Monday, June 12, 2017

Book Blitz: Roar by Cora Carmack


Title: Roar
Author: Cora Carmack
Release: June 13, 2017
Series: Stormheart
Publisher: Tor Teen

Synopsis:

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

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

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

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

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

You Can Find it At:
Amazon
Book Depository
Goodreads

Praise:

“I am typically not a fantasy reader, but Roar convinced me to read more. Cora Carmack created a beautiful world and I felt like I was transported to Pavan with her vivid descriptions of the city. I was left wanting more and I can't to find out what happens with the rest of her characters.”—Chelsea Riela, New York Public Library

“In her electrifying YA debut Roar, Cora Carmack creates a stormy fantasy full of adventure featuring a charismatic ensemble cast. Roar introduces YA readers to Cora’s signature talent for balancing authentic characters and a captivating romance, this time set in a striking new world that will sweep readers away.”—Mary Hinson, Irving Public Library and Mary Had A Little Book Blog

Excerpt:

The Pavanian princess stared at Cassius, her mouth open slightly. When she first walked into this room, Cassius had thought her stunning in her savagery, colder than the depths of winter. Her dress seduced and threatened in equal measure, clinging to her curves and adorned with carved skyfire crystals that jutted from her shoulders and head like the spikes of a warrior’s armor. And yet for all that careful pageantry, it had only taken a compliment to rattle her. She looked very young in that moment, very sweet, which was never a good thing for a potential ruler to be.

She donned an unreadable expression before his curiosity was satisfied, and her lilting voice turned sharp. “Flattery is not necessary. The betrothal has already been set.”

Another blast of that wintery gaze. She had unusual blue-gray eyes—wide and expressive and lovely enough to bring a lesser man to his knees. Her confident demeanor would likely have convinced most, but he had sharpened his instincts in a court little safer than a lion’s den. Tension rode her—something between unease and fear. He gripped her wrist and had the inexplicable urge to drag her somewhere else, anywhere other than the betrothal celebration that waited upstairs with his family. She was a delicate songbird, and his father was a bird of prey. They all were, Cassius included. And he couldn’t help but wonder how long it would be before this little bird had her wings clipped.

She tugged her arm out of his grasp, hard. He was tempted to take it back. That was part of his nature … to take. But she fixed him with a harsh glare, and he smiled in response. Perhaps his little bird had talons after all.

Enough. She was not his little bird. A jungle cat does not care for prey, even if he wants it with a hunger stronger than any he has ever known. He pushed his more ruthless instincts aside. That would be his greatest challenge here—fighting the need to seize, command, destroy. Those were the things he was good at. The things he’d been taught since he could walk. With Aurora he would have to coax and flatter and comfort—that was his path to control.

She said, “We should probably go. They’ll be calling for us soon.”

Cassius offered her his elbow, and her body was tense as she curled her hand around it. But before they even took a step, it became clear that the voluminous fabric at the bottom of her dress wouldn’t allow them to easily walk side by side. Cassius took hold of her hand, sliding it off his arm and lacing their fingers together instead. Slowly, he lifted her hand until his lips dragged across her knuckles. The blacks of her eyes expanded, swallowing up that lovely color and adding just a touch of sin to her sweet. She jerked within his grip, trying to pull away. Chuckling low, he put some distance between them, but he did not release her hand.

It took entirely too long to cross the throne room in her elaborate attire. She had to kick the bottom of her dress out before she stepped so that it wasn’t underfoot. Cassius was willing to bet that the dress and the headpiece weighed a third as much as she did or more, but her posture remained rigidly upright and her steps smooth.

By the time they reached the staircase at the back of the throne room, her lips were open and her breathing quick. He was beginning to hate this dress, even if it did cling to her curves rather spectacularly.

“You know,” he said, “I have a knife. I’m tempted to cut off the bottom of that dress so you can walk like the rest of us.”

A smile flitted across her mouth, small at first, then widening into something playful and bright. It called to the darkness in him. “You could try. But you’d likely find that knife at your throat with my mother on the other side of it.”

“Not you?”

“If I had my way, we’d burn it once you cut it off. The headdress too.”

He smiled, and for the first time in a long while it felt almost natural.

“Perhaps we’ll celebrate our wedding with a bonfire.”

Every time he mentioned the wedding, she tensed. It was, of course, already agreed upon and signed in ink, but he had plans that would not succeed if she remained reluctant.

They ascended the first few steps slowly, the beaded fabric of her dress pulled taut around her legs. He wanted to throw her over his shoulder and charge the rest of the way, but he distracted himself with studying his surroundings instead. The hallway they were leaving behind was filled with paintings and statues of the Pavan Stormling ancestors. At the hallway’s end a massive, gold-painted statue of the current queen stood in a decorative alcove. Once upon a time, there might have been altars to the old gods—places to pray for good harvest or fertility or even luck—but those days were long past. Too many years of unbridled destruction and unanswered prayers.

No, Stormlings were the gods now. It was Cassius and the people like him who either answered prayers or ignored them.

“You said you faced a blizzard on your journey, but you did it without an affinity.”

He squeezed the hand he still held. “I did.”

She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth, scraping at the white paint that covered her skin. She asked, “Would you tell me about it sometime? The blizzard?”

He angled his head to smile at her again, and she looked away. Shy. So many pieces to her puzzle. “On one condition.”

“Which is?” He had expected her to be like most of the well-born ladies of the court in Locke: sirens with claws and teeth or frightened little mice, made to be gobbled up by this world. Aurora seemed neither vicious nor weak, but she was working so carefully to show him a façade that he could not pinpoint exactly what she was.

He had to know. It was his curse, the reason he thirsted for the thrill of a storm. He had to know how things worked, had to know why. And the girl in front of him was no different. In fact, the need to unravel all her secrets was stronger than he’d ever felt because she would be his. And he had a feeling that conquering her would prove more exhilarating than any storm he had ever defeated.

Rather than giving her his condition, he released her hand and wrapped an arm around the slim circle of her waist. She tried to step back, but her feet tangled in her dress, and she gripped his tunic to stay upright.

There it was. A thread of fear in those eyes. He could have stopped then, but he had little self-control when it came to these things. It was not enough to see a measure of her emotions on her face. He wanted them all. So he pushed a little more. “You might be patient enough to fight with this dress, but I am not. Let me get us to the top of these stairs, and I promise to tell you whatever story you want to hear.”

She jutted her soft chin out and said, “You have a deal.”

The paint had begun to wear away on her lips, revealing rosy skin underneath. Was the rest of her flushed beneath all that powder? He dragged his fingers back and forth over her side, feeling hard ridges beneath the heavy, embellished fabric. “Corset?”

She sucked in a breath, and he knew he had shocked her. Innocent. He collected each morsel of her identity like a scavenger in the jungle. He saw just a sliver of panic before she hid it away and met his gaze.

Brave little bird.

“It will have to be like this.” Before she could change her mind or reason could catch up to his own actions, he bent, winding his arms around her thighs, and lifted. She was tall but slight, and he held her tight against him so that her hips pressed against his chest and her stomach hovered in front of his face. She gasped and braced a hand on his shoulder, reaching up to balance her headdress with the other. He could not see her face like this, but he imagined she was scandalized. He chuckled. “I suppose I should have given you some warning.”

He risked offending her or word getting back to her mother through the guards that followed them. Both of which paled in comparison to the risk of his father hearing of his actions. He was a child, poking at a fish with a stick, rather than reeling it in the way he was supposed to. But he could not seem to help himself.

With some measure of urgency, he started up the stairs. Her body swayed toward him, her beaded dress scraping against his chin. This close, he felt her breathing speed up. The hand on his shoulder migrated to her chest, doing her best to cover the cleavage that was only just above his line of sight.

His instincts said to push again, but this time he reined them in. He kept his head down and quickened his feet. Again, the movement made her sway toward him, harder this time without her hand on his shoulder as a brace. He turned his face to the side, and her belly pressed against his cheek just for a moment before her hand was back at his shoulder, righting her position.

He took the last few steps at a pace that was nearly a jog, and when he reached the top, he looked up at her face. Her mouth was open and soft; he knew by the rise and fall of her body against him that her breaths were ragged, and in her eyes was a gleam. Not fear. Not panic. Not even anger.

Want.

He could work with that.

Copyright © 2017 by Cora Carmack

Author Bio:

Cora Carmack is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult Romance and YA fantasy. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages around the world. Cora splits her time between Austin, TXand New York City, and on any given day you might find her typing away at her computer, flying to various cities around the world, or just watching Netflix with her kitty Katniss. But she can always be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her website www.coracarmack.com.

Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary.

You Can Find it At:
Website
Twitter
Goodreads
Facebook
Instagram

Photo Credit: Matt Tolbert

Giveaway:


Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

10 Winners will receive a Copy of ROAR and Swag Bundle (Everything Pictured, Poster and Coloring Sheet) by Cora Carmack.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Street Team Sunday: The Gentleman's to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee


I am super excited to be part of this Street Team Sunday! I absolutely ADORED Gentleman's Guide and I can't wait to share all my feels with you! But first, some background information!

Title: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzie Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Pages: 528
Release: June 20, 2017
Review: 5 Stars!

Synopsis:

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

You Can Find it At:
Goodreads
The Regulator
Amazon- US
Amazon - UK
Barnes & Nobles
The Book Depository

First Impressions

I knew I wanted to read this book from the first time I heard about it. Two young men on a romp through Europe while slowly falling in love during the 1700s? Yes please! I expected it to be amazing, and it did not disappoint! I can't wait for everyone else to read it, because it is so much fun! The description "the Big Gay European Road Trip Novel you didn't know you were waiting for" is as an apt a description as there can be!

Characters

I loved Monty. He's such a fun, lovable character, but he still have *much* room to go. Being a white male, he is a bit blind to the world and troubles faced around him. But Mackenzie Lee handles that incredibly well. We start with a Monty that's more or less only concerned about himself, but get to see him grow into a loving older brother, as well as become more aware of the feelings of those he cares about.

Percy was a nice companion for Monty. They balanced each other out well. Where Monty was responsible and rash, Percy was grounded and thought things through. Percy has many things going behind the scenes that we the readers don't find out about until Monty does. It's obvious from the first page that Percy and Monty have feelings for each other, but it takes a little while for the two of them to figure it out.

Now, for quite possibly my favorite character, Felicity. Felicity is Monty's younger sister. She joins Monty and Percy on their little adventure, as she is being sent off to finishing school. Felicity is a book nerd, and for that alone I would love her. Felicity knows that all the answers she needs can be found in a book. So when pulls out some rather surprising skills, I'm not really surprised. While Felicity herself doesn't change much throughout the book, Monty's perception of her does.

World Building

I don't know much about 18th century Europe. So Mackenzie Lee's world building was rather important to a better understanding of the book. In the back of the book, Lee includes an author's note with some important background information for the story. While not vital, it's nice to come out with a general understanding of the time. Monty and Percy manage to traipse through many countries, through many modes of transportation, and meet many a strange character. Everything from king's guards to pirates. The novel and world were truly incredibly done, and I can't wait to read more by this author!

Author Bio:

Mackenzi Lee is a bookseller, history nerd, and the author of THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, THIS MONSTROUS THING (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins), and the forthcoming SEMPER AUGUSTUS (Flatiron Books, 2018). She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults. She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home.

You Can Find Her At:
Website
Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest
Facebook
Instagram

Tour Stops:

6/4 Tour Blogs Stops
Character Profiles - Blame It On The Books
Review - Bookishly Thinking
Review - Charmingly Simple
Interview - The Hermit Librarian

6/11 Tour Blogs Stops
Review - Tween to Teen Book Reviews
Interview - Sarcasm and Lemons
Unique Post (Ships to Travel With) - Roecker Reviews
Interview - Books Buying Beauty
Review - The Ultimate Fangirl

6/18 Tour Blogs Stops
Review - Books and Ladders
Interview - Book Stack Amber
Review - YA and Wine
Review - A Thousand Words A Million Books
Unique Post (Characters in Social Media) - Live Love Read YA

6/25 Tour Blog Stops
Interview - Hopeful Reads
Review - Olivia’s Catastrophe
Review - Bayy in Wonderland
Review - Curly Hair Bibliophile
Unique Post (Mood Board) - A Book and A Cup of Coffee

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (58)


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

This week, I'm super excited for Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab! I absolutely LOVED book one, This Savage Song, and can't wait to find out what happens with these characters! While there was limited to no romance in book one, I am crossing my fingers for some kissy times in Our Dark Duet!

Synopsis:

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.


Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

Release: June 13, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Top Ten Books I Read in One Day


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

2. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

3. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

4. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

5. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

6. Freedom's Slave by Heather Demetrios

7. Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

8. Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter

9. The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

10. Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (57)


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

This week, I'm super excited for Avenged by Amy Tintera. I read the first book in the series last spring during my trip to Cuba, and I loved it! I love the romance in these books, and I can't wait to see the sisterly relationship develop in this one!

Synopsis:

In the sequel to Ruined, the romance of The Selection and the epic stakes of Red Queen come together in a story of revenge, adventure, and unexpected love.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister Olivia from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory. 

But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina, but Em isn’t as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.


Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, Em faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

Release: May 2, 2017
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