Monday, October 31, 2016

Book Review: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You

The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is YouAbout the Book:
Title: The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You
Author: Lily Anderson
Pub. Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 352
Rating: 4.5/5 stars




Synopsis:
Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.

Review:

Holy nerdvana! This book was amazing on so many levels and I never wanted to stop reading it. This book is the perfect mix of teen angst, sweet romance, and a whole lot of nerdy references that will make any fangirl rejoice! With fantastically hilarious characters and an interesting plot, this story has it all and is a must read.

My favorite part of this novel was the characters. Yes, the plot and the setting were interesting, but honestly...what makes this book is the amazingly written characters. Ms. Anderson did the perfect job at capturing a nerdy (but totally awesome) teen girl trying to navigate the crazy world that is high school (and not just any high school, but a high school for geniuses competing for a spot in the top 10...well more like top 3). Trixie is going down as one of my all time favorite main female leads. She was sarcastic and hilarious, and just the perfect person to narrate this story. There's a lot to love about her character, and her banter with Ben is pure gold. It will leave you laughing out loud for several minutes, it's that good. And when Trixie and Ben realize they might not hate each other as much as they thought, well you can see where this goes, but I honestly didn't mind the predictability of it one bit! Every single one of these characters is likable and the type of people you want to have as your best friend. Ms. Anderson did a wonderful job at making each character unique and quirky, and everyone will be able to relate to these characters in some way or the other (I know I certainly did!). 

There is some seriousness to this book though, and again, I thought Ms. Anderson captured the dynamic that is high school perfectly. Relationships are tossed through the wringer and not everyone will come out the same. I did love though how they all banded together to fight for the truth to be heard. Just goes to show that when nerds unite, the "powers that be" can be brought down! 

With so many nerdy references, there's a lot to love in this book. If you like anything nerdy (SuperWhoLock, Marvel, Buffy, the list goes on), you'll adore this novel. This is a great story that showcases strong friendships, witty banter, and unique characters. You definitely want this book on your TBR as soon as possible!
Happy reading :)

~Cassie

ARC Review: The Sun is Also a Star

About The Book:

  Title: The Sun is Also a Star 
  Author: Nicola Yoon 
  Pub. Date: November 1st, 2016 
  Publisher: Delacorte Press 
  Pages: 384 
  Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance 
  Rate: 2.5/5 stars 




Synopsis :

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Review:

I hope I don't get much backlash from people with this. I know that this has been a highly popular book since probably the first announcement. The ratings on Goodreads are even fabulous for it. However, I just didn't love it as much as I was hoping to. I didn't think anything was too terrible about it, I honestly just think it was a personal preference kind of thing on my end.

I think I'm going to start out this review by saying that I think The Sun is Also a Star was well written. In fact, my favorite thing about this book was the alternating chapters between Natasha, Daniel, the people they meet throughout the book and the inanimate objects that affect them throughout their time together. I thought it was really unique and it added a lot to the emotional impact it gives readers. I also especially enjoyed learning about the Rastafari religion and other things that influence Jamaican and Korean history as well as what immigrants go through.

So why didn't I love The Sun is Also a Star? Well, I was able to put it down so many times. I didn't have that compelling feeling towards it that I feel towards so many books that I give 5 stars or even 4 (I'm sure you know the feeling that I'm talking about). I think I felt this way because while the deportation aspect definitely added a dramatic and intense spin on the romance, I felt like I've read the excursion through NYC to fall in love before. I'm not saying I didn't like the story about the deportation, because I enjoyed learning about that process. But personally, I didn't buy into the romance. Also I think the author clearly pushed the issue of fate a little too far with that ending, like wow.

“Observable Fact: I don't believe in magic.
Observable Fact: We are magic."

Is it just that I'm losing interest in this genre of books? It might very well be. But I can't change my feelings about that. I just know for next time that I won't reach for that genre first. I haven't enjoyed a YA contemporary that wasn't about mental health or some kind of heavy topic in a very long time. That isn't to say that you won't because I know a lot of people that are enjoying this book. If you read it, I'd love to hear your perspective or why you're excited to read it!


- Jocelyn

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Review: The Fairest Poison

The Fairest PoisonAbout the Book:
Title: The Fairest Poison
Author: Lauren Skidmore
Pub. Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Pages: 256
Rating: 4/5 stars




Synopsis:

Princess Bianca returns to her court to find it poisoned from the inside out. Faced with mysterious sicknesses, power disputes, and whispers of impending death, Bianca turns to an unlikely ally--a former assassin--to find the antidote that will save her kingdom. But Bianca quickly realizes that she might not even be able to save her own life in this Snow White story.

Review:

I have had a great love for the What Is series since it first debuted, and while this book wasn't my favorite, it was still a great addition to the series. Although there was a departure with the title in regards to following the "What Is" theme, just like the others in this series, The Fairest Poison can be read as a standalone. It technically is a continuation of the story in some aspects, and I would highly recommend checking out the first 2 novels in this series because it makes this amazing world come alive so much more. However, you don't need to read them in order to understand what is going on in the story. 

This book follows Princess Bianca. She was mentioned more in passing in the first novel, and did have a role in the second installment. However, this book is entirely her story. I did like getting to know her more, but I never felt that connection that I did with her character as I did with Evie (from the first book) or Joch and Kit (from the second book). Nevertheless, I did enjoy her fiery nature and adventurous spirit. I would like to see more from her in future books. I'll be completely honest, I think the main reason that I didn't feel that connection to Bianca's character was entirely due to the length of this novel. With the story only being 256 pages (and the print being HUGE), this was a very quick read. Because of this, the story read more like a novella to me, setting up Bianca's story for a future novel. I do wish that I could have spent more time getting to know Bianca because she was a well-developed character whose POV I enjoyed reading from, so that is why I'm hoping we see her in future books. Joch is also back, and better than ever! I love him so much, and especially after the last book, I am glad with the direction his character took. Evie makes a couple of appearances as well, but I wish she was in the story more!! I really miss her, and I hope she will be more present in the future.

Another thing that let me down slightly was the fact that there wasn't much of a Snow White feel to the story (there are some exceptions to this though). The parts where the Snow White aspect came into play were amazing, and I loved the twists Lauren Skidmore took to weave in this fairytale that we all know and love. But, the fairy tale wasn't incorporated as much as the previous two books (each with their own fairy tale inspiration). Because I was expecting this to be the same, I think I was a left a little disappointed since I was expecting a bit more. Yet, there were definite elements of Snow White, and these were very enjoyable elements to the story. There really wasn't much action either (especially when compared to the previous novels). However, this lack of action didn't really affect the story for me because it would have been out of place with the plot. It is still something to keep in mind though as you read this third book if you are a fan of this series.

Overall, I do think this is worth checking out if you're a fan of the series. I would highly recommend reading the other books before reading this novel just because you get so much more out of the book than if you read it as a standalone. You understand this beautiful world of castles and royals, murder and chaos, that Lauren Skidmore has created. You easily get swept away by her rich writing style and even richer characters. I truly hope there are more books in this series, just because I would like to see more from the characters that now have a special place in my heart, as well as seeing what fairy tale Ms. Skidmore decides to use for inspiration next! However, if this would be the last book, the ending was definitely a good one and will satisfy any reader. It didn't end on a cliffhanger and everything was wrapped up nicely. Definitely check this series out when you get a chance!


Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #70

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: 

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst 
Publication Date: November 22nd, 2016 


Synopsis: 

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Is this an LGBT fantasy? Sign me up! How often do you see books like these? I feel like I can't even think of any - most LGBT characters in fantasy novels are always side characters so they usually end up taking the backseat to the action. I hope that this book paves the path for new YA fantasy heroines! 


Cassie's Waiting On: 

Teach Me to Forget by Erica M. Chapman
Publication Date: December 2, 2016

Synopsis:


Teach Me to ForgetEllery's bought the gun, made arrangements for her funeral, and even picked the day. A Wednesday. Everything has fallen into place.

Now all she has to do is die.

When her plans go awry and the gun she was going to kill herself with breaks, she does the one thing she has control over--return it and get a new one. After tormenting the crusty customer service associate by trying to return the gun with the wrong receipt, Ellery gets caught by the security guard who also happens to be someone she knows--the annoyingly perfect Colter Sawyer from her English class.

Colter quickly uncovers what she's hiding and is determined to change her mind. After confessing a closely held secret of his own, he promises not to tell hers. Ellery tries to fight her attraction to him as the shadows of her past cling tight around her, but when she's faced with another tragedy, she must decide whether her love for one boy is more important than a lifetime of pain.


While this isn't my typical type of book, I'm willing to give it a shot. I've heard amazing things about this book already, so I'm hoping that it delivers and really packs a punch.  It already seems like it will be an emotional read, so I have a feeling I might need a box of tissues near me while I read this one!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Blog Tour: Midnight Hour

Novels and Necklaces is extremely excited to participate in the tour for Midnight Hour, the brand new book in the Shadow Falls series!  Today we have an excerpt and then also my review for this amazing book.  I'm so happy to be able to share this with you all today, and remember to enter the sweepstakes found through the link at the end of the post!

Midnight Hour (Shadow Falls)About the Book:
Title: Midnight Hour (Shadow Falls: After Dark #4)
Author: C.C. Hunter
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 416 
Rating: 4.5/5 stars




Synopsis:

After captivating millions across the globe, the Shadow Falls saga reaches its final—and most unforgettable—chapter yet! Prepare to fall in love all over again...

Being a dyslexic witch is a curse in itself, but Miranda Kane’s time at Shadow Falls has helped her harness her magical powers. Now, just as she’s finally mastered them and is preparing to graduate with her friends, a near-death experience threatens to ruin it all.

Miranda awakens in the hospital with a mysterious tattoo that no one can explain. As she struggles to make sense of it – and questions her feelings for a certain irresistible shape-shifter and a hot new guy – the strange markings begin to spread all over her body, leaving her desperate to find answers. But before she can solve that problem, a new one arises: her sister is missing.

Has her sister been kidnapped? Miranda will risk her life to find out. Will she live to share the day she’s worked so hard for with her friends? When the clock strikes midnight, will Miranda make it to her graduation at Shadow Falls?

C.C. Hunter brings The Shadow Falls saga to a spectacular conclusion in this thrilling finale: Midnight Hour!

Excerpt:

Just because you think you might be in love with someone doesn’t mean you can’t admire another’s derri√®re.
When you lose your sister, you lose a part of yourself.
Love can make you do crazy things—like go on the lam with a guy wanted by the FRU.
Sometimes doing the right thing can hurt, but it’s still right.
If you can be anything, sometimes the hardest thing to be—is yourself.
Who knew that becoming a pink polka dotted elephant could save people you love?
Crawling under a dark, damp house with spiders and rodents is unpleasant, even when you’re a snake.
Being stuck between two guys is like being the white filling of an Oreo. And when you pull it apart, you’ll stick to only one wafer.
Some families have the occasional skeleton in the closet, other families have a warehouse full.
Sometimes the truth is sharp and jagged and can cut you.
Belief in yourself not only changes how you see yourself, but also how others see you.
Change can be both exhilarating and scare the crap out of you—all at the same time.
Some of us are born fighters and others need a little training.
Breaking up is hard to do!
There is a girlfriend code of ethics that shouldn’t be broken.
Parents makes mistakes, some of them are forgivable.  Others should have never become parents to start with.
Sometimes when someone says they are there to help you, it’s hard to believe—especially if it’s an armadillo.
Becoming who you need to be is sometimes more about accepting who you are.
Our decisions, the paths we think we should take are often paths that our parents guided us to follow.  Sometimes we need to stop and listen to our own hearts to know which road to take.
Sometimes the irritating tension between two people can end up to be a different kind of tension--one that involves the heart.
Sometimes the hardest thing to forgive someone is when someone you love puts themselves in a dangerous situation.  But sometimes when we do put ourselves in danger, we’re doing to save the same person who will likely never forgive us.
Even in the supernatural world, men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  We will never quite see things the same way, but it’s a lot of fun trying.
No matter terrible or horrific things stem from family linage, you don’t have to follow that path.  The sins of our fathers are not our sins to bear.  Our destinies are our own.
 There is almost nothing that can’t be solved at a round-table-diet-coke discussion.
Graduation means saying goodbye.  Graduation means leaving pieces and parts of our past behind.  But it is a passage that we must take in one of the first steps into adulthood. 

Review:

I'm so sad to see this series finally come to an end, but what a way to go! Ms. Hunter delivered an amazing finale that will satisfy all fans of the series. This book is entirely from Miranda's perspective, and I loved every single second of it. Don't get me wrong, I loved Kylie's and Della's POV, but I've been waiting for Miranda to have a chance to shine and for us to get to know her better. Ms. Hunter balanced humor, romance, and suspense perfectly, and gave readers a fantastic story that you'll never want to stop reading. 

Ms. Hunter has such a wonderful way of writing that instantly sweeps you away and back into the Shadow Falls world...it's like being home, and that's an amazing feeling as a reader. I honestly would read as many books as Ms. Hunter is willing to write about the adventures of Kylie, Della, and Miranda. These characters have such a special place in my heart, and they're friendship reminds me of my friends and I. Kylie, Della, and Miranda are crazy, goofy, and care for each other so much. Even though this book primarily focuses on Miranda and the struggles she endures with her witchy powers, Kylie and Della (and all our favorite boys) are back too and help her through things. This book has a lot of action and suspense, and made for the perfect October read!

Miranda has always been a likable character for me...from the minute I met her I loved her and wanted to know more. She always had me cracking up in the other books, and I was praying she would get her own full length novel. Midnight Hour shows a different side to Miranda that we haven't gotten to see in other books--from the true struggles she faces with her powers, along with being dyslexic and trying to pass the SATs to get into college, to trying to figure out her heart and which boy she truly loves. I honestly just wanted to give her a gigantic hug and some ice cream so many times in this novel to help her through things. But Kylie and Della are there for her and help her find herself and realize her true potential. The friendship between these girls is one of the most enjoyable parts of this book (and there's so much to love). But they come together and are always there for each other when it's important. It's exactly what a friendship should be! The bond the girls have just makes your heart all warm and fuzzy, and puts a huge smile on your face. I'm the biggest Miranda and Perry shipper, and I loved every single scene with them together. They're just so perfect for each other and have an adorable banter that makes every scene their together that much more enjoyable. Yes, there is a love triangle between Perry, Shawn, and Miranda, but Ms. Hunter wrote it perfectly, and at the end of the day, Miranda ended up with the person she was meant to (and trust me...you'll be happy with who she ends up with!!).

I would love to see more from all of these characters, either Miranda, Kylie, and Della's crazy adventures (and you know they'll be crazy) in college, or even another spin-off series focusing on Burnett and Holiday (a girl can dream can't she?!). This is a bittersweet ending...one I'm happy that Ms. Hunter provided for fans. I highly recommend checking out this series if you're looking for a fun adventure with strong female friendships and a some sweet romance thrown in. And if your a long time fan, well what are you waiting for....go get this book now!


And last but not least, here's the link to the sweepstakes from St. Martin's Press!  

http://us.macmillan.com/smp/
promo/midnighthoursweepstakes

Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Book Review: The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn #2)

The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn, #2)About the Book:
Title: The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn #2)
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Pub. Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 416
Rating: 4.5/5 stars





Synopsis:
The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

Review:

"Your future is not set in stone, my dearest star. A coin turns on itself a number of times before it lands.” 

This was the most amazing sequel to an even more amazingly magical series. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending to this duology, and Renee Ahdieh is definitely an author that should go on everyone's TBR list immediately. Her writing is absolutely brilliant and every line in this book is so beautifully written. There is something about this world that Ms. Ahdieh has created that never makes me want to leave, and honestly I could have re-read this book as soon as I finished. The Rose & the Dagger has a much different feel than the previous installment, as it does not focus so much on romance. However, don't worry, because that romance, while still very present, is not as necessary when compared to everything else that goes on in this story. There is so much to love about this novel, and if you haven't checked this out yet, you need to now!

“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.” 

Renee Ahdieh has this way of writing that just evokes so much emotion from both the reader and the characters alike. As soon as you start reading this novel, you are instantly transported back into Shahrzad and Khalid's world, and you never want to stop reading. You want to devour every single word of this book because you know it will be utterly amazing. While the romance does take a bit of a backseat, there are plenty of action-packed scenes that will more than appease readers. But don't you worry, because there are still plenty of swoonworthy moments that will leave you breathless. Their relationship has matured a great deal in the short time since the events of the last book, and because of this, it is much less angsty and fragile, and much more solid and unwavering. The lengths they will go to for each other prove just how dedicated they are to their love. But there is a curse to break and a kingdom that must be saved, and in order to do so lives must be lost and sacrifices must be made.

“Sometimes," he gasped, "the family you choose...is stronger than blood.” 

There are a lot of twists and turns that I never saw coming in this story. Packed with betrayals and shocking surprises, Renee Ahdieh keeps you on the very edge of your seat until the very end. I can honestly say that I wasn't sure how everything was going to turn out. The fantasy elements that were mentioned in the first novel are expanded upon much more, and it made for many exciting moments. Shazi learns more about the powers she has, and we learn more about Khalid's curse. Ms. Ahdieh packs a lot of information into the story, however it never feels overwhelming. The pacing of this story is perfect, and everything that is revealed comes at a natural time in the story.

“The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.” 

Friendships are tested and not everyone is who they appear to be. With betrayals around every corner, even the reader has no idea who to trust. The one character that I was excited to see in this story was Shazi's sister, Irsa. She is very different from her sister, and this difference provided a nice dynamic between the sisters. I loved reading how they interacted with each other, and each provided a nice balance to the other. But the thing that truly made her stand out was how she overcame her hesitations and fears to become a strong woman in her own right, and very much like her sister. We all know how strong Shazi is on her own, but it was nice to see the inspiration she was to Irsa. Together, the sisters possess a strong bond that allows both of them to empower each other. 

“If you ask me, the best way to go about flying is to cut the strings tying you down." 

The ending of this novel was even more amazing than the rest of this book. There was definitely a heart-stopping (and jaw-dropping) moment, and I was close to tears. But trust me when I say that the ending that Ms. Ahdieh delivers is worth every second of that worry over how everything will turn out. The best part of this story (and this duology in general) is the strong female characters that while flawed, are complex and characters that girls everywhere can look up to. 

“It was easy to be good and kind in times of plenty. The trying times were the moments that defined a man.
And love? Love was something that did much to change a person. It brought joy as it brought suffering, and in turn brought about those moments that defined one’s character. Love gave life to the lifeless. It was the greatest of all living powers.
But, as with all things, love had a dark side to it.” 

Renee Ahdieh has cemented her place as an author that is here to stay. I think it's easy to say that she had a lot to live up to given the popularity of the first novel, and she has proven that she can deliver, and will deliver in the best way possible. Was this as amazing as the first story, in my opinion no, however this came very, very close to being just as amazing as the first. I will say that I am happy that this is only a duology as this was the perfect way to end the series. The story wasn't dragged out and it was just enough. There is a power in knowing when a story has been told, and Renee Ahdieh knew exactly what she was doing, which shows even more how amazing an author she is. This is an absolutely beautiful, empowering novel that weaves magic, love, and action into a perfect tale for all ages. Go read this now!


Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #69

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 Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon 
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016 


Synopsis: 

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Everything, Everything was such a cute short read so I can't wait to see what Nicola has crafted in The Sun is Also a Star. This one seems a tad bit longer so I hope that just means even more plot and romance for us! 


Cassie's Waiting On: 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: November 8, 2016

Synopsis:


HeartlessLong before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
 


I'm a huge fan of anything dealing with Alice and Wonderland so it's exciting to be able to read a different take on the backstory of the Queen of Hearts.  I'm really excited to check out this new read from Marissa Meyer as I've heard great things about her other novels!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: Emerge (Mer Chronicles Book 1)

EmergeAbout the Book:
Title: Emerge (Mer Chronicles Book 1)
Author: Tobie Easton
Pub. Date: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Month9Book, LLC
Pages: 300
Rating: 3/5 stars





Synopsis:
Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid but she’s never lived in the ocean. War has ravaged the seven seas ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality. Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he’s gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there’s a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia's entire community at risk. 

So it’s for the best that he’s dating that new girl, right? That is, until Lia finds out she isn't the only one at school keeping a potentially deadly secret. And this new girl? Her eyes are dead set on Clay, who doesn't realize the danger he's in. If Lia hopes to save him, she’ll have to get closer to Clay. Lia’s parents would totally flip if they found out she was falling for a human boy, but the more time she spends with him, the harder it is for her to deny her feelings. After making a horrible mistake, Lia will risk everything to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.

Review:

This book is a little difficult to review because I'm honestly not sure how I feel about it. It definitely didn't live up to my expectations (or the pretty cover), but it wasn't a bad book at all. It was a cute, short mermaid story that will appeal to a lot of YA readers. However, it is kind of hard to tell you exactly what I didn't like about this book (which is also why I debated on whether or not I wanted to review this story at all). 

Tobie Easton created a unique world and I liked the approach she took with the story. The plot offers a creative spin on the Little Mermaid tale and had likable characters. However, these two things are also where I had a little bit of a problem. You are thrown into this magical and exciting world with very little backstory. The writing was a little too excitable at times (if you read this novel, you'll see what I mean), but overall was very well done. By this I mean that Tobie Easton seamlessly incorporated the "mermaid" terms into the story and you really weren't confused. I really liked the idea of how mermaids "got their legs," and it was these little tid-bits that made the book really fun to read. There was always something new you were discovering throughout the novel. Unfortunately, these were spaced out and only small parts of the book. I just wish there was more backstory so that I could fully immerse myself in Lia's (our MC) world. Also, even though the characters were all teenagers, Lia sometimes came off sounding a little younger than her age. This in turn made the story feel geared toward a younger audience at times.

Lia was an interesting character, but I never truly connected with her. Perhaps it was because this was a short book, or maybe it was just how she spoke in parts of this book where she came off extremely immature. However, there were a lot of times (like her interactions with her cousin Amy) that made me love her character. She was extremely relatable and the absolute sweetest. You could tell that she wanted the best for her cousin (and her sisters). They were all very supportive of each other, and exactly what each other needed. I didn't completely buy the "romance" she had with Clay either. I actually felt that she had more of a connection with one of her best friends, Caspian, than with Clay. Nevertheless, I didn't mind the relationship that blossomed between Lia and Clay. I would be interested to see where their romance would go in a second book. 

Overall, this is a quick read that will appeal to fans of cute YA mermaid books. Is it the best I have ever read? No, but there is a lot of action and excitement towards the end of the book that makes it worth checking out. I'm not sure if I want to read the second book, but I guess I'll see what it's about and then consider giving it a shot. This series has a lot of potential, and Tobie Easton obviously has a gift with words. I will certainly be checking out more from her in the future! 



Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Blitz: Liberation Origins

Tour Graphic
It gives Novels & Necklaces great pleasure to announce the release of 
Liberation Origins by Wendy Lynn Clark
Indulge your craving in this super hot, thrilling, and fast-paced novel 
guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seats from cover to cover!

liberation-origins-coverAbout the Book:
Title: Liberation Origins (Robotics Faction - Origin Series #1)
Author: Wendy Lynn Clark
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis:
An empress who must marry for duty. A race pilot who breaks all the rules. Their forbidden passion could cost everything.
Emprezia is betrothed to one of the most powerful men in the Antiata conglomerate. Marrying him will bring her one step closer to the coveted Star Chamber seat -- and power over the deadly rivals threatening her family. Despite how close she is to securing their future, she can't deny the tug of her heart for the ones she had to leave behind.
Then she meets Kaolin.
As a no-name shuttle pilot and close friend of her fiancé, he should be off limits. But the passion he evokes with his steady dark gaze and skillful hands cannot be denied. When her rivals strike, Kaolin is the one who protects her. Now she has to make a choice.
Choosing Kaolin will destroy her family. But not choosing him will destroy her very soul.
Buy Liberation Origins and read the thrilling origin story today!
Warning: Strong heat and language for mature readers only!
Special Promotion
Liberation Origins is available at a special price of $0.99.

(Regular Price: $1.99)
This offer is valid until October 28, 2016 only.
Hurry! Get your copy today.
Amazon
Giveaway
Join the Liberation Origins giveaway contest!
Contest runs until Oct 21, 2016, 5:00pm PDT
You could be one of two lucky winners of
a $10 Gift Card, or
a signed paperback of Book One of the Liberation's Kiss series by Wendy Lynn Clark
giveaway-graphic-wendy-lynn-clark
About the Author:
wendy-lynn-clark-pic
Wendy Lynn Clark is from the vibrant green Pacific Northwest. She writes contemporary and science fiction romance with sexy heroes and undefeatable heroines, as well as sweeping epic fantasy and creative nonfiction. Her words are infused with wonders from her travels—teaching in Japan for three years, earning her MA in Brighton, and studying abroad in Greece. When she’s not hiking in the Cascade mountain range, she’s writing on her couch with a steaming cup of tea and her two snuggly calico cats.
Her books are a mix of soaring imagination, blockbuster action, and thrilling romance. They are recommended for anyone who enjoys a well-told story with a happy ending guaranteed.
For up to date promotions and release dates of upcoming books, sign up for the latest news at her website: www.wendylynnclark.com
-----
Visit the official Website of Wendy Lynn Clark:
http://www.wendylynnclark.com
Visit Wendy Lynn Clark's blog:
http://www.wendylynnclark.com/blog
Connect with Wendy Lynn Clark on social media:
Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Pinterest

In partnership with
Book Unleashed
~Cassie

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review: Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumAbout the Book:
Title: Tell Me Three Things
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Pub. Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 336 
Rating: 4.5/5 stars




Synopsis:
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

Review:

I'm going to write this review a bit differently than I normally do, by telling you three things:

1. I am definitely reading more from Julie Buxbaum in the future.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I truly enjoyed this novel. There was so much to love about it, and while the underlying story wasn't revolutionary, I loved the unique way Julie Buxbaum navigated the topic of high school and feeling out of place. There was just something special about her writing style, as well as the characters she created. You will easily fall in love with the story and the characters, especially Jessie (our MC). I never got tired of reading this book, in fact, I actually didn't want to stop reading it! Julie Buxbaum managed to tell a story that was filled with sadness and depth, mixed with humor and fun. Yes, I figured out who S.N. was pretty early on (as I suspect most other readers will too), but this certainly didn't detract from the story in any way. In fact, it keeps you reading because you want to see how Jessie and S.N.'s story unfolds.

2. This book is incredibly real and raw, and that's the reason I loved it so much.

“Just because you're strong doesn't mean you shouldn't ask for help sometimes. Remember that.”

Tell Me Three Things leaves you with a whole bunch of emotions all at once. The story instantly transports you back to when you were 16 and in high school (if you're an older reader like myself that is). And honestly, Julie Buxbaum just gets it. She captures exactly how it feels to be on the outside looking in, when you have multiple fears of not only the future but just how you're going to survive in this world where it seems like no one wants to be your friend. She captures just what it means when you hesitate being yourself because your insecure about who you are and you're not quite sure of anything or anyone. 

“He's more like me, I think: burdened with the realization that what goes on his mind is somehow different from what goes on everyone else's. Even those close to us. And how you can't think about that for too long, because that thought- the truth of your own isolation- is too much to bear.” 

Countless readers will be able to relate to Jessie because she is you and me and pretty much everyone trying to navigate the crazy world that is high school. Ultimately, Julie Buxbaum created very human characters that show what it means to be a teenager today. It also makes you wonder what if you had someone like S.N. to help you out during your experience. Would things have been different? I wish I had this book when I was 16 because this book would have probably been my lifeline in many ways. But the one excellent thing about this novel is that it reminds all of us to sometimes just let it all go, and let things happen the way they are supposed to. Trust the journey because you never know who might reach out and come into your life. 

3. You need to read this book now!

I high recommend adding this book to your TBR right away, and the reading it as soon as possible. There is so much to love about this book and I think everyone will have a different experience while reading. Some might not like it, but if you're like me, you'll find something to take away from Jessie's character. It was a quick-read that will appeal to many contemporary fans. This is a story of love, friendship, and finding yourself. But it is also a story of acceptance.
Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Book Blitz: Embracing the Knight

Embracing the Knight Tour Graphic
Novels & Necklaces is delighted to take part in celebrating the release day of
EMBRACING THE KNIGHT by Jenn Langston!
This witty, charming historical romance is sure to capture your heart.

Embracing the Knight Cover
About Embracing the Knight
Series: Touched by Fire, Book 1
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Add to Goodreads
Miss Claire Ashford knows exactly what she wants out of life — to marry for love. When she finds herself alone in the woods with none other than notorious rake Ian Michael Caldwell, Viscount Knightly, her chances of a proper match are ruined. He is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of her reputation, but she is determined not to marry anyone out of obligation.
For years, Ian has wanted nothing more than to, one day, marry Miss Claire Ashford. When fate forces them into a compromising situation, he vows to do just that. In spite of every effort, she refuses his suit. Not one to easily give up, Ian drafts assistance from an unlikely source.
As her first season continues, Claire finds it increasingly difficult to keep her distance from Ian. His charm, and ability to stir feelings inside of her she didn’t know existed, makes it hard to remember why she refused him in the first place. With his relentless pursuit and her weakening resolve, she desperately wants to give in to him. However, after seeing he hasn’t changed his rakish ways, how can she trust him not to break her heart, again?
Read an Excerpt from Embracing the Knight
Claire stared at Ian’s backside and tried hard to keep her thoughts pure. For almost a full day now, she’d been awarded with the view, and combined with the man himself, her resolve wavered. Each hour it became increasingly difficult to remember why she disliked him.
Although their situation was miserable, Ian had kept the tone light. He made her remember all those good times they had shared as children. Back then, and most of the time, her brother had balked at having his younger sister tag along, but Ian had always been sweet. Then, he grew up.
“Ian, it’s hot. If we don’t stop soon, I will fall over.”
“As you wish. Here is as good a spot as any.”
Gratefully, she slid down, using a tree to balance her until making contact with the ground. She wanted to laugh at the change in herself. Not long ago, the idea of dirtying her skirts would have bothered her. Today, however, the cool dirt felt wonderful against her legs.
Ian followed suit across from her, bringing the bag he’d fashioned from her petticoat and laying it between them. After being deprived of food for so long, the idea of having another pear had her mouth watering.
“I don’t recall pears ever tasting so good.” She closed her eyes and sighed as she took a bite, savoring the juice on her tongue.
“I see.”
When she opened her eyes, she noticed Ian looking at her mouth strangely. He made no move to collect a pear for himself. Heat flooded her cheeks. Clearly, she had done something wrong.
“Don’t you agree?”
He grabbed a pear and turned to stare in the opposite direction. “Yes. They are delicious.”
Silence filled the space between them as they finished their fruit. She moved her aching legs, although making sure to keep them covered by her skirt. This trek was exhausting, and she wasn’t sure how much more she could take.
“How much longer do you suspect before we reach London?” She rubbed her aching neck thinking about how nice it would be to sleep in a bed.
“It’s hard to say. Anxious to get back to Lord Higgins?”
She snorted, uncaring how unladylike she sounded. “The only thing I could possibly miss about him is his dancing. That man sure knows the intricacies of the waltz.”
“The waltz? Surely he can’t be better than me.”
The cocky grin he shot her made her smile as she shook her head. Ian’s charm seemed to come as natural to him as breathing. Her lips tightened as the merriment wore away. She’d never seen a woman who wasn’t susceptible to him.
“Considering we’ve never danced, I’m not a good judge.”
He climbed to his feet and held out his hand, a sparkle in his eyes. “Dance with me.”
“Here? Don’t be ridiculous.”
The idea of dancing with Ian, here, in the middle of the forest did strange things to her stomach. It seemed too intimate. Considering their current circumstances, and their sleeping arrangements, they didn’t need any more intimacy between them.
Ian crossed his arms. “Afraid you can’t keep up without the music? Don’t worry. I can lead the most inept of partners.”
Refusing to be baited, she narrowed her eyes as she gently wrapped the pears back up.
“I have no desire to waste my energy on ridiculous pursuits.” She got to her feet, slinging the pears over her shoulder. “I suppose we should continue on.”
“Very well, but one day, you will dance with me.”
She huffed.
His long sigh betrayed his disappointment. He took the bag from her and began their trek. Narrowing her eyes on his back, she tried to figure him out. Considering what they were facing at the moment, she couldn’t understand his mood. Why did he work so hard to keep her entertained?
“You can stop,” she said. “After all, it isn’t necessary.”
Ian spun around to face her, confusion marring his brow. “What are you talking about?”
“Charming me,” she explained, unable to keep the exasperation out of her voice.
“Charming you?”
“Yes. It will get you nowhere, and there is no time for it.”
As if to emphasize her words, she took off, walking past him in the direction he’d been taking. The constant walking, the heat, and his positive attitude were weighing her down.
He hurried until he was beside her. “Does that mean it is working?”
“Yes. I mean no . . . it’s just irritating.”
His warm fingers on her arm stopped her, and allowed him to turn her to face him. Gone was the playfulness he usually sported. His eyes were dark, his expression serious. She sucked in her breath, unable to take his intensity.
“When did this happen? When did you start hating me?”
She swallowed repeatedly, trying to dislodge the lump in her throat. Telling him the truth was impossible, for she never wanted him to know. The very thought of that day brought a flush to her cheeks. However, she couldn’t stand the pain in his eyes.
“I don’t hate you,” she replied, knowing it to be the truth. No matter how hard she had tried, she couldn’t bring her heart to truly dislike him.
His gaze dropped to her mouth, and her lips parted. Would he kiss her now? She always imagined her first kiss would be with Ian. Desperate to experience the feel of his lips on hers, she leaned forward.
The sound of a bird crowing in a nearby tree startled her enough to clear the fog from her thoughts. She snapped back from him. Taking a deep breath, she turned away, knowing he didn’t want to kiss her, specifically. She was simply the only available woman present.
“Claire.” His voice was barely above a whisper.
She felt his hands on her shoulders, but she shrugged him off. Right now, she couldn’t face him. If she did, she’d be too tempted to allow him to use her as he’d done to so many other women.
“I think we should keep moving.”
“Of course,” he agreed, regret echoing in his voice.
As he moved in front of her to lead the way, guilt swamped her. The feeling she’d made a huge mistake overwhelmed her. But, that couldn’t be true. No good would come from kissing Ian. So why couldn’t she shake the feeling? Why did depression have to settle on her shoulders?
Get your copy of Embracing the Knight today! Available at:
Amazon
Giveaway
Join the Embracing the Knight giveaway contest from Oct 12 - 14, 2016!
You could be one of two lucky winners of
His Perfect Bride (eBook) by Jenn Langston
Giveaway Graphic
---------------
About Jenn Langston
Jenn Langston PicJenn Langston is a writer and a lover of historical romances. She developed her love of reading romance novels at a very young age. What began as the simple joy of reading developed into a passion to write.
She lives in the beloved state of Texas where she was born and raised. With her husband, three beautiful children, a dog, three cats, and a ball python. She has a full house. There is never a dull moment, but always time to read and write.
Visit the official Jenn Langston website at http://www.jennlangston.com
Connect with Jenn Langston on Social Media Facebook | Twitter

In partnership with
Book Unleashed