Friday, April 29, 2016

Paperback Release Celebration + Giveaway: Armada

About The Book:

  Title: Armada 
  Author: Ernest Cline 
  Paperback Pub. Date: April 12th, 2016
  Publisher: Broadway Books
  Pages: 384
  Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction  
  Find It: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository, Goodreads




About Armada:
In 2011, writer Ernest Cline penned his wildly original, genre-busting debut novel, Ready Player One. Packed with irresistible ’80s nostalgia, this cinematic novel was immediately embraced by readers, bloggers, geeks, gamers, booksellers, and John Hughes fans everywhere. From the New York Times and Entertainment WeeklytoBoing Boing and Wired, the novel received rave reviews across the board, sold over a million copies in the U.S., and has been published in 40 countries. The book is now being made into a film by Warner Brothers and legendary director Steven Spielberg, set to debut in theaters in March of 2018.

Since Ready Player One’s publication, Cline’s fans were anxiously awaiting his next endeavor—and he delivered another inventive, heartwarming, and completely nerdtastic adventure with ARMADA (Broadway Books; April 12, 2016), his second New York Times bestseller, which is now in paperback.
ARMADA opens as high-school student Zack Lightman glances out his classroom window and spots a UFO. At first he thinks he’s going crazy. A minute later he’s sure of it, because the ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting Earth from alien invaders.

Zack is sure he’s lost his mind. But what he’s seeing is all too real, and his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save Earth from what’s about to befall it. Yet even as he and his new comrades scramble to prepare for the alien onslaught, Zack can’t help thinking of all the science-fiction books, TV shows, and movies he grew up reading and watching, and wonder: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little too . . . familiar?
Called a “must-read summer blockbuster novel” by Mashable and a “a thrilling coming-of-agestory” byEntertainment Weekly, ARMADA is at once an adrenaline-fueled, surprising thriller, a classic teenage adventure, and an alien-invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with Cline’s trademark pop-culture savvy. The book is already being adapted into a film by Universal Studios, with the author himself writing the screenplay.

Author Interview:

1) Let’s get right to the elephant in the room. The news is now out that your debut novel, Ready Player One, will be made into a film by Warner Brothers and legendary director Steven Spielberg (set to debut in theaters March of 2018)! What did you do when you got the news?

I pinched myself a few hundred times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming—then I re-watched all of his movies—including the Indiana Jones films, which helped inspire certain elements of RPO’s story, along with E.T. and Close Encounters, two Spielberg films that played a large role in inspiring Armada. His work has influenced me throughout my life and writing career, so it’s a dream come true to have the opportunity to collaborate with him on the film adaptation of a story that his work helped inspire.


2) What do you think of the casting announcements that have been made already?

I think they’re fantastic! I’ve been a fan of Ben Mendelsohn’s acting since the ’80s, and his portrayal of John Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises is all the proof I need that he’s perfect for the role of Sorrento. Olivia Cooke is amazing on Bates Motel and in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. She’s going to make a great Art3mis! And after seeing Tye Sheridan in films like Mud and Joe, I think he’s one of the most talented young actors working today, and that he’ll do an incredible job playing Wade Watts.


3) For decades, science-fiction writers have been predicting some of the most incredible futuristic concepts that have become reality, such as debit cards, video conferencing, ear buds, and even accurate details about men landing on the moon. In Ready Player One, the merging of virtual reality technology and social media that you write about is now a reality with the Oculus Rift virtual reality company being bought by Facebook . Are there any similar futuristic technologies in Armada that you think will become reality in the next few years?


Yes, but the future is happening so fast now it’s getting more and more difficult to stay ahead of it. Armada’s plotline involves two concepts—quantum data teleportation and 3-D drone printing—that were still science fiction when I started the book, and then became a proven reality before I finished it. I need to write faster.


4) In the novel, Zack’s Armada pilot call sign is IronBeagle, an homage to the Snoopy vs. the Red Baron album. Did you have fun creating the other various call signs in the novel: RedJive, MaxJenius, Viper, Rostam, Whoadie, AtomicMom, Kushmaster5000?

Pilot call signs are always fun to create—like an avatar’s name in Ready Player One; it’s a nickname a person creates for themselves, so it invariably says something about their self-image and their character—like each of the call signs you listed above.


5) Talk to us about Xavier’s Raid the Arcade mix playlist in the book. How did you choose the songs, which became an essential part of Zack’s Armada gaming ritual? Do you have any rituals of your own when it comes to playing video games?

Many of those are songs from the mix tapes I used to make to listen to on my Walkman at the local arcade. Some of the songs are from movies that played a role inspiring Armada’s story, like the song “Iron Eagle” by King Kobra, from the film of the same name.


6) In Armada, Zack and his father, Xavier Lightman, your novel’s two main heroes, are both big science-fiction fans. The book is filled with references to sci-fi films, such as The Last Starfighter, E.T., Aliens, the Star Wars franchise. Dare to share your all-time favorite sci-fi flick?

 My all-time favorite sci-film would have to be Star Wars, aka Episode IV—A New Hope. The movie and its sequels created the entire mythology of my youth, and altered the course of my life and career.


7) In Armada, Zack soon finds out that the EDA (Earth Defense Alliance), a top-secret global military coalition, is not just a fictional agency featured in the videogames he’s been playing. If the EDA were real (and we’re not saying they aren’t) and invited you to join their ranks, would you? Would Moon Base Alpha be your first station of choice, or would you prefer something closer to home?

Of course I would join up! If the EDA existed, I would have to pitch in and use my gamer skills to help save the world. But I would prefer to stay here in Austin and telecommute, so I could fight off the invasion from the comfort of my couch, without changing out of my pajamas.


8) There is a romantic plotline woven throughout the novel, albeit one that is a bit nontraditional (boy meets girl as Earth is under attack from alien invaders, girl is a kick-ass gamer who helps save boy’s butt during attack, you get the gist). Did you feel it was essential to add this element, or did the relationship between Zack and Lex come about naturally as you were writing the novel?

It came about naturally as I was writing. I love stories with strong female characters, who kick just as much ass (if not more) than their male counterparts, so the stories I write usually tend to have a few of them. I also believe that every good adventure story also includes a little romance. And some rock and roll, too.


9)  If you could meet anyone from pop culture—actor, singer, game creator—dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Carl Sagan. Because he changed my life by opening my eyes to the nature of the world and the cosmos, and I’d love to be able to thank him in person.


10) The first arcade game you ever played was Space Invaders. Is there a game that you’ve been playing recently that’s become a new obsession?

Finishing this book has been my only obsession for the past few years. But during my research, I did play a lot of space combat and flight simulation games, both old and new. The problem with playing videogames as “research” for a novel is that you never want to stop playing to go off and actually write it.


11) Many people look back at the ’50s and ’60s as a watershed moment for science-fiction writing, but do you see the ’70s and ’80s as an even richer epoch for inspiration with the confluence of all the new videogames introduced and some of the best science-fiction TV and movies ever made (to my mind!)?

The ’70s and ’80s are a rich era for sci-fi inspiration (at least, for me) because that was the dawn of the computer, videogame, and Internet age—the one we still live in now. It was also a golden age for movies and television shows, which may be why every property from that time is being reimagined or rebooted right now.


12) Armada is dedicated to your brother, Major Eric T. Cline. What is your relationship like and why did you choose to dedicate the book to him?

My brother and I are very close, and have been our whole lives. He’s always been a huge inspiration to me. He joined the Marine Corps as a lowly private, and over the past two decades he has worked his way up through the ranks to become a major while he traveled all over the world helping people and risking his life for his country and his comrades. Seeing all the sacrifices he and his family have had to make during his various deployments was part of the inspiration for Armada’s story and characters.


13) There is a rumor you now own not one but two DeLoreans. How on Earth did that come about?

I bought a second DeLorean to give away as the grand prize in the Ready Player One Easter Egg Hunt. A few years later, the contest winner decided to sell the car to pay off some unexpected medical bills, so I decided to buy it back from him. Then I gave it to my brother, Eric, so now I’m back down to just one time machine, which is plenty.


14) Is it true that George R. R. Martin once borrowed your DeLorean to help promote the opening of his new bar (complete with a Back to the Future screening)? There has to be one heck of a story here. Please explain!

 George and I had met at a convention, where he had sat in my car. So when his theater decided to screen BTTF, he thought of me and asked to borrow my DeLorean. I said yes, of course!


15) For your Ready Player One book tour you drove your time-traveling DeLorean across the country. Did you take it out again for Armada?

No, I think one Time Machine Book Tour is probably enough to last a lifetime. I discovered that it’s not really safe to drive a tricked-out DeLorean on the interstate highway system, because the people around you are often swerving/driving recklessly while they attempt to snap a photo of your car to post on Facebook. There are safer ways to travel.


16)  It’s been a few years since you were last out on a book tour. Were you surprised by the fan response at your events this time around? Did it feel very different from your initial experience with Ready Player One?

Yes, the huge turnout for each of my Armada signings really floored me. It’s incredibly flattering and humbling to see hundreds of people cram into a bookstore just to hear me speak, and then to see all of those same fans wait patiently in line—sometimes for an hour or more—to get their books signed. Taking the time to do that is one of the biggest compliments you can pay any artist. I’m incredibly grateful to have my work reach such a wide audience, and to have so many people respond to it with such enthusiasm.


17) Are there any particular moments or fan interactions that stand out to you from the tour?

This was the first tour where I had fans show up at my signings sporting Ready Player One–themed tattoos. It really blew me away. When someone pulls up their sleeve and they have three keys or three gates tattooed on their arm, I’m always awed by that level of enthusiasm. And moved that something I created could mean that much to them.


18) We have to ask: As a serious Star Wars nerd, what were your feelings about The Force Awakens? How about the choice to pass the baton to Rian Johnson for Episode VIII?

I enjoyed the hell out of that movie. I’d been waiting to see Han, Chewie, Luke, and Leia together again on the big screen since 1983, and living up to 30 years of geek anticipation is no small feat. I thought J. J. Abrams knocked it out of the park. And Rian Johnson is one of the smartest and most gifted writer-directors of my generation—the generation that grew up with Star Wars. He’s such an exciting choice. Kathleen Kennedy really knows what she’s doing.


19) What’s your dream Star Wars spinoff movie? Any character or storyline you’re itching to see explored?

Yes! How about a whole movie covering the origin story of Saun Dann, the character portrayed by Art Carney in the Star Wars Holiday Special? He was a secret agent of the Rebel Alliance masquerading as a trader on the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk after the Battle of Yavin. You know that dude must’ve seen action during the Clone Wars, too. I’d also pay good money to see a stand-alone Star Wars flick about Willrow Hood."


Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook


ERNEST CLINE is a novelist, screenwriter, father, and full-time geek. His two novels, Armada and Ready Player One, were both New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, and Ready Player One is currently being adapted into a film by Warner Brothers and director Steven Spielberg. Ernest lives in Austin, Texas, with his family, a time-traveling DeLorean, and a large collection of classic videogames



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- Jocelyn

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Release Day Blitz: The Rose and the Dagger


I am so excited that THE ROSE & THE DAGGER by Renée Ahdieh releases this week and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Renée Ahdieh, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN and a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER and an awesome candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only!  So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.


 Title: THE ROSE & THE DAGGER
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 432
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iBooks 

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as "a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance."

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid's empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn't yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.
Praise for The Rose and the Dagger:

“Above all there is the shattering, triumphant catharsis of love… In a story about stories, love is ‘the power to speak without words.’ Thrillingly full of feeling.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Fiery romance, a spirited heroine, shifting loyalties… With more than a few heartrending twists and turns.”—Booklist 


Excerpt:







About Renée:
Renée lives in North Carolina (Go Heels!) with her husband Victor and their dog Mushu. Her YA fantasy novel, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, will be published on May 12th, 2015. In her spare time, she likes to cook, dance salsa, and wreak havoc on the lives of her characters.

She’s also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as an active member of theScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.












Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a paperback of THE WRATH & THE DAWN, a hardcover of THE ROSE & THE DAGGER, and a His Calipha candle from The Melting Library’s Etsy Store, US Only.


Ends on May 3rd at Midnight EST!


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Book Review: The Love That Split the World

The Love That Split the World by Emily HenryAbout the Book:
Title: The Love That Split the World
Author: Emily Henry
Pub. Date: Jan. 26, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 396
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Time Travel
Rating: 2.5 stars



Synopsis:

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. 

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

Review:

This was an incredibly difficult book to rate for many reasons, but the main reason being that I both enjoyed and didn't enjoy the story. I went back and forth between 2 and 3 stars for awhile before finally settling on 2.5 stars. There were several aspects of the novel that just overpowered the rest of the story, and it ultimately resulted in me having to lower the rating. However, this being said, I do think for a lot of people, this book will be a fantastic read because there are truly many amazing parts of this book. I just wish that every part of this book was on the same level as those other parts. 

One of the great aspects of this novel was the depth of the story and how well written it was. I was pleasantly surprised by how well Ms. Henry wrote this story, and how deeply she made you feel things while reading. This is very much an introspective book, and it makes for an interesting reading experience. While the main character is deciding things about her own life, this novel makes you reflect on your own life. It makes you think, and while this might not work for everyone, I thought this was a very unique element to this story. The story celebrates diversity, feminism, and realizing your beliefs. While I am not Native American, I felt that the way in which Emily Henry delivered the short stories, myths, and history was beautiful and a very good representation/depiction of Native American culture. I thought it was wonderful how much emphasis this novel put on celebrating our differences, and even if your beliefs might not be the same as the main character in this novel, everyone can take something away from the story. 

With this being said, the one thing that I didn't totally enjoy was the actual paranormal element of the story. I felt it took away from the underlying story. I actually felt that if this was a simply YA contemporary novel--girl meets boy, boy and girl fall in love, etc.--this book would have been much better. The paranormal element was inconsistent in the way that the romance overshadowed it and it ended up falling to the wayside in parts of the book. There were times where I felt that the author wasn't fully committed to the idea of the paranormal element she had created, and I guess I was just expecting something a bit more. Additionally, this book was extremely slow. Don't get me wrong, the book was gorgeously written, but this book also needed to be edited. There is writing about a certain concept in a way that is concise but still gets the point across, and then there is writing about a certain concept that goes on for paragraphs upon paragraphs. All in all, it was a bit too much. 

Lastly, as I said before, the romance overshadowed a lot in this story. Even more, the romance bordered on cheesy at times, and this book featured one of my biggest pet peeves...insta-love. I didn't feel there was a reason to incorporate the insta-love element, and it bothered me throughout the entire time I was reading this novel.

Overall, while I was in love with certain parts of this book, there wasn't enough to make me give it a higher rating. Ultimately, the "flaws" of this book overpowered the rest of the story and took away from this beautiful story that was created by Emily Henry. If you can overlook the slow pacing and the distracting romance, then you'll love this book, but if not...you might want to skip it.



Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #45

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 Hunt (The Cage, #2): Megan Shepherd
Publication Date: May 24th, 2016


Synopsis: 

They’ve left the cage—but they’re not free yet.

After their failed escape attempt, Cora, Lucky, and Mali have been demoted to the lowest level of human captives and placed in a safari-themed environment called the Hunt, along with wild animals and other human outcasts. They must serve new Kindred masters—Cora as a lounge singer, Lucky as an animal wrangler, and Mali as a safari guide—and follow new rules or face dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, Nok and Rolf have been moved into an enormous dollhouse, observed around the clock by Kindred scientists interested in Nok’s pregnancy. And Leon, the only one who successfully escaped, has teamed up with villainous Mosca black-market traders.

The former inhabitants of the Cage are threatened on all fronts—and maybe worst of all, one of the Hunt’s Kindred safari guests begins to play a twisted game of cat and mouse with Cora. Separated and constantly under watch, she and the others must struggle to stay alive, never mind find a way back to each other. When Cassian secretly offers to train Cora to develop her psychic abilities—to prove the worthiness of humanity in a series of tests called the Gauntlet—she’ll have to decide fast if she dares to trust the Kindred who betrayed her, or if she can forge her own way to freedom.
 

WOO! The second book in The Cage series is almost here. I liked the first book, and it definitely left off at a sort-of cliffhanger. I'll mostly be reading for Cassian, though. Total swoonworthyness! Have you read The Cage? Will you be picking up The Hunt? 


Cassie's Waiting On: 

Recreated (Reawakened #2) by Colleen Houck
Publication Date: August 2, 2016

Synopsis:

Recreated (Reawakened, #2)Lily Young thought traveling across the globe with a reawakened sun prince was a grand adventure. Now she’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.

When Amon and Lily part tragically, he transports himself to the Netherworld—what mortals call hell. Tormented by the loss of his one true love, he’d rather suffer in agony during Lily’s mortal years than fulfill his duty to protect humanity.

Heartbroken, Lily seeks refuge on her grandmother’s farm. Yet she can feel Amon’s pain, and she has been having dreams—dreams of Amon continually suffering.

For before he departed, Amon gave Lily something very special, an item that connects them even though they are worlds apart. Now Lily must use this object to free him, and to free their realms from darkness and utter chaos. She will do whatever it takes.

Colleen Houck never fails to deliver an amazing story, and Reawakened, the first in this series, was certainly no exception.  I can't wait to see what exciting adventure she takes us on next with Lily and Amon.  However, I do hope she departs a bit more from her Tiger's Curse series, and shows us her amazing talent as an author!


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Review: Sword and Verse (Sword and Verse #1)

About the Book:
Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillanTitle: Sword and Verse (Sword and Verse #1)
Author: Kathy MacMillan
Pub. Date: Jan. 19, 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 2/5 stars




Synopsis:

Raisa was only a child when she was kidnapped and enslaved in Qilara. Forced to serve in the palace of the King, she’s endured hunger, abuse, and the harrowing fear of discovery. Everyone knows that Raisa is Arnath, but not that she is a Learned One, a part of an Arnath group educated in higher order symbols. In Qilara, this language is so fiercely protected that only the King, the Prince, and Tutors are allowed to know it. So when the current Tutor-in-training is executed for sharing the guarded language with slaves and Raisa is chosen to replace her, Raisa knows that, although she may have a privileged position among slaves, any slipup could mean death.

That would be challenging enough, but training alongside Prince Mati could be her real undoing. And when a romance blossoms between them, she’s suddenly filled with a dangerous hope for something she never before thought possible: more. Then she’s approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slaves—to help liberate the Arnath people. Joining the Resistance could mean freeing her people…but she’d also be aiding in the war against her beloved, an honorable man she knows wants to help the slaves.

Working against the one she loves—and a palace full of deadly political renegades—has some heady consequences. As Raisa struggles with what’s right, she unwittingly uncovers a secret that the Qilarites have long since buried…one that, unlocked, could bring the current world order to its knees.

And Raisa is the one holding the key.
 

Review:

description

This novel was the definition of the word struggle. I wanted to like this book so much because the synopsis sounded unique and the perfect way to start off 2016. It was on my TBR list for awhile, and I wanted to read it as soon as I was able! Unfortunately, this novel fell flat in more than one way, and I basically forced myself to finish reading because I kept hoping it would get better. I was actually tempted to DNF it, but I figured I was 50% through it, and I might as well stick it out until the end. 

description

The biggest problem with this book was the fact that is was boring. Literally the first half of this novel is copying down symbols (which is Raisa's way of learning the language that all Tutors learn) and her lamenting on her crush (and then future love) Prince Mati. This would have been fine if their relationship was interesting in any way. But it wasn't. It was as dry as the rest of the novel, and just blah. I never believed their romance, and honestly half the time it didn't even seem like they knew each other enough to be declaring such strong feelings. It doesn't help that Raisa basically falls all over herself every time Mati does anything. Mati talks to her...swoon. Mati blinks...Raisa falls even more in love with his beautiful eyes. I'm all for romance in my books, but it needs to be balanced with something else in the story, or just be interesting in general. And in this novel, the romance was neither of those things. There was no buildup, there was no tension (and even when there should have been, I didn't feel it one bit). Add to this that once Mati and Raisa do get together--which, mind you, is after the first couple of chapters--the books constantly repeats the same scene over and over again. Yes, there is different words written, but it is virtually the same exact scene. 

description

My other major problem with this novel was Raisa's character in general. I never actually liked her while I was reading this book, and as time went on, I found her more and more annoying. Half the time I wanted to knock some sense into her, and then the other half I felt literally nothing. She constantly made decisions that she knew were bad ideas, and then was surprised when things didn't turn out okay. I mean really Raisa? What did you expect to happen girl?? But the biggest flaw with her character is how utterly forgettable and mundane she is. There is no specific quality that makes her stand out. And I'm just going to leave it at that.

The last major problem I had with this book was the plot. After I was finished reading the story, I looked back and realized that there was virtually no plot to this book...or at least not one that was interesting enough to become invested in. I read this book over a week ago now, and I can only remember bits and pieces of what this story was about. I decided that I need to wait a bit to review the book because I literally had no idea what I wanted to say originally, and the fact that virtually nothing from this story has stuck with me, shows just how unimpressive this book was in the end. The pacing was much too slow, and while the ending was okay, it was a bit rushed.

description

Ultimately, I can't say I would recommend this book. What I thought was going to be an action-packed new fantasy novel, was nothing more than romance with tedious scenes on writing symbols. This novel may appeal to other readers who know going into reading exactly what to expect. But for me, this just wasn't me cup of tea. On to the next book!

                                                              

Happy reading :)


~Cassie

Thursday, April 21, 2016

ARC Review: Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows #3)

Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows #3)About the Book:
Title: Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows #3) 
Author: Ashley Townsend
Pub. Date: November 2015
Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing 
Pages: 350 Pages 
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy 
Rate: 5/5 Stars 


Synopsis:

One choice can define your future.
At first, Sarah’s return to twelfth century Serimone is as wonderful as she could have hoped—reconnecting with Will and celebrating the union of her two friends—but things quickly fall to pieces when she uncovers something that could unsettle the new regime. Before she can share this information, Sarah is forcibly whisked away by the one man she thought she’d never see again: Damien Lisandro, the friend who betrayed her and the traitor who was supposed to spend his life behind bars. Even more unsettling is the revelation that the mystery they had solved is far from over as a dead man comes back to life with the intent of corrupting the future.
In Will's desperate attempts to find Sarah, he uncovers the mystery that she left behind, putting into question the kingdom’s past and the motives of its current king. But the madman whose mission it is to change history will stop at nothing until he succeeds, and a team of ragtag time travelers are the only ones left who can stop him.
As this exciting chapter of her life nears its end, Sarah must finally choose between Serimone and her world--between the easy choice and the right one. 

Review:

I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Ashley for letting me be a beta-reader for the last book in the Rising Shadows series!! This was the first time I ever was a beta-reader and it was the most amazing experience! To have an author such as Ashley truly listen to her fans and take their opinions and thoughts into consideration was so nice and sweet. Anyway moving on with the review...

description

The last book in the Rising Shadows was simply amazing! I experienced a whirlwind of emotions while reading, from laughing hysterically to fangirling to gross sobbing. Yeah it wasn't always pretty. But Ashley Townsend has created yet another fantastic addition to this series, and while it is incredibly sad to have this be the end of the series, I am so happy with how everything turned out. I seriously don't know how there can be no more Sarah, Will, or Damien in my life, but that's what re-reading is for!! Ashley showed tremendous growth as an author in this novel, and even though this was an early copy of this book, it is clear how truly gifted she is as an author. 


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One of the best parts of this book (and series in general) is the characters. Every single character has a special place in my heart, and has grown so much since the first book. Sarah is such a remarkable character. She is brave, strong, and never once loses her faith....even when times get extremely difficult. I did like that Sarah's strong faith played more of a role in this novel as opposed to the last novel. However, Ashley found a nice balance between Sarah's faith and the fantasy elements of the story. Sarah's faith is seamlessly woven into the story, and it just fits. It is never forced on the reader. It is simply a part of who Sarah is, and it's a part that you love about her. Moreover, Sarah truly steps up by fighting for what is right and just. She doesn't back down from those that are threats. Lastly, she was extremely realistic, and that is what made me connect with her even more. 

Will is just AMAZING! I have loved him from the very second he graced the pages of the Rising Shadows series, and that love has only grown. This was me every time Will was in this book...


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He goes through countless changes in this book, one of which is finally finding peace. I don't want to spoil anything as to how he comes to his revelation, but it is a major turning point in the story! Damien was so swoon-worthy in this book, and there were a couple times he made me melt into a pile of mush. Don't get me wrong, I still hardcore ship Will and Sarah, but Damien will always be my brooding "hero." Just like Will, he goes through many changes. And while I was suspecting all along what Damien's fate would be, I was still gutted. There is a certain scene towards the end that is so beautifully written and touching before something terrible happens, and it left me sobbing and looking like this...


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Another wonderful aspect of this novel was the plot and the setting. Ashley has crafted such a wondrous story and world that I never want to leave. In this book though, we get to experience not only the past, but the present and the future. These made for some thrilling moments, and I was so excited to see how every little action from beginning to end made an impact on the final outcome of the story. While this book was a little bit slower than the previous two, it allowed for a slow burn until a heart-stopping ending. The entire epilogue of this book was utterly breathtaking. Beautifully written and the perfect way to end a series, this epilogue made all of the sad events worthwhile. I will say that it did leave me crying a bit, but everything is wrapped up nicely and all questions are answered.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel if you are a fan of the Rising Shadows series, and if you haven't started the series yet...what are you waiting for?! Prepare for an epic thrill ride that will leave you guessing until the end. There are betrayals waiting around every corner, surprising twists and turns, and a romance for the ages. This book has it all and I can't wait to check out more from Ashley!!


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Happy reading :)


~Cassie

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #44

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: 

Whatever. : Suzanne Cudd Goslee 
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016


Synopsis: 

Hilarity ensues when a slacker teen boy discovers he's gay, in this unforgettably funny YA debut.

Mike Tate is a normal dude. He and his friends have a crappy band (an excuse to drink cheap beer and rock out to the Lemonheads) and hang out in parking lots doing stupid board tricks. But when Mike's girlfriend Lisa, who knows him better than he does, breaks up with him, he realizes he's about to have a major epiphany that will blow his mind. And worse--he gets elected to homecoming court.

It's like the apocalypse came, only instead of nuclear bombs and zombies, Mike gets school participation, gay thoughts, and mother-effin' cheerleaders.

This book sounds like so much fun. I've never read anything but Suzanne Cudd Goslee, but I'm always excited to give new authors a try and I'm most definitely always up for a funny contemporary. 


Cassie's Waiting On: 

The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer #2) by Elizabeth May
Publication Date: June 7, 2016

Synopsis:

The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer, #2)Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the portal that she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes up in the fae world, trapped and tortured by the evil Lonnrach. With the help of an unexpected ally, Aileana re-enters the human world, only to find everything irrevocably changed. Edinburgh has been destroyed, and the few human survivors are living in an uneasy truce with the fae, while both worlds are in danger of disappearing altogether. Aileana holds the key to saving both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing that might be her life. 

I have been waiting for this novel for 3 years now (yes, the wait has been unbearable!) but it is worth every second because I know Elizabeth May will deliver another amazing adventure and sweep me off my feet once again.  I absolutely loved the first book in this series, and if you are into fantasy, you need to read this series!