Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top 15 Books of 2016

Another year has gone by, and I just want to send a huge thank you out to all of our amazing followers! You guys rock, and I appreciate all of your love and support! We’ve grown quite a following over the past year, and if I could, I would give everyone a hug (albeit it would probably be super awkward because a random girl would be coming up to hug you, but that’s just how I roll ;)). Anyway, 2017 is already shaping up to be a GREAT year in reading. I’m super pumped and I’m sure you all are too!

So keeping in tradition, here’s my list of Top 15 Books of 2016. I was originally going to only do 10, but then I had some problems narrowing it down from 13 books. So easy solution, expand to 15 books (because there’s no way I’m doing a book list with 13 books…way too superstitious for those type of shenanigans).  It was still hard to only choose 15 books, but here it goes…

Cassie’s Top 15 Books of 2016

15. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Parts 1 & 2) by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8)

I (like everyone else) was super excited to finally have a new story in the Harry Potter world, and while it wasn’t everything I expected, I still enjoyed this a great deal! Just being back in the Harry Potter world and seeing these characters that we have grown up with was amazing. 

14. One Second (Seven Series #7) by Dannika Dark

One Second (Seven, #7)

The Seven series is seriously such an under-rated series (hint hint…go check it out), so I’m glad that I could include this one on my list this year.  This was an amazing finale, and I was incredibly sad to say goodbye to these characters.  Dannika Dark’s world is utterly fantastic and she has such a great talent. 

13. Night Study (Soulfinders #2) by Maria V. Snyder

Night Study (Soulfinders, #2)

I’ve been a huge fan of Maria Snyder ever since Poison Study first came out, and she has never ceased to impress me when she publishes a new book in the series.  With the last book coming out in January, I’m excited to see how she will bring Yelena and Valek’s story to an end!

12. Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows #3) by Ashley Townsend

Defying Shadows (Rising Shadows #3)

Another under-rated series, but seriously guys…this series is so amazing, and I count myself lucky to have been able to beta-read this one for Ashley.  I was so sad to see the series come to an end, but I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for the characters (even if I did sob uncontrollably over the death of one character)!

11. The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer #2) by Elizabeth May

The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer, #2)

I waited what seemed like forever for this sequel to The Falconer and boy did Elizabeth May deliver! I honestly was surprised because I thought the first one was utterly amazing, but The Vanishing Throne blew my mind.  I can’t wait for the third book to come out because I’m dying to know what will happen to some of my favorite characters!

10. Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)

I’m a huge fan of Susan Dennard, so when I originally found out that she was writing a new series I knew that I needed to read it as soon as possible.  This was such an excellent introduction to the series, and I was blown away by the rich world-building and epic fantasy elements. I already have the sequel preordered, and I honestly can’t wait to find out where Susan Dennard is going to go with the story!

9. The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh

The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn, #2)

The follow-up to The Wrath and the Dawn is all I could have wanted from a sequel.  Everything about Renee Ahdieh’s writing is spectacular.  This book swept me away (just like the first one did), and I never wanted it to come to an end!

8. The Power (Titan #2) & The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Power (Titan, #2)The Problem with Forever

So I know I’m cheating here by choosing 2 JLA books but I honestly couldn’t choose between them. I would have included the other ones she published this year as well, but I knew that would be going overboard haha. So I narrowed it down to these 2 since they seriously impressed me.  Two way different stories, but both have amazing characters and that classic JLA writing style that is super addictive.  Plus, The Power has Seth, and who doesn’t love that hottie? She has several new books coming out in 2017 and they’re already all preordered! 2017 is definitely going to be good year for books!!

7. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

This was such a fantastic sequel to Six of Crows, I could gush for hours. There were some slower parts, but the way Leigh balanced 6 separate POVs so expertly, further built this extraordinary world that she so excellently crafted in the first book, and wrote some of the best character development I have ever read…it made reading this book such an amazing experience.  I can’t even tell you how much you need to read this book, and I can’t wait for future books from her!

6. Honor (The Breaking Point #1) & Charged (Saints of Denver #2) by Jay Crownover

Honor (The Breaking Point, #1)Charged (Saints of Denver, #2)

I know, I know…I’m cheating again :P But seriously, 2 amazing books by Jay Crownover this year, how am I supposed to choose? Honor blew my mind because I never expected to adore Nassir so much. He’s always been this mysterious figure in all of the Welcome to the Point books, and Jay delivered in only the way she can with his story.  Charged was phenomenal as well, and I loved seeing Avett’s story play out.  The chemistry she had with Quaid was undeniable, and I loved being able to watch them grow and help each other. I’m looking forward to the future books that are coming out in both series next year!

5. Vernal (Royal Protector Academy #1) by Randi Cooley Wilson

Vernal (The Royal Protector Academy #1)

So you guys already know how much I love Randi Cooley Wilson (and in case you’re new…I LOVE RANDI COOLEY WILSON!!!) I’m a total fangirl with all of her books, and I never expected to love someone as much as I do Asher St. Michael, but in Vernal, Randi gave us Tristan Gallagher and I just about died. Granted, Asher is still my boy, but Tristan seriously gave him a run for his money!! This book in general was fabulous, and I’m incredibly excited for the sequel that’s coming out in 2017.  The ending of Vernal has set up the story in Aquues so well, and honestly that book can’t come out soon enough because I have no idea what’s going to happen. Knowing Randi, she’s going to break my heart into a thousand pieces leaving me a bumbling mess (she likes the torture she imposes on us readers). But you know what? I’m going to love every single second of it!

4. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends with Us

This list wouldn’t be complete without a Colleen Hoover book. You all know I’m a diehard CoHort, and let me tell you…this book broke me. This is such an important book for everyone to read (men and women alike).  It’s powerful, gripping, and something that will make you think.  Plus, when you get to the part when the title finally makes sense, well that’s the part where you need a bajillion tissues and realize the impact of the story such as this. 

3. Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1)

Cassandra Clare wrote a new Shadowhunter series…’nuff said.  Obviously I was reading this book because 1) there will never be a time where I don’t read a Cassandra Clare novel, and 2) I ship Jules and Emma so hard it’s not even funny.  This book is seriously incredible, and truly is a standout in this year of books.  It’s very different than her other books, but still has that same Shadowhunter world vibe.  I loved being able to read from the perspective of people who grew up in the Shadowhunter world and Cassandra Clare did a fantastic job at setting up what is sure to be another epic series!

2. Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas


Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)

Sarah J. Maas is a queen and the ultimate heartbreaker…true story. Seriously, you want your heart to be shattered? Read one of her books. She knows how to write a killer story, and Empire of Storms was a story of epic proportions. The Throne of Glass series is one of those series that you never forget, and this book is certainly no exception. The character development in this story was supreme and just when I thought she couldn’t surprise me, Sarah J. Maas delivered one last mind-blowing twist that really sets up the tone for the final installment in the series. If you haven’t started on this series, you need to immediately (in fact, why are you still reading this because you should be reading the first book already)!

1. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

A Court of Mist and Fury, more like A Court of Tears and Heartbreak! I can’t even tell you how perfect this book was because there are no words that will adequately illustrate it's perfection. What I can say is that this easily became my most favorite book of the year the minute I read it. I knew that no other book would compare (besides either the third book in the series or another Sarah J. Maas book that is). There were so many lines that I marked because of their sheer beauty (in other words my book is filled to the brim with post-its because of how many quotes I liked).  It’s enchanting and masterfully written, and has Rhysand. Literally, I probably should be in therapy to talk about my love for Rhys (along with all the other characters I’m in love with).  A Court of Mist and Fury is filled with snarky banter, amazing twists, and an ending so brutal that it will rip your heart out. But you’ll be begging for more! I honestly can’t wait until the third book comes out because I know that it’ll be epic, and I can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to be #1 book of 2017. 

-----------

I always love doing this because even though it’s basically the most impossible thing ever to decide, I love being able to gush about some awesome books that came out.  I hope everyone enjoyed it and has some new books to add to their TBR piles!! What are some of your favorite books of 2016? I’m always looking for some book recommendations :) And if anyone has any suggestions for things they would like to see on our blog, let us know!

Have an amazing New Year everyone!! 

~Cassie

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #79

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

Cassie's Waiting On: 
You Don't Know My Name (The Black Angel Chronicles, #1)
You Don't Know My Name (The Black Angel Chronicles #1) by Kristen Orlando
Publication Date: January 10, 2017 


Synopsis:
Fighter, Faker, Student, Spy.
Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan.
Now Reagan has to decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she's always wanted? And does she even have a choice at all?
This sounds right up my alley! Spies? Secrets? Romance? Heck yes! It sounds similar to Ally Carter's Gallagher Girl series (which I loved btw), so I'm 100% ready for this book to come out! I've heard some great things about this book already, and there's been a lot of hype over it, so I'm excited to check it out and see for myself!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Review: Unknown (Unknown #1)

Unknown (Unknown Trilogy #1)About the Book:
Title: Unknown (Unknown #1)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: August 16, 2016
Publisher: Wendy Higgins
Pages: 342
Rating: 4/5 stars




Synopsis:

Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.
 

Review:

This is a fantastic start to Wendy Higgins new self-published series! If anyone follows Wendy's newsletter, they know the struggle she went through with this book. I for one am glad that she self-published it so that she could deliver readers exactly what she wanted. And let me tell you, this one is sure to be a hit! While this has been marketed as romance, there really isn't too much in it (it's not your typical Wendy Higgins book that is). This is definitely more of a dystopian/sci-fi book than it is romance. I personally liked this departure from her usual writing because it shows that she is a truly great author who isn't inclined to just stick to one genre. She wants to reach out and explore her writing skills. If this book is any indication, I can't wait to see what other genres Wendy would decide to write in. 

This book follows Amber and is told from her perspective. She is a fantastic lead character--one who is strong and confident in her abilities, and determined to help others and those she loves most. Amber is selfless (even though she might not think so) and is such an admirable character. I found myself relating to her a lot while reading, which made this book even better for me. The one thing I liked about her the most though, is there really is not that much that is special about her (just hear me out on this one). She is a regular ordinary girl, whose life is turned upside down and sideways. But she doesn't let anything stop her from doing anything she sets her mind to. Amber's character is a great role model and you can take away a lot from her character if you pay attention. The other characters were all very well developed and easily find a way into your heart. Rylen is our "love interest" and I'm intrigued as to where Amber and Rylen's relationship will go. There's a very big boulder in their path toward actually being together (and I don't see that boulder rolling away anytime soon). But I really did like his character and am interested to see how his character grows and develops in the next book.

While the book is NA, there's really not much that is NA about it (other than the characters being 21+). The romance is light (in other words, nothing graphic), but written beautifully--just like we've come to expect from Wendy. She did a great job at writing the romance realistically as it takes a backseat to the craziness that is going on around the characters. When things calm down a bit, and the romance comes back out, well it shines through on the page and the scenes are fraught with sexual tension and undeniable chemistry between our two characters. But this book truly shines when it comes to the focus on family and friendship. These are two core aspects of Unknown and I liked how this little addition made me love the story that much more. Wendy puts the focus on fighting together as a family, and remembering that you have people who love you to help get you through the tough times. You don't have to do everything yourself. 

The plot of the story, while a little slow, definitely builds up over the course of the story, and sets up the sequel perfectly. There is a lot of different directions this story could take and I am extremely excited to see what Wendy has in store for us next! The story is very creative and unique and I have my theories about what is going on. I highly recommend checking out this book if you're into eerie dystopian/sci-fi novels with a touch of romance. Definitely add this to your TBR right away!


Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Book Blitz: Silverwitch

About the Book:
Title: Silverwitch (M.D. Series, The Olive Kennedy)
Author: Tamara Grantham
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Publication date: December 19, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Synopsis:
It’s Faythander’s legend of King Arthur. And it’s not for the faint of heart.
Olive Kennedy, Fairy World MD, isn’t ready to go back to work. But when her dragon stepfather shows up on her doorstep with bad news of the world-ending variety, that’s exactly what she’ll have to do. He wants her to stop the elven queen from obtaining seven weapons of King Arthur fame, and he wants her to break into a dragon’s vault to do it.
One problem. Silvestra, the silverwitch of Dragon Spine Mountain, guards the weapons. And she’s not willing to give them up. With the help of Kull, her newly reunited, half-crazed Viking boyfriend, she’s hopeful they’ll stand up against the dragon. Plus, she’ll have the help from Kull’s warrior princess sister and a professional thief.
But Olive has never had great luck. What starts as a routine quest quickly turns into a life or death fight. And one of her companions won’t make it out alive…

EXCERPT:

“I fail to see how we’re lucky. We’re trapped in an unfamiliar world with no way of returning home. The staff is gone, and I have a suspicion that if we find it, we will not live long enough to return it to the sky king.”
Maveryck gave me a condescending smile. “Perhaps you will not live long enough,” he said as he stood, and without further explanation, he limped away from me and down a narrow hallway. I hesitated before following him. Navigating alone through a tomb like this would be suicide, so I reluctantly trailed him, barely keeping my temper in check.
“Where are you going?” I demanded.
“To find a way out of here.”
“What then?” I asked. “Where will we go? How will we find the staff? How will we return home? Have you the magic to create portals?”
He rounded on me, his jaw clenched. “First, and listen very clearly, I’m not in the habit of answering questions—not from you or anyone else. Second, I’m not your friend, nor am I trying to help you. For the time being, we share the same goal, so I will work with you in order to bring the staff back. After that, our partnership will be dissolved. I’ve never lost an object before, and it won’t happen now. If you impede me in any way, I will aid you no more.”
“Have you forgotten who my brother is? Should you return to Faythander without me, what do you think the king will do to you?”
“I don’t care.”
“You might care when you’re rotting in the Wult dungeons.”
“I doubt he would throw me in the dungeons for leaving you. In all honesty, I believe he would reward me.”
Now he’d pushed too far. I’d had an ill feeling about this man from the moment I’d met him, and I would tolerate his superior attitude no more. I shoved him against the wall, pressing the weight of my body against him, making the stacks of skeletal remains rattle behind us.
“Enough,” I hissed. “I will not tolerate being spoken to in such a manner.”
Instead of shying away as I expected, he clamped my wrists in his hands. He used no magic, but the calculated look he gave me sent shivers down my spine. “And I,” he said, “will also not tolerate being spoken to in such a manner.”
Fear made my heart beat wildly. Who is this man? It was at that moment I realized how very little I knew about him. Where did he come from? Where did he live? Who were his kin? His gaze locked with mine, and sparks of purple danced in the gray of his irises. I knew he possessed magic, but he’d led me to believe his powers were limited. Had he lied?

Author Bio:
Tamara Grantham is the award-winning author of more than half a dozen books and novellas, including the Olive Kennedy: Fairy World MD series and the Shine novellas. Dreamthief, the first book of her Fairy World MD series, won first place for fantasy in INDIEFAB’S Book of the Year Awards, a RONE award for best New Adult Romance of 2016, and is a #1 bestseller on Amazon in both the Mythology and Fairy Tales categories with over 100 reviews.
Tamara holds a Bachelor’s degree in English. She has been a featured speaker at the Rose State Writing Conference and has been a panelist at Comic Con Wizard World speaking on the topic of female leads. For her first published project, she collaborated with New York-Times bestselling author, William Bernhardt, in writing the Shine series.
Born and raised in Texas, Tamara now lives with her husband and five children in Wichita, Kansas. She rarely has any free time, but when the stars align and she gets a moment to relax, she enjoys reading fantasy novels, taking nature walks, which fuel her inspiration for creating fantastical worlds, and watching every Star Wars or Star Trek movie ever made. You can find her online at www.TamaraGranthamBooks.com.

XBTBanner1
~Cassie

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #78

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

Cassie's Waiting On: 
RoseBlood
RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Publication Date:  January 10, 2017


Synopsis:
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.
 


I'm a huge fan of A.G. Howard, so I can't wait to see her take on Phantom of the Opera! This sounds spooky and like the perfect gothic romance.  Plus, that cover draws you in right away. I can't wait for January to get here so I can get my hands on this book!

Side note...Jocelyn has to take a little bit of a break, but she'll be back soon! So for the next couple of WoW, it'll just be me :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Book Review: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)About the Book:
Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pub. Date: Sept. 6, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 693
Rating: 5/5 stars




Synopsis:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

Review:

“Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will always love you.” 

This series will always hold a special place in my heart, but this novel truly made me see the power and quality of Sarah J. Maas' writing. Every single scene is gorgeously written, and I honestly have to say that this is the best she has written to date. Don't get me wrong, I think she was an amazing author to start, but this book truly blew every book out of the water. It's a sign of an outstanding author when every book they write after their first gets better and better. Suffice to say, after this book SJM owns my soul. If I could give this book 10 stars I would because it deserves that many and more. I don't even know where to begin with reviewing how breathtaking this novel was, but I'm going to try my best. 

Let's get one thing out of the way first. I know there was a lot of hate shown toward SJM when she originally announced this book because there were going to be "mature" (aka sex) scenes featured in the story. But trust me, if you read ACOMF, this is nothing. I'm not trying to make light of the situation, but honestly, this is tame compared to that book, and I honestly didn't (and still don't) see the big deal. There is absolutely no reason to skip this book because of those scenes. There are other reviews that actually list the pages that those scenes are, so if you are worried/don't like to read these types of scenes (which is perfectly fine and don't let anyone tell you differently!), you can easily skip them and it won't affect a single thing with the reading experience. But please, don't let yourself miss out on the absolutely wonderful, beautiful story that is this novel because of a few scenes. You would do yourself an incredible injustice by skipping it because this book is everything a fantasy novel should be. 
“Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, knew the time would soon come to prove just how much she'd bleed for Erilea.” 

First, I do want to say that if you haven't read The Assassin's Blade, you should do so prior to reading Empire of Storms. There are many settings/characters incorporated from those novellas into this story, and things make more sense if you have read that book since you'll have that backstory. However, you don't have to read it, but why wouldn't you? It's another SJM book in the TOG world...you're obviously going to want to read it. And if you were waiting for an excuse to read it, now's the time! Anywho, the story picks up right where we left off in the previous novel...Aelin and her court are headed to Terrasen to reclaim her rightful throne. Of course though, things don't go as planned and everyone ends up going on their own specific mission. Again (and because of the characters splitting up), the story is told from numerous POVs. Honestly, this aspect made this book in so many ways. The story would have suffered greatly if we had not had the opportunity to read from every single one of these perspectives. You gradually see everything come together and realize that every action has an effect on the conclusion. 
“It is not such a hard thing, is it - to die for your friends.” 

At first I didn't think I would like all of the different perspectives, but I would read about these characters painting a wall or watching grass grow, so I should have known that I wouldn't care what these characters were doing since I would enjoy it regardless. But I never expected to be so fully immersed in each character's world. It was interesting to be able to view Aelin through the other character's eyes, which is actually very different than how I (and probably most readers) view her. Every character gets an equal amount of time to have their voice heard, so Aelin isn't the primary POV for the story. In some ways, I didn't like this...simply because I love her character so much. But in other ways, I simply adored this because it made the scenes with her in it that much better and more cherished from my perspective. But I think the ultimate thing to realize is that this series is no longer just Aelin's story. The events that are occurring, the war that is brewing, affects every person everywhere. So it only makes sense that as the story progresses, the other characters become more heavily involved in the story and we are able to look through their eyes to see how the current events are affecting them. These multiple POVs also allows for some bombshells to be dropped (especially on Aelin's part since we all know she is the queen of big reveals). Many plot twists/points happen off the page and behind the scenes, since this is how Aelin works. And the reader is just as surprised as the character we are currently reading from when these twists come to light. 
“Aelin had promised herself, months and months ago, that she would not pretend to be anything but what she was. She had crawled through darkness and blood and despair-she had survived.” 

Aelin never ceases to amaze me. There is a return of the air of mystery her character had so much of in the first couple of books since we aren't fully reading from her perspective. While I didn't connect with her as much as I did in previous books, I actually didn't care that much because I know that she always has a plan and is thinking 5 steps ahead of everyone else. So when something doesn't look like it's going the right way, I can trust that Aelin will have worked out some sort of plan already (well at least I hope). I think it shows a lot about SJM's writing to be able to trust a character like that so implicitly and feel as if this person is a part of yourself. One of the greatest things about Aelin's character is that most readers can connect and relate to her on some level. Aelin has been dealt one of the toughest hands a person can be dealt, but she takes this hand in stride. She doesn't let it defeat and conquer her. Instead, she becomes tougher, fiercer, and more resilient. Additionally, Aelin becomes more complex and mature as the story progresses, as the rightful queen of Terrasen should, but she still is that incredibly selfless and brave character we have known since the very first book. She is determined to see her plan to fruition and god forbid anyone gets in her way. Rowan was amazing as ever and honestly he is so perfect for Aelin, I can't imagine her with anyone else. Every other character has grown so much since the first book, and I couldn't have asked for anything better. Mannon was bloody brilliant, Elide became stronger and fiercer, and Aedion grew into the man that I knew he could be. Suffice to say, I was not disappointed by the character development of each secondary character. It's not often that authors put so much time and effort into crafting such well-developed secondary characters as if they are just as important as the main character. But what makes this book and series special is that SJM makes you feel that every single character is the main character. While the first 3 novels primarily focused on Caelena/Aelin, the 4th book and on has shown that every character is crucial to the story and that no one is more important than the other. Every person has his/her own place in the story that will continue to evolve and grow as the story progresses. To me, that just shows the true talent of SJM.
“Remember who you are. Every step of the way down, and every step of the way back. Remember who you are. And that you're mine.” 

Dorian is back and better than ever in this book, and I honestly loved that my ship of him and Mannon is starting to sail! Some people felt their relationship was out of place, but I think they fit perfectly together. Dorian is a changed man and has endured much struggle. It is clear that the events of the last books are still weighing heavily on him. He and Mannon can relate to each other in many ways, and each is a beacon in the darkness that is their lives. I know a lot of people were upset that Chaol wasn't in this book at all, but I didn't think his character (especially how his character's mindset was after the events in the last book) fit with this story. We haven't seen the last of Chaol, and I didn't really miss him in this novel (and that takes a lot for me to say especially with how much I love Chaol in general). 
“Do not be afraid of what makes you shine brightly.” 

Empire of Storms set the board for the finale. There is still a lot that needs to be worked out, but you can see the pieces starting to fall into place. All I know is that the next book is going to be epic! There is so much to love about this book, and I could honestly go on for days (I'm sure you think I already have considering the length of this review). This book is inspirational in so many ways, and the ending was truly mind-blowing and amazing! I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for the next book! There was a certain bombshell at the end of the book that left me cheering and awestruck, but I seriously wouldn't have wanted this particular twist to be revealed in any other way. Read (or re-read) this as soon as you can because it is not one to be missed!

And just one more quote of Aelin being the awesome badass she is:
“I’ll make one more promise,” she said, folding her bloodied hand into a fist as she lowered it before them. Darrow tensed.
Her blood dripped onto the sacred soil of Terrasen, and her smile turned lethal. Even Aedion held his breath beside her.
Aelin said, “I promise you that no matter how far I go, no matter the cost, when you call for my aid, I will come. I promise you on my blood, on my family’s name, that I will not turn my back on Terrasen as you have turned your back on me. I promise you, Darrow, that when the day comes and you crawl for my help, I will put my kingdom before my pride and not kill you for this. I think the true punishment will be seeing me on the throne for the rest of your miserable life.” 



Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cover Reveal: Falling Out of Focus



Novels and Necklaces is happy to present the cover of Brynn Myers new novel, Falling Out of Focus. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, and I can't wait to check this one out once it's released. Without further ado, here's the cover for Falling Out of Focus :)
About the Book:
Title: Falling Out of Focus
Author: Brynn Myers
Publication date: January 24, 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis:
I was drowning, but all I needed to do was breathe.
It was 5:45pm when I decided my future. By 9:43 I was well on my way to making it all come true. At 11:16 I took the first step to make it a reality. At 11:17 I fell and found peace.
When a dream of dying actually becomes a chance to live. All you have to do is fall.






Author Bio:
Brynn Myers is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance author. After considering writing a hobby for years, she finally turned her passion and talent into a career. She came into the paranormal genre later than most but has always loved fairy-tales and all things magical. Using that love, she creates charmed worlds by writing stories involving passionate, strong willed characters with something to discover.
Brynn lives with her family in the Brevard County, Florida area.

XBTBanner1
~Cassie

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #77

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: 

After the Fall by Kate Hart 
Publication Date: January 24th, 2017 


Synopsis: 

Kate Hart's debut YA novel AFTER THE FALL is a wrenching, emotional read and an intense conversation starter about issues of sexual consent.

Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her best friend Matt... and his brother, Andrew. Raychel sneaks into Matt's bed on sleepless nights, but nothing ever happens. He doesn't even seem to realize she's a girl, except when he thinks she's a damsel in distress who needs his rescue. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. Having been assaulted by a classmate, she needs Matt's friendship to get through the aftermath, plus the stresses of growing up poor and trying to get into college.

She ends up finding comfort of a different kind in Andrew's arms. But when Matt catches on to the secret relationship, his overreaction changes everything. After the fall, it's Matt who's in distress, and it falls to Raychel to rescue them both.


I think that novels about sexual consent are always so important to read. I don't know if anyone remembers the stand-alone What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler that was published last fall, but it was so heart wrenching and sad - and it seems like this will be a book exactly like that. I will definitely be reading this one! 


Cassie's Waiting On: 

Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3) by Katie McGarry
Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Synopsis:


Long Way Home (Thunder Road, #3)Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.
 


It's not a secret that I absolutely love Katie McGarry, but also this series.  So it's no surprise that this is my WOW for this week.  I am so excited to be able to read Violet's story as she has been an intriguing and mysterious character from the very beginning.  Seriously guys...with the way January is looking book-wise, 2017 is going to be a great year in books!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Book Review: Recreated (Reawakened #2)

Recreated (Reawakened, #2)About the Book:
Title: Recreated (Reawakened #2)
Author: Colleen Houck
Pub. Date: Aug. 2, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 416
Rating: 3/5 stars



Synopsis:

From Colleen Houck, New York Times bestselling author of The Tiger’s Curse, comes Recreated, the second book in the epic Egyptian-inspired Reawakened series, in which a seventeen-year-old must literally go to hell to save the love of her life. 

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.

Review:

description

It kills me to be giving a Colleen Houck book this low of a rating, but I have to for Recreated. I don't know what happened with the plot, but this is already not going in the greatest of directions. Don't get me wrong, there's still a lot to love about this book, but this was nowhere near what I was expecting from the sequel to Reawakened (a book that I loved a ton). Even though the previous book had some downs for me...mainly that it seemed exactly like the Tiger's Curse series just swapping Indian mythology for Egyptian mythology, it was still an excellent book. But this one, I honestly was left questioning whether or not I just read a Colleen Houck book. I had some major WTH?! moments and had to suppress some major eye rolls while reading. Even though I plan on reading the next in the series because I do want to find out what happens, I'm not super excited for the third book either. 


description

description

Let me start with saying that I originally had given this book 4 stars on Goodreads.  However, I needed to wait to write my review because 1) life got in the way and 2) I needed to truly think about how I wanted to write the review and what I wanted to say. After a bit, I realized that it really only deserved 3 stars because it was not anything like what I expected from an author like Colleen Houck. She has such an amazing way of writing and a style that showcases her true creativity and imagination. But this one went a little overboard in that department, and while this might work in some cases, it did not work for this book. I think my ultimate problem is that everything is a bit too much

description

Let me first start with what I liked about the book. The adventure and the trials were fun to read. Lily's character definitely grows a lot, especially during these trials. She's becoming stronger and has less of a "poor me" attitude. Lily realizes that she needs to do what needs to be done to save the man she loves, and nothing will stand in her way. And as always, Colleen Houck does a phenomenal job at depicting the scene for the reader. You easily get swept away in the lush landscapes of Egypt and the other worlds they visit. Every single scene is incredibly vivid and makes you long to be where the characters are (even if it's not in the most desirable of locations). You feel 100% immersed in the world, and this is something that has not changed about Colleen Houck's writing.

Now what I didn't like: first was the romance. Let me make one thing very clear...I adored Amon in the first book. And even though I hated how the 1st book ended because it broke my heart into a million tiny pieces, there was that little twist at the end that made me fall in love even more with Amon. So what's the problem you ask? He's barely in this novel. This whole book is about getting Amon back, saving him, and making sure Lily reunites with her one true love (let me repeat...ONE. TRUE. LOVE.), and he's in the book for a hot second. Sure, Lily dreams about him and so he's featured in that way, but these don't count. I want actual physical interaction with Amon. In all actuality, he was present only at the end of the book and he wasn't exactly with it (you'll understand what I mean if you do decide to read this book). Add onto this the matter of not a love triangle, but a love rectangle...well this was me:


description

Even though Lily matures a great deal in this novel, she still has quite a way to go in the relationship department (and just as a hint, it doesn't mean going around a kissing/flirting with your one true love's brother...just saying). Plus, because of Amon's actions, Lily's "necklace" brings all the immortal beings to her yard (aka EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON/GOD she comes in contact with is falling at her feet). Because that's not annoying at all... 

description

Now this is the part where I have to put major spoilers in. So skip this next part if you don't want to spoil anything for yourself. Seriously...last chance!!  Finally, there was the matter of not 1, not 2, but 3 different personalities residing in Lily's body by the end of the story. This would have been fine, but it got very messy to say the least. There were times where I had no clue who was actually talking, and it just made things in the story awkward. The story would have been perfectly find without this aspect and I'm not entirely sure why Colleen Houck decided to go down this route. Oh and the best part of all? Every person is in love with 1 of the brothers...hence where the love rectangle comes in. There's one obvious destination for this road, and that is everyone ends up in their own body and is free to love the brother of their choosing freely. But the problem is, until this happens, it makes the book kind of creepy considering it's Lily's body that had the brother's tripping all over themselves. 

Overall, there is a lot to love and dislike about this book. As I said, this did not live up to my expectations in any way and I'm slightly disappointed that a story that had so much potential, fell to a trap of incorporating too much into the story. It's fine to incorporate little elements here and there, but this one was overwhelming with new developments and crazy times. I think if things would have been simplified a bit (and obviously there would be no love rectangle), this would have been an excellent follow up to Reawakened. Do I recommend this book...I'm honestly not sure. If you liked the first one, give it a shot, because you might like it more than I did. But it also wouldn't be a devastating loss if you didn't pick this one up. And you have no idea how much that hurts for me to say that :(




Happy reading :)

~Cassie

P.S. I won't be posting on Thursday because I have a practical and exam, but I'll be back next week! Have a nice week and weekend everyone 💜

Monday, December 12, 2016

Blog Tour: Incandescently

About the Book:
Title: Incandescently
Author: Sylvie Parizeau
Publication date: October 22, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance


Synopsis:
LIAM O’SHEA, bestseller author of the SciFi saga, Eiloe.
All I knew was pain – a childhood filled with cruelty and villains who used and abused.
Until Éolie.
I first heard her sweet, angelical voice in the dark of night, when I lay bathed in my own impending death. Seventeen years later, it’s not the nightmare she pulled me out of that haunts me, but the glimpse of Happily Ever After she revealed just before disappearing.
They said she was a figment of my boundless imagination. A wish. A dream. Until I had no choice but to believe them, cherishing my imaginary savior the only way I knew how – in fiction and lore.
But fantasy has a way of transforming reality. When I finally tire of being a citizen of the world, I take an impromptu sabbatical as a professor at a small college on the coast of Maine. And there I see her, the girl with the sea-green eyes and angelic voice.
My world turns upside down. Turns out my girl is for real, and the pull between us is anything but imaginary.
Happily Ever After has a story … and this one is mine.

Author Bio:
A paralegal by day and incurable romantic by night, Sylvie is a cross-genre, and she takes Happily Ever After very seriously. The End just isn’t in her vocabulary.
An incorrigible daydreamer, she now feeds her obsession with epilogues by concocting stories in which heroes deal with the happy from the get-go. Ready, or not. And she confesses under oath to loving every minute of it.
Sylvie lives her own Happily Ever After in the beautiful mountains of Les Laurentides in Northern Quebec, alongside her whole set of characters.
In between treks in their backyard wilderness, you can find them hanging out at www.sylvieparizeau.com
Review:

Incandescently is a heart-warming story that is an all around feel good romance. This debut novel from author Sylvie Parizeau is all about how to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to find that person that you never thought you would have in your life and cultivating a truly wonderful romance out of it. Ms. Parizeau's writing is beautiful, and the pacing was fantastic. The story moved along at a nice pace, one that was never boring or made the story feel like it was dragging. There were a couple things that prevented me from giving this 5 stars, but overall I genuinely liked that story, and want to find out what happens next for all of the characters featured in this book.

You could tell the characters that Ms. Parizeau created were straight from her heart. They were bursting with love and were mostly well developed. The story is told from 2 POVs: Eolie and Liam. There were some aspects of the characters that I wish were explored a little more...for example Eolie and her abilities (I'm being vague on purpose here so as to not spoil anything). I really wanted to know more about this aspect of her character, but I felt that it was never really touched upon, not really serving any purpose. Perhaps in future books, this will come into play more, but I wish that this part of her character was delved into more as it could have added some extra excitement to the book (and her character). However, this being said, Eolie was a lovely character and I enjoyed reading from her perspective. The love she and Liam had for each other was palpable and I loved their romance. Their love is the type of love that makes you believe in soulmates and true love all over again, and it's a perfect thing to read during the holidays. Liam was also a great character as well, and let me tell you...he's very swoonworthy. Ladies, you'll fall in love with him right away, and his dedication to Eolie makes you fall even harder for him. There was a certain scene towards the end where I was left with such a goofy smile on my face because of his actions, and it made my heart melt. The side characters livened the story up, and I can't wait to read each of their stories. They should have some interesting stories to tell for sure!!

If anything, this book definitely made me want to travel to Maine and Canada even more now to visit the picturesque places that Liam and Eolie visited/lived. Ms. Parizeau describes the settings in such detail, I felt that I was there with them in these gorgeous places, and it made me long to actually be there with Liam and Eolie in their quaint, charming towns. And as a side note, I would really like to read Liam's novel!! It sounds amazing and could make an interesting novella.

The ending was a little too abrupt for me, but overall I greatly enjoyed the story. I do wish that there were some aspects of the story that were more flushed out or expounded upon, but as I said, these things could be remedied in future books since I'm sure Liam and Eolie will show up again! However, I think this is a great start to a potentially amazing series. 



Happy reading :)

XBTBanner1
~Cassie