Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Book Blitz: The Second Window by Erica Kiefer!

The Second Window
by Erica Kiefer
Published by: CTP Pulse
Publication date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
     As her senior year flies by on cruise control, seventeen-year-old Olivia Cole yearns for excitement—something her upscale private school no longer provides. Her job as a grocery store bagger isn’t much help…until the day she has a bizarre exchange with the cagey town recluse. When the woman abruptly surrenders to the police, Olivia feels compelled to dig deeper into her perplexing story. But the investigation stalls when Olivia receives another piece of news—Andre Steele, the golden boy of Westmont and her previous tormentor, has unexpectedly returned from his four-year stay in Brazil—and the whole school is buzzing! All at once, Olivia’s dull and predictable life is uprooted, and she wonders if “boring” was so bad after all.
EXCERPT:
     A stranger to me, I knew nothing about Jodie except that she lived on the outskirts of town. People referred to her as a hermit because she rarely ventured from her home, and when she did, it seemed only long enough to purchase groceries. She was nobody important to me—just the occasional name carried through the wind when there was nothing else to talk about. However, like clockwork, I bagged her scant items every Thursday at four PM. The odd interactions I’d have with the woman would sometimes be the most interesting part of my shift at Wayland’s, a discounted store that served as employment during the summer, and now into my senior year.
     I met her eyes again, which seemed to never leave mine, peering at me with an intense silence that I couldn’t explain. She didn’t frighten me, exactly. On the contrary, there was a meekness about her that suggested her gentle nature. While she hardly smiled, she didn’t have a mean face. It was more like the bland expression of a person who had little to smile about. Yet I wondered at her reservation, certain she had more to say than she ever allowed.
     Jodie’s slender fingers pulled cash from her wallet and she handed over the bills. When she turned to me once more, her teary eyes alarmed me. She swallowed hard, like she was washing down emotions that rose against her will.
     “Are… are you okay?” I asked, hesitating as I placed her grocery bags into the cart. Her hand fell swiftly on top of mine, squeezing my palm. Startled by the sudden physical contact, I jerked my hand away. I regretted my actions the moment her expression shifted.
     Eyes wide, she shook her head, her mouth opening as though horrified by her behavior. A tear slid down her cheek, and she brushed it away in haste. “I’m sorry.” Sniffling, she snatched her three bags from the cart and scurried toward the exit. “Hey!” I called after her. I exchanged a look of confusion with Marlene before following Jodie to the automatic sliding doors. “Wait! It’s Jodie, right?” She paused, sniffing once more. She looked back at me over her shoulder, eyes red and sorrowful. “Um, can I help you to your car? I really should have double-bagged that one.” I pointed to the bulging bag containing the heavy soups, grasping for an excuse to stall her from leaving.
     The tiniest smile crept along the corners of her mouth. Her green eyes brightened beneath the sheen of tears. Relieved, I smiled back. Her next words fell from her lips in a low, quiet tone. “You take care of yourself.” Then she walked out into the cool air.
     I stood there perplexed, watching this strange woman escape to the parking lot. Jodie had been a consistent presence in my life for months now, a once-a-week visit in which she spoke no more than a murmured, Thank you. Why did I feel a sudden permanence to her goodbye?
     A familiar female voice called out from behind me. “I need a bagger on lane three please!”
I rolled my eyes and flipped around to see my friend Jordyn standing at the other end of the store, hollering into her cupped hands. I glanced at Marlene. My grey-haired co-worker pushed out her lips with a frown, throwing a hand onto her plump hip. I cringed and held up my index finger. “One minute,” I mouthed, and hurried toward Jordyn before she could garner anymore unwanted attention from my employers.
     “You know Marlene hates when you stop by, right?” I said to my best friend. She beamed confidence at me with her wide smile, her lips stained in a bright coral that I could never pull off. Though only one-eighth Native American, the tan skin she’d inherited helped her get away with wearing colorful makeup combinations that I would never attempt on my fair skin. Jordyn also relished in the theatrics that I shied away from.
     “I’m a paying customer,” she said, grabbing a box of powdered donuts off the shelf. She held them up to make her point, waving wildly at Marlene’s scowling face. Jordyn raised her voice again, like she was hollering at the deaf elderly. “She’s just gonna bag these for me and I’ll be on my way!”
I shook my head at her. “You’re going to get me fired.”
      “You’ve got other problems to worry about.” Jordyn put her hands on my shoulders, and spun me around.
     “What am I looking at?” I asked, not seeing anything out of the ordinary. Leave it to Jordyn to make me guess, rather than just tell me. She rotated me forty-five degrees.
     “Not what. Who.” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “Past the cashiers. Aisle twelve.”
     I loved her to death, but sometimes her games were a bit much. “Jordyn, come on—” I stopped, suddenly very aware of just who she was pointing out to me. I caught a glimpse of his smile first, gleaming brightly against his bronzed skin—a deeper brown than I remembered, and a compliment from his Brazilian mother. I’d almost missed him, hidden behind the cluster of kids clamoring for his attention. But then I heard his laugh, boisterous and infectious. Unique.
     And stirring memories I resented.
     I crossed my arms over my black apron. “What is Andre Steele doing back in Arizona?”
Jordyn inhaled noisily, letting out her breath as she spoke. “I don’t know, but Brazil sure did a nice number on him.”
     I scowled and nudged her with my elbow.
    “But we still hate him,” she corrected, giving a nod of solidarity.
    “Of course we do.” We watched him disappear down aisle nine with his posse. Another burst of laughter trailed behind him, coupled with giggles from the girls hanging on him and the other guy slapping Andre’s back like they’d never heard someone so funny.
    “Then again,” Jordyn added, “Four years can change a person. Maybe he’ll surprise you.”
I stepped away from her, returning to my position at the end of the register. I grabbed the boxes of toothpaste and floss sliding past Marlene and tossed them into a fresh bag. “I never liked his surprises.”
Author Bio:
Erica Kiefer’s debut novel Lingering Echoes was published by Clean Teen Publishing in November 2013. She continued the series with Rumors (A Lingering Echoes Prequel) and her newest release Vanishing Act. All of her books can be read as stand-alone contemporary YA fiction, touched with romance, emotional drama and suspense. With a degree in Recreation Therapy from Brigham Young University, Erica’s experiences working with at-risk youth have influenced the realistic and relatable nature of her writing. Her first inspirational non-fiction entitled Borrowed Angel (published in April 2014 with Currawong Press) describes the loss of her infant son and her journey towards healing.
Married since 2005, Erica resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her four children and can often be found satisfying her sweet-tooth with chocolate-chip cookies and a glass of milk. Now and then, she dusts off her collegiate rugby skills and dives back into the game.

XBTBanner1

Monday, 4 December 2017

Book Blitz: The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane!

The Upside of Falling Down
by Rebekah Crane
(Skyscape)
Publication date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
     For Clementine Haas, finding herself is more than a nice idea. Ever since she woke up in an Irish hospital with complete amnesia, self-discovery has become her mission.
     They tell her she’s the lone survivor of a plane crash. They tell her she’s lucky to be alive. But she doesn’t feel lucky. She feels…lost.
     With the relentless Irish press bearing down on her, and a father she may not even recognize on his way from America to take her home, Clementine assumes a new identity and enlists a blue-eyed Irish stranger, Kieran O’Connell, to help her escape her forgotten life…and start a new one.
     Hiding out in the sleepy town of Waterville, Ireland, Clementine discovers there’s an upside to a life that’s fallen apart. But as her lies grow, so does her affection for Kieran, and the truth about her identity becomes harder and harder to reveal, forcing Clementine to decide: Can she leave her past behind for a new love she’ll never forget?
EXCERPT:
My composure cracks when I’m safely tucked in a stall in the bathroom. Everything shifts, my real need coming into focus, like a caged bird that knows it doesn’t want to live behind bars anymore.
I need to get out of here.
How can I see my dad and not love him? What is wrong with me? Everything I thought would happen hasn’t.
I press my sweaty head against the cool stall door. I wish I could be who Stephen wants me to be, a fearless girl willing to fight through this. More importantly, I wish I could be who my dad wants me to be. Clementine Haas. But I can’t. To go home with him like this would mean that every day he’ll wake up and want Clementine there, and instead, every day it will be me—whoever I am. We’ll both live in a constant state of disappointment.
I can save him from that.
I come out of the stall, focusing on myself in the mirror.
“Jane,” I say to my reflection. “I’m Jane.”
Stephen surely won’t help me get out of here. He wants to keep me safe in the hospital, which is still surrounded by camera crews and reporters. But there’s another way.
The hallway is clear of my dad and Stephen when I poke my head out from the bathroom. My heart races as I walk swiftly away from my room and toward the staircase at the other end of the hall. Once the door closes behind me, and I’m safely tucked out of sight in the stairwell, a moment of relief comes, but it’s brief.
The railing keeps me steady as I make my way down the steps and onto the first floor. My legs are weak, slow, but it’s not an option to stop at this point. Stop and I get caught. Move and I might find freedom.
In the courtyard, Kieran sits at the table where I left him, his feet up on the bench, a book in his hands. I check out the cover. It’s clearly a romance novel.
“You like romance novels, too,” I say. “We have something in common. Though I wouldn’t peg you as a romantic.”
“I’m full of surprises.” He squints in the sunlight. “I’ve never understood why guys go for fast cars and guns when these books have fast women and sex.”
“Honesty again. That’s a good thing.”
Kieran dog-ears the page he’s on and closes the book, setting it down on the table. “You ran away from the dare.”
“I didn’t run away.” I take back my seat. “I had to do something.”
“What was that?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m ready now.”
“Are you sure, Jane?”
Kieran is just full of good questions, but debating the answer with myself would take too much time.
“Jane Middleton,” I say, holding out my hand. “That’s my last name.”
“Very royal sounding.” He places his warm hand in mine and says, “Kieran O’Connell. It’s nice to meet you.”
“Very Irish sounding, Kieran O’Connell.”
“Half-Irish, on my mother’s side.”
“And your dad?” I ask.
“Technically, he’s British, but he’s more asshole than anything.”
“Honesty again.” I reach for the last container of Jell-O on his tray. “I’m ready for my dare. Spoon, please.”
Kieran holds one up but doesn’t hand it over. “Are you sure you want to do this, Jane? It’s pig and cow parts.”
This is so much more than Jell-O. This is my life he’s holding in front of me.
“Where’s Waterville?” I ask, pointing to his hat.
“South of here a few hours.”
“Is it by Cork?” I ask, remembering the map and trying to sound like I know a thing or two.
“Not exactly. A bit more west.”
“Is that where you live?”
“For the summer months.”
I point to his T-shirt. “Then you go back to Trinity College?”
“Yep.”
“And where is that?”
“It’s in Dublin.” Kieran looks at me oddly. “Have you not heard of Trinity College?”
“Of course, I have. I just forgot for a second. It’s in Dublin. Right.”
“What about you?” he asks. “Are you on break from college as well?”
The question throws me. I have no idea if Clementine is in college. But I’m also not sure it matters. The part of me that keeps searching for Clementine needs a break. Jane can be whoever she wants. “Yeah, sure,” I say.
“What are you studying?”
“Undecided,” I say quickly. “You?”
Kieran rolls his eyes. “Business.”
“You don’t sound happy about that.”
“Not everything in life can be happy, Jane.”
The spoon rests in Kieran’s hand. No, sometimes life beats you down. Sometimes life deserts you, and your only choice is to find another path. “Are you going to give me that spoon or what?”
“You know, you don’t have to do this,” he says. His blue eyes hold mine. He knows this is more than just Jell-O, too. That’s what a dare does. It taunts you to take a different direction, to do something you never thought you could do, to jump, knowing that a million consequences could be on the other side of that dare, but that if you don’t do it, you’ll always wonder. And sometimes wondering is worse than consequences.
“I’m doing it,” I say. And I shovel a spoonful of pig and cow parts into my mouth.
Kieran sits back, a broad grin growing on his face. When I’ve eaten the container clean, he claps.
“I wasn’t sure you had it in you.”
I have to choke down the last bits of Jell-O, then I put my empty container on the tray with his, only partly satisfied.
“Why are you here?” I ask. “It can’t possibly be for pig and cow parts.”
“I come up to volunteer. Help out my fellow man and all. The food is just an added bonus.”
“That’s nice of you.”
“People need help,” Kieran says coolly. “It’s the least I can do.”
“People do need help,” I agree. “And now it’s my turn.”
“For what?”
“Truth or dare?” I say.
A glimmer comes to Kieran’s eyes. “That’s my line of questioning.”
“It’s not fair that I answer the question and you don’t.”
“Life isn’t fair, Jane. It’s all Jell-O, remember.”
I lean across the table. “Are you chicken or something?”
My confidence is surprising. Kieran seems to bring out something natural in me, or maybe he brings out more faith that the girl I was is still with me, just waiting to come out. Our eyes are fixed on each other’s. Kieran crosses his arms over his chest.
The clucking starts first. Then I start to flap my arms like chicken wings. Kieran glances around at all the other tables, and then he starts to laugh.
“OK. OK.” He holds up his hands in surrender.
But as soon as the clucking stops, someone drops an entire tray of dishes onto the concrete sidewalk. They break with a loud crash. I startle, freezing in my seat. It chokes the breath right out of me. A head rush comes on so suddenly that I’m worried I’ll faint right in front of him. Blood sinks to my feet. My hands go clammy. I start to sweat.
“Are you OK, Jane?”
Kieran talks, but I can’t see him. My head rests in my hands. Sound reverberates through me, and an intense pain creeps up behind my eyes. For a second, I swear I feel someone grab my hand. I expect to see fingers intertwined with mine, but they’re gone, and I’m left with a horrible empty feeling inside my chest.
“Are you OK?” Kieran asks again.
“I’m fine.” If I faint, this is over. With ragged breath and shaking hands that he can’t see under the table, I say, “Truth or dare, Kieran?”
“We don’t have to do this.”
“Truth or dare?” I say again more forcefully.
Kieran shakes his head. “It’s a Catch-22. Neither is easy. They both have consequences.”
“Do I have to start clucking again?”
He pauses for too long, and then he says, “Fine. Dare.”
The blood returns to my hands and head. The sweat dries on my forehead. This time, my voice doesn’t shake as I speak.
“I dare you to get me the hell out of here.”

Author Bio:
     Rebekah Crane is the author of three young-adult novels—Playing Nice, Aspen, and The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland. She found a passion for young-adult literature while studying secondary English education at Ohio University. After having two kids and living and teaching in six different cities, Rebekah finally settled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to write novels and work on screenplays. She now spends her day carpooling kids or tucked behind a laptop at 7,500 feet, where the altitude only enhances the writing experience.

XBTBanner1

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Book Blitz: The Fourth Element Trilogy by Kat Ross!

The Fourth Element Trilogy: Boxed Set
by Kat Ross
Publication date: September 22nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
   Gladiator meets Romeo and Juliet in this “spellbinding fantasy” trilogy (Kirkus Reviews) set in ancient Persia!
   They are the light against the darkness.
   The steel against the necromancy of the Druj.
  And they use demons to hunt demons….
   Nazafareen lives for revenge. A girl of the isolated Four-Legs Clan, all she knows about the King’s elite Water Dogs is that they leash wicked creatures called daevas to protect the empire from the Undead. But when scouts arrive to recruit young people with the gift, she leaps at the chance to join their ranks. To hunt the monsters that killed her sister.
Scarred by grief, she’s willing to pay any price, even if it requires linking with a daeva named Darius. Human in body, he’s possessed of a terrifying power, one that Nazafareen controls. But the golden cuffs that join them have an unwanted side effect. Each experiences the other’s emotions, and human and daeva start to grow dangerously close.
As they pursue a deadly foe across the arid waste of the Great Salt Plain to the glittering capital of Persepolae, unearthing the secrets of Darius’s past along the way, Nazafareen is forced to question his slavery—and her own loyalty to the empire. But with an ancient evil stirring in the north, and a young conqueror sweeping in from the west, the fate of an entire civilization may be at stake…
    So begins an epic story of adventure, romance and betrayal that leads to undiscovered magical realms and a final confrontation with a demon queen bent on destroying them all.
99¢ for a limited time only!


Author Bio:
Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She's the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day, the Fourth Element fantasy trilogy (The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, Queen of Chaos), and a new gaslamp mystery series that opens with The Daemoniac and continues with The Thirteenth Gate. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. For more information about Kat's books, come visit her at katrossbooks.com.

XBTBanner1

Friday, 1 December 2017

Book Blitz: Unearth by Tricia Barr!

Unearth
by Tricia Barr
(The Bound Ones, #3)
Publication date: December 1st 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
      Our heroes erased themselves from the Four Corners’ histories and thought they were finally free…until Lily burst their bubble and told them they have to get involved with the cult one last time to stop them from unleashing a great evil buried thousands of years ago. But they fail, and the fifth Bound One is released, fulfilling his vengeful dreams formed over his long imprisonment. Phoenyx and her friends band together for one last fight, and one of them will pay the ultimate price.
EXCERPT:
      Unable to tolerate his intrusion on her personal space any longer, she grabbed his wrist and pushed her will into him.
      “Where is Ayanna?” she demanded with all the authority she could instill.
Joran closed his eyes and moaned. “Oh, now doesn’t that feel amazing! I am going to have so much fun with you.”
      In one swift motion, he twisted his arm out of her grasp and grabbed both her wrists, holding them against the wall on either side of her head. And then something happened. Lust unlike anything she’d ever experienced seeped into her forearms and spread like venom through her veins, burning her to her core with desire.
      “Kiss me,” Joran whispered.
      A small voice in the back of her mind was screaming at her to fight, but every other part of her, body and mind, wanted nothing more than to obey him. She did as he asked, pressing her lips against his. When he pushed his hot tongue into her mouth, she opened it to welcome him, allowing him full access to whatever he wanted. Joran, she swooned inwardly.
      His hands roamed across her body, pressing and grabbing. Her body responded heatedly to his touch, but something in her mind told her this was so very wrong. Shut up, voice, she said internally, swatting away those pesky thoughts that tried to keep her from enjoying this.
      Joran broke the kiss and smiled down at her triumphantly. “Oh yes, we will have so much fun. I love having access to your powers. Ayanna might be my queen, but you will be a delightful toy.”
      “Yes, I’m your toy,” she said mindlessly, desperate to please him.
      “What the hell!” another familiar voice shouted from the doorway.
       Irritated at the interruption, Phoenyx rolled her lusty eyes in that direction. When she saw
Sebastian standing there, fuming with territorial rage, the spell she’d been under lifted. The pleasure she had taken in Joran’s large body pressed against hers now turned into disgust and violation, and she used all the physical strength she could muster to shove him away from her.
       Joran seemed unphased by her rejection, smiling smugly at Sebastian.
       “Ah, Water, welcome to the party,” Joran said. “I was just about to enjoy your mate. Would you like to join us?”
      “Don’t you dare touch her,” Sebastian threatened in a dangerously low voice.
      “Or what? You’ll splash some water at me?” Joran taunted.
      Scared for Sebastian’s safety, Phoenyx pushed off from the wall and darted for him. When she reached him, the two of them fought to put themselves protectively in front of the other as they stared  at Joran.
     “Aww, isn’t that sweet,” Joran said. “But pointless. I have not come here to hurt you, my Bound Ones. I have merely come to extend an invitation. I am hosting a coronation ball tonight at Bodiam Castle to celebrate my return to the world, and I would like the four of you to attend. I know you are not yet ready to swear fealty to me, but I trust that in time, you will come to your senses. Consider this ball a temporary cease-fire.”
     “Why should we come?” Sebastian snarled, wrapping Pheonyx in a possessive embrace.
     “Because you want to see Ayanna,” Joran replied.
     “What have you done with her?” Phoenyx barked, hating the taste of him that filled her mouth.
     “If you want to know what has become of your friend, you will just have to come and see for yourselves,” Joran shrugged. “I don’t think you’ll recognize her, or is it that she won’t recognize you?”
      He laughed sadistically and walked toward the door.
      “I’ll see you tonight,” he said, slapping a hand on Sebastian’s shoulder fraternally as he passed and went out the door.
      The two of them watched him as he went around the corner and the sound of his footsteps disappeared from earshot down the stairs. Now they were alone, and they were still hugging each other for dear life.
      Phoenyx met Sebastian’s gaze, his blue eyes a storm of turmoil and conflict.
      “I’m so sorry, Sebastian,” she pleaded, all the strength she had seconds again melting under Sebastian’s eyes. “He used my own compulsion against me. I had no choice—”
       “I know,” he said, his expression stony, his jaw clenched. “I know.” He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her in a way that attempted to mark her as his. Then he rested his forehead on hers. “I hate him. He can take you away from me any time he wants.”
       “No, he can’t,” she said, shaking her head fervently. “He can take my soul, and he can control my mind and body, but he can never take my heart, because you already have it. I will always be yours.”
      “I love you,” he said.
       Now it was her turn to mark him as hers. She kissed him just as hard, no tongue, no passion, just pure possession.

Author Bio:
    Tricia Barr is a Professional Engineer and award-winning author. Her novel WYNDE earned a Gold Medal in the 2014 Independent Publisher Awards for Best Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror e-Book. She co-authored DK Publishing’s ULTIMATE STAR WARS (2015), which compiled all canon material moving forward prior to the release of “The Force Awakens.,” followed by the new STAR WARS: THE VISUAL ENCYCLOPEDIA (2017), which includes content from “Rogue One.” An expert on storytelling, Barr pens a regular series on the Hero’s Journey for the print publication Star Wars Insider magazine. She founded the respected website FANgirl Blog, and her writing can be found on a variety of websites, including Lucasfilm’s StarWars.com, and PopSugar, and Random House’s SUVUDU. She provided editorial services on Del Rey’s STAR WARS: THE ESSENTIAL READER’S COMPANION (2012).
     Tricia Barr is an accomplished podcaster, co-hosting the popular Star Wars podcasts Fangirls Going Rogue and Hyperspace Theories. In her spare time, she competes as an amateur equestrian, earning top ten spots three times in national finals.

GIVEAWAY!
      In honor of the December 1st release of Unearth, book 3 in the Bound Ones Series, author Tricia Barr is hosting a big giveaway where everybody wins! Enter for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Unearth. You can enter by voting for Ignite, book 1 of the series, for the Reader’s Choice Award. Everyone who votes will get an ebook copy of Ignite. You can increase your chances of winning the grand prize by sharing this giveaway with your friends on social media. Help Ignite become the RCA winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

Friday, 17 November 2017

Book Blitz: Enchant by Micalea Smeltzer!

Enchant
by Micalea Smeltzer
(The Enchanted Series #1)
Publication date: November 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
      Mara Pryce never imagined that her life was anything but normal and then a strange gray-eyed young man appears at her graduation. When he vanishes without a trace, she’s convinced he’s a figment of her imagination. Then he appears again and shatters her whole world.
      Mara is an enchanter, part of an ancient line of Wiccan power, and a war is raging—one of good and evil—between the Enchanted and the Iniquitous.
       The Iniquitous want her dead and it’s Theodore’s job as her protector to keep her safe.
When Mara and Theodore arrive at a safe house, where Mara will remain hidden while learning about her powers, they find that the real threat might be a little closer to home than they want to believe.

Author Bio:
      Hi. I’m Micalea. Ma-call-e-uh. Weird name, I know. My mom must’ve known I was going to be odd even in the womb. I’ve written a lot of books. Like a lot. Don’t ask me how many, I don’t remember at this point. I have an unhealthy addiction to Diet Coke but I can’t seem to break the habit. I listen to way too much music and hedgehogs have taken over my life. Crazy is the word that best sums up my life, but it’s the good kind of crazy and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

XBTBanner1

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter (Review)

     Leah is a dying girl. Her heart is dead and she is running on borrowed time. One day she is blessed by the gift of a heart transplant that gives her something she has not had for a long time, hope for a future. The only struggle is that for her to have life, somebody else had to lose theirs. When the history of her gifted heart comes into light, she must face its past, her past and her future to truly move on to live into the future. All the while a romance between her and Matt, a boy whose life is intrinsically entertained with her's, begins to grow and flourish. 
      I really found this story touching. This Heart of Mine is different from CC's usual work, but it did have a similar theme of confronting death and avenging injustices on the dead that can be found in all of her other works. Leah is a sweet girl. She is a sweet girl in an incredibly terribly hard situation that people actually have to deal with all throughout the world. It really put some of their fears, struggles and experiences into focus and gives the reader a new outlook on life. This serious tone is also mixed in with a sweet and adorable romance that entertains the reader, leaving me recommending the novel. I give This Heart of Mine FOUR AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FIVE!!!
*Advanced Readers Copy Review*

Thursday, 2 November 2017

One Foot in the Grave (Mortician’s Daughter #1) by C.C. Hunter (Review)

       A wonderful new series by C.C. Hunter, One Foot In The Grave keeps the theme of being able see ghosts found in the Shadow Falls series. Riley can see dead people (lol). Being able to see ghosts definitely doesn't make life easy for her as she tries to balance checking if her father is an alcoholic, friends, school and trying to remain happy and sane. After seeing a handsome young man/ghost, she has to add keeping herself from falling in love with a dead man onto that list. As she tries to bring justice to a young woman's ghost, the young man and her grow closer, even if they could not be any farther apart.
        I love a lot of C.C. Hunter's writings, and I enjoyed One Foot Under as well. It was a really good weekend read. It was nothing too meaty, but it was a fun binge read and was very entertaining. Although this was not my all-time favourite novel by her, I found it was still very much worth the read. Riley is a spunky and determined main character. She was well rounded but vague enough I feel like many young women could empathize and feel engaged with her. I found the romance to not be overly overwhelming, but it was quite sweet. There were many similar elements in this to the Shadow Falls series, and fans of one will probably like the other. I personally loved One Foot Under as a binge read and give it the rating of FOUR AND A HALF STARS OUT OF FIVE!!!
*Advanced Readers Copy Review*

Counting Wolves by Michael F. Stewart (Review)

       Depressing but thought provoking, Counting Wolves keeps the reader unsure of reality as the main character struggles to hold back the evil realm of the Dark Wood that wants to destroy everything. Now locked up in the mental ward, the evil Wolf increases its stalking and gets closer then ever to destroying Milly. With her in the ward are many other fairytale themed psychos: Tink, Red, Pig, Wolf and Vanet. As the struggle continues, Milly struggles to figure out what is real, and what is all in her head. 
         An interesting study of the psychology of anxiety, Counting wolves was not what I had been expecting. I came in thinking it would be a novel about magic and fairytales, mixed with an aspect of psychological thriller to it where the world is calling the main characters crazy. I was very wrong. It is actually an in depth look at what it can feel like to suffer from anxiety and other mental illnesses and it was just given a fairytale themed twist. Even though it was not what I thought it was, I actually ended up enjoying and appreciating it. It kept me guessing along with the main character, what was real and what wasn't, as well as gave good analogies to the dread and fear that comes with extreme OCD and anxiety. It gave me perspective. That aside, it was incredibly depressing to read and took me a while to get through for that very reason. Overall, it was not what I expected, but I was not bad. I give it the honest star rating of FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS!!!

*Advanced Readers Copy Review*

Fanning The Flames (Going Down in Flames #4) by Chris Cannon (Review)

         The fourth book in the Going Down in Flames series, Fanning the Flames continues the political drama from the previous novels. Bryn is a dragon. She is a hybrid dragon that is the grandchild of one of the most politically powerful and rich dragons in their entire society. With rebel uprisings comping left and right, she must fight for the lives of her friends, as well of herself. She doesn't have to do this alone though since she has her handsome knight to work alongside her... or riding her back. That and with the  politics of the dragons worked being hostile, she has a lot to handle. 
          I was not a fan of Fanning the Flames. This series has really been going down hill with constant relationship drama and little real back bone in the main character when it comes to her life. For multiple books she has bent over backwards to do what her grandparents tell her, even when it actively makes her miserable and ruins her chances of a happy future. Its ridiculous and agitating to read. I just want to slap some sense into Bryn. I think I'm done with this series. I don't want to read through more of her petty drama and weak backbone. Overall, I give Going Down in Flames the rating of THREE OUT OF FIVE STARS!!!
*Advanced Readers Copy Review*

Sun Warrior (Tales of a New World #2) by P.C. Cast (Review)

        The second instalment in the Tales of a New World series, Sun Warrior takes off immediately off of where Moon Chosen left off. With the forest on fire and many falling to its flames, good and evil rise to take over. The Skin Stealers plot their take over of the dying tribe of tree and the Earth Walkers plan their new lives as a freed people. Mari is thrust back into the responsibility of saving not only herself, but all of the Earth Walkers and a good piece of the Tribe of Trees as well. Nik, still devastated by the loss of his father, pushes on with the hope of a new beautiful life with Mari and their companions. But Thaddeus's evil is spreading, and that dream is becoming less and less likely.
         I surprisingly loved this book, even more then Moon Chosen. The series seems to get its own two feet in this novel and really hits the ground running. All of the pieces that were being set up start to fall into place in Sun Warrior. I had found the constant narration from Dead Eye to be unappealing and it felt almost pointless, but in Sun Warrior it all comes together and leaves the reader fully engaged. My favourite part of the novel was actually the conclusion because it left me looking forward to the potential of the next novel in the series. Overall, I loved Sun warrior and give it the rating of FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS!!!
*Advanced Readers Copy Review*

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Ally (Nemesis #2) by Anna Banks (Review)

        The second instalment in the Nemesis series, Ally takes off from where Nemesis left off. Trying to stop a war that would kill so many innocent people, Sepora and Tarik must work together, despite their rough history to save everybody. While this is happening, Tarik is trying to find any way to get both his kingdom and the heart of Sepora. Sepora is trying her best to cure the disease plaguing Tarik's kingdom, without revealing her powers, making herself a powerful and dangerous target.
        Ally was good, but not amazing. I found it was fun to read with its magic and many realms, but it definitely did not have the same spark as book one did. I still really like Sepora. She is a determined, intelligent and generously kind hearted. Tarik was also a good character, but again he was just not as intriguing as he was in the first novel. The plot of this novel kept to a pretty steady pace, but there were not many twists and turns to spice things up throughout the novel. That was prominent in the first novel. We just kept learning new exciting things everywhere throughout the story, but in Ally there were less new plot developments or magical moments. Although there was one really exciting and big plot twist that was engaging to read. Overall, I did like Ally and give it the rating of FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS!!!
*Advanced Readers Copy Review*

Book Blitz: Winter's Siren by Krystal Jane Ruin!

 
Winter’s Siren 
by Krystal Jane Ruin
Publication date: November 1st 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
     For the last five years, Fawn has been the star soprano of a secluded opera house, forced to sing for her kidnapper.
     His daughter, Devi, waits patiently in the shadows, hiding a face so horrible that no one who’s seen it will look at it again.
      As Fawn plots her escape, whispers spread through the shaded corridors of dark sorcery, warning her that she must flee by the next opening night.
      But when Fawn draws close to the exit, it’s Devi who’s standing in her way, leading Fawn to suspect that Devi has something to gain if she fails.
(a dark reimagining of Swan Lake)


EXCERPT:
     Frosty air nips at my nose. I stand almost knee deep in fresh fallen snow, letting the diffused sunlight hit my face. There is no sound. Peace settles over me. In this moment, I truly feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere.
     Something cold and wet explodes on the back of my neck. For a moment, I fear the worst. A boil. Pus. My father’s description of my mother’s face plays out in my mind.
     But then I hear Andrew laughing behind me. I touch the rough skin on my neck and bring a shaky and damp glove to my face. Snow. It’s just snow.
     It’s the middle of the day, and my face is uncovered. To make everything worse, it’s bright outside. Freezing and overcast, but bright.
     My hands fly to my face automatically.
     “Are you going to let me get away with that?” Andrew laughs again.
     I twist around and peek at him through my fingers.
     He stands before me, his arms spread wide. A thick coat covers his arms, and in his gloved hands, he holds another snowball. “You have two seconds to stop me!”
     I flip my hood over my head and drop down to gather snow in my hands.
    Another snowball bursts against my head. The wetness plasters my hair to my face. I hurl my deformed ball in his direction. It misses him completely.
     Another wad of snow lands on my neck while I gather a larger, rounder ball of snow. “Cheating!” I throw my handful at him. It lands weakly by his knees.
    “Here, let me help you.” He climbs towards me and gathers a nice, solid ball in his fist. He hands this to me, and then stands back and spreads his arms wide again. “Try again.”
I throw it square at his nose.
     “Ow!” He covers his face and cries out dramatically. “It’s in my eyes!”
     “Stop it! Are you serious?” I navigate closer to him, and he falls back into the snow. I run to his side and hear laughter bubbling out from behind his hands. “Jerk!” I shovel snow over his body, and he laughs all the while.
     Then he goes still. I stop.
     “Andrew?” I lean in close. “Andrew?”
    He lunges out of his shallow grave and tackles me to the ground.
    A panicked scream leaves my body as he lands on top of me, heavy and warm. Then a strange sound comes out of my mouth. Something that’s never come out of it before. Laughter.
    His braid hangs down, inches from my sunken cheek. Suddenly aware of how close his head is to mine, the laughter dies in my throat, and I slap my gloves to my cheeks.
    “You have such beautiful eyes,” he says.
    My breath is trapped in my chest. It hurts. I don’t know how much he can see of my face—my hood is pulled low and my hair and hands cover everything else—but I fear it’s too much.
    “Andrew . . .”

Author Bio:
    Krystal is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction, living in the Tennessee Valley with a collection of swords and daggers. When she's not hoarding stuffed pandas, hourglasses, and Hello Kitty replicas, she can be found in YouTube hole or blogging about books, writing, and random things at KrystalSquared.net. 


XBTBanner1

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Book Blitz: Pen & Xander by Laekan Zea Kemp!

Pen & Xander
by Laekan Zea Kemp
Publication date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pen Prado has a passion for cooking. Specifically, cooking her father’s food in her father’s restaurant. It’s the heart of their immigrant neighborhood, a place where everyone belongs, and second chances are always on the menu. Except for Pen. Despite the fact that there’s something almost magic about her food, her father can’t imagine anything worse than her following in his footsteps. And when Pen confesses to keeping a secret from her family, he fires her, ensuring she never will.
Xander Amaro is undocumented but that doesn’t stop Ignacio Prado from offering him a job at his restaurant. For Xander, it’s a chance to make amends and to sever his toxic relationship with the druglord, El Cantil–a man whose been like a father to him since his own disappeared. Soon after, his mother abandoned him too, leaving behind a void that not even his abuelo can fill. Until he meets Pen.
Both seeking a place where they feel like they truly belong, they end up finding each other, and in the face of tremendous fear and self-doubt, they end up finding themselves.
Are you a book reviewer?
Request a copy of Pen & Xander here!
EXCERPT:
      The parking lot hasn’t changed; the science building looks the same as that first day of school five months ago. But as I sit in my car, watching girls I met during orientation skip up the steps, hugging their bags, excited to play nurse, I try to convince myself that something inside me has. That today I’ll actually be able to go inside. That today I will stop lying and be the person they want me to be.
      Class starts in approximately seven minutes—the class I should have taken and passed last semester, moving me one step closer to a degree in nursing.
      Six minutes.
      I sit in the parking lot, watching the clock tick down. The car is in park but I can’t bring myself to turn off the engine.
     Walk inside.
     I turn off the car, reminding myself how much I’ve already wasted on tuition and books.
     You can do this. You can.
     I reach for my bag.
    Get. Out. Of. The. Car.
    And then I can’t breathe.
    My mother’s shoes.
    All I can think about are my mother’s shoes.
    How they’ve sat in the same spot by the door for almost twenty years. Scuffed and cracked, the shadow of her foot pressed to the leather even when the laces are loose. I imagine every hallway they’ve ever walked down, every door they’ve propped open, every mess they’ve ever stepped in, every second they’ve held her up when all she wanted was to collapse. Because one of her patients couldn’t remember her face or their daughter’s name or how to speak.
     When she lost one I’d wake to the knock of the rolling pin and the smell of dough warming on the hot plate. Sometimes I’d try to take the pin from her but there was something about the force, about the rhythm that reminded her how to breathe. We’d work in silence and three-dozen tortillas later she’d wrap them in foil and drive them to the family. The family that only visited once a month. That would accept my mother’s food without acknowledging that she was more family to the deceased than they were.
    And then the next day she would go back to work.
    For almost twenty years. She went back.
    And if I step out of this car, if I walk up those steps, if I sit at that desk and pretend…how long will I be sitting there before I realize I’m trapped?
     I take a deep breath, the scent of a thousand shifts at the restaurant tucked into the fabric of the front seat. Mango and cilantro and epazote, tomatillos and roasted pepitas and tortillas. I can’t sleep without those smells tangled in my hair, without those flavors still on my tongue.
So I have to decide what’s scarier: living a life that doesn’t belong to me or losing the one I love. If the truth breaks my father’s heart, I know he’ll take it from me. But if it doesn’t, if he understands, if I can make him understand, I can be free.
     I weigh each option, simmering in the anxiety they provoke, in the hope. Because I have to do what scares me. It’s the only way to ward off the helplessness. To stay in control. I always have to be in control.
     Which means that today is not the day I go inside.
     My stomach drops, my hand reaching to put the car in drive again.
     Today is the day I tell them the truth.


Author Bio:
Laekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn't Bury, Orphans of Paradise, Breathing Ghosts, and the Young Adult Paranormal series The Girl In Between. Her upcoming contemporary romance is slated for release during the summer of 2017!

XBTBanner1