ARC Review, Excerpts, Playlist & Giveaway: Emeralds and Pearls-C. Spencer-Upton

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Emeralds and Pearls
by C. Spencer-Upton
Semi-Precious #1
Publication Date: October 11, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

cooltext1807812709 copyI’ve spent seventeen years being a wallflower. Seventeen years, watching people live their lives, while mine stood still. I was happy for those years, nothing new happened because I never let it, every day was the same and predictable.

When my parents told me we were moving…to another state, I freaked.

I spent the first week, after the move, wishing I could move back. But then something changed. I became a someone, and to begin with I enjoyed it, but I soon learned, some things aren’t always as they seem.

I have two lives now. Both of them are testing me, pushing me to my limits.

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***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review and in correlation with this blog tour

PROS:

  • Chelsea is a feisty protagonist. Completely real. She’s been the shadow following around her gorgeous best friend for most of her life and has finally started to come out of her shell. What I loved about Chelsea is how believable she is. She’s your average girl, dealing with boys, insecurities, and awkward situations. While she grows immensely, her confidence is lacking and she does fall prey to her own self doubts. She’s stubborn, sarcastic, and unafraid to stick up for herself for the most part. Her playfulness is charming and makes her someone easy to get behind.
  • Cory is a smug, sexy, and dashing love interest. He’s constantly reinforcing a love-hate banter that is beyond steamy. He’ll pull you into the story, make your heart melt, and leave you rooting for him. Cory is attentive, compassionate, and it’s impossible not to smile while reading his parts. 
  • Chelsea and Cory have intense chemistry. Their witty comments are entertaining, will keep you on your feet, and if you’re looking for semi-infuriating drama that culminates in explosive reconciliation this is for you. 
  • The magic of the ocean is dazzling. C. Spencer-Upon does an amazing job describing the wonder and awe Chelsea feels, the exhilaration as she flies through the water, and the secretive almost whimsical connection with the sea life. 

CONS:

  • The battle scenes fell flat. It was like watching from the outside with little detail. For something so monumentally important to the plot it felt glossed over and rushed. 
  • Dean is a major abusive tool. The way he lays his hands on Chelsea made me want to scream. The fact that she thought so little of herself to think that his violent, angry actions were her fault were hard to read and while it did grant insight into the mind of the abused, capturing Chelsea’s chaotic emotional trauma, there wasn’t enough internal dialogue to justify why she stayed. She’s incredibly naïve and unsure of herself. It almost felt like two different people. 
  • The story of Atlantis and the cursed treasure was short and nowhere near as elaborate as it should have been. That whole world was neglected and it was like that aspect of the story was absent, an afterthought.

cooltext1807814503 copyC. Spencer-Upton

Born and raised in a small mining town in Derbyshire. Caroline (The C in ‘C Spencer-Upton’) has spent her adult years building a home and a future based on what’s in front of her, and for a while, that was all she needed. Family, friends and the dog.

In 2012, that all changed. Her new love of reading became a drug. Living in a fantasy became her happy place to escape from reality. Her imagination came to life and ideas that had laid dormant for years, came rushing back to the surface and Emeralds And Pearls was conceived, her debut novel.

In October 2013, that new chapter in her life started and Emeralds And Pearls were introduced to the world.

Caroline works a normal 8-5 job which has nothing to do with literature. When people discover that she has written a novel, the look of shock on their faces is enough to bring a smug smile to her face, knowing that people underestimate her.

Writing is her escape and she loves reading about her fans enjoying something she loves.

This is the start of a new story of her own and can’t wait for new readers to be a part of it.

I was quickly whipped round, and was shooting towards the surface, that tiny glimmer of hope latched onto my heart. Maybe I would make it, and all of this would be like a bad dream.

My head broke the surface water and I gasped the biggest breath I could. I was panting uncontrollably as I tried to regain my composure, oxygen never tasted so good. Or did it?

It was eerily quiet, there was no wind, no atmosphere and the sea air smelt damp and musty. I slowly tried to ease my eyes open, rubbing them with the heel of my hands. Peeking through my lashes I found darkness. I rubbed my eyes again and opened my eyes wider and still, it was just darkness.

My mind wandered back to the bar that barreled into my stomach, not long after the pain had subsided. It was still there, pushing me against the wall. I calmly moved my hands and placed them on the bar, preparing myself to break free. As I adjusted my hands on the surface I felt… skin.

My breath hitched in my throat, goose bumps bubbled up under my skin, out of fear. Who or what was it? I was unable to remove my hands, too scared to move.

“Are you okay?” The male voice asked from nowhere. It wasn’t threatening or scary, in fact it made me feel calm. Calmer than I was a few seconds ago.

I took a deep breath, trying to keep my voice calm and steady. “Yes. I think so,” was all I could muster.

“Good. I need you to do me a favor.” His voice was closer to my ear than before, it made me jump slightly, surprised by its proximity.

I wriggled slightly, to see if I could break free. I couldn’t. Instead, the grip tightened. “Sure, anything.” I wasn’t in the greatest position to reject a favor.

“I want you to hold onto this.” The ‘bar’ removed itself from my stomach, and two hands carefully grabbed my hips, spinning me around and lightly pushing me against a hard, slimy surface. “Hold on here, I’ll be back in a sec’.”

My hands gripped tightly around something, like a protruding rock high above my head. The water splashed in the darkness a couple of times before silence fell again.

His voice in the darkness startled me. “Close your eyes. It’ll sting if you keep them open.”

I gulped loudly and nodded, which was pointless because whoever was there, couldn’t see me. I squeezed my eyes shut, clamping them together, before burying my head under my arm. My baggy shirt was clinging to my body and my hair was dripping a slow river down my back, I was getting colder by the second and wanted nothing more than to shower, bury myself in my pajamas and dive into bed.

The sound of something scraping against rock, brought me back to my current dilemma. There was a click and suddenly I could see light creeping in through my closed eyelids. I raised my head slowly at the sound of more scraping.

The water splashed a few more times, then two warm hands gripped my shivering body, around my waist. I instantly stilled. I felt my body being dragged away from the wall, reluctantly I released my grip and allowed whoever or whatever was holding me, to move me. The light became brighter the more we moved, but I was too scared to open them. I didn’t want to confront this nightmare.

I felt a stone-cold wall come in contact with my abdomen, shocking me yet again. The hands slowly turned me, so my back was pressed up against it. My breathing was slowly becoming more erratic, my heart was close to beating out my chest and I wanted nothing more than for all this to be over with.

“Slowly open your eyes. You don’t want to make them sting.” The mystifying voice was so close, and yet beginning to sound so familiar, minus the echo.

Slowly but surely, I peeked through my lashes, sure enough the bright light stung as my eyes readjusted after seeing the darkness for so long. I tried again, opening gradually and allowing them to adjust before opening any wider. My vision was still slightly blurry, but eventually, everything came into focus. I skimmed over the cold, damp cave, fear gripping at my body. I noticed the ledge that I’d been gripping onto, it being the only thing that protruded out the walls, everywhere else was smooth and slimy. Then I noticed the light. It was perched on a shelf in the cave, like a little dugout. It was a cheap, plastic looking battery lantern that you’d probably buy a child, camping for the first time. Lastly, I looked at the person holding me.

My heart pummeled against my chest, as I took in the bare chest, the strong muscular arms and strong hands that were gripping tightly at my waist.

His bright smile had my breath catching in my throat. It had been so long since I’d seen it “How you feeling?”

“Cory?” the question a mere whisper as it left my lips

He chuckled. “In the flesh. Now seriously, how you feeling?”

cooltext1807828269 copyEvery Tear Is A Waterfall – Coldplay

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Wake Me Up When September Ends – Greenday

La La La – Naughty Boy

Shy Girl – O-Town

Anklebiters – Paramore

Tunnel Vision – Justin Timberlake

Wild – Jessie J

I Love It – Icona Pop

Slow Down – Selena Gomez

Ever Enough – A Rocket To The Moon

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If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Keep reading,

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Rebellion-J.A. Souders

Today J.A. Souders and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for REBELLION, book 3 in the Elysium Chronicles releasing in June 9, 2015! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win the books!

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Title: REBELLION
Author: J.A. Souders
Publisher: TOR Teen
Pub. Date: June 9, 2015
Find it: Goodreads

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J.A. SOUDERS is the author of the Elysium Chronicles and lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees with her husband and two children where she spends her time writing about the monsters under the bed, day dreaming about living in an underwater colony, and failing miserably at playing video games.
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Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive physical copies of RENEGADE AND REVELATIONS plus the e-novellas as well as ASK AGAIN LATER by Liz Czukas.. If you have J.A.s books already, she will do an Amazon or Book Depository gift card of the same value. International.

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Pleasant reading, 

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Cover Reveal: Eventide-Kristen Day

The next thrilling installment of the Daughters of the Sea.

This novella will be available November 4th 

 Purchase the first book Forsaken, on Amazon: http://bit.ly/ForsakenRDB

Purchase the first book Forsaken, on Smashwords: http://bit.ly/XziTwd

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The age-old balance of light and dark will always find a way to be restored. At times it comes in the form of non-discriminate karma or the heavy hand of divine will. At other times that balance comes in the form of a single, teenage girl.

 

My name is Fallon. I am different. I am special. My essence moves in a cadence unknown to the other Auras at the House of Eventide. It was born of the intricate dance of the moon’s opposing forces; retract and advance, embrace and release. The brazen energy of the sun preys at the edges of my being; fraying its delicate balance and scorching my heart into submission. Only under the calming cover of night, can my essence shine freely.

 

My true identity must be kept secret at all costs. My very existence is a threat to the Aura Order I pretend to be a part of. Should my web of lies unravel, they would stop at nothing to destroy me.   I am the sole descendant of the light moon goddess, Luna. I have been Chosen. This is my story.

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Website / Facebook / Twitter

I am a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. I love all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. I’ve been told I see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I prefer to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses – swirling and morphing reality into something I can digest (who hasn’t pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).

When I’m not writing I’m making jewelry, painting, drinking sweet tea, watching the discovery channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with my amazing husband.

Happy reading, 

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Rerelease Day Blitz: Forsaken-Kristen Day

 

Amazon/Smashwords/Goodreads

cooltext1544204149 copyOnce you’ve been touched by darkness, it never leaves you…

Abandoned by her parents as an infant; seventeen year old Hannah spent her childhood wading through countless foster families until being adopted by the Whitmans three years ago. Unfortunately, Atlanta’s high society wasn’t quite ready for Hannah…or the strange events that plague her

Chilling visions of murder, unexplained hallucinations, and a dark, mysterious guy who haunts her nightmares all culminate to set in motion a journey of self-discovery that will challenge everything she’s ever believed; not to mention her sanity.

Sent to live at The House of Lorelei on Bald Head Island, NC for ‘kids like her’, Hannah quickly realizes things are not what they seem. Her fellow ‘disturbed’ teens are actually the descendants of mythical Sea Gods and Goddesses. And so is she.

But when Finn, the ghost from her dreams, appears in the flesh; her nightmares become reality and her dark visions begin coming true. Inexplicably drawn to him, she can’t deny the dangerous hold he has on her heart. The deadly secrets he harbors will ultimately test her courage and push the boundaries of her love.

She must decide if she is ready to embrace the ancient legend she is prophesized to be a part of. The fate of all the descendants will forever depend upon it.

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Website / Facebook / Twitter

I am a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. I love all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. I’ve been told I see the world through rose-colored glasses, but I prefer to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses – swirling and morphing reality into something I can digest (who hasn’t pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).

When I’m not writing I’m making jewelry, painting, drinking sweet tea, watching the discovery channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with my amazing husband.

Pleasant reading, 

cooltext1710822410 copy

Top 9 Most Cry Worthy YA/MG Moments

Hey all! I know I’ve been a tad lax on my review output but school is literally a nightmare, seriously, I can’t sleep and when I do I dream about things to say in my research paper. Yeah, I know I’m a nerd, I’m cool with it. Anyways, since I was preoccupied building up to the home stretch of my 2nd research paper, I didn’t get to post a Tuesday top 10. I’m gunna go crazy, be rebellious and make my top whatever on whichever day of the week! So starting today welcome to the first edition of YABM’s Monday Top 9 🙂

We all have books that have broken our hearts. Books that made us cry, laugh, and then collapse into a devastated mess of sobbing, sniffling, and tissue-grabbing that has us reaching for a pint of ice cream or a shot of tequila, sometimes both. Whatever works. 🙂 All we know is that we need to do something to soothe the burning hole in our chest where our heart use to be before it shattered into thousands of itty bitty pieces when our favorite series/book stomped all over it. That being said, these are my top 9 heartbreaking YA/MG moments:

WARNING THIS CONTAINS SEVERAL SPOILERS. 

9. Destined(Wings, #4)- Aprilynne Pike 

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“I’m begging you, to come be with me.” And she pressed her mouth against his and murmured against his lips. “Forever.”

For a few seconds he didn’t respond.

Then a groan escaped his throat and he thrust his fingers in her hair, pulling her mouth back to his with a fierce hunger.

“Kiss me,” she whispered. “And don’t stop.”

“I’ve loved you for a long time, ‘ she said. ‘But there was always something holding me back. Maybe it was that I was afraid of an emotion that was so consuming. It still frightens me,’ she admitted in a whisper. 
Tamani chuckled. ‘If it makes you feel any better, it scares the daylights out of me on a regular basis.”

The moment when Laurel finally realizes that Tamani is her happily ever after.

For four books Tamani pinned for Laurel, every time she made out with David I died a little with Tamani. As Tamani watched his beloved fall for someone else, I wanted to smack Laurel in the head. Tamani loved Laurel more than he loved himself, and almost died for her. When they finally, finally got together I was so ecstatic I cried. FINALLY! All was right in the fae world, and mine.

8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling

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Dobby’s death. Poor, innocent, courageous Dobby.

7. Sanctify (Unbinding Fate, #2)- Colee Firman

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“What are you thinking?” “That when we get back to Tremain, even if you pick him…” He touched her cheeks with his fingertips and kissed her softly. “I’m always gonna feel like you’re mine.”

The moment when Tanner finally has the guts to confess his love to Addy even though she’s in love with Gage.

The moment when Addy and Tanner realize they love each other 🙂

THE END OF THIS BOOK. Tanner, oh my god Tanner how could you?

6. Twisted (Intertwined, #3)- Gena Showalter

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The moment when Aden goes back in time to save everyone from the disaster, and death at the end of this book. Aden knows that if he goes back in time and avoids Mary Anne that he will never meet Victoria, the girl he fell in love with, and so he sacrifices his happiness, and heart for the good of everyone.

5. Splendor (Luxe, #4)- Anna Godbersen 

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He turned his dark eyes on the girl whom he had dreamed of so often over the previous months. Beside him, at that very moment of existence, at the heart of torrential downpour, she was exquisitely real, and she, too, seemed content to go on sitting there forever.

The moment when Diana chose to live for herself, and breaks Henry’s heart.

4. Madly and the Jackal (Madly, #3)- M. Leighton

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“There are two things I was born to do. One is to protect Atlas,” Jackson began. He paused, tracing a fingertip from my temple to my jaw. “The other is to love you. If you don’t believe in anything else, believe in that. Trust me. Trust in me.”

The moment when Jackson loses his emotions, and seems like he no longer loves Madly. When Madly and Jackson finally embrace their love for each other completely ignoring social expectations.

3. The Mortal Instruments series- Cassandra Clare 

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Jace and Clary’s entire love story throughout the series. It’s up, it’s down, it’s on, it’s off, but through it all you never doubt their love.

The moment on the rooftop after Lilith’s death when Clary thinks Jace is dead.

2. Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3)- Courtney Allison Moulton

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One by one the angels had come to the top of Har Megiddo where I sat, holding her body close to mine after she’d died. I’d fought alongside them in battle, but up close, when they stood quietly watching us, they looked as beautiful as they looked unreal. The angels weren’t supposed to feel emotions, but they were all weeping. All of them. Their tears stained their flawless faces like rain running in rivulets across stone. Azrael was the only one of then who came to me, knelt in front of me and took her from my arms. He was the angel of death come to carry his sister home. I didn’t want to give her up, knowing it would be the last time I ever saw her face. I had died on that wretched hill with her.

This scene. When we read books and follow along with blossoming love stories that become something so passionate they transcend time, we hope for a happy ending, hell we expect one. When I got to the end of this book, the final in the series, my heart stopped. When Will and Ellie said their final goodbyes after everything they’ve been through, hundreds of years of devotion, compassion, and love I thought that this was the most unjust, horrible ending possible. When I got to the epilogue and Will was basically in tears helping Ellie’s best friend move into her dorm, I thought, this is it. The shooting star scene is one of my all time favorites. ❤

1. The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)- Philip Pullman

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“I want to live with you forever. I want to kiss you and lie down with you and wake up with you every day of my life till I die, years and years and years away. I don’t want a memory, just a memory…”

“No,” he said, “memory’s a poor thing to have. It’s your own real hair and mouth and arms and eyes and hands I want. I didn’t know I could ever love anything so much. Oh, Lyra, I wish this night would never end! If only we could stay here like this, & the would could stop turning, and everyone else could fall into a sleep…”

“Everyone except us! And you and I could live here forever and just love each other.”

“I will love you forever, whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again…”

“I’ll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling so tight that nothing & no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me & every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…”

They lay side by side, hand in hand, looking at the sky.

Lyra and Will. ❤ ❤ ❤ PERFECTION. Never has there been such a pure, beautifully natural love. The fact that they give up the only happiness their souls have known, their love for each other, to close the doorways between worlds to save the imprisoned souls…I have no words. Nothing has ever touched my heart as deeply as this scene, and no love story since then has ever topped Will and Lyra’s.

What are your top cry worthy YA moments?

-BB

Top Ten Favorite Books (Series) Before I Was a Blogger

Today in my Twitter feed I noticed a massive amount of bloggers writing these top 10 pre-blogging posts. On that note, I decided, why not follow along?

1. The Sabina Kane series- Jaye Wells

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2. The Celestra series- Addison Moore

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3. His Dark Materials- Philip Pullman

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4. The Fever series- Karen Marie Moning

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5. The Abhorsen series- Garth Nix

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6. The Modern Faerie Tales series- Holly Black

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7. The Madly series- M. Leighton

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8. The Luxe series- Anna Godberson

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9. Something Strange and Deadly- Susan Dennard

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10. Persuasion- Jane Austen

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Surprised?

-BB