Thursday, January 8, 2015

{Cover Reveal + Excerpt} Black Iris by Leah Raeder

I am so freaking excited and honored to have been given the chance to reveal to you the cover of Black Iris by Leah Raeder. I am an insanely huge fan of Leah and I am seriously just dying to read this book. I hope you love this cover as much as I do!

Title: Black Iris
Author: Leah Raeder
Publisher: Atria
Publication date: April 28th 2015
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.
BLACK IRIS by Leah Raeder

     April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot said, and that’s because it kills. It’s the month with the highest suicide rate. You’d think December, or even January—the holidays and all that forced cheer and agonized smiling pushing fragile people to the edge—but actually it’s spring, when the world wakes from frostbound sleep and something cruel and final stirs inside those of us who are broken. Like Eliot said: mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. In the deepest throes of depression, when sunlight is anguish and the sky throbs like one big raw migraine and you just want to sleep until you or everything else dies, you’re less likely to commit suicide than someone coming out of a depressive episode. Drug companies know this. That’s why antidepressants have to be marked with the warning MAY CAUSE SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.
     Because what brings you back to life also gives you the means to destroy yourself.

About the author:

Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago.

You can stalk find her here:

Also, if y'all are interested, join Leah Raeder's fangroup, the Raeder Readers! You'll get all sorts of exclusive stuff (giveaways, excerpts, boobies, and more)! Just click the photo below to be a part of something rainbowy and amazing.

Big thanks to Leah Raeder and Atria for organizing this cover reveal!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Review: The Pact by Karina Halle

Title: The Pact
Author: Karina Halle
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Publication date: December 28th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

Beautiful, funny and an ambitious businesswoman (with one hell of an ass), Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he’s known her.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them are in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounds like fun and games but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.
Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


If there is one thing I know in life, it's that Karina Halle can literally write in any genre. Paranormal, Contemporary, Suspense, Horror, and everything in between. You want it, she'll write it and yes, she'll write it well - extremely well. So well that I have yet to read a book of hers that I didn't enjoy (I loved every book of hers that I have read). And The Pact is no exception. I am going to be honest and say that I wasn't too keen on reading this book because I was tired of reading Contemporary Romances since so many of them have similar plots and they all just end up blending together, but I thank that Lord that He made me decide to read The Pact because ho-lee mother freaking helicopter jumper, this book was so damn good. I swear. It's like the best of Karina Halle mixed into one insanely hot and tension-filled book. I am shivering with delight right now.

Karina Halle truly took the time to carefully form her characters. Especially her two main characters, Linden and Stephanie, which is why it was so fun and interesting to read certain parts in each other their points of view. I feel like The Pact wouldn't have been as impactful had she written the book in only Linden's or Stephanie's point of view, it just needed to be both of theirs. And I loved every single moment I spent in their minds. Even when the times got rough, it was still such a pleasurable experience for me and I could not get enough.

I can't say that I connected with one person more than the other because both Linden and Stephanie have different aspects to them that when you put together, create a complete set. They really just completed and fit each other. One of the things I really liked about the The Pact was the way their relationship progressed, it wasn't an insta-I'm in love with my best friend kind of thing but more like a mutual attraction. And then from then you can see their friendship grow into something more like camaraderie and brother-/sisterhood than anything perverse or unreal. I loved how honest Linden and Steph's relationship was, their dependency on each other can be mistaken as something more but only they know the truth. Honestly, I am literally trying to hold down my feels right now but it is so hard because I am bursting with them. There were so many parts in the book wherein I just wanted to cry and cry out in frustration. Linden and Steph's love was a slow burn, it traveled and covered every base as much as it could and when it finally finally reached where it was meant to go, it was a glorious revelation for the both of them. It was an amazing experience reading about Steph and Linden's love, it's imperfections was what made it so much more beautiful to me. The rawness of their emotions and blatant hope for more made my heart ache way too many times. Karina Halle was able to truly portray and materialize the saying "True love waits," because there was definitely a lot of waiting but in the end, it was worth it. I cannot even properly express what The Pact did to me. I am a literal glass case of emotion right now.

It wasn't just their love that won me over, it was the way Steph and Linden's dynamic worked. Their quips and banter made their relationship so fun and entertaining but they definitely also had their dark moments. Their journey from just friends to something more was a really crazy. There were a lot of downs and just enough ups that they made up for those downs. But other than Steph and Linden's lovely and scandalous relationship that made me love the book so dearly, I also really liked the characters that Karina Halle threw into the mix, each other them added personality and shine to the book that made it so great to read. Even the distasteful people *cough*Nadine*cough* made the book more exciting. Each person had their part and they played their role very well.

Karina Halle isn't the type of author who pussyfoots by writing books that will make you tear up or blush, no, she is the type of author who takes a crowbar and will literally smash your heart into pieces and also manage to make you hyperventilate from all the steam that happens in her books. She will take everything from you but will also give everything she can in return, Karina Halle does everything with her very best and she gives it her all. I am so happy that sense was knocked into me because if I hadn't decided to pick up The Pact, I just know that I'd regret it forever. Scorching hot and heart achingly beautiful, The Pact will make you burn in the most deliciously painful way possible. So if you're looking for a refreshing, extremely sexy and heart wrenching read that will make you work for it, The Pact is for you.


Friday, January 2, 2015

{Review + Giveaway} The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1)
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Harper
Publication date: July 8th 2014
Buy the book (locally): Fully Booked
(internationally): Amazon / Barnes and Noble

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


I was honestly a bit apprehensive in regards to reading The Queen of the Tearling because of the mixed reviews I saw, but as an opportunity came up for me to review it, I decided to throw caution to the wind and read it. After finishing all 400-plus pages, I realized that the novel was one of those “acquired taste” kind of books; because I did enjoy reading it (in all its weird but oddly appealing entirety). When I got over the obscure and slightly confusing world building (I sort of just forgot about it after a while), I was able to truly appreciate the complexity and diversity of the characters, the interesting plot and the great writing (Erika Johansen has got some beautiful words).

As I have mentioned above, one of the things that truly struck me was Erika Johansen’s writing. At first glance, it seems like your normal third-person point of view but as you delve deeper into the story, you see subtle shifts in her writing. The way she incorporates words and lines that make the text more captivating and enthralling. I was especially impressed when Erika Johansen was able to switch to different points of view so effortlessly and smoothly. I have read a number of novels wherein the characters have the same tone making it hard to differentiate between the alternating POVs or the author uses too many POVs which ends up with me being confused, but Erika Johansen used only significant POVs that may seem unimportant at the start but are given greater role as the story progresses. Each POV switch allows the reader to truly get to know the characters better and also see the story with a broader scope.

The character development in The Queen of the Tearling was also very good. The reader is given the chance to really connect with each character, even I found myself invested in most of the characters. I loved reading about the Queen’s Guard, each member had their own story to tell and I look forward to hearing more of them as the series goes on. (They are all so mysterious and so badass! Makes me want my own set of guards. Oh, and did I mention that they’re all good looking? I don’t even care how old they are, I’d take them, lol. Total groupie over here!) However, in the numerous characters I met, there were four that really got me all kinds of excited and intrigued: The Fetch, who reminds me of The Darkling (from the Grisha trilogy) but less evil but no less mysterious; The Red Queen, who is one crazy but interesting bitch; Cardinal Anders, who is a God’s man with insanely questionable intentions; and the dark thing, who is exactly that but where did it come from, what is its purpose, and so many more questions! But really, I commend Erika Johansen for being able to really build up each character and give them all a significant role. (Really liked the direction she took with Javel, the Gate Guard.)

If there is one person that surprised me the most, it would have to be the protagonist, Kelsea Raleigh. Having been sheltered and kept hidden for all of her life and then suddenly taken and then made into the queen would have made anyone pause but Kelsea took everything into stride. I never thought that she would be as fierce as she turned out to be. Even though she had bouts of insecurities at times, her confidence and rule as the Queen of the Tearling never wavered. She was very diplomatic and strategic and her command for respect made me respect her as well. She turned out to be a better queen that I expected her to be, than everyone expected her to be. Kelsea was definitely a force to be reckoned with and she stunned me. The decisions she made were tough and I really admire her for being so brave. I’d absolutely bow down to her. I am really looking forward to seeing how much more she can grow in the coming books.

Okay, time for the things I didn’t like about The Queen of the Tearling. First off, I wasn’t impressed by the fact that everyone seemed to be commenting on how plain Kelsea was. I really didn’t understand why people had to constantly mention it but I’m hoping that it’ll pass in the next books. And the other thing I didn’t particularly appreciated about the book was the world building and the general theme of the story. I felt that there were times wherein the story strayed from Fantasy and went into some other world or something. I wasn’t even sure if it was Fantasy in the first place because it was also Post-Apocalyptic or Dystopian or Historical or something. I was very confused but the farther I got into the story, the less it mattered, I literally just went with it. (It was better to go with the flow than stress about the structure.)

Another bit about the book that really got to me (in a good/bad way) was the fact that there was no romance, in Kelsea’s part (which was what really mattered anyway). While it gave the her more space to grow independently, I would’ve liked at least a kiss or a look from someone. (Totally Team Pen here, lol.) Hopefully we’ll get more in the next books! Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I keep mentioning the next books; well, it’s because there were a lot of things left unresolved in The Queen of the Tearling. I seriously have so many questions right now and I’m hoping that they’ll get answered in the sequels. So. Many. Questions. But I am happy to say that The Queen of the Tearling ended in a satisfying way, for me at least.

The Queen of the Tearling is a gem of a debut novel that shines with an exciting cast of charactesr, a great story line and gorgeous writing I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is looking for some pure Fantasy with an extra crazy world building thrown into the mix, and a bunch of other really awesome things. I really enjoyed The Queen of the Tearling and I am seriously looking forward to the sequel. (Interesting enough, this book was my last read of 2014 so I ended the year with a good read. Yay!)


To start 2015 off, we're giving away this gorgeous copy of The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I hope that whoever wins this will enjoy the book as much as I did. (And the Queen's Guard, heehee.)

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is available in Fully Booked.
Just wanted to say a quick thank you to the amazing people at Fully Booked (Trish, Angel and co.) who made this all possible. You all ROCK.