Raves & Craves: Zodiac Rereadathon & Giveaway

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Hi everyone, thank you for joining me today for Penguin Teen’s rereadathon campaign of the Zodiac series by Romina Russell. Below check out information about Zodiac, my RAVING review and a snack recommendation for Zodiac, and enter the giveaway to win a set of the Zodiac series. Good luck and enjoy!

Zodiac
Title:  Zodiac

Author: Romina Russell
Publication date: December 9, 2014
Publisher:  Razorbill (Penguin/Random House)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance

About the book:

At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

LINKS: Goodreads |  IndieBound  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  The Book Depository


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THE RAVES: A SHORT REVIEW

Zodiac is a unique read that blends both astronomy and astrology into a space adventure story that focuses on a young heroine, Rho, trying to make sure that good conquers evil. Throughout the novel, Rho is tested not only by her own home, the House of Cancer, but by the other Guardians and Houses that she is trying to convince are all in danger. Reluctantly, she has to warn everyone that their common enemy is someone that they all thought was only a legend. Zodiac is an action-packed page-turner with intense scenes, charming male characters, and a plot-line filled with twists, turns, and so many mysteries. I could not put this book down. 

THE CRAVES: GALAXY POPCORN

While reading any book, I usually have a snack at my side. Zodiac is filled with intriguing moments and scenes, and I was always reaching for something to munch on but never turning my eyes from the page. While reading Zodiac, I turned to one of my favorite snacks that I always crave but added a sweet twist to it: Popcorn with a hint of sweetness from sprinkles.

Ingredients:
For this snack, you will only need two ingredients:  popcorn and sprinkles. I decided to use regular popcorn, because I love the salty taste, and different colored sprinkles, which include star-shaped and sparkling sugar.


Directions:
Pop your popcorn, according to the directions on the packet, and then add your sprinkles of choice. WHA-LA! You have the perfect mix of a salty snack with a hint of sweetness. 



♦◊♦ ENTER THE GIVEAWAY ♦◊♦

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win either one (1) grand prize set of Romina Russell’s Zodiac Series in paperback, including Zodiac, Wandering Star, and Black Moon (32.97) or to be one (1) of five (5) second place winners to receive a copy of Zodiac by Romina Russell (ARV: $10.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on June 26th, 2017 and 12:00 AM on July 17, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about July 21, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

 


Don’t forget to join us for the Twitter Chat on July 16 hosted by Brittany at @BBOOKRAMBLES
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Note: Thank you Penguin Teen 
for allowing me to be a part of the #ZodiacBooks ReReadathon campaign. 
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Excerpt & Giveaway: ROAR by Cora Carmack

From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack comes her debut young adult fantasy, ROAR! Now available, ROAR takes readers on an adventure filled with charismatic characters in an enthralling world sure to keep them turning the pages. Grab your copy today!

About ROAR (Stormheart #1):

New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack’s young adult debut: Roar.

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

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EXCERPT:

“This life is not glamorous,” Duke told her. “We travel constantly. We sleep on the ground most nights. When we’re not in danger from storms, we’re in danger in cities where we are considered criminals. This life is not for the faint of heart.”

“There are things I do not know, things I will have to learn. But I am capable. I am familiar with sacrifice. I know what it is to make hard choices.”

“Tell me you’re not considering this,” Locke said to Duke.

The old man was silent for a long moment, both Locke and Roar looking to him for support. Duke rubbed at his mustache, a habit of his when he was thinking deeply. “Let’s think about this, Locke. She’s smart. And determined.”

“She’s a child.”

Roar’s shoulders hunched in Locke’s peripheral vision, and he swallowed back the guilt. He could apologize later. For now, it was imperative that he won this argument.

You were a child when I brought you into the fold,” Duke said. “She’s a young woman with a good head on her shoulders. And if this is what she wants, I’m inclined to at least hear her out.”

Just like that, Roar’s shoulders straightened, and Locke turned to watch a devastating smile bloom across her mouth. His weakness when it came to her only made him more cross.

“What skills do you have?” he snapped at Roar.

“Skills?”

“Yes, skills. What can you do? Or do you just plan to tag along for the ride?”

A flush spread over her cheeks, and her voice was tentative when she answered, “I’m good on a horse. Very good.”

Where in the world would she have learned to ride? He quickly hardened his expression. “Horses are fine for travel, but they don’t do well in storms. They, unlike you, have good survival instincts.”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Locke could have sworn he felt an updraft—the first sign that bad weather could occur—and he knew that this time he had pushed too far.

Roar marched toward him, spearing a finger into his chest and said, “I can read and write. I can speak Taraanese, Finlaghi, and Odilarian. I can read maps. I know enough about grassland vegetation and wildlife to survive without a market to buy food and drink. I’m good with knives and a bow. I learn quickly, and I’m not afraid of hard work. And I’ve spent my entire life reading as much about storms as I could get my hands on.” For a moment, her voice cracked under the weight of her anger, but she took a huffing breath and continued: “I’m good with numbers. It’s been a while, but I think I can probably still draw the constellations from memory, which should make me decent at navigation. I can—“

“Enough.” Locke’s voice came out in a deep rasp. He captured her long, delicate finger in his fist before she could continue poking him. He felt short of breath at the sight of her—livid and lovely. “Enough.”

The old Locke might have kept arguing, and Roar would have met him toe-to-toe. But if becoming a storm hunter had taught him anything, it was that fighting head-on wasn’t always the way to win. Sometimes strategy was required. He met Duke’s eyes over her shoulder, and if he had thought Roar looked smug before, she had nothing on his mentor. The man raised his eyebrows in a challenge and asked, “You?”

He hated the idea of bringing someone into this dangerous life, but if it was going to happen regardless, he sure as hell wouldn’t hand her safety over to anyone else, not even Ransom. And at the very least, it would give him the opportunity to change her mind. He gritted his teeth and nodded his acceptance.


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About Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Since she was a teenager, her favorite genre to read has been fantasy, and now she’s thrilled to bring her usual compelling characters and swoon-worthy romance into worlds of magic and intrigue with her debut YA fantasy, Roar. Her previous adult romance titles include the Losing It, Rusk University, and Muse series. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website www.coracarmack.com.

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Friday Raves: Author Signings with Emery Lord, Emily Henry, and Brittany Cavallaro

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FRIDAY RAVES is a feature on my blog, in which I “RAVE” about authors, book events, books, novelties, and/or other bookish announcements.

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This week my local bookstore, Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, hosted two author signing/book events. I am currently on a “book-signing high,” and I cannot wait to share my pictures and memories from each event. 

Monday, May 15, 2017
Emery Lord with The Names They Gave Us

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I love whenever Emery is able to stop by and visit the bookstore. She’s a local author, so I never miss a chance to see her again. She’s so funny and smart, and every time I meet her I feel like I can conquer the world and write my own book. Emery also brought along some homemade treats (chocolate chip cookies with toffee pieces and potato chips in them) to share with us, and they were delicious!

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Emery was able to sign both my ARC and hardcover of The Names They Gave Us. Thanks, Emery!

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Release Day of A Million Junes
with Emily Henry and Brittany Cavallaro

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On Tuesday, I got to meet these authors for the very first time: Emily Henry and Brittany Cavallaro. Both of these women writers are so witty, funny, and courageous. I asked both authors, “what was the initial dandelion seed that inspired each of their books?” Brittany pointed out that there are hundreds of adaptations of Sherlock Holmes, but only one female adaptation, so out of fury she wrote her own Sherlock Holmes series with a female lead. YES!!! Emily emotionally explained that A Million Junes is her grief book and that it all began with the passing of her dog two years ago. 😦

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Emily’s mom made these Jack’s Tart Cherry Cupcakes, which were inspired by the book.

And when I went up to meet Emily, she gave me a hug and I thought we were both going to cry. I love my dog, and I shared with her that two years ago I also lost my best friend, my poodle named MiaBella. At that moment, I think I found a new understanding of why I love A Million Junes so much (which, by the way, is my favorite book of 2017). Emily also gifted me an A Million Junes poster, which I cannot wait to find a frame for this weekend. I also got both of Brittany’s books signed, and I’m really looking forward to reading this series! 

Wow! I feel really spoiled with all the local book-event love, and I cannot wait to attend the next one.

What has been your best author/book event you have attended? 

Character-Inspired Tea Pairings: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

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Title: Hunted 
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Format: Physical ARC

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


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I wrote my review on Hunted last week (check it out HERE), and was deeply inspired to write another post, pairing characters with tea blends. In Hunted, tea plays a small role as the remedy for comfort, because it warms the soul, calms the nerves, and steadies the mind. Below I have picked my three favorite characters in Hunted and paired them with what I think are the perfect tea flavors based on their personalities and traits. Enjoy!

Yeva tea

RUBY SPICE CIDER TEA BLEND: Yeva is one of my favorite heroines in YA literature, because like this spice cider tea, Yeva’s personality is vibrant. She is a fighter and a survivor. I love how badass, daring, and determined is she throughout Hunted. And in comparison to this noted tea, Yeva is sweet and fierce. 

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LAPSANG SOUCHONG TEA: The tea blend of Lapsang Souchong tastes rich and earthly, with a strange aroma that is wild like Beast. Just as Beast has two competing personalities (the wolf and man), this tea blend has the dual taste of sweet and smokey.  Beast’s mannerisms often hint to a helpful and playful personality, but like a majority of black teas, he is also strong and bold.  

Doe Eyes Tea

NIRVANA GREEN TEA: Yeva (“Beauty”) is a hunter, and like any hunter, she has her most loyal friend and canine companion, Doe-Eyes. Doe-Eyes is always happy to see Yeva, and with every tail-wag, she brings content to Yeva’s life. In comparison to the Nirvana Green tea blend, Doe-Eyes is also sweet, fun, and energetic. 

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I cannot wait for everyone to read Hunted. Once you have read it, please feel free to stop by and comment what tea flavors you would match to your favorite characters. I would love to see what you come up with and maybe even try out some new tea blends. 

Book Madness 2017: Vote for Scarlett from Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Hi, everyone and welcome to Book Madness 2017 created and hosted by Maggie, author of The Big F.

What is #BookMadness17?: This year it is a mashup of 64 participating BookTubers, Bookstagrammers, and Book Bloggers gushing about their favorite characters. Throughout the month of March, everyone is encouraged to vote for their favorite characters in different rounds, resulting in one ultimate champion. And guess what! Prizes are involved for viewers, voters, and bloggers that participate (US and International winners). 

So without further ado, I present to you my character nominee:

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Caraval has become one of my favorite debut books of 2017, and Scarlett is definitely one of my favorite heroines. She is cautious but daring. A loving sister and trustworthy friend. While making continuous selfless sacrifices throughout Caraval, Scarlett is the feisty heroine that faces her challenges head on! A total badass who can pull off a beautiful but heavy Victorian dress whilst chasing clues around a dark and mischievous carnival game. 

So if you’re also a fan of Scarlett, be sure to click on the banner and/or the link below, and VOTE FOR SCARLETT!

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VOTE HERE!

Voting closes for Round One at 11:59 pm CST on March 5! Vote your heart out!!!

Friday Raves & Giveaway: Meeting Stephanie Garber

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FRIDAY RAVES is a feature on my blog, in which I “RAVE” about authors, book events, books, novelties, and/or other bookish announcements.

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WELCOME, WELCOME TO MY TRIP TO CARAVAL…I MEAN TO NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS…

Over the weekend, I went on a trip to Naperville, Illinois to meet Stephanie Garber, the author of Caraval. On Friday morning, my brother, sister, and I packed our bags, loaded up the car, and headed out on a 5-6 hour drive. I was so excited to get my books signed and meet Stephanie Garber!

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After making a few stops, we had to grab lunch and pick up Starbucks, we finally arrived at Naperville around 4:00 pm. We purchased our copies/tickets for the Saturday event at Anderson’s Bookstore, and then explored the town before we decided to head to the hotel to rest. I may have bought a few Funko Pops at the local Barnes and Noble (sorry not sorry!).

Day of the Event

Of course, when I’m on a trip, I fail to sleep in. So around 8:30 a.m., we headed out to breakfast to celebrate my sister’s birthday, and then explored Naperville a little more. We ended up going to their Super Target and my sister bought me this cute little mug as a Valentine’s gift.

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We also stopped by the shop called 2nd & Charles, where I once again bought some Funko Pops and books. 

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For lunch, we were going to meet up with some blogger friends, but we were running late and then couldn’t find a parking spot. Around 1:00 we finally found parking, and headed to the bookstore. 

My ticket number was 36, and when I went up to meet Stephanie, she flipped open one of my books and excitedly asked, “Are you CassieopiaB from Twitter? Were you not going to tell me who you were?” Of course I was shocked that she recognized me, and we talked for what seemed like 10 minutes, but I really hope it wasn’t that long, because there were still a lot of people lined up behind me. Because of my long travel, Stephanie gifted me an extra set of the US pre-order incentives, and asked if I wanted a picture. I don’t take a lot of pictures, but I couldn’t pass this awesome opportunity up. I also finally got to meet my friend Heidi at YA Bibliophile, who I have been friends with on Twitter for quite awhile! It was so great to finally meet her in person!!! 

After a 5-6 hour drive back home, we finally made it back to Cincinnati, Ohio, and I was able to unload all my books from the signing. I still can’t believe I met Stephanie. She is so humble, sincere, and passionate about her work. If she ever comes to a city near you, I highly recommend that you go to her signing and meet her. Thank you to Stephanie Garber, Flatiron Books, and Anderson’s Bookstore for the event and for making my Caraval dreams come true.  

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GIVEAWAY

While I was at the signing, I got an extra copy of Caraval signed just for my followers. Click on the picture below, which will lead you to my Twitter giveaway. Be sure to Follow me on Twitter and Retweet my Twitter post to enter. GOOD LUCK!

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Book Event with Rick Yancey: If It’s Not a Rant, It’s a Rave

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If It’s Not  A Rant, It’s A Rave” is a new feature on my blog, in which I “RAVE” about awesome conventions, book events, and/or author signings that I have attend.

MEETING RICK YANCEY

On June 1, 2016 I met Rick Yancey, the author of the The 5th Wave series, at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio. I love this series, and I HAD to meet Rick again. I’m not a big picture taker, but I tried to take as many pictures as I could without looking like a creeper. And by the way, Rick Yancey is hilarious in person. He has the greatest stories and answers to audience questions.

I have met Rick Yancey in the past, so I already had the first two books of the series signed, but nothing and no one was going to stop me from getting my pre-ordered copy of The Last Star from being signed (HAHAHA!). 

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It’s not everyday you meet an author who has a character with your name. 

A few highlights from Rick Yancey at the event…

  1. If he could be any character is The 5th Wave series he would be Bear or Cassie.
  2. Ben was supposed to die in the first book, but he was told that Ben is “too cute” to be killed off. So Rick tried to kill off Ben in the second book, but once again, Ben was “too cute” to be killed off. HAHAHAHA!!!
  3. If Cassie was sorted into a Hogwarts House, she would be Gryffindor. 
  4. Rick Yancey is Slytherin.
  5. In regards to the movie adaption, Rick was not a big fan of the party scene. “Cassie would  not be at a party. She would be at home and reading a book.” 

If you haven’t read The 5th Wave series yet, I highly recommend that you do. You won’t be disappointed. I have not read The Last Star yet, but I’m prepared to be wowed, awed, and heartbroken (I was warned).