Friday, December 8, 2017

Book Blitz: Abroad (Book Two)

About the Book:
Title: Abroad: Book Two
Author: Liz Jacobs
Publication date: January 2nd 2018
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis: 
The heartwarming and romantic conclusion to the duology celebrated by Teen Vogue as “a nuanced and sexy take on growing up and learning to accept who you are.”
Nick Melnikov has finally done it — he’s come out.
To himself. To his sister. And to Dex, who listens, hears him, and understands. To Dex, who kisses him and shows him all that they could be, if Nick could only find the courage. It’s one thing to let yourself be open thousands of miles away from your family, but exchange student Nick is uncomfortably aware that his time with Dex is running out. Who will he be when he goes home again?
Dex Cartwell is as happy with Nick as he’s ever been, but he can’t ignore the shadow of Nick’s inevitable departure from London, back to his life in Michigan. Is it worth it for Dex to expose his heart to another doomed relationship with a predetermined expiration date? What does Dex really want for the beginning of the next chapter in his life, post-graduation?
Dex wants to turn to his best friend in the struggle to find a way forward, but Izzy Jones has her own problems. She’s got one friend in love with her, and when she turns to another for help things get twice as complicated. Izzy never wanted complicated, but life just keeps getting in the way — and sweeping her off her feet.
Then Nick’s mom and sister come for a visit, and he is forced to decide between living his truth and protecting himself from fear and change. It’s going to take a lot of courage and a few leaps in the dark if Nick, Dex, and Izzy are to find a way to live and love on their own terms.

ABROAD Book One is on sale for 99¢ for a limited time only!
EXCERPT:

A shift next to Nick, then a sigh. He froze. Had he woken Dex up after all?
He waited as Dex moved behind him, and then the futon shifted. Dex was up. Nick turned over, only to see him escape quietly out of the study.
Nick took advantage of it and shifted into a position he could maybe fall asleep in, provided he could shut his fucking brain up. God, sleeping next to another person was stressful as hell. He and Lena did it rarely enough that he had never managed to get used to it. Dex didn’t seem to have this problem. Again, Nick’s lack of experience made him squirm.
Dex came back shortly, kneeing his way up the futon, his body graceful in the dark. Nick swallowed. “Hi.”
“You’re awake!” Dex plopped down next to him and immediately cuddled up, their knees meeting. “Did I wake you? Sorry.”
“No, I wasn’t asleep yet.” Nick wished he hadn’t said it the moment it left his mouth.
“You all right?” He almost jumped when Dex’s hand found his side, wrapped around his back.
“Yeah,” he lied. “Maybe just not tired.”
The shadow of Dex’s face loomed closer, then Dex’s breath fanned over his face. A kiss—a peck really—to his lips. “Sorry.”
It was so much darker here than in London. “Not your fault.”
Their voices were quiet, almost whispers. Dex sounded uncertain when he said, “I hope you like Easter. It’s one of Mum’s favorites.”
“I’m excited,” Nick said. He sort of was. The only Easter thing he had ever done was dye eggs in school as a kid, back in Russia. “I’m sure it’ll be great.”
Dex sighed. “This is weird, isn’t it?”
“Which part?” Nick tensed.
“Just, you know. You, meeting my folks. I mean, the last boyfriend of mine they met was the one I had in school for, like, a month.”
“Well, the last set of parents I met were my parents’ friends, so … ”
“Is that … parents of someone you dated?” Dex sounded careful. Nick sighed. He hadn’t meant to open up this door, but Dex had been so generous with his past. It was probably time for Nick to mirror him.
“Yeah, my girlfriend. My ex-girlfriend, I mean. We dated in high school and college.”
“That long, huh?”
More than one question in his voice, Nick knew. He was so glad they were in the total dark. He squirmed. “Yeah. I mean, I did … you know, I did like her. We were best friends. I … I really messed that up when we broke up.”
“When was that?”
“Just this past summer,” Nick breathed.
“Was it … why? Who broke up with whom?”
Nick chewed the question over. He still didn’t know what had given him the courage to do the right thing, as it were. He hadn’t ever really felt comfortable with Lena, not in a physical relationship, anyway. He loved her so much, and he’d hated having her as a girlfriend. Just as he would have hated having any girl for a partner.
“I did. Before I left for London. I mean, I think … I think I used that as the overall reason, but really, it was because … ” He sighed.
“Because you’re gay?” Again, Dex sounded careful, tender, even.
Nick’s breath whooshed out of him. “Yeah. I didn’t tell her that, though.”
“She didn’t take the breakup well?”
Nick screwed up his eyes. Thoughts of Lena always brought on intense flushes of shame, peculiar only to her. He had used her, whether as a cover for others or for himself, he had used her, and discarded her. She deserved so much better than him. “No,” he whispered. “She … she kind of hates me now.”
“Would you … I mean. Would you consider telling her?”
Nick swallowed. “Telling her what?”
“That you’re, you know. Gay.”
The very thought made him wince. How could he? What if she felt more hurt? What if she would hate him even more, if that was even possible? What if—what if she told her parents, who would—no. God. No, he couldn’t—he couldn’t even imagine that. He couldn’t imagine anyone besides Zoya knowing, he couldn’t even form an image, it was all static in his mind. Could he ever look them in the eye, knowing that they knew he was into boys, into—no. He recoiled from the very idea, felt sweat break out on his back, soaking into his t-shirt.
“N-no, I—I don’t know. I can’t … I don’t think I could.”
“Why? What could happen?” Dex’s whisper sounded halting. Nick twisted away and Dex’s hand slipped off his side. They were only touching at the knees.
“I just … I guess I’d never thought about it,” he said. Maybe if he pretended to keep the demons in the past …
“That makes sense,” Dex said. “‘S all right.” Again he leaned in and kissed him. Then he turned over. “We should probably sleep, long day tomorrow.”
Nick felt cold everywhere Dex had been touching him. He made himself roll over and get into a good position for sleep. If he ever did sleep. “Good night,” he whispered, but it had been so quiet, he wasn’t sure Dex had heard.

Author Bio:
Liz Jacobs came over with her family from Russia at the age of 11, as a Jewish refugee. All in all, her life has gotten steadily better since that moment. They settled in an ultra-liberal haven in the middle of New York State, which sort of helped her with the whole “grappling with her sexuality” business.
She has spent a lot of her time flitting from passion project to passion project, but writing remains her constant. She has flown planes, drawn, made jewelry, had an improbable internet encounter before it was cool, and successfully wooed the love of her life in a military-style campaign. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her essay on her family’s experience with immigration.

She currently lives with her wife in Massachusetts, splitting her time between her day job, writing, and watching a veritable boatload of British murder mysteries.


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~Cassie

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #124

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: 

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely
Gunslinger GirlPublication Date: January 2nd, 2018

Synopsis:


James Patterson presents a bold new heroine--a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow's West. 

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity "Pity" Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She's been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great....


In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity's struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.


This book just sounds AMAZING!!! I can't even tell you how excited I am for this book.  Everything I have heard about this book so far has been excellent and I've been looking for a really good Western-style YA novel, so I'm hoping this one is a winner!  

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Blog Tour: Delayed Departure

About the Book:
Title: Delayed Departure (Passports and Promises, #2)
Author: Abigail Drake
Publication date: August 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis: 
When Bethany Beaumont finds a book about life in the sultan’s harem, she discovers it’s actually a guide to the lost art of seduction. Just what she needs as she departs on a study abroad trip to exotic Istanbul. She’s struggling to get over her ex, and the book of dirty little secrets might be just the thing to help…if only she could find someone to practice on.
Half-Turkish and full of Australian swagger, teaching assistant Adam Kent seems to fit the bill. They decide to become lovers for the duration of the trip, and then part ways. Forever.

But not every lesson can be found in a book, and sometimes falling in love changes everything. When Bethany is forced to confront her past, and the promises she made to someone else, will it really be as easy as she thought to let Adam go?

Author Bio:
Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, fun, and sexy.
Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three sons (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.

She is a member of Pennwriters, RWA, Three Rivers Romance Writers, Mindful Writers, Women's Fiction Writers, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches writing to children through the Young Writers' Institute and at local libraries.
Review:

Abigail Drake has made me fall in love once again with this sequel in the Passports and Promises series! I absolutely adored the first book in this series, Saying Goodbye, Part One Saying Goodbye, Part Two, but she outdid herself with this installment. With gorgeous writing and the sweetest romance, this is perfect for any romance lover. 

One of my favorite aspects of Abigail Drake's gorgeous prose is her attention to detail, but not too much detail. You are instantly transported to Istanbul, Turkey and every scene is richly described so you feel like you are right there sipping Turkish coffee with the characters. Honestly, this book makes me have so much wanderlust it's unbelievable. When I looked up the places the characters visited on Pinterest after finishing, I was awestruck with the beauty of the country while also blown away by the fact that I already knew what every place looked like due to the descriptions in the book. But Ms. Drake not only depicts the setting in the perfect way, but also her characters. You can easily tell how much love and effort she puts into writing the characters in all of her novels, and this book especially. 

I immediately fell in love with Bethany and Adam. They have undeniable chemistry and I'm always a sucker for the "hate you-love you" type romance. They're bickering and banter is classic and oh-so-perfect. I truly felt like I knew these characters way before the halfway point, and I loved watching both Bethany and Adam grow over the course of the novel. Bethany especially grows stronger and more confident. She finds a new strength in her that she didn't know she had and allows herself to be set free of the burdens plaguing her at home. Ultimately she allows herself to become the person she was always meant to be.

I highly recommend reading this novel (and this series in general) as it is truly a fantastic read that will sweep you away from the very start. Prepare to lose yourself in a gorgeously written story that reminds us all to break free and become our true selves. Check this out now!!

Happy reading :)


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~Cassie

ARC Review: Undone (Unknown #3)

Undone (Unknown #3)About the Book:
Title: Undone (Unknown #3)
Author: Wendy Higgins
Pub. Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Wendy Higgins
Pages: 254
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis:

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins, brings you the gripping, sensual conclusion to her apocalyptic trilogy.

Amber Tate never dreamed their heart-wrenching escape from the enemy’s attack would lead them to the most beautiful place she’s ever seen, marred by one ugly fact; it’s under enemy control. Like everywhere else in the world, Elmendorf military base in Alaska has been captured, and it’s time to take it back—all of it—one base, one city at a time. After losing so much, Amber clings to the only precious person she has left, and vows to sacrifice everything to help save the Earth.

Remy Haines is a lover, not a fighter, so when she finds herself in enemy territory, expected to feign allegiance while gathering intel for the rebel cause, she’s never been more out of her element. Tensions only increase when her feelings for Jacob “Tater” Tate won’t go away, and the enemy’s leader takes an interest in her. She’s torn between what her heart wants, and what she knows she should do. As for what her body needs…well, it’s always had a mind of its own.

Review:

Wendy Higgins has done it once again!! She has delivered an utterly perfect ending to a fantastic series. The Unknown series has quickly become one of my favorite series as it is unique, interesting, and just so much fun! I have no idea how Wendy Higgins came up with the idea for this trilogy but I'm very glad she did because it sucks you in from the get go, and this book is certainly no exception. I was eager to read this novel, especially after the ending of Unrest...suffice to say I was over the moon when I found out that I received an advanced copy. 

This novel picks up right where Unrest left off, and the story hits the ground running. Seriously, this book is action-packed and goes full force from the first page until the very last sentence. Told in alternating perspectives from Remy and Amber, we see two different perspectives of the same world. I loved that Wendy did this because it added a more complete element to the story. We needed to read from Remy's POV to see what it was like in the DRI camp and the scary things she faced every day. But we also needed to continue our journey with Amber to see how she would cope with the not only the capture of her best friend, but also her brother. 

Amber is such a strong character and just like in the previous novels, I loved reading her perspective. She has come so far over the course of the three books, and I really enjoyed seeing who she became by the end of the story. I will never tire of her and Rylen's love for each other, and let's just say there are some very interesting developments in their relationship in this book. Remy too has changed a great deal since the first book, and I loved watching her find her own in this book. She didn't have anyone to rely on except herself and she survived in the only way she could.  And despite everything that was going on at the camp, she didn't let the aliens change her in the most important ways.  Remy remained the kind and compassionate person she has been from the start! 

I highly recommend reading this book as soon as it comes out because you will not be disappointed!! Wendy Higgins delivers yet another hit that is full of action, exciting twists and turns that you will never see coming, and a bittersweet ending that will leave you with a gigantic smile on your face. I can't wait to see what she writes next!!

Happy reading :)

~Cassie

Monday, December 4, 2017

Book Blitz: The Fourth Element

About the Book:
Title: The Fourth Element Trilogy: Boxed Set 
Author: Kat Ross
Publication date: September 22nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis: 
Gladiator meets Romeo and Juliet in this “spellbinding fantasy” trilogy (Kirkus Reviews) set in ancient Persia!
They are the light against the darkness.
The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
And they use demons to hunt demons….
Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.
Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.
As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…
So begins an epic story of adventure, romance and betrayal that leads to undiscovered magical realms and a final confrontation with a demon queen bent on destroying them all.

99¢ for a limited time only!


Author Bio:
Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She's the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day, the Fourth Element fantasy trilogy (The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, Queen of Chaos), and a new gaslamp mystery series that opens with The Daemoniac and continues with The Thirteenth Gate. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. For more information about Kat's books, come visit her at katrossbooks.com.


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~Cassie

Friday, December 1, 2017

Book Blitz: Murder on the Lake of Fire

About the Book:
Title: Murder on the Lake of Fire (Mourning Dove Mysteries, #1) 
Author: Mikel J. Wilson
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 1st 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, Mystery, Romance

Synopsis: 
At twenty-three and with a notorious case under his belt, Emory Rome has already garnered fame as a talented special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His career is leapfrogging over his colleagues, but the jumping stops when he’s assigned a case he fought to avoid – to investigate an eerie murder in the Smoky Mountain hometown he had abandoned. This mysterious case of a dead teen ice-skater once destined for the pros is just the beginning. In a small town bursting with envious friends and foes, Rome’s own secrets lie just below the surface. The rush to find the murderer before he strikes again pits Rome against artful private investigator, Jeff Woodard. The PI is handsome and smart, seducing Rome and forcing him to confront childhood demons, but Woodard has secrets of his own. He might just be the killer Rome is seeking.
EXCERPT:

Britt hadn’t been able to even look at her skates since the embarrassment of her last competition, and now as they dangled from her shoulders, she faced the frozen lake like it was a pervy ass-pincher about to get slapped. Knowing someone had drugged her didn’t soothe the humiliation of that night and didn’t make returning to the ice any easier.
“I can do this,” she chanted while her shins cut through the crouching morning fog and her boots crunched a path onto the snow. As she unburdened her shoulder at the lake’s bank, the blades clinked against each other like engaged sabers, shocking the silence to attention. She changed her footwear and stepped onto the frozen water, prepared for battle.
Britt plowed through the thin layer of snow atop the ice and warmed up with minor moves of little friction that evolved into grander displays of gifted athleticism. From a Y-spiral she leapt into a butterfly jump and followed it with a double Axel. When she landed, she spotted something protruding from the ice in her path. Branch! She shuffled her feet and averted a tumble, but the back of her blades scraped each other, which caused a slight spark.
Composure regained, Britt twisted into a purposeful spin. As she drew in her arms to increase her speed, her visible breath encircled her head like the arms of the Milky Way. She couldn’t focus on the white and grey world that whirled around her, but she noticed that the sun had risen and was now warming her face.
The sun, however, was still in its place, hiding behind the snow-covered pines.
Fire surrounded her petite frame and spread across the lake. Britt tried to scream, but the smoke she gasped in gagged her throat.
She continued spinning, unable to stop, as the blaze engulfed her body. In a fiery vortex, Britt plunged through the melting ice.

Author Bio:
Mystery and science fiction author Mikel J. Wilson received widespread critical praise for his debut novel, Sedona: The Lost Vortex, a science fiction book based on the Northern Arizona town’s legends of energy vortexes and dimensional travel. Wilson now draws on his Southern roots for the Mourning Dove Mysteries, a series of novels featuring bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee.
Murder on the Lake of Fire, the first novel in the Mourning Dove Mysteries series, will be available December 1, 2017.


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~Cassie

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Blitz: Run Away With Me

About the Book:
Title: Run Away With Me (Come Back to Me #3) 
Author: Mila Gray
Published by: Simon Pulse
Publication date: November 28th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis: 
Emerson Lowe and popular ice-hockey player Jake McCallister have been best friends since third grade but just as their friendship starts to morph into something more, a terrible event occurs that heralds the end of innocence for both of them.
Within a week, Jake’s living on the other side of the country and Emerson is left alone to pick up the pieces of her life in a small town determined to paint her as a liar.
Seven years on and Emerson is still living on the beautiful Pacific West island of Bainbridge, helping her family run their outdoor adventure company. The last thing she needs is Jake turning up, bringing with him old memories and opening up old wounds. But Jake—even better looking than Emerson remembered and on the cusp of a bright sporting future—seems determined to revive their friendship no matter how much Emerson tries to push him away and soon they’re in the midst of a passionate summer romance that neither of them wants to end.
But if they’re to have any kind of future, they’re first going to need to confront the past, a past that most people want to stay buried.

EXCERPT:
I hear a voice behind me.
‘Need some help with that?’
I spin around.
It takes a couple of seconds for my brain to confirm that it’s actually him. That it’s actually Jake McCallister standing in front of me and not a hallucination. My heart does this fierce smash and rebound against my ribs as though it’s been violently woken from hibernation. I draw in a breath so big it feels like my lungs might explode, as if all that air is filling a vacuum and I’ll never be able to let it out again.
I hate this feeling. Hate the way the adrenaline floods my blood stream and tears sting my eyes. Hate the way my body reacts in a thousand contradictory ways at the sight of him, as though someone has plugged me into a wrong socket and fried all my synapses.
I have an impulse to throw myself at him but I’m not sure if it’s because I want to hug him or beat the living crap out of him. I drop the kayak, my hands fisting automatically at my sides.
I watch the smile on his lips fade when he notices the set of my jaw. His expression had started off wary but now I see him swallow and press his lips together, something he always does when he’s nervous.
I take note of that and at the same time notice a dozen other tiny, insignificant, monumental details about this new old Jake. I see the faded white scar on his chin—the one I gave him and the new scar cutting across his eyebrow. Then there’s his height – we were always the same height but now he’s tall. . . much taller than me. His dark brown hair is the same, though – unruly, untamed, falling in his eyes. He’s looking at me with the same mix of uncertainty that he looked at me the very last time I saw him.
I glance away, down at the sand. My whole body is shaking and I can’t seem to get it under control.
‘Em?’ I hear him say.
My head flies up before I can stop it. No one calls me that any more. His voice is deeper, mellower. The inflection though when he says my name is still just the same… and instantly something inside me starts coming undone. Jake always used to say my name like it belonged to him, and only him.

Author Bio:
Mila Gray is the pen name for Sarah Alderson, author of Hunting Lila, Losing Lila, The Sound, Fated and Out of Control.
Originally from London she has lived in Bali for the last four years with her husband and daughter.
As well as writing young adult fiction under the name Sarah Alderson and adult fiction under the name Mila Gray, she also writes screenplays.


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~Cassie