Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Blog Tour: Deadly Sweet

About the Book:
Title: Deadly Sweet (Spellwork Syndicate #1)
Author: Lola Dodge
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: January 16th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: 
For fans of Hex Hall, The Magicians, Practical Magic, and Food Wars!
Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spellbooks in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.

Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’s not supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.

The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.

If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brûlée.

Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death?


Author Bio:
Lola Dodge is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. She earned her BA in English from Stonehill College and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University–and hasn’t stopped moving since. When she’s not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can’t melt her, writing or bingeing on anime and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


Review:

Deadly Sweet was a fun start to a new magic series by author, Lola Dodge. While this is the first book I have read from Ms. Dodge, it certainly won't be the last! This book will appeal to all YA/NA/paranormal fans and is definitely a hit for 2018. 

This book follows Anise, a witch who's powers aren't always on her side. She dreams of attending pastry school to showcase her baking talents. But when her witchy powers backfire on her and cause a major accident, she's forced to join her great aunt who just so happens to run a pretty popular bakery. In this town, witches are more accepted, so Anise thinks this will be her ticket to achieving her dreams. Back as soon as she gets there, strange things start happening, which quickly becomes threats on Anise's life!! 

While the mystery was a little bit predictable, I was still captivated all the way through the book. I loved Anise's character. She was humorous, lovable, and just plain fun. I loved her quest on becoming the best baker she could. I love baking too so this made me connect with her a little bit more. Anise is a very relatable character and I loved reading her perspective. You can tell how dedicated she is to obtaining her dream by doing everything and anything she needs to in order to make in her great aunt's shop! I also loved how strong and brave she was. She didn't run scared in the face of danger. I also loved the focus on the friendships she made when she arrived in town. This was one of my favorite parts of the story.

I definitely recommend reading this book as it is a quick, magical read that is sure to sweep you off your feet. I hope to learn a little more about the magic and the witches in general in the next book, but for now, this was an excellent start to a fun new series. I can't wait to see what happens next!!

Happy reading :)


GIVEAWAY!

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~Cassie

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Blitz: The Shadow Weave

About the Book:
Title: The Shadow Weave (Spell Weaver #2)
Author: Annette Marie
Publication date: January 12th 2018
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Synopsis:
Clio might be a nymph living in exile among humans. And she might possess the rare ability to mimic any magic she sees. And she might have just seriously ticked off the most powerful family of spell weavers in the Underworld.
But she is not in love with an incubus.
Lyre is the rebellious black sheep of said weaver family, and he’s the only reason she survived her recent Underworld “vacation.” He’s also the sexiest thing she’s ever seen. Together, they have to track down a catastrophically dangerous magic—a magic he created, she sort of stole, and they both lost—before his family gets their hands on it. And that means fighting alongside him in a desperate attempt to avert complete disaster.
But she is definitely not in love with him. At least, she’s pretty sure she’s not.
Mostly sure. Maybe sure? …Crap.
EXCERPT:

As though summoned by her thoughts, the sex fiend himself breezed into the room. Hair damp and tousled, the kind of face that made women’s hearts skip, broad shoulders that tapered to a toned torso. His tattered clothes should have ruined the look, but they added an extra edge—dangerous and exotic.
The others in the kitchen noticed his arrival, but they dismissed him just as quickly. Unlike most daemons, incubi were easy to recognize even in glamour. No other caste possessed that stunning combination of golds—white-gold hair, warm golden skin, vibrant irises like a dark patina over rich yellow gold.
Yes, they recognized him as an incubus—and they didn’t bother to hide their curling lips and wrinkling noses. Lyre either didn’t notice or didn’t care as he swept over to her, his expression brightening for the first time in two days.
“Clio,” he purred, voice too low for even keen-eared strangers to hear, “your powers of seduction would put any succubus to shame.”
She blinked at him, the bowl of whisked eggs in her hands and a hot pan sizzling in front of her. His mood was so different from earlier that she couldn’t quite grasp it.
“Huh?” she managed. How articulate.
“This is entirely unfair. I have no power to resist such tactics.” He waited a beat. “Are you planning to do something with those eggs?”
She blinked again, trying to unscramble her brain. Scramble. Right, the eggs. She dumped the mixture into the hot pan. “What are you going on about, Lyre?”
“Bacon,” he sighed dreamily. “Pancakes. Scrambled eggs. You slay me, my love.”
On the words “my love,” her heart screeched to a stop so fast it might have left skid marks on her ribs. It kicked back into gear at three times its previous speed and she concentrated so hard on the spatula that she almost went cross-eyed. “You—you can’t be that excited about my cooking. You don’t even know if it’s any good.”
“I can tell already. It’ll be delicious.”
She shivered. The way he said that word should be illegal. As she hurriedly stirred the eggs with a spatula, he stood so close he was almost touching her, his body angled toward her as though she held his entire attention. But his gaze, sliding coolly from one watching daemon to another, was distinctly unfriendly.
She scraped the eggs off the pan, then rescued the bacon from the oven—triggering a stir among the waiting daemons. With her bottom lip caught between her teeth, she pulled a plate from the cupboard, loaded it with food, and held it out to Lyre. She’d cooked an elaborate late-night breakfast to cheer him up, but now second thoughts were crowding her brain. Too late to change her plan now.
His smile only fueled her blush as he fished a fork out of a nearby drawer, loaded it with eggs, and scooped them into his mouth. She held her breath. The entire room went silent.
His eyes rolled back in ecstasy. “So good,” he moaned.
Bang.
She jerked around. The female daemon had dropped her heavy book on the floor. As everyone looked over at her, pink tinged the woman’s cheeks. She snatched up her book and beat a hasty retreat out of the room.
Clio swallowed hard, envious of the woman’s ability to flee. Lyre’s moan had been so sensual it had been downright scandalous, and if Clio didn’t put space between them soon, she was going to start swooning like a complete fool.

Author Bio:
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat— Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

GIVEAWAY!

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~Cassie

Friday, January 12, 2018

Book Blitz: Polarity of Us

About the Book:
Title: Polarity of Us (A Northern Lights Novel)
Author: K.B. Ladnier
Publication date: December 29th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis: 
My name is Daisy Lennox.
Life has been on the fast track to hell for me lately. Between my fiancé cheating on me just weeks before walking down the aisle, and my career as an author going down the drain from lack of inspiration; I’m a hot mess. When it starts to feel like nothing will look up, my best friend Hannah comes to the rescue with a vacation in mind. One that involves leaving the city life of Chicago, for a more secluded one in a small town called White Hemlock in British Columbia, Canada. I thought nothing could bring back my inspiration to write, or my ability to feel so strongly for someone again.

That is, until I met him…
My name is Bastian Urso.
I’m not completely human and my life has been a mess for as long as I can remember. My wife was taken away from me by hunters for being what we are, leaving not only a gaping hole in my heart, but also leaving me to raise our daughter Addylin alone. We left our home in Alaska not long after for this secluded city called White Hemlock for a fresh start. Here, we found the peace we needed to move on with life, Addy being the only thing holding me together. But the pain and bitter loneliness of losing my wife only seemed to get worse with every passing day.

That is, until I met her…

Two people. Two different worlds. More than two hearts at stake. Daisy and Bastian are polar opposites in almost every way, but one; loving each other more than they feel they deserve to.

***This is a standalone novel and is recommended for ages 16+ due to language and some sexual situations***

EXCERPT:
When he stopped, I walked around him to see where we were. I couldn’t have been more surprised.
A small shack sat next to a pool of water that was steaming. The snow around the water was completely melted away with grass growing around it, making the spot look like it didn’t belong here. The shack looked newly built and only large enough for maybe two people to walk around comfortably without feeling claustrophobic. Behind it all was a backdrop of the mountains.
The place looked magical.
Bastian sauntered over to the pool and dove in. He flipped around in the water a few times then came back up. When he surfaced, he was no longer a bear. He was a very wet, sexy, naked man. The water was only deep enough to barely cover him from the waist down, showing off that glorious V-shape in his hips.
“What do you think?” He asked with his arms raised up.
“Uh…” What did he ask? Oh! The spot. “It’s beautiful. What is this place?”
“It’s one of the spots I camp at when I decide to hunt as a bear. I discovered the hot spring while chasing a moose one day and knew I had to come back. I built the shack in case Addy came with me or if I decided to change back into my human form. I can sleep in the cold as a bear, but just as a human is pushing it.”
“It’s amazing,” I replied, though I was looking at his body while I said it. I honestly wasn’t sure if I was talking about the spring anymore.
He laughed and held out a hand for me. “Yes, it is,” he said, obviously pretending I was talking about the spring. “Now, undress that beautiful body of yours and join me.”

Author Bio:
K.B. Ladnier is from a small city in Southern Mississippi. She has one daughter and three cats who she claims are stealing her soul in only tiny doses so she won't notice. She is a cyborg and spends most of her time hiding from her tiny human so she doesn't have to share her snacks as she reads her favorite books. She hates the beach yet lives only ten minutes away from it and daydreams of mountains and snow. She is married to a hot nerd and loves him dearly even though he hordes cookies and occasionally hides her prosthetic leg from her when she's mad, so he can get a quick escape. She plans to write as long as people continue loving what she does, otherwise she's going to say screw it and do her second dream of owning a coffee shop. Though, she may still do both.


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~Cassie

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Blog Tour: You Won't Know I'm Gone

About the Book:
Title: You Won’t Know I’m Gone (The Black Angel Chronicles #2)
Author: Kristen Orlando
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: January 16th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis:
Reagan has to prove herself to an elite group of special agents—and avenge her mother’s death—in the second book in the Black Angel Chronicles from the author of You Don’t Know My Name.
Going rogue in an effort to rescue her kidnapped parents has cost Reagan Hillis her automatic ticket to the Training Academy. But becoming a Black Angel is the only way Reagan will be able to exact revenge on her mother’s merciless killer, Santino Torres.
When Reagan is given a chance to prove that she’s worthy of training to be a Black Angel, she also gets the first chance she’s ever had to be her true self. No aliases. No disguises.

But when her friend Luke joins her at the Black Angels training compound, Reagan finds herself once again torn between the person she was and the person she wants to be. Reagan has to prove that she’s as good as her parents trained her to be, because she’ll never find Torres without the Black Angels’ help.


Author Bio:
Writing is one of the great loves of Kristen Orlando’s life and she has been lucky enough to make it her living, first as a television producer, then as a marketer and now as a novelist. Kristen graduated with a B.A. in English literature from Kenyon College. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with the other great love of her life, Michael. You Don’t Know My Name is her debut novel.



Review:

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Holy guacamole!!! This was an absolutely fantastic sequel to the equally fantastic You Don't Know My Name!! Kristen Orlando has written yet another amazing story that grips you instantly and never lets you go. The entire books is thrilling and exciting with nonstop action and a story that revolves around revenge. The story hurtles toward an ending that you know can only end badly, but I never expected the conclusion to be so explosive! 

The story picks up right where the first book left off. Reagan, who has lost her automatic acceptance into the Black Angels, must now prove herself in the Training Academy. I loved this aspect of the story because it was here where Reagan was able to fully explore her emotions and depression after her mother died. Along the way, she makes some new friends and when a person returns for her past, it kind of throws her for a loop. 

description

Reagan is truly a great character to follow and is the perfect MC. This book is all about her figuring out what to do now. She is lost without her mother and feels tremendous grief and responsibility over her death. I was interested to see how she would react to everything that happened following the first book, and she reacted exactly how I expected. Reagan is dead set on revenge, but she also knows that in order to secure her place in the Black Angels she has to set herself on the straight and narrow path...no going rogue, no talking back, and always following orders. But that's definitely not easy for her to do when it goes against everything in her nature. Reagan goes on a very emotional journey as she has to not only build herself back up physically but psychologically. I was hoping that Reagan would choose to go in a different direction than what she did, but her decision ultimately fit with her character. I am interested to see what happens with her character in the future and how her decisions in this book will affect her in the next.

I also loved the addition of her friends, Anusha and Cam. They were very supportive of her and really helped her through her toughest times. I loved them as characters and I hope to see them again in the next book. The action scenes were written brilliantly and this is definitely a major highlight of Kristen Orlando's writing. She makes the action scenes come alive and you feel as if you are right there next to the characters.


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I highly recommend checking this book out when it becomes available. Kristen Orlando has delivered yet another action-packed and thrilling story that keeps you at the edge of your seat while reading. I honestly cannot wait until the 3rd book comes out to see where the story goes and all the twists and turns Kristen Orlando will throw our way!


Happy reading :)

GIVEAWAY!

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~Cassie

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday #128

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.


Cassie's Waiting On: 
All We Can Do Is Wait
All We Can Do Is Wait by Richard Lawson
Publication Date: February 6th, 2018

Synopsis:

In the hours after a bridge collapse rocks their city, a group of Boston teenagers meet in the waiting room of Massachusetts General Hospital:

Siblings Jason and Alexa have already experienced enough grief for a lifetime, so in this moment of confusion and despair, Alexa hopes that she can look to her brother for support. But a secret Jason has been keeping from his sister threatens to tear the siblings apart…right when they need each other most.

Scott is waiting to hear about his girlfriend, Aimee, who was on a bus with her theater group when the bridge went down. Their relationship has been rocky, but Scott knows that if he can just see Aimee one more time, if she can just make it through this ordeal and he can tell her he loves her, everything will be all right.

And then there’s Skyler, whose sister Kate—the sister who is more like a mother, the sister who is basically Skyler’s everything—was crossing the bridge when it collapsed. As the minutes tick by without a word from the hospital staff, Skyler is left to wonder how she can possibly move through life without the one person who makes her feel strong when she’s at her weakest.


This sounds like a fantastic novel and I've already heard some great things about it.  I always love stories that revolve around strangers coming together and how those interactions impact the characters' futures.  It's a very cool concept that shows how unexpected life can be.  I can't wait to check this one out!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Book Review: Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)

Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)About the Book:
Title: Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)
Author: Amy Plum
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 288
Rating: 3/5 stars


Synopsis:

Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse...but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

Review:

I'm a huge fan of Amy Plum, so I knew that I was going to check this book out regardless of its rating or reviews. I was pleasantly surprised by the story, but I didn't think it was her best either. Dreamfall is an intriguing read...7 teens who suffer from insomnia undergo a trial to help cure them, but what happens when things go devastatingly wrong?? As intriguing as that summary sounds, it just didn't live up to what I wanted it to. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the story a lot, but it did seem like the story went in circles at times...and that was what made me lower my rating from 4 stars to just 3. 

The plot is actually pretty simple, and I think it worked in this story because the "nightmare" world that is created after the experiment goes haywire is pretty interesting on its own. I think it's good that Ms. Plum didn't build this super complex world and kept it simple because this book would have been much more confusing. This simplicity makes the book an easy, quick read. However, there were some holes that I am hoping will be explained in future books. And as I said, the plot started getting a bit tedious and went in circles. It almost seemed like we were just re-reading the same scenes just in a different person's nightmare, and nothing was being accomplished. I think this is the biggest flaw of this book...by the end, we were left with even more questions than when we started and nothing was answered. The subjects are still in the same position as they were when the book started, and there was no progress. 

The book is told in the first person perspective, but from 3 different character's POVs. We have Jamie, a med student who I realized we actually never know the gender of (something I found interesting because this is super rare these days but think added a cool element to the story); Cata; and Fergus. Jamie is on the outside watching the experiment take place, while Cata and Fergus are 2 of the subjects in the trial. I liked that Jamie's POV gave us the insight into the science/medical aspect of things (which I loved given that I'm a science/medical nerd), while Cata and Fergus gave us the perspective of 2 people in the experiment itself and how it was affecting them individually. While I was never able to fully connect to any of the characters (maybe because the chapters were short so we never stayed on 1 character that long), they all were very distinctive from each other. I do wish there was more character development with them, but again, maybe this is something that will be further explored in the next book.

Dreamfall is a short read that focuses on what happens when our nightmares become reality. I'm not entirely sure what to classify this book as--dystopian, sci-fi, contemporary-- but if you like Amy Plum, I would definitely give this book a shot! While it wasn't everything I was hoping for, I still enjoyed the story and will read the sequel. I'm interested to see when Ms. Plum takes the story and how she'll expand upon this unique idea she has created!


Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Review: Broken Little Melodies

Broken Little MelodiesAbout the Book:
Title: Broken Little Melodies
Author: Jennifer Ann
Pub. Date: June 5, 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace

Pages: 298
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis:

Music was her first love. The lanky boy from summer camp with a confident swagger, a beautiful voice, and starlit green eyes was her second.

Although Roman planned to be Isabelle’s last everything, fate proved an orphan running with a wild crowd on the West Coast had no future with a rich New Yorker hiding the scars of an abusive home.

Five years after she broke his heart, fate strikes again when Isabelle’s waitressing job brings her face-to-face with her past. The boy she once gave herself to has not only become a successful rockstar, but the sexiest man she’s ever laid eyes on.

Roman was never one to believe in luck until he’s reunited with the girl he promised to love forever. Time has made Belle even more beautiful than ever, and it’s obvious the fire between them never went out. Refusing to let her slip away again, he makes her an offer that would force her to leave her mediocre band, and question whether the secrets that once divided them as teenagers could destroy them a second time.

Review:

I haven't ever read a book by Jennifer Ann prior to this, but let me tell you...I'm going to start! This book was absolutely amazing and I feel like I've been missing out on a great author all these years! I loved everything about this book (except one tiny thing that made me give this book 4.5 instead of 5 stars). I'm a sucker for rockstar romances and I've only have one book flop for me in that category (which isn't too shabby if you ask me lol). Jennifer Ann crafted such a wonderful and powerful story, and I can't wait to read more from her!

This book follows Roman and Belle. The story is told in a unique way with us first seeing them as kids at a summer camp for musicians. I loved watching them grow together and form that bond that they carried throughout life. The second part of this story though is them finding each other again, and struggling to make things work now that their lives are very different than when they parted ways as teenagers. I loved watching Belle transform from a shy, innocent girl to a strong, confident woman. Her life has not been easy since she and Roman parted ways, but she is trying her best to give herself the life she ultimately wants. Roman was literally and figuratively a rockstar throughout this story. I loved how he was with Belle and the love he has for her shined through the page.

Their romance though was epic yet also a roller-coaster ride. They had just as many highs and they did lows, and I honestly just wanted them to be happy for like 5 minutes. This was the one thing that made me lower my rating...I felt there was a little too much drama in their lives. But it definitely added an emotional and powerful punch to the story. They definitely are one of those couples that no matter what obstacles are in their path, they're going to fight to overcome them and try their best to come out on top. While their story is heartbreaking, it is also very uplifting. And let me tell you...it's definitely a page turner!!

If you like rockstar romances, this book is 100% for you! I loved this book from start to finish and will definitely be checking out more from Jennifer Ann in the future! I highly recommend adding this book to your TBR now.


Happy reading :)
 

~Cassie