Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Review: Into the Dim (Into the Dim #1)

Into the Dim (Into the Dim, #1)About the Book:
Title: Into the Dim (Into the Dim #1)
Author: Janet B. Taylor
Pub. Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 428
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.

With intriguing, beautiful settings of Scotland and the Middle Ages, and plenty of great twists, Into the Dim was an exciting start to a new series about time travel. While this novel does have its flaws, they didn't detract from the story enough to make me dislike the story. There is definitely plenty to love about this book, and if you go in with an open mind and a roll-with-it attitude, I think this book will appeal to many readers! Janet B. Taylor has set up a story that has a lot of potential to be something great, and I do hope that the flaws I found are "fixed" in subsequent books. 

I always have some reservations when reading time traveling books because they can either go one of two ways...confusing because the author doesn't explain things well, or not confusing because everything is well developed and clear from the get go. Fortunately, this book falls in line with the latter. Janet B. Taylor describes the time traveling aspect very well, and sets up the "society" perfectly. There was never a time I was confused by these aspects of the story. However, this is also where a small flaw lies in the story. The actual "science" and history behind the time travel is not that great (or strong) in my opinion. It's not that it wasn't well developed, but more that it didn't really make that much sense realistically. I know, I might be saying, time travel doesn't actually exist so how much realism do you want? Well, if you read the book, you'll see what I mean. It's very difficult to describe without reading the novel, but suffice to say, the time travel wouldn't hold up to any scrutiny. This is why I said you have to just go with it and accept this part of the book. 

The adventure and action truly begins when Hope (our MC) and friends travel back to the Middle Ages to save Hope's mother. There were many exciting scenes and plenty of action. I loved all of the twists that occurred during this time, and while some I did see coming, there were others that completely surprised me. Janet B. Taylor richly described England during the Middle Ages, and the time period truly comes alive with her writing. There is a nice balance of social, religious, and political intrigue and ideals that make the story come alive and more realistic. I did like the characters for the most part, but again there were several flaws I found with several characters.

The character I had the most problems with was our main character, Hope. She is extremely stereotypical and as a result left me feeling just eh about her character in the end. She has many phobias, and I kept waiting for the author to explore this aspect of her character more, but instead this got pushed to the background. This was actually a major part of her character in the beginning of the novel, and unfortunately it just ended up becoming almost non-existent. Plus the way she acted when she first met Bran really bothered me. I mean if someone is taking photos of you in the woods without you knowing, call me crazy but you don't go up to said person and flirt with him. I get that she was extremely sheltered and had very little "street smarts," but even someone such as Hope (who is brilliant due to her photographic memory) would know better. This leads me to the other problem I had...the romance. I won't reveal who the romance is with because no spoilers!! What I will say though is that I didn't really buy their romance, nor did prior events in the story make me have warm fuzzy feelings about the romance in the end. 

Overall, this was a fast-paced, exciting novel that is filled with interesting twists and turns. I loved visiting the Middle Ages with Hope and her friends, and I especially liked the no-nonsense ways Hope and her friends came up with solutions to problems they were challenged with. While there are some flaws, I do think that this series has a lot of potential, and I want to check out the next in the series to see where the Ms. Taylor takes the story. 

Happy reading :) 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #57

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.

Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

The One Real Thing (Hart's Boardwalk, #1) by Samantha Young
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016


While Doctor Jessica Huntington engages with the inmates at the women’s correctional facility where she works, she’s always careful to avoid emotional attachments in her personal life. Loss and betrayal taught her that lesson long ago. But when she comes across a set of old love letters in the prison’s library and visits the picturesque town of Hartwell to deliver them to their intended recipient, she finds herself unable to resist the town’s charm—and her attraction to the sexy owner of a local bar proves equally hard to deny.

Since his divorce from his unfaithful ex-wife, Cooper Lawson has focused on what really matters: his family and the boardwalk pub they’ve owned for generations. But the first time Jessica steps into his bar, Cooper is beyond tempted to risk his heart on her. Yet as their attraction grows hotter and Jessica remains stubbornly closed off, he begins to realize it will take more than just passion to convince her there’s only one real thing in life worth fighting for….

A new beach town romance? Why oh why couldn't this have been released during the summertime?!!! I love beach-y romances! Oh well, I will just read it and fantasize about the summertime while feeling sorry for myself for having to be sitting in a stuffy classroom!

Cassie's Waiting On: 

Fall of Thrones and Thorns (Threats of Sky and Sea #3) by Jennifer Ellison
Publication Date: September 27, 2016


Fall of Thrones and Thorns (Threats of Sky and Sea, #3)War hurtles in, a typhoon over the sea.
After Bree’s life was torn apart, Nereidium had represented a haven to her. A place that—if she could save it—was beyond the King’s reach.

And, at last, she’s arrived upon its shores. But things in Nereidium are not what they should be.

The land is plagued by a rash of mysterious earthquakes, the likes of which it’s never known. The governors are distracted by old traditions, while Bree and her friends grapple with changing identities and the sense that the longer they wait to take action… the greater the danger from Egria grows.

Bree is tired of living under the shadow of King Langdon’s power. And she’s tired of waiting for him to be the first to act.

In this final chapter of the Threats of Sky and Sea series, it all comes down to Nereidium or Egria. To Bree or the King. It’s kill… or be killed.

And not everyone will escape the battle unscathed.

This book might look familiar as we recently did the cover reveal for this awesome book! This is definitely a very underrated series, and I think it really needs some more attention.  I absolutely loved the first two books in this series, and I can't wait to read what is sure to be a thrilling conclusion to Bree's story!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Blog Tour: How To Keep Rolling After the Fall

About the Book:
Title: How to Keep Rolling After a Fall
Author: Karole Cozzo
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 2nd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance in this swoonworthy new novel from the author of How to Say I Love You Out Loud.
The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That’s all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl’s suicide. Now Nikki’s been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can’t look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates – almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it’s like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance… and everyone deserves to be loved.

Author Bio:
KAROLE COZZO is a school psychologist by day, a wife and mother of two by night, and a writer of YA romance in the wee hours of the morning. She loves camping out at Starbucks, breakfast cereal at all hours, and watching every movie made from her favorite YA books. How to Say I Love You Out Loud is her debut novel.

This was my first book from Karole Cozzo, and I would definitely be interested in checking out more from her in the future. As a whole, How to Keep Rolling After a Fall is a solid YA story that will inspire many teens (and even adults) to appreciate what they have in life, and remember not to take things for granted. However, this being said, I did have my ups and downs with this book. There were a couple things that I didn't really like, but they were relatively minor overall. Ms. Cozzo's writing is very real, and flows naturally. The characters she has created are very well written and incredibly realistic. I liked the spin she took in regards to the plot and the point-of-view of the story, and it gave the book an overall better feel because we were able to see from a different perspective than other books with this same theme.

One of the things I appreciated about this book was the way in which Ms. Cozzo portrayed Pax's (our main character's love interest) disability. She wrote his character very well, and speaking from experience of knowing someone who is in a wheelchair, I do feel that Pax's behavior and attitude was realistic (albeit a bit mature for someone his age in regards to his deep thoughts, but that just made his character more enjoyable to me because let's face it...most 17-year-old guys aren't like 17-year-old guys in books). Many people do not understand the challenges and the feelings associated with being in a wheelchair, and Ms. Cozzo did a great job at giving Pax's feelings a voice throughout the story. Many authors do not portray this so well, and this made the story more enjoyable for me. Pax is definitely not perfect or overemotional, but he is incredibly real. However, I never fell in love with him like I do in other stories. Maybe because this book was relatively short, but I just never made that connection to him. Don't get me wrong, I definitely loved his character and I liked his addition to the story, but I just never felt like he was book boyfriend material. 

Our main character, Nikki, was an interesting lead. This ties into what I mentioned earlier about the perspective of this book. You see Nikki was a bully and currently her life is in shambles due to her actions. I liked being able to read from the "bully's" POV because this is not something typically seen in YA right now. While Nikki did have her moments where she got on my nerves, she is a great lead character. You see a transformation in her character over the course of the story, and you can tell she does feel sorry for her actions. However, this doesn't excuse her prior actions, and there were times where it seemed as if she was more sorry for herself (and thus how her current situation) than sorry for her actions. This was something that did bother me a bit while reading, but towards the end, I think it was clear that she was regretful of what she did and how her actions affected someone else's life. 

One thing that I did appreciate about both Pax and Nikki was the way their relationship developed. It seemed very naturally, even though it was a bit fast for my taste. That being said, they were never annoyingly in love and making moony eyes at each other. Pax and Nikki had a cute relationship that helped both of them grow and learn. I also did like the confrontation between Pax and Nikki towards the end of the book because I thought it was something that needed to be said as it was very true. Regardless, Pax could have gone about the whole thing in a better way, but when emotions are running high, reason sometimes goes out the window. Again, this is why I liked Ms. Cozzo's writing as it was extremely realistic. This is exactly how I could imagine this scene playing out between two people who are in the situation they are in during this book. 

While the ending was the best for me, this book is definitely one to check out if you are fans of this type of story (remember to enter the giveaway below!!). Is this story revolutionary? Not really. And yes, there were some things that I didn't quite like about the story. However, I really enjoyed Karole Cozzo's writing and the story she created. She captures what it is to be a teenager today very well, and I definitely will be checking out more from her in the future! 

Happy reading :)



Monday, July 25, 2016

ARC Review: Thieving Weasels

About The Book:

  Title: Thieving Weasels 
  Author: Billy Taylor 
  Pub. Date: August 23rd, 2016 
  Publisher: Dial Books  
  Pages: 320 
  Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary 
  Rate: 1/5 stars 

Synopsis :

Cameron Smith attends an elite boarding school and has just been accepted to Princeton University alongside his beautiful girlfriend, Claire. Life for Cameron would be perfect, except that Cameron Smith is actually Skip O’Rourke, and Skip O’Rourke ran away from his grifter family four years ago…along with $100,000 of their “earnings” (because starting a new life is not cheap). But when his uncle Wonderful tracks him down, Skip’s given an ultimatum: come back to the family for one last con, or say good-bye to life as Cameron. 

“One last con” is easier said than done when Skip’s family is just as merciless (and just as manipulative) as they’ve always been, and everyone around him is lying. Skip may have given up on crime, but there’s one lesson he hasn’t forgotten: always know your mark. And if you don’t know who your mark is . . . it’s probably you. 


This was the first book I picked up to read after BEA 16, and honestly I was extremely disappointed. I picked this book to read first because it looked good-hearted and funny. I think I mostly picked it because one of my favorite books of last year was Denton Little's Deathdate and it reminded me of that with the goofy description and cover. Well, it was nothing like Denton Little.

First, this book wasn't funny at all. And my standards for funny books have been raised because in the last year I've read books that literally made me laugh out loud. But the only thing this book made me do was roll my eyes. The storyline ended up being so sloppy and the main character's main reason for wanting to get away from his family was he wants to get back to his really great girlfriend and his private school. Which for one, we never read much about his girlfriend. It's hard to imagine how "amazing" she is when he's hiding from her and her family in the beginning of the book and then we don't get to see her again until basically the end of the book. Skip was an ok character, he was flawed and he had a rough childhood but he meant well and was just trying to get through life. But jeeze, the rest of the characters were insufferable. They were so one-dimensional that my attention just couldn't stick with them. My thoughts were drifting to everything but the book, what's for dinner? What can I have tomorrow for dinner? What did I have yesterday for dinner? This book was described for fans of Ocean's Eleven. Please. The "last con" Skip had to complete was something I would watch on The Disney Channel.

“- The last thing I needed in my life was more stupidity.
I'd been wallowing in it for days, and it was time to wise up.
It was either that or get conned, killed or both."

My favorite part of this entire book was when I finished it. And it wasn't because I liked the ending, it was because I didn't have the anxiety of whether to DNF it or suffer through it any longer. This book could be marketed more as middle grade if it took out the immature sex references. Honestly, I would say skip this book. I hope the next book I read from BEA is a little better.

- Jocelyn

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Book Review: A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1)

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes, #1)About the Book:
Title: A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1)
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Pub. Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 321
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

Before I start my warned, there's going to be lots of Benedict Cumberbatch ;)

It's pretty easy to say that I was super excited to read this book because SHERLOCK HOLMES! Enough said. The problem is...I've read a lot of "updated" Sherlock Holmes and was disappointed. So even though I was excited for this one, I still went in with lower expectations. I know this probably was kinda crazy on my part because you should always be going into a book with high expectations, but I figured if I went in with lower expectations I wouldn't be as disappointed. And maybe it's because of this that I actually really enjoyed this novel. Yes, there were things that I didn't like about the book, but this was a fun mystery read that left me guessing.


One of the things that I really enjoyed was the mystery itself. I honestly had no clue who was behind everything until it was actually revealed. I mean, after the fact, I couldn't believe I didn't see it, but I liked finally being surprised by the villain! There's been way too many mystery/thriller books lately where I've figured out everything by the time I was 25% done with the book. But that definitely wasn't the case with this book. I had so many theories, it was crazy! The pacing of this novel was also fantastic. There were intense moments followed by slower moments with Charlotte and Watson in the lab deciphering clues. It was exactly how this story needed to be, and made me want to keep reading. Lastly, I loved Charlotte and Watson together. They had that nice balance that I love about the original Holmes and Watson. And I was totally shipping this from the beginning. Nevertheless, they were an interesting pair, and very well developed. Plus, I loved the gender-swap with Charlotte Holmes. 


As I mentioned, there were some things that I didn't like about this book though, and ultimately resulted in me not giving it a higher rating. First, even though the mystery is interesting, the ending was basically an info-dump from the villain, which in this updated story was too cliche for my taste. I wanted a bit more and not just the typical mystery ending. The other thing I didn't totally love was Charlotte's drug abuse. It definitely is highlighted, but it's something that is an underlying presence in the story. I mean, as a reader you don't really know what to do with the information other than appreciate that Ms. Cavallaro brought in the drug addiction canon. But the thing that really bothered me about her drug use was the fact that she just stops and is perfectly okay. This isn't realistic in the slightest, and I just was left disappointed with the direction it took.


Overall, this was a very good Sherlock Holmes update. While it definitely isn't anything new, it still is an enjoyable story with an awesome mystery. I would definitely recommend reading it if you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes and a good mystery story.  I do think I'll check out the next in the series just to see where the story goes and experience more Holmes and Watson adventures!

Happy reading :)


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #56

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.

Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow 
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016


Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

I initially heard about this book in January during my interview with Shannon Parker for her debut book The Girl Who Fell. I immediately looked it up on Goodreads and added it to my TBR. I love books about mental health issues so this seems right up my alley. My favorite book of 2015 was Challenger Deep, another book with a mental health issue base. I hope that I end up liking this book just as much as that one! 

Cassie's Waiting On: 

Spectacle (Menagerie #2) by Rachel Vincent
Publication Date: March 28, 2017

Spectacle (Menagerie, #2)When their coup of Metzger's Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of "exotic wildlife." Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle's owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price. 

But Vandekamp's closely guarded client list isn't the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

Originally, this book was planned for September, so I'm really sad to see that the publication date got pushed back to 2017 since it's so far away...but this book will definitely be worth the wait! Rachel Vincent is one of my favorite authors, and I really enjoyed the first book in this series.  I'm excited to see where Rachel Vincent takes the story and continues to build the amazing world she created in the previous novel.  The cover is gorgeous too, so I definitely want this on my shelf :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)About the Book:
Title: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Pub. Date: Feb. 9, 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 444
Rating: 4/5 stars

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

I had some pretty high expectations after Red Queen, and I don't know if it's because of this that I didn't love this book as much as the first, or if it was the hype, but I'm going to go with the former. Don't get me wrong, I still really enjoyed this book, but this follow-up just didn't enthrall me as much as the first novel. There was something missing, and in many ways, this seemed like a completely different book. It's actually very difficult to talk about this book in the way I want without giving away any spoilers, but I'm going to do my best.

Glass Sword picks up right where Red Queen left off. Mare and the Reds are going to track down the New Bloods to fight back against Maven and his mother. But as she is now considered a traitor to the crown, her mission is a bit harder since she is avoiding capture. On top of this, she needs to protect her family and those she holds most dear. I did expect changes in Mare's character, but some of the changes that happened were most definitely not expected. There were times where I honestly didn't like her at all because she (in my opinion) became just as ruthless and cruel as Maven. Now to a certain extent she needed to think like him, and mirror his actions in order to rise up and fight back. But I also feel like there were times she went too far. It was critical that Mare change in order to even remotely be able to overcome past mistakes to defeat Maven and his mother. With this though, she lost what made her special and likable in the first novel. Mare became a shell of herself, but at the same time became very arrogant (not the best word to use, but you get the idea) in her powers. She began to think of herself as god-like, and sure this is basically true, but're not any better than any of the other New Bloods.

Thankfully, there are no new love interests introduced in this novel. But what bothered me was how flippant Mare was in regards to her feelings. How she felt for certain characters changed depending on her mood or heck even the weather (<--slight exaggeration there). Honestly though, the romance really took a backseat in this novel, which might have been a good thing because it didn't really fit that well with the overall story. So even though Mare's indecisiveness bothered me, I thought there was a good balance in regards to the romance. 

The action was fantastic in this book though. There are plenty of exciting scenes filled with heart-pounding moments. No one is safe, and there were some tear-inducing deaths that resulted. However, this is one scene in this book that I needed to go back and read several times just to see where it was mentioned that a character died. In this scene, things became very jumbled, and I'm not quite sure why. Every other scene was written beautifully, but this scene (and trust me, it's a pretty important scene) was very sub-par when compared to everything else in this book. 

I don't think it could ever be questioned that Victoria Aveyard is a gifted author, and she definitely knows how to tell a story. I love her writing, and I love being in this world. This story, the world, and the characters are extremely unique and creative. And it is for this reason that I gave the book 4 stars. I know it seems like I didn't like this book that much, but I honestly did enjoy it a great deal. It just wasn't what I expected, and it didn't grab me as much as the first book. I am extremely interested to see what happens in the third book, especially because of the ending. It's very shocking and honestly, it was a fantastic twist. My expectations for the next book might not be as high, but I think it's going to be a great novel nonetheless.

Happy reading :)


Monday, July 18, 2016

ARC Review: The Angels' Share (The Bourbon Kings, #2)

About The Book:

  Title: The Angels' Share (The Bourbon Kings, #2)
  Author: J.R. Ward 
  Pub. Date: July 26th, 2016
  Publisher: NAL 
  Pages: 432
  Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Romantic Suspense 
  Rate: 4/5 stars

Synopsis :

In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.
Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior...or the worst of all the sinners? 


If you remember, The Bourbon Kings was one of my top ten favorite books of last year. I'm really glad that I have been getting into more adult romance books because I've really been missing out! Plus, I have been recommending The Bourbon Kings left and right lately, especially now that it's summertime. The Angel's Share is the dramatic followup to The Bourbon Kings, in which the Bradford family deals with betrayal, financial trouble, and the suicide (or is it murder) of the awful William Baldwine.

In The Angel's Share, the Bradford family is back along with their messy lives and pretentious demeanor. We get to see a TON of characters in this book, not just the members of the Bradford family, but their friends, coworkers, and employees. J.R. Ward does a fantastic job of making you feel like you are truly connected to each and every one of the characters. It also makes finishing the book that much harder. But by far my most favored member of the Bradford family is Gin. Sure, she's spoiled and pretentious - but her romance with the family lawyer, Samuel T. is one of the steamiest romances I think I've ever read. I love how Ms. Ward can make a character such as Gin appear so unlikable in theory - she's spoiled, rude, demanding, among other things. However, you just can't help but love her and defend her actions!

The only thing that really disappointed me was that the description had me expecting that Edward was going to be the center focus of this novel. I suppose I had this assumption because I have experience with J.R. Ward's writing through her Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I know how each book in that series follows a character and their story in reference to the groups bigger story. So I just thought the same thing was going to happen with The Bourbon Kings. However, it wasn't really the case. Don't get me wrong - this wasn't a bad thing. It was just something I didn't quite expect. Lane and Lizzie seemed to still hold most of the attention. I was just expecting to hear more about Edward. It's true, we did get a lot more from him than we did in the first book. I just would have liked extra because 1) his personal story really drew me in since the first book and 2) the description of this book seemed to be centered on him.

The Angel's Share is a fantastic followup to the dramatic novel, The Bourbon Kings. There was more betrayal, lies, and scandal - but will it be enough to last me until the next Bourbon Kings novel? The wait for the next book will still undoubtably be torturous. The Angel's Share is the perfect blend of romance and suspense that will leave you utterly entranced. I can't wait to see what is in store for everyone, hopefully more romance between Gin and Samuel T. If you haven't read The Bourbon Kings yet - this is the perfect time! The middle of summer is the perfect time to become acquainted with the Bradfords, just make sure you have a cold drink nearby to cool off after all of those steamy scenes.

- Jocelyn

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Blog Tour: Set Me Free

Welcome to Novels and Necklaces! I hope you enjoy this stop on the Blog Tour for Set Me Free by London Setterby.  Today, we are featuring an excerpt (which shows that you really need to add this to your TBR right away!) and also an exciting giveaway :) Thanks for stopping by!

Set Me Free
Author: London Setterby
Publication date: July 8th 2016
Genres: Gothic, New Adult, Romance

Miranda Lewis is desperate to get away from her controlling ex–so desperate she leaves him in the middle of the night. She ends up on a remote island off the Maine coast, where she befriends a bubbly shopkeeper, Claire, and becomes fascinated with Claire’s son, big, brooding Owen Larsen, a woodworker who keeps to himself. Even the friendliest locals here are secretive–and Owen is at the center of their secrets.
Still, Miranda loves the salt air, the craggy coastline, and, most of all, the work of the island’s beloved local painter, Suzanna White. Miranda wants to stay–to claim a life of her own, to paint again. But the longer she stays, the more her fascination with Owen increases. Why is there a painting of his stern, handsome face in the art gallery by the beach? And why is everyone so afraid of him?

Author Bio:

Hello! I’m London, a writer, lawyer, and life-long New Englander. I write all flavors of romance, from surreal fantasy romances to raw gritty contemporaries. I also write across the gender and sexuality spectrums. Everything I write is a little bit funny, a little bit sad, and probably kind of strange.
You might know me from Wattpad–my Wattpad Featured Read, Set Me Free, a Gothic romance, will be released as an ebook and in print in summer 2016.
My gritty erotic romance, Breathe, is currently being serialized on Radish, a free app. It will be released in ebook/print as well sometime after Set Me Free.
I’d been sleeping in my back seat most nights for the past three weeks, ever since I’d gotten the waitressing job at the Widow’s Walk. The Viking’s friend, Andy, was as energetic and upbeat as Owen was reserved and serious.  And Andy was thrilled that a potential new hire had walked into their bar before they’d even posted the position. You must be psychic, he had said, while a slender, curly-haired waitress, Margot, scowled irritably at me from the corner. Just lucky, was my reply. I was lucky—I could have ended up anywhere, so directionless and desperate, but instead I’d come to this island, and had found the Artist’s Lodge, and a muse in the form of the mysterious Suzanna White.

And now I had a job. Since then, I’d been putting a little more money on the prepaid debit card I’d gotten to pay my bills—only two now, just my car and my phone—and I didn’t have to give a single cent to Rhys. That was enough to make me feel as rich as a queen.

Still… I was nowhere close to a month’s rent, never mind a first, last, and security deposit. I’d been staying in a motel in the next closest town, Bellisle, to shower and sleep in a bed twice a week. Otherwise I used disposable, no-water face cloths and dry shampoo and tried to be patient. I was happy enough to trade more frequent showers and proper heat for a space that was solely my own.

I dug a compact mirror out of the side door pocket where I’d been storing my makeup. My eyes looked huge and dark, still hollow with my nightmare. My long, black hair lay in mats and tangles. But it was all right. I’d fixed myself up from worse.

I washed up and did my makeup. After I’d combed out my hair carefully, I pulled it back into a ponytail. Then I reached for my black work shirt, only to remember I had the day off. Too bad. I would rather be at work, making money. Assembling the building blocks of my new life.

Deciding to stick with my one indulgence on one of my rare days off—a visit with Claire, and a coffee—I grabbed my purse. My phone was flashing. The beep in my dream had come from real life.

I stared at the screen, sick with anxiety.

The one from this morning said: I miss you. Rhys had probably sent it while he was walking to class, a stack of law books tucked in the crook of his arm, looking dapper in one of his sleek gray suits.

Below that was a new text from last night. I love you, Mira.

This one he’d probably sent from home—his home, now, though some of my clothes still hung in the closet, and the spring wreath I’d made still decorated our front door. In spite of myself, I wondered what Rhys had eaten for dinner last night—how much time he’d taken away from studying in order to deal with the nuisances of daily life.

Deliberately, I scrolled up to the text from earlier yesterday evening: Who the fuck do you think you are, leaving me like this?

He had been like this almost from the beginning—charm and rage lived in equal parts inside of him, as inextricably intertwined as strands of DNA.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #55

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.

Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

The Ones (The Ones #1) by Daniel Sweren-Becker 
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016


Cody has always been proud of being a One. She and her boyfriend James were two of the lucky babies from the 1% of the U.S. population that were randomly selected to benefit from genetic engineering. Now, she and the rest of The Ones are excelling. They are healthy, beautiful, and talented. They aren't otherworldly, just perfect. And to some, that's not fair. The Equality Movement, capitalizing on the growing fear and jealousy, gains political traction and actually outlaws their existence. Society shows its darker side as The Ones are marginalized. The line between right and wrong blurs in the face of injustice and Cody becomes closer to a group of radical Ones intent on fighting back. James begins to fear just how far she is willing to go for the cause.

My WoW last week was a book that had something to do with genetic engineering. I was always pretty interested in books like these and I don't think that'll ever change! I really hope that I end up enjoying this one. I'm not familiar with this author so I'm also very excited to read something from him as well :) 

Cassie's Waiting On: 

Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West
Publication Date: September 15, 2016


Kingdom of Ash and BriarsBristal, an orphaned kitchen maid, lands in a gritty fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she is an elicromancer with a knack for shape-shifting. An ancient breed of immortal magic beings, elicromancers have been winnowed down to merely two - now three - after centuries of bloody conflict in the realm. Their gifts are fraught with responsibility, and sixteen-year-old Bristal is torn between two paths. Should she vow to seek the good of the world, to protect and serve mortals? Or should she follow the strength of her power, even if it leads to unknown terrors? She draws on her ability to disguise herself as a man to infiltrate a prince's band of soldiers, and masquerades as a fairy godmother to shield a cursed princess, but time is running out. As an army of dark creatures grows closer, Bristal faces a supernatural war. To save the kingdoms, Bristal must find the courage to show her true form.

Building on homages to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jane Austen’s Emma and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular debut.

This sounds right up my alley! I'm excited to see the way new author, Hannah West, incorporates all the different fairy tales.  It definitely sounds like something new and different, and I'm interested to see how Ms. West spins her own unique story.  I have high hopes for this one as it sounds fantastic!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Blog Tour: The Last of the Firedrakes

Welcome to Novels and Necklaces! Whether you're just stopping by or an old-time follower, I hope you enjoy this exciting look into Farah Oomerbhoy's novel, The Last of the Firedrakes.  This is next up on my TBR and I know I'm greatly looking forward to checking it out! I've heard nothing but great things, and I hope you'll add it to your TBR too!  Remember to enter the giveaway at the end of this post to have the chance to win some exciting prizes :)

The Last of the Firedrakes (The Avalonia Chronicles #1)
Author: Farah Oomerbhoy
Publication date: August 15th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.
Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way.
Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.
With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.
**Grab it for only 99¢! For a limited time only!**
For a second that felt like a lifetime, everything stopped; I felt like I was floating in nothingness. Then I blinked, and, when I finally opened my eyes and focused again through the tears, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I found myself standing at the mouth of a small cave situated on a hill and overlooking a quiet, moonlit valley. On my left, a dark forest stretched out as far as the eye could see, treetops glistening silver in the light of the full moon. The hills around us undulated into wildflower-filled meadows that lay sleeping in the dewy night.
Far down in the valley, I could see a little village, its lights twinkling in the distance. To my right, a waterfall splashed playfully into a small river that ran down into a lake, next to which the little village was built. The moon here was fuller and larger than I had ever seen it, and the night sky was awash with a fantastic array of glittering stars.
Had I passed through the tapestry? Where was I?
I looked around, disbelief clouding my judgment. I was still trying to get my bearings after that strange moment when I had been inside the tapestry and nowhere at the same time. It gave me a funny feeling, as though I had been lifted out of my own consciousness and then put back into my body.
A warm breeze brushed past my face and played with my hair. Gone were the cloudy grey mist and the cold, nipping wind of the English countryside. I drew in a sharp breath—the air was crisp and clear, sweet smelling, and fresh. The moonlit valley was filled with fruit trees, wildflowers, and rolling meadows.
“How did we come here? Where are we?” I asked, still confused.
“You really are ignorant,” said Oblek, glancing at me. “I take it your uncle didn’t tell you anything?”
I shook my head and looked down. Oblek had tied my hands with a rope he had with him while I was still dazed and looking around. It was humiliating, and the rough ropes cut into my wrists, rubbing them raw every time he pulled me forward.
I had to find some way out of this. And, at the moment, the only thing I could do was discover more about where I was. Then, when I got an opportunity, I could escape and find my way back up to the cave on the hill, where we had arrived out of the tapestry.
But then what?
Christopher was probably dead, and Aunt Arianna would doubtless blame me for everything since I had disappeared at the same time. I had no idea what to do. I didn’t really want to go back, and, now that my adoptive parents were dead, I had nothing to return to.
I was starting to panic. I had nowhere to go, and my mind was imagining an array of horrible outcomes of my kidnapping. My palms had become sweaty, and my racing heart was thundering in my chest as I half-walked and half-ran, desperately trying to keep up with Oblek’s giant strides.
“Why are you doing this?” I pleaded with my kidnapper.
But Lord Oblek said nothing. He didn’t even look at me. He just kept walking ahead and dragging me along behind him, with no more explanations as to what he was planning to do with me.
I was terrified, and I had no idea if I was going to survive this. But I tried to be brave. Maybe I could talk my way out of this?
“You do know that this is called kidnapping?” I said, trying to reason with Oblek.
He didn’t bother to answer.
“What will happen to me now?” I squeaked, my voice breaking, as I tried not to cry.
“Queen Morgana will decide what is to be done with you,” said Oblek, finally.
Queen Morgana! The woman from my dream? It was not possible that this, too, was a coincidence. It must be the same Morgana, the one who had tried to kill my real mother.
Who the hell was she?
Suddenly all of this seemed extremely scary. I hoped that I was still dreaming and that there was no way I had actually traveled through a magical tapestry into some strange land. It all seemed very exciting in books. But actually being kidnapped and then hauled around like an animal, traveling deep into a land I knew nothing about, was not my idea of fun.
I had to get away from this horrible man, and fast.
TLOTFD Quote 2

Author Bio:
Farah Oomerbhoy is a young adult writer with a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Mumbai. Farah loves the fantastical and magical and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest. Her debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of The Avalonia Chronicles started on Wattpad where it received a Watty Award in 2015 and over 1.5 million reads. Since publication, The Last of the Firedrakes has gone on to win a silver medal in IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Awards, become a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards and become an international bestseller. Farah lives with her family in Mumbai, India where she can be found checking for magical portals in every closet.