Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Book Blitz: Waking the Dead

Tour Graphic
Book Cover
About the Book:
Title: WAKING THE DEAD
Author: D.B. SIEDERS
Series: Soul Broker # 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Suspense
Publisher: City Owl Press
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Synopsis:

The road to hell begins when the reaper darkens her door.
A chance encounter with a dying stranger opens an empathic connection between down-on-her-luck caregiver Vivian Bedford and the world of spirits. Lazarus Darkmore, a grim reaper in a charming and seductive package, seeks to recruit her as a soul broker. Guardian spirit Ezra and his new apprentice Zeke offer protection from the reaper--so long as she works on their side of afterlife management. But these guardians are no angels, and their methods leave Vivian fearing the price of their protection.
Her ability to channel conscious energy from the living, something no guardian or reaper can do, could be a game changer. If she can control it, she can use this power as leverage. And she needs a bargaining chip, especially when she discovers that incapacitated living mortals can supply energy for the spirit realm, making her disabled sister Mae a prime target for guardian and reaper alike.
Can she move from pawn to major player in order to save Mae, and herself, from a horrific fate beyond the simple and fleeting terrors of death?
Purchase Links

Giveaway

Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
One $25 Amazon Gift Card
Three (3) free eBook copies of Lorelei's Lyric (Southern Elemental Guardians # 1)
Contest runs from March 28 - 30, 2017.
Author Pic
About the Author
I was born and raised in East Tennessee and spent my childhood hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, wading barefoot in creeks, chasing salamanders, fish, and frogs. We loved to tell stories while sitting around the campfire.
Those days of frog chasing sparked my interest in biology. I am a working scientist by day, but I never lost my love of telling stories.
I write contemporary fantasy, fantasy romance, and contemporary romance. My stories feature unlikely heroes and heroines who face a healthy dose of angst as they strive for redemption and a happily ever after, which everyone deserves. I live in Nashville, Tennessee with my husband, two children, three cats, and my very active imagination.
Connect with D.B. Sieders on social media:
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Book Unleashed

~Cassie

ARC Review: Bang

About The Book:

  Title: Bang
  Author: Barry Lyga 
  Pub. Date: April 18th, 2017
  Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
  Pages: 304
  Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary 
  Rate: 4/5 stars 




Synopsis :

A chunk of old memory, adrift in a pool of blood.

Sebastian Cody did something horrible, something no one--not even Sebastian himself--can forgive. At the age of four, he accidentally shot and killed his infant sister with his father's gun.

Now, ten years later, Sebastian has lived with the guilt and horror for his entire life. With his best friend away for the summer, Sebastian has only a new friend--Aneesa--to distract him from his darkest thoughts. But even this relationship cannot blunt the pain of his past. Because Sebastian knows exactly how to rectify his childhood crime and sanctify his past. 

It took a gun to get him into this.

Now he needs a gun to get out.

Review:

"I never ask people about their families or their pasts. 
Because then they would ask me about mine."

It takes a true visionary to take such an important and sensitive topic and tackle it in such a polished way. That's exactly what Mr. Lyga does in his new novel. Bang follows 4-year-old Sebastian while he pointed a gun at his 4-month-old sister and shot her at point-blank range, killing her instantly. Ten years later, Sebastian is ready to end the suffering he caused by shooting himself with a handgun. When Sebastian meets a new neighbor who is around the same age as him that he is attracted to, he doesn't change his mind, but instead decides to put his suicide off for a little while longer. Until when? He doesn't know, but the voice in his head will let him know when it's time.

"- The voice says nothing, but its silence tells me everything."

My heart ached so profoundly for Sebastian. I felt pangs of guilt reading his thoughts. Carrying that burden since four years of age, Sebastian was tormented by himself, by his classmates, and maybe most importantly - the split of his parents. Sebastian is an extremely strong character. He might not be handling his pain the best way, but how does a 14-year-old handle that kind of suffering? As an almost School Psychologist, it seems like Sebastian definitely suffers from PTSD. It is clear during times when the shooting is brought up. While he is usually calm on the outside, just the mention sometimes makes him shutdown or verbally act out. He definitely does not like to talk about it. When his best friend goes to camp for the summer, Sebastian believes it is almost time to kill himself. However, when he meets Aneesa, his plans change. Whether it's just hanging out or making pizza - Sebastian suddenly has things he is looking forward to in his life. He finds himself telling Aneesa things he's never told anyone before. Being a Muslim girl in a predominantly white neighborhood, Aneesa is dealing with conflicts of her own right now, but she is emotionally there for Sebastian in all the ways that are important. Sebastian starts having feelings for Aneesa, but what kind of feelings are they? And does she feel the same way? Aneesa is a beautiful character inside and out, as is Sebastian. Mr. Lyga crafts their dynamic in such a great way, they are characters that will truly be remembered!

This is a strong book about family, grief, loss, and hope. With blunt and beautiful writing, Bang easily became one of my favorite novels of 2017. This is the first novel I have ever read by Mr. Lyga, and I can assure you that it won't be my last. If you like books about important topics, add this one to your TBR! Sebastian will be a character that stays with you long after you finish the last page, trust me.


Thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing
this book in exchange for my honest review. 

- Jocelyn

Monday, March 27, 2017

Book Review - Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)

About The Book:

  Title: Frostblood (Frostblood Saga, #1)
  Author: Elly Blake 
  Pub. Date: January 10th, 2017 
  Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
  Pages: 376
  Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance 
  Rate: 3/5 stars 




Synopsis :

The frost king will burn.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating—yet irresistible—Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her—and from the icy young man she has come to love.
 

Review:

"Affairs between fire and frost rarely end well." 

At first glance, this looks eerily similar to any YA fantasy that you may have read in the past few years. And the reality is, the first half of the book is very much like your cookie-cutter YA fantasy. You have a love triangle, you have rebellion, and you have your character who is different yet very very important to the entire kingdom. Your outcast is Ruby, a teenage girl who is similar to other YA heroines except she has the power to wield fire. Ruby lives in a kingdom that is ruled by frost, so when the kingdom raids her village looking for firebloods, her mother is killed and she is taken to prison. There she is broken out by rebel frostbloods, wanting her help at destroying the throne.

A big gripe that I have with this book is that I feel like the description totally ruins the climax of this story. She doesn't get captured until close to the middle of the book, and you already know it's coming based on the description. As I was reading I kept wondering "when is this going to happen". I think that if that was omitted from the description I would have been enjoying the present in the story rather than expecting something to happen. For me the beginning was boring, because I kept waiting for her to get captured and fight in this tournament. I feel like the tournament could have been a great part of the book, but it was hastily described and it felt like it was passed over carelessly.

I must admit, there were a few shocking turns in this book that I did not see coming. The farther the book progressed, the more this book seemed to hold its own in the fantasy world. It was becoming more and more unique by the page, and I really liked that. The romance Ruby finds herself in is swoonworthy. Arcus developed from your common brooding male protagonist into a distinctive persona. I think I'll continue with this series because of how much better it got towards the end. This book is obviously for fans of books like Red Queen and the Throne of Glass Series because it embodies them so much. Have you read Frostblood yet? What are your thoughts?!



- Jocelyn

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Book Blitz: Back to You

Tour Graphic

Book CoverAbout the Book:
Title: BACK TO YOU
Author: CJ MIRANDA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Publication Date: March 25, 2017
Synopsis:

Four years after the most confusing summer of her life, recent college graduate Iris Tilley is moving back home with no idea of the repercussions waiting to greet her. Going home means reconnecting with her dad, facing her motherless home, and confronting her gorgeous neighbor, Weston Alcorn.
And all of this, unfortunately, has to be done in a small southern town where gossip is a prized currency.
As the summer forges on, Iris struggles to find her place in a town that’s changed as much as it’s stayed the same, and it doesn’t help that Weston doesn’t seem to know how to treat her. Through awkward encounters, tense conversations, and heartbreaking revelations, neither Weston nor Iris can ignore the spark they ignited four years prior. But as Iris's past and the prospect of her future violently clash, it's no longer a question of can they ignore it, but will they have the chance?
Purchase Links
Amazon | Books2Read
Teaser

Author Pic
About CJ Miranda

CJ Miranda is a twenty-four year old LSU graduate with a romantic side she's never shown to the people in her life. Having grown up quiet, shy, and incredibly sarcastic in a small town she never felt a part of, CJ spent her spare time writing multiple romance novels that she posted for free online. Having done that since she was thirteen, she now feels that it's time to pursue what has always been her dream. 

When she's not writing or reading, she's either working at her day job or drinking wine with her best friend/roommate and laughing at whatever their diva dogs are doing.

Official website: http://www.authorcjmiranda.com
Connect with CJ Miranda on social media:
In partnership with
Book Unleashed

~Cassie

Friday, March 24, 2017

Book Blitz: The Mortal Falls (Undercover Elementals #1)

Tour Graphic

Book Cover
About the Book:
Title: THE MORTAL FALLS
Author: ANNA DURAND
Series: Undercover Elementals, Book 1
Publisher: Jacobsville Books
Publication Date: March 24, 2017
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis:

A pragmatic human thrown into a world of magic...
Lindsey Porter fled from her traumatic past, determined to lay low, but now someone has framed her for murder. The quest for answers leads her into a parallel realm where magic reigns, and with a hostile sheriff and a shapeshifting assassin on her trail, she must place her life in the hands of a seductive, supernatural man who tempts her like no one else.
An immortal sylph enslaved by magic...
Nevan is trapped by a desperate bargain struck a century earlier, yet the beautiful, spirited Lindsey has enticed him to abandon his magically enforced duty. As forbidden passion flares between them, they'll risk everything to uncover the truth and find what they both need the most—redemption.
When two worlds collide...
The fates of the elemental and mortal realms depend on the star-crossed lovers. As dark secrets from their pasts threaten to shatter the fragile trust between Lindsey and Nevan, a shocking revelation holds the power to deliver salvation or destruction.

Purchase Links

Teaser
Giveaway
Contest runs from March 24 - 26, 2017.
About Anna Durand
Author Pic
Anna Durand is an award-winning, bestselling author of sizzling romances, including the Hot Scots series. She loves writing about spunky heroines and hunky heroes, in settings as diverse as modern Chicago and the fairy realm. Making use of her master's in library science, she owns a cataloging services company that caters to indie authors and publishers. In her free time, you'll find her binge-listening to audiobooks, playing with puppies, or crafting jewelry.
Official website: https://annadurand.com/
Connect with Anna Durand on social media:


In partnership with
Book Unleashed

~Cassie

Cover Reveal: Claimed By Power

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About the Book:
Title: Claimed By Power
Author: Zoey Ellis
Publication date: April 3rd 2017
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis: 
Not all angels are angelic…
Thea Robinson has never needed anyone’s charity. Sure, her impoverished existence isn’t desired by most, but her ability to manipulate people’s emotions helps her to blend into the shadows of an unforgiving city. When hideous creatures threaten her life, a surly but gorgeous stranger shows up revealing a world she didn’t know existed. She refuses to put up with his rude, arrogant attitude, but how do you dismiss a warrior angel? And does she really want to when his stormy gaze sends delicious thrills straight to her core?
Cam is one of the most ruthless Power angels in the fight against evil. His devotion to kill demons has made him a celebrated warrior in the Angel Realm, even though his motivation stems from grief. When he is assigned to train and protect a half-angel just coming into her abilities, his rage is unparalleled. Until he realizes Thea isn’t like any others. She stirs a carnal passion in him that he can’t shake. He never counted on her being so beautiful… so fierce… so most definitely his.
Claimed by Power is the first book in the Empire of Angels series, a paranormal alpha angel romance series. If you’re a fan of alpha heroes, powerful heroines, paranormal worlds and falling in love, Zoey Ellis’ riveting, sexy tale is perfect for you.
About the end: Although this book can be read as a standalone, Cam and Thea’s story does continue over the next two books.
Sexual scenes and strong language included. Not suitable for readers under 18.
EXCERPT:
“What exactly are my powers?” Thea asked
The angel stood up. “Not now. It’s time to go. You have your answers.”
Frustrated, she exhaled loudly. She went to her wardrobe and grabbed a bra, top, and another pair of jeans. The angel turned away, allowing her to dress. She eyed him from behind. So angels were real. And they were handsome and powerful and stern. Nothing like she would have ever imagined them to be. He couldn’t even crack a smile and yet mocked her like a child. Were all angels like that? Maybe he didn’t like humans.
“At least tell me why they sent you,” she said, smoothing down her top. “Why you?”
“Why not me?” he said, almost in a growl. “Who would you prefer?”
“I don’t know,” Thea said, lifting her shoulders. “Someone able to smile once in a while?”
He turned to face her, his plain expression flavored with annoyance. “I’m not here to entertain you. You need someone to train you and help you learn how to control your abilities. I’m the best there is. You should be honored.”
Thea shook her head, annoyed. Trained? Like a puppy? Not happening. Especially not by this man, who’d been abrupt with her from the start, despite his careful treatment of her wounds. “I should be honored? Honored that I was attacked by those creatures? Honored that I almost got ripped apart? Honored that you had to come and save me, a poor damsel in distress?”
His face hardened with each word she said, but she couldn’t give a fuck.
“I don’t need to be saved by a warrior who can’t stop the horrors happening in this city every day. Or by a God that keeps himself hidden from those he’s supposed to inspire? People are raped and drugged and killed every day; where are you then? Where is He then? I’ve gotten this far without the help of you or God, and I’ll be fine to continue without you.”
The angel’s stance didn’t change. The only indication of his agitation was in the grounding of his jaw. “You’re being irrational. If I was able to find you here, the demons will find you here. You cannot escape them. Pack. Now.”
“No.” She grabbed her phone. “You go. Thanks very much, but I’ll be fine.”
With a low grunt of frustration, the angel grabbed her around the waist quicker than she would have thought possible. He flew up to the ceiling, his rock-like arm digging into her stomach, pressing her against his chest. He swept his free hand over the length of the room. The room began to glow and then burst into flames, smoke eating up the remaining air.
“No!” She struggled to get out of his arms while her home and everything she owned burned.
He leapt out of the window, holding onto her as he flew over the city.


Author Bio:
Zoey Ellis spends her most of her time thinking up stories that explore how love and romance can be tested by the darker side of our personalities and the heart-wrenching challenges that must be overcome for love to win, even if two people belong together.
A lover of the fantastical, Zoey enjoys how intense and vast the challenges can be for couples in the paranormal romance genre. Her goal is to build a body of work depicting thrilling, fantastical romances between demanding alpha heroes and fiery heroines hoping the love they make will scorch ereaders and melt hearts. With a soft spot for angels, dragons and alpha shifters, Zoey blends her love of a Happy Ever After with strangely unique worlds and complex plots.
If you're interested in hearing about Zoey's new releases first, as well as her bonuses and giveaways, sign up to her newsletter.

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~Cassie

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Book Review: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

About The Book:

  Title: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)
  Author: Claudia Gray  
  Pub. Date: November 4th, 2014
  Publisher: HarperTeen 
  Pages: 360
  Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance 
  Rate: 4/5 stars 




Synopsis :

Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.

Review:

"I would love you in any shape, in any world, with any past.
Never doubt that."


I've wanted to read this book since it was compared to Orphan Black, one of my FAVORITE TV shows. I'm glad I finally did! There was so much I loved about this first installment in the Firebird trilogy. It's a spectacular tale about time traveling, love, and family. When Marguerite's family discovers her dad was killed, years of research is missing, and Paul Marcov has jumped into another dimension with the device that allows people to travel into different universes, Marguerite is intent on finding him and killing him. Her and another research assistant, who happens to be Paul's best friend, take a Firebird prototype, and hop into the neighboring dimension to find him. When Marguerite finally finds Paul, he leaves her with more questions than answers before jumping to another universe. After she finally gets some answers, she realizes things are really not as they seem.

The characters are amazing. Since they jump into different universes, they are intensely multidimensional. You really get to know the characters on a personal level because while they are ultimately different people in the other dimensions, they are the same at their core. For example, the original dimension's Marguerite loves to paint canvases, however one of the dimensions Marguerite draws intricate sketches. And while they all live in different places at different time periods, it truly seems that their intentions and deepest desires are unchanging. This book will keep you guessing from page one - Is everyone who they seem? What are this dimensions motivations? Not only are the characters wonderful, but the wold building is glorious. Ms. Gray crafts not only one, but several unique worlds into one book. Even if you only get a small taste of a world, I felt like I knew all of the important workings and features of each one.

If you enjoy science fiction novels mixed with some romance, you will love this book. This book was a great mixture of action, swoony romance, and science. I already have the next book in the series, and I'm ready to start it as soon as I finish up with the book I'm reading now. Have you read any of the Firebird trilogy? What are your opinions about it?

"I fell in love with his unchanging soul."




- Jocelyn

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #91

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: 
Legion (Talon, #4)

Legion (Talon #4) by Julie Kagawa
Publication Date: April 25, 2017

Synopsis:

Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all--dragons do not suffer human emotions--let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she's capable of doing and feeling.

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante--the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known.

Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield.
 


I seriously can't wait for the fourth book in this series! Julie Kagawa writes such amazing stories, and this series has been no exception. I have no idea what she has in store for us with this story, but I'm eager to find out.  And with only one book left after this, I'm kinda nervous for any twists she throws our way in the end.


Jocelyn's Waiting On: 

Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden, #1) by Joelle Charbonneau 
Publication Date: June 6, 2017  


Synopsis:

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?


Just look at that cover!! Can it even get more beautiful? Besides the stunning cover, I am SO excited to see Ms. Charbonneau craft a fantasy story. We already know that she can write great dystopias with her series - The Testing, so I'm sure this will be a great one!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Blitz: A Star to Steer Her By

About the Book:
Title: A Star to Steer Her By
Author: Beth Anne Miller
Published by: Entangled Embrace
Publication date: March 20, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis: 
I’m scarred. Broken. I’ll never be the same.
But I will take this journey.
Ever since my last dive ended in bloodshed, I’ve been terrified to go back into the water. But the opportunity to spend a semester at sea is too good to pass up. I need to get my life back.
I never expected to love it this much. And I never expected Tristan MacDougall.
Rugged, strong, and with demons of his own, Tristan helps me find the courage I thought I had lost and heals me with every stolen moment we share. But the rules of the ship mean we can’t be together.
When a dive excursion goes terribly wrong, our only hope for survival is each other.


EXCERPT:
I was standing alone at the helm, under full sails and a glittering sky, guiding the ship unerringly across the endless black sea with only the stars to guide me, like the sailors of old. It was amazing. This was why I was here, why I’d gone ahead with this semester at sea, even after everything that had happened. Because I loved the sea, and wanted it to be a part of my life.
I returned my gaze upward, focusing on my guide star.
“‘And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.’”
The low voice came out of nowhere. I spun to the right, where I could just make out the vague outline of someone leaning against the stanchion that held Speedy the motorboat suspended at the stern.
“Tristan?” As soon as the question left my mouth, I rolled my eyes in the darkness. Of course it was him.
“Aye, it’s me.”
“How long have you been standing there?” I hissed. “And where the hell did you come from?” I’d been at the helm for at least half an hour, and I knew he hadn’t been there the whole time.
There was a flash of white in the darkness as he grinned. “I’ve been here for about five minutes. You were so focused on staring up at the stars that you didn’t see me. I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“So instead, you just lurked in the dark until you could scare the hell out of me. Makes sense,” I muttered, trying not to be too thrilled that he’d chosen to hang out up here with me. “What was it that you said, anyway?”
“It’s from a poem. The full verse is:
“‘I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.’”
His lilting accent gave the lines a musical quality, and a shiver ran down my spine. “It’s beautiful,” I said, “and perfectly describes the way I feel. You didn’t write that, did you?” Because it would be supremely unfair for him to be kind, gorgeous, athletic, musically brilliant, and a poet, too.

Author Bio:
My first book, written in elementary school, was bound in pink fabric and was about—what else?—a girl and her horse. I soon began cheating on horses with the sea, becoming an open water scuba diver at age 14. That love of the sea led me to a college semester aboard a schooner. I returned with fond memories of the exhilaration of being on a ship under full sail, less fond memories of hurling over the leeward rail on a daily basis, and a sailing bug I couldn’t quite shake.
In addition to horses and the sea, I have a fascination for all things Scottish (including, but not limited to, men in kilts), which I explored with my first novel, INTO THE SCOTTISH MIST (The Wild Rose Press, 2011), and carried into my new novel, A STAR TO STEER HER BY (Entangled Embrace, 2017). A native New Yorker, I work in the publishing industry and am always looking ahead to my next voyage, whether a short one on a dive boat or whale watch, or, with luck, a longer one on a tall ship. You can find me on the web at www.bethannemiller.com

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~Cassie

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Review: The Forgetting (The Forgetting #1)

The Forgetting (The Forgetting, #1)About the Book:
Title: The Forgetting (The Forgetting #1)
Author: Sharon Cameron
Pub. Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 403
Rating: 4/5 stars




Synopsis:

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.
 

Review:

“The past is never really gone. It only lies in wait for you, remembered or forgotten.” 

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this new novel from Sharon Cameron! Dystopian novels are very hit or miss for me (there's very few that are anywhere inbetween), and this one turned out to be a hit in my book! It's suspenseful, dark, and filled with twists that you'll never see coming. The beauty of this book is that Sharon Cameron drops hints throughout the entire book, but you never actually realize they're hints until the big reveal (which is also the major plot twist and take this book in an entirely different direction). After this reveal, you look back and realize it was in front of your face the entire time, and personally, that's my favorite type of thing while reading. The world-building is excellent, and there's just something that urges you to keep reading. Although I wasn't a fan of Ms. Cameron's first novel, I was a big fan of another novel of hers (Rook). I can honestly say that I am incredibly happy I gave her another chance because her storytelling keeps getting better and better!

“It's my choice that determines what I will become. Not the memories of the past.” 

Nadia, our main character, is a unique heroine to follow. She is a quiet rebel...literally. Nadia is a person of few words, and I think this is one of the things I liked about her, because I could relate to her a great deal. The only thing I liked about her is her inquisitive nature and how she's always on the hunt to learn. She's clever, quick-witted, and determined to figure out what actually is going on with The Forgetting. Nadia is just so different from current YA female leads, which made her POV very refreshing to read from. As you can tell from the synopsis, Nadia also has many secrets, and Gray (our romantic lead) is desperate to learn more. However, despite Nadia's quietness, they forge a bond that grows into something more. They have an excellent banter and their relationship is extremely believable. I honestly loved Nadia and Gray together simply because they helped each other grow and accomplish what the other wanted. 

“We are supposed to write the truth, for no one to see but ourselves. But how easily that truth can be twisted. Bend a little here, omit a little there, make yourself into the person you wish you were instead of the person you are. How easy to cut the truth away, to throw it in a fire, open your eyes, and have the whole world remember nothing of who you are. Nothing of what you’ve done. When you will not remember who you are or what you’ve done.” 

As I said, the world-building is absolutely fantastic, and you know right away that there's more going on than originally appears. That underlying mystery is what keeps you wanting to read, and when the big reveal goes down...it's definitely mind-blowing! I had plenty of theories while reading, but I certainly never guessed the truth. And after that plot twist, things slowly sink in...why characters are the way they are, who other characters are, and what's coming. The Forgetting is a mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian, and it all came alive through Ms. Cameron's writing. She weaves the story expertly, and there are many sub-plots that you don't think are important at first, but in the end...everything is important (remember that while reading). 
I think the direction that Ms. Cameron took was extremely creative and makes this book stand apart from the other dystopian novels out there currently.

“Knowing the truth makes me alone. I wrote that once, but I think I was wrong. Fear of pain is what has made me alone. But today I realized that pain and love have a balance. I can feel so much of one only because I feel so much of the other.” 

The conclusion of this novel is incredibly fast-paced and you'll be glued to the page. I honestly couldn't put the book down because I had to find out how everything would end. I highly recommend checking this book out if you're a fan of dystopian or sci-fi novels. Sharon Cameron spins a story that definitely will not disappoint, and emphasizes the importance of relationships and standing up for what you want. As a side note, I think this would make an excellent movie or TV show, but then again I don't know if I would actually want that for fear that they would mess it up! But this is a must-read, so add it to your TBR right now!



Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Friday, March 17, 2017

Blog Tour: Traveler

About the Book:
Title; Traveler (Traveler, #1)
Author: L.E. DeLano
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 7, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis:
A teen writer discovers that every mirror is a portal into an alternate version of her life in this romantic YA fantasy by author L.E. DeLano.
Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all teacakes, pirates and fantasy lifestyles…Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it… this Jessa is going to live.

Author Bio:
L.E. DeLano is a YA novelist rep’d by Barry Goldblatt Literary agency, author of the upcoming “Traveler” (Swoon Reads/MacMillan 2017) and lifelong writer. Her work has been featured on various online outlets and she lives in Pennsylvania with two very adventurous kids and two very ridiculous cats. In her spare time, she writes (of course) and binge-watches way too much Netflix.

Review:

I was going back and forth between 3.5 and 4 stars for awhile with this book because on one hand, I really loved this book, but on the other there were some predictable/run-of-the-mill aspects that I didn't enjoy as much. There is a lot to love about the story, and I think it was an excellent start to the series. Ms. DeLano set up the story perfectly for a sequel, and wrote a story that many will enjoy. 

I'm very picky when it comes to my time travel books. Time travel itself can go in so many directions (<-- see what I did there :P), and if the author doesn't write it well, unfortunately the whole book is a thumbs down from me. But Traveler is a great example of what a time travel book should be. It was simple, but creative. Nothing too overwhelming and very straightforward. Ms. DeLano does an excellent job at explaining and showing just how the time travel works. So automatically, this made the story that much more enjoyable for me. Her writing is also superb and the pacing is almost perfect. There were a couple times in the beginning where I felt it was slow, but once it hit a couple chapters in (and the story really got going), there was never a dull moment. I was easily able to read this in one sitting because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. There are a ton of plot twists that I didn't see coming, and the ending blew me away! I definitely didn't expect the conclusion of the story, and there is such a clever twist at the end that sets up the sequel perfectly.

Jessa is our main character (btw...love the name!). I thought she was a good lead female character, and easily relatable. She reacted exactly how any person would react to the new situation she was forced into, and she had an excellent sense of humor. I can't say that I 100% love her, but that will come in time I think when she matures and we have more character development with her. Finn is super sweet and I really loved him (especially the pirate version). He's very mysterious throughout the entire book, but he's very caring toward Jessa. I definitely want to know more about him though because we definitely didn't get the full story yet. Ben, Jessa's friend, is the other major character in the story, and he was fun and lovable. He's very supportive of Jessa and I loved how he stepped up to the plate once stuff started going down. Finally, Danny, Jessa's brother, played an interesting role. I'm actually interested to see what the author does with his character in future books because he might play a bigger role than what we originally imagine. 

There is romance in the story, and I thought it was done pretty well. However, it wasn't my favorite. There's an obvious love triangle that doesn't really happen (yet at least). Once you read the book, you'll see what I'm talking about, but I honestly do think Finn is a much better pick. I adored Finn and Jessa's banter and it was one of the aspects of their relationship that really cemented my love for the story. 

The couple of things that I didn't like was that some of the story was very predictable and cliche (at least to me). With such an original idea, I expected a little more than to have the story fall back on such cliche things. Also, I didn't 100% love how Jessa treated Ben throughout the story. I felt as if she led him on with her feelings, and I hate when characters do that. Granted, it isn't always obvious to the person, but still, it was pretty clear Ben liked Jessa as more than a friend from pretty early on. Finally, this book features a character with autism (Danny). First and foremost, I applaud any author that chooses to include such a character because there is not enough representation of ASD in novels today (even though it's very prevalent). This being said, there were times that I didn't think it was as well done as it should have been. Obviously, this could be the medical professional in me coming out, and no, not every person with ASD presents the same, but there are certain things that didn't line up with his character as well as Jessa's feelings when her brother didn't have autism in another timeline. These are just personal feelings though, so I tried not to let it effect my rating. Nevertheless, I still am very happy that such a character was included in this novel.

Overall, I would recommend checking Traveler out when you get the chance. It has a lot of potential to be an excellent series, and I'm excited to see where the story goes from here! The ending will blow you away, and with so many twists and turns...you truly never know what to expect in the next chapter! Definitely add this to your TBR right away!


Happy reading :)
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~Cassie