as part of my winnings from B-Fest.

That was such an amazing event! I won the trivia contest, and the grand prize was a year's worth of ARCs (thank you so much to Penguin/Random House); I also won the bookish spelling bee, and that prize was a Griffin Teen tote and awesome swag! Thank you again to all who participated in and contributed to B-Fest. Best three days ever!


Looking forward to this review book. I've only read one book by Cyn Balog (Touched), but I really enjoyed it. Also, love this cover!

Up next: 

A review book for each of us! Both sound really good.

Previous posts: 

Mother-daughter review of Die Young with Me by Rob Rufus
Michele's review of The Reader by Traci Chee
100 Words and a Quote (All the Missing Girls, Before the Fall, Corrupt)

What are you reading this week? 
We hope you have a happy Monday! 

 © at A Belle's Tales


Friday, September 16, 2016

Mother-Daughter Review: Die Young with Me: A Memoir by Rob Rufus

Title: Die Young with Me: A Memoir 
Author: Rob Rufus
Publisher: Touchstone 
Source: Publisher 
Published: September 20th, 2016 
Purchase: Amazon  |  B&N 

Summary: Punk’s not dead in rural West Virginia. In fact, it blares constantly from the basement of Rob and Nat Rufus—identical twin brothers with spiked hair, black leather jackets, and the most kick-ass record collection in Appalachia. To them, school (and pretty much everything else) sucks. But what can you expect when you’re the only punks in town?

When the brothers start their own band, their lives begin to change: they meet friends, they attract girls, and they finally get invited to join a national tour and get out of their rat box little town.

But their plans are cut short when Rob is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that has already progressed to Stage Four. Not only are his dreams of punk rock stardom completely shredded, there is a very real threat that this is one battle that can’t be won.

While Rob suffers through nightmarish treatments and debilitating surgery, Nat continues on their band’s road to success alone. But as Rob’s life diverges from his brother’s, he learns to find strength within himself and through his music. Die Young With Me is a raw, honest account of a brave teen’s fight with cancer and the many ways music helped him cope through his recovery. 


Mckenzie’s thoughts: 

Growing up in a small rural West Virginian town, Rob had never experienced anything like punk music before. But once he and his twin brother Nat heard Pennywise for the first time in their cousin Anthony's basement, they were hooked. They knew this was it, this was what they were going to do with their lives. Music became everything; they bought instruments, formed a band, and began slowly turning their dream into a reality. They covered songs from their favorite punk bands, they started writing their own music, they played any gigs they could find -- they even made it onto Warped Tour. Everything seemed to be finally falling into place for Rob and his band. And then Rob got sick. And the dream was put on hold.

I didn't just read this book, I felt it. Die Young with Me is the raw, powerful true story of punk rocker Rob Rufus's battle with cancer; but it's about more than that. This is a story of heartbreak and determination, but it's also a story of overcoming, of fighting against the odds, of following your passion, of following that one thing that keeps you going.

My mother passed her love of reading down to me, but she also passed down her love of music, which is why this was such a perfect book for us to share. I related so much to the author and his connection with music. His love for it was clear on every page, and it's something I'm all too familiar with and something I absolutely loved. The connection he felt to music and the bands that made it, the feeling it gave him, how it gave him something to relate to and somewhere to belong? That hit me on such a deep level. And how Rob felt meeting one of his favorite bands was identical to the way I felt when I met mine. I loved reading from the perspective of someone who gets music, who appreciates it and loves it the way I do, which is what made me feel so connected to this story from the first chapter to the very last line (which was my favorite line of the book and one I wish I could include here).

I definitely recommend Die Young with Me to any music lovers, but I think this story has an important message that applies to everyone. Whether it's music or something else, we all have dreams of some kind, and they're all worth holding onto and fighting for.

Michele’s thoughts: 

Mckenzie sums up my feelings perfectly in her review and I loved this book just as much as she did, but I especially loved how we both related to the story and the author in different ways. I can recall with perfect clarity my very first visit to my town’s only record store. There was nothing like it. I had found my people. The way he describes his experience in his own small town, its only record store, and what music meant to him… what it did for him? Rob Rufus took me back – he gave me total recall on my trip down memory lane. There was no such thing as digital music, and going into that store will forever trump buying music to put on an iPhone. And the way this author tells a story… wow. I felt like we were having a conversation. Like I was curled up in my favorite chair listening to his life story – which is exactly what was happening. And the emotion. I laughed hard, and I cried hard, but I would barely start the crying before he had me laughing again. I raged with him, bled with him, and breathed with him. His storytelling is so genuine, so raw, that I could not help but consume word after word. I recommend this story to absolutely everyone: the fighters, the survivors, and music lovers everywhere. 

We received a copy of this book in exchange for our honest reviews. 
© at A Belle's Tales


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Release Day Review: The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold, #1) by Traci Chee

Title: The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold, #1) 
Author: Traci Chee 
Publisher: Putnam 
Source: Publisher 
Published: September 13th, 2016 
Purchase: Amazon  |  B&N 

Summary: Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible. 


“Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.” And so begins The Reader by Traci Chee. A debut author’s novel that is so beautiful it feels as though it’s been around for ages, passed down from generation to generation. With the feel of a classic, this book is an ode to books and those who love them.

While living on the run in a world where books and reading are unfamiliar, Sefia protects the unusual item that once belonged to her father: a peculiar, rectangular object that contains power – power to unlock secrets, to find what is lost, and to put Sefia on her intended path of becoming The Reader. Through intersecting storylines, diverse and splendid characters fill the pages as Sefia and a new companion embark on a quest they couldn’t have dreamed possible. And did I mention the PIRATES? Swashbuckling, savvy, pistol-wielding PIRATES!

The book even advises us readers to look closer… and when I began to see why, I grabbed a notepad and pen – what I had at the end brought tears to my eyes. It makes this book even more magical and an absolute adventure for not just the characters but the reader as well. While we’re left knowing there is more story to come, The Reader does not end abruptly nor with any cliffhangers. It simply concluded in a way that left me anticipating more. Imaginative, dazzling, and entirely enchanting, The Reader by Traci Chee is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year. I can hardly wait for the next installment! “This is a book” – and it must be read! 

A huge thank-you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 
© at A Belle's Tales