Saturday, April 29, 2017

Blog Tour: Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman...Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway!

Today I am so excited to be a host for the Blacksouls Blog Tour!
I loved the first book and couldn't wait to read this one!
Keep reading to learn more including my thoughts on this exciting sequel!

Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2)
by Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 11th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Pirates, Adventure
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Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.

Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.

Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.

Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.

Be sure to check out the first book in the series: Blackhearts


Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend...she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.

Title: Blacksouls 
Author: Nicole Castroman
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Netgalley/Blog Tour/Publisher 

This fantastic follow-up to Blackhearts is wonderfully entertaining read.  If you haven't read Blackhearts (the first in the series), I highly recommend you do before diving into Blacksouls and if you like smart, strong characters and/or historical settings, you probably won't be disappointed reading either book. 

In the first book, we met Anne and Edward "Teach" Drummond (later to be known as Blackbeard).  Anne was an illegitimate child of a nobleman working as a maid for Teach's father and Teach was a young man who longed to be at sea rather than to conform to what his father expected him to be.  Both intrigued the other and an unlikely relationship developed with plenty of bumps and surprises along the way.  It was a wonderful book with an ending that left me wanting...or rather needing even more.

Which brings us to this book...Blacksouls.

As you can probably tell, I fell in love with Anne and Teach in Blackhearts and was sad to see that book end (especially considering how it ended). I couldn't wait to read the second book to see what would happen next and it did not disappoint.  Filled with the same tenacity, feistiness, and strength they showed in the first book, Anne and Teach continue to earn my love in Blacksouls as they sail the seas and deal with the dangerous situations that await them.

Picking up after the last book ended, Blacksouls starts with Anne and Teach sailing the seas...but each are on different ships.  Anne is a passenger aboard the Providence while Teach is a crew member on the Deliverance. Teach tries to keep his identity a secret, but that is a struggle due to an awful Captain who abuses his powers and endangers the lives of the crew. Teach realizes he must take action and soon finds himself leading and saving his fellow crew members.

Eventually, Anne and Teach both survive their harrowing experiences aboard the ships and find themselves in Nassau, but a powerful and corrupt Governor and other nefarious characters threaten their lives and happiness.  As you can probably guess, things are not easy for our couple at all and my heart broke for them and other characters we are introduced to along the way.  I really don't want to spoil things but I will say that I definitely felt like smacking a few characters (or worse) a time or two...and I am not a violent person.

Blacksouls was a wonderful and emotional follow-up to a book I loved.  I especially enjoyed the character of Anne, a smart, strong young woman who is not afraid to stand up for herself and for those she cares about.  She definitely is no simpering maiden.  And Teach!  I don't know much about his true story, but I find this reimagining of Blackbeard to be fascinating. Strong, brave, and caring, he is a great match for Anne.

As with the first book, Nicole Castroman has a way with words and the wonderful ability to create strong characters that you can't help but enjoy and care about. From the two main characters to the antagonists, each character brings something different to the story. I could easily picture each one and the events surrounding them.  For me, the characters are a big part of why I love these books and I enjoyed getting to know a little about each of them. 

That's not to say that the plot of Blacksouls wasn't exciting or interesting, because it definitely was with plenty of action and swashbuckling adventures that I long for in pirate-themed books along with a few unexpected emotional moments.  While the previous book moved at a slower pace and focused more on Anne & Teach's blossoming relationship, the story in Blacksouls picks up the pace and is filled with a lot more action, intrigue, and emotion. And I loved every bit of it!

Blacksouls is definitely one of my favorite reads this year. And now, I NEED another book in this entertaining series....please.

*I received a free digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Now for a few of my favorite quotes...

  • 1 Finished Copy of Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2) by Nicole Castroman
  • US Only
  • Follow the tour for more chances to win
  • Runs through May 3rd
  • Please read Rules & Regs in Rafflecopter
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 28, 2017

Blog Tour: The Principal's Underwear is Missing by Holly Kowitt...Review & Giveaway!

Have a fun new middle grade book to tell you about today!
Keep reading to learn more!
Author: Holly Kowitt
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 224
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

When you're a sixth-grade nobody, the last person you wan to accidentally zonk with a volleyball is Sloan "Selfie" St. Clair--the eighth-grade glamour queen of the school. But that's what happens to Becca Birnbaum, and it only gets worse when she tries to do Selfie a favor. She grabs the wrong shopping bag from the principal's office -- one containing a very personal item. and even that might not be so bad, if only Selfie didn't immediately lose it.

If they don't get it back ASAP, they're toast. They try not to panic--until they hear that the Biggest Prank Ever is about to happen. Can the school's oddest couple stop the disaster of a lifetime?

About Holly:
Holly Kowitt has written more than fifty books for younger readers, including the Loser List series. She lives in New York City, where she enjoys cycling, flea markets, and West Coast swing dancing.

Title: The Principal's Underwear is Missing
Author/Illustrator: Holly Kowitt
Format: Hardcover
Source: Blog Tour/Publisher 

This book was an entertaining, quick read with relatable characters and a humorous plot.

When geeky sixth-grader Becca Birnbaum accidentally hits popular eighth-grader Sloan "Selfie" St. Clair with a ball during gym it sets off a series of events that no one would have ever expected including accidentally taking a bag containing the principal's bra...and then losing it. Humorous hijinks follow as this odd couple works together to try to find the principal's garment before they face even bigger problems.

I found this story to be quite humorous and enjoyed Becca and Selfie's interesting relationship.  I enjoyed seeing the pair get to know one another and find common ground despite their differences. In addition to a fun plot, the story is filled with humorous illustrations from Becca's POV that made me chuckle and enhanced the story.

The fun illustrations as well as the quirky characters and are sure to entertain middle grade readers, especially fans of the Wimpy Kid or Dork Diaries series.  I wouldn't mind reading more stories from Becca's world.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE PRINCIPAL'S UNDERWEAR IS MISSING, US Only.

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
4/24/2017- So Few BooksInterview
4/25/2017- Never Too Many To ReadReview
4/26/2017- Twirling Book PrincessExcerpt
4/27/2017- BookHounds YAReview
4/28/2017-Page TurnersExcerpt
Week Two:
5/1/2017- BookloveReview
5/2/2017-Novel NoviceExcerpt
5/3/2017- Book Review BeccaReview
5/4/2017- Don't Judge, ReadReview
5/5/2017- Rockin' Book ReviewsReview

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Blog Tour: Ninja Girl by Cookie Gorman...Review & Giveaway!

It's my pleasure to tell you all about the delightful new book from Cookie O'Gorman, Ninja Girl!
Keep reading for my review and more!
Ninja Girl 
by Cookie O'Gorman
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance 
Release Date: March 30th 3017 

Summary from Goodreads: 

Seventeen-year-old Snow-Soon Lee kicks ass--literally. She teaches at her family-owned martial arts gym, The Academy, and cares more about training to be the next Bruce Lee than hooking up. In fact, Snow's never even been kissed. But when Girls Night rolls around, Snow decides to prove to her friends (and herself) that she's not just some boring tomboy. Impulsively, she kisses a hot stranger and even manages to escape his two security guards.

One stolen kiss…

Ash Stryker's senior year sucks. His politician father pulled him out of Chariot High, separating him from his championship-winning soccer team. Now he's stuck at a prissy private school with no friends, no team and no chance of being scouted. On top of that, thanks to the death threats his dad's received, Ash has a security tail aka professional babysitters. When the mystery girl from the movies shows up at his school, rappelling from the rafters, Ash knows one thing: he won't let her get away again.

One interesting job proposition…

After a seemingly random attack, Ash's mother surprises everyone. She hires Snow to be Ash's 
personal bodyguard until after the election. But can Snow's kick-ass skills hold up against the 
rising threats to Ash's family? More importantly, can Ash convince his ninja girl to screw ethics 
and kiss him again?

Opposites attract in this YA romance where a smooth talker meets his match in the tough girl 
who (literally) sweeps him off his feet. Moral of the story:
Sometimes even bad boys need a bodyguard.

Cookie O'Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE is out now!

Author Links:

Title: Ninja Girl
Author: Cookie O'Gorman
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Blog Tour

Cookie O'Gorman follows up the appropriately titled Adorkable with the delightfully entertaining Ninja Girl, an equally fun read featuring a kick-butt, strong and smart female main character and enjoyable plot.

Ninja Girl is the story of Snow, a Bruce-Lee-loving, teen martial artist and Ash, the son of a politician and new student at Snow's private school.  He also just happens to be the hot stranger Snow impulsively kissed to impress friends.  She ended up impressing Ash who wanted to know more about the plucky girl.  Both are surprised to run into each other at school.  And when Ash's family receives threats, Snow and Ash are once again surprised when his mother hires Snow to be his bodyguard at school. While Snow does her best to keep things professional and take things serious, Ash does his best to convince her to kiss him again and give them a chance to be more than friends.

We first met Ash in Adorkable, but don't worry if you haven't read it yet, Ninja Girl stands on it own and can easily be read first (but I do recommend Adorkable, if your looking for another cute YA contemporary read).  Ash has definitely met his match in Snow, a character I loved from the very first moment we met her.  She is such a feisty and fun young girl.  I loved the relationship and interactions between the two.  I also liked how the guy is kind of the "damsel in distress" character in this one as Snow protects Ash.  I love and would love to see more strong and smart female characters like Snow in YA romances...or any genre, really.

So, there are great characters and when you add in a little bit of mystery and a whole lot of fun, and you get a sweet and adorable story that I highly enjoyed.  I look forward to reading more of O'Gorman's work.
*I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Blog Tour organized by:

YA Bound Book Tours

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Blog Tour: The Sky Throne by Chris Ledbetter...Character Profiles & Giveaway!

Today I'm a stop on The Sky Throne Blog Tour!
I asked the author, Chris Ledbetter, to tell us a little more about the characters of The Sky Throne and he provided some awesome character profiles!
Keep reading to see what he had to say, but first...

Author: Chris Ledbetter
Pub. Date: April 18, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 292
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks

Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete.

When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend left for dead.

Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman who raised him is not his biological mother. But to ensure her safety while she recovers, a heavy-hearted Zeus leaves her behind to seek answers at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia.

Zeus embarks on a quest to discover who ordered the attack on his home, avenge the death of his friend, and find his birth mother. When some of his new schoolmates vanish, Zeus's quest is turned upside down, and the only way to make things right is to access the power of The Sky Throne, confront a most dangerous enemy, and take his life back.

On his way to becoming king of the Greek gods, Zeus will learn to seize power, neutralize his enemies, and fall in love.

"Destined to have a sequel or two, young teens will appreciate the story, and teachers will appreciate that it instructs readers about the pantheon of gods."--Kevin Beach, VOYA Magazine
Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly “walked-on” to the best drum line in the conference without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He’s worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. He taught high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

Here are the character profiles that Chris provided...

-Zeus “There has to be more to life than being a simple goat herder.”
Nickname: Spruce
Eyes: Sky blue
Hair: Dirty blond
Strengths: Champion spear thrower. Fast learner.
Weaknesses: Impulsive, bordering on reckless. Afraid of heights.
Actor I viewed as I was writing: Paul Walker

-Hestia “Don’t you just love my new tunic?”
Nickname: Tia
Eyes: Celestial Green
Hair: Deep Auburn
Strengths: Warm, cheerful, positive attitude. Looks for the best in everyone. Domestic. Stylish. Tidy. Creates jewelry.
Weakness: Not a rule follower. Physically, weakest of the girls. 
Actor I viewed as I was writing: Mila Kunis

-Hades “I will stop wearing black when they make a darker color.”
Nickname: Shade
Eyes: Dark, dark brown
Hair: Raven black
Strengths: Fearless. Loyal. 
Weaknesses: Socially inept. Lacks social graces. Overcompensates. More follower than leader.
Actor I viewed as I was writing: Taylor Lautner

-Hera “I’ll rule the heavens and earth one day.”
Nickname: Freckles
Eyes: Sage green
Hair: Dark Brown
Strengths: Disarming attractiveness. Cunning. Fast thinker. Driven. Best student. Natural leader.
Weaknesses: Vengeful. Vain. 
Actor I viewed as I was writing: Megan Fox

-Poseidon “I could break you in half and my heart rate wouldn’t increase.”
Nickname: Don
Eyes: Slate blue
Hair: Inky, bluish-black
Strengths: Best all-around athlete, specifically swimming and wrestling. Excels in Creature Creation class. 
Weaknesses: Short temper. Self-centered. 
Actor I viewed as I was writing: Kellan Lutz

-Demeter “Don’t call me Demi. I’m not half of anything.”
Nickname: Meter
Eyes: Grayish-green
Hair: Dark brown.
Strengths: Very knowledgeable about plants and nature.  Best athlete of girls. Peacemaker. Creates all-natural cosmetics.
Weaknesses: Holds grudges. Sensitive to temperature changes. Weakens with lack of sunlight. Avoids confrontation.
Model I viewed as I was writing: Marina Nery

1 winner will receive a 1 month subscription to Owl Crate, US Only.

Tour Schedule:
Week 1:
4/17/2017- Rockin' Book ReviewsGuest Post
4/17/2017- Reading for the Stars and MoonReview

4/18/2017- LILbooKloversInterview
4/18/2017- Sophie RiggsbyReview

4/19/2017- Don't Judge, ReadInterview
4/19/2017- Book Review BeccaReview

4/20/2017- Month9BooksExcerpt
4/20/2017- Zach's YA ReviewsReview

4/21/2017- YA and WineInterview
4/21/2017- Kim Harnes, AuthorReview

Week 2:
4/24/2017- Jennifer EatonGuest Post
4/25/2018- So Few BooksInterview
4/26/2018- Never Too Many To ReadGuest Post

4/27/2018- Two Chicks on BooksInterview
4/27/2018- I am not a bookworm!Review

4/28/2018- Mundie MomsReview