Thursday, September 19, 2019

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

Welcome to the blog tour for The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh! I'm thrilled and honored to be a part of this wonderful promotion! Check out my interview with Renée below - and be sure to come back to my blog on October 4th for a huge giveaway!

Meet Renée!
(I have, in person, twice. She's amazing!)

Renée Ahdieh
(Image from Goodreads)

Alyssa: Arjun Desai" is an Indian name (represent!). Was there a specific inspiration for the name?

Renée: One of my closest friends from college is originally from Mumbai, and my husband and I have visited him four times since we graduated. His name is not Arjun, but so much of Arjun’s character is informed by these amazing experiences we got to share with his family in his world. I chose “Arjun” for this character’s names because it means “bright, shining,” and I think this word most aptly describes his personality. He is often a light in the darkness.

Alyssa: What was something about Arjun that you struggled to write or come up with?

Renée: Arjun was a character that came to mind almost fully formed, which is such a rare treat for me as a writer. I think it was because I channeled so many of my own experiences with our close friend, as well as understanding what Arjun wanted and needed early on in the story.

Alyssa: What is a quality or trait or Arjun that you also share?

Renée: This is a bit of a spoiler for later, as it’s not immediately apparent in The Beautiful, but Arjun loves to cook. He’s also a vegetarian, and his passion for the cuisine of his country will become much more obvious in subsequent books.

Alyssa: What is one message or truth that Arjun would want everyone to know?

Renée: Arjun is a character with a lot of anger in his family, and it taught him at an early age how destructive anger can be, especially with those to whom you are closest.

Alyssa: What would Arjun's favorite Bollywood movie be?

Renée: Arjun is both a softie and a lover of good comedy, so either "Devdas" or "Dostana"! But he also enjoys a good cricket match, so perhaps even "Lagaan"? There are too many to choose from!

Alyssa: Excellent choices. Thanks so much, Renée! I'll see you in D.C. in a few weeks!


About the Author:

Renée Ahdieh is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a high-rise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog.



About the Book:


The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
Book One of The Beautiful series
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 8, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.



Are you excited about Renée's new book? How about vampires making a comeback? What is something you hope to see Renée write in the future?

Be sure to stop by on October 4th to enter a very cool giveaway related to The Beautiful! Right now, you can enter to win one of five ARCs of The Beautiful!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Blog Tour: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Good morning and happy Monday, book fans! I'm dusting off my blog to share my love for Sorcery of Thorns, Margaret Rogerson's latest novel with Simon & Schuster. I adored this book and hope you all will too!


About the Book:


Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Rating: 5 stars
Source: ARC provided by the publisher

Official Summary:

From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

What I Liked:

Sorcery of Thorns is one of those books that has just as beautiful a story as its cover. I remember seeing the cover reveal post and thinking, wow, I'm entranced already. I loved Rogerson's debut novel, a standalone called An Enchantment of Ravens, so I had high expectations for this new standalone. I'm so happy to say that I loved this book!

The story follows Elisabeth, an orphan raised in one of the many Great Libraries, surrounded by grimoires and librarians. She has always known that she wanted to be among books for the rest of her life. But a curious and deadly set of events leads to her being thrown out of the Library and running for her life. She finds herself working together with a sorcerer, Nathaniel Thorn, in order to expose a powerful sorcerer who is behind the sabotage, the destruction of grimoires, and impending end of the human world. 

One of the strongest aspects of this book is the writing style. I love Rogerson's writing. She has amazing prose and lovely descriptions, but she also sets the scene beautifully. She has a way of wrapping the story and the world-building around the reader, so you're immersed without consciously realizing it. I hadn't picked up a book in months, and wasn't quite in the mood for reading, but when I started reading this one, I didn't realize just how drawn in I was. I couldn't stop reading.

And of course, that's also attributed to the story itself. This book is about 500 pages but it doesn't feel like that, because the story is so intriguing. Once events start rolling, the action never stops. Get past the first two or three chapters and you'll be hooked (if you weren't already, from page one). 

Elisabeth is an easy character to love. She's quiet and inquisitive, but also fiery and decisive. She is an intelligent and has good instincts. Her foil is Nathaniel, who is charming and good-natured, with a sense of humor that hide great pain. I loved Nathaniel, for her charm, his selflessness, and his strength. And then there's Silas, a demon that has served Nathaniel and his family for years. Silas is a an interesting character; he is the family's demon, but he is Nathaniel's friend nonetheless. He is loyal and as kind as a demon could possibly be. I liked Silas and honestly could not see the story without him in it.

There's a little romance! No love triangle. Nathaniel and Elisabeth are an adorable pair that have a hard-earned, slow-burn romance. I am a fan!

This is a lovely fantasy standalone novel that I will definitely be reading again. It is one of the few books I've read this year, and it makes sense why it captured my attention. It's so well-written and a joy to read. There are high stakes but there are fun times, great characters, and a wonderful ending.

What I Did Not Like:

I can't think of anything specific that I didn't like. I really enjoyed this book!

Would I Recommend It:

If you love fantasy, and/or if you love standalone novels, this is one you should try. I am a huge fan of standalone novels because of the low commitment and less waiting (I'm terrible with series), so I will recommend standalones nine times out of ten. This is a really good one - and there's a HEA!

Rating: 

5 stars. I loved Sorcery of Thorns! I can't wait to see what Margaret Rogerson comes up with next. Hopefully another beautiful fantasy standalone with a gorgeous illustrated cover. I will freely admit that illustrated covers are an easy way to my heart!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


About the Author:


Margaret Rogerson is the author of the New York Times bestseller An Enchantment of Ravens and Sorcery of Thorns. She has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Miami University. When not reading or writing she enjoys sketching, gaming, making pudding, and watching more documentaries than is socially acceptable (according to some). She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, beside a garden full of hummingbirds and roses. Visit her at MargaretRogerson.com.



Mood Board:



Blog Tour Schedule:

Monday, May 27 – Alexa Loves Books
Tuesday, May 28 – The Novel Knight
Wednesday, May 29 – Adventures of a Book Junkie
Thursday, May 30 – Awkwordly Emma
Friday, May 31 – Mel to the Any
Monday, June 3 – The Fox’s Hideaway
Tuesday, June 4 – The Starry-Eyed Revue
Wednesday, June 5 – The Bookish Beagle
Thursday, June 6 – Super Space Chick
Friday, June 7 – Flying Paperbacks
Monday, June 10 – Bookshelves & Paperbacks
Tuesday, June 11 – Nightly Reading
Wednesday, June 12 – Novel Heartbeat
Thursday, June 13 – Hammock of Books
Friday, June 14 – The Everlasting Library
Monday, June 17 – The Eater of Books!
Tuesday, June 18 – Beware of the Reader
Wednesday, June 19 – This Dark Material
Thursday, June 20 – That Artsy Reader Girl
Friday, June 21 – SimplyAlly Tea

Monday, April 15, 2019

Mini Reviews: Contemporary Romance Edition

Happy Monday, book lovers! Today I'm posting REVIEWS! It has certainly been a while since I've reviewed anything. That being said, I'm writing three reviews in this post, so they're going to be shorter than my norm. The good thing is, I loved all of these books and could gush for days!


99 Percent Mine
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book! It was my first read by Sally Thorne - I still haven't read The Hating Game - and I liked it a lot. I thought I wouldn't like Darcy because I'd heard from other bloggers and reviewers that she was not easy to like. But I adored her! She's prickly and tough, sometimes blunt and rude, but very much "real" and very strong. She's probably classified as an unlikable heroine, though I could be wrong. But I liked her. She had hard edges and many imperfections, but she was very honest and straightforward, even when she was hiding vulnerabilities. I also wasn't sure if I'd like this best-friends-turned-lovers story, because there seemed to be a good deal of emotional baggage involved in this friendship, but I enjoyed the progression of the romance! Tom is very dreamy, and very much a good idea. He and Darcy are complete opposites, but they work well as a pair. The progression of the romance is fairly slow, but very sizzling. I read this one very quickly, on a 2+ hour flight to Florida. It was enjoyable, funny, sweet, angsty, and it had a great HEA. I highly recommend the book to readers of adult contemporary romance, and you best believe I will be reading The Hating Game! (It's unrelated to this book, and published several years ago.)


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


Pan (Neverland, #1)
Pan by Gina L. Maxwell
Book One of the Neverland series
Publication: January 22, 2019
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC sent by the author

Summary (from Goodreads):


From NYT and USA Today bestselling author, Gina L. Maxwell, comes a brand new series with a fresh twist on an old classic.


Once upon a time, in Neverland, North Carolina--I fell in love.

I was twelve when Peter first climbed up to my balcony.
Thirteen when I sneaked out to see him at the School for Lost Boys.
Seventeen when his touch made me fly,
And eighteen when his words made me cry.

We were magnetic, drawn to each other from that very first night, and what I thought would be forever. But when it came time for me to leave, he wouldn't come with, so I left town with a map for my future and a shattered heart.

Ten years later, I've returned to Neverland, hoping to find a man in place of the boy.

Peter was partially right, growing up is no fun. After quitting my fancy career that sucked the magic out of life, I'm now organizing the fundraiser of the year. In a move that could make or break the event and my new company, I've hired Peter, master mechanic and owner of LB Automotive, to help me pull this off--trusting him to rebuild a classic car for the auction that could help hundreds of foster kids in need.

I thought I was prepared, but the boy who refused to leave is now a man hell-bent on getting me to stay, and as sparks fly between us, that undeniable fire flares back to life, deeper and hotter than ever.

But that ripped body doesn't mean Peter's matured enough to make us or this event work, and not everyone in Neverland is happy about my return.

Not every wound heals.
Not every heart can be fixed.
Not every boy grows up.

And after all this time, the love we found might be lost to us again...this time, forever.

My Review:

I've never read or watched Peter Pan, but I know of the story vaguely, so I was pretty excited to hear about this modern-day contemporary romance retelling of the story. I've read books by Gina L. Maxwell and I've enjoyed them - always steamy, heartwarming, and fun. Did I mention steamy? This book was NO different. Peter and Wendy were scorching together! Usually I'm not big on second-chance romances, but I liked this one a lot. They had some really great chemistry and no heavy baggage between them. This was a fun and sweet second-chance romance to follow. Peter is a hard, tough guy with a soft heart, and Wendy is a soft, sweet girl with a strong heart. They are such a cute pair - you all know how much of a sucker I am for the "bad-boy-and-innocent-girl" trope. (Yes, I know, I am so outdated with that trope.) I don't know the specifics of Peter Pan but the parallels are very clear, from the supporting cast (Tink! Captain Hook! Lost Boys!) to parts of the plot. This book was so much fun to read, and very steamy. It's a M/F romance. I highly recommend it! This was my read on a 2+ hour flight and the pages zipped by!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!



Team Player by Julianna Keyes
Book One of the Charleston Thrashers series
Publication: March 28, 2019
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):
Don’t hate the player…


BOTTOM NINE
Gwen Scott wants to love her job with the Charleston Thrashers, the MLB team she’s worshiped since she was a kid, but she can’t. Hateful colleagues and mind-numbing work make her days unbearable—until her head for baseball gets her exclusive access to the Thrashers’ clubhouse and she comes face-to-face with Tyler Ashe, the team’s sexy shortstop and baseball’s most ineligible bachelor.

BASES LOADED
Ty has sworn off relationships in order to focus on his all-star career, but with his best friend gone, his team struggling, and the press blaming him for every loss, the most recognizable man in the majors is in a slump. Until he starts spending his time off the field with a stern blonde who recites baseball stats for kicks and sees through his arrogant façade.

TWO OUT
As the Thrashers’ season gets into full swing and Gwen adjusts to her new job, their fun banter and friendly teasing turns into stolen kisses and countless steamy nights. The team’s strict policy against player-staff relationships throws a curve ball into the mix, but they can’t hide from their feelings any more than the most famous man in baseball can hide from the spotlight…

My Review:

This was the first book I read in about two months. 2019 has been off to a rough start for me for personal reasons, so I haven't been feeling like reading. I had no idea that Julianna Keyes had written and was publishing a new book, so when I saw promo for this book, I felt lost! I am a HUGE fan of Keyes' books since Time Served, and I've loved her books since that one. Team Player came out at a good time for me honest - I was in such a reading slump, and this book pulled me right out. I LOVED the book. I'm not a huge baseball fan, but this is the type of book that would make you want to be a fan. Tyler Ashe is all kiiiiiinds of swoony, but adorable too. He's hot but also occasionally a little nervous around Gwen which is adorable. Gwen is a hard-worker and very smart especially when it comes to the Thrashers, and she knows better than to dally with one of the players. But she and Ty have this instant connection that Keyes writes so well. Ty and Gwen's chemistry just clicks, and it gets better and better as the story progresses. I love how their relationship grew, how the tension built, and I especially love the forbidden romance aspect.This book is fun, sweet, scorching, and it has a lovely HEA. Regardless of if you're a baseball fan, or even a sports romance fan, you should pick up Team Player! I can't wait for the next book in this series. Trust me, you'll fall in love with the entire team by the end of the book, and you'll be wanting more too!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Blog Tour: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan


Happy Friday! Today I'm participating in the blog tour for Wicked Saints, debut novel by Emily A. Duncan. You'll find an excerpt at the bottom of this post!


About the Book:


Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
Book One of the Something Dark and Holy series
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.



About the Author:


EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.



The Excerpt:

N A D E Z H D A
L A P T E V A 

Horz stole the stars and the heavens out from underneath Myesta’s control, and for that she has never forgiven him. For where can the moons rest if not the heavens?

—Codex of the Divine, 5:26

“It’s certainly not my fault you chose a child who sleeps so deeply. If she dies it will very much be your fault, not mine.”

Startled by bickering gods was not Nadya’s preferred method of being woken up. She rolled to her feet in the dark, moving automatically. It took her eyes a few seconds to catch up with the rest of her body.

Shut up!

It wasn’t wise to tell the gods to shut up, but it was too late now. A feeling of amused disdain flowed through her, but neither of the gods spoke again. She realized it was Horz, the god of the heavens and the stars, who had woken her. He had a tendency to be obnoxious but generally left Nadya alone, as a rule.

Usually only a single god communed with their chosen cleric. There once had been a cleric named Kseniya Mirokhina who was gifted with unnatural marksmanship by Devonya, the goddess of the hunt. And Veceslav had chosen a cleric of his own, long ago, but their name was lost to history, and he re- fused to talk about them. The recorded histories never spoke of clerics who could hear more than one god. That Nadya communed with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.

There was a chance older, more primordial gods existed, ones that had long since given up watch of the world and left it in the care of the others. But no one knew for sure. Of the twenty known gods, however, carvings and paintings depicted their human forms, though no one knew what they actually looked like. No cleric throughout history had ever looked upon the faces of the gods. No saint, nor priest.

Each had their own power and magic they could bestow upon Nadya, and while some were forthcoming, others were not. She had never spoken to the goddess of the moons, Myesta. She wasn’t even sure what manner of power the goddess would give, if she so chose.

And though she could commune with many gods, it was impossible to forget just who had chosen her for this fate: Marzenya, the goddess of death and magic, who expected complete dedication.

Indistinct voices murmured in the dark. She and Anna had found a secluded place within a copse of thick pine trees to set up their tent, but it no longer felt safe. Nadya slid a voryen from underneath her bedroll and nudged Anna awake.

She moved to the mouth of the tent, grasping at her beads, a prayer already forming on her lips, smoky symbols trailing from her mouth. She could see the blurry impressions of figures in the darkness, far off in the distance. It was hard to judge the number, two? Five? Ten? Her heart sped at the possibility that a company of Tranavians were already on her trail.

Anna drew up beside her. Nadya’s grip on her voryen tightened, but she kept still. If they hadn’t seen their tent yet, she could keep them from noticing it entirely.

But Anna’s hand clasped her forearm.

“Wait,” she whispered, her breath frosting out before her in the cold. She pointed to a dark spot just off to the side of the group.

Nadya pressed her thumb against Bozidarka’s bead and her eyesight sharpened until she could see as clearly as if it were day. It took effort to shove aside the immediate, paralyzing fear as her suspicions were confirmed and Tranavian uniforms be- came clear. It wasn’t a full company. In fact, they looked rather ragged. Perhaps they had split off and lost their way.

More interesting, though, was the boy with a crossbow silently aiming into the heart of the group.

“We can get away before they notice,” Anna said.

Nadya almost agreed, almost slipped her voryen back into its sheath, but just then, the boy fired and the trees erupted into chaos. Nadya wasn’t willing to use an innocent’s life as a distraction for her own cowardice. Not again.

Even as Anna protested, Nadya let a prayer form fully in her mind, hand clutching at Horz’s bead on her necklace and its constellation of stars. Symbols fell from her lips like glowing glimmers of smoke and every star in the sky winked out.
Well, that was more extreme than I intended, Nadya thought with a wince. I should’ve known better than to ask Horz for anything.
 
She could hear cursing as the world plunged into darkness. Anna sighed in exasperation beside her.

“Just stay back,” she hissed as she moved confidently through the dark.

“Nadya . . .” Anna’s groan was soft.

It took more focus to send a third prayer to Bozetjeh. It was hard to catch Bozetjeh on a good day; the god of speed was notoriously slow to answer prayers. But she managed to snag his attention and received a spell allowing her to move as fast as the vicious Kalyazin wind.

Her initial count had been wrong; there were six Tranavians now scattering into the forest. The boy dropped his crossbow with a bewildered look up into the sky, startling when Nadya touched his shoulder.

There was no way he could see in this darkness, but she could. When he whirled, a curved sword in his hand, Nadya sidestepped. His swing went wide and she shoved him in the direction of a fleeing Tranavian, anticipating their collision.

“Find the rest,” Marzenya hissed. “Kill them all.” 

Complete and total dedication.

She caught up to one of the figures, stabbing her voryen into his skull just underneath his ear.

Not so difficult this time, she thought. But the knowledge was a distant thing.

Blood sprayed, splattering a second Tranavian, who cried out in alarm. Before the second man could figure out what had happened to his companion, she lashed out her heel, catching him squarely on the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slit his throat.

Three more. They couldn’t have moved far. Nadya took up Bozidarka’s bead again. The goddess of vision revealed where the last Tranavians were located. The boy with the sword had managed to kill two in the dark. Nadya couldn’t actually see the last one, just felt him nearby, very much alive.

Something slammed into Nadya’s back and suddenly the chilling bite of a blade was pressed against her throat. The boy appeared in front of her, his crossbow back in his hands, thank- fully not pointed at Nadya. It was clear he could only barely see her. He wasn’t Kalyazi, but Akolan.

A fair number of Akolans had taken advantage of the war between their neighbors, hiring out their swords for profit on both sides. They were known for favoring Tranavia simply because of the warmer climate. It was rare to find a creature of the desert willingly stumbling through Kalyazin’s snow.

He spoke a fluid string of words she didn’t understand. His posture was languid, as if he hadn’t nearly been torn to pieces by blood mages. The blade against Nadya’s throat pressed harder. A colder voice responded to him, the foreign language scratched uncomfortably at her ears.

Nadya only knew the three primary languages of Kalyazin and passing Tranavian. If she wasn’t going to be able to communicate with them . . .

The boy said something else and Nadya heard the girl sigh before she felt the blade slip away. “What’s a little Kalyazi assassin doing out in the middle of the mountains?” he asked, switching to perfect Kalyazi.

Nadya was very aware of the boy’s friend at her back. “I could ask the same of you.”

She shifted Bozidarka’s spell, sharpening her vision further. The boy had skin like molten bronze and long hair with gold chains threaded through his loose curls.

He grinned.


What do you think? Be sure to check out this book on April 2nd!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Release Day Giveaway & Swoon Thursday (#315): Team Player by Julianna Keyes

Happy Thursday, my friends! Today is the publication day of Team Player, a new book by Julianna Keyes. I ADORE Julianna Keyes' books, and I'm really enjoying this one. Get ready for the baseball season with this new sizzling romance!


About the Book:


Team Player by Julianna Keyes
Book One of the Charleston Thrashers series
Publication Date: March 28, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

BOTTOM NINE 
Gwen Scott wants to love her job with the Charleston Thrashers, the MLB team she’s worshiped since she was a kid, but she can’t. Hateful colleagues and mind-numbing work make her days unbearable—until her head for baseball gets her exclusive access to the Thrashers’ clubhouse and she comes face-to-face with Tyler Ashe, the team’s sexy shortstop and baseball’s most ineligible bachelor. 

BASES LOADED 
Ty has sworn off relationships in order to focus on his all-star career, but with his best friend gone, his team struggling, and the press blaming him for every loss, the most recognizable man in the majors is in a slump. Until he starts spending his time off the field with a stern blonde who recites baseball stats for kicks and sees through his arrogant façade. 

TWO OUT 
As the Thrashers’ season gets into full swing and Gwen adjusts to her new job, their fun banter and friendly teasing turns into stolen kisses and countless steamy nights. The team’s strict policy against player-staff relationships throws a curve ball into the mix, but they can’t hide from their feelings any more than the most famous man in baseball can hide from the spotlight…



Follow Julianna Keyes:



Swoon Thursday Excerpt:


He smiled, then hesitated and said, “Your parents weren’t around at that age. Did kids bother you about it?”

Gwen shrugged. “A few times. And I’d never win in a fight, but Marge was intimidating. She once got arrested at a Thrashers game and her picture was on the front page of the paper. After that, everyone was very respectful.”

“She sounds great.”

“She was. When I first got here, I cried every night. Then she started to come into my room and read Thrashers stats to put me to sleep. I still recite them to relax sometimes. 158, 620, 122, 184, 41, 123.”

Ty’s jaw dropped. “Those are my numbers from three years ago.”

“I knew you memorized your stats.”

“Well, yeah, when they’re that impressive.”

She laughed. “Don’t get big-headed. I know everybody’s. I can’t help it.”

“Gwen, I’m a superstar athlete with five major endorsement deals—why would I be big-headed?”

She laughed again, and now so did he, the laughter fading when the commercial ended and the show returned. Ty reached for the remote and paused it. “Speaking of feelings…” he said, turning more fully to face her. “Are you still nervous?”

Gwen swallowed. “Me? Nervous?”

He smiled, not fooled. “We can just binge watch the show if you want. Hang out. I’ll go home when Todd dies.”

She managed to shake her head. “That’s not how this show works, and I don’t want you to go home.”

“You sure?”

“Positive.”

“Anything you do want me to do?”

Gwen finished her wine. Liquid courage. “Whatever you did on the golf course. And in the arcade. And whenever we’re within ten feet of each other.”

“That’s me? I thought it was you and your feminine wiles.”

“I don’t have any feminine wiles, Ty.” 

He put down his glass and somehow slid closer, until there were just inches between them. Until she was sure he could hear her heart pounding against her rib cage, like it was trying to beat through her chest and toss itself into his hands.

He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I think you do, Gwen.”

“I don’t even know what wiles are, actually—”

“Shh,” he said. “It’s working.”

Then he kissed her.

As with both times before, she forgot everything but the kiss. The world around them blurred and faded until it was just her and Ty, lips and tongues and heated breath. The world took her nerves with it when it left and all that remained was the fire in her belly, the one stoked by each glance of his tongue, his fingers cupping her jaw, his lips murmuring nonsense against the soft skin of her throat and making her shudder with each word.
His hair was impossibly soft, his lips more so, a sharp contrast to the strength and tension he radiated. It was impossible to decide where to touch, his hair, his biceps, her fingers slipping between his shoulder blades and holding on. They fell backward on the couch, her legs sliding open and Ty filling the space between them. The hem of her dress rode high enough that she could feel the fabric of his pants on her inner thighs.
He felt incredible. He tasted amazing. He smelled fantastic. Everything about him was so much more than any fantasy her mind could have conjured, and in recent weeks she’d done plenty of ill-advised dreaming. There was no way to describe how much he was, how big, how hot, how hard. How much better.
His hand inched its way down her body, stroking over her breast lightly so she arched into the touch, wanting more. She was not meant for eight months of celibacy, no matter what she told herself. And neither, if the erection pressing against her belly was any indication, was Ty. 
She moaned and he kissed her and dropped his hand lower, covering her over her panties, the contact so combustible she almost came on the spot, and nearly cried when he stopped. 

“We have to get away from the window,” he said, breathing hard. “I’m used to crowds, but…not for this.”

Gwen’s eyes flew open and she twisted her head to see. There was no one lurking outside, but she knew what he meant. With the curtains open and the late afternoon sun pouring in, anyone scrutinizing her horrible garden would find a much better show happening on the other side of the glass.
“My room,” she said, nudging him so she could get up. “We’ll go—”
“No need to stop,” Ty interrupted, standing and scooping her so her legs fit around his waist, their new natural habitat. “Just point the way.”
She considered protesting about the weight, but it was obvious he not only didn’t mind, but didn’t care. And, when he settled her more tightly against him, quite liked it. She opened her mouth to give directions—straight down the hall and to the left and anywhere is fine, really—but he was already moving, so she gave a half-hearted wave of her hand and kissed him instead. 

He smiled against her lips, and with each step he bumped right between her legs. She was ready to explode by the time they reached her room and he lowered her onto the bed. Lying there, looking up at not just the sexiest man she’d ever been with, but, according to one magazine, one of the sexist men alive, it was tempting to give herself a quick pinch to make sure it wasn’t actually a dream. And then, when he unbuttoned his shirt and shrugged out of it, she really did pinch herself, because there was no way that six-pack was real. Until he crawled up the length of the bed to straddle her hips, and what she was feeling was very much real. 



What do you all think? Be sure to pick up this book TODAY!

The Giveaway:

Thanks to Julianna Keyes, I have a paperback copy of Team Player to give away! Open internationally, ends on April 11th. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday (#321): The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, I'm featuring:

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.



I loved Sky in the Deep! This new book by Adrienne Young is not related to Sky in the Deep, but I'm sure it will be just as amazing. I can't wait!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Stacking the Shelves (#322)


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!


So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, March 3rd to Saturday, March 9th?

(Realistically, it has been three weeks, so this is three weeks worth of books!)


In the mail:


Preorder swag for The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

Thank you, S&S! I love the pin especially.


This Savage Song book sleeve and The Last Namsara pouch

Thank you for the trade, Caitlin!


A hardcover copy of Treason by Rick Campbell
A hardcover copy of Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren
A hardcover copy of Voices: The Final Hours of of Joan of Arc by David Elliott
A hardcover copy of White Rose by Kip Wilson
An ARC of Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
An ARC of Rules We're Meant to Break by Natalie Williamson
An ARC of All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton
A paperback copy of The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark


That looks like a lot, but I haven't posted a Stacking the Shelves post in three weeks, so it'll seem that way. Y'all, I'm not in good shape, blogging-wise. Most of you saw my post on Twitter about my dad. For those who didn't: my father passed away very suddenly, three weeks ago today. It was quick, senseless, and not health-related. He was 57, and I lived with him (I live with my parents). I'm still in shock. I'm still grieving. I am not processing it well. Please be patient with me as I try to get back on my feet, in terms of blogging. I really want to be back, but it's taking energy that I don't have. I love you all for still being here. Thank you for everything. 💜💜💜