Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Magic Study (Study #2) by Maria V. Snyder (Review)

      Pretty good, pretty good. As a continuation of Yelena's adventure in Poison Study.  It's storytelling but has a different feeling then in Poison Study. In this continuation, Yelena is brought into Sitia to avoid the death sentence that comes with her being magical, leaving behind her true love. Taken to her family that she was kidnapped from years prior, she encounters a life and a way of living that she has never seen before. The narrative voice was consistently strong and smooth, causing for an easy read. With a new set of rules and character, the readers quickly adapt to the new environment. There are many intense and epic moments in Magic Study with a quick witted and resourceful character like Yelena, and if you have the time I totally recommend that you give it a look. I give Magic Study FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS!

Dream of Me (Dream Maker #1) by Quinn Loftis (Review)

    Goodness gracious, no. Wow, I have never been so brutally disappointed in my life. Being a huge fan of Quinn Loftis's Grey Wolves Series I was horrified to see the quality of Dream of Me. Right off the bat it becomes clear that there is no clear conflict or villains. That is a nightmarish thing to do to a story. In addition, there was little to no honest and solid character development. I have never had to force myself through a story to this degree before. I have no idea what went wrong, but obviously something went very very wrong in the creation of this story. The only highlights were the very beginning and the very end, which says nothing good. Honestly, I wish that I could unsee this crushing disappointment of a story. If I could suggest anything to Quinn about how to insure this will never happen again, I would have to say: for peets sake, please actually put a solid conflict in your story from the get-go. 
     Do not, I repeat do not waste your time with Dream of me. I give Dream of Me the deserved rating of only ONE OUT OF FIVE STARS!
*Advanced Readers Copy Review*

Monday, 23 February 2015

Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder (Reivew)

   Simply enchanting. Poison Study was a captivating read starting from the get-go with interesting storytelling, setting the scene very well and informing the reader about the past while maintaining interest in the current story. In this story the strong main female lead character Yelena, is faced with a choice of becoming a poison tester for the Commander, or be hung for murder. Not much of a choice, Yelena joins the ranks of the kings staff under the eye of a handsome assassin, loyal to the Commander. In this heart stopping story, Maria (the author) constantly grows and develops not only Yelena, but those around her as well.
      Although it is not close to being the focal point of the story, the romance in between Yelena and... for the sake of spoilers I won't say, is very intense and well written. Ultimately I  really enjoyed this novel and give it the rating of FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Angel in Training (Louisiangel #1) by C.L. Coffey (Review)

     I absolutely loved Angel in Training, and I'm craving for more!! In C.L.Coffey's novel, a girl named Angel dies and becomes a potential angel. (An angel named Angel, hahahahaha) This epic action/romance was amazing, and I could simply not put it down. The steamy connection between Angel and her charge was off the charts and addicting. It has been a long time since I read a romance so well written, I was hooked. I am pumped for any future books C.L.Coffey plans on releasing, especially if they are at this level. All of the characters in Angel in Training were incredible well developed and were each unique/interesting. The plot was simply great, and the ending of the novel was so great that I am foaming at the mouth to read the next one in the series. (Not literally)
    I completely recommend, nay, demand that you all read the epic and refreshing tale that is Angel in Training; and I give it the perfect rating of FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!!!!
*Advanced Readers Copy Review*

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Worlds Collide (Sunset Rising #2) by S.M. McEachern (Review)

    This post-apocalyptic action novel is the perfect sequel to Sunset Rising. In this intense world, Sunny's and Jack's intense adventures continues, but this time outside the Dome. After being told that the world outside was inhabitable their entire lives, Jack and Summer are extremely surprised to find out that that was a complete lie. Not only can humans survive outside the Dome, but they were already out there. 
   This novel was equally as intense and great as the first novel in the series and continues to hypnotize the readers. Worlds Collide draws the reader in and makes you feel for the extremely well developed characters. I do have one complaint, and that Summer and Jack seem to have inhuman endurance. It did take away some credibility of the characters, because in those moments they were not relateable. 
     I really do recommend the Sunset Rising series and give Worlds Collide the rating of FOUR OF OF FIVE STARS!

The Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton (Review)

   Once again, Starla Huchton has taken one of my least favorite fairy tales of all time, gender-bends it, and turns it into one of the best Young-Adult novels of all time. In this Jack and the Beanstalk remix, Jacqueline (a.k.a Jack) a kindhearted girl who could not hurt a fly leaves home and her abusive father, well, after she looses the cows she was supposed to sell and found strange beans in their stead. On her trip she keeps sharing her kindness with others as she travels with no real plans, until one day she awakes to an enormous infinitely tall beanstalk. What happens next? You will have to read to find out. In this epic novel of magic, love, kindness and fate; so many pieces of wisdom are dropped throughout. I must say that this novel is truly uplifting and is definitely a feel good read. As a reader, I could not stop smiling as I read. I most definitely recommenced Into the Stillness of the Sky and give it the rating of FOUR AND A HALF OUT OF FIVE STARS!   
*Advanced Readers Copy Review*

Blog Tour Stillness in the Sky GIVEAWAY!

Here is an awesome chance to win paperback copies of Shadows on Snow and Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton!

Special The Stillness of the Sky excerpt!

      It took my vision a few moments to adjust to the sudden brightness, but when I did, I couldn’t believe the sight in front of me. Stunned, I staggered backwards, all but falling down as my gaze drifted up from the base of the enormous plant that had sprung up overnight.
    The bottom was easily twenty feet wide to either side of me, with massive leaves bursting from curled vines thicker than a man’s shoulders were broad. It seemed to be not a single plant, but three twisted around each other, leading up and up into the sky. I followed the trail of leaves spiraling around it like a giant staircase until I lost sight of them in the clouds obscuring the top.
    What, by the spirits, was that thing, and how had it come to be there so instantaneously? What enchantment conjured it? Even more, how long would it remain? Eventually someone would notice it and ask all sorts of questions, and I wouldn’t have any answers for them.
    I paused, hitting on one word swirling in my mind: enchantment. In running from the wolves, I’d dropped the beans. While I couldn’t prove it myself, I was fairly certain they were some sort of magic. Therefore, the only reasonable explanation, even though it was the most outlandish thing I’d ever entertained, was that the plant before me was the result of the three beans being exposed to soil and water.
    “Either you’ve hit your head very hard, lost your mind completely, or found something amazing, Jack,” I said out loud, hoping that talking through the development might bring me some clarity. “As you’re not in terrible pain, let’s discount the first one for the time being.”
    My feet moved without my thinking, and I carried on my monologue, trying to puzzle it out. “You might be talking to yourself, but nothing up until this moment has ever given you cause to doubt the reliability of your brain. That leaves one option.”
    I stopped walking, marveling at the turn of events. As I watched, a single leaf uncurled from the base of the humongous beanstalk, spreading out on the ground before me like a carpet. Was it a greeting? That leaf led to another slightly above it, and a third and fourth after that. Each was perfectly positioned, one leading to the next.
    If ever I’d been given an invitation to anything, that was it.
    Not entirely sold on it, I wandered back to where I’d woken, retrieving my pack and cap from between the layers of leaves. The hat was a bit soggy when I placed it on my head, but I was sure it would dry quickly with the heat of day already growing rapidly. Again at the leaf that unfurled before me, I lifted my gaze up, following it once more into the clouds.
    “I wonder how high it goes?”
The thought of being at such an elevation, looking out over everyone and everything, cemented my decision. People climbed mountains only to say they’d done it. They built larger and larger structures for no better reason than gaining a closer perspective on the stars. Why should I be any different? How many could say they’d encountered a plant such as this, and how regretful would they feel for having passed up the opportunity?
    Tentatively, I set my foot upon the leaf, unsure if it would even hold me. It gave some, but easily supported what little weight I carried. A large man might find it impassable, but for me, a girl of sixteen with years of hunger under her belt, I’d have no cause to worry.
    Well, no cause pending the strength of the greenery held out all the way to the top.
    As many times as I’d looked to the sky, never before had it seemed so full of promise.
    With a firm nod, I started up. After all, what was the worst that could happen? If nothing else, I’d finally know what it felt like to fly.

Getting to Know the Authors: Featuring Starla Hutchon!

        A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. She is a three-time finalist for Parsec Awards for her podcast fiction work, and was the first place winner for Science Fiction & Fantasy in the Sandy competition in 2012. Her work spans science fiction, fantasy, New Adult Romance, Young Adult titles, Steampunk, Contemporary, and various other varieties of stories. She is greedy and likes all the genres!
        When not writing, Starla trains three Minions, a black lab, and a military husband whilst designing book covers for independent authors and publishers at Designed By Starla.

What has she written?
Starla has written:
Shadows on Snow, Evolution: ANGEL, Evolution: SAGE, Evolution: HEX, Maven, A Ministry of Peculiar, Occurrences: Tales from the Archives, Volume 3, The Dreamer's Thread, Nemesis, Progeny, Sorrow's, Peak, From Paris, with Regret, The Sincerest Form of Flattery, Heart of War, Master of Myth, In the Details, The Blame Game, All Good Things, That You Do So Well:

 and her newest novel: 

The Stillness of the Sky
Once upon a time, my life was certain: it was insignificant, and it was cruel. But I refused to let it define me, no matter how great the cost.

Once upon a time, I made a wish. The world I knew grew wider than the sky and higher than the stars, and I listened to the voice within me, reaching out for freedom.

Once upon a time, my wish became my fate, and my destiny the hardest lesson to learn: kindness may be the most difficult path, but it can save entire kingdoms.

Now on to the Interview!
1) How old were you when you started writing?
Around eight, in second grade I believe. I’ve always loved stories, so the moment I learned how to write them for myself, I was an addict.

2) What do you want a reader to gain from reading your works?
Mostly entertainment, but in every book I write, I hope the reader learns even a little something. Whether it’s a kinder way to look at the world, or some cool science fact, I try to throw at least a bit of knowledge in there that a reader can carry away with them.

3) What are your three top suggestions on becoming an author, or being a pleasure writer?
1) No matter if you’re writing for business or pleasure, make sure you love the story you’re telling. If your heart isn’t in the words, it will show in your writing. 
2) Keep going. Giving up on a story you love is such a sad thing.
3) Take some time to learn your craft. If you expand your vocabulary, learn proper grammar, and discover tricks to make a story flow better, not only will your readers love you for it, but the kind of pride you’ll feel in your own work will make you glow from the inside, out.

4) What is your favourite novel, and why?
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’engle. I’ve read that book both as a kid and as an adult, and I find new facets to it every time. There aren’t many books I could read over and over, but that one I could before any others. It’s amazingly timeless, which speaks volumes of the author’s talents.

5) Who is your favourite author, why?
Strictly from the standpoint of their work alone, I’d say Douglas Adams. I’ve never read anything of his I didn’t laugh over and hug when I was finished, and the prose and plots are so smart and witty. The way his brain must’ve worked to craft his tales fascinates me.

6) What are your favorite pass times besides writing?
I live in Photoshop, but not only because I design book covers. For me, crafting images is another way to tell a story, but without using words. Aside from that, I’m a superhero junkie. Comic books, TV shows, movies… that’s totally my favorite thing.

7) Who in your life do you credit your imagination to the most?
Probably my mother. She read to me and my brother from the start and continued to even when I was a teenager. She always encouraged any and every creative pursuit we ever had, which is the most important outside element a person needs to grow in creativity.

8) What are the top five things on your bucket list?
1) Visit the ruins of Pompeii (though I’d jump at the chance for any ruins in Greece or Italy).
2) My youngest has made me promise to take him to London and Paris when he’s older. It’ll be a HUGE sacrifice on my part, but I’m willing to take that bullet for my kids.
3) Get over my fear of insects enough to see the ancient temples of Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans in South America. It’s a culture I started exploring some on my own, but I really want to see it up close.
4) Total pipe dream, but I’d love to see one of my books made into a movie or TV show. You gotta have goals, right?
5) Tell as many stories and make as many people happy as I can.

9) What is your funniest childhood memory?
Every story I thought of involved my brother in one way or another. He was always doing the dumbest stuff and I still laugh about them. There was the time he shoved a broomstick up through the roof of our attic and sent it straight through the shingles. There was the time he had a birthday party with his church youth group and got the cops called on them because they were playing hackey sack in the street (neighbor thought it was a gang thing or something). And there was a time in middle school where he stood on a desk and got buzzed by a ceiling fan, then walked through the entire school trailing blood to go to the nurse’s office. He ended up with these black stitches in his forehead, resulting in the nickname “Frankenfan.” I love my brother so very much. LOL

10) To the youth of today, if you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
Read more books and learn how to write a sentence correctly. You’ll thank me later.

11) Why did you start writing flipped fairy tales?
It started as a funny conversation between friends over some gender-flipped Disney character art we were looking at. Some of them were kind of ridiculous, but it gave me an idea. Could you tell the story of Snow White if Snow White is a Prince? How does Jack and the Beanstalk change when Jack is Jacqueline? I had to find out. The rest is history.

12) What is your personal favorite part of The Stillness of the Sky?
“Even with pain, there always comes peace. It’s up to us which we hold onto.”
This quote says so much about this story. Jack’s tale is all about her search for peace in life, and learning that it doesn’t come in expected ways, but if your heart is open to possibilities, amazing things can happen. The message of the story is definitely my favorite part.

13) What was your favorite fairy tale growing up?
Fairy tales weren’t so much my thing as a kid, but the story that comes closest is the book Shadow Castle, by Marian Cockrell. It’s a beautiful story of magic and fairies and heroes fighting off the evil villain and true love winning the day with patience and sacrifice. Everyone should read that book at least once in their lifetime.

14) You have written plural novels over the years, which of these novels are you the most proud of?
Honestly, it’s whichever novel I’ve just released. Finishing any book, never mind publishing one, is a huge labor of love. I’m especially proud of The Stillness of the Sky and the wonderful message I hope to share with anyone who ventures between those pages.

15) What are your plans for your writing in the future?
I’ll be releasing several more books this year, but it’s yet to be seen if one of those will be my next Flipped Fairy Tale. My next release is a Contemporary novel with suspense elements (very, very different from a fairy tale and most definitely not for anyone under 18), and I’ve loosely planned to release a new Science Fiction Romance sometime this summer. Fall will likely see my second Steampunk adventure out in the wild, and winter should bring the first book in my follow on to the Evolution series, so more superheroes! There’s a lot of stuff going on, so I hope folks are ready for a little genre whiplash!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Getting to Know the Authours: Featuring Patty Blount!

   Patty spends her days writing facts and her nights writing contemporary romantic fiction. A coworker once said if Patty were a super-villain, she’d be called The Quibbler. Her costume would be covered in exclamation points. Fueled by a serious chocolate obsession, a love of bad science-fiction movies, and a weird attraction to exclamation points, Patty looks for ways to mix business with pleasure, mining her day job for ideas to use in her fiction. Though she’s passionate about happily-ever-afters, her first story wasn’t a romance at all. Penalty Killer, a whodunit, was written on a dare from her oldest son. Though unpublished, it was the subject of so many seventh-grade book reports that year, the English teacher requested a copy and later returned it, covered in red ink.
Ripped from the headlines, Patty’s novel, Send, a YA story about a former cyber-bully learning to deal with the suicide he caused with a single thoughtless click, was conceived when her boss suggested she learn about social media. Send was released August, 2012 from Sourcebooks Fire.

What has she written?
She has written:
Goodness and Light (Christmas in New York #4), TMI, Send, Orange Karen: Tribute to a Warrior and Some Boys

Now on to the Interview! 
1) How old were you when you started writing, in your opinion?  
I've been writing all my life but I didn't get serious about it until about 10 years ago when I finally finished my first novel. That one was never published, but it taught me I could really do this. I could be a novelist. 

2) What do you want a reader to gain from reading your works?
I would love for readers to close my books with a new perspective -- a different one from what they had when they opened it. I wrote my debut novel from the bully's perspective, hoping to show readers that some bullies really do deserve forgiveness. I wrote Some Boys from the perspective of a not-so-innocent girl, to convince readers that nobody ever asks for it.

3) What are your three top suggestions on becoming an author, or being a pleasure writer?
To be a writer, you need to be a reader. Read outside your genre and study what resonates with you. And finally, never give up. 

4) What is your favourite novel, why?
I can't narrow it down to just one. I love the Harry Potter series. I love the Avery Cates series. I love the In Death Series. 

5) Who is your favourite author, why?
See above -- I can't narrow it down to one. I'm a big fan of JK Rowling, Jeff Somers, JD Robb. In my genre, I love Kendare Blake and Katie McGarry. 

6) What are your favorite pass times besides writing? 
I don't have time for any hobbies. I like to bake, but now limit that to just holidays.

7) Who in your life do you credit your imagination to the most?
Reading is what cultivated my imagination. When I was kid, too shy to make friends, I found them in books. 

8) What are the top five things on your bucket list?
I'd love to have a best-selller some day. Maybe a movie made out of one of my books. I really need to visit Italy. 

9) What is your funniest childhood memory?
When I was little, I shared a room with my sister and she was always getting me in trouble. She had this collection of tiny stuffed animals she kept in an old basket on a shelf in our closet and kept tattling to Mom that I was stealing her animals. I never touched them! One day, I caught our cat sneaking into the closet and coming out with one of the stuffed animals clasped in his teeth. They never believed me. Every time I got in trouble, I'd cry, "It wasn't me! It was Frisky!" and they'd look at me sideways, thinking I was so pathetic to blame my crimes on a poor innocent cat. Well, one day, Frisky stole an animal when I wasn't home and I was finally vindicated. 

10) To the youth of today, if you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
 I wish I could tell today's teens that the people on all their social networks are not really 'friends' and shouldn't be trusted with all their secrets as if they were. 

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Greta and the Glass Kingdom (Mylena Chronicles #2) by Chloe Jacobs (Review)

   After Greta's confrontation with the demon Agramon, and the black magic of the portal, Greta is still paying the consequences. The magic seems to not want to leaver her alone, and wants to destroy everything and everyone around her. To save the world Greta takes a trip to the fairy's Glass Kingdom.
    There was definitely a choice made by the author in this novel that was a terrible idea. For the sake of spoilers, I will not tell you what happens, but a hint would be this sentiment we all seem to share. We all seem to hate when a favorite primary character is practically completely removed from the majority of the of the story. When this event occurred, I was both confused and angry to a degree. I almost threw the book.
     The positive sides of this novel would definitely be the kick-butt-ness of the main character that was present in the previous book Greta and the Goblin King. In addition, the plot twist that occures in the novels was very unexpected and riveting. I give Greta and the Glass Kingdom THREE STARS OUT OF FIVE!
*Advanced Readers Copy Review*