Happy 2-Year Blogversary: Giveaway & 2017 Yearly Wrap-up

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After being an avid reader and constant reviewer on Goodreads, on January 12, 2016, I took the plunge into the blogger sphere and revamped my 2011 blog into a Book Blog. The last two years have been an amazing roller coaster of learning, making new friends, and raving about my favorite books.

I have loved every step, and I continue to learn things about myself, the community, and the publishing world. Thank you to everyone who has supported my blog, and more importantly, thank you so much for making me feel so welcome in the book blogging community.

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My Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017

My Favorite Bookstagram Photos I posted in 2017

Happy Friday! As Fall approaches, I wanted to post a photo reflecting my RAVING 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟review for An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. In this debut novel, Rogerson litters the pages with vibrant warm colors, earthy smells, and a hint of magic that consumes my autumn-loving soul. If you love FALL and FAE, be sure to TREAT YO SHELF on September 26, 2017. 🍁🍂🍁 Click the link in my bio for my full review. 🍂🍁🍂 #bookaddict #bibliophile #booklove #bookish #treatyoshelf #bookstagrammer #bookstagram #igreads #instareads #instabooks #instabook #simonteen #mustread #margaretrogerson #bookfeaturepage #bookstagramfeature #Bookstagramit #cassieopiabooks #AnEnchantmentOfRavens #RantsAndRavesOfABibliophile

A post shared by Cassie (@cassieopiabooks) on

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  • Write and post a book review each week. (Hoping to have 52 book reviews posted by the end of the year).
  • Review at least one bookish inspired item, Etsy store/product, or subscription box a month on my blog.
  • Bring back my “Friday Raves” posts at least every month.
  • Respond quicker to blog comments.
  • Blog hop more often.
  • Participate in more book tours. 
  • Read 97 books this year.
  • Host more book giveaways on different social media accounts. 
  • Continue learning. Be creative. Accept criticism. And keep growing. 
  • Have fun!

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Win up to $25.00 worth of books of your choice from Amazon or The Book Depository

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to International and U.S. followers (Be sure to check that Amazon or The Book Depository ships to your country/address). Please follow the rules/guidelines listed under each entry. I will be checking that all entries requirements are fulfilled.

Please note that the Prize is $25.00 (and no more) worth of books from your choice of The Book Depository (US/CAN/INTL) or Amazon (US only). One winner will be chosen on February 13, 2018. The winner will be contacted by email and/or twitter. The winner has 48 hours to respond to the collect Prize or a new winner will be chosen.

 

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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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WIN A PAPERBACK COPY OF BETWEEN THE BLADE AND THE HEART

***Giveaway ends January 9, 2018 and is only open to US Residents.
An email will be sent to the Winner and you have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.
The Winner will be announced within 48 hours at the end of the giveaway on my Twitter account and/or through a blog comment.
Giveaway is organized by Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile and sponsored by Wednesday Books who will provide the prize.
Not Responsible for lost, stolen, or misdirected prizes.***

HOW TO ENTER:

  1. Comment below: Why are you excited to read Between the Blade and the Heart? (Comment = one entry to win); and/or
  2. Follow me through my social links: WordPress, Twitter, and/or Instagram. (Comment below with which handles/names you followed me with and which social outlet you followed me on. Or give me a shout out on the social media outlet you followed me on referencing the blog giveaway). You will receive one entry for each social outlet you use to follow me.

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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

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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…

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo


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. 


***GIVEAWAY***

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

CHECK OUT THE TOUR SCHEDULE HERE

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Mad Magic by Nicole Conway

Title: Mad Magic
Author: Nicole Conway
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Mad Magic is a beautifully dark and rich Young Adult fantasy from Nicole Conway, bestselling author of the Dragonrider Chronicles.

Josie Barton is a high school student living in terror. Invisible creatures torment her everywhere she goes, constantly getting her into trouble at school, and even haunting her apartment. But just when Josie thinks things couldn’t get any worse . . . she meets the guy from across the hall.

Zeph Clemmont is a changeling with enemies in all the worst places, fighting to undo a curse that threatens to end his life. Survival means he will have to swallow his pride and trust Josie with all his darkest secrets.

With the help of a gun-slinging shaman and the enigmatic Prince of Nightmares, Zeph and Josie are only a heartbeat away from defeating one of the most diabolical faerie villains their world has ever known.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

EXCERPT:

WHAT IS MAGIC?

“Magic is like water. It’s required for all things on this earth to live and it cycles through the world to be reused over and over again. Some things, even some people, soak up more of it than others or require more of it to live. Children are usually more attuned to it than most. They soak it up like little sponges.” Each word from his lips carried a weight I could feel hanging in the air. “Any being on earth is capable of using it, although humans lost interest and forgot how to do that a very long time ago. Most of them can’t even see it or feel it anymore. Their minds have turned to things of metal. It can be that way for faeries, too. In fact, a lot of us have fallen from our former glory to be fed by the machines of the modern world.”

A strange, wild hunger rose up in me so suddenly it made my body stiffen. If magic was real, then surely it had something to do with all the strange things that had been happening to me. I needed to know more—I needed to understand.

“Where does it come from?”

“The moon.” He paused, holding a liquor bottle in each hand as he turned to look me in the eye. “Or at least, that’s what the old songs say. No one knows for sure. But magic is raw energy that we can use as we choose. Even a small amount can accomplish miraculous or even terrible things.”


Author Bio:

NICOLE CONWAY is an author from North Alabama. She graduated from Auburn University in 2012, and has previously worked as a graphic artist. She is happily married and has one son as well as a cat and a dog. She enjoys blogging, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!

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Release Week Blitz & Giveaway: Haven by Mary Lindsey

Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

Haven by Mary Lindsey

presented by Entangled Teen!

Grab your copy today!

Congratulations, Mary!

“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…

Haven by Mary Lindsey
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

*** GIVEAWAY ***

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Release Week Blitz & Giveaway: The November Girl by Lydia Kang

Hello Readers! Welcome to the Release Week Blitz for

The November Girl by Lydia Kang

presented by Entangled Teen!

Grab you copy!

Congratulations, Lydia!

I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there’s no one here but me. And now him.

Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I’m half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can’t protect him from the storms coming for us.

The November Girl by Lydia Kang
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

*** GIVEAWAY ***

WIN one of the Three (3) The November Girl Swag Packs.

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Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.

 

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

 

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: The Life and Death Parade

Today Eliza Wass and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE LIFE AND DEATH PARADE, which releases June 26, 2018! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win an ARC!
 

On to the reveal! 

 
 
Title: THE LIFE AND DEATH PARADE
Author: Eliza Wass
Pub. Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 256
Find it: AmazonB&NTBDGoodreads
 
One year ago, Kitty’s boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he’s dead.
 
With the Bramley family grieving in separate corners of their home, Kitty sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate. Instead she finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade–a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic… and Kitty’s late mother.
 
Desperate to learn more about the group and their connection to Nikki, Kitty convinces Roan to return to the Bramley house with her and secures a position for him within the household. Roan quickly ingratiates himself with the Bramleys, and soon enough it seems like everyone is ready to move on. Kitty, however, increasingly suspects Roan knows more about Nikki than he’s letting on. And when they finally locate the Life and Death Parade, and the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything.
 
From rising star Eliza Wass comes a sophisticated, mesmerizing meditation on the depths of grief and the magic of faith. After all, it only works if you believe it.
 
 
About Eliza:

 

Eliza Wass is an author, journalist and the wife of the late musician Alan Wass. Her debut novel, The Cresswell Plot, was published in 2016 to critical acclaim by Disney-Hyperion. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, Grazia, NME, Shortlist and THE FALL.
 
Her second book with Disney-Hyperion,
The Life and Death Parade, will be published in June 2018.
 
 
 
 
Giveaway Details:
 
2 winners will receive a finished copy of THE LIFE AND DEATH PARADE (when they become available), US Only.

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