Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Welcome to the blog tour for The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell! This is book one of a new fantasy duology. Isn't the cover gorgeous? I've got an excerpt below if you need a little extra convincing. And there are TWO giveaways!

About the Book:

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
Book One of The Last Magician series
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: July 18, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Stop the Magician.
Steal the book.
Save the future.

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she's been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta's training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1901 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

About the Author:

Lisa Maxwell is the author of The Last Magician, Unhooked, Sweet Unrest, and The Gathering Deep. She grew up in Akron, Ohio, and has a PhD in English. She’s worked as a teacher, scholar, editor, writer, and bookseller (at Little Professor Book Center in Alabama). When she’s not writing books, she’s a professor at a local college. She now lives near Washington, DC, with her husband and two sons. You can follow her on Twitter @LisaMaxwellYA or learn more about her upcoming books at

The Excerpt:

Dolph Saunders was born for the night. The quiet hours when the city went dark and the streets emptied of the daylight rabble were his favorite time. Though they might have been criminals or cutthroats, those out after the lamps were lit were his people—the dispossessed and disavowed who lived in the shadows, carving out their meager lives at the edge of society.  Those who understood that the only rule that counted was to not get caught.

That night, though, the shadows weren’t a comfort to him. Tucked out of sight, across the street from J.P. Morgan’s mansion, he cursed himself for not being able to do more. His crew was late, and there was an uneasiness in the air—it felt too much like the night was waiting for something to happen. Dolph didn’t like it one bit. Not after so many had already disappeared, and especially not when Leena’s life was at stake.

It wasn’t unusual for people to go missing in his part of the city. Cross the wrong street and you could cross the wrong gang. Cross the wrong boss, and you might never be heard from again. But those with the old magic, especially those under Dolph’s protection, usually knew how to avoid most trouble. A handful of his own people disappearing in the span of a month? It couldn’t be an accident. 

Dolph didn’t doubt the Order was to blame, but they’d been quiet recently. There hadn’t been a raid in the Bowery for weeks, which was unusual on its own.  But even with their Conclave coming up at the end of the year, his people hadn’t heard even a whisper to hint at the Order’s plans. Dolph didn’t trust the quiet, and he wasn’t the type to let those loyal to him go without answers. So Leena, Dolph’s partner in absolutely everything, had gotten herself hired as a maid in Morgan’s house. Morgan was one of the Orders highest officials, and they’d hoped someone in the household would let something slip.

 For the past couple of weeks, she’d polished and scrubbed…and hadn’t found out anything about the missing Mageus. Then, two nights ago, she didn’t come home. 

He should have gone himself. They were his people, his responsibility. If anything happened to her…

He forced himself to put that thought aside. She would be fine. Leena was smart, strong, and more stubbornly determined than anyone he knew. She could handle herself in any situation. But her magic only worked on the affinities of other Mageus. It would be useless against the Order. 

As though in answer to his dark thoughts, a hired carriage pulled up to the side of the house. They hadn’t been expecting a delivery that night, and the arrival only heightened Dolph’s apprehension. With the carriage obscuring his view, he wouldn’t be able to see if there was trouble. 

Before he could move into a different position, angry male voices spilled out into the night. A moment later, the door of the carriage slammed shut and the driver cracked his whip to send the horses galloping off.

Dolph watched it disappear, his senses prickling in foreboding as the sound of fast footsteps approached. He gripped his cane, ready for whatever came. 

Giveaway #1:

Waiting on Wednesday (#242): Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

"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:

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Pacifica, an all-new stand-alone, near-future adventure from the critically acclaimed author of Article 5 and Metaltown.

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. 

Ahhhh, I need this book! All of Simmons' previous books have been great for me, especially The Glass Arrow (my personal favorite of hers). This new book sounds amazing! But let's be real, Simmons is an auto-read author for me. =)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Interview with Caragh O'Brien, Author of The Keep of Ages (and GIVEAWAY!)

Happy Tuesday, bibliovores! Today I have an interview with Caragh O'Brien, author of The Keep of Ages. This is the final novel in the Vault of Dreamers trilogy. Stick around for the giveaway at the bottom of this post, in which you can win a copy of The Keep of Ages!

Meet Caragh O'Brien!

Alyssa: Hi Caragh! Welcome to The Eater of Books! I’m so happy to have you here today. I’ve been waiting for The Keep of Ages and I’m glad it’s finally here! How does it feel to complete another series? 

Caragh: Thanks, Alyssa! I’m happy to here on The Eater of Books!
Finishing this series has been amazing for me. Rosie’s story was a huge undertaking that preoccupied me for four years, and I’m really happy with how it has turned out. When I held a finished copy in my hand for the first time this weekend, I was awed.

Alyssa: Which of the three books of this series was the most difficult to write?

Caragh: The second novel, The Rule of Mirrors, had special challenges because Rosie’s consciousness split in two, and I was dealing with two perspectives in two characters that grew apart and intertwined intricately. It was a fascinating puzzle to work on, and it took me a long time to figure out. The third book, The Keep of Ages, had special challenges, too, but they had more to do with psychological issues than the structure of novel. The book’s a bit of a mind-bender.

Alyssa: Do you have a favorite deleted/cut scene from The Keep of Ages (or any of the books in the series) that you can share or describe to us?

Caragh: A chapter in The Keep of Ages was originally written from the perspective of Thea, a key character in the second book, and it ended up being cut. I reworked the substance of the chapter into other parts of the novel to cover the plot turns, but I lost a scene of conversation that I liked. Writing the chapter helped me understand the characters better and identify other changes that needed to happen, but I believe the book is stronger without the little section. It interrupted the momentum of the main story line.

Alyssa: Did the end of this series change, from what you originally outlined to what is now set to publish?

Caragh: Yes. I had only a sketchy idea of how the series would evolve when I started it, so the entire last novel feels new to me. I originally began with characters I cared deeply about, and a creepy, intriguing situation (the dream mining), and I had to trust that the story would evolve from those elements. It did, I’m happy to report.

Alyssa: Who was your favorite character to write?

Caragh: Rosie has been my favorite all along. She’s so smart, but she also has a certain blindness about herself and others. For instance, at the start, she wants to be a film director and she’s very comfortable behind the camera, yet she doesn’t realize that she uses her filming of others to keep herself at a distance. Later, she grapples with truly trusting herself and loving someone. She grows enormously across the three books.

Alyssa: Do you have new books that you’re working on that you can tell us a little about?

Caragh: I’ve started a new project, another young adult novel, which I’m very excited about. I’ve always been interested in time and the way we create patterns and routines, so I’m playing around with that concept. I’m in a very early stage, but it’s already quite surprising and intriguing to me.

Thank you for all your support of my novels, Alyssa, and for having me by! This has been a treat! 

Alyssa: Thank YOU so much for joining me today, Caragh! Best of luck with future projects. =)

About the Author:

Caragh M. O’Brien is the author of the BIRTHMARKED trilogy and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS series, both from Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Ms. O’Brien was educated at Williams College and earned her MA in the Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University. Her young adult science fiction has been honored by the YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, the Amelia Bloomer Award, the Junior Library Guild, and numerous state reading lists. A former high school English teacher, she now writes young adult novels full time from her home in rural Connecticut.

Praise for Caragh M. O’Brien:

“Psychologically and philosophically rich.”
Kirkus, The Keep of Ages

“Like O'Brien’s Birthmarked trilogy, this dystopian, sci-fi, psychological-thriller hybrid raises ethical and moral questions about science. This might have been a difficult story to pull off, given the environment, but with a likable narrator who is thoroughly unimpressed with herself, it works . . . this should have wide appeal.” 
Booklist, The Vault of Dreamers

“A fast, satisfying psychological thriller.” 
Kirkus, The Vault of Dreamers

“Magnificent. The Vault of Dreamers left me breathless.” 
       — Mary Pearson, author of the New York Times bestselling series The Remnant Chronicles

“O’Brien (the Birthmarked trilogy) mixes the appeal of a classic boarding school novel with modern concerns about surveillance and reality as performance art, while questioning how human perception creates that reality in the first place. “
Publishers Weekly, The Vault of Dreamers

"[T]here's plenty of intrigue and---as the whole dream operation is explored---a solid sense of building tension." 
Kirkus, The Rule of Mirrors

“An exciting, almost breakneck adventure… Readers who enjoy adventures with a strong heroine standing up to authority against the odds will enjoy this compelling tale.”
School Library Journal, Birthmarked

“Reminiscent of both 1984 and a Brave New World, this gripping page-turner is a perfect intro to futuristic, dystopian fiction . . . Readers accompany the novel's inspiring heroine on an undertaking brimming with danger, intrigue, and romance.”, Birthmarked

“O'Brien's . . . impulsive and spirited heroine . . . is the kind readers adore.” 
Booklist, Birthmarked

“Well-written and fast-paced.” 
VOYA, Birthmarked

About The Keep of Ages:

The Keep of Ages by Caragh O'Brien
Book Three of The Vault of Dreamers series
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: August 29, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the fast-paced, high-stakes conclusion to Caragh M. O'Brien's Vault of Dreamers trilogy, Rosie travels to a derelict theme park to shut down dream mining once and for all.

Driven by fear when Dean Berg kidnaps her family, Rosie Sinclair strikes out across the country to rescue them. When an elusive trail leads her to Grisly Valley, the contaminated ruin of a horror theme park, Rosie has to consider that Berg may once again be manipulating her every move to make her fearful, priming her for a final, lethal dream mining procedure. As Rosie struggles to outmaneuver Berg, she unearths the ultimate vault of dreamers and the hint of a consciousness more powerful and dangerous than any she's imagined before. Faced with unspeakable suffering and otherworldly beauty, Rosie must discover how to trust her mind, her friends, and reality itself.

Propulsive and deeply speculative, The Keep of Ages concludes the Vault of Dreamers trilogy with stirring possibilities for what it means to be alive.

Check out the series:


(Click on the covers for more information!)

My Reviews:

The Giveaway:

Win a copy of The Keep of Ages! Courtesy of Media Masters Publicity. Open to USA residents only. Ends 08/18, 11:59 PM EST. You can see complete giveaway rules in the Rafflecopter or on my Giveaways page. Good luck!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Disorderly Conduct by Tessa Bailey

Disorderly Conduct by Tessa Bailey
Book One of The Academy series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…

Police academy cadet Charlie Burns can’t believe his luck when the gorgeous blonde he meets in a bar murmurs those magic words: “Nothing serious, ’kay?” Mind-blowing, no-strings sex with Ever Carmichael—it’s the holy grail of hookups for a guy who’s too busy following in his law enforcement family’s footsteps to think about getting serious. Charlie’s all about casual…that is, until Ever calls it quits and his world tilts on its axis.

Ever knows that when you control the relationship game, you can’t get played. But for the first time, she wants more than short-term satisfaction. Step one: end her fling with commitment-phobic Charlie. Step two: sacrifice herself to the ruthless NYC dating scene. Yet everywhere she turns, there’s Charlie, being his ridiculously charming self. No online match or blind date compares to the criminally hot cop-in-training, but they’re over. Aren’t they?

If love is a four-letter-word, why does the idea of Ever seeing someone else tie Charlie up in knots?  Now he’s desperate to win her back…and a little date sabotage never hurt anyone, right?

What I Liked:

I love Tessa Bailey and her books - very few have been misses, and I've read nearly all of her books. I've been very excited about this new series, not only because the publisher is one of my favorite adult romance publishers, but because it sounds like a great series. I love men in uniform, and as romance heroes, they are totally my type. Most are alpha types who love to give orders. Charlie Burns is no exception, and I loved that part of his personality. This type of romance isn't my usual, but I didn't dislike it (like I thought I would). I had some issues with Charlie's behavior to get Ever to be with him, and I'll talk about those issues and how they caused the drop in rating. But overall, I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would, which is a win!

Charlie Burns and Ever Carmichael met in a bar one evening, and it was lust at first sight. Ever is only looking to hook up temporarily (for one month maximum), and only with "unavailable" guys. Guys like Charlie, who are single but completely married to their job. Charlie Burns doesn't do relationships, not while he is in the police academy, training to become lieutenant and sergeant and follow in his brother's, father's, grandfather's, and great-grandfather's footsteps. So when he and Ever meet, it is perfect. They see each other every day, sometimes more than once, to have sweaty, hot, fantastic sex. But one month ends, and so does their fling, when Ever tells Charlie that she can't do it anymore. Ever wants to date for real, and she doesn't think Charlie wants real. But when they part, Charlie begins to realize that he wants Ever, all of Ever, and he wants real with her. What follows is the story of a man who is desperate to make a woman realize that he is good for her, and she is good for him.

Like I said, this isn't my usual kind of romance. I don't mind the whole lovers-to-more kind of thing, in which they go from casual hook-up to relationship status. But this romance isn't like that - it goes from lovers to nothing to friends to lovers to relationship status. Which, realistically, is not my thing. I always hate the types of romance that involve "getting someone back" for the majority of the book. At the climax/towards the end of the book? I don't mind. But for the entire book (like second-chance romances)? No thanks. This romance wasn't a second-chance romance, but it wasn't a lovers-to-more type of romance. Still, I was surprised when I found that I actually really liked this kind of nonlinear romance. I liked seeing Charlie get a kick in the pants when Ever gives him the book (see what I did there?). I liked seeing Ever feel so guilty and upset about giving him the boot, because she loved him but didn't think he wanted "more" from her. I liked that both of them suffered during their "break-up", and not just Charlie. Although, it was Charlie who was trying to win over Ever, and not the other way around.

The other thing about the romance that I thought would have pissed me off was the fact that Ever was trying to go on dates and put herself out there, even when she knew she was in love with Charlie. This would usually make me irritated and hate the book. BUT. I actually didn't mind this plot very much, mostly because Ever never goes on real dates (they are all interrupted or terrible), and she never even tries to form a connection with her "dates", because she is always thinking of Charlie. Seriously, none of them even kissed her or touched her. So it wasn't so bad for me! Things definitely could have been worse.

I wasn't sure if I liked Ever, at first. Her whole "mistress rules" thing is the stupidest garbage I've seen in a long time. Basically, she hooks up with a guy for a month, and then moves on to the next. Always the "mistress", being with an unavailable/forbidden guy. In her case, guys who are more preoccupied with the job. In her mother's case, married men. Ever has lived by the mistress rules her entire life, because her mom drilled it into her head that men are unreliable and should never be trusted. (Yeah. Okay.)

But as the story went on, I definitely understood Ever better, and I liked her. I still hated the mistress rules thing, but I felt like I knew where Ever was coming from. She is lonely and miserable without Charlie, and she doesn't enjoy any of her dates. She wants more, but doesn't know how to form those emotional connections. And as Charlie makes more of an effort to be her friend and get to know her, she realizes that she has loved him all along, and she wants him. Ever's character development was very well-written; she goes from someone who likes what she has but wants to change, to someone that changes and knows what she wants better than she has for her entire life.

Charlie, oh Charlie. I loved him overall, though there were times when I couldn't believe what he was doing. He is confident, a little arrogant, oh-so charming, noble, and selfless when it comes to Ever. He is also selfish when it comes to her. He has a good heart and a lot of patience. I have to hand it to him, he never stops trying to win Ever's affections, even when she shoots him down time after time.

Both characters think the other isn't looking for anything serious (which was their plan, upfront), so when both of them start to have thoughts to want something more permanent, they are sure that the other wouldn't want that. Which is sometimes frustrating, but very understandable. It was nice to see Ever and Charlie make the effort to try to be friends, even when they crossed the friends line several times. It made it obvious that they never tried to get to know each other during their month-long hookup, which they both ended up regretting.

So I ended up liking the romance a lot. I was cheering for Charlie but I was also pulling for Ever, for her to wake up and realize that she didn't need the mistress rules, and that she was pushing away Charlie for all of the wrong reasons. 

Worth mentioning is how hot this book is. Tessa Bailey's books usually are, but phew! Alpha male + girl who likes it a little rough = super sexy romance. Especially since this book starts with Ever and Charlie meeting and doing their sex-only hookups. 

Props to Bailey for including so many great friendships in this book. Ever and her best friend Nina are such great friends, so supportive of each other. Charlie has two great friends who are also his roommates - Jack and Danika. Jack and Danika are like brother and sister, and all three of them are good buddies at the academy. It's good to see so many friendships, on both sides (Charlie and Ever).

This book ends in a lovely HEA, which made me so happy. Things work out for both Charlie and Ever, and not just in terms of them. I like how both Charlie and Ever think more on what they want in life, and not just romantically. The ending is so sweet and hopeful. I loved it!

What I Did Not Like:

What made me drop my rating from four (or five) stars to three stars was some of Charlie's behaviors and actions, when he was trying to win her over. She had dates lined up, and he would literally sabotage her dates. He pulled the fir alarm in a fancy restaurant where Ever and her date were having dinner. He paid his fellow academy friends to crash the speed-dating event that Ever was attending, so that she would get frustrated with their weirdness and leave. Charlie did a lot of things that seemed sketchy and borderline stalker-y. Yes, we as readers are rooting for him and hoping things work in his favor. On the one hand, all of his crazies might seem sweet (he's trying to win over his lady!). But on the other hand, it's a little creepy and overbearing. Ever had every right to go on dates, regardless of how she felt about Charlie, and regardless of how Charlie felt about her. While I do think that Charlie and Ever are a wonderful pair, I don't condone some of his behaviors. 

Would I Recommend It:

I do recommend this book because it is a great romance, but I also hesitate to recommend it because of Charlie's stalker-y actions to interrupt Ever's dates. I think readers could definitely look past his actions since (1) this is fiction and (2) we know what Charlie is thinking (i.e. he isn't a criminal or a perv or a "bad guy"). Charlie is the type of guy that you instinctively root for, and I definitely was. I liked him a lot, but would have loved him (and the book) more if he hadn't been so active in trying to ruin Ever's dates. I mean, come on. That's weird. And not really okay.

Also, even though Ever and Charlie are 23 years old, this is definitely an adult novel. I mean, I suppose that age would be adult no matter what. But just to be clear, this isn't a New Adult novel. Not to say that New Adult readers wouldn't enjoy this book! But it's 100% adult, rated R, etc.


3 stars. Without the weird stalker-y stuff, this probably would have been a five-star novel for me. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. But I have hopes for the rest of the series! I have Indecent Exposure (Jack's book) queued up and I can't wait to start it. Greer's will be fun too, I'm sure!

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Science in Fiction (#31): The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!

This month, I'm featuring The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones!

The Hearts We Sold review | Swoon Thursday

The Hearts We Sold is a standalone novel dealing with the concept of the Faustian bargain. In this story, you could trade a body part for anything you wanted (with a few exceptions). Dee trades her heart for money, in order to make certain things possible in her future. But be trading her heart to the demon, she must work for him for two years. This demon has her and several others closing void portals, so that other demons and creatures can't come out. To close these portals, Dee and the gang use explosives.

Today, I'm going to talk about nuclear bombs.

(Subtle, I know. The connection to The Hearts We Sold is tangential, but 100% there, so don't mind me!)

Nuclear weapons - specifically, nuclear bombs - are one of the deadliest weapons known to mankind (if not THE most deadly weapon). Research on nuclear weapons has been going on since the 1930s (and most likely before that). On July 16, 1945, the first nuclear weapon was tested in the Alamogordo desert in New Mexico. 

On August 6, 1945, an atomic (nuclear) bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. On August 9, 1945, another was dropped on Nagasaki.

The bombing of Nagasaki. Source: Wikipedia.

Since the bombing of these two cities by the USA in 1945, nuclear weapons have been tested thousands of times. The following countries have nuclear weapons: the United States, Soviet Union (Russia), the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and possibly Israel. Other countries may have nuclear weapons but have not declared such.

Countries were nuclear weapons testing has occurred. Source: Wikipedia.

Nuclear weapons derive their destructive power from nuclear fission, or a combination of fission and fusion. Nuclear weapons from fission are typically called atomic bombs. Nuclear weapons derived from both fission and fusion are called hydrogen bombs. 

There have been many attempts to reduce the number of countries with nuclear weapons, or reduce the number of nuclear weapons.  Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty of 1963 and the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1968 are two of the most notable. However, despite the question of ethics and other important factors (such as health and safety), many countries have still pursued research and creation of nuclear weapons.

The threat of a nuclear bombing isn't new, but it is unexpected, for any country. This fear shouldn't be something that anyone should have. Unfortunately, with this insane political climate and international disputes, the whole world should be prepared for World War III. I wish I were exaggerating. 

What should you do if a bomb is dropped near you?

- Find a bomb shelter. Ideally you should do this beforehand, if you know the bombing is coming. However, if the bomb has been detonated and you survived, still try and get to the shelter. People who survive the blast typically die from radiation exposure. Fallout is the ash and dust from the explosion. There is also flash blindness, caused by the brightness of the bomb detonation.

- Go underground, in your basement, and stay away from windows. If there is no bomb shelter nearby (which is very likely), this is the next best option. The denser the material surrounding you (like brick vs. cardboard), the safer you'll be. 

- If you aren't near a bomb shelter or someplace with a basement, check out if you should stay where you or if you should go someplace else. Extensive research has been done on this topic, to determined what a person should do following a nuclear detonation. You could potentially stay where you are for 15 minutes and then find a bomb shelter. Most of the intense radiation breaks down by then. There is more information HERE too!

- You'll want to take off your clothes, seal them up, and then shower. Don't scrub your skin since this may get the radiation into your skin. Also don't use conditioner in your hair, since the conditioner would bind to the radiation. But rinse and dress into clean clothes. It's probably a good idea to have clean clothes stashed in your basement!

I'm not going to pretend like I know about nuclear weapon to an expert's level. I won't presume to know the future and the intentions of any country. But I think it would be best for everyone to be a little prepared for something like this. We can't think, "oh, this will never happen to me!". The reality is that it could happen anywhere, but especially in my country.

What do you know about nuclear weapons? Has the latest political events made you think about nuclear warfare? What are your thoughts on nuclear weapons?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (#242)

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, August 6th to Saturday, August 12th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

July Novl box - including paperback copies of Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones and Ash by Malinda Lo, a hardcover copy of The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones, a Booked All Week tote bag, a sweet treat, a box of tea, a quote card, and a pin!

Huge thanks to the Novl team for this package! They host a monthly Novl box giveaway, and I was fortunate to win July's. I have read and loved Illusive and The Hearts We Sold!

From NetGalley:

Thank you, Disney! I am so excited to read this book. Probably not for a while, but I'm still excited!

Reviews from this week:

(Click on the covers to go to my reviews!)

I think that is all I got this week! I finally caved and bought two (expensive) foreign editions of books in a series that I adore. I'm not saying anything until I get them (which might be a while), but I am really excited about these books! They are definitely worth the expense. 

Check out my latest Instagram posts! Here is one from Friday:

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks

So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks
Book Two of The Embraced series
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Growing up on the Isle of Moon, Brigitta knows nothing of her past, except that she is Embraced: born with powers that forced her into hiding. Everything changes when she learns she’s a princess, hidden away from her villainous half-brother who now rules the kingdom. But he knows about Brigitta, and he’ll do anything to get her back. Unless a certain roguish pirate has anything to say about it…

Rupert is both an infamous pirate and a sorcerer with the power to harness the wind. He’s been waiting nineteen years for revenge—and he needs Brigitta to get it. What begins as a kidnapping of the fiery beauty turns into a fierce attraction. But can he win the captive princess’s heart?

What I Liked:

So far, this series has been a delight. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a fantasy/paranormal romance novel! I mean, I'm sure I've read fun ones in the past, but somehow, this series seems to stick out to me. I adored How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days, and I am happy to say that I loved this companion sequel just as much!

This book follows Brigitta, one of the five orphans at the convent on the Isle of Moon. Luciana is now a queen, living with her husband the king and pregnant with twins. The other three girls, including Brigitta, are on the way to visit Luciana and Leo, when their ship is taken over by the military. As it would turn out, Brigitta is a hidden princess, and her half-brother (a king) wants her to to come back to the kingdom. Brigitta hands herself over to pirates (who were lying in wait) in order to save her friends and in order to be safe from her half-brother's military. The pirates are commanded by Rupert, a wind sorcerer who is bent on getting revenge on Gunther (Brigitta's half-brother). Brigitta is now Rupert's captive, but Rupert finds that he doesn't want to use her for his vengeful means. Brigitta knows she should despise the pirate, but the rogue is not as dastardly as his pirate's reputation would make him out to be. There is something more to Rupert, something beyond his pirate lifestyle and Embraced abilities. Rupert is hiding something that could change his and Brigitta's lives forever.

The best way to describe this book is fun and romantic. It has such a light tone to it, and it's also so sweet and occasionally steamy. There were many times when I chuckled out loud, and sighed, and smiled. This is a romance novel that you don't have to be in the mood to read. It is drama-free, angst-free, etc. Such an enjoyable read!

Brigitta is the type of heroine that I would love to be friends with, in real life. I can see parts of myself in her, so I relate to and understand her (even though obviously we have such different lives, ha!). She is kind, selfless, and sweet, and innocent in many ways. But she is also fierce and loyal and determined. She isn't totally strong-willed and kickbutt and gutsy like many of the heroines we see in romance today. I respect those heroines, but I love this different type of heroine. The kind that is sweet and innocent, but also strong and assertive in her own way.

And then there is Rupert, who is a perfect foil to Brigitta. He is tall, handsome, muscular, commanding, and simply put, big. He has a presence and an air of leadership about him. He is secretive and reveals little about himself, but he is very selfless and chivalrous. He does kidnap Brigitta but he lets her go pretty quickly - in a sense. She doesn't leave him even when he tells her that it is her choice, partly because he can protect her, partly because she was already interested in him.

The romance is so sweet and swoony! You might think, Stockholm Syndrome much??? But that is not present in this story. Brigitta isn't quite held against her will - okay, she is, but she isn't. It's hard to explain. Rupert gives her the choice to go but she leans who he is, and she decides to fight with - and for - him. I love the progression of the romance! They have instant chemistry from the start, and there are some seriously steamy moments between them as the story goes on. I liked seeing Brigitta break down Rupert's walls and I liked seeing him let her in. These two are so sweet together, and they get along so perfectly. A balanced pair, not without their faults.

We get to see a lot of the characters from the previous book, especially Brody! Brody is the coolest messenger/friend. I like how he watched over Brigitta and also gave Rupert a chance. I loved seeing the tiny cameos of Luciana, Leo, and the new presence of their twins. Too bad we don't get to know the twins' names though. We also get to see the other three orphan girls, and we get a peek into their futures. I can't wait to read their books!

Some of the new characters that I loved were Stefan, the captain of Rupert's ship, and Sister Fallyn, who wasn't technically new because she is a nun at the Isle of Moon. But the two of them have their own romance going on, which is hilarious and adorable. It was fun to see the captain and the nun skirt around each other and still fall for each other.

This book has a fairly fast pace, though it isn't overwhelmingly so. I appreciated the quick pace and the constant change of events. All of the action was exciting and interesting. You will never be bored if you pick up this book! Heck, I feel like rereading it already. It's not just a romance novel. The plot surrounding the story - Brigitta's impending meeting of her evil brother, her brother's plans for her, Rupert's plan for saving her, etc. - is just as engrossing as the unfolding romance.

All in all, this book was so fun and wonderful. My heart is happy and full. I hope the rest of the series continues to be this lovely to experience!

What I Did Not Like:

I can't think of anything specific, other than I wanted more sexy times between Rupert and Brigitta! There were only two sexy times (and one wasn't actually sex?) and hey, this is a full-length novel. Let them get it on! Don't get me, wrong the tension building up to things was really well-written. But the one sexy time happened towards the end. There needed to be one or two more!

Anyway that's not a deal-breaker. The chemistry is hot, so I wanted more, but that's okay!

Would I Recommend It:

If you like adult paranormal romance, or adult fantasy romance, or simple adult romance in general, definitely try this series. How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days was excellent, and this new book was just as great. I love the pairings - sweet girls and sexy, commanding men. I know the trope isn't for everyone but I love it!


4 stars. I can't wait to read Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon! Dragons are my favorite! There are some dragons in this book, so maybe one of them will be important in the next book. It could not come soon enough!

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