Friday, November 17, 2017

Blog Tour: Not Now, Not Ever

Not Now, Not EverAbout the Book:
Title: Not Now, Not Ever
Author: Lily Anderson
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: November 21, 2017
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis:

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer. 

1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer's going to be great.



About the Author:

LILY ANDERSON is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. She is also the author of The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You.





Review:

I absolutely adored Ms. Anderson's first book, The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You, so when I saw that she was a companion novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it as soon as possible. Not Now, Not Ever was such a fun and unique story that is sure to be just as much of a hit as her first book. There is a lot to love about this book and Ms. Anderson wrote this story expertly. 

Inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest, the story follows Elliot Lawrence Gabaroch (who renames herself Ever Lawrence). Ever doesn't want to go the path that everyone else wants her (her mom: joining the Air Force; her dad: law school), so she makes her own path and sneaks away to "genius camp" in order to win a scholarship to her dream school. I really enjoyed how Ms. Anderson incorporated The Importance of Being Earnest into the story by including quotes from the play. Ever's stepmom has been in the play repeatedly so she virtually knows the entire play by heart, which meant that anytime Ever quoted the play...it didn't feel forced. The incorporation of the play felt natural and made for some fun connections. I truly loved how Ever would find ways of applying the quotes to her life and the things she was going through. 

Ever was such a fantastic character in this novel. She is definitely different than Ms. Anderson's previous MC, but Ever still has that sarcastic and witty humor. Ever's character goes through a journey in this book (and because of that the book does have a little bit more of a serious undertone to it). I loved how Ms. Anderson incorporated the idea of how we present ourselves to others and how that might not be how we actually are. There is also the exploration of identity (i.e. who we are and want to be versus what others want us to be) and the secrets we keep from others. These aspects of the story are something that can resonate with all readers and gave the story more depth than I was expecting. 

While this book has a little more serious-ness to it, there is plenty of fun banter that goes back and forth between the characters. The group that Ever is in truly fits her. She has a group of friends that are always there and want the others to succeed. I was constantly laughing at the witty banter that existed in their group. Honestly, they were just plain fun! And I felt like I was apart of their group too. I truly adored Ever and Leigh's friendship. Their friendship is truly one of complete acceptance, understanding, and support. I loved watching their friendship grow and develop into almost a sister-like bond. I was happy (and relieved) that they never became super competitive or catty, and instead were constantly there for each other being each other's cheerleader. 

Overall, Lily Anderson's new novel is definitely a hit and a must-read for all fans of her first book. There is so much to love about this story, and the entire book is written perfectly. There is a nice balance of serious and fun, which made the book even more enjoyable. I did get a little lost at first with all of the other teams and their corresponding teammates, but honestly I wasn't ever super confused that it took away from the reading experience. Definitely pick this one up as soon as it hits shelves!


Happy reading :)

Huge thank you to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to participate in the blog tour and read an early copy of this book!

~Cassie

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #122

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 Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)Publication Date: January 2nd, 2018

Synopsis:


Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.


Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
 


I'm a big fan of Holly Black, so it's a no brainer that I'm going to check out her newest novel! I'm interested to see where she takes the story and I know that it's going to be the perfect mix of dark and intriguing.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review: Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1)

Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)About the Book:
Title: Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Pub. Date: January 18, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 480
Rating:  2/5 stars

Synopsis:

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Review:

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So I gave myself a long time after finishing this book before reviewing it for a specific reason. I wanted to see if it would stick with me. And it didn't. I actually lowered my rating for it because it's been about 2 months, and honestly, I can barely remember a thing about the story. Trust me, I wanted to be able to write a rave review about a new Veronica Roth book, but I can't. Not with this one. I know that there's a ton of controversy over this book right now, and I wasn't even aware of it until after I finished reading the book. But the thing is, I honestly didn't see any of the controversial things that people are talking about. There were a lot of problems with this book in my opinion and unfortunately I don't know how much more Veronica Roth I'm going to be reading after this.

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Let's start with perhaps my biggest thing about this book...it's confusing as hell! I was literally wondering what was going on half the time because I was so lost. On top of this, it was slow. I'm talking like slower than a snail. When you put confusing and slow together it doesn't mean good things (as I'm sure you can imagine). It took me so long to get through this book because it wasn't holding my interest. And judging by the fact that I can't even remember the characters names after 2 months...it says a lot about how interested I actually was while reading. At first I was following the story pretty well, but once I got to a certain point in the story I found myself looking around and having no clue where I even was. It seemed like huge chunks of time were passing and apparently I had no idea. One second we were in one place and then suddenly we were somewhere else with entirely new characters. I get that this was told from multiple POVs, but that's not what I'm talking about. The changes were abrupt and made no sense whatsoever. 


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I think one of the other big problems I had is the fact that it seemed so generic. Like there was nothing new or interesting to differentiate this from any other sci-fi book. There was a lot of this book that was boring and absolutely pointless, and at one point I ended up skipping a big chunk just to get through it faster. The action isn't written all that well, and I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. I felt like the characters and the world were just there, and Veronica Roth didn't feel it was necessary for us to understand anything about them. The world-building and descriptions were very lackluster, and honestly, it seemed like at a certain point while writing, Veronica Roth just stopped caring (which arguably I stopped caring too, so there's that). At this point, would it really surprise you if I said the ending was just as much of a mess as the rest of the story? Didn't think so... 

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I will say, there was a lot of potential with this book. I mean the world could have been fascinating (as well as the characters), but everything about the story was just eh. I honestly wanted this to be a redemption book for Veronica Roth, but if it's possible...she actually did worse. If I really need to read some Veronica Roth, I'll just keep re-reading Divergent and Insurgent
                                         

Happy reading :)


~Cassie

Monday, November 13, 2017

Blog Tour: The Night Realm

About the Book:
Title: The Night Realm (Spell Weaver #1) 
Author: Annette Marie
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: October 20th 2017
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis:
Clio is good at all sorts of things. As a nymph, she’s great at outdoorsy nature stuff. As a nymph living in exile, she’s got the “blending in with humans” thing down pat. As a nymph living in exile because she possesses the rare ability to mimic magic, she’s had to pick up some unique survival skills.
But stealing from the most dangerous spell weavers in the Underworld? Not so much.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she has to do to earn a ticket back home. Conning her way into the night realm may have gone pretty well, but now she’s got a new problem. His name is Lyre and he’s a sinfully alluring incubus, a dangerously skilled spell weaver, and the only thing standing between her and stealing some damn magic.
Maneuvering around him without blowing her cover shouldn’t be that difficult, but chaos has been dogging her every step, monsters hide behind beautiful faces, and Lyre keeps saving her neck even though they’re enemies. Kind of enemies? Either way, her mission is getting complicated fast, and in the Underworld, even one mistake could prove fatal.

Author Bio:
Annette Marie is the author of the Amazon best-selling Steel & Stone series, which includes Goodreads Choice Award nominee Yield the Night, and fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast- paced urban fantasy and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her comparatively sensible husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.

Review:

I am a huge fan of Annette Marie, so when I heard that she was writing a prequel to her Stone and Steel Series I was pretty ecstatic! Add on top of it that it was featuring my favorite incubus, Lyre...I was sold hook, line, and sinker! I knew this book was going to be amazing and Annette Marie definitely delivered. I truly loved everything about this story and she set things up for a fantastic series. 

The story begins with Clio (who we know from the Stone & Steel series) and I was hooked from the first page! Clio has always been an interesting character to me so it was nice to see her perspective and why she is the way she is. I loved seeing her and Lyre's beginning as it is so different than how they are now. The entire plot is filled to the brim with exciting action, twists and turns, and witty banter that makes you fall in love with the story more and more. The book is fast-paced and there is certainly never a dull moment. We also see cameos from some other characters that we know from the Stone & Steel novels which made the book have an extra dash of awesome. You certainly can read this book as a standalone series (in that you don't have to read the Stone & Steel series first), but I personally loved the little things that carried over from the other series. 

Now...Lyre, what can I say? I love that incubus so much and I actually didn't realize how much I missed him! It was amazing to have a book completely about him and Clio. We see a lot of different things about who he is and what makes him tick. I loved delving deeper into his character. We see how he first met Ash and all of their other encounters. Again, this was a little thing that made me smile because comparing these characters then to now was so much fun! You see how circumstances can make things change so dramatically. Lyre was (as always) swoonworthy and hilarious. He's adorably sweet and so so kind. He is honestly one of my favorite characters and I was incredibly happy to read his story. As a side note, I do wish that we could have seen more with his brother Reed (but maybe that'll happen in future installments).

I highly recommend checking out this new novel by Annette Marie if you are a fan of the Stone & Steel series or are just looking for a fun read. Annette Marie delivers on all levels and you are in for a treat while reading The Night Realm. I am very excited to see what she has in store for us in the next novel and the rest of the series. 

Happy reading :)


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~Cassie

Cover Reveals: Shelter & Escape

   

From New York Times Bestselling author Jay Crownover comes the next two standalone titles in her Getaway series, SHELTER and ESCAPE! And that’s not all! RETREAT, the first standalone title in the Getaway series, is on sale for the first time ever! You can grab your copy for just $.99 for a limited time only. So check out the amazing covers below, and order your copies today!

    
Cover Design by Hang Le

About SHELTER: 

Publication Date: December 26, 2017

His life is chaos and confusion. It’s a storm of uncertainty and raging emotion.

Sutton Warner is a mess. Everything in his life feels like it’s unraveling.

He’s let a lot of people down lately, including his daughter. Sutton always promised his little girl he would never disappoint her and that he would always be there when she needed him.  Until he wasn’t.

The truth is, he’s used to disappointing the women in his life. First was his mother who couldn’t find a reason to stick around when he was growing up. Then there’s his ex. The woman who takes unbridled delight in making his life incredibly complicated. Luckily, his daughter is still young enough to believe her old man is some kind of hero. But, he knows the day is coming when she realizes the truth, that he’s just a man with some serious flaws and a list of ever-growing weaknesses.Finally, there’s the woman he’s desperately trying to forget with every shot tossed back and each pill popped.

He more than disappointed Emrys…he almost got her killed.

Her love is steady and sure. It’s a shelter shaped by conviction and silent assurance.Emrys Santos is lost. Everything in her life feels pointless and futile.

She’s been busy running away from her feelings and all the people who love her the most—including her best friend, the one person who knows exactly what she’s been through. They promised to always stick together and to lean on one another. It was a promise Em had to break so she could lick her wounds and figure out her next move. For once, there is no easy way out of the tangled web of emotions she’s caught up in, and right now, she recognizes that all roads lead back to Wyoming…and back to Sutton.

The man she nearly got killed.

Shelter is a standalone novel, the second book in the Getaway series, which features the hardheaded and brokenhearted Warner brothers and the women who dare to love them. These boys are very good at putting the wild in wilderness.

PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

Amazon Other Retailers Goodreads

   
Cover Design by Hang Le

About ESCAPE: 

Publication Date: Jan. 30, 2018

Everything inside of him is screaming that he needs to run, he needs to go, he needs to escape.

Lane Warner is used to being overshadowed and overlooked.After all, he’s the youngest brother and the most laid back one in the family. He’s the one known for going with the flow and not making waves, even when things seem to be at their worst.

Very few things in life have had the ability to rile Lane up and get under his skin. At the top of that list is his childhood friend Brynn Fox…no…Brynn Warner. The fact that they share a last name was the one thing that has the power to light him up and spin him out of control like no other. There was no calm, cool and collected when it comes to all the reasons why Brynn had to become part of his family.

It’s slowly killing him to keep wanting what he can’t have, so Lane sees only one way to stop himself from doing something they’ll both regret…he has to leave.

Everything inside of her is calling out to find him, to follow, to bring him home.

Brynn Warner is used to being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

After all, she’s the daughter of an unrepentant gold-digger who never once blinked at being the cause of her daughter’s pain and suffering.

Very few things in her life have ever brought happiness and a sense of security. At the very top of that list is Lane Warner. She has unwaveringly loved the youngest Warner since the first minute she laid eyes on him. He was everything Brynn ever wanted and everything she knew she could never have.Sometimes the right choice is the one that hurts the most and Brynn’s had to make a few that felt like they might be the end of her.

When Lane takes off, one thing is clear, the only choice Brynn has is to go after him.She’s going to bring her wayward cowboy home….whatever it takes.

Escape is a standalone novel, the third book in the Getaway series, which features the hardheaded and brokenhearted Warner brothers and the women who dare to love them. These boys are very good at putting the wild in wilderness.

PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

Amazon Other Retailers Goodreads

     

And don’t miss the first standalone novel in the Getaway Series, RETREAT, on sale for just $.99! Grab your copy today! RETREAT on Amazon RETREAT on Other Retailers



About the Author: 

Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.         

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
 

~Cassie

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Book Review: The Valiant

The Valiant by Lesley LivingstonAbout the Book:
Title: The Valiant (The Valiant #1)
Author: Lesley Livingston
Pub. Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Razorbill 
Pages: 384
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis:

The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha's legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father's royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon's worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.

Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.
 

Review:

While I had my doubts when I first started reading Lesley Livingston's newest novel, it turned out to be an amazing story that I can't wait to find out what happens next! I have been a fan of Lesley Livingston for awhile, but unfortunately, her last couple of books fell flat for me. But I was willing to give this book a shot because...FEMALE GLADIATORS!! Who could possibly turn that down?! When I first started reading, it was incredibly slow and all I was thinking was, "Please not again  :(" But luckily this book really picks up and the development of not only the characters but also the plot was astounding! It was well worth trudging through the beginning to arrive at the end fully satisfied and hungry for more.

Fallon, our main character, is an absolutely amazing protagonist for this book. She's badass and genuinely good. She has a strong sense of self and good morals. If Fallon feels someone is being treated unfairly, she sticks up for them, and she truly blossoms into a one-of-a-kind character by the end of this book. Fallon never gives up, and that shines through with every page. I applaud the strong female friendship that Ms. Livingston wrote. It's so rare that such a strong female friendship is even mentioned in YA books these days, and it was refreshing to see. Honestly, the bond between Fallon and Elka was fun and sister-like. They can go from wanting to tear each other's hair out to fighting for each other in a snap....and if that doesn't describe a sister than what does? They both can kick some major butt on their own, but together they're even stronger!

One of my absolute favorite parts of this entire book though was the actual plot and the setting. It was so unique and richly described that I felt as if I was right there alongside of the characters. I loved that she didn't shy away from the more unpleasant things that go along with this time period. You can tell that Ms. Livingston researched the Roman empire and its hierarchy in great detail before writing this book. And the result of that research is what makes this book so incredibly good. 

However, there were two main reasons I had to lower the rating on this book. First was the beginning. It was very boring and slow to me. I did almost DNF it because it was that dull. I kept waiting and waiting for what the synopsis promised and the book wasn't delivering. But, I stuck in there (because after all, this isn't that long of a book to begin with), and was happy I did. The second thing was the romance. It was very much insta-love, but a super awkward insta-love...and that is not a good mix. It's hard to describe, but I just never could get into the relationship that developed between Cai and Fallon. This book definitely didn't need it in any way, and would have been much better focusing on either just Fallon and being her badass female gladiator self with maybe a friendship developing into something more in later books between Fallon and Cai.

I definitely would recommend checking out this book! Although it has a slow start, once you get through this you will never want to stop reading!! With a unique and interesting setting and plot, and a strong female lead, there is a lot to love about this book. I can't wait to see what is going to happen next!!

Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #121

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: 

A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole
A Conspiracy of StarsPublication Date: January 2nd, 2018

Synopsis:


Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.


While sci-fi books can be a bit hit or miss for me, this one sounds very promising!! I've read some early reviews and it seems right up my alley.  It sounds like there is lots of actions and plenty of twists and turns that will leave me guessing.  2018 is certainly looking like a good year for books :)