Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Blog Tour: This Heart of Mine

This Heart of Mine by C.C. HunterAbout the Book:
Title: This Heart of Mine
Author: C.C. Hunter
Pub. Date: February 27, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 384
Rating: 4.5/5 stars


A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living took more courage than dying?


C.C. Hunter has created another wonderful novel that is a departure from her normal novels. I absolutely adored this book, and C.C. Hunter proves that she can write an amazing contemporary story. The Author's Note at the end made this story even better because when you reflect back on the entire book, you can see Ms. Hunter's heart reflected on the page. You can see how much this book truly means to her, and that makes it special. 

The story follows Leah and Matt. At the start, Leah has resigned herself to the fact that she's going to die. It's not a matter of if, but when. She has a rare blood type that means getting the heart transplant she so desperately needs is pretty much a 1 in a billion chance of happening. Matt is the other half of an identical twin who recently lost his father. Both Matt and his brother, as well as their mom, are struggling with his loss. Leah and Matt's lives collide when Matt's brother dies unexpectedly and Leah is able to get the transplant she needs...because Matt's brother is the same blood type. From there, the story is one of emotional recovery, both on Leah and Matt's part. 

The story is absolutely fantastic in highlighting how 2 people dealing with very different types of changes work through things in a similar way. Leah is suddenly faced with possibilities...now that she has a new heart, she can actually think about college and the future; Matt dealing with the death of his brother on top of the fresh wound of his father's death is convinced that his brother didn't kill himself and is on a mission to prove it. But he also finds himself becoming closer to Leah, not only because she has his brother's heart, but because he sees something in her that no one else sees. I loved seeing the two of them together and see how they both struggled but persevered. Their story was truly heartwarming and uplifting. Even after a scary setback, Leah and Matt are there for each other and it seriously made me a bit misty-eyed.

I also loved the mystery element to the story, and this really helped the plot move forward. Don't get me wrong, this story would have been fantastic even without the mystery element, but it added to the book and made the whole story that much better. 

I highly recommend reading this book if you are a fan of C.C. Hunter or a fan of contemporary novels. This has a bit of a The Fault in Our Stars feel in regards to seizing the moment and living life to its fullest. This Heart of Mine captures your heart immediately and never lets it go. You will go on an emotional ride, full of serious, sweet, and sad moments that make you count your blessings and remember to be grateful for the love of your family and the life you have been given. The subject of this book is very important and results in a truly inspirational and amazing story!

Happy reading :)


Thursday, February 22, 2018

ARC Review: I Was Anastasia

About The Book:

  Title:  I Was Anastasia 
  Author: Ariel Lawhon
  Pub. Date: March 27th, 2018
  Publisher: Doubleday 
  Pages: 352
  Genre: Adult, Mystery, Biographical 
  Rate: 4/5 stars 

Synopsis :

Countless others have rendered their verdict. Now it is your turn.

Russia, July 17, 1918 Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed. 

Germany, February 17, 1920 A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia.

Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson. 

As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened.


We all know the beloved fairytale of the lost Russian princess, who may have gotten away after her family was murdered - but you don't know it like this. Ms. Lawhon rewinds Anna Anderson's story while chronologically telling Anastasia Romanov's story. She transforms the well-known story in such a way that hypes up the anticipation like you wouldn't even believe.

I was always a Romanov fanatic, but this novel made me even more intrigued. While this is technically historical fiction, it weaves together many true facts about the Romanovs and it's done so in such an ingenious way that doesn't feel like you're reading a history book. I seriously feel like I now know so much more about this family - maybe I'll make a powerpoint presentation (joking). And if you think you know the story, well, you don't know it like this. You will constantly be questioning who Anna Anderson is, and if she is in fact the lost Russian princess. Historically, you know what happens. The grave of Anastasia Romanov was found not too far from the rest of her family. But I know I'm not the only one that doesn't want to believe that was her (despite the genetic evidence). This book is perfect for all of you, who WANTED to badly for Anastasia to get away.

Ms. Lawhon will take you on an emotional rollercoaster breaking down the story of the imperial family and what happened in the years following their disappearance. The storytelling was historically beautiful, I just wish this book was a tad longer. It must have took a lot of work to take the entire history surrounding the family and squeeze it into this book. I would have liked to see certain parts be longer, but I understand it might have taken away from the mystery surrounding Anna Anderson.

If you are an Anastasia fan, pick up this book and forget what you think you know about the Romanovs because Ms. Lawhon puts a new spin on their story. And I'd love to know, for all of you Romanov fans ... what is your favorite novel (fiction or nonfiction) about the family?

Thank you to Doubleday Books for providing
this book in exchange for my honest review

- Jocelyn

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Blog Tour: Wicked Soul

About the Book:
Title: Wicked Soul (Ancient Blood, #1)
Author: Nora Ash
Publication date: February 10th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

He saved me… And then he blood-bonded me. Now I’m his.
My first meeting with a Chicago vampire went better than expected.
Up until that night, all I knew about vampires was limited to a few common facts: they drink blood, they get a mean sunburn and if you find yourself alone with one, you’re dead.
Except he didn’t kill me.
Sexy, broody Warin clearly had his own reasons for sparing my life and tying me with his blood, but if he’d known how much trouble I’d attract, I bet he wouldn’t have bothered. When he blood-bonded me, secrets even I didn’t know about myself came to light.
Secrets that will pull us both deep into the eternal war between vampires and the witches determined to rid the world of their evil.
We have only one choice now: fight the forces hell-bent on breaking our bond…
Or die.

Author Bio:
Nora Ash writes the sort of books that have your toes curling and your blood pulsing. Her stories are often dark and always thrilling, with lots of sexy bad boys and the women who spur their desires. When not typing away at a story, Nora paints, eats chocolate or go for hikes around the English countryside with her very own bad boy.

Sign up to get updated about new releases at: http://www.nora-ash.com/newsletter/


Nora Ash has given new life to the vampire genre!! Wicked Soul is an excellent start in a new vampire romance series. I was hoping that Wicked Soul would offer something different and not be like every other vampire themed book out there, and I was pleased to find that it was definitely new and exciting. Sure, there are some things that are typical of a vampire romance, but as a whole, Nora Ash breathed new life into a genre that has beaten into the dust. 

From the world-building to the characters to the action and steaminess, this book was excellent on multiple levels. I absolutely adored the world-building in this book. Nora Ash did an amazing job at incorporating new themes into the vampire genre while also still playing off of those stereotypical vampire traits. I was immediately taken in by the story and honestly never stopped reading. I spent the day reading the book because I wanted to find out what was going to happen next and to see where the story was going. The characters were also amazing!! Olivia, our female lead, was sarcastic and hilarious. I loved her tough-as-nails attitude and she always stayed true to herself. She didn't take anything lying down. Warin, our main vamp, was also an amazing character. I loved seeing him from Olivia's perspective however if I would change anything about this book, it would be that I would have loved to read from Warin's perspective as well. I think it would have added another element to the story. 

Together, Liv and Warin were perfect...and there is a lot more to their story than what you think. I loved how everything came together in the end, and even though I figured it out earlier in the book, I still loved watching it all come together and see how things played out. I also really loved the fact that things between Liv and Warin did develop over the course of the book. They actually took the time to get to know each other and were friends before they became anything more. But let me tell you, when they did become something more...OH BOY WAS IT STEAMY!!!! MUY CALIENTE!!!! 



I would highly recommend checking this book out if you are a fan of vampire romances and want something new in the genre. Nora Ash did an amazing job at starting out this series and I can't wait to read the next book, which focuses on Warin's brother, Aleric. This book is definitely addicting and you won't want to stop reading. Check this out now!!

Happy reading :)




Monday, February 12, 2018

ARC Review: In Her Skin

About The Book:

  Title: In Her Skin 
  Author: Kim Savage 
  Pub. Date: March 27th, 2018 
  Publisher: FSG 
  Pages: 304
  Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary 
  Rate: 4/5 stars 

Synopsis :

Sixteen-year-old con artist Jo Chastain is about to take on the biggest heist of her life: impersonating a missing girl. Life on the streets of Boston these past few years hasn’t been easy, and Jo is hoping to cash in on a little safety, a little security. She finds her opportunity in the Lovecrafts, a wealthy family with ties to the unsolved disappearance of Vivienne Weir, who vanished when she was nine. 

When Jo takes on Vivi's identity and stages the girl’s miraculous return, the Lovecrafts welcome her back with open arms. They give her everything she could want: love, money, and proximity to their intoxicating and unpredictable daughter, Temple. But nothing is as it seems in the Lovecraft household—and some secrets refuse to stay buried. As hidden crimes come to the surface, and lines of deception begin to blur, Jo must choose to either hold onto an illusion of safety, or escape the danger around her before it’s too late.


In Her Skin is a delightful addition to the already amazing year we are having for book releases. This story follows Jolene Chastain as she impersonates Vivi, a girl who disappeared from her neighbor's house years prior. When Jo realizes Vivi's parents died in a plane crash but long after her disappearance, she bets she'll be able to fool whoever was put in custody of her. Which just so happens to be her neighbors - and the very house she went missing from. She will be able to fool Mr. and Mrs. Lovecraft, but can she convince Temple, her childhood best friend?

"Jolene Chastain doesn't need rescuing.
But Vivienne Weir might." 

Jolene Chastain is one tough girl. She doesn't rely on anyone to take care of her, and she's lived on the streets since her mother was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. She thinks all she needs is money, but she hasn't felt the love a family. I loved her character and thought her development throughout this book was fantastic. However, my favorite character was Temple. She was mysterious and rivaling Jo in duplicity. A smart girl with a wild streak, I would have appreciated a deeper look inside her thoughts of 'Vivi' and their relationship as children. Characters aside, In Her Skin is surprisingly creepy and shocking at every turn - so don't let that pretty cover fool you!

This book is perfect for those who want to make the transition into some adult material, because I definitely think this book has a ton of crossover appeal. I haven't read any of Ms. Savage's other books, but I'm definitely thinking about picking them up because this book was such an exciting and fast-paced read. If you are planning to order some spring 2018 releases, you should add In Her Skin to your list. 

Thank you to Fierce Reads for providing this book
in exchange for my honest review

- Jocelyn

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday #130

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: 
Ink, Iron, and Glass (Ink, Iron, and Glass, #1)
Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare
Publication Date: February 20th, 2018


Can she write a world gone wrong?

A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation by her mother—a noted scriptologist.

But when her home is attacked and her mother abducted, Elsa must cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative 19th-century Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of pazzerellones—young people with a gift for mechanics, alchemy or scriptology—and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

This book just sounds AMAZING!!! I'm so intrigued by the uniqueness of the synopsis and I hope that it will be like nothing I have read before.  Plus, this cover is absolutely stunning!  I can't wait to dive into this one!!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Book Review: Seeking Mansfield (Seeking Mansfield #1)

Seeking Mansfield (Seeking Mansfield, #1)About the Book:
Title: Seeking Mansfield (Seeking Mansfield #1)
Author: Kate Watson
Pub. Date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Flux
Pages: 300
Rating: 4/5 stars


Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram's son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver's constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she'd finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater. 

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram's, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver's stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her. 

But Finley doesn't want to be won, and she doesn't want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver's heart—and keep her own—she'll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.


Even though I wasn't the biggest fan of the original Mansfield Park, I am definitely a sucker for a Jane Austen retelling! So I knew without a doubt I was going to be checking out Kate Watson's retelling...and let me tell you, it was more or less perfect! She seamlessly updates the original story for a new generation while still building on that creepy atmosphere that was part of the original novel. Her writing is superb that made you love every bit of the story, and the pacing was perfect making it a relatively quick read. 

The characters were excellently written and very true to their original counterparts. Ms. Watson updated the story enough for it to feel like a totally new story, but for fans of Jane Austen, you'll easily be able to see the connections. All of the characters were smart and fun to read. Finley is an easy character to like. She's sensible yet shy. I loved her friendship with Oliver because he was the one person who was always there, supporting her and keeping her above water when she felt like drowning. But the thing I loved the most was her development over the course of the story. Finley blossoms all on her own and becomes someone that you admire a great deal. I was easily able to connect to Finley (much more than I did Fanny Price in the original novel). Oliver...Oliver is seriously the sweetest, most generous person. I could go on for days about him and his character that's how much I loved him. But I'll let you discover his wonderful character all on your own.

While I'm not a fan of love triangles (in this case it's more of a square than a triangle actually), for some reason I didn't mind it at all in this novel. How Kate Watson managed to do this, I don't know, but she made it work so well that the love triangle didn't seem out of place or unnecessary--which is typically my biggest complaint. 

I highly recommend checking out this novel by Kate Watson if you are a fan of Jane Austen retellings. It is one of the best I have seen, and was very impressed by how much I enjoyed Finley's story. Even if you aren't a fan of Jane Austen and have never read a single thing by her, you'll still enjoy this book. And I think that's what makes this story even better--it can be thoroughly be enjoyed by everyone! 

Happy reading :)


Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden #1)

Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden, #1)About the Book:
Title: Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden #1)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Pub. Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 336
Rating: 3.5/5 stars


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?


When I saw Joelle Charbonneau was writing a new series/duology, I immediately added it to my TBR pile. I was a big fan of her previous series, The Testing, and I liked her writing style so this was an automatic must-read for me. Fortunately, I enjoyed it just as much! While very different from Ms. Charbonneau's previous trilogy, Dividing Eden will hook you just the same. I honestly never wanted to put this book down because I was that intrigued! While it was a bit predictable, it definitely didn't disappoint.

This story follows Carys and Andreus, a brother and sister team who will go to great lengths for each other and know each other better than they know themselves. I loved the dynamic they had in the beginning of the story. However, 2 unfortunate deaths begin to drive a wedge between them that slowly grows wider and wider as the story progresses. As Andreus spirals further and further into madness, Carys is left wondering what has become of her brother and is desperate to find a way to bring him back to her. While the plot of the story is relatively simple, there are many layers to this story that have yet to be discovered. This was a great introduction to the world while still keeping an excellent pace. There was never a time when the story felt bogged down by too much detail. Ms. Charbonneau begins to hint at a magical element that will be incorporated into the story, which I'm greatly looking forward to! This aspect will just add yet another awesome layer to this duology. 

I truly loved Carys as one of our lead characters. Told in alternating POVs between Carys and Andreus, I feel like Carys is the automatic standout. She is willing to do anything to ensure her brother's safety. She has no desire to sit on the throne (even though she has just as much of a right as Andreus does), but she wants to be by his side while Andreus is there. When the competition starts, I loved that she came up with a plan to guarantee each siblings' safety...but alas, plans don't always work out. I was rooting for Carys the entire novel, and it broke my heart to see her affected as much as she was as she watched Andreus become a person she never thought possible. Andreus' POV was very interesting as well, but for a different reason. While I didn't particularly like his character (which you really aren't supposed to haha), I found his perspective fascinating. I feel like there is more going on with him and maybe he even has some magical powers himself that are being manifested as his mysterious "illness." Imogen, a seer for the kingdom (who may or may not be a fraud), got under his skin and personally I was hoping something would happen to her character because I hated her. 

One of the things that did make me lower my rating was that I wish the magical element would have been incorporated a little more in this novel. It's hinted at several times throughout, but nothing is fully confirmed (with the exception of 1 scene). I know that this will obviously play a larger role in the next novel, but I wish it was a bit more fleshed out now. Additionally, unless I am right and there is something more going on with Andreus, his "madness" seemed to be a bit too sudden. It honestly was like one scene he was okay and then the next he was cruel and merciless. I hope this will be explained more in the next book as well, but for now it seemed too drastic of a change in a short period of time. 

I would highly recommend this book if you are a fan of the fantasy genre or Joelle Charbonneau. I thought her writing improved from her previous series, and she has crafted an excellent new world. ...one I never wanted leave. She has set up the next book (or perhaps even the rest of a series) perfectly, and there is plenty of room for world-building and characterization in the upcoming novel/s. I am very intrigued as to where Carys and Andreus' story will go!

Happy reading :)