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BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking!

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SYNOPSIS:

Valkyries have one great responsibility: to return immortals to the afterlife by slaying them. As a Valkyrie, Malin has always known that the balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

Malin not only wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought—she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. The balance of the world is at stake. And, as Asher competes with Malin’s ex for her love and loyalty, so is her heart.


MY REVIEW:

Cover Between the Blade and the Heart

*ARC provided by Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review*
“It was a strange, cold thing to realize I was born to be a murderer.”
As soon as I heard about this book, I knew that I had to read it immediately the fact that I love Norse Mythology with all my heart. It took me a bit longer than I care to admit to get through this novel just because it had a bit of a slow start for me. I was struggling to connect to any of the characters in the beginning but what had me overlooking that detail were all the intriguing and amazing creatures that were being introduced.
One of them being my official absolute favorite pet to ever appear in a novel, the Wolpertinger. Research them and I dare you to tell me they aren’t the most adorable creatures you’ve ever seen. Of course, I’m a little bias due to having a pet bunny myself but that’s irrelevant.
Anyway, this book follows Malin as she’s training to become a Valkyrie, following in the footsteps of her mother. Malin is a rule follower, becoming a Valkyrie is all she wants to do in her life since she gets an immense thrill out of it. Unfortunately, her world is turned upside down when she learns something that shatters her belief in people and the path that she chose to follow.
I absolutely loved the diversity in this novel and Amanda’s wonderful way of describing everything in this world, from the food to the scenery. The chapters were short so it turned my initial struggle to dust very quickly. They enabled me to get through the novel quicker than I expected, which turned out to be the last thing that I wanted. I couldn’t stop thinking about this novel whenever I had to put it down due to sleep and my job. I never wanted this novel to end and the only consolation I have is that I don’t have to wait an entire year for more, but a few months.
Of course, the first character I fell in love with was Jude. I honestly wish it were possible to find someone on Earth like him to make him mine. Or at least to drool over from a very near distance. Holy smokes. That man… left me (and is still leaving me) speechless. I couldn’t get enough of him and it saddened me that he didn’t have a more important role in this novel.
Some negative comments I have for this novel were that some fights were won a bit too quickly for my liking. I don’t like dragged out fight scenes but I also don’t like it to end right when I’m getting into them.
Also, I saw the ending coming, in a way, and it only managed to still shock me because I was in deep denial about it. My devastation also got in the way of my appreciation for what happened at the very end. The enormity of it has yet to hit me since I’m still thinking about the thing that drove me to denial right before it.
As you can tell, I still gave this 5 stars and that’s because Amanda played my emotions with an expertise that I always admire in an author. She ripped my heart out almost at every chapter so as you can tell, I ended up deeply attached to these characters. Thank the Gods I had nothing to worry about.
This was a chaotic and emotional roller coaster for me. One page I was screaming in hatred towards certain characters, another page I was smiling like a lunatic at cute scenes, and the next, I was crying in despair. I need the next book right now because I will NOT be in peace until I get to find out what happens next!

5/5 stars!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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AUTHOR BIO:

Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

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BUY LINKS:

[Amazon] [Barnes & Noble] [Books-a-Million]

[IndieBound] [Powells]

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SOCIAL LINKS:

 [Author Website[Twitter

[Facebook[Author Blog]


GIVEAWAY:

I’ve partnered up with Wednesday Books in order to give away 1 FINISHED PAPERBACK COPY of Between the Blade and the Heart over on my Instagram!

Click the image to be sent to the post detailing all the rules and entries!

Giveaway ends on January 12!

Winner will be announced on January 13!

****US ONLY!!****

GIVEAWAY

ANSWER BELOW:

***HOW MUCH DO YOU LIKE NORSE MYTHOLOGY?***

 

Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia!

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“I want to see stars die.”
I’ve been dying to read this book ever since it started popping up all over Instagram and I am so so glad that all the hype was well deserved, at least in my opinion. Ever since I read the premise, I was instantly hooked and every page I read only enhanced my adoration for the novel and characters.
If you don’t already know what this is about, this story follows Eliza, better as Lady Constellation on the internet for creating one of the world’s most famous web comics, Monstrous Sea. This book follows her as she meets a new guy in school, Wallace, who happens to be a huge fan of her web comic. But the thing is that Eliza is keeping her identity as Lady Constellation a secret from everyone so we follow her as she shoulders the weight of that secret. I refuse to say more of the plot because I don’t really like that a huge spoiler is mentioned on the synopsis. It really took away from my experience (I almost gave this 4.5 stars because of that and other things) so if you haven’t read the synopsis yet, by some miracle, don’t do it! Take my word and read this! Then come back here and let’s talk about it together!
As a reader of web comics myself, it was a beautiful experience to read from Eliza’s perspective. As much as I loved her, some of her thoughts and actions sort of annoyed me since it really showcased how young she was. But I guess I couldn’t really fault her for that… much. I really liked witnessing her dynamic with her siblings and how it developed throughout the story. I was fed up with her parents by the first few pages and my distaste for them only multiplied with each chapter.
I also really loved Eliza and Wallace together. Yes, they had their ups and downs but the world just felt right whenever they were together. It was irrefutable and I couldn’t be bothered with thinking otherwise. I loved them together and as individuals. My heart ached for both of their pasts (and presents) even though Wallace pissed me off to no end at one point in the novel. I got over it after a while since he proved worthy of my forgiveness.
I loved the format of this novel. It included gorgeous illustrations, internet chat conversations, comments, and links to real websites that are mentioned throughout the book. Speaking of chat conversations, some of my favorite parts were when we got to see Rainmaker’s status updates. They were so cute and funny, I about cried from adorable overload.
“Broken people don’t hide from their monsters. Broken people let themselves be eaten.”
(This is officially my favorite quote of all time. I relate to it to no end.)
And then we get into the deeper side of this novel. I do want to include a TRIGGER WARNING in this review because I didn’t see one anywhere. I know I definitely needed that warning, I almost didn’t make it to the end of this book since I was having difficulty stomaching a lot of what Eliza was going through. It may have a cute premise, but it hides a profound punch for any of us that can relate to Eliza’s mental state in a personal level. It hurt my entire being witnessing her struggle with the monsters in her head that closely resembled my own.
This was a gigantic roller-coaster of a ride. I cried, I laughed, I laughed through my tears, I ached… and I ended up with the worst headache of my life. I not only cried over the characters in the novel but for myself as well. This book made me revisit old (and still present) demons I’ve been struggling with for years. It tore me up inside but I can’t recommend it enough.
Francesca has won my heart and I can’t wait to read more from her. Especially the stories that were mentioned in this novel. It felt like it was a novel within a novel and I absolutely adore the fact that we can read material that the character’s discussed in here.
“If you wan the motivation back, you must feed it.”

5/5 stars!

Review: A Faerie’s Secret by Rachel Morgan!

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*Copy provided in exchange for honest review*
“Just because I’ve seen the palette of dark colors doesn’t mean I have to paint the rest of my world that way.”
I have waited so long to be able to review this, and the time has come!
This is the fourth book in this incredible series and it takes place 10 years after the last book. The main character is now Calla, instead of Violet.
I am so glad to say that it’s still action packed and even more intriguing than the others. Rachel has become one of my absolute favorite authors. She has the most talented imagination I have had the pleasure of reading and it still blows my mind away, to this day. She always starts her stories with a powerful and captivating explosion. I can’t stress enough how unique these books are. She keeps me at the edge of my seat through out it all and there isn’t a character she has conjured that I don’t like. My heart was completely invested into Calla’s story, even more than Violet’s. Her joy and pain were my own.
With that being said, the ending OBLITERATED me. It gave me the worst book hangover I have ever experienced in my life. I couldn’t stop crying for two days straight, I didn’t even get out of bed. To say that Rachel is phenomenal at world-building is the understatement of the year.
This book is deadly.
There’s plot twist after plot twist after world-shattering plot twist. Everything I thought I knew about Calla and Chase went up in flames. It’s safe to say, this is one of the most impacting endings I have ever experienced.
I never saw all of that coming and even after all that, this is my favorite book in the series! Call me a masochist, I won’t deny it!
I can NOT wait for the next book, I am dying to know what happens with Chase and Calla!! My heart has yet to heal from this tragic emotional rollercoaster.

5/5 stars!

Review: Dominion by J. Kowallis!

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MY REVIEW:

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*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
“… If this choice was going to end them both, they’d go to hell together, and he wanted nothing more.”
I’ve been dreading the writing of this review because it meant that I’ve officially put this series behind me and it’s killing me to no end. I never wanted this series to end but here we are… If you haven’t read this series yet, I hope you do so as soon as you’re done reading this review!!
Since this is the last book in this saga, I’m not really going to get into the plot (because spoilers) but I will say that it follows our beloved characters as they deal with all sorts of grief that comes from war. We see them as they try to learn how to overcome the paralyzing consequences that can come from having a loved one (or several, in some cases) taken from you. I took their sorrow and heartbreak personally which added to my own over witnessing it all.
This book picks up right after the last one and I must admit, the fact that it was a bit slow in the beginning made me a tiny bit hesitant to continue. I was already dealing with a ginormous book slump (still am) so I decided to set it aside for a bit until I could actually force myself to sit down and read. As soon as I was able to do so, I found it picking up very quickly so I basically had nothing to worry about and wasted precious time. (Typical Cassandra, I swear.) I flew through Dominion like there was no tomorrow and I will forever regret. I wish I could’ve somehow savored this novel until my last breath.
I spent the good first half of this novel in sad tears and the second half in happy tears. This book left me trembling from emotional overload. I was physically and emotionally exhausted by the end and just threw myself at my bed to give myself a moment to catch up with the real world. This was 400+ pages of pure torture, of the best kind. Every word felt carefully chosen and sharpened precisely to tear apart a reader’s heart. A part of me didn’t want to keep going but Kowallis’ words are so addicting that they won out in the end. Each page was more beautifully tragic than the last and I couldn’t get enough.
J. Kowallis outdid herself in this installment and I fell in love with how she handled each character’s development. They’ve come so far since book 1 and I am still in awe from it all. I don’t know how to say goodbye to them so I’m not going to. I’m just going to say, until next time… (HUGE WINKS TO JERNAE)

5/5 stars!

Blog Tour & Review: Us Kids Know by JJ Strong

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BOOK DESCRIPTION:

 

We all knew about Cullen Hickson.

Siblings Bri and Ray O’Dell are lost. Anxious. Restless. Ray—bullied at his Catholic school for being small and timid—wants to be someone people respect or, even better, someone people fear. Meanwhile, Bri knows that something is off about her friendship with the shiny, happy, sophisticated blond girls on her field hockey team. They don’t really understand Bri, and if Bri is being totally honest, she doesn’t really understand them either.

When storied delinquent Cullen Hickson enters the orbit of the O’Dell siblings, though, everything changes. Bri and Ray find an alluring, addictive outlet in Cullen, who opens their eyes to a world they didn’t know existed. For Ray, that means experiencing the singular thrill of crime—from breaking and entering to grand theft auto—while Bri quickly dives into an all-consuming romance with the enigmatic upperclassman.

As Bri and Ray become more and more entwined with Cullen’s antics, and their once-thrilling experiences grow increasingly dangerous, a series of life-changing events threatens to lead the teens down a dark path—one that could forever alter the course of their lives.


MY REVIEW:
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*ARC provided by Razorbill in exchange for an honest review*
“Ours was a story that wouldn’t stand for the commonplace.”
This was Strong’s debut novel and it’s a story about how one guy, Cullen, changes the lives of two siblings, Bri and Ray, forever.
Ray gets bullied mercilessly at his school and finds a way to get out of it by ‘hiring’ Cullen in order to help him experience the true thrill of crime in every way. Then we have Bri, who is part of the ‘popular’ group of girls at her school but she knows she doesn’t belong, and at times, doesn’t even know how she got there. She find herself attracted to Cullen and we get to witness how that fact alone ultimately changes the course of her stature in school.
Cullen captivated me from the very beginning. I think I dove into this book as hard as I did because he was the first POV we read about and his mind was a hilarious place. There were a lot of times where he had me laughing uncontrollably at the stuff that went through his head and he did.
I felt like Cullen and Bri got intimate WAY too fast for my liking. I was just starting to see a flicker of flame when all of a sudden it became a forest fire… I didn’t really like it but I just shrugged it off or else I would’ve never enjoyed the romance factor in this.
This book was divided into two parts and the second part brought the seriousness to a whole new level. I was reeling from the way part one ended since I wasn’t expecting it all; I was dreading it, to be honest, and I shed a few tears.
One reason why this isn’t a complete 4 star read was because I was in the mindset that this would just be a book about a group of kids messing around but it’s so much more than that and it caught me by surprise. It deals with heavier and harder topics than I was expecting. That isn’t a bad thing at all, but at the moment, I wasn’t in the right mood for it, I guess. I’ll definitely try and reread this someday in the future and try to see if my rating changes.
The other reason was because I didn’t form a connection to any of the characters. I really, really tried, but even though it dealt with different forms of depression, they were completely different from mine so I couldn’t relate to them as much as I wanted.
This book is perfect for any adrenaline junkies out there.
It had a somber undertone throughout it and the foreshadowing got a bit heartbreaking. I really liked how I had no idea or guesses to where the characters would end up. It kept me guessing at every turn and it made me hesitant to reach the finish line. I had a strong uneasy feeling in my stomach from the start since these characters were playing with fire and I felt like they would only end up being burned beyond recognition.
I will say, that this might be triggering for some readers out there, so fair warning; It almost was for me. Can’t wait to see what Strong comes out with next!
 
3.7 stars.

 AUTHOR BIO:

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JJ Strong received a creative writing degree from the University of Southern California, and a B.A. in English from Georgetown University. His writing has appeared in Fifth Wednesday, the Santa Monica Review, and LA Weekly. He taught for many years in the undergraduate writing program at USC, before moving to the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and son.
 

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR 
 
SCHEDULE:
 
Week One:
October 23 – The Royal Polar Bear 
October 24 – ButterMyBooks 
October 25 – The Lovely Books 
October 26 – The Bookish Crypt
October 27 – YA and Wine 
 
Week Two:
October 30 – Here’s to Happy Endings 
October 31 – YA Book Central 
November 2 – The Crazy Bookworm 
November 3 – Gladiator Glory 

Release Day blitz & Review: Move the Stars by Jessica Hawkins!

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SYNOPSIS FOR BOOK 1:

SOMETHING IN THE WAY

It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. Under the sweat and dirt, Manning Sutter was as handsome as the sun was bright. He was older, darker, experienced. I wore a smiley-face t-shirt and had never even been kissed. Yet we saw something in each other that would link us in ways that couldn’t be broken…no matter how hard we tried.
I loved Manning before I knew the meaning of the word. I was too young, he said. I would wait. Through all the carefully-chosen words hiding what we knew to be true, through his struggle to keep me innocent, and through infinitely-starry nights—I would wait. But I’d learn that life isn’t always fair. That no matter how much you achieve, none of it matters if you suffer the heartbreak that comes with falling for someone you can never have. Because even though I saw Manning first, that didn’t matter. My older sister saw him next.


SYNOPSIS FOR BOOK 3: (SPOILERS)

MOVE THE STARS:

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The highly anticipated conclusion to the Something in the Way series, a forbidden love saga.
Lake
It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. If I’d known then what I do now, would I have kept on walking? Manning was older, darker, experienced—and I’d trusted him when he said the story would only ever be about us. I’d held those words close and challenged fate, but I had lost.

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A part of me is still that sixteen-year-old girl squinting up at Manning, but no matter how far I fall or high I soar, I’ll always be a bird without her bear and nothing without him.
Manning
When I close my eyes, I can no longer see her. The decisions I made were to push Lake in the right direction—away from me. But now that she’s gone, would I have made those same choices?
I’d walked away like I was supposed to. I’d kept my distance. I’d bent over backward to keep Lake pure, but she’s no longer that girl, and I don’t know if I can stay away anymore. I only know I don’t want to. She’s still everything I want and nothing I should ever have, but if anyone can move the stars, it’s her great bear in the sky.


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Photographer: Perrywinkle Photography

Cover Design © R.B.A. Designs

Cover Model: Chase Williams


MY REVIEW:

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*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
“My instinct to love him was as strong as my instincts to cower from him. To cover my heart anticipating the next blow.”
This takes place about 4 years after the last one and it broke my heart but it also made it soar. Because of this, I wasn’t too mad at Jessica… Who am I kidding, I can never be mad at the woman who single-handedly gave me the book I’ve been waiting to read for years.
My heart has been overtaken by this series before the release of book 1 and I can’t believe this series has come to an end. As soon as I got word that early copies had hit Kindles, I dropped everything I was doing and started the book I knew would open old wounds; Just like its predecessors have done without fail. This was one of my most anticipated releases for October and I was already crying my eyes out not even 1% into it. (No regrets)
“Did he understand the agony of knowing I’d never call him mine.”
I loved Lake since the very beginning and it only multiplied after each turn of the page. The fact that I experienced eerily similar situations as her, made my protectiveness go off the wall. I wanted to shelter her and heal her heart as much as I could. But, she proved to not need me since she turned out way better than I had anticipated. She’s come so far since the 16 year old I met a few months ago. I am incredibly proud of the woman she’s become and appreciated riding the roller coaster that was her life along with her. It was an agonizing ride but it wasn’t long enough. every one of her thoughts seemed to reflect my own at one point in my life, so in my mind, she’s as real as me. She’s just the better version of me.
“I had only one option left, tilt the universe until she fell into my arms.”
I was surprised to have loved Manning so much. (Manning without a filter is my new favorite thing, HOLY GODS.)… I was a strong advocate in the ‘I don’t want Manning to end up with Lake’ club but he managed to prove himself worthy after part 2 of this novel. I still can’t forgive him for most of the things he has done but none of that got in the way of my enjoyment of this book for what it was, thankfully. He had a lot to atone for in this novel but he still didn’t deserve the stuff that happened to him or the people around him along the way. I was absolutely thrilled to witness his character development as much as Lake’s. Jessica handled these characters with an expertise I hope to match someday.
I wanted nothing but happiness for these two and I got my wish so it’s more than I could ask for.
“I was in too deep with a man who’d ruined my life without ever touching me.”
This novel was full of heartbreak but it was perfectly balanced by epic reconciliation scenes. (*cough*And steamy ones *cough*.) I think that this is Jessica’s best series yet and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us all.
I do have to mention really quick that my hatred for Tiffany knows no bounds and from now on, will forever cringe at the mention of her name. I also noticed that there were a lot of loose ends at then end of this novel… SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS….which means…. I am 100% sure there will be more coming our way from these characters…. Right, Jessica????
This is one of the steamiest romance novels I’ve ever read so if you’re not 18, please turn away!

5/5 stars!


BUY LINKS:

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 [Amazon] [iBooks] [Nook ]

 [Google Play] [Kobo] [Paperback]

 [Audiobook (coming 2017)]


ABOUT JESSICA:

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Jessica Hawkins grew up between the purple mountains and under the endless sun of Palm Springs, California. She studied international business at Arizona State Universityand has also lived in Costa Rica and New York City. To her, the most intriguing fiction is forbidden, and that’s what you’ll find in her stories. Currently, she resides wherever her head lands, which is often the unexpected (but warm) keyboard of her trusty MacBook.

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AUTHOR LINKS

 [Amazon] [Facebook] [Website[Twitter]

 [Instagram] [Bookbub[Pinterest] 


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