Tea & Book Chat: Split Second by Kasie West (Pivot Point #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read Pivot Point which is the first book in the duology by Kasie West, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

Split Second by Kasie West is the second book in the Pivot Point duology and it is everything I wanted out of this story.  Split Second picks up after the events of the first book, as if Addie has chosen to live with her mother and the events in that timeline have played out, and those in her father’s timeline have never happened.  Needing an escape from the reality of the horrific timeline she chose, Addie decides to go and visit her father in the normal world for 6 weeks.  Once again, Kasie West’s character, plot, relationships and writing had me completely engaged and I ended up loving Split Second.

Since Addie has left the compound but there are still important events going on there, the narrative switches between Addie and Laila (whereas in the first, each chapter was narrated by Addie in each possible timeline).  I really loved getting more acquainted with Laila’s voice and becoming more familiar with the struggles she faces with her family and her guilt over Duke from her actions in Pivot Point.  Laila gets entangled with some questionable people in Addie’s absence but it’s all in an attempt to help her best friend.  The way Laila’s storyline plays out in Split Second is an exciting tale that’s the perfect mix of snark, charm and will have you feeling sympathetic.  Plus, Laila gets a love interest.  And an actual love interest, not just a boy she wants to make out with and then get rid of and it’s honestly the most adorable relationship ever.  I ship them so hard<3

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Meanwhile, in the norm world, Addie is dealing with her evolving powers and the fact that she has all of these memories and familiar feelings for people she is supposedly just meeting, most specifically of Trevor (her love interest in her dad’s timeline from Pivot Point).  Suddenly, Addie develops the ability to manipulate time in a way she was never capable of before.  She makes the mistake(?) of using those powers in front of Trevor several times, a serious infraction that the Compound would punish her for, and he begins to get suspicious of her.  It’s so difficult to see them in anything other than a romantic relationship but I was just so happy they got to have more interaction because their relationship is so swoony.  In Split Second, there’s another mystery afoot that’s keeping the stakes high throughout the story.  Addie’s father has lied about something very important involving their family and  they’re also being monitored by agents from the Compound.  Things get SUPER intense and just like in Pivot Point, Kasie West will have you unable to put this second installment down until you know the truth.

Final Thoughts:  Split Second is the conclusion to the Pivot Point duology by Kasie West and if you’re hesitant to read it because the first book is so perfect, fear not, Split Second completely honors it’s predecessor and the story lives up to that of the first installment.  One major change is there is now a dual narrative between Addie in the norm world and Laila in the Compound.  It’s a pleasure to spend time in Laila’s head as well and there is another mystery that’ll keep you completely engaged in the story.  Kasie West’s characters are everything and you’ll be rooting for each of them (minus Duke) throughout the book.  If you’ve read and loved Pivot Point but haven’t yet read Split Second, you absolutely must.  It gives such a satisfying ending to Addie and Trevor’s story.Rating 6

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too… but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories… once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot… and a future that could change everything. (via Goodreads)

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BookTube: Top 5 Books I Read This Winter

As you may have noticed, I read a lot. Luckily I’ve been having a really good reading year and I’ve enjoyed the majority of the books I’ve read with the exception of a few.  While most of the books I read have been really good, there have been a few that have stuck out in my mind as GREAT books so I wanted to share those with you in case you’re in need of a new recommendation.  As I say in the video, it was really challenging to only pick 5 from December to Winter and December had been my slowest reading month with the holidays so I bet choosing 5 Spring books will be even more difficult!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Harry Potter: The Artifact Vault by Jody Revenson

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting.  This week I’m choosing Harry Potter: The Artifact Vault by Jody Revenson.  This book is the latest in HarperCollins’s line of Harry Potter books and it celebrates all of the physical design that went into creating a convincing Wizarding World.  This includes everything from the Sorting Hat to the Golden Snitch to the Marauder’s Map.  The book includes two exclusive bonus inserts, one of which being Gilderoy Lockheart’s classroom questionnaire and the other being a Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes catalog! It’s a must have for any Potter fan.

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Throughout the making of the eight Harry Potter movies, designers and craftspeople were tasked with creating fabulous chocolate-fantasy feasts, flying brooms, enchanted maps, and much more, in addition to numerous magical items necessary in a wizard’s everyday life—for example, newspapers with moving photos, vicious textbooks, and Howlers. Harry Potter: The Artifact Vault chronicles the work of the graphics department in creating vibrant and imaginative labels for potions bottles, brooms, and candy; the creation of Quidditch Quaffles, Bludgers, and Golden Snitches, lovingly crafted by the prop making team; and the stunning inventiveness used by the entire crew to create a rich, bewitched filmic universe.

Accompanying the captivating text are never-before-seen art and design concepts, unit photography, and other filmmaking secrets from the Warner Bros. archive. This striking full-color compendium includes two exclusive bonus inserts—Gilderoy Lockhart’s classroom questionnaire and a Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes catalog—as well as many more surprises. (via Goodreads)

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TTT: Books on my Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday’s are a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which anyone who participates creates a Top Ten list of books based on a weekly prompt they provide (the list for advance topics can be found by clicking the link above).  For my own sanity my Top Ten Tuesdays will always be Top Twelve Tuesdays because the graphics just look better that way ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is exciting for the sheer fact that Spring is on it’s way! We’ve had such beautiful weather here in New York the past few weeks and I can’t wait to start going out for more walks and enjoying all the beautiful flowers that’ll start appearing soon<3 Whenever Winter ends and Spring begins, I tend to shift over to contemporary reads but there are just so many wonderful fantasy books coming out soon that I can’t even imagine not including them here.  What are you looking forward to reading in the next few months?

TTT- Books on my Spring TBR

Books Mentioned

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski (goodreads)

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (goodreads)

Eon by Alison Goodman (goodreads)

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall (goodreads)

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (goodreads)

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury (goodreads)

Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood (goodreads)

The Siren by Kiera Cass (goodreads)

The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (goodreads)

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (goodreads)

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (goodreads)

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson (goodreads)

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Tea & Book Chat: With Malice by Eileen Cook

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This is no way swayed my opinions.*

With Malice by Eileen Cook is a new young adult novel that falls into the thriller genre.  I feel as though there’s a lack of good YA thrillers out there but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed With Malice.  I have to think that the story is largely inspired by a real case that graced our televisions several years ago about two American girls who went abroad in Italy and while there, one of the girls was murdered and the other was accused (although I cannot remember if she was convicted or not).  I didn’t follow the story but my mom was heavily invested so I would constantly catch snippets every time I went in the kitchen to bake.  In With Malice, we piece together the story of Simone and our narrator Jill on their study abroad experience in Italy.  Jill wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the accident she was in or the death of her best friend.

With Malice

While reading With Malice I formed a very strong hypothesis about who I believed was at fault for the accident and I have to say that I was surprised when I was completely wrong.  Stories where I’m unable to correctly glean an ending are few and far between so on that merit alone, I really enjoyed the story.  It’s challenging to review a book like With Malice because, being a thriller, there are certain pieces of information that it’s important for the reader to discover in real time as the characters in the novel do as opposed to secondhand, through a reviewer. So these are my very censored feelings as to why I enjoyed With Malice.  1) The storytelling – The story is narrated by Jill who cannot remember the past six weeks of her life, so she is very unreliable despite how badly she wants to remember.  I really liked that there were breaks between every few chapters when the reader would get a view of what the general public’s opinion of the case is. 2) The setting – the story is largely set in a hospital but the flashbacks to Italy are quite enjoyable. 3) The characters – Jill is an intelligent girl, bound for Yale come Fall, Simone is (was) her best friend right up until she died in the accident, Jill’s dad is a huge pain in the butt who I couldn’t stand but he is believable and most of all, Anna, Jill’s hospital roommate with an unabashed personality and a strong regard for those she holds close to her.  4) The reveal – as I stated before, I really did not see that coming!  I have to say that the pacing was a little slow until we got closer to the end and while there were new memories resurfacing, there wasn’t always something noteworthy happening in the present time.

Final Thoughts:  With Malice by Eileen Cook is an exciting look at a homicide case that has engrossed the nation.  The story is told by the survivor of the accident who is accused of murdering her best friend and is struggling to regain her memory of the last six weeks.  If you’re interested in thrillers I would definitely suggest reading With Malice because the mystery will hook you and keep you engrossed even if it feels like nothing is happening at that moment in the story.  It’s also worth noting the mixed media sources which give the reader a look into the outside world which has also become obsessed with finding justice for Simone.

Rating 4

A read about a teenage girl who wakes up in a hospital bed and cannot remember the last six weeks of her life, including the accident that killed her best friend–only what if the accident wasn’t an accident?

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life. (via Goodreads)

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BookTube: Slay That Series TBR

So, I made a VERY last minute decision to join in the Slay that Series Readathon hosted by Sara from Sara Without an H and Chami from ReadLikeWildFire.  It was so impulsive that I actually filmed this video yesterday and it’s already being posted today which really is some kind of record for me.  I was really inspired to join after seeing Monica’s video and I suggested we buddy read some of The Infernal Devices together so that’s what this week is being dedicated to!

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: The Skylighter by Becky Wallace (The Keepers’ Chronicles #2)

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This is no way swayed my opinions.*

**Warning! If you haven’t read The Storyspinner which is the first book in The Keepers’ Chronicles duology by Becky Wallace, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

The Skylighter by Becky Wallace is the conclusion to The Keepers’ Chronicles duology.  It picks up exactly where The Storyspinner leaves off and things have gotten pretty intense.  I’ve been hearing that you’ll enjoy The Skylighter most if you re-read The Storyspinner prior to jumping back into the world.  Luckily for me, I read The Storyspinner last month so the details were already very fresh in my mind and I wasn’t at all confused when I began reading. I’m so happy that this series was told over two books instead of being stretched into a trilogy because that really would’ve been unnecessary.  Every aspect of the story is described in full and each storyline is wrapped up at the conclusion.  Overall, The Skylighter provides a very satisfying ending.

Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, The StoryspinnerThe Skylighter works really well with multiple perspectives.  The switching narratives were one of my favorite aspects of the first book it continued to be in the final installment.  Each character uniquely contributes a portion to the larger story being told and the reader would not get as much out of the tale without having firsthand knowledge of each character’s motivations.  The second book focuses much more on The Keepers whereas Johanna and Rafi had been the stars of book one.  I have to say that I was completely surprised by Dom, Rafi’s younger and less mature brother.  He really underwent a ton of character growth in The Skylighter and I found myself looking forward to his chapters.  I remained completely invested in Johanna and Rafi and their relationship took a ton of turns that I hadn’t been expecting.  Becky Wallace did a fantastic job crafting their story.

The Skylighter

Again, I was enthralled with the world-building in the first book and the conclusion continued to impress. We traveled to places outside Santarem and saw how the other provinces within the kingdom were being managed.  I think it was really important for both Rafi and Johanna to see what goes on throughout the entire kingdom instead of having a limited perspective of only one section.  The Keepers’ Chronicles duology is unlike any fantasy series I’ve ever read.  The story and circumstances are completely original and it’s heavily influenced by hispanic culture and The Skylighter is much more magic heavy than The Storyspinner.  Plus, I really loved the ending.

Final Thoughts: The Skylighter by Becky Wallace is the perfect ending to The Keepers Chronicles’ duology.  The world-building is unique and unlike any other fantasy world I’ve ever read.  The characters are diverse and the world is inspired by Hispanic culture.  There were constant twists as the story wraps up and all of the occurrences are far from predictable.   If it’s been a while since you read The Storyspinner I would definitely recommend giving it a re-read before jumping into the conclusion.

Rating 5

Johanna and Rafi are in a race against time to save their country before a power-mad Keeper destroys everything they hold dear in the “enthralling magical world” (Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Chronicles) introduced in The Storyspinner.

As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans…Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves.

And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself?

With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late…even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

BookTube: February Book Haul

I’m so excited to be posting my Book Haul today! My monthly videos were a bit out of order this month because of how busy it’s been in my life so sorry about that!  I really love this month’s haul because it includes a set of books that I’ve been lusting after for years but I finally treated myself.  I kinda wish I would’ve held more books in my thumbnail because trust me, there are more in the video, but the LOTR books are SO heavy and I have weak arms apparently.  I also purchased some new Harry Potter books which are always exciting.  They’re really gorgeous and they come in slipcases and they’re SO colorful!  What are some of your favorite books you hauled in February?

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BookTube: March TBR

I’m back with all of my top priority books I’m planning on reading in March!  We’re already a little over a week into the month and I’ve been using the first week to catch up on some ARC’s, re-read The Fellowship of the Ring and I’m successfully juggling 4 books right now.  Can you read multiple books at a time? What are your March reading plans?!

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Waiting on Wednesday: Middle-earth Landscapes: Locations in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Film Trilogies

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting.  This week is pretty special for two reasons: 1) I’m participating in March into Middle-earth (LINK) so I thought it would be perfect to spotlight a book that’s on brand and since it’s something that I had recently pre-ordered, it basically came to me immediately, and 2) this is the first WoW post I’ve ever created where I’m unable to find the book on Goodreads! I honestly didn’t even know there could be books that aren’t on Goodreads.  They’re so on top of everything!  Anyway, Middle-earth Landscapes: Locations in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Film Trilogies is a new coffee-table book with a pretty self explanatory title.  It seems to be a combination of the previous two books which were released separately (one for LOTR and one for The Hobbit) but of course, there is some new photography exclusive to this edition to entice all of us Tolkien fiends.  Having never owned either of the previous books, I thought this is a pretty good option for me!  There’s a forward by Peter Jackson along with contributions from Richard Taylor, Andy Serkis and Alan Lee.  Since I don’t see any trip to New Zealand in the foreseeable future, this is a great piece of art to tide me over until that day comes!

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Sumptuous hardback gift edition combining the best of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Location Guides, plus brand new photography unique to this book.

In the epic film trilogies created by Peter Jackson, New Zealand has become Middle-earth. From the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps to the rolling hills and Volcanic Plateau of the North Island, the world of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit was stunningly re-created on an epic scale.

Photographer Ian Brodie has captured these locations in all their beauty and splendour. Featuring the most breathtaking photographs from his bestselling The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook and The Hobbit Motion Picture Trilogy Location Guidebook, plus all-new imagery and contributions by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Andy Serkis and Alan Lee, this is a magnificent record of a historic era in film-making, and a peerless collection of landscape and location photography by a master of his craft.

Featuring contributions from Peter Jackson and other members of the films’ cast and crew, as well as fascinating background to the film-making process, this is the ultimate tribute to the land and its locations. (via Amazon)

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