[Blog Tour] Rise of the Wolf by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Hello everyone! I'm excited to bring you guys my review of RISE OF THE WOLF! I enjoyed the first novel and if you haven't read the first book, you can check out my review here.


Title: Rise of the Wolf
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: Mark of the Thief #2
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: January 26 2016 

Nic may have escaped enslavement in the mines outside of Rome, but his troubles are far from over. The Praetor War--the battle to destroy Rome from within--is in full force, and Nic is caught in the crossfire. The secretive Praetors are determined to unlock a powerful amulet--one sure to bring the empire to its knees. Worse, the Praetors believe Nic holds the key to finding this amulet, and they will stop at nothing to steal it, even if that means harming the people Nic holds most dear.

When the Praetors capture Nic's mother, Nic knows he must do anything to save her. He challenges the Praetors to a chariot race. If he wins, they will release his mother. But if he loses, he must hand over a magic that will certainly destroy Rome and end his own life. Can Nic once again harness his magic and gather the strength to defeat his enemies? Or will he lose his mother and bear witness to Rome's destruction?


It seems appropriate that I should write this review after I've written my midterm for Roman History.

RISE OF THE WOLF starts off pretty much where Mark of the Thief ended. This novel is a very natural progression of the story that began in the first book. Nic is still suffering the consequences of his choice in the first book to pick up that bulla and it doesn't look like his suffering is going to end any time soon.

Nic's choice to pick up that bulla and the resulting event of him becoming imbued with magic from the gods has thrust him into a battle of the gods that he has no place nor desire to be in. He was a slave when he gained the magic and the magic has bound him to another sort of slavery in which he must continue to fight for his freedom. Throughout the book, Nic is simply coping with the blows as they come and rolling with it. He has no control over his situation at all and he is very much at the mercy of both others and his situation.

I feel like Nic hasn't really changed since the beginning of the first book and I don't quite know how to feel about that. Obviously things have happened to him and often traumatic events change a person. However, Nic retains that un Roman-ness about him that makes him such a formidable opponent against the Romans that have it out for him. Even in the midst of a competition, he refuses to cheat to win while his opponents are cheating to defeat him. His enemies are trying to tear him down at every turn and he continues to have that same outlook and his fatal flaw - his fierce love for family and his saviour complex.

The budding romance between Aurelia and Nic felt strange and out of place for me. While this romance does factor into the plot and has an impact on Nic, I didn't really feel the chemistry between the pair.

RISE OF THE WOLF is a good sequel to the first novel and while I enjoyed both this novel and the first one, this sequel fell just a little flat for me. I am curious about how this will end though and I look forward to reading the next book and hopefully things will turn out okay for Nic.

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Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has forgotten to do that has allowed her any spare time.

Happy Reading!
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[Blog Tour] Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

I'm so excited to be a part of the Into the Dim Blog Tour for Raincoast! To start off, I had the chance to ask Janet a question and I couldn't resist, so here it is:
What are your favourite time travel stories (tv shows, movies, books, etc.)?


Well, obviously…my very favorite is OUTLANDER. Diana Gabaldon is my hero, and I’m fortunate enough to call her a friend. It meant the absolute world to me that she liked ‘Into The Dim’ enough to grace the cover with her blurb. She doesn’t do that for many books, so the day I got that news was one of the best days of my life! A lot of people don’t realize that she first wrote Outlander over twenty years ago. But over time, she’s brought historical time travel back in a huge way. And now, with the show…it has become a MAJOR trend, especially in YA. I feel very fortunate that not only is ‘Into The Dim’ a forerunner of that trend, but also is the only one to have the ‘Queen of Time Travel’s’ stamp of approval.

Naturally, I am also a HUGE Whovian! I’ve been watching Dr. Who since I was a kid, waaaay back in the Tom Baker days. (Yikes! Dated myself a bit there, huh?) I gotta say, though, Peter Capaldi is ROCKING the doctor!! I ADORE him! (And his eyebrows!)



Title: Into the Dim
Author: Janet B. Taylor
Series: Into the Dim #1
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Goodreads Page
When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail,Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

INTO THE DIM is a time travel novel revolving around Hope Walton, a phobia ridden 16 year old filled with grief over losing her mother to an earthquake. However, as she faces her fears and takes a plane to Scotland to meet her mother's family, she realizes that her mother is not dead, but in fact lost in 12th century London after a time travel trip gone wrong. Hope learns about her family's time travelling ways and makes it her mission to find her mother and bring her home, despite her many fears.

I have to admit, the first hundred chapters or so, I was bored and just sort of muddling through the pages. I mean it's a novel about time travel and I just wanted the history to start already! It may just have been me, because I'm very much into action sequences and for things to be happening. However, I understand the need for this bit in order to set up the character of Hope and her circumstances.

One of the things I love about time travel stories is learning the limitations of the system put forth and how those limitations factor into how the story plays out. The whole secret society of time travellers intrigued me and I really enjoyed how the history of the time travelling and limitations were laid out clearly in the beginning.

Once the time travelling happened and they went back to the 12th century, I was definitely more interested in the story. I love that it was written with what seems like a lot of research. (I'm no expert in 12th century London, so I have no idea if some of the things are historical truth or not.) There wasn't any romanticizing of the time period as there sometimes is in stories and there's a particularly vivid scene in the novel where Hope describes the terrible smells of the city. (Gross)

Hope is ridden with phobias that she's developed and she learns to face her fears out of pure necessity as she is thrust into this world of time travel and the need to rescue her mother. She has an eidetic memory and I love how it was described when she remembered things as sort of like holographic diagrams in her vision. I imagine it sort of like the way Cassandra from The Librarians sees her equations.

And while Hope was interesting, I thought Bran Cameron is a much more interesting character. He's a mysterious boy with one blue and one green eye, that Hope accidentally encounters when she goes out for a horse ride. He's mysterious and interesting and I can't really say more than that because he's pretty integral to the plot.

As the story's pace picked up, so did the action and oh boy did it move. I was flipping the pages, the fight scenes playing out in my head. There were definitely some scenes and reveals towards the end I did not see coming. I look forward to seeing these new discoveries being addressed in the next book and also more of the time travel system!

INTO THE DIM is a fun, action packed historical time travel novel that has interesting characters and great historical detail. It's a story I can easily see being adapted into a tv series with (hopefully) lots of detail in the historical accuracy.

*I received an ARC from the distributor in exchange for an honest review.*

Follow the Tour!

Happy Reading!
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[Review] A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab


Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #2 
Publisher: Tor 
Release Date: February 23 2016
Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

[Review] The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig


Title: The Girl From Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl From Everywhere #1
Release Date: February 16th 2016
It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times - although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix's father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix's existence rather dangerously in question...

Nix has grown used to her father's obsession, but only because she's convinced it can't work. But then a map falls into her father's lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it's that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

[Blog Tour] Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman


Title: Blackhearts
Author: Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 9 2016 
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

Don't mind me, sobbing in the corner over here. I'm just a tad heartbroken over here.

Let me just start off by saying that Blackhearts is phenomenal. I love this book. It's been a while since a book has grabbed me by my heartstrings and doesn't let go. I started reading this on the bus to school and then I couldn't stop reading it when I got to school. I decided to go to school early to write an essay that I hadn't started yet, but I still hadn't started it, because I HAD to know what was going on next.

BLACKHEARTS tells the story of Edward "Teach" Drummond, before he became the legendary and notorious pirate, Blackbeard. It also tells of Anne Barret, the illegitimate daughter of a merchant and a slave from Curaçao. With her parents dead and no money to her name, she finds herself working on the Drummond estate as a maid. All she wants is the freedom to choose her own life and to travel to the place her mother was born, just as all Teach wants is out of his arranged engagement and to sail the seas as captain of a ship.

The chemistry between Anne and Teach is palpable. From the first moment they met each other, there was a tension between them that most certainly developed into something more. I loved reading their interactions and the slow development of their relationship. I ship the two so hard.

I love Anne. She's intelligent and educated, thanks to her father teaching her how to read and educating her. She's stubborn and it's clear to others and to Teach that there's something about her that makes her more than just a maid. Anne is a realist and she's very aware of her situation and what she must do in order to get her freedom.

Teach is the son of a successful and wealthy merchant, whose father has aspirations of becoming an aristocrat. This leads Teach to rub elbows with some of the more elite families of Bristol. Despite the fact that he doesn't want the marriage arranged between him and the daughter of an aristocrat, he is under the thumb of his father, especially if he has any hopes of acquiring his inheritance.

I love this novel and it'll be one that I'll be thrusting upon my friends in the very near future. The ending of this novel left my heart in pieces, but it was well worth it. BLACKHEARTS pulled me in from the first chapter and sucked me into the world of Anne and Teach and still has yet to let me go. I hope you guys read this novel and love it just as much as I have.

Purchase here:


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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.

Happy Reading!
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[Review] Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen


Title: Mark of the Thief
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen 
Series: Mark of the Thief #1
Release Date: February 24th 2015
Goodreads page
When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.

[Book Blitz] Starflight by Melissa Landers!

Hello my lovely peoples!

I'm excited to talk to you guys about Starflight today! This book sounds awesome because SPACE and I'm getting a teensy bit of a Firefly vibe from the synopsis. I LOVE Firefly. So to start off this post, here's some info on the book and then I'll turn the reigns over to Melissa Landers!


Title: Starflight
Author: Melissa Landers
Series: Starflight #1 
Release Date: February 2nd 2016
Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe...

Hey there, booklovers!

I’m author Melissa Landers, and I’m thrilled to announce the release of STARFLIGHT, the first in a brand new sci-fi series from Disney-Hyperion. I originally pitched this story to my editor as “Overboard” (one of my favorite romantic comedies) meets “Firefly” (an amazing show that was tragically cancelled after one season). STARFLIGHT follows the misadventures of Solara Brooks, a penniless felon who indentures herself to her high school nemesis, Doran Spaulding, in exchange for passage to a new world. But when Doran’s memory is temporarily erased, Solara convinces him their roles are reversed—that she’s the master and he’s the servant—and leads him onto a renegade spaceship, where intergalactic shenanigans ensue. STARFLIGHT is very different in tone from the Alienated trilogy, but the story is still filled with all the things I love: humor, heart, and adventure.

What do reviewers have to say?

“Get ready for blast-off! Action-packed and utterly addictive, nobody writes like Melissa Landers. A smart, satisfying romance set in a vividly detailed world, Starflight was just plain fun!” –New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman

“Teens will be bracing themselves during the swashbuckling action scenes. A great choice for fans of raw sci-fi action, reminiscent of the lawlessness presented in the television series Firefly.” –School Library Journal

“A lively tale of romance, space pirates, conspiracy, and made (as opposed to genetic) families.” –Booklist

If you like your sci-fi adventure served with a side of romance, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of STARFLIGHT today. It’s now available in stores and online.

To celebrate my book birthday, I’m offering one lucky winner a STARFLIGHT swag pack, complete with custom nail wraps, bookmarks, and a mini poster! The giveaway is open internationally. Due to sweepstakes laws, entrants must be 18 years or older to participate.

Best of luck, and happy reading!

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Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives outside Cincinnati in the small town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.” For more information or just to say hello, visit www.melissa-landers.com.

Happy Reading!
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