Happy 1st Birthday Plot Bunny! Blogiversary Giveaway!

The Plot Bunny is turning 1 this month, and I can’t believe how fast this part year has gone. I have read so many glorious books this year. I even expanded my reading from mainly just fantasy to also contemporary books. This is probably one of the best decisions I made this past year. It brought so many wonderful new stories into my life, and books I now LOVE with all my being. Seriously, how did it take me this long to start reading Contemporary YA?

Throughout this year I have met some amazing people and have had the honor and pleasure of spending time with some lovely bookish people. Asides from the books, what I treasure most from this year of solo blogging on my own will be the new friendships I have made, both in real life and online be it here on the Plot Bunny, on my Twitter or over on Instagram. I can’t tell you all enough how lucky I am to have you all in my life.

In celebration of this very special occasion, I am doing my first ever giveaway (because who doesn’t love presents?). I will be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, and a little special surprise. All you have to do to enter is follow me (@MarciliaLoubach) on Twitter and Retweet about the giveaway. The giveaway will run until Feb 28th at midnight and is for US only.

Again, thank you for following The Plot Bunny, for reading, commenting, chatting and make my world a better place by being a part of it. I hope you will all continue to share my love of books and bookish things.  HUGS!!!! ~Marci

 

YA Book Review: SOULMATED by Shaila Patel

YA Book Review: SOULMATED by Shaila PatelSoulmated (Joining of Souls, #1) by Shaila Patel
Published by Month9Books on January 24th 2017
Pages: 300
Goodreads
four-stars

Two souls. One Fate.
Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family's standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother's ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.

Liam's father isn't convinced Laxshmi is "The One" and Laxshmi's mother won't even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one's own fate too great a price for the soulmated?

SOULMATED is the story of two individuals (Laxshmi “Lucky” and Liam) who are destined to find each other, no matter the obstacles. Liam comes from a royal empath family.  This means he has the power to understand others’ emotions and also to manipulate how people feel. However, in order for his family to gain social standing, he must find his soulmate.

 

This, of course, is easier said than done, because finding your soulmate is a very rare occurrence. But everything changes when Liam moves next door to Lucky. Lucky is from a very traditional Indian-American family and she has pressures of her own to deal with. Her mother is giving her only two choices, graduate early and go to medical school or marry a man of her mother’s choosing.

 

Lucky is determined to have some control over her own destiny.  Her chance comes when the meets Liam. There is an instant spark between them. As their relationship progresses they must deal with their families disapproval, as well as other dangerous rival empath families. They must decide if their love is worth pursuing and at what potential cost.

 

Normally I am not one for INSTA-LOVE stories. I have often complained about them in the past. However, the whole premise of this book is based on the idea of soulmates. The very definition of a soulmate is a person with whom you have an immediate connection from the moment you meet. Therefore this is the perfect use of INSTA-LOVE. You don’t need any explanations or reason because they are soulmates. Which is why it is such a rare thing to find. So in this specific case,  Lucky and Liam falling in love so quickly did not bother me as it normally would.

 

My main issue with the SOULMATED is that I wanted further development in the world building.  I also would like the empathic powers explained in further detail. Since there is another book in this series I assume further development will happen there. 

 

I found SOULMATED to be charming, and full of humor too. I loved reading about Liam and Lucky as their relationship grew. Their chemistry is palpable. You can’t help but want to root for them to be together. Shaila Patel’s writing is lovely. It captured the mood and feeling of falling in love beautifully. My favorite part is how authentic Lucky’s voice is to her Indian-American culture. Which made the character really come to “life” for me. I can’t wait to see what adventures book 2 holds for these two lovebirds. 

 

If you are looking for a fun, YA romantic fantasy read I would recommend you pick up a copy of SOULMATED.

 

Thank you to Shaila Patel and Month9Books for providing me with an E-ARC of her book in return for an honest review.

four-stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Picture Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week we are given a new topic prompt to inspire our bookish lists. Today’s topic focuses on favorite picture books. This was actually a pretty hard list to put together because I LOVE picture books. I find them absolutely charming, and beautiful. I choose a variety of books that I not only love the story but especially love the illustrations. Some are from my childhood, while others are books I recently discovered and will one day be adding to my own child’s library.

 

Beauty and the Beast

Ursula Jones (Author), Sarah Gibb (Illustrator)

This is my all time FAVORITE fairy tale and this book is stunning from the gilded leaves on the dust jacket to the vivid and intricate illustrations. Absolutely LOVE this book.

 

The Spectacular Tale of Peter Rabbit

Emma Thompson(Author), Eleanor Taylor(Illustrator)

I have always loved the Beatrix Potter books with the adorable little bunnies. This is a revamped version based on the original Beatrix Potter books. The illustrations are so cute!

 

Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak (Author)

I remember being really young, and sort of finding this book a bit scary and “ugly” but when I realized the monsters weren’t mean but friendly I feel in love with this story and with Max.

 

Little Elliot

Mike Curato (Author, Illustrator)

This is one of the most adorable new picture book series I have come across. How can you not love a little polka dotted elephant that loves cupcakes and exploring?

 

Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess

Janet Hill (Author)

This book is quite the stunner, with the lush illustrations and the life-like doggies. I absolutely loved looking at all the beautiful details on every page.

 

The Whisper

Pamela Zagarenski (Author)

This book is so sweet and all about the joy of reading. Plus there is a fox on the cover so how could I pass it up?

 

Adventures with Barefoot Critters

Teagan White (Author)

Teagan White has become my FAVORITE illustrator. I love her adorable little critters, the colors she uses and all the adventures her creations go on.

 

Bunny Roo, I Love You

Melissa Marr (Author), Teagan White (Illustrator)

This is one of the cutest books I have ever set eyes on. Everything from the illustrations, colors, and story captured my heart.

 

The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Author), Richard Howard (Translator)

Another childhood favorite, that completely enthralled me with its simple charm and lyrical story.

 

Wolfie The Bunny

Ame Dyckman (Author), Zachariah OHora (Illustrator)

A funny and cute story about a wolf that gets raised by a family of bunnies, and how their daughter Dot thinks he will eat them all up. A great book for teaching children that families come in all shapes, and sizes. Also a great teaching tool for helping young children deal with new siblings, sibling rivalry, and unconditional love. Plus…look at that hilarious little wolf dressed like a bunny on the cover!

 

What are some of your favorite picture books? Do you still enjoy picture books even as an adult? Please share with me your thoughts in the comments below, and also your links if you participate in TTT. 

YA Book Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

YA Book Review: Freeks by Amanda HockingFreeks by Amanda Hocking
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Goodreads
three-stars

In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible?
Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.
She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about—and change the future forever.

Freeks brings us into the world of the traveling carnival sideshow. This is what first caught my interest about the book. I have a soft spot for books about circuses and carnivals, and the gorgeous cover also helped. 

 

The carnival is run by Gideon, and it has fallen on hard times. In a last resort attempt to save his show, Gideon takes his traveling convoy to the town of Caudry, Louisiana. However something “feels” odd about this town. Soon many of them start to disappear, or reappear…but not quite as they were.

 

Mara, our main character/heroine has always been with the sideshow, yet she has no special ability, “powers” or abnormality. Her mother, however, is a psychic, and Mara travels with them doing odd jobs and errands.  Mara doesn’t mind seem to mind the life she’s been living, traveling from town to town, but it’s clear that she does long to set up roots of her own.  

 

I feel a little sad for Mara, because it doesn’t seem like she has many friends. It also seems as if she wishes she could be part of a regular family. Yet she does not complain or whine about this, which I give her lots of credit for not doing.

 

The romance with Mara and Gabe is what really drove me nuts. I felt it was rushed, and too “INSTALOVE” for my taste. She barely meets him, and she is already deep throat tongue kissing him all the time? I just don’t buy it, but maybe she is just that horny and lonely. Still, I don’t see how this could be a good way to showcase the heroine of the novel to young readers.

 

I wanted her to have a little more common sense, and self-worth. The romance could have been great if it had not seemed so forced. It needed time to develop to be more believable. I like their personalities with each other but it was all too fast for me to put my seal of approval on it. Also, Gabe’s secret was pretty obvious to me from the very beginning.

 

Freeks has quite a few supporting characters, and I feel the author did a fantastic job keeping them all individual, and not feeling overwhelming to the reader. I enjoyed the parts of the book that gave details about carnival life and the intrigues of the sideshow acts. If there had been more of the carnival bits in the book and more details about each of the sideshow characters I would have been very happy. When it came to the ending, it felt rushed to me and I wish there had been more time taken to bring the story to a close. 

 

Overall Freeks was a quick and fun read. There were things I really liked, and some things I really did not, but it all balanced out. I would recommend this book to YA readers who enjoy mysteries, and books with paranormal activity.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and St.Martin Press for providing me with an e-ARC copy of Freeks in return exchange for an honest review.

 

three-stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Underrated/Hidden Gem Books I Have Recently Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by the ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week we are given a new topic prompt to inspire our bookish lists. Today’s topic is about books I feel are underrated. I am sharing a combination of recently read and not so recently read favorite books that I feel are underrated and under-read.

 

RECENT UNDERRATED READS…

 

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder

I fell in love with this book just from hearing the title, but the story within it captured my heart. It brought back so many of my own memories of fumbling in and out of love and the nostalgia of the concept of love and how it changes as you grow up. The characters (especially Eph and Penelope) are two of my favorite fictional people ever to grace the pages of any book. Trust me, you need to read this cute, charming and adorable story. (Click Here For My Review)

 


Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner

Another book I completely fell “head-over-heels” for, and it was so unexpected too. I wanted to dive into this book and grab Otis and make him real. He is everything a gal could want for in a best friend. Dana, though harsh and a little too bossy I still loved because of her strength and perseverance. This book is so much more than just swimming and deserves to be read by everyone. (Click Here For My Review)

 

The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett

Once again Kim Liggett has managed to creep me out so good I had trouble sleeping for days. She also managed to take something like cute, mild-mannered cows and make me look at them in a whole other light. This book gave me chills and Kim doesn’t not hold back. Bring your nightlight for this one, you will need it. (Click Here For My Review)

 

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

For some reason, there wasn’t too much buzz about this book this past year, or at least enough in my eyes. I really enjoyed reading it, and I am hard to please when it comes to retellings. This is a very different version of Romeo and Juliet and I LOVED it. It was nothing like I expected, but the world building and the many twists and turns in the story kept my eyes glued to the pages. I can’t wait for book two, and I hope you will give it a chance. (Click Here For My Review)

 

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

This book needs to receive so much more attention! The subject matter of rape culture is something we all deal with every day, and this story places a HUGE spotlight on it. It’s also the kind of book that sucks you into the story from the start. The heroine of the story shouldn’t be someone you are cheering for, or technically even the heroine, but she is. The writing is fantastic and I can not wait to read Mindy McGinnis’s next book. (Click Here For My Review)

 

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I LOVE this book, it is witty, hilarious and so very cheeky. I know it isn’t completely off the radar, but I think it definitely deserves to have more hype and be read by many more people. I was literally laughing out loud while reading this story (so much so, that people were looking at me funny while reading in public). (Click Here For My Review)

 

NOT SO RECENT UNDERRATED READS….

 

Hello? By Liza Wiemer

Hello? Is such a powerful story about grief, friendship and the power of one “hello” and how it can make all the difference. The unique writing format, the memorable and relatable characters make this story sink into your soul. (Click Here For My Review)

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This is THE series to read if you are craving an epic and brilliantly written story. You will be completely transported into the world of Kvothe and there is no way you won’t be left wanting more.

 

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon

One of the most beautifully written books I have EVER read/listened to. This lyrical and poetic story will take you away to Barcelona where there is forbidden love, secrets, and a place called the cemetery of books. You will be completely captivated by this story.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

 

Another lovely and poetic book filled with magic and strangeness. This story is haunting and tragic, splendid and dreamlike. (Click Here For My Review)

 

What are some of the books you have read which you feel are underrated or are “hidden gems”? What about these stories make them worthy of being read? Share with me your answers below, and remember to leave me your link if you participate in TTT.