Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Swoon Romance YA Wednesdays: The Effortless with You Series by Lizzy Charles Book Blitz with Giveaway #ReadSwoonRepeat

Welcome to this week’s
Swoon Romance YA Wednesdays!
This week features
The Effortless with You series by Lizzy Charles!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

School is out and Lucy is ready for the perfect summer: lazy days at the pool, invitations to the most exclusive parties, and romantic dates with her hot new boyfriend. That is, until she lands in trouble one too many times and her parents issue the ultimate punishment: a summer job. Suddenly, the summer can't end fast enough.
To make matters worse, the job is painting houses with Justin, the most popular, egotistical guy in school. Spending all summer with Justin might be other girls' dreams, but definitely not Lucy's. After all, Justin is cocky, annoying, and a jerk. So what if he's the most beautiful jerk Lucy's ever seen? Or that his grin makes her forget she’s mad at the world? Or that maybe, just maybe, there's more to Justin than Lucy realizes. Only one thing is certain: it won’t be the summer she wanted, but it might be exactly the one she needs.
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Effortless With You (Effortless With You #1) by Lizzy Charles
Publication Date: 2013
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Available for Purchase:

Popularity isn't everything it's cracked up to be. Justin Marshall knows this better than most. For the captain of the basketball team, small business owner, and son of Minnesota's next governor, life can get pretty overwhelming. But Justin can handle anything as long as he has Lucy, the girl who fell for the man he’s trying to be.
But for Justin and Lucy, finding time together proves challenging. Stolen kisses and whispered promises just aren't enough. That is, until scandalous photos of the couple are leaked to a press intent on creating a juicy scandal during Justin's dad's gubernatorial campaign. And when Lucy becomes fair play for the tabloids and gossip pages, Justin does the only thing he can to protect her: he breaks her heart.
For Lucy, junior year is everything she hoped it would be: new friends, second chances, and a boyfriend she can’t stop kissing. That is, until the boy she’s pretty sure she loves chooses the life his family wants for him, over her.
Now it’s up to Lucy to teach him what it really means to have everything. Because for Justin, being who everyone needs him to be just might cost him the one person he can’t live without.
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Perfectly Messy (Effortless With You #2) by Lizzy Charles
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Available for Purchase:

Lizzy Charles
When Lizzy Charles isn’t scrambling to raise her two spunky toddlers or caring for premature and sick babies as a neonatal intensive care nurse, she’s in a quiet corner writing or snuggled up with a novel and a few squares of dark chocolate. Black tea keeps her constant and she loves guacamole. She married her high school sweet heart, a heart-melting musician, so it’s no surprise she’s fallen in love with writing contemporary YA romance novels.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Friday, April 10, 2015

[Review] Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch


Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch 

Rating: 4 Stars
Series: Snow Like Ashes #1
Release Date: October 14, 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

The high fantasy world that Sara has created is truly remarkable and unique; there are eight kingdoms in Primoria, four Rhythms with changing seasons, and four Season kingdoms. During the novel's time, one of the Seasons, Winter, has been sacked by Spring and its ruthless ruler. The story follows Meira, an orphaned girl that is one of eight surviving Winterian refugees; eight people who have devoted their lives to freeing Winter.

The world building was done wonderfully and it was very interesting to learn more about each kingdom. I thought it was interesting how Sara chose to make Spring the destructive, deadly force and Winter the victim since normally we associate winter with death (such as of trees) and spring with new life and new beginnings. The world building was perhaps the best and most unique of all the YA high fantasy novels I've read.

However, I thought the book started a little slow and took some time to get into, but at around 40-50% through, it started getting really good and after that, I finished it in about two days.  The drag in the beginning is the reason why I didn't give this five stars.

In terms of characters, Sara does an amazing job making Angra, the ruler of Spring, a truly detestable villain with no redeeming qualities. Normally, I'd find something good about the villain that makes him or her remotely redeemable, and sometimes I even like the antagonist, but Angra is someone that I loved to hate throughout the entire story. The love triangle between Meira, Mather, and Theron adds a nice spark of romance to the otherwise action packed novel and I jumped from both guys throughout. At first I rooted for Mather, then when I found out what Sir and Mather did, I was Team Theron and remained that way for most of the book (he gets bonus points for being so selfless!), and sort of went neutral at the end, mainly because I felt so bad for Mather.

Overall, Snow Like Ashes has a slow beginning but the fast paced nature of the second half makes up for that, and the world building and characters are truly amazing. :-)

Friday, April 3, 2015

[Review] The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh


The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Rating: 5 Stars
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Version: ARC
Release Date: April 28, 2015

Goodreads synopsis:
A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

*I received this ARC from Meghann @ Becoming Books as a guest reviewer, so this review was originally posted on Becoming Books!*

The Wrath and the Dawn was inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, but I wouldn't say it's a retelling. The motives, back story, and characters are different, although some are inspired by the original characters. Although I have heard of some of the stories, I haven't actually read A Thousand and One Nights but became so fascinated with it after reading this book that I actually watched the 2000 TV mini series Arabian Nights, which is essentially a retelling of the original tale... so yes, I loved this book!

For some reason, I didn't pay much attention to the prologue but turned back to the beginning after I had finished it, re-read the prologue, and was like whoa. I guess that's a good thing though, since it became all the more mysterious and suspenseful as the book went on. I found myself wanting answers as much as Shazi did. Renee is an excellent storyteller; there was rarely a dull moment and I found myself flipping through the pages much faster than I thought I would. 

I also like how the book is written in third person; most of the YA novels I've read are in first person and sometimes it's frustrating to see only from the main character's point of view. I loved seeing things from Khalid's perspective and it gave the characters much more depth and we see their multiple dimensions so much more easily. Additionally, Renee does an excellent job with all of the characters' story arcs and intertwining them together later on (such as Shazi's dad, Tariq, and the main plot with Shazi and Khalid). In fact, reading this has made me realize that I like the third person perspective so much more than first person.

In terms of characters, Khalid is my favorite and his character development throughout is pretty great. I went from hating him, to pitying him, and then finally to just adoring him. I found most of the characters to be pretty interesting and I love how there are so many important supporting characters! 

Overall, The Wrath and the Dawn is a beautiful story and Renee is one talented (and cruel - that ending!) writer; it's going right up to my list of "Favorites". :)
And that ending will make you want the second book, The Rose and the Dagger, ASAP. Trust me. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

[Blog Tour & Interview] Hidden Deep by Amy Patrick

Hidden Deep (Book 1 of the Hidden Trilogy)
Release Date: 03/23/15
Oxford South Press
319 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Give in to the Glamour…
Sixteen-year-old Ryann Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she'd be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She's a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping) and he's not supposed to exist.
After her father's affair, all Ryann wants is to escape the family implosion fallout and find a little peace. She also wouldn't mind a first date that didn't suck, but she's determined not to end up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryann's recently moved back to her childhood home in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died.

She's still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He's still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she's with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryann's strict policy-- never want someone more than he wants you.

Seventeen-year-old Lad knows the law of his people all too well: Don't get careless and Don't get caught. It's allowed his race to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore…

Lad's never been able to forget about Ryann since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He's not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one.

And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark is widening, and mysterious celebrity fan pods are becoming more and more widespread and influential. Lad may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryann, blissfully unaware and safe.

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Interview with Amy Patrick

Where did the idea for HIDDEN DEEP come from?
 I’m that girl who read the Lord of the Rings trilogy 17 times back to back in middle school, so I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy books and movies. Of course, I realized that LOTR was actually a love story—what? You don’t think so? Well, I was really into the Arwen/Aragorn story line, and I loved the idea of a great love between people of different sorts—one immortal and magical, the other human. HIDDEN DEEP takes place in rural Mississippi, beginning in the woods surrounding the log house where Ryann lives with her mom and grandma. Something incredible happened when Ryann was lost in those woods as a child ten years earlier and it leads to a connection between star-crossed lovers that refuses to go away. 

Are any of the places or people in the book based on real life?
 I grew up in Mississippi (with a few years in Texas, too) and my great-grandmother had a cabin on many, many acres of woodland there. I envisioned her place and those mysterious woods when I was writing the story. And the tiny town where Ryann and her friends live and go to school (Deep River) is based on the town where I went to high school, Water Valley. As far as people… not exactly. But I think bits of our past and our relationships throughout life do find their way into most authors’ stories. When I picture Lad in my mind, he bears a striking resemblance to Liam Hemsworth. And why not? 

Any plans for more books? What are you working on now? 
Yes! HIDDEN DEEP is the first book in a trilogy, and I’ve already written book two, HIDDEN HEART. It’s in the editing process now. I’ve already seen the cover, which is *fabulous*! I’m also very excited to have a HIDDEN DEEP-related novella coming out in May in a box set with some amazing fellow YA Fantasy authors, including Anthea Sharp, Julia Crane, Alexia Purdy and Jenna E. Johnson. It’s called Faery Tales. My story’s called The Sway. It features a secondary character from Hidden Deep and takes place concurrently in another location—by the end of it, the storylines have converged and you get to see some key scenes from another point of view. 

Thanks so much for having me here today—it’s been fun! I hope your readers will love HIDDEN DEEP. 

About the Author
Amy is a two-time Golden Heart finalist (2013 and 2014). She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two sons and actually craves the heat and humidity of Mississippi, where she grew up. She's been a professional singer and news anchor and currently narrates audio books as well as working as a station host for a Boston TV station.

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