Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Blog Tour: Wolves & Roses

About the Book:
Title: Wolves & Roses (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1)
Author: Christina Bauer
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult


Synopsis: 
“If Janet Evanovich teamed with a young adult, fairy-tale author like Marissa Meyer (the Lunar Chronicles) or Alex Flinn (Beastly), the result might be something like Christina Bauer’s Wolves and Roses.” –Blue Ink Review
Seventeen-year-old Bryar Rose has a problem. She’s descended from one of the three magical races—shifters, fairies, or witches. That makes her one of the Magicorum, and Magicorum always follow a fairy tale life template. In Bryar’s case, that template should be Sleeping Beauty.
“Should” being the key word.
Trouble is, Bryar is nowhere near the sleeping beauty life template. Not even close. She doesn’t like birds or woodland creatures. She can’t sing. And she certainly can’t stand Prince Philpot, the so-called “His Highness of Hedge Funds” that her aunties want her to marry. Even worse, Bryar’s having recurring dreams of a bad boy hottie and is obsessed with finding papyri from ancient Egypt. What’s up with that?

All Bryar wants is to attend a regular high school with normal humans and forget all about shifters, fairies, witches, and the curse that Colonel Mallory the Magnificent placed on her. And she might be able to do just that–if only she can just keep her head down until her eighteenth birthday when the spell that’s ruined her life goes buh-bye.

But that plan gets turned upside down when Bryar Rose meets Knox, the bad boy who’s literally from her dreams. Knox is a powerful werewolf, and his presence in her life changes everything, and not just because he makes her knees turn into Jell-O. If Bryar can’t figure out who—or what—she really is, it might cost both her and Knox their lives… as well as jeopardize the very nature of magic itself.
FAIRY TALES OF THE MAGICORUM
1. Wolves And Roses (Fall 2017)
1.5. Moonlight And Midtown (Spring 2018)
2. Shifters And Glyphs (Fall 2018)
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Author Bio:
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press. Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Review:

I was excited to begin reading this story from Christina Bauer after reading the synopsis. I'm a big fan of paranormal romance, plus this seemed like it offered a unique twist on fairytales. While I did like it for the most part, there were a couple things that fell a little flat for me, which meant I couldn't give the book a higher rating. Regardless of these problems, I still greatly enjoyed the story and am looking forward to reading the next in the series!

Wolves and Roses is set in a world similar to our own where the Magicorum (aka magical beings) live alongside humans. We are quickly introduced to Bryar Rose who is not your average princess. She has no desire to fulfill her "template" of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, including a marriage to Prince Philpot at the ripe old age of 18. I honestly loved Bryar Rose as the MC. She was independent, fierce, and fiery. She certainly could handle herself and wanted to be free to make her own decisions. Bryar Rose was definitely a standout amongst the other cast of characters (even for her wit alone!), but I enjoyed the other characters as well. They were all very likable and fun to read about. 

The story itself is very fast-paced with a lot of twist and turns that I didn't fully see coming. Sure, I was able to figure some stuff out, but not everything. Everything is more or less wrapped up in the end, so there isn't a cliffhanger, but there are still plenty of questions for future books to explore. For the most part, the world-building was excellent...but this is also where my first problem arose. When we first start the story (and even in the synopsis), there is mention of how the Magicorum live their lives according to "templates" modeled on different fairytales. The problem is that it's never really explained why this is a thing or what happens if they don't actually fulfill there "template." This is something that was bothering me throughout the story and I wanted to know more about! The only other information we get about the "templates" is in regards to shifters: if they do not let their inner animal transform before their 18th birthday, the animal will die. We don't however, learn about what happens to any other magical beings. For now, I'm just kind of assuming that nothing happens to other Magicorum, but maybe this idea will be explored and further explained in future books.

Another small problem I had was that there are certain things in the book that are told to the reader repeatedly (e.g. the inner animal of shifters dying). I know it's important to repeat certain things in a story, but it just became a little too much repetition after awhile. Finally, I did feel like the story slowed down in the end. This was only because the main battle took place over 50 pages before the actual end of the book. With everything being so fast-paced in the story prior to this, I felt like the pace lost its momentum a bit after that final battle. I don't have any problem with how the book ended though because Ms. Bauer did wrap things up very nicely. I just wish things didn't slow down as much as they did.

All in all, I really enjoyed Wolves and Roses and would recommend checking it out when you get the chance! It's a fun and unique story with a couple flaws that could be fixed in the next book. I am excited to see where this story goes and what is in store for these characters next!

Happy reading and HAPPY HALLOWEEN 💀💀💀

GIVEAWAY!

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~Cassie

Cover Reveal: Beneath the Lighthouse

About the Book:
Title: Beneath the Lighthouse
Author: Julieanne Lynch
Publication date: TBA
Genres: Horror, Young Adult

Synopsis: 
SOME SECRETS ARE MADE TO BE UNCOVERED.
Sixteen-year-old Jamie McGuiness’s sister is dead. Sinking into a deep depression, he frequents the lighthouse where her body was discovered, unaware of the sinister forces surrounding him.
When an angry spirit latches onto Jamie, he’s led down a dark and twisted path, one that uncovers old family secrets, destroying everything Jamie ever believed in.
Caught between the world of the living and the vengeful dead, Jamie fights the pull of the other side. It’s up to Jamie to settle old scores or no one will rest in peace—but, first, he has to survive.



Author Bio:
Julieanne Lynch is an author of urban fantasy and contemporary fiction for both adults and teens. Julieanne lives in Northern Ireland, with her husband and five children, where she works on novels full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and is thankful for each day she lives her dream.
Julieanne is represented by Italia Gandolfo of Gandolfo Helin & Fountain Literary Management, and is both traditionally and independently published.

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~Cassie

Friday, October 27, 2017

ARC Review: The Missing

The Missing by Jerico LenkAbout the Book:
Title: The Missing
Author: Jerico Lenk
Pub. Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis:

It is 1890, and London has secrets. For sixteen-year-old Will Winchester, born Willow Winchester and raised as a young man, the safety of his own secrets rests one atop the other. Hiding his gender queerness is important. But so is hiding the ghostly voices of the Missing, which Will hears when no one else can … until the Spiritualist Black Cross Order of Occult Occurrences wants him in their service to keep peace between London’s living and dead.

The freedom to be himself may come with a price. Working alongside a patchwork team of misfits and unlikely allies, Will finds he isn't the only one keeping secrets. Someone does not want him to uncover the truth about the ghosts who aren’t just missing from the world of the living, but missing from history itself. Can he find the Missing before he ends up becoming one of them?

Review:

Do you want a good spooky read just in time for Halloween? Then The Missing is the perfect book for you!! This was an absolutely fantastic story that is a standout novel in more ways than one. It's unique and fun, and set against a backdrop of Victorian England, you really can't lose with this book!

Let me start off by talking about the plot and then we'll go into the amazing cast of characters and why this book really was next level for me. The whole book reminded me of a mix between the tv show Supernatural (and how can it not when the MC's last name is even Winchester!!), which I adore, and Clockwork Angel. It was literally the perfect setting for this entire novel and it elevated the story from run-of-the-mill ghost story to something more! Wil, our MC, is clairvoyant and can interact with ghosts. Because of this, Will feels compelled to join a society called the Black Cross, who hunt down and dispel the ghosts and ghouls of Victorian England. The one thing that I really loved though was how in depth Jerico Lenk went into describing the spirit world and what it was that the Black Cross does. For example, we learn that the team investigates what actually keeps the ghosts tethered to our world. Moreover, Lenk also questioned what they do. And this is something that is honestly unheard of in ghost-themed books. By this I mean, he questioned: is it actually okay to be killing the ghosts. If they are as sentient as the society and people believe, and even befriend the living, why is it suddenly okay to dispel/kill them? I was blown away by the inclusion of this whole plot point because seriously, how many ghost books have we all read and this never has come up?! This has never once been questioned! It makes you think, and it really took this book to the next level. 

Where this book truly shines though is in its characters. There is such diversity and I think it really made this book for me. This is one of the few books that I have read recently that has such a diverse character set and has done it well by normalizing it. Let me tell you how absolutely important this is. Diversity is something that should be celebrated and not be seen as this "weird" or "unique" thing to do when it's something that has always existed in society . So let's start with Wil. Wil is gender fluid, which means while Wil is anatomically female, depending on the day Wil identifies as somewhere between male and female. This is how it's described in the novel:
"I felt both a young lady and a young man. Not at the same time—sometimes, Will; other times, Willow. And despite how it sounds, it all felt very normal to me. My normal. A kind of bi-genderness, something fluid between the two. Simple as that."

I loved how Lenk explored this aspect throughout the book, and I thought Wil's character was incredibly well written. Additionally, the other characters featured in the story are diverse as well. But what I really loved is how the diversity of the cast is just there...no explanations, just a normal everyday thing. Because that's how it should be in all books!! For example, there was mentions of 2 women dating, and that a male character had interest in another male at a party. Can I get an AMEN for well written representation!! I also really appreciated that While Wil was more or less accepted by others, Lenk still explored the prejudices of the time and the difficulties Wil faced. 

I highly recommend checking this book out if you are looking for a fantastic spooky read! With a great mix of Supernatural and Clockwork Angel (2 personal favorites), this book is an all around winner! Lenk is a very talented author and is definitely one to watch. I am excited to see what else Jerico Lenk writes because I'll definitely be checking it out!


Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Book Blitz: Heroines and Hellions

About the Books:
Title: Heroines & Hellions: An Urban Fantasy and Fantasy Collection
Author: Various Authors
Publication date: March 13th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: 
NO DAMSELS ALLOWED! @nodamselallowd #heroinesandhellions #urbanfantasy http://heroinesandhellions.com/
22 Kickass Heroines.
22 Exclusive, Full-length Urban Fantasy and Fantasy Novels. 0 Damsels in Distress.
Do you like your leading ladies to save the day…or raze it?
No matter which you prefer, this set is brimming with 20 magical stories (many BRAND NEW) told by some of the leading voices of urban fantasy and fantasy in the industry, including several New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors!
If you want strong female leads who strike back against the captivating worlds of vampires, elementals, fiends, and paranormal monsters, then you’re ready to charge into the adventures of HEROINES & HELLIONS, a pure Urban Fantasy/Fantasy collection!
Grab your stake, silver bullets, and your limited edition copy of HEROINES & HELLIONS today!

Sneak Peek at One of the Stories

HEATHER MARIE ADKINS writes too much but still too little. She also has too many cats, not enough tequila, and a torrid love affair with procrastination. She is the USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels. Find out more at heathermarieadkins.comFacebook | Newsletter

Demons Are a Girl's Best Friend

Hell has spilled over into the real world. But that’s okay. Nobody’s dead. Yet. 

An uneasy truce has been found: Demons don’t screw the world up; humans don’t kill them. It’s a pretty simple set-up, kept in check by the immigration and selection process. Kahri O’Reilly has a nice, quiet life teaching martial arts by day and sleeping with her cat by night, until a 200-year old demigod sexier-than-sin shows up to drag her to hell. Turns out, Kahri’s polite, cross-stitch obsessed mother is actually a demon who married the wrong man and fled to earth the minute the portals began to open. She just neglected to share that with Kahri. Below the unknowing surface world, civil war is brewing. Kahri’s dad is dead, and blood bonds dictate she has to take his place. Only, the legacy he left her is a bloody one. His problems—and his enemies—have suddenly become hers, and she has no idea what she’s doing. Kahri is poised between the worlds, the perfect ambassador to prevent the apocalypse—as long as she doesn’t die first.


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~Cassie

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)

I know we usually do a Waiting on Wednesday today, but since it's my birthday today I really wanted to celebrate by sharing my review for a book that holds a very special place in my heart (and is by one of my favorite authors)!

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. MaasAbout the Book:
Title: Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pub. Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pages: 660

Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis:

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
 

Review:

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Okay everyone...it's time to stop what you're doing and pick this book up, because it needs to be read right away! The current Goodreads rating (4.52 stars) shows just how amazing this book is, and Sarah J. Maas and Tower of Dawntruly deserve every single one of those stars. I'm not going to lie, I was a bit hesitant to read this book because it was "Chaol's" book. And even though I loved his character at first, he definitely wasn't my favorite after the 2nd book. But, SJM made me change my mind about him once again, and I went back to loving him...which was kind of bittersweet. This easily is one of my favorite reads this year for multiple reasons that I'll go into, but truly showcases SJM's talent and dedication as an author. 

I will say that I think it's a little helpful to read the Throne of Glass novella collection The Assassin's Blade before reading, but at the same time it's not really necessary. The reason (besides the obvious of why would you not read a ToG novella collection?) is that one of the characters from the novellas is featured in this book. It was helpful to know about Yrene prior to the story and made things connect. I loved seeing how far she had come and how things tied together...because as we all know, Sarah J Maas doesn't do anything accidentally; everything and everyone has a purpose. However, this being said my friend who also read this book didn't read the novellas and wasn't confused (or felt she was missing out) at all. So you can read the novellas or not, doesn't really make a difference. But again, why would you not read a ToG novella collection?! 

“You would be surprised by how closely the healing of physical wounds is tied to the healing of emotional ones.” 

Now, let's get into why this was so spectacular. First and foremost, I adored the new characters and the setting. When the story begins, it is slightly slower paced than normal because of introducing the Southern Continent with its new culture and characters. Despite what some people might say (e.g. that this slower pace made the book extremely boring and that parts seemed unnecessary), I found them to be expertly written and the perfect way to begin the book. I loved the world-building that SJM established because it was all incredibly important information to know. It tied things together from other books in the ToG world and that really cemented things for me. I loved learning about a new culture and new people! I loved seeing the ins and outs of their everyday life! I loved learning about the new royals! By beginning the story like this, SJM laid the groundwork for the rest of the story (and the rest of the series). On top of all of this, all of the characters (except Chaol of course) were of a different race. Let me tell you how nice this is to see and how refreshing it is to read! Lastly, the care and compassion that SJM put into developing these new characters really struck a chord with me. All of these new characters are obviously going to play vital roles in the next book, so to take the time to really cement these characters into our memory--and believe me, these characters will stick with you for a long time--and have their characterization so perfectly done by the end of the story, just makes me love Sarah J Maas even more. You can tell how much of her heart and soul she puts into this book (and this series in general), and it makes you love the story even more.

“I once lived in fear of other people. I let other people walk all over me just because I was too afraid of the consequences for refusing. I did not know how to refuse.” 

The next thing that I loved about this book was Chaol. Trust me, I never thought I would say that but here we are. Not only did I love his development throughout the story but also the fact that the major character is one that has a disability. I know this is a touchy subject, and you can find plenty of reviews giving Sarah major props and major hate for this. However, because I do have personal experience in this department, I can give Sarah major props for her portrayal of Chaol and the emotional journey he undergoes. Everyone's experience is different though, so keep that in mind.

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I thoroughly enjoyed Chaol's character during this entire book. He obviously is going through a lot at the time this book takes place, not only physically but mentally as well. Chaol starts his journey off very resentful and upset about his situation. He is faced with this drastic change in his life and he really doesn't know where to go from here. How can Chaol do any of the things he has done in the past in his current situation? Ultimately, he feels very hopeless and lost. And it takes Chaol almost the entire novel to truly come to terms with what his life is like and what happened to him. Every chapter that went by, you started seeing little changes that meant progress toward accepting his circumstances and beginning a "new" life. You see him begin to dispel that notion that he is "less" or "not important." He began to see himself in a new light. 

“We don't look back. It helps no one and nothing to look back.” 

I know that some people might be able to relate to Chaol a lot or not at all, but from my experiences these are the exact emotions that a person in a wheelchair feels. My mom has been in a wheelchair for the majority of my life. She has a neurological condition called CRPS which has resulted in her having one leg amputated in hopes that it would help (it didn't) and exhausting all treatment options only to find nothing works.  As a side note...I wholeheartedly wish that healers like Yrene existed so that my mom could be free of pain. Now my mom is more mobile than Chaol, but we always have had a unique relationship in which we are open with each other and how much being in a wheelchair has impacted her life. One day she was walking and the next she was in a wheelchair. And she has talked about the exact same things that Chaol endures...feeling "less" of a person, feeling invisible and as if you don't matter. Even from my perspective, I see the stares or the "looks" people give my mom. I see the way she is treated by others as if she is some "outsider" or as if she has the plague. I see the way people act as if she is invisible and doesn't matter when they skip her in line or trip over/bump into her or ignore her entirely. It's difficult when the way you plan out your life is by where your wheelchair can "fit." For example, we avoid certain restaurants because we know her wheelchair can't even fit through the bathroom door; or she chooses not to go into certain stores because there is way too many things crowding the aisles. And my mom defintely has good and bad days. She says it's easy for her to get depressed and feel as if she is "useless" because she needs to depend on me or my dad for certain things. She says it's easy to fall into that pit of "why me." So for me, Chaol's emotional state throughout Tower of Dawn speaks volumes and is incredibly realistic. It shows the mindset of people with a disability. SJM's portrayal of Chaol's character is incredibly real, incredibly raw, and incredibly honest. 

I appreciated how Sarah chose to end Chaol's journey. Not everything is all fixed and better by the end. A lot of the progress Chaol made physically is for nothing, and it's extremely sad and heartbreaking. But, the progress he made mentally and emotionally did do something for him. And you realize he is a completely different person by the end of this story. Chaol is not ashamed anymore and knows that it's okay to rely on other people in certain situations. So thank you Sarah for writing such an amazing character that many people will be able to relate to (whether it's directly or indirectly). 

“Using the chair is not a punishment. It is not a prison,' he said softly. 'It never was. And I am as much of a man in that chair, or with that cane, as I am standing on my feet.' He brushed away the tear that slipped down her cheek.
'I wanted to heal you,' she breathed.
'You did,' he said, smiling. 'Yrene, in every way that truly matters . . . You did.'
Chaol wiped away the other tears that fell, brushing a kiss to her hot cheek.” 

Okay, enough about Chaol. Let's move onto Yrene and the other characters. I adored all of them so much, but Yrene will always have a special place in my heart. She definitely has an emotional story attached to her. Yrene has gone through a lot in her life but she is stronger because of it. Perhaps this is what made her character so fantastic....she is a different kind of "strong" than we are used to in this series. We are used to women who are kick-butt heroines who know how to fight and will take no prisoners. But Yrene is a different type of kick-butt heroine. No, she's not a fighter, but her compassion and heart knows no bounds. She goes through a different type of emotional journey with Chaol and for that she is stronger as well.

“He didn't understand-how she could be so delicate, so small, when she had overturned his life entirely. Worked miracles with those hands and that soul, this woman who had crossed mountains and seas.” 

The other characters in this book: Nesryn, Sartaq, the Royal family, the horse named Butterfly, etc. are all so wonderfully written. I honestly can't go into too much detail about them because they're all chock full of spoilers. But I loved the addition of the Ruks and I already know how big of a role they'll play coming up. I feel like this is how SJM looked while writing this whole book because of all the big things to come:

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I truly loved this book from start to finish. I always go into writing reviews of SJM books with the intention of it not actually being a long review. But at this point, I'm failing miserably with that so I'm starting to think it's next to impossible. Sure, the book is a little slower than a normal ToG book, but the amount of important information in here and the PLOT TWISTS (lord almighty, the plot twists!!) make every single second of this book worth it. You definitely can't skip this book as it is that important to what is coming next. Oh and that last chapter (all 2 pages of it I might add), I only have to ask: WHY SARAH??? WHY DO YOU DO THESE THINGS TO ME??? HOW DO YOU DESTROY ME IN ONLY 2 PAGES?! With that parting thought...go read this now!

Happy reading :)

~Cassie

P.S. Here's a picture of my parents and I celebrating my graduation from PA school back in May...all smiles here!!


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Book Blitz: Marked By Fate

About the Books:
Title: Marked by Fate: A Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction Collection
Author: Various Authors (See below for complete list)
Publication date: October 24th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Synopsis: 
Marked by Fate is now enhanced with Augmented Reality! Read, Watch, Listen. The new ultimate reading experience!
Step into adventure with Marked By Fate; the ultimate reading experience. Be immersed in twenty-six fantasy & science fiction worlds with state of the art Augmented Reality technology. Read, listen, and watch bonus content inside to bring the characters and story to life around you.
Enjoy the added features of this special edition, which allow you to enjoy bonus content right from your reading device. See character artwork. Listen to your story’s soundtrack. Watch book trailers and bonus videos. Experience behind the scenes like never before, thanks to Augmented Reality technology. Immersive Fantasy™; bringing fantasy worlds to life.
25 COMPLETE SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY NOVELS BY 26 BESTSELLING AUTHORS. PLUS, A SPECIAL BONUS NOVELLA.
Embark on fantastic journeys through magical realms, dystopian lands, and faraway galaxies in this exciting collection of fantasy & science fiction novels brought to you by some of today’s hottest authors. Encounter werewolves, robots, angels, time travelers, shifters, and more in this action-packed box set that will leave you breathless.
Authors:
Kristin D. Van Risseghem
Rhonda Sermon
Kelly St. Clare
Raye Wagner
Ednah Walters
Erin Hayes
Siobhan Davis
Jamie Thornton
Debra Kristi
Sarah K. L. Wilson
Hilary Thompson
Ingrid Seymour
Jeanne Bannon
Melle Amade
Lena Mae Hill
C.J. Anaya
Jackson Dean Chase
D. L. Armillei
Emily Martha Sorensen
Amalie Jahn
Dionne Lister
J.L. Weil
Alisha Klapheke
Angela Fristoe
Meg Cowley
Brandon Barr
99¢ for a limited time only!


Welcome to Marked By Fate:

An interactive Immersive Fantasy™reading experience!

The authors of Marked By Fate are thrilled to share this ground-breaking novel with you!
Think Harry Potter and Kindle in Motion. Moving, singing books,and all the excitement of a truly enriched reading experience.

We call it Immersive Fantasy™, because that’s what it does. It draws you into our stories and brings our worlds to life!

The titles in Marked By Fate use this revolutionary technology to bring you the best reading experience of your life.

How does Immersive Fantasy™ work?
Immersive Fantasy™ utilizes what’s known as Augmented Reality (AR). Using a smart phone/device, you can scan secret cues in the stories, and extra AR content will pop up on your device, streamed direct from the cloud (internet connection required).

See amazing, exclusive character artwork. Watch video content.Listen to the soundtrack whilst you read. Discover behind the scenes with the authors in bonus content.

Would you like to try it?
Then keep reading! You have already downloaded the Immersive Fantasy edition of Marked By Fate, and you just need to bring the magic to life.

The simple instructions overleaf will help you easily access this astonishing new world of fantasy that will delight your every sense.

Start your Immersive Fantasy™ adventure today!

Immersive Fantasy™ Instructions
Getting set up

These three steps are crucial to ensure you can access the AR content.
1.On your smart phone or tablet, download the Aurasma app from your app store.
2.Login to the app, and register your account.
3.Search for the user ‘MarkedByFate’, and click follow.

Accessing the Immersive Fantasy™ Augmented Reality content

Follow these steps carefully to access the AR content. Additional help can be found on the Aurasma help desk.

1.Read and enjoy the story, and watch for clues to the AR content. These will appear in the form of images with a symbol next to them, denoting the type of AR content. Content viewable includes images (camera icon), videos (movie clip icon), or music (music icon).
2.You will need one device/format to read on, and a smart device to access the AR content.
3.When you spot an Immersive Fantasy™ clue, open the Aurasma app on your smart device.(Navigate to the viewfinder screen if the app does not automatically do this.)
4.Centre your viewfinder on the trigger image. Make sure to include all of the trigger image in the screen. You can view the content vertically/in portrait or horizontally/in landscape.
5.The app will display the AR content in the form of an image overlay, video overlay,or music overlay, as denoted by the symbol next to the image.
6.Enjoy!You can zoom in and out and tilt your camera to fully explore each piece of content. Make sure you have your sound turned on so you can listen to the video and audio content! You will have to continue focusing on the content to keep listening to music/watching videos/viewing images.
7.It might take a little practice – don’t worry if you struggle on your first try.

Troubleshooting

What to try if it won’t work.

1.No AR content is popping up: have you registered an Aurasma account,and followed ‘MarkedByFate’? You must do this to access the content.
2.No AR content is popping up: have you made sure all of the trigger image is in your viewfinder?
3.No AR content is popping up on my kindle/e-ink device: please adjust your device screen brightness. If the screen is too bright or too dim, the image cannot be recognised by the app.
4.I can’t hear any sound: check the icon. Only video/music AR content has sound.
5.I can’t hear any sound, and it should be playing some: please ensure your volume is not muted,and turned up.
6.The content keeps disappearing: ensure you keep the viewfinder focused on the trigger image so that the AR content will remain overlaid on your screen.If you move too far away from the trigger image, the AR content will disappear.Activate it again by re-scanning the trigger image.
7.Can I access the eBook and the AR content on the same device? No. Aurasma uses your device camera, so you will have to read the book on a difference device to the device you are using Aurasma with.
8.It’s just not working – I’ve tried everything: Please refer to the Aurasma help files,and contact their help desk if you are still having issues. Whilst extensive testing has been performed to ensure maximum device compatibility, regrettably not all devices may be compatible. Best compatibility will be found on pixel based screens with good brightness levels.



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~Cassie

Friday, October 20, 2017

Blog Tour: The Girl Who Saved Ghosts

About the Book:
Title: The Girl Who Saved Ghosts
Author: K.C. Tansley
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Time-Travel, Young Adult


Synopsis: 
She tried to ignore them. Now she might risk everything to save them.
After a summer spent in a haunted castle—a summer in which she traveled through time to solve a murder mystery—Kat is looking forward to a totally normal senior year at McTernan Academy. Then the ghost of a little girl appears and begs Kat for help, and more unquiet apparitions follow. All of them are terrified by the Dark One, and it soon becomes clear that that this evil force wants Kat dead.

Searching for help, Kat leaves school for the ancestral home she’s only just discovered. Her friend Evan, whose family is joined to her own by an arcane history, accompanies her. With the assistance of her eccentric great aunts and a loyal family ghost, Kat soon learns that she and Evan can only fix the present by traveling into the past.

As Kat and Evan make their way through nineteenth-century Vienna, the Dark One stalks them, and Kat must decide what she’s willing to sacrifice to save a ghost.


Author Bio:
K.C. Tansley lives with her warrior lapdog, Emerson, and two quirky golden retrievers on a hill somewhere in Connecticut. She tends to believe in the unbelievables—spells, ghosts, time travel—and writes about them.
Never one to say no to a road trip, she’s climbed the Great Wall twice, hopped on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg, and danced the night away in the dunes of Cape Hatteras. She loves the ocean and hates the sun, which makes for interesting beach days. The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is her award-winning and bestselling first novel in The Unbelievables series.
As Kourtney Heintz, she also writes award winning cross-genre fiction for adults.
Review:

Wow, wow, wow!! This was a fantastic sequel to The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts! I was happy to have both books so that I could read them back to back because I absolutely loved the world that Ms. Tansley created in the first novel. The Girl Who Saved Ghosts is an excellent addition to The Unbelievables series, and makes me want the third book right away! With richly described characters and a more in-depth look at the spirit world, this novel has everything you could want in a sequel!

One of the things I loved about the first novel was the rich storytelling and how intriguing Ms. Tansley made the spirit world. I didn't think it was possible, but she made me love the world she created even more! She delves further into the spirit world as well as the curses and legacies surrounding the 4 families. I love how things are tying together and it makes me even more excited for the third book. While I didn't love the time travel aspect as much as I did in the last book, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I think the reason though was because I was so interested in what was going on in the present with the characters! Kat and Evan learn more about their respective family and Kat explores the extent of her "powers." And when an unexpected character shows up, I really wanted to see the interaction between him and Kat. 

One of the things that I had a little bit of a problem with in the first book was the lack of character development for the main characters. However, this was completely resolved in this book! Kat is fleshed out a bit more and we start understanding her perspective on things. She is still very relatable, but I connected with her more this time. I do want to learn more about Evan though. He's still a bit mysterious, but his true colors are starting to come through, and let's just say I'm now shipping Kat and Evan even harder than I was in the first book (who knew that would be possible??). I love how protective Evan is of Kat while still giving her the space to embrace her "powers" and be her own person. 

While I do wish that we would have seen more of Morgan and some of the other characters, this book really was about Kat and Evan learning more about their families and histories. But hopefully we see more of Morgan in the next book because I adore her character.

This is such a fantastic series and has all the right elements of a perfect paranormal read. Ms. Tansley's writing is even better than in the first novel, and the story is addicting from page 1. I highly recommend checking out this book (especially since it's almost Halloween and who doesn't love a good ghost story in October!).

Happy reading :)

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book!



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~Cassie

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #119

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: 
Love, Life, and the List
Love, Life, and the List by Kacie West
Publication Date: December 26th, 2017

Synopsis:


Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

Kacie West has definitely become one of my favorite authors.  She always writes such fun, light-hearted romances that are just the thing I need at the time.  So I'm obviously picking this one up! It sounds cute and like a great after-Christmas read :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Review: The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)About the Book:
Title: The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Pub. Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 336
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis:

Watson and Holmes: A match made in disaster.

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming morethan friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.

A distraction arises soon enough, because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.

Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.

What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.
 

Review:

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with all things Sherlock Holmes, and I loved Ms. Cavallaro's debut, A Study in Charlotte. While this book wasn't everything I was expecting, I still enjoyed it a great deal. I liked where Ms. Cavallaro went with the characters and the story, and I'm definitely still excited to check out the third book in this series. 

The plot of this story was good, but not really what I was expecting in the sequel following such a strong start. There wasn't really as much 'solving mysteries,' and doing what Holmes and Watson do best. There was much more focus on more romantic relationships and teenage angst. Now don't get me wrong, it was fine and still enjoyable, but not what I thought I would get from a Sherlock Holmes themed story. There was much more in this book that I could figure out in regards to the mystery of the missing uncle. Again though, I still enjoyed the mystery because it was very well written. It kept me interested until the ending. 

I think if I would have known from the get go that this book was going to serve the purpose of developing the characters more, I would have gone into the book differently and perhaps given it a higher rating. But ultimately, that was the reason I gave it 3.5 stars. Regardless of this though, I really like where Ms. Cavallaro is taking Holmes and Watson. I found myself caring much more about them than I did in the first book. I love that Jamie is the main narrator of this book with Charlotte occasionally taking over the story. It's a unique way to tell the story and allows the reader to get into the mind of Charlotte Holmes. We definitely see a more vulnerable side to Charlotte in this story which was a nice change of pace. But don't worry, she's still a Holmes through and through. Since I've been shipping Jamie and Charlotte since basically the very first page of the first book, I was hoping that there would be a little more development in regards to their relationship, but it was still slow as ever. There are definitely some great moments with them together and I'm happy with where I see their relationship going. Those small moments made everything worth it. You see how much they truly care for each other, and although they both can be a bit (okay...a lot) stubborn, neither wants to hurt the other. 

Overall, I would say check this out if you were a fan of the first book. Be aware that it's much more character driven than the previous book, and because of that it is a little slow. While it was a bit lacking, it was still an enjoyable story that leaves me ready for the third book! I am excited to see where Ms. Cavallaro takes this series and these characters!

Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review: The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts

The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts (The Unbelievables, #1)About the Book:
Title: The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts (The Unbelievables #1)
Author: K.C. Tansley
Pub. Date: August 1, 2015
Publisher: Beckett Publishing Group
Pages: 242
Rating: 4/5 stars


Synopsis:

Kat Preston doesn’t believe in ghosts. Not because she’s never seen one, but because she saw one too many. Refusing to believe is the only way to protect herself from the ghost that tried to steal her life. Kat’s disbelief keeps her safe until her junior year at McTernan Academy, when a research project for an eccentric teacher takes her to a tiny, private island off the coast of Connecticut. 

The site of a grisly mystery, the Isle of Acacia is no place for a girl who ignores ghosts, but the ghosts leave Kat little choice. Accompanied by her research partner, Evan Kingsley, she investigates the disappearance of Cassie Mallory and Sebastian Radcliffe on their wedding night in 1886. Evan’s scientific approach to everything leaves Kat on her own to confront a host of unbelievables: ancestral curses, powerful spells, and her strange connection to the ghosts that haunt Castle Creighton. 

But that’s all before Kat’s yanked through a magic portal and Evan follows her. When the two of them awaken 129 years in the past with their souls trapped inside the bodies of two wedding guests, everything changes. Together, Kat and Evan race to stop the wedding-night murders and find a way back to their own time—and their own bodies—before their souls slip away forever.

Review:

I'm always a sucker for ghost stories, and with it being Fall, I knew this was going to be the perfect read! I enjoyed every second of this book and am glad that I had the second book on hand to read right after finishing this one because I definitely wanted to stay in the Unbelievables world a little longer. Even though this is a pretty quick read, Ms. Tansley creates a classic ghost story that has all the right elements to make you fall in love. 

This book is very reminiscent of a classic gothic ghost story that you hear about growing up....which how can you not love that sort of thing? Especially at this time of year. The atmosphere really made this book for me and Ms. Tansley writes it perfectly. You feel the spookiness coming off the page. The one thing I loved is how Ms. Tansley really delved into the spirit world/lore. She took the time to go in depth about the paranormal elements to make sure we understood things and the world she was creating. I found her spin on things like the spirit world, reincarnation, souls, and possession unique and frankly, it just made sense. I was very intrigued while reading because I couldn't wait to learn more about the world she created. I also loved the time traveling element to the story. Although in some books the addition of time travel might not have fit, again...it just made sense in the story. I adore when authors can seamlessly blend genres like this and have it feel so natural.

The characters were well written for the most part as well. Kat is strong-willed and despite knowing how much danger she is putting herself in, knows that she has to do what is right and figure out the mystery. Kat was an enjoyable character from the get go for me and I liked how relatable she was. Evan, while a bit haughty at the beginning, really loosens up and becomes a likable character by the end. By the end I was shipping Kat and Evan pretty hard (and believe me...you will too). However, one thing that was a little off to me was the fact that the 19th century characters were more well-developed than the modern day characters. By this I mean, I felt like I knew all of the characters in the 19th century better than Kat, Evan, or any of the other characters that we were originally reading about. While the majority of this story takes place in the past, I would have liked a little more characterization for the 21st century characters as well. 

There was one other small thing that made me lower my rating, and this was how Kat was able to "get rid of" the ghosts when they started appearing to her. I found it incredibly difficult to believe that by just repeating the phrase, "ghosts don't exist" over and over again would suddenly cause a firm believer to be "ghost-free." If the author would have said that Kat found some other way to rid herself of the ghosts, it would have been more in line with all of the other elements that Ms. Tansley incorporated. This concept just felt so unnatural in such a well-crafted storyline. However, it didn't bother me too much because it basically made me go from 4.5 stars to 4 stars.

Despite a couple of little things, I highly recommend checking out this novel by K.C. Tansley! It was a fantastic start to a new paranormal series and it sure to be a major hit with a little more attention. With Halloween coming soon, this is the perfect spooky October read!

Happy reading :)

Thank you to NetGalley and Xpresso Book Tours for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Come back this Friday to see my review for the second book in this series, The Girl Who Saved Ghosts as part of the the Blog Tour :)

~Cassie

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Review: Till Death

Till DeathAbout the Book:
Title: Till Death
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Pub. Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: William Marrow
Pages: 400
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis:

It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.

First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.

But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.

Review:

Till Death is yet another absolutely amazing read from Jen Armentrout! I will never stop loving JLA, and with every book, her writing gets better and better! She is such an incredibly versatile author, and it makes her stories even more exciting every time you sit down and read one of her novels. I didn't even have to read the synopsis to know that I was going to read this book, but after I did, I was immediately intrigued. And that's the beauty of this book...there is a lot of intrigue and suspense and you are always on the edge of your seat. JLA does what she does best, and keeps you guessing until the end. She is one of the few authors that can still surprise me, which is something I adore!

All we know when the story starts is that something terrible happened to Sasha, but we don't know what exactly. We know it involves "The Groom" and that Sasha somehow managed to survive this serial killer, but we don't know specifics. I loved that Jen did this because it built the suspense even more. It kept me reading because I had to know what happened to Sasha. I personally loved Sasha as the main character. She was so strong and brave, yet kind and selfless. Even though what happened with "The Groom" happened 10 years ago, Sasha is still coping with everything that happened...especially when new "surprises" keep coming into her life reminding her of that terrible time. I liked that Sasha could defend herself. She knew how to handle herself and wasn't a damsel in distress type. 

Now, this review wouldn't be complete without talking about Cole. Lordy be...that man is like sex on a stick. Can you tell I liked his character? He was the perfect hero and perfect balance to Sasha's character. I loved how protective he was of her, yet he still let her do her thing. Cole was everything you could want in a man, and I loved the chasing Sasha made Cole do before she let him back into her life. 

The plot was absolutely fantastic! I loved how everything was revealed slowly over the course of the story, and it was a true mystery from start to finish. It was fun to slowly put the pieces together and try to pick up on clues throughout the story. I definitely didn't figure it out though, which is always refreshing. There are some major twists and turns that will leave your head spinning and keep you guessing until the end. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone if you are a fan of these types of books. With just the right mix of suspense and romance, this is the perfect read to end your summer!

Happy reading :)

~Cassie