Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

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PACIFICA
Title:
 Pacifica
Author:  Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Marin is cosario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him. Sailing the ocean to chase adventure is in her blood. But these days no one cares that the island town her people call home is named after her grandfather. They have a new leader, one who promises an end to their hunger – and one who thinks that girls are meant for the kitchen or the brothel. Marin knows she’s meant for more than that, and with the sudden influx of weapons on the island, and rumors of a pending deal with the enemy oil nation in her wake, she knows a big score to gain the council’s favor is the only way to save her people, and herself.

Ross lives a life of privilege. As the president’s son he wants for nothing, but he longs for a life of adventure. On a dare, he convinces his best friend Adam to sneak out to the Docks, the site of local race riots between the poor Shorlings and the upper class. But when Adam is arrested along with the other Shorlings, and not even the president is willing to find him, Ross finds himself taking matters into his own hands. He journeys back into the Docks, ready to make deals with anyone, even a beautiful pirate, if it means Adam’s safe return.

When Marin and Ross meet in dangerous Shoreling territory he sees a way to get his friend back and she sees her ticket home. The ransom a president’s son would command could feed her people for years and restore her family’s legacy. But somewhere in the middle of the ocean, Marin must decide if her heart can handle handing over the only person who has ever seen her as more than a pirate.

Praise for PACIFICA

“A harrowing world where overpopulation is rampant and pollution stifling. The characters creep into your heart with raw, familiar issues of love, friendship, and family ties, careening you on a plot fraught with just as many twists as there are pieces of trash in the ocean. Pacifica will have you breathlessly fearing our own future.” ―New York Times bestselling author Sara Raasch

Praise for KRISTEN SIMMONS

“Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Simmons’s book serves as essential commentary on women’s rights.” ―Cosmopolitan.com on The Glass Arrow

“I’m clutching my mangled heart and smiling madly, so it’s that kind of book. Such gorgeous heartbreak! Smart, absorbing, and deeply human.” ―New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor on Metaltown

“A compelling, inspiring read. The characters had me rooting for rebels, fights worth fighting, and girls with gumption. By the time it was over, I had my fist in the air.” ―New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake on Metaltown


25Pacifica is the first book I have read by Kristen Simmons and I highly enjoyed it. Set in the future, in a dystopian world, this novel had everything from modern-day pirates, historical reflections, mystery, adventure, and a splash of romance.  The main characters, Marin and Ross, come from opposites sides of the social ladder, but their world reflects the same view: garbage has taken over the ocean, whales are a rare sight to see, glaciers and icecaps no longer exist, natural resources are low, and everyone is doing everything they can to try and survive, even the government. 

In this novel, I found Kristen Simmons’s writing so engaging. I read the first 200 pages in less than a few hours. Just in one sitting, I was engrossed by her storytelling, steady pacing, great world-building, and well-developed characters. Honestly, reading Pacifica felt like I was watching a movie–each scene steadily strung together with hope, anxiety, intensity, and sometimes swoons. What I loved most about this book is that there is honestly so much passion and heart in Simmons’s story and her characters. It was so hard for me to close the book and pursue any everyday type of tasks without this novel sitting in the back of my mind.
I was really impressed that in less than 400 pages, Simmons’s Pacifica thoroughly covers historical topics that impact the now and the future. These topics range from climate change and political corruption, which included forced relocation and internment camps.  Pacifica is a firm foundation story that vividly portrays distressing topics that people often want to throw under the rug because they refuse to see the fire that humanity has started. And as the fire burns, Pacifica adds a perfect amount of comedy and romance to help relieve some of the horrors that mankind inflicts in Marin and Ross’s world.

Overall, Pacifica is a gut-wrenching novel that will pull at your heartstrings. It’s a book about sacrifice, friendship, consequences, and morality. I liked that the story is not overly jammed packed with action; instead, it flows at the steady pace of a water current. Although important and shocking themes are explored in this novel, and with the meshing of hope and romance, this thought-provoking novel will have you at the edge of your seat to the very end. 
star rating

5 out of 5 Stars!

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 2 Winners will receive two sets of Kristen’s books
(Article 5, The Glass Arrow and Metaltown) in a TOR Teen Tote
Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter
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WEEK ONE
MARCH 5th MONDAY Wishful Endings REVIEW
MARCH 5th MONDAY Reading for the Stars and Moon REVIEW
MARCH 6th TUESDAY JeanBookNerd REVIEW 
MARCH 7th WEDNESDAY Fiction Fare REVIEW 
MARCH 7th WEDNESDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace REVIEW 
MARCH 8th THURSDAY Literary Meanderings EXCERPT 
MARCH 8th THURSDAY Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile REVIEW 
MARCH 9th FRIDAY The Avid Reader REVIEW 
MARCH 9th FRIDAY Teachers of YA’s Book Blog REVIEW

WEEK TWO
MARCH 12th MONDAY A Dream Within a Dream REVIEW
MARCH 13th TUESDAY Undeniably Book Nerdy REVIEW
MARCH 13th TUESDAY TFAULC Book Reviews EXCERPT
MARCH 14th WEDNESDAY Book Lady’s Reviews REVIEW
MARCH 14th WEDNESDAY Blushing Bibliophile REVIEW
MARCH 15th THURSDAY Chapter by Chapter REVIEW 
MARCH 15th THURSDAY Insane About Books REVIEW 
MARCH 16th FRIDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW 

MARCH 16th FRIDAY Book Briefs REVIEW

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Kristen Simmons


KRISTEN SIMMONS is the author of the ARTICLE 5 series, THE GLASS ARROW, and METALTOWN. She has worked with survivors of abuse and trauma as a mental health therapist, taught Jazzercise in five states, and is forever in search of the next best cupcake. Currently she lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, where she spends her days supporting the caffeine industry and chasing her delightfully rambunctious son.

WEBSITE   /   TWITTER  /   GOODREADS   /
FACEBOOK   /   INSTAGRAM

 

 
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Note: Thank you to Jean BookNerd for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Tor Teen for providing me a hardcover copy of
Pacifica to read for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.
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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favorite Quotes of This Tiny Perfect World by Lauren Gibaldi

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Title:
 This Tiny Perfect World
Author:  Lauren Gibaldi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

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Synopsis:

Penny loves her small-town Florida life, and she has her future mapped out. She’s going to community college after graduation to stay close to home and her best friend, Faye. She’ll take over the family diner that her dad has been managing since her mother died. And one day, she’ll marry her high school sweetheart, Logan.

But when she unexpectedly lands a scholarship to a prestigious summer theater camp, she is thrust into a world of competition and self-doubt. And suddenly, her future gets a little hazy. As she meets new friends, including Chase, a talented young actor with big-city dreams, she begins to realize that maybe the life everyone (including her) expects her to lead is not the one she was meant to have.


review and quotes

Once again, Lauren Gibaldi has written another book with so much emotional power behind her characters. In This Tiny Perfect World, we are streamed through the world and emotions of the main character, Penny. It’s currently Penny’s summer break, and while her friends are pursuing jobs, she is participating in a summer program for actors. Penny is from a small town, where no one really leaves. But in this story, Penny begins to see that her passion for acting may not be just a hobby and the small-town-world she has perfected with great friends, a loving dad, and a caring boyfriend, might not be enough for Penny to stay after she graduates high school. 
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One of my favorite things about Gibaldi’s writing is that she makes her characters so real and honest. In This Tiny Perfect World, Penny’s inner dialogue is so gritty and vulnerable. I enjoyed watching Penny challenge herself to push forward; she dares herself to take on acting roles that are so different to her normal lifestyle. But it’s through  theater camp and her play-acting friends, Penny discovers there are dreams and goals beyond her small town walls. Penny thought she already had her life planned out after high school, but she acknowledges that not everything is black and white. Situations change. People change. And people, like herself, are on a continuous journey of figuring who they are and what they want in life. 
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Overall, This Tiny Perfect World is different that Gibaldi’s other two books., because it is not as swoony and romantic-based. Instead, the focus in this book is on Penny’s individual character development. I like that Penny’s life begins on such a narrow and focused path, but by the end of the book, Penny realizes her world is wide open to more possibilities. This story is very straight-forward, thought-provoking, and will have you engaged in internal dialogue of a teenager who has a loving soul and a fierce spirit to mature and discover the world around her. 

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giveaway

WIN 1 copy of THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD by Lauren Gibaldi
(OPEN INTERNATIONALLY-as long as the Book Depository ships to you)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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US ONLY…Comment below and win a swag package from the author (picture below). I will randomly pick one (1) winner on March 12, 2018 at noon.

swag

about the author


Lauren Gibaldi is a public librarian who’s been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). She has a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies. She lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and daughter. Her books include THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, AUTOFOCUS, and the forthcoming THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD.

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February 27th

Pink Polka Dot Books– Welcome Post

February 28th

Broadway World– Guest Post
Jill’s Book Blog– Review
Belle’s Book Blog– Review

March 1st

Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile– Review & Favorite Quotes
We Live and Breathe Books Review & Meet the Characters
Bookwyrming Thoughts– Review

March 2nd

Two Different Worlds– Interview
BookCrushin– Review & Creative Post

March 3rd

Here’s to Happy Endings– Story Behind the Cover
A Thousand Words A Million Books– Review

March 4th

Blushing Bibliophile– Review & Favorite Quotes
Literary Meanderings– Guest Post

March 5th

Little Library Muse– Interview
Becca’s Lost in Lit– Review & Book Style
The Candid Cover– Review

 
Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to HarperTeen for providing me an e-galley to read and review the book for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Raving Review of Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

TOUR BANNER


Title: Shadowsong (Wintersong #2)
Author:  S. Jae-Jones
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her. When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world—or the ones Liesl loves—is in her hands?


raving review

Once again, I have been bewitched and consumed by S. Jae-Jones words and “elf-touched” world that is illuminated in the conclusion of her duology known as Shadowsong.  While much of Wintersong focused on Liesl and her ventures in the Underground, Shadowsong provides an emotional layer to Liesl’s life outside the Goblin King’s realm—in a real world where chaos ensues from both the supernatural and human order. Shadowsong is so emotionally driven and parallels so many classic literary themes, which made me love this story and conclusion so damn much.

One of my favorite aspects of Shadowsong is that the story focuses a lot on Liesl and her strong relationship with her brother, Josef, and also her sister. The bond between Liesl and Joseph is solid and so emotional that it makes my heart ache. And what I adore about their connection is that even the secondary characters can see and feel that selflessness and love between these two. 

Although he flickers in and out of Liesl’s life in Shadowsong, I obsessed over every page the Goblin King was present. The Goblin King is much like the brooding Mr. Edward Rochester of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Both males see themselves as selfish and monsters; but I love that both still hold a spark of hope to be with their beloveds. Like Mr. Rochester, the Goblin King can be found beckoning Liesl through haunting whispers of her name. He may wear the wicked smirk of a wolf, but his love still burns so bright and hot for his true Goblin Queen (Elizabeth/Liesl).

Similar to the Victorian novels that I adore so much, I itched for the dramatic reuniting scenes between the Goblin King and Liesl in Shadowsong. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed with how much their flame burns and sizzles on the page. Their love story is truly the essential piece that had me continuously turning every page for a reunion of passion, heartache, and sacrifice.

Shadowsong reads like a beautiful sheet of music. The words form a melody that enchantingly carries the reader through the grittiness of hopeless dreams, yearning questions, and unattainable passion. And as the tempo quickens, the pacing of the story throws the characters into a whirlwind filled with burning desires and unsettling fears. For me, reading Shadowsong, was like meeting with an old friend—at first, there is that instant panic that your connection will no longer be present, but once you are in each other’s presence, everything clicks like no time has ever passed. While reading Shadowsong, it felt so natural and blissful to be back in this goblin-infested world again, and now that the story has concluded, I just want more.

star rating

giveaway

WIN 1 copy of Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones (US Only)

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about the author


S. Jae-Jones, called JJ, is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and the NYT bestselling author of Wintersong.

Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she lived in New York City for ten years before relocating down to Dixie, where she is comfortably growing fat on grits and barbecue. When not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skydiving, taking photographs, drawing pictures, and dragging her dog on ridiculously long hikes.

 
 
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February 5th

Pink Polka Dot Books & The Unofficial Book Addiction Fan Club- Welcome Post


February 6th

Vicky Who Reads– Review/Creative Post
Vicarious Bookworm– Review & Favorite Quotes


February 7th

Here’s To Happy Endings– Creative Post (Style Board)


February 8th


February 9th

TheBooktarian– Promo
Mama Reads Blog Review/Playlist
Katsyxo Creative Post


February 10th

Blushing Bibliophile– Review & Favorite Quotes


February 11th

Hardcover Haven Creative Post

Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me an e-galley and physical galley of Shadowsong to read and review for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

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Yay! I’m so excited to be part the Reign the Earth blog tour. Thank you to Bloomsbury for inviting me to not only share my thoughts and rave about how much I love A.C. Gaughen and her new amazing book, but I also get to fangirl and pick which women I would love to “reign the earth” with. 

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Title:
Reign the Earth
Author: A.C. Gaughen
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: January 30, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

Shalia is a proud daughter of the desert, but after years of devastating war with the adjoining kingdom, her people are desperate for peace. Willing to trade her freedom to ensure the safety of her family, Shalia becomes Queen of the Bonelands.

But she soon learns that her husband, Calix, is motivated only by his desire to exterminate the Elementae—mystical people who can control earth, wind, air, and fire. Even more unsettling are Shalia’s feelings for her husband’s brother, which unleash a power over the earth she never knew she possessed—a power that could get her killed. As rumors of a rebellion against Calix spread, Shalia must choose between the last chance for peace and her own future as an Elementae.

This intense, richly drawn high-fantasy by the author of Scarletwill hold readers spellbound.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble  /  Book Depository


Which strong women would I
choose to Reign the Earth with?

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Of course, I would have to pick two of the most notable women that have impacted my life in the most positive, fiercest, and strongest way: Amelia Earhart and Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

 

amelia earhart

 

Click picture to be linked to original source.

 

 

My obsession with Amelia Earhart and her mysterious whereabouts, began in grade school. I checked out every book I could find on her in my school library and county library. Not only did I learn about her historical aviation flying adventures, but I also found out that as a young adult and throughout her whole life she always faced her challenges head on. Amelia not only challenged and pushed herself, but she challenged societal standards and pioneered a leeway for women to accomplish their dreams. I would love to have a fierce spirited adventurer like Amelia by my side if I were to reign the earth.

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I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and some of you may already know that it is my all-time favorite show. This show was the first media outlet to show me that women can be spunky, determined, witty, and badass fighters. Having the Chosen One at my side during my reign of earth would not only provide me a helping hand when it came to fighting off bad guys, but Buffy would never hold back any sarcasm or words of wisdom. Hey, this girl died twice, and she still kept fighting the good fight and saving the world a lot. 

GIVEAWAY

Win a Signed copy of Reign the Earth (open to US/Canada only)

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Release Day Launch & Giveaway: SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME by Katie McGarry

From critically acclaimed author Katie McGarry, comes SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME—a story of two people from different worlds pushing themselves, and each other, to get what they deserve!

SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME is now available at all fine book retailers. Grab your copy today!

SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME Synopsis:

“Doesn’t matter who did it. Not anymore. I did the time. It’s over.”

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves–Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence–and each other to finally get what they deserve.

Grab your copy of SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME here!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play | BAM | Kobo

 

 

Add it to your Goodreads Now!

 

 

EXCERPT:

Hendrix

“Everyone says you have a blank slate.” My brother Axle sits beside me on the ground, arms resting on his bent knees, and he stares at the bonfire I built with my own two hands with only flint and sticks. It’s one of the many tricks I learned over the last three months. That and how to survive on my own in the middle of nowhere.

Trees and bears I can handle. It’s not knowing who I can trust, now that I’m home, that’s the problem. Axle knows this. It’s why he’s next to me as our friends and family walk around the backyard for the impromptu “Welcome Home” party I told Axle I didn’t want.

Someone in this yard is the reason why I spent a year away from home for a crime I didn’t commit.

My neck tenses, and I roll it in an attempt to release the anger. It took me close to eight months to find some Zen, and it has taken less than thirty minutes for some of the old underlying rage that followed me around like a black thunderhead to return.

Across from us, two girls I used to go to school with are roasting marshmallows. They’re waiting for me to talk to them. That’s who I was before: the smooth talker, the guy who made girls laugh and caused them to light up with a few specially chosen words. The right smile dropped at the right time, and panties would be shed. But I don’t feel up for conversation and I don’t feel like manipulating anyone anymore.

Crazy—I used to thrive when surrounded by people. The more, the better. But after being in juvenile detention for seven months and spending three in the wilderness taking part in an Outward Bound program for troubled teens, I’m more at ease by myself in front of a fire.

“They’ve all confirmed you’re walking out of all this with sealed records,” Axle continues.

Hel’s leaving out the part of how those records only remain sealed if I uphold my end of the plea deal—the agreement I made with the district attorney after I was arrested. I agreed to plead guilty, and the DA didn’t charge me as an adult and send me to hard-core prison. Considering we had no money for a lawyer to help prove my innocence, the deal sounded like the better of two bad options.

“You’re getting a massive second chance,” Axle says.

It was rotten luck that got me into this mess, but it happened at the right time. Our governor was searching for screwed-up teens to use for his pilot program. Someone high up in the world thought I stood a chance at turning my life around, but that second chance comes with a price. A price my brother is currently breaking down for me.

“This is a good thing. A blank slate. Not many people get one of those.”

Blank slate. That’s what I’m scared of. I may not have liked parts of the person I was before I was arrested, but at least I knew who I was. This blank slate, this chance to create someone new, scares me. This is a new type of pressure. At least I had a good excuse for being a delinquent before. Now, if I mess up, it’s because I’m truly broke.

The fire crackles then pops, and embers rise into the late May night. My younger sister laughs at the other end of the narrow yard near the aging shotgun house, and the sound is like an eight-eight beat with a high hat cymbal. It’s welcomed, and it’s the first time this feels like home.

She’s sixteen now, grown up faster than I’d prefer, and she’s one of the four people I love more than my own life. She’s also the only reason I’m still out here instead of holed up in my room. According to Axle, it was Holiday’s idea to set up the party.

Old Christmas lights are strung from one towering oak tree to the next, zigzagging green, red and blue across the yard. Most people brought their own chairs and a dish to share. My first meal as a free man and it’s hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad. I don’t have the heart to tell her I would have given my left ball for a slice of thick crust pizza.

“She missed you,” Axle says, catching my train of sight.

“I missed her, too.” Those are my first words since we pulled in the driveway. I used to be the life of the party, but that was before, and as I said, I don’t know who I am anymore, so for now, I’m quiet.

“I missed you,” he says in such a low tone I barely catch it. “We weren’t the same without you.”

I take a deep breath because I’m not sure any of us will be the same again.

Order your copy of SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME, register and you will receive AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER, a novella that features your favorite Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road characters!

From the Pushing the Limits series, Noah, Beth, Isaiah, West and Logan are all grown up. Catch up with your favorite characters as one of them finally says, I do.

Pigpen, Eli and Addison from the Thunder Road series: Three separate personalities who still needed to find love…and still had someone important to meet.

This is a limited time offer! So hurry! Registration ends on February 3, 2018! You must register your order to receive AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

https://a.pgtb.me/4tLZSM

 

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About Katie McGarry:

Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON, BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | Tumbler | Instagram

 

 

Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway of Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

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Title:
Between the Blade and the Heart

Author: Amanda Hocking
Published by: Wednesday Books
Publication date: January 2, 20
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

SUMMARY:

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.  

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble  / Books-A-Million / IndieBound / Powells

 

about the author
Amanda Hocking NEW--credit Mariah Paaverud with Chimera Photography
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.

Social Links:

Author Website: http://www.worldofamandahocking.com/
Twitter: @Amanda_Hocking
Facebook: @AmandaHockingFans
Author Blog

 


raving review

I hope you are ready for a kickass and snarky heroine because Between the Blade and the Heart is here to deliver. One of my favorite mythologies to read and study is on Valkyries, and this book did not disappoint. Adding to the Valkyrie myth, Amanda Hocking adds her own twist with a modern-day spin.  

Between the Blade and the Heart consists of a lot of world-building and understanding the duties of Valkyries. And beyond this alluring set up is Malin, a Valkyrie in training whose world is turned upside down when she finds out that a very close and fellow Valkyrie did not dispose of an immortal to the Afterlife. This then leads to a chance of a butterfly effect and devastating results. From there Malin not only tries to understand her duty as a Valkyrie, but she also has to come face-to-face with secrets, danger, and the consequences of choice. Malin is hard to read sometimes, because she is always over-analyzing situations, but overall she is always trying to learn, understand, and mature. 

I loved that Between the Blade and the Heart is rich with an elaborate world, but the pacing is quite slow. It took me a few chapters to actually start enjoying the story. Once the book picked up pace, Malin’s determination and fierceness was a great motivator to continue the story and find out what happens next in this world that meshes mortals and immortals.  

3 star rating

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EXCERPT

CHAPTER 1:

The air reeked of fermented fish and rotten fruit, thanks to the overflowing dumpster from the restaurant behind us. The polluted alley felt narrow and claustrophobic, sandwiched between skyscrapers.

In the city, it was never quiet or peaceful, even at three in the morning. There were more than thirty million humans and supernatural beings coexisting, living on top of each other. It was the only life I’d ever really known, but the noise of the congestion grated on me tonight.

My eyes were locked on the flickering neon lights of the gambling parlor across the street. The u in Shibuya had gone out, so the sign flashed SHIB YA at me.

The sword sheathed at my side felt heavy, and my body felt restless and electric. I couldn’t keep from fidgeting and cracked my knuckles.

“He’ll be here soon,” my mother, Marlow, assured me. She leaned back against the brick wall beside me, casually eating large jackfruit seeds from a brown paper sack. Always bring a snack on a stakeout was one of her first lessons, but I was far too nervous and excited to eat.

The thick cowl of her frayed black sweater had been pulled up like a hood, covering her cropped blond hair from the icy mist that fell on us. Her tall leather boots only went to her calf, thanks to her long legs. Her style tended to be monochromatic—black on black on black—aside from the shock of dark red lipstick.

My mother was only a few years shy of her fiftieth birthday, with almost thirty years of experience working as a Valkyrie, and she was still as strong and vital as ever. On her hip, her sword Mördare glowed a dull red through its sheath.

The sword of the Valkyries was one that appeared as if it had been broken in half—its blade only a foot long before stopping at a sharp angle. Mördare’s blade was several thousand years old, forged in fires to look like red glass that would glow when the time was nigh.

My sword was called Sigrún, a present on my eighteenth birthday from Marlow. It was a bit shorter than Mördare, with a thicker blade, so it appeared stubby and fat. The handle was black utilitarian, a replacement that my mom had had custom-­made from an army supply store, to match her own.

The ancient blade appeared almost black, but as it grew closer to its target, it would glow a vibrant purple. For the past hour that we’d been waiting on our stakeout, Sigrún had been glowing dully on my hip.

The mist grew heavier, soaking my long black hair. I kept the left side of my head shaved, parting my hair over to the right, and my scalp should’ve been freezing from the cold, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel anything.

It had begun—the instinct of the Valkyrie, pushing aside my humanity to become a weapon. When the Valkyrie in me took over, I was little more than a scythe for the Grim Reaper of the gods.

“He’s coming,” Marlow said behind me, but I already knew.

The world fell into hyperfocus, and I could see every droplet of rain as it splashed toward the ground. Every sound echoed through me, from the bird flapping its wings a block away, to the club door as it groaned open.

Eleazar Bélanger stumbled out, his heavy feet clomping in the puddles. He was chubby and short, barely over four feet tall, and he would’ve appeared to be an average middle-­aged man if it wasn’t for the two knobby horns that stuck out on either side of his forehead. Graying tufts of black hair stuck out from under a bright red cap, and as he walked ahead, he had a noticeable limp favoring his right leg.

He was a Trasgu, a troublemaking goblin, and his appearance belied the strength and cunning that lurked within him. He was over three hundred years old, and today would be the day he died.

I waited in the shadows of the alley for him to cross the street. A coughing fit caused him to double over, and he braced himself against the brick wall.

I approached him quietly—this all went easier when they didn’t have time to prepare. He took off his hat to use it to wipe the snot from his nose, and when he looked up at me, his green eyes flashed with understanding.

“It’s you,” Eleazar said in a weak, craggy voice. We’d never met, and I doubt he’d ever seen me before, but he recognized me, the way they all did when their time was up.

“Eleazar Bélanger, you have been chosen to die,” I said, reciting my script, the words automatic and cold on my lips. “It is my duty to return you to the darkness from whence you came.”

“No, wait!” He held up his pudgy hands at me. “I have money. I can pay you. We can work this out.”

“This is not my decision to make,” I said as I pulled the sword from my sheath.

His eyes widened as he realized I couldn’t be bargained with. For a moment I thought he might just accept his fate, but they rarely did. He bowed his head and ran at me like a goat. He was stronger than he looked and caused me to stumble back a step, but he didn’t have anywhere to go.

My mother stood blocking the mouth of the alley, in case I needed her. Eleazar tried to run toward the other end, but his leg slowed him, and I easily overtook him. Using the handle of my sword, I cracked him on the back of the skull, and he fell to the ground on his knees.

Sigrún glowed brightly, with light shining out from it and causing the air to glow purple around us. Eleazar mumbled a prayer to the Vanir gods. I held the sword with both hands, and I struck it across his neck, decapitating him.

And then, finally, the electricity that had filled my body, making my muscles quiver and my bones ache, left me, and I breathed in deeply. The corpse of an immortal goblin lay in a puddle at my feet, and I felt nothing but relief.

“It was a good return,” my mother said, and put her hand on my shoulder. “You did well, Malin.”

Copyright © 2018 by Amanda Hocking in Between the Blade and the Heart and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.

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***Giveaway ends January 9, 2018 and is only open to US Residents.
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NOTE:  Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Haven by Mary Lindsey

HavenTour

Title:Haven
Author: Mary Lindsey
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

SYNOPSIS:

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s use to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running rom trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

Ancient magic and modern society collide in a sexy, spellbinding romance perfect for fans of C. C. Hunter and Maggie Stiefvater that proves sometimes beauty is the beast…

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my raving review

For me, Haven started off slow, but as the story develops a lot of interesting and unique twists unravel in regards to the world-building and the author’s take on paranormal beings, in this case weres. Haven is a great reminder of why I love delving into young adult literature that focuses on the paranormal and magic. It is fun. It is messy. It is gutwrenching. And overall it’s a constant page-turner. 

Haven is fully packed with action and shocking surprises, but the book is also packed with A LOT of side characters. Sometimes I had a hard time keeping up with them all. But other than that, I was really fascinated with the main characters, Freddie and Rain. Both of these characters are so well-developed. They are strong, determined, fierce, and so selfless. I loved watching their bond and hilarious snark grow throughout the novel, and what guy could walk away from a girl who calls him Sprinkles? HAHAHA

Overall, I really enjoyed the history, lore, and paranormal approach that Mary Lindsey establishes in Haven. The story is unique and the plot is straightforward and oftentimes hints back at generational conflicts. More importantly, I loved that the book is full of mystery with a hint of romance sprinkled into its pages. 


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WIN a Swag box including books (not Haven) and fun stuff. 
A $15 Amazon gift card will be substituted in place of the prize pack if the winner is international.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband. Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

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