Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book Review: Me & Milo the Great

Me & Milo the GreatAbout the Book:
Title: Me & Milo the Great
Author: Michelle Schlicher
Pub. Date: September 14, 2017
Publisher: Michelle Schlicher
Pages: 256
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis:

My name is Holiday Sanchez. I carry a heavy burden.

But I'm not the only one.

There are others who know what it feels like to remember. Maybe they are the answer. Maybe we can help each other. Maybe I'll finally get past it.

Maybe it just takes time—and a little bit of magic.


Review:

I am absolutely blown away by this novel!! Me and Milo the Great was a beautifully written and touching read that is sure to be a major hit! I have never read a novel by Ms. Schlicher previously, but I am definitely going to check out her past novels (and any future ones) as well! Everything about this book was amazing, and even though the story itself hits on some tough topics, they're handled extremely well and I was incredibly impressed from the very first page!

At times feeling like a memoir, this novel follows Holiday, a young women with debilitating anxiety who has lost so much. Her story is very moving and I easily connected with Holiday right from the start. Michelle Schlicher certainly has a way with words, and her portrayal of Holiday and her anxiety was spot on. Holiday's story is raw and real...2 things that are often not written well in novels, but in this novel were done perfectly. You're heart broke for Holiday, and for those that suffer with anxiety (whether it is as debilitating as Holiday's or not) understood what she was facing every day. This is a very eye-opening look at how severe anxiety can be for a person. I think what made it even better was the concise way Michelle Schlicher wrote Holiday's words. She didn't fill the story with fluff. It's right to the point and there's no shying away from anything. 

When Holiday meets Milo, magic happens. I instantly loved Milo and I loved how much her cared for Holiday. Although their relationship is a bit "insta-lovey," it actually works in the story and I didn't mind it. Milo, along with other side characters (who I loved as well), help Holiday realize the importance of healing and forgiveness. It's definitely very touching to say the least. The story shows the importance of having even that one person in your life that can help you heal and come to terms with things that have happened in your past. 

The story does go back and forth between present day and past, and because of this we find out about what exactly happened to Holiday in small increments throughout the book. The transitions between past and present were seamless and added such a great element to the story. I loved that we went back and forth (which sometimes can be very annoying to me if not done well), and it was never once confusing. The small reveals throughout the story actually showed the reader why Holiday, acted the way she does and revealed her motivations behind finding different people. I will say that I did figure the one big twist out, but the only reason is because I caught one line earlier in the story that got my gears turning and from then on was able to put things together. And even though I knew the twist that was coming, it still was shocking reading it. 

I highly recommend this book for EVERYONE!! You need to check this book out when you get the chance. It's beautifully written and a very poignant read. It shows that love can come in many forms and that it can find you in the way you least expect it. Read this book as soon as it hits shelves!!

Happy reading :)

I was given an advanced copy of this novel by the author in exchange for an honest review.

~Cassie

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cover Reveal: Brave (The Wicked Trilogy #3)

Novels and Necklaces is extremely excited to present the cover of Jennifer Armentrout's new novel, Brave! You all know that I'm a huge fan of JLA and I honestly can't wait until this book comes out!! Now...time for you to see this gorgeous cover :) 



About the Book:
Title: Brave (The Wicked Trilogy #3)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication Date: December 11th, 2017
Available Formats: Paperback (U.S./Canada) and E-book
Preorder Link: Amazon 


Synopsis:

Ivy Morgan hasn't been feeling like herself lately. Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave some mental scars.

It’s more than that, though. Something dark and insidious is spreading throughout Ivy, more powerful than she could ever imagine... and it’s coming between her and the man she’s fallen deeply in love with, elite Order member Ren Owens.

Ren would do anything to keep Ivy safe. Anything. But when he makes a life altering choice for her, the fallout of his act has far reaching consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart.
If Ivy is going to have any hope of surviving this, she must put aside the hurt and betrayal she feels, and work with not only those she loves, but with an enemy she would rather kill than ever trust. War is coming, and it soon becomes clear that what Ivy and Ren thought they knew about the Order, themselves, and even their enemies, has been nothing but a cluster of dangerous, deadly lies. Ivy knows she must be more than just brave to save those she loves--and, ultimately, to save herself.

Because behind ever evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen

About the Author:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.


SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:  Website |  Facebook |  Twitter |  Instagram








Virtual Signing:



To celebrate the upcoming release of BRAVE (book 3 in the Wicked Saga), Jennifer is offering an exclusive virtual signing! Through this virtual signing, you will be able to order SIGNED & PERSONALIZED copies of WICKED, TORN, and BRAVE!

And best of all -- This is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY! 



***Virtual Signing begins 9/21/17 at 11AM ET and ends 11/17/17.  Open Internationally!! Please use the direct link for more info and to submit your order!

Giveaway

·         PRIZE: SURPRISE SIGNED PRIZE PACK (containing multiple signed books & swag)
·         OPEN INTERNATIONALLY
·         ENDS 10/2/17  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

~Cassie

Waiting on Wednesday #116

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: 

The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions, #1)The Becoming of Noah Shaw (The Shaw Confessions #1) by Michelle Hodkin
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017

Synopsis:

In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string. They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future. He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart. They’re right.


I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for this book!! I was a HUGE fan of the Mara Dyer novels, so I've been waiting on this novel about Noah for so so long.  I honestly can't wait to see where Ms. Hodkin takes this book and new series, and I know it'll be just as addicting as the Mara Dyer series!


Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

Three Sides of a Heart: Stories about Love Triangles by Natalie Parker (& other authors)
Publication Date: December 19th, 2017 

Synopsis:






The anthology explores the myriad tragic, frustrating, humorous possibilities of the teen love triangle, and features 15 new stories by these authors.




I love reading about love triangles. I know that a lot of people hate that trope but I just find them so funny and entertaining. Plus, lets look at some of the authors: Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, Renee Ahdieh. I mean this could be iconic! 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Book Review: Submerge (Mer Chronicles #2)

Submerge (Mer Chronicles #2)About the Book:
Title: Submerge (Mer Chronicles #2)
Author: Tobie Easton
Pub. Date: Sept. 14, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books

Pages: 300
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis:

Now that Lia and Clay’s love has broken the Little Mermaid’s curse, everything has changed. Will Lia’s family remain on land, leading the only life she and her sisters have ever known, or will they move below the waves, to the sparkling new capital city? Lia is adamant about staying on land with Clay for her senior year. But at Melusine and her father’s trial, new revelations threaten what Lia holds most dear.

The verdict will shake Lia’s whole world, calling into question her future with Clay, her feelings for Caspian, and the fate of all Merkind. As she wonders who to trust, Lia sets out on a treacherous path that will lead her away from her sheltered Malibu home to a remote and mysterious school for Mermaids—Mermaids who may hold the secret to ancient magic Lia can use to either get back all she’s lost or to embark on a thrilling and dangerous journey.
 

Review:

Although I had some mixed feelings about Tobie Easton's first novel, Emerge, I still greatly enjoyed the book and was very excited when I had the opportunity to read an ARC of its sequel. And let me tell you, this book blew me away! From the start, I was plunged right back into the Lia's world full of mermaids and romance. I always thought Ms. Easton was a gifted storyteller, but this book took her writing to another level. A lot of problems I had from the first book were remedied in Submerge, and this was something that I appreciated as it made me love the book so much more.

Submerge picks up right where the first book ended. The trial is about to start, Clay and Lia are still discovering and building upon their relationship, and the entire mermaid race is thrilled with the return of their immortality. However, just as things are looking up for all of our characters, things take a surprising turn that causes devastating effects for certain people. The book is fast-paced, and although it is longer than the first in the series, the story never lagged for me. I honestly didn't even realize that the book was close to 400 pages because I wanted to keep reading!! Ms. Easton expands a lot on the world-building in this novel and this was something that I appreciated. We are able to see and explore much more of the Mer world, and we learn more about Lia's culture. This was honestly one of my favorite aspects of the entire book. 

Lia's character still felt a little young at times, but this was mostly in the beginning. She matured a great deal over the course of the story, and her characterization was excellently written. My heart truly broke for her at several points in the story because I honestly wanted her to just be happy. Lia is a very relatable and fun character, and I think a lot of readers will love seeing her growth throughout this book. Clay and Lia together were the epitome of young love. I definitely could see how much they cared for each other in this story, and again this was a nice change from the first book for me. They go to great lengths to find their way back to each other after something HUGE happens in the beginning and I loved their reunion. There are also several new characters that are introduced, and they are very well fleshed out during the novel. They served as a great transition from the human world to the Mer world, and it made the story a bit more fun!

There are definitely some huge twists in this book that I never saw coming! I did think the one character was up to something all along, but I definitely didn't expect that character to be cooking up something so major!! The entire climax and conclusion of this story were utterly fantastic and Ms. Easton's writing was at its finest. And then of course, she has to leave us with a bit of a cliffhanger. It's not really a cliffhanger in the traditional sense; it's more of a shocking statement that leaves me very very eager for the next book.

I would highly recommend checking Tobie Easton's sequel in the Mer Chronicles if you were a fan of the first book. With more world building and more mature characters, this book offered several improvements from the first book that made the story even more enjoyable. It's definitely still YA, but will appeal to a wide variety of readers. With so many exciting twists and turns throughout the story, I can't wait to see what Ms. Easton has in store for us in the next installment!


Happy reading :) 

Thank you to Month9Books for the advanced copy!

~Cassie

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Book Review: The Great Pursuit (Eurona Duology #2)

The Great Pursuit (Eurona Duology, #2)About the Book:
Title: The Great Pursuit (Eurona Duology #2)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 512
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis:

Lochlanach has traded the great beast for something far more terrible, a Lashed enemy veiled in beauty, deception, and a vengeance passed down through generations: Rozaria Rocato. And she’s offering the hunter Paxton Seabolt power and acceptance he could never receive in his homeland. Pax must decide how far he’s willing to go under her tutelage, knowing she is the opponent of Princess Aerity Lochson.

In a land where traditionalists dread change, the Lochlan throne must contend with mysterious foes and traitors, while attempting to keep revolt at bay. As dire circumstances strike the royal family, matters of the castle are left in Aerity’s hands. It's time to put aside her fears and grasp the reign, taking actions that have the potential to save or destroy her people.

One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continue. In this sequel to The Great Hunt from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, political intrigue and romance intensify in another thrilling fantasy. Princess Aerity embraces a quest for identity and passion before making the ultimate sacrifice for her kingdom.

Review:

The Great Pursuit was a phenomenal conclusion to the Eurona Duology and I am incredibly sad to see the store end! Wendy Higgins has given us another epic story with even stronger characters and plot than the first in the series. There was a heightened sense of suspense, deceit, and love throughout the entire book, and I never could tell what was about to happen. The resounding theme is that none of the characters know who they can truly trust, and with all of the events that occur in this story, trust was crucial.

Aerity was such a tremendous character in this second book. I fell in love with her character easily in the first book, but she steps up her game entirely in this novel. Aerity becomes the epitome of what a good leader should be. She is strong, fierce, and makes the tough decisions (with some selfish decision thrown in there as well). Aerity faces many challenges and hardships during this book, and it was interesting to see not only how she handled them, but how she overcame them. I also was kept on the edge of my seat because I was desperately trying to figure out how she and Paxton would ultimately be together. I was praying that Wendy Higgins wouldn't break my heart and that these two would be together in the end. Their love is gorgeously written and so beautiful. I love them together as they balance each other out nicely. It was amazing how much they were willing to sacrifice for each other and the kingdom, and every scene they had together was amazing. 

Another thing that I loved about this story was the fact that every character had a role to play. The minor characters weren't just pushed to the side or have very few lines...no, they actually had major roles in the underlying plot and had strong voices. I loved their storylines, and found new people to ship (and let's just say my shipping game was strong in this book). I would love to see either novellas or future books about these couples just to be able to see that they got their happy ending and go back into this world. 

However, the one aspect of this story that is a rarity in books today was the strong focus on friendships--both female-female and female-male. This is something huge for me because while I love the whole trope of best friends falling for each other, I do like a break in that sometimes and have two best friends remain just that...friends. This is something that Wendy Higgins showcases extremely well in this book. Aerity's friendship with Harrison is utterly fantastic and they go to great lengths for each other to support and aid the other person. Additionally, Aerity's friendship with Lief was interesting. There was plenty of frustration there, but their friendship evolved and developed very well over the course of the story, and it was nice to see where they were at by the end. 

Do not miss out on reading this conclusion to the Eurona Duology!! I truly hope there will be more books in the future about other characters, but for now, I am very happy with how this book ended. I adored the entire epilogue, and felt everything was wrapped up nicely. If you are a fan of Wendy Higgins and the first book, definitely check this one out!!

Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #115

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: 

The Trouble with Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson, #12)The Trouble with Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson #12) by Darynda Jones 
Publication Date: October 31st, 2017

Synopsis:

Ever since Reyes escaped from a hell dimension in which Charley accidently trapped him, the son of Satan has been brimstone-bent on destroying the world his heavenly Brother created. His volatile tendencies have put Charley in a bit of a pickle. But that’s not the only briny vegetable on her plate. While trying to domesticate the feral being that used to be her husband, she also has to deal with her everyday life of annoying all manner of beings—some corporeal, some not so much—as she struggles to right the wrongs of society. Only this time she’s not uncovering a murder. This time she’s covering one up.

Add to that her new occupation of keeping a startup PI venture—the indomitable mystery-solving team of Amber Kowalski and Quentin Rutherford—out of trouble and dealing with the Vatican’s inquiries into her beloved daughter, and Charley is on the brink of throwing in the towel and becoming a professional shopper. Or possibly a live mannequin. But when someone starts attacking humans who are sensitive to the supernatural world, Charley knows it’s time to let loose her razor sharp claws. Then again, her number one suspect is the dark entity she’s loved for centuries. So the question becomes, can she tame the unruly beast before it destroys everything she’s worked so hard to protect?
 


The Charley Davidson Series always makes an appearance on my WoW when a new one is coming out.  I am so excited that Ms. Jones is continuing the series because I will never get enough of Charley and Co.  If you haven't had the opportunity to check out this series, you're missing out! It's hilarious and fun, and has the sexy Reyes.  Trust me on this one and add this to your TBR now!


Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

Devil in Ohio by Daria Polatin 
Publication Date: November 7th, 2017 

Synopsis:

A strange, damaged girl lives with a family after escaping a cult in this debut YA suspense/thriller that was inspired by true events.

When fifteen-year-old Jules Mathis comes home from school to find a strange girl, her mother explains that Mae is one of her patients at the hospital and will be staying with their family for a few days. But shortly after, Mae is wearing Jules’ clothes, sleeping in her bedroom, edging her out of her position on the school paper, and kissing Jules’s crush. Then things get weird.

Jules walks in on a half-dressed Mae, she’s startled to see a pentagram carved into her back. Soon white roses start turning up on the front porch, a rabid dog bites one of Jules’ sisters, and Jules’ parents, who never fight, start arguing behind closed doors.

Jules pieces clues together and discovers that Mae may be a survivor of the strange cult that has taken over a nearby town. And they will stop at nothing to get Mae back.
 


This sounds SPOOKY! I could definitely see this becoming a horror movie. I hope this is as good as it sounds - cults, devils, etc. And inspired by true events? Do we really have to wait until November for this? 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blog Tour: The Longing and the Lacking

About the Book:
Title: The Longing and the Lack (The Unliving #1)
Author: C.M. Spivey
Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis: 
“Gothic curses, deadly love affairs, and vengeful ghosts combine to make this paranormal mystery a compelling page-turner.” — Tina Connolly, Nebula-nominated author of Ironskin
Lucinda Hightower is no stranger to death.
Since she was a child, Lucinda has been haunted by rabid dogs, suicidal crows, and the ghost of a woman in white. All are omens signaling someone’s imminent demise—except Lucinda’s friends and family are still breathing.
The omens follow her to Ireland and the quiet university in her father’s hometown, increasing in strength and frequency once she meets Damien Reed. A handsome third year student, Damien thrusts himself into Lucinda’s life almost immediately and caresses away the unsavory reputation that shadows him.
It’s not until the ghost sinks her nails into Damien that he reveals his secret: the death omens are for him.
They’re the manifestations of a curse that claims the life of the eldest Reed son every generation. Damien’s time is nearly up. If Lucinda is to save him, she must solve the mystery of her family curse, and lay a spirit’s rage to rest.
A dark romance for fans of Diane Setterfield and the TV show Supernatural, The Longing and the Lack is a Gothic story for the modern age.

Author Bio:
C.M. Spivey is a speculative fiction writer, author of high fantasy FROM UNDER THE MOUNTAIN and the paranormal series, “The Unliving”. His enduring love of fantasy started young. Now, he explores the rules and ramifications of magic in his own works—and as a trans, panromantic asexual, he’s committed to queering his favorite genres. In his spare time, he plans his next tattoo (there will always be a next tattoo) and watches too much Netflix. Anything left over is devoted to his tireless quest to make America read more. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his darling husband Matt and adorable dog Jay.

Review:

I was pretty surprised at the low ratings on Goodreads for this novel because I enjoyed it a great deal! It was well written and fast-paced, and the perfect weekend/rainy day read. It had the perfect mix of spooky and supernatural elements with a hint of romance. I will say that when I first started reading this novel, I was slightly worried at how the characters were speaking. Every character in this book speaks very formally, and it felt a little unnatural because people don't typically speak like this in real life. However, I quickly got used to this aspect and was able to enjoy the book a lot more afterward. I do think this is where a lot of people may have a hang up though as the characters do come off a bit pretentious. But for me, it really wasn't that big of a deal (plus Lucinda or any of the characters aren't pretentious at all once we get to know them), and I liked the unique aspect it added to the story.

The plot is incredibly original and unique. I loved the curse aspect and the search conducted by Lucinda and Damien. You could feel their desperation to find a way to break the tragic curse that has plagued their families for hundreds of years. I personally loved that Lucinda was bisexual. This is not something you see in many books right now, but is something that really should be incorporated into novels more often. Additionally, other characters around her are revealed to identify on the LGBTQ spectrum...which added diversity to the story and was very welcomed from my view. Lastly, there were many twists and turns that I never saw coming, and further add to the mystery that is occurring. The ending was mind-blowing and incredibly well done. Everything came together in a heart-stopping finale and was exactly how I wanted this book to end!

There was 1 thing that I did have an issue with but it wasn't enough to make me give the book a rating lower than a 3. The biggest problem for me was the fact that we are just dropped into the story. It felt almost like I was reading the second book in the series rather than the first. I felt there needed to be more world-building and more background given before fully delving into the story (or even as the story went along like in flashbacks). For example, there are mentions of other supernatural entities, but it's not elaborated on further besides small sentences. Also, I would have loved to know more about Lucinda's brother and Morgan. I only learned after I was done reading that there are actually 2 books by C.M. Spivey that do give us more of a background. I really wish I would have known this prior to reading (maybe better marketing or something) because I would have definitely checked those out first before starting on The Longing and the Lack. Even though you can 100% read this as a standalone, I think it would be better to read these 2 other books prior to this novel. 

Overall, this is a great new start to an interesting series. C.M. Spivey has crafted a fascinating world that I am eager to get back to! I'm excited to see where this series will go and whether or not it will be about another character or a continuation of Lucinda's story. The Longing and the Lack is an intriguing read with plenty of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end! Add this one to your TBR now!

Happy reading :)



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~Cassie

Monday, September 11, 2017

Book Blitz: Delayed Departure

About the Book:
Title: Delayed Departure (Passports and Promises, #2)
Author: Abigail Drake
Publication date: August 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis: 
When Bethany Beaumont finds a book about life in the sultan’s harem, she discovers it’s actually a guide to the lost art of seduction. Just what she needs as she departs on a study abroad trip to exotic Istanbul. She’s struggling to get over her ex, and the book of dirty little secrets might be just the thing to help…if only she could find someone to practice on.
Half-Turkish and full of Australian swagger, teaching assistant Adam Kent seems to fit the bill. They decide to become lovers for the duration of the trip, and then part ways. Forever.
But not every lesson can be found in a book, and sometimes falling in love changes everything. When Bethany is forced to confront her past, and the promises she made to someone else, will it really be as easy as she thought to let Adam go?
EXCERPT:

My mother insisted on purchasing two of the largest suitcases possible, Louis Vuitton rolling cases in an easily recognizable and slightly obnoxious shade of bright pink. She’d spent more on my luggage than some people did on a car, and they were heavy. I’d loaded them up with my precious books and far too many pairs of shoes before I left. The porter stumbled, losing his grip on the first suitcase, and nearly fell.
I rushed to help, but someone else beat me to it, a tall, mountain of a man. I stopped in my tracks and stared. I may have been drooling. He was, for lack of a better word, beautiful.
Broad chest. Long legs. Strong, muscular arms. Golden, glowing skin. Chestnut hair flowing in riotous curls around his face and down to his shoulders. Eyes in a warm shade of brown. The edge of a tattoo peeking out from under the sleeve of his shirt.
Something unexpected curled in my chest. Was it…lust? I hadn’t felt it in so long I almost didn’t recognize it. But I wasn’t the only person staring at the bronzed god in from of me.
“Heavens to Betsy,” said Hilary under her breath. “I’ve never seen anything so pretty this close up.”
He was pretty, and he was also pissed off, most likely at the owner of the two enormous and ridiculously heavy pink suitcases. Me.

Author Bio:
Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, fun, and sexy.
Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three sons (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.
She is a member of Pennwriters, RWA, Three Rivers Romance Writers, Mindful Writers, Women's Fiction Writers, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches writing to children through the Young Writers' Institute and at local libraries.


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~Cassie

Friday, September 8, 2017

Book Blitz: So Near the Horizon

About the Book:
Title: So Near the Horizon
Author: Jessica Koch
Publication date: September 6, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis: 
From the moment she crosses paths with Danny, Jessica is fascinated. The dashing, confident twenty-year-old has everything she dreams of—looks, success, independence, money—and his kind, infinitely cheerful nature is spellbinding.
Yet Jessica sees something else lingering underneath Danny’s perfect facade. Bit by bit, she manages to pick it apart, unveiling harrowing truths about a deeply traumatic childhood that has left more than just emotional scars. Now, far away from his home and family, he is fighting to build a normal life for himself—even though he may be destined for a future as dark as his past.
Despite all adversity and against all reason, a deep and intimate love develops between Danny and Jessica. But soon they find themselves confronting the harsh realities of a superficial world, battling against prejudice and exclusion at every turn… and, worst of all, racing against time…

Jessica Koch’s dramatic debut novel, Dem Horizont so nah (So Near the Horizon), broke every record when it hit stores in Germany 2016. Released through a small, independent publishing house, the e-book was an instant success, selling over 250,000 copies in just a few months and topping the Amazon bestseller list for more than six weeks – which made it the number-one bestselling German-language e-book of the year 2016!
Since then, one of Germany’s largest publishing houses has purchased the rights to this riveting and highly emotional memoir. The foreign rights have been picked up in numerous countries, and the feature film is scheduled to arrive in theaters at the end of 2018.
And now, for the first time ever, So Near the Horizon will be available in English! So Near the Horizon will hit online retailers in September 2017 – again as an independent publication, again without a huge marketing budget, but again with infinite passion for an unbelievable but true story that the world needs to hear.
EXCERPT:
As soon as I turned the corner, I saw him. In jeans and a royal-blue hoodie, he was leaning casually against a gleaming, black, thirty-foot limousine—a Lincoln Town Car—his arms folded. As always, his hair was sticking out in every direction. When he saw me, his face broke out into a radiant smile. A man dressed in black was standing at the front of the car, eyes downcast.
Chauffeur and everything? This is crazy…
My knees were threatening to give out, and my brain switched into offline mode again.
As I walked toward Danny, gaping in astonishment, he straightened and held out his hands. I took them, and his fingers closed briefly around mine. Once again, it was like he’d hit me with an electric shock.
“W-wow,” I stammered. “What’s all this for?”
“Because I’m falling in love,” he said quietly.
For a moment, the world stood still.
In love?
I was too stunned to react.
The chauffeur opened the car door, revealing an interior bathed in dim violet light. Still reeling a little, I settled onto the cream-colored leather upholstery that stretched across the entire length of the limousine, and Danny climbed in after me. The long marble-topped table in the center held a chilled bottle of champagne and two flutes already filled.
Danny handed me one of them, and we clinked our glasses together.
“I thought you didn’t drink,” I said shyly.
“Exceptions prove the rule,” Danny replied and took the first sip as the vehicle began rolling slowly out of the parking lot.
“How can you afford this kind of thing as a personal trainer?” I had no idea what it actually cost, but it surely wasn’t cheap.
He suppressed a grin. “I earn good money in my side job.”
“I knew it! You steal cars and sell them in other countries.”
“Um, no.” He looked genuinely perplexed.
“So you do the grandson scam? Knock on confused old ladies’ doors and make big eyes at them, and cry about how the Mafia is after you, and beg for money?”
He stared at me in surprise. Apparently, he hadn’t pegged me as someone with that much imagination. “It’s a lot less spectacular than that. Pretty boring by comparison, really. I just pose.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“For photos,” he clarified. “For a fashion label.”
“You model?” I shrieked at him. So he didn’t just look like a glossy-magazine model, he actually was one.
What the hell did this guy want with me?
In love, he said…
“Yeah,” he replied easily. “It’s nothing to scream about. They’re just photos. Ads, clothes, the usual. The pay’s good.”
“So that’s why you didn’t go to college?”
His expression turned grim. “No. That was for other reasons. Personal reasons.”
There it was again, that darkness in his eyes.
“Aren’t you afraid the modeling work will dry up someday when you’re old and ugly?” My curiosity knew no bounds.
“No, I’m not worried about that.” Then why did his voice sound so melancholy?
My champagne glass was empty by that point, but I felt awkward about refilling it, since Danny hadn’t taken his eyes off me. “There’s something I really don’t understand,” I began, emboldened by the champagne. “Why did you try to warn me away from you? Do you chop little girls up into pieces and bury them in the forest?”
The violet light gleamed in his hair as he tilted his head and regarded me. “I make drugs in my basement,” he said. “I have to be careful. Can’t let anyone find out.”
I regarded him skeptically. The problem with Danny’s dry humor was that you never knew whether he was joking.
He laughed quietly to himself when he realized I was trying to decide whether to believe him.
“Sarcasm is the sword of the intellectual,” he finally said. But then, all at once, his relaxed demeanor shifted again. “Seriously,” he said, “the fact is my life is one giant catastrophe. I don’t want anyone else to get sucked into it.”
Half relieved drugs weren’t involved, I shook my head. “Hey, I’ve never met a catastrophe I couldn’t handle!”
“I’m not joking,” he insisted. “If you have an ounce of sense in your head, you’ll walk away and never look back.”
“Sense was never my strong suit. I’m told teenagers aren’t sensible people.”
He sighed deeply. “Okay,” he said theatrically. “I’ll give you three choices, since you were kind enough to do so for me. All right?”
I nodded, a smile creeping onto my face.
“Then come on down, you’re the next contestant!” he said in his best TV-announcer voice. “Here are your options! One: A happy, worry-free life as a single woman. Two: Me. Three: You find a guy who’s right for you and live happily ever after. Pick a door, any door!”
“Door number two, please,” I announced, playing along.
“I’m serious!” Danny protested.
“So am I!” But I couldn’t help giggling. “It’s just hard not to laugh. You’re really funny!”
He raised a questioning eyebrow. “Funny ha-ha or funny strange?”
“Both.”
“Is it at least an equal mix?”
“No. One more so than the other.” I turned to look out the window, at the pedestrians watching with interest as our limo pulled into the movie theater parking lot.

Author Bio:
Jessica Koch (born in Ludwigsburg, Germany) began writing short stories when she was still in high school, but never submitted her work to publishers. In late 1999, shortly after beginning her studies to become an architectural drafter, she met Danny, a German-American dual national. Her experiences with him eventually formed the basis for So Near the Horizon, though it was nearly thirteen years before she felt ready to bring the manuscript to the public.
The author describes a life lived somewhere between hope and fear, between optimism and despair. She reflects on events from her own past with raw honesty, confronting more than one difficult subject along the way.
Jessica Koch lives near the city of Heilbronn with her husband, their son, and two dogs. The second and third books in the trilogy, So Near the Abyss and So Near the Ocean, are already best-sellers in Germany as well.


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~Cassie

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cover Reveal: Deadly Sweet

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

Synopsis: 
For fans of Hex Hall, The Magicians, Practical Magic, and Food Wars!
Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spellbooks in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.
Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’s not supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.
The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.
If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brûlée.
Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death?

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

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~Cassie

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #114

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: 

The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare, #1)The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano 

Publication Date: October 24th, 2017


Synopsis:

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.


Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?
 


I have not read anything by Ms. DeStefano before, but I'm excited to start with this novel.  I think this sounds incredibly unique and unlike anything I have ever read before! Spies, destructive powers, cursed princes? What more can you want from a book? 
Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum 
Publication Date: October 31st, 2017 

Synopsis:

The Wicker King is a psychological young adult thriller that follows two friends struggling as one spirals into madness.

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.
 


This synopsis reminds me so much of Challenger Deep, one of my all time favorite novels about mental health. I'm not sure if this book is also grounded in the structure of mental health, but it sounds like it! I can't wait to read this novel and learn more about Jack and his trials with The Wicker King. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Book Review: Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1)

Off the Ice (Juniper Falls, #1)About the Book:
Title: Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1)
Author: Julie Cross
Pub. Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Pages: 320
Rating: 3.5/5 stars


Synopsis:

All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

Review:

Romance mixed with hockey? I'm definitely down for that!! This was a great new story from Julie Cross and I can't wait for the rest of the series. I have been a fan of Julie Cross since picking up The Tempest, and this book was a good start to the new Juniper Falls series. With complex characters and the perfect balance of sports and romance, this is a definite must read for any contemporary romance/NA fan. There were a couple things that made me lower my rating, but all in all this was the perfect rainy day read. 

The story follows Tate and Claire who were both very well-developed right from the start. I truly connected with each one of the characters and it made me love the story even more. Both characters were easy to relate to and both had some secrets that only the other one knew. The story was very gritty and real at times, and it definitely wasn't what I had initially expected from the novel. But it was a nice change. There is some tough subject matter featured, but Julie Cross does an excellent job at portraying everything in a realistic light. There are many scenes that are, at their core, raw and stripped to the bone. Ms. Cross handles the horrors that Tate faces to the sadness that Claire deals with every day with the perfect writing hand and delivers an emotional and gripping story.

I was rooting for Claire and Tate from the very beginning and I loved watching their relationship progress. However, there were many times their relationship got down right frustrating to me. There was a little too much back and forth between them. They kept building their walls higher and higher and not letting the other in, and even when both Tate and Claire are fighting for the other, it was almost as if no progress was being made. Obviously, this slowed the plot down significantly...especially in the first part of the book. If I were rating this book based on the first part, I would have probably give it 2.5 stars due to the pacing. It was incredibly slow and tedious, and it made me enjoy the book less. Honestly, I felt like you could cut out a large portion of the first part of this book and it wouldn't have made a difference plot-wise. What it would have done though is sped the book up and allowed the reader to get to the heart of the story much faster. 

I will say though, after the first half of this book, the story was very different. So don't give up based on that first half because you will wind up missing out on an excellent story. The second half of this book is fast-paced and wonderfully written. I do think that perhaps the reason the first part was slow is because there needed to be some set up down, but still, once you get past that first half, you will find yourself enjoying the book much more.

I can't wait to read the next book in this series, and I'm interested to see who it will be about. There are many side characters that I loved and would be excited to read more about, so we will have to wait and see! Add this to your TBR pile now!


Happy reading :)

~Cassie