The Phoenix Year by David L Blond

Book Title: The Phoenix Year

Book Genre: Thriller

Author: David L Blond

Publisher: Wattle Publishing

“… from out of the fire, would rise a new order, like the legend of the phoenix. There would emerge a new world, a new super economy…”

 

So starts a sequence of events destined to rock world economies to their very core. On the 50th anniversary of their induction into the Society of the Phoenix, a group of billionaires is about to change the world dramatically, with devastating effect. Overseen by the reclusive Heinrich Von Kleise, the Society has hatched an audacious plan to subvert world economies, by using and abusing some of the world’s wealthiest businessmen and their families; in some cases, holding them literally to ransom, or worse. Michael Ross, an economic advisor to the US President, Ben Masters, a disgraced property tycoon, Natalya Avramowitz, a Russian economist and spy, and “Kim” a CIA Agent, find themselves at the center of this plot, involving inside trading, sex slavery, and political corruption. As the world careens towards financial Armageddon, can Michael, Natalya and Kim prevent global disintegration, or are the world’s financial institutions fated to implode? The Phoenix Year by David L. Blond is a gripping novel, encompassing many of the financial crises that have hit the headlines in the past decade. The author has skillfully woven these together to create an action-packed conspiracy thriller that smacks of reality and future possibility.

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The seat of the world’s power indisputably resides in the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. However, the ideal upon which this seat rests upon have been vastly abandoned, virtually decimated by the ego of man. The well-being of the one, has begun to outweigh the needs of the many with veracity and reckless abandon that has already been the undoing of what once was not just a great nation, but a nation of integrity. These facts are what David L Blond builds his tale upon and weaves a plot that although it be only fiction, could also be said to be an accurate assessment of future events to come.

The Phoenix Year is a beautifully and masterfully spun work, full of intrigue and mystery. Stakes are high and consequences to every action are immediate and severe, no matter which choice is made. This theme is carried throughout the story with great consistency and fluidity. There was not a moment where I was not on the edge of my seat in eager anticipation of what choice was going to be made, and how that one event would spur on the events to come.

The characters is this book are impeccably construction. Each one has a past, yet they all face an uncertain future. Even though many of these characters are of high pedigree, they are still easily relatable. Blond does not concentrate on the surface aspects of what a person can be and instead plunges deeper and exposes the humanity in the characters he has created. Each moment is saturated in human instinct, making this work virtually impossible to be unrelateable.

There are many undertones in this book that could allow it to be classified in several subgenres. Even though it is a political thriller about the rise and imminent fall of democracy, there are many different shades of events that happen. Because of this, there is something for everyone, and that is what makes a work great.

I very much enjoyed this book. The happenings and the events that transpire are equally creative and eerily prophetic. It took no stretch of the imagination to see that conspiracy of this kind could be close at hand. It is both cautionary and entertaining. It is a very intelligent read that challenged me to think outside of what I know what is to what could be. I love books that make you question what you think you know, and this did just that.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The pace of this book was swift and enjoyable, and the story was incredibly original and captivating. It has been some time since I have read a book that has challenged what I believe to be the future while also entertaining me, and this book did just that. I feel more empowered having read The Phoenix Year, and I believe that to be a high feat for any work to accomplish.  

Dr. David Blond works as a private economic consultant specializing in quantitative analysis of economic data. He began his career working for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. During the period of 1978 – 1985, he was a Senior Economist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and after leaving that position worked for various major global economic forecasting and consulting firms. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Wattle Publishing is an independent publisher. We publish fiction, non-fiction and poetry. www.wattlepublishing.com

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Crossing the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux

Crossing the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux
(Ice #1) 
Publication date: August 2nd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Falling hard never felt so good.

Pair skaters Courtney and Mark have one shot left at their Olympic dream. They vow not to let anything get in their way, especially not Josh and Stephanie, the wealthy and talented brother and sister team.

The heart doesn’t always listen to reason, though…

The more time Courtney spends with sweet, shy Josh, the harder she falls for him. But they are on opposite sides of the competition, and their futures are headed in opposite directions. Will their friendship blossom into more or are their paths too different to cross?

This is the first book in the ICE series. The series continues with book #2, LOSING THE ICE.

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Forbidden love – it’s a tale as old as time. The heart has a funny way of choosing the one person we think we should stay away from and earnestly begin to yearn for. Especially when the stakes are high, and you have everything to lose.

This story revolves around the lives of pair ice skaters Courtney and Mark. These two are dedicated athletes who have poured everything they have into their art, and the refuse to let anything stop them, including their arch rivals. Stephanie and Josh are a force to be reckoned with both on and off the rink. But as fate and love would have it, Josh slowly begins to melt the ice around Courtney’s heart, and she quickly finds herself in the direst place a driven woman can. She is faced with the difficult decision of having to choose what is the most important to her, and that struggle is perfectly depicted in this work.

I adored the way Jennifer Comeaux fashioned her characters. Each one is filled with intense drive and purpose, determined to reach their goals no matter what stands in their way. Comeaux is inventively clever by weaving each of the individual’s paths together. No path is clear, and each member of this story must encounter obstacles to reach their desired destination. More often than not, these obstacles were people, and even more terrifying, their feelings about the people they once thought they could mow over without a second thought.

The voice of Courtney stood out to me immensely. Of course, her name is PERFECT (I felt like I was in a book!) but so is her personality. She thinks exactly like a real woman would, especially one that is trying to sort out the mess her heart seems to have created of her professional career. It always seems it is so much more difficult for women to manage their professional and personal lives, and my thoughts on that is because we never want to let anyone down, including ourselves. Courtney perfectly embodies this thought in a light and realistic way that I instantly fell in love with.

I also fell hard for Josh. His tone and charisma swept me and my book counterpart off of our feet in a matter of mere pages, it just took some time to realize it. He is the perfect book boyfriend, and I was so sad to have the book end as it meant my relationship with Josh was over by extension. However, I will let him live on in my heart long down the line, and he has most certainly made my top book boyfriend list.

This book was a fast paced read and very light hearted. It was an enjoyable read in which I could just melt into this world and leave my cares behind. Comeaux has created a beautiful world to get lost in for a while, and I plan on visiting again very soon.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. This was a very sweet, happy romance novel that was more than well done. It was structurally sound as well as exquisitely penned. This was my first book by Comeaux, but I know for certain it will not be my last.  

Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a diehard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. Jennifer loves to hear from readers! Visit jennifercomeaux.blogspot.com for contact information and to learn more about her books.

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Corner of Ocean and Bay by Gina Azzi

Corner of Ocean and Bay by Gina Azzi
Publication date: June 15th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Nessa Moore has sought reliable stability since her father’s death. Now, she’s over it. Tired of always being the mature adult, constantly worrying about her alcoholic mother, stressing about being able to afford college, she wants to have one normal, carefree, fun summer. And be more like her best friend Jacie.

Jacie Hayes is struggling to overcome the recent breakup with her first love. The one that ripped out her heart and left her devastated. Frustrated and bored with her own self pity, Jacie wants nothing more than to forget about Dylan, to go back to her old ways, her old self. To be the fun loving, live-in-the-moment girl who gossips about boys and sips mojitos.

Best friends since childhood, Nessa and Jacie have been through all their ups and downs together. No matter what. Now, the summer before their senior year of high school, they accept an invitation from Jacie’s aunt to join her in Lockwood Quay, New Jersey, a summer beach getaway.

Determined to make this their best, most memorable, summer yet, both girls push their own boundaries, accept new challenges, and find themselves keeping secrets from each other.

But sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone has consequences.

And some secrets can’t be forgiven.

Or forgotten.

To have a true friend that understands you to your very core is one of the rarest and precious gifts we can come across in this life. To hold these relationships in reverence and to celebrate them in every form they appear is a great reminder of how special these bonds can be. I know in my own life, I have been blessed to come across people, and instantly know that our souls were fashioned of the same fabric. In her novel Corner of Ocean and Bay, Gina Azzi pays tribute to such relationships and explores the depths in which they reside in our hearts.

The storyline that Azzi embarks upon with her characters is nothing short of detailed. You do not want for understanding the motivation behind each action or feeling her characters experience. She pens these aspects of storytelling in such a way that you feel as though you are right there with them, and feeling exactly what the characters are feeling. It also drummed up some emotions that I have experienced in the past, even though my experiences differ from those of Nessa and Jacie. Even in spite of my differences between myself in these characters, I was able to connect with them on a primal, emotional level, as the themes Azzi explores are universal, and transcend the barriers of specificity and even age.

The plot was well constructed and there were no details that I questioned throughout the book. Each action was addressed, even if it may not have been resolved. However, this is so true to life, that no all things get resolved, that it made this reality become even more life like to me. Life does not leave you with everything tied up perfectly, and relationships are never without bumps. Sometimes you simply have to move on, resolution or not, and this is something that Azzi beautifully demonstrated in her work.

I was surprised with the amount of darker content in this book. It from the description, this title appeared to be a coming of age story that explores relationships between young people and how they manage grief and growth. I was not expecting to find drugs sex and alcohol to be so prevalent in the story, especially since it is YA. While I do understand that not all subjects youths deal with are light and airy or lacking substance, it was a slight jolt to come across these themes when there was no indication of their presence in the description. I am fine with titles containing more grit to them, which is how I would describe this book, but I like it when I know it is in the work, not surprised by it while I am reading.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The book is very constructed and the character development is very advanced. I appreciated the depth with which Azzi took her story and really enjoyed living in this reality she so lovingly created for the duration of the work. While it could have done with some trimming down to save on some of the description, it did not take away from the purpose of the plot. Had the description been more clear about the dark content, I think I would have enjoyed it even more.

Cinderella's Shoes by Shonna Slayton

Cinderella's Shoes

by Shonna Slayton

Release Date: 10/06/15

Entangled Teen

The war may be over, but Kate Allen’s life is still in upheaval. Not only has she discovered that Cinderella was real, but now she's been made Keeper of the Wardrobe, her sole responsibility to protect Cinderella’s magical dresses from the greed of the evil stepsisters’ modern descendants.

But Cinderella’s dresses are just the beginning. It turns out that the priceless glass slippers might actually exist, too, and they could hold the power to reunite lost loved ones like her father—missing in action since World War II ended. As Kate and her boyfriend, Johnny, embark on an adventure from New York to Italy and Poland in search of the mysterious slippers, they will be tested in ways they never imagined.

Because when you harness Cinderella's magic, danger and evil are sure to follow...

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The First Book in The Series: Cinderella's Dress

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The History Behind the Story of Cinderella’s Shoes

Cinderella’s Shoes is set during the summer of 1947, and takes place mostly in Europe.

Have you ever thought about what life was like in Europe after World War II?

Well, immediately after the war ended in 1945, life was about the same as it was during the war. Roads and railroads were still bombed out. Bridges were still out of commission.

Food was still rationed. And the black market was still the place to get the products you really wanted.

People were angry. Some wanted revenge. And who exactly was in charge of keeping the peace?

This is the background my European characters are coming out of when my American characters arrive on the scene.

In my research I read about many of the atrocities committed during the war, and those that were allowed to happen immediately afterward to “help” people deal with their emotions and settle back into regular, non-wartime life.

(For example, Google: WWII head shaving.)

Various countries handled this change in power differently, and this transitional time led to the rise of communism in Poland, the heart of my Cinderella stories.

But Cinderella’s Shoes is mostly a fairy-tale story, so I don’t go into gruesome details, just hint at events that might have occurred in my character’s lives. However, I couldn’t avoid the setting, nor could I forget what I had learned.

Neither could my characters.

For many young girls, there is no better dress than the one that graces the pages of the fairy tale Cinderella. In their wistful imaginations, they close their eyes and transport themselves to The Ball in their magical new gown sewn with magic, searching for Prince Charming. But the story doesn’t end there. We all know that at the stroke of Midnight, Cinderella must dash away as to not reveal her true identity. But in her wake, she leaves behind one token that proves her existence. The magnificent glass slipper. These shoes have spurred many a dream and an abundance of shoe addictions. These are the shoes to rule them all. But what if these shoes were real? Would they hold the same magical powers as predicted in the story told for generations and generations hence? Or, would they be even more powerful than we could have ever imagined. This is what Shonna Slayton explores in the sequel to her first book, Cinderella’s Dress.

Shonna Slayton has landed upon a very interesting angle in which to work the fairytale retelling craze by not simply remaking the Disney version of Cinderella. Instead, she has taken a story that we all know, and made it the derivative of her own original plot. While the story rotates around the crux that is Cinderella’s story, she creates her own plane of reality, which is set in the era of the 1940’s. Slayton picks up where she left off in Cinderella’s Dress by immediately addressing the absence of the shoes. So if you haven’t read the first book, TURN BACK NOW or you may encounter some spoilers. However I will do my best to conceal any major plot points.

I appreciate where Slayton has taken each of her characters. Now that the war has ended, her characters are now left to live in the post-war world, which leaves them all changed in their own way. War touches everyone, and Slayton does a great job of showing that, even in the most subtle of ways. Each character has evolved and has begun to grow into themselves. Each character is well rounded and has their individual arch which is something that not many authors achieve. Her follow through in this development is very well done and not hard to miss.

In the first book, I felt that there may have been an imbalance when it came to the plot about just Kate’s day to day life as opposed to her life in reference to being a Keeper of the Wardrobe. There was a lot of backstory that I felt could have been left behind, and not enough about the dress. In fact, there would be several chapters with no mention whatsoever about the dresses. However I wanted to keep going and see how things changed in the second book. I believe that Slayton has found a better balance between the plot about Kate, and the plot about Kate and the story of Cinderella. It is a difficult task to manage two seemingly similar plot lines throughout the same story, and I believe that Slayton has gotten better at this with the practice of writing this series. I do still wish that there was more in reference to the legend of Cinderella, but perhaps that is not the goal of the book. In any case, I enjoyed the plot for what it is, and will not try to wish it into being something else.

I appreciate the attention to detail that Slayton has placed on the accuracy in this work. Her nuances are spot on, all the way down to the slang the teenagers used in that time. I love this time period, and its existence in this book was the second reason I was so drawn to this book, the first being that it was about the wardrobe of Cinderella. For this, I very much enjoyed being ushered into that time in a realistic way. It was refreshing to take a break from 2015 and relax in the times of the 1940’s, even though that time period was nothing but chaotic. The fact that I was able to so vividly picture the reality Slayton has created within the confines of the 1940s is only further proof that her development of the story in this regard is sound.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars I was so very excited to read this book and its predecessor, but it some ways was left wanting. When the title is Cinderella’s Shoes, you expect the majority of the book to be dedicated to that purpose. What I encountered was closer to half. So in this regard I was slightly disappointed. However, the rest of the book and its charms were quite refreshing and a pleasant read. It was delightful to read a story that took me back to a rich time period and engrossed me as soon as I arrived. For this, the book is outstanding. Should the intertwining of the stories been more seamless and balanced, the work would be perfect.

SHONNA SLAYTON is the author of the YA novels Cinderella's Dress, (Summer 2014) and Cinderella's Shoes (Fall 2015) published by Entangled Teen. She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.

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City of Roses by Donovan Pruitt

City of Roses by Donovan Pruitt
Publication date: May 5th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

A young man ventures to his lost love’s childhood home in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine. When a sudden accident puts him off-course, he awakes to discover a lively and vibrant culture living in a nearby village and a woman who reignites his heart. But something sinister lurks in the shadows, and he must face the terror and help defend the village from evil before it is lost forever. Go beyond the tragedy of Chernobyl and discover the magic in the City of Roses.

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This book is one that is almost difficult for me to describe. The content of this book was very dense. I very much appreciate the depth of culture it held at times I was unsure of exactly what was going on in the plot. This book is a work of fiction that exists within the Chernobyl disaster in Pripyat Ukrain. I was very much looking forward to reading this book as I always enjoy stepping outside my own circle of understanding and attempting to increase my breadth of intellect. I went into this story not having any prior knowledge of this disaster, and wanted to explore what this crisis could have sparked in the lives of those who endured it. It is also a paranormal, fantasy book, and I really looked forward to seeing how Pruitt married the historical content with these creative and inventive genres.

I appreciated the depth with which Donovan Pruitt explores within his text. Although it is very dense and at times could be found to be overwhelming, everything intermingles in a very nice way once you are able to comprehend everything at once. It is rich in historical facts as well as plot line. For those that do not like to look up information while reading a book to better understand it, this book may be one to veer away from, as this is something I had to do quite regularly to finish the work.

From this book, I believe that Pruitt is a very intellectual man, and carries that over into his writing. While it is wonderful to be stimulated while exposing yourself to this type of book, it is not always wonderful to have to work for your entertainment. I myself am one who likes to earn her way while reading at times, but this book was a large and at times laborious task to endure. It felt more like a homework assignment from a college professor than it did a leisurely read that also took the time and care to inform a new subset of people about a time that they did not previously know about.  Because of this, the fanciful and paranormal elements of the book were quite overshadowed instead of melded together.

Once you are able to get past the historical content, the fictional plot that lives within it is very good. I believe that if this book would have stripped away some of the historical facts and focused on this plot more carefully, the book would shine much brighter. The characters were ones that you wanted to see succeed, and over the course of the character arch you began to relate to them, even in their time of turmoil. It is a great feat to be able to take characters that are going through events that are so extreme, and make the relatable to the average reader. It also contained some very fresh takes on the popular fantasy and paranormal genre that would be heralded if one did not have to look so far to find them. This is something I feel Pruitt exceled in, and would do well to hone this talent for his future works.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars. There were elements about this book that I really enjoyed, and some that were lost to me given the amount I had to take in at one time. This book is only 125 pages, yet it contained enough information to fill a large volume. It is my thought that Pruitt wanted to be educate and entertain his readers, and he did too well of a job for some people to understand. If the book were just a historical account or just a fictional retelling with fantasy and paranormal elements, I think it would be more consumer friendly, but having both intertwined within such a short work. However, there were elements that I enjoyed greatly, such as the creativity found within the plot line. This component really stood out to me, and it is what I appreciated the most.

Donovan Pruitt has a passion for science fiction and fantasy, especially those titles that trend toward young and new adult storytelling. Cityof Roses was his first standalone book as an indie author, though he has also written for video games and was previously published as a co-author in the fantasy genre. You can visit him online at www.KalaEmpire.com or join the discussion on Twitter @KalaEmpire.

My Amazon book reviews are available here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/A2BE15IF4S23I1

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The Assassin (Mortal Beloved #2) by Pamela Dumond

The Assassin by Pamela DuMond
(Mortal Beloved, #2) 
Publication date: July 5th 2015
Genres: Time-Travel, Young Adult

“All the excitement of Outlander if it was a YA series.”

THE ASSASSIN IS the anticipated sequel to the YA Time Travel romantic thriller — THE MESSENGER.

The Messenger has been optioned for Film/TV.

The Assassin will be featured in Glamour UK Magazine September 2015 edition.

Time Traveler. Messenger. Beloved. Spy.

“I was a Messenger: I kept the memory of all our encounters, our lives, like a locket that brushes the skin and bones covering my heart. But Samuel was a Healer: he didn’t time travel. His kind lived, died, re-incarnated, and he didn’t retain memories from his past lives. Every year I landed in required starting our relationship over: from ashes, from scrap… Every place I journeyed had beauty as well as darkness; all my time-travels were bittersweet.” ~ Madeline.

Madeline’s a Messenger: time traveling across lifetimes and delivering messages that could change one life or many. When she discovers that her true love, Samuel, is alive in present day, but doesn’t remember her from their past, she journeys to a deadly royal conflict in medieval Portugal hoping to rekindle his memory. Mortal assassins as well as dark-souled time travelers seek to kill her. Will Madeline and Samuel be together again in life—or only in death?

THE SEEKER (Mortal Beloved, Book Three) publishes Winter 2015/2016.

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They say time heals all wounds. However, they never took in to account a time traveling messenger that must rekindle a fated love story within each lifetime she travels to. Every time she moves into the next life, her mission is to fall in love with Samuel, a healer. Those that say time heals all wounds also say that ignorance is bliss. It would seem that the ever illusive they seemed to get one of these statements correct, at least in the case of Samuel. Since he is a healer, he does not carry his past lives with him, therefore all that he was slips through the cracks of time, only to be caught by Madeline. Tasked with the mission to win the heart of Samuel and fulfill her birthright as a messenger, she finds herself in the midst of insurmountable tasks, left to her own devices and the power of her memories to overcome her circumstances.

I have always been a fan of time traveling stories, so when the opportunity came up to review a new series in this genre, I jumped at the chance. While there are many works that include time travel elements, rarely are they done well.  I am pleased to say that this book and its predecessor blew me away. The plot was so original and yet also relatable that I found myself drawn within the pages of Madeline’s world within minutes of starting the books. Her thoughts became her thoughts and her tasks my tasks. Every emotion was so well depicted that I could see everything that occurred in real time, whenever that time may have been.

I really enjoy that Dumond brought in so many defining details in this book. Madeline travels to very specific times, and those times are impeccably researched. Not once did I encounter a detail out of place, which is very rare in modern books. The time Dumond took to ensure that her tales were not only well crafted but accurate is a detail that does not go unnoticed.

Additionally, the voice that Dumond breathes into Madeline is exceptionally compelling. Far too many heroines in recent works have a voice that is unsure, insecure, and timid. Madeline, while relatable, is a strong female character that I never tired of. Many times when reading a book, or even a series for that matter that is written in this style, I grow weary of being inside the mind of the character. To my delight I never once became exasperated with Madeline, and I even found myself wishing I could know more and more about her.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. This work in incredibly original in a sea of books that can easily be interchanged.  I found myself unable to put it down, and am very eager for the next installment of this series to be released. This was truly a pleasure to read, and I firmly believe that we will be seeing even more from Dumond in the future.

Pamela DuMond is the author who discovered Erin Brockovich’s life story, thought it would make a great movie and pitched it to ‘Hollywood’.

She writes romantic comedic mysteries, romantic YA time travel and New Adult romance.

Her book The Story of You and Me was a Quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakout Novel Award (ABNA) 2014 in Romance.

Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys was a Quarterfinalist in ABNA 2013 in Mystery .

She’s addicted to TV shows — The Voice and Reign. The movies Love Actually and The Bourne trilogy (with Matt Damon — not that other actor guy,) make her cry ever time she watches them. (Like — a thousand.)

When she’s not writing Pamela’s also a chiropractor and cat wrangler. She loves reading, the beach, working out, movies, TV, animals, her family and friends. She lives in Venice, California with her fur-babies.

She likes her coffee strong, her cabernet hearty, her chocolate dark, her foods non-GMO and she lives for a good giggle.

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Bitterroot Part 1 by SM Reine and Heather Hildenbrand

Title: Bitterroot Part One

by Heather Hildenbrand and SM Reine

Publisher: Elephantine Publishing

Release Date: September 20, 2015

Genre: Paranormal/Urban, Coming of Age 

Seventeen year-old Regan Vuk has lived her whole life under the shadow of her future: the pack alpha. She is fast, smart, and determined. According to her own pack members, she is a shoo-in. But Regan’s dad has a secret. 

Seventeen year-old Charlie spent her adolescence drifting from place to place with a mother desperate to hide her illegitimate daughter from the unforgiving reality of werewolf pack dynamics. All Charlie has ever wanted is to know her father--and the family that's been kept from her all these years. But most of all, she wants a place to belong in the world. Where she doesn’t have to pretend she can’t sprout fur and paws at will. 

Being kidnapped on her way home from prom was not what she had in mind. 
When Charlie finds out the only way to fit in with her new family is to defeat her long-lost sister for the role of alpha, she refuses. That is until she learns that the strange and alluring vampire she's befriended, Owen, is the same vampire prince that's been promised the winner. 
Regan has no doubt that, although she loathes the vampires, it will be her who "wins" Owen. 

Only problem: Charlie's already fallen for him. 

Bitterroot is a 3-part novella series with a dose of sibling rivalry... Who will you root for? 

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Everywhere you look it seems like there is another paranormal series trying to make its way into viability, especially those of the werewolf/vampire type. Some people are instantly turned off by this booking sub-genre due to over-exposure caused by block buster series such as Twilight and The Mortal Instruments while others are clambering over it for the very same reason. As an equal opportunity book lover, I try to give every book its fair chance, but I will admit, I was more than a little excited to read this story.

I have been a huge fan of Heather Hildenbrand since a friend of mine introduced me to her Dystopian Series, The Imitation series, and I have had S.M Reine’s collective work on my TBR list for an absurd amount of time and cannot wait to have the time to dive into her highly acclaimed work. When this pairing of authors was announced, I was cautiously excited. I am always slightly wary of author collaborations, as they can either work out to be creative masterpieces, or quite the literary disaster. In my time of reading, I have found myself to be so hopeful for author collaborations, and usually sorely disappointed. With great relief I can say that this collaboration was one that was perfectly engineered. The writing styles of each author did not clash like many duel authored books unintentionally facilitate, but instead the both of their voices bolstered their work to a degree of expertise that cannot be overlooked.

The storyline was pleasantly intriguing, and I was drawn in within the very first scene. As the story developed, the characters began to round out into very relatable beings, which is something that can be found as lacking in this genre. Both Charlie and Regan were incredibly human in heart, despite their paranormal genetics. I really enjoyed that there is not one girl that outshines the other consistently throughout the story and that there are no guarantees. Everything is consistently changing, including the point of view in the story, which further lends to the intrigue that comes with never knowing how things are going to turn out.

The only complaint that I have about this book is that the second isn’t out yet! This is the first novella in the Bitterroot series, and the second is already up for pre-sale. As soon as I read the last page, I was so sad that I have to wait to find out what happens next! I am so invested in this reality, and I am anxiously excited to see where this journey leads.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The plot was fast paced and flowed very easily, which is always a delight to read. The characters were all very intriguing yet relatable. I enjoyed that we could see their vulnerability, but that characteristic is what always spurred on their strength. I believe that this collaboration is a stunning success; one that I only wished could be said of more author pairings. This is a very well done first installment, and I eagerly wait to read what happens next.  

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. 


Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visitwww.fictionauthorcoach.com and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life.

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Hi everyone! My name is Sara, and I write urban fantasy and paranormal novels as SM Reine. I collect swords, cat hair, and typewriters (which I do use for writing!). It's a good day when those three things have nothing to do with each other.

If you would like to know the instant my next book is available, you should enlist in my Army of Evil! We have a wicked cool secret handshake, but you'll have to sign up to learn it. ;) Check it out -- http://smarturl.it/armyofevil

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The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen

The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen
Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication date: March 26th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.

With her criminal record, sixteen-year-old Char is never going to get a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect Earth’s survivors. The Arks are reserved for the real goody-goodies, like Char’s mom, dad, and brother, all of whom have long since turned their backs on her.

With Earth on the brink of destruction, Char must use all her tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they want to see her or not.

Once she arrives on the North American Ark, Char discovers that the remnants of humanity haven’t achieved the egalitarian utopia they’d planned for. For starters, the “Officers of the Peace” are anything but peaceful, especially since stealing a spot on an Ark is a crime punishable by death…

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It’s the end of the world. That alone would rock the very foundations of one’s existence to the core, but not Char. Having long left behind the girl that was Charlotte, the daughter of an influential senator and a well-renowned doctor, Char finds herself finally see that her actions have caused dire consequences. Char is in juvey, a convicted common thief, and the last type of girl that would ever be saved from the world’s demise. Because of her parent’s status, they are able to secure highly coveted spots on the OPT, or outer planetary transport, that will take the passengers to The Ark. But because of her record, Char does not qualify for a spot in these vessels.

Desperate to find a way to escape what appears to be her sealed fate, Char does everything in her power to find a way onto the OTP. Her obstacles appear insurmountable, but this does not deter her determination. Her strength and resilience to survive kicks into high gear as she makes her way toward her goal, no matter the cost.

Char receives assistance from some very unlikely sources very early on. Though she feels she does not deserve it, she gratefully accepts and carries on toward the OTP, so that the brave acts of everyone that had made her journey possible would not be in vain. Her road is uncertain and her path is unconventional, but this makes the story all the more thrilling. The plot is riddled with twists and turns that you never see coming, and as a reader, it is very refreshing to find a book that is unpredictable to this high of a degree.

The writing in this book is outstanding. Laura Liddell Nolen has done an excellent job of taking a premise that has been visited with great frequency in recent years, and given it a fresh perspective. It is remarkable to find an original plot in a genre that has become somewhat generic.

Nolen has also crafted characters that are unique in their own right, yet all work together to serve the purpose of the plot in flawless harmony. Char is a strong, fearless girl that takes her fate into her own hands. While she has some insecurity and fear, she does not allow that fear to overtake her or deter her from what must be done. Even though she could easily be a character that has a hardened heart due to her criminal past, her humanity remains intact. With every occurrence, you can see her heart and the want to do right by those who cross her path, no one more so than her parents and West, her brother. Even the characters that are supporting characters are well-rounded and believable. You can tell from the very first pages that great care was not only taken to create this world, but also to bring life to its inhabitants. That effort greatly pays off and makes the book shine.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It was a very interesting read and I greatly enjoyed the story. I very much look forward to reading the rest of the series, and am very curious as to where the author will take this journey. 

Laura grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she spent an excellent childhood playing make-believe with her two younger brothers. The Ark is the direct result of those stories and a lifelong devotion to space-themed television. It received a Work in Progress Grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Laura has a degree in French and a license to practice law, but both are frozen in carbonite at present. She lives in Texas with her family.

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Queen of Always (The Stolen Empire #3) by Sherry Ficklin

  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing (September 15, 2015)
  • Publication Date: September 15, 2015

If her time at court has taught Catherine anything, it's that there is no room for weakness in Imperial Russia. With the Empress' health failing and rumors of a change in the line of succession, her place in the royal line is once more in jeopardy. 

Tormented by her sadistic husband and his venomous mistress, Catherine must once more walk the fine line between pleasure and politics—between scandal and survival. 
When her young son becomes the target of those rebelling against Peter's reign, Catherine will have to rise up to protect herself, her child, and her nation from his unstable and potentially catastrophic rule. This means putting herself at odds with the most dangerous man she's ever known, trusting those who once proved to be her enemies, and turning a nation against its sovereign. In the ultimate battle for the crown, new alliances will be forged, loyalties will be tested, and blood will be shed. 

Don't miss this breathtaking conclusion to the Stolen Empire series! 

Queen of Always is a YA historical fiction based on the life of young Catherine the Great. Fans of the hit TV show REIGN will devour this scandalous glimpse into the life of one of the most dynamic women in history.

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Stakes are truly high in the enthralling conclusion to The Stolen Empire Series. Boundaries are no longer being tested, but are being run through with an all-consuming power, motivated by self-preservation, greed, and the desire for stability.

In Queen of Always, we find each character stretched beyond their limits. No longer do they have the luxury of redemption. All that is left, is to press further into the destruction and devastation of their own making, with only their hope and faith that someday, they can once again find their way back to their humanity.

To say that in their own way that the characters lost touch with their sanity would be a vast understatement. The Empress’ condition has remained the same, if not steadily declined, out of sheer spite towards Catherine, refusing to relinquish her power. Because of the miscalculated expiration of the Empress, Catherine is now left to endure Peter’s antics singularly. Since Peter’s desire for the thrown has gone unquenched, his tantrums have only begun to metastasize, infecting the whole of the court with his ill-conceived policies.

It quickly becomes apparent to Catherine that she can no longer devote her passions to simply ensuring her happiness with Serguei and Alexander. It has now fallen upon her to save herself, her lovers, her son, and the whole of Russia.

Sherry Ficklin has done an impeccable job concluding this series. In Queen of Tomorrow, we were taken on a journey in which the characters were presented with several options, yet chose the more difficult options more often than not. In Queen of Always, she cemented the decisions by showing that they had each backed themselves up against a wall of their own making, their only hope for survival being to simply bear the unbearable. In one way or another, the weight of such a life broke each one of them, yet Catherine was able to thrive in the one way that mattered. Even through her misdeeds, she left the crucible stronger than when she entered.

Ficklin’s ability to take historical events and wrap them into a captivating tale is remarkable. She took the lives of those we now find ourselves so removed from and made them relatable. Even though I am separated by centuries and nobility from Catherine, I feel that I have learned something from her, specifically in this portrayal. I matters not whether her character in this work is more fictional than accurate. What does matter is that she illustrates a strong woman, who when faced with the unthinkable, still perseveres.  

I give Queen of Always 5 out of 5 stars. I loved this series from the very start and am so sad to see it go. Queen of Always draws a breathtakingly haunting ending to a perfectly penned YA series.

Steam (The Legends Saga #3) by Stacey Rourke

  • Print Length: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Group Publishing (September 10, 2015)
  • Publication Date: September 10, 2015

Time passes, sins forgotten. 
The bodies of the victims long since rotten. 

Trapped within the essence of the Headless Horseman by the guilt of slaughtering her best friend, Ireland Crane follows the father of science fiction, HG Wells, in search of freedom from the curse that binds her. Instead, she discovers even he has a hidden agenda. A dark, relentless passion to be reunited with the woman he loves has driven him to manipulate time and a murderous Horseman. 

Yet heed my warning, as the Raven flies, 
The Hessian will come … and you will die. 

All that prevents Ireland from abandoning Wells’ twisted pursuit, or introducing him to her sword, are the undead witches haunting her. Begging for freedom from a vile succubus, the ghoulish coven leads Ireland and her crew on a journey through Salem’s sordid past. There, they learn there is more to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s history than a scarlet letter, and the secret they’ve uncovered seeks to destroy them all.

Just as with each story in the Legend’s Saga Series, we are quickly introduced into a world in which we were once given only a single perspective view, and the view is twisted in the most delightful way within minutes. Steam ushers us into the world of Preen, and in that story hides the origins of both the Salem Witch Trials and The Scarlet Letter. Within this realm, we are left to follow Preen and her coven through a series of events that could only have been fate, and wonder how it could possibly be tied back to Sleepy Hollow, Edgar Allen Poe, and Ireland and her gang of misfit boys.

We also follow Ireland, Rip, Noah, Ridley, H.G. Wells along with the new additions of Payton and Malachi along their most crooked journey yet. In this book, while many ends are tied up which were left undone in the previous books, we are consistently berated with one mystery after another, left only with the hope that we will have some closure at this work’s end.

To say that I enjoy this serious is a vast understatement. I have loved this series from the very moment I began Crane and now carry that love far beyond the final page. I usually give a more detailed account of my opinions of the plot, but as almost every single detail is a potential spoiler, I am only left with the ability to say that this is truly a work of art. This series and this installment in particular is a story that is woven with such complexity that it is simple to lose yourself in the action and emotions of the Legend’s Saga Reality. The way Stacey Rourke has not only retold, but dare I say it, improved upon some of the literary world’s most hallowed tales is nothing short of astounding. Steam takes two of my favorite works, and raises the bar even higher. To be able to not only honor, but rival the talent of such esteemed authors is quite a feat, and a talent well worth recognizing.

I give this book 5 out of 5 starts. If this ranking system would let me give it all the stars, I would, but five will have to suffice for now. Never have I fallen in love with such an odd group of characters, and never have I loved a collection so dearly. As cliché as it is, I laughed and I cried, sometimes within minutes of each other. So to everyone I know, look out, you are not going to stop hearing about this book and series for a VERY long time. 

Blog Tour and Review for Belong to Me by Laura Howard

Belong to Me by Laura Howard
(Moore Crossing #1) 
Publication date: March 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Kate and Noah thought they had the kind of love that could last through anything. Until their world crumbles out from beneath them.

After months of separation, the tragic death of Jack, Kate’s twin and Noah’s best friend, throws them back together. As they try to heal from the horrific loss, will they be able to overcome old wounds or are they destined to live separately forever?

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Loss is known to be a common tragedy that has touched us all in some way or another. This is why this universal topic is often chosen as the basis for a story. Because this is one of the common threads of humanity, it is also a common thread in storytelling and therefore can sometimes appear to be trite and poorly done. However, this is not the case. Laura Howard takes subject matter that could have easily been just another sad tale bound in tragedy and made it spring off the page in a way that is pleasing to read.

Howard sets the foundation of the book very quickly within the very first chapter in the book and fortifies it in the details to follow. The main character, Kate is in the midst of attending the funeral for her twin brother, Jack. His death was incredibly sudden, the result of getting behind the wheel after a few too many to drink with some friends on a regular evening. The tension that soon follows appears when Noah, the male protagonist, Jack’s best friends and Kate’s former lover appears. We don’t have to wait long to understand how deep the roots of complexity run between these two, and it leaves you wondering how this tale will wind up. It is the sort of plot that pulls you in from the very beginning and doesn’t let go until you have read the last sentence, and even then the story lingers with you.

I very much enjoyed the character structure in this book. Each character whether main or supporting was thoroughly thought out and had its own purposeful arch in the story. Without one of these characters, the story would not have been the same, which is a sign of great storytelling. There were no meaningless characters or filler scenes that could have been left out. Every word served the furthering of the plot. The writing style was very easy to read and quite heart wrenching. The prose was so well constructed that there were moments that a single sentence sent goosebumps up my arms and a chill down my spine. The dialogue fit each character but was not so casual that is was difficult to believe. Everything in this book was as it should be.

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. This was a very easy read and one that I will not soon forget. The words were weaved together in seamless harmony and with great elegance. I appreciate the style in which this was written and the reality that this work created. The characters are not only believable, but are relatable which in turn makes them lovable. This is the first book in the Moore Crossing Series and I hate that I have to wait until the next one releases until I can find out what happens next. 

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

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The Forlorned by Angela J. Townsend

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Title:  The Forlorned
Author:   Angela J. Townsend
Published: July 21st, 2015
Publisher:  Crimson Tree Publishing
Genre:  Horror
Content Warning:  Violence
Recommended Age:  13+
Synopsis:  When Tom Doherty first laid eyes on the lighthouse he knew it was damned.
An advertisement lured him to the island, offering a job renovating the old lighthouse and ramshackle buildings. What he didn’t know was that he was the only applicant. None of the locals wanted the job – no one dared.
Isolated and alone, Tom soon discovers why. Messages from disembodied voices; ghostly visitations and escalating horrors draw Tom deeper into the island’s evil past—a darkness that forces Tom to unbury the truth and bring demons of his own into the light.
The Forlorned upcoming movie release information can be found on IMDb at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4294968/?
Excerpt from The Forlorned by Angela J. Townsend:
The trap stood in the entryway of the kitchen, smeared with a thick glob of Peanut Butter. Tom sat in the living room and waited for it to spring. He’d take the rat to the opposite side of the islandand release it. At midnight, he gave up and climbed into the chair by the fire. The tightness in his body relaxed and sleep overtook him.
Tom was awakened by his shivering only an hour after dozing off. He peered outside his frosted window. There must be a cold front moving in.
He added more wood to the fire and shivered under the quilt. The temperature continued to drop. He could see his own breath come in puffs of steam with every exhale. Exhausted and still shivering, Tom finally dozed again.
Deep asleep in the middle of the night Tom struggled, fought to move, but couldn’t. His eyes refused to open.
A sinister presence loomed over him, trapping him under like a heavy fish net, constricting his every movement, only inches from his face. Icy breath pelted his forehead.
Tom’s eyes snapped open. His chest seized with panic. He was no longer in the chair. He struggled to hold himself upright. Cold, fog-laden night burned his lungs with each gasping breath. His bare feet froze onto cold, wet wood. The crash of thunder and flash of lightning took turns adding to the torment of the night.
As if waking up from a bad dream, Tom stood on the deck of a strange ship. The massive vessel leaned forward and back, driving hard through the waves. Wailing winds and icy sleet tore at her ravaged sails, creating an eerie flapping noise. Tom’s heart pounded. Muffled voices of men shouted over the storm.
A shot rang past his head.
He struggled to wake himself from the nightmare but couldn’t.
Somewhere in the dark a man yelled, “Hold tight!” The sea rose and a wave washed over the ship.
Wrenched off his feet, he landed hard on the deck. He slid to the opposite side of the ship and grasped the edge of a rail just in time to avoid being washed overboard. A hot flash of pain seared in his back.
Tom rolled over and saw the men loading grape and canister shot into cannons lined upalong the deck. Scrambling to his feet, he bolted to a man busy loading another round into one of the large guns.
“Who are you?” Tom shouted.
The man looked directly at him but didn’t seem to hear. Angry at being ignored, Tom shouted again, “What’s going on?”
The man looked past him.
Tom ran to the other side of the ship to avoid the salt-stiff rigging as it crashed to the deck. He realized the crew couldn’t see him.
A flash of lightning struck near the rear of the ship and he saw the pursuer, a massive frigate. Her great prow sliced through boiling black waters. An English flag boldly whipped back and forth atop her mast. Daggers of ice hung from her gun ports.
Someone grabbed his arm. He tried to wrench it away, but the hand held fast. He looked into the eyes of a young mast-hand.
“What ship is this? Where am I?” Tom yelled.
Lightning struck again, and the young man turned into a bloated corpse. The flesh fell away from his raw bones. A grape shot wound appeared in his forehead.
“It was hell, Tom. Don’t forget us. Come find us, Tom. Come find us.”
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About the Author:
Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time career in historical research and writing. A writer in local community circulations, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars. Currently, Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing.
Angela resides on a ranch, in rural Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant.
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Crimson Tree Publishing Links:
(An adult division of Clean Teen)
Giveaway Details:
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  • A bookmark swag pack, winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook, and a $15 Amazon gift card.
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I should not have started this book in the middle of the night. I always begin my reading well into what most would call early morning, as this is the most peaceful time of my day, however, that peace was quickly disrupted in the best way possible. From the very first paragraph, Angela J Townsend managed to transport me to not only another place, but another time. It was a time where peril was prevalent and truth was torn asunder. The eerie beginnings of this work leapt off of the page only to dance in the recesses of my mind, where only the terrifying things go. These scenes only continued to dominate my consciousness in the most intriguing of ways, pulling me into a high-stakes world that I could see just as clear in my mind’s eye as I could my very own memories.

The mood of this book was established early on, and impeccably at that. The darkness of the subject matter was a beautiful through line that kept me entertained until the very last page. I normally do not read thriller/suspense books as I scare easily, however I am very glad that I read this work, as it was more than simply it’s scare factor. Weaved in between the moments of terror and supernatural occurrences was a strong story that stands perfectly on its own. Very often in this genre, attention is only paid to specific scenes and the rest is just filler until the next terrifying twist. The Forlorned not only had these emotionally charged vignettes, but it also showcases exquisite prose and storytelling. It is a plot line that is incredibly original and captivation throughout.

The characters in this book were occasionally hard to relate to. The descriptive details of each of their lives were handled with incredible agility and the creative structure was brilliant. However, as soon as the characters began to speak their own dialogue, the writing became very generic and bland. There was not much to differentiate the characters from one another in their speech and vocabulary. This created such a stark contrast to the well-crafted prose found in the majority of the book that it became distracting at times. There were moments that I found myself rushing to get through the dialogue in order to get back to the meat of the work.

Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The plot is one of the more original that I have had the pleasure of reading as of late and I appreciated the advanced level of storytelling. The emotions conveyed throughout its pages were electric and palpable, making this one difficult to put down. Had the characters been developed more past their current generic structure, this book would be nearly perfect. Aside from the distraction the contrast of these two writing styles, I very much enjoyed this book and found it to be an easy read. I look forward to reading more of Townsend’s work in the future and feel that her success has only begun. 

Review of Pointe of Breaking by Amy Daws and Sarah J Pepper

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Meet socialite, Leo Richards, and  ballerina, Adeline Parker, in this emotional page-turner. hot 

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  synopsis
POINTE Getting screwed over backstage by my married-ex tears my heart into a million tiny pieces. Sitting in the audience at the ballet with my former fling wasn’t my idea of fun.
I live in my pointe shoes, not even my ex can taint my love for ballet. I hate the ballet. This on again/off again crap was getting old. And then my whole world changes when I notice the smoldering gaze… Then I look to the stage, and I can’t take my eyes off…
OF... Leo Richards. Adeline Parker. Concentrating on anything except his sexy…everything, is impossible. Her presence commands my attention…I’ve never experienced this before.
He makes me second-guess everything I’ve ever dreamed about. She makes me question everything I’ve ever known.
Fighting him is a strategic sport—no clothes allowed. All I can think about are her sexy ballerina legs wrapped around me—tutu definitely on.
BREAKING Our scandalous rendezvous is plastered all over NYC’s tabloids. Because of my status in Manhattan, now I’ve dragged her into the limelight.
My ex will stop at nothing to tear us apart. Seriously powerful people forbid me to be with her.
Rumors about his past keep building. I can’t tell her this secret.
When it came to Leo, I only knew the big things. When it came to Adeline, I knew nothing about the little things. But uncovering those things about him [her] may push us past our breaking point.
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10 Fun Facts You Might Not Need to Know About #DaPep:

From KIMYE to BENNIFER. From BRANGELINA to TOMCAT. Now we introduce to you.....DAPEP. Amy DAws and Sarah J. PEPper. Indie Authors. Best Friends. And now, Co-Authors.

Fun Facts: 1. They both love ranch. Sarah would bathe in it if it didn’t risk an infection. 2. They have little to no boundaries with each other…as became apparent at a book conference in Phoenix. They can’t share the details, but just know it was #MuchTooMuch 3. Sarah actually has a very small amount of ballet experience. 4. Amy once pretended to have ballet experience at church camp so she could get the dance solo. Jesus knew the truth. 5. Sarah has won three dance offs, aside from one. That eleven- year-old haunts her to this day. 6. Sarah & Amy live three minutes apart. And they measure all distance in time. 7. While writing the romantic scenes in Pointe of Breaking, Amy & Sarah couldn’t look each other in the eye. 8. They had no outline for Pointe of Breaking. 9. Amy takes notes in a Hello Kitty notepad. Sarah takes notes in her head. 10. Amy is convinced that Sarah has a folder in her email account labeled “I hate Amy”. Sarah just laughs every time Amy asks her about it…The fact that she’s not denying it hasn’t escaped Amy’s attention.
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author bios
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Amy Daws lives in South Dakota with her husband, Kevin, and their miracle daughter, Lorelei. The long-awaited birth of Lorelei is what inspired Amy's first book, Chasing Hope, and her passion for writing. On most nights, you can find Amy and her family dancing to Strawberry Shortcake's theme song or stuffing themselves inside children's-sized playhouses because there is nothing they wouldn't do for their little miracle. For more of Amy's work, visit: www.amydawsauthor.com Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest 5762464Sarah J. Pepper specializes in dark, paranormal romance - think "happy ever after" but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn't only filled with hugs, kisses, bunnies, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It's in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of - both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn't always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn't mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit? Get a glimpse inside her head at www.sarahjpepper.com Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest

Let me just start by saying that I have been so incredibly excited to read this book. Not only is this work written by two of the coolest authors with some of the most original and relatable works I have had the pleasure of reading, but the subject matter is about a ballerina and a really hot guy. I don’t know about you, but I still kind of harbor the want to be a ballerina and I may or may not sometimes attempt some ballet type moves when no one is around. And hot guy because… I also like those.  All of these things put together were what I imagined to be a slam-dunk winner for me.

The first chapter pulled me right into the story with no problem. I went from the sweltering heat of Florida to the backstage area of a performance hall in NYC surrounded by sugar and spice and everything nice, also known as ballerinas. However that lasted all of thirty seconds when Blake, Adeline’s ex shows up. I feel like this scene was supposed to make me uncomfortable to say the least, or at least I hope it was because that is exactly what happened. I found the scenario to be almost cringe-worthy, and I am still not entirely sure if that is how I was supposed to feel. The writing was excellent in this section, so I am almost certain that this was the goal, but for me as a reader it set me on edge and made me a touch skeptical as to where the rest of the book was going.

The plot was very interesting and I enjoyed the journey that each of the characters made. Their background was very well developed and this clearly informed their choices. The construction of each character, whether main or supporting was found solid, and this is something that always makes for an incredible story. I also very much enjoyed the journey that these characters took together. I have always been partial to any stories that feature the performance world, especially the theatrical arts as this is my personal background. I thought that the portrayal of this lifestyle and career choice was very well researched and realistic which is not always the case in books of this genre. I very much appreciated the attention to detail within each aspect of story-telling. Detail was paid to every aspect of the plot, not simply the construction of the characters.

The only downfall of this book was the editing. There were very simple mistakes made throughout that made me sad. This work has the potential to be one of the greats for this genre, but having to make corrections throughout on my own in order to understand the story was distracting to say the least. If this were to be corrected, the story and the work as a whole would be stellar.

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed the story and it was an easy read, but the flow of the words was severely disrupted by the editorial structure. I adore all of the works of Daws and Pepper and was thrilled to see this collaboration come to fruition. I only hope to see more work by their collective hand to come, as I think they fill a void in the literary world that only they can fill. 

Perfect Contradiction by Peggy Martinez

Title: Perfect Contradiction

Series:  The Contradiction Series #2

Author:   Peggy Martinez

Published:   July 14th, 2015

Publisher:  Crimson Tree Publishing

Genre:  NA Contemporary Romance

Content Warning:   Minor Violence, sexual references

Recommended Age:  17+

Jennifer Collins is finally beginning to heal after losing her mother to cancer. It’s been a long road with scary turns, but her best friend Beth helped her through the darkest moments. But now Beth has gone and gotten herself hitched, and Jen can’t help but feel like she’s all alone once again.

When Hunter Wright comes strolling back into town after leaving her behind without so much as a see ya later when she needed him the most, Jen suddenly realizes she isn’t as over him as she thought she was. And perhaps she never would be.

But things are complicated now, and Jen has a secret that makes it impossible for her to throw caution to the wind and fall back into the arms of the man who broke her heart. Sometimes, a new beginning, a new life, and a new outlook can mean so much more than understanding and forgiveness. Sometimes it can mean putting faith in someone who has the ability to hurt you or the ability to make you whole. Jen knows more than anyone that love can be such a… Perfect Contradiction.

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It was 2am and my bed was covered in piles of work a at least a dozen tabs are open on my computer. With deadlines looming and responsibilities demanding my attention, the last thing I felt like I could do was press pause and open up a book. However, my review for said book was due very soon for the book tour, and while I had procrastinated like a champion, the looming deadline was starting to stress me out. So with every intention of powering through this book, I opened it up and dove right in. In retrospect, I probably should not have started this book so late, because once I got passed the first few pages, I was no longer in my room surrounded in my room, but rather was blissfully content in Salem, Missouri watching the lives of Jennifer Collins, Hunter Wright, and the many other colorful characters that comprise the world that is Perfect Contradiction.

I am just going to start out by saying I love this book. Everything about it is flawless to me. The characters are believable and endearing, even in their misguided moments. The plot was seamless and easy to follow. I didn’t have to think about what I was reading, and instead was able to let my eyes float across the page and enjoy the ride. However, while it was an easy read, it was not predictable, which is something I very much appreciated. It is clear that Peggy Martinez took great care in crafting every aspect of this novel, and this is a labor that is most certainly covered in love and talent.

Jen is a character I can absolutely relate to. Having grown up in a southern, religious home, many of the attributes that Jen possesses are the same attributes that either run through my own veins, or through the veins of one of my kin. She cooks when she is angry, she never has an idle moment, and she always knows how to put a good ol’ southern smile on her face, even when that is the last thing she wants to be doing. In turn, Hunter is plain and simple, one of the good ole boys as we like to call them. Raised by a preacher and a hard working but loving mother, he knows all the right things to do and say, but doesn’t always exercise that knowledge. Without meaning to, he sometimes falters at the most crucial moment, and while this could make him a villain to some, it made him human to me.

The situational artistry in this book is fantastic. Martinez does and impeccable job of creating an authentic, sweet southern romance without making that theme feel forced. Every detail was sincere, not put on like it so easily could have been. Even the dialogue was crafted in a way that was believable, and I am not ashamed to say that I heard that entire book with the most pleasant southern accent that exists. What she has created is a world in which every southerner feels they could have lived through, but further it is a world that everyone, regardless of region can relate to. There was more than one occasion where I pictured my own town in the place of Salem, and my own townsfolk were soon speaking the words that Martinez penned. I was specifically tickled at the church scenes with the clucking rumor mill. Just too perfect.

Emotionally this book took me by surprise. I was not expecting to connect so strongly with these characters and become so invested in their well-being. I felt that I really knew these characters in a way I have not experienced many times before. Perhaps it was because I could easily interchange them with people I know and love fiercely, or maybe it was because it depicted a deep seated dream of a life I have always wanted. A life that is filled with love, honesty, and joy, but mostly with twists and turns that I could have never anticipated. This was a book about taking life as it comes, and rising to the occasion. My smile was accompanied by both laughter and tears throughout this journey, and I loved every moment.

It only took me four hours to read this book because I could not put it down. Clearly I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and I have no shame in being cliché and saying it is PERFECT. So even though I stayed up all night and I still have tons of work to do, I have already downloaded the first book in the series (they can be read as standalones and therefore out of order) and fully intend on reading it immediately. 

“Let me help you with that,” Hunter murmured near my ear. I stiffened as he tied my apron for me and stepped back. I turned slowly, my eyes traveling from the fine cut of his tuxedo up to find his eyes on me. He was soaking me in, for once not guarding his emotions as he devoured the sight of me standing there in my kitchen, barefoot with my momma’s old apron covering my pretty dress. 

“What are you doing, Hunter?” I asked wearily. The shutters came down once again and he took another step back and loosened his stance into nonchalance. He shrugged.

“Just came to help you out. I’m not big on crowds.” I raised a brow. So, he wanted to help me in the kitchen. I could deal with that. I could pretend like nothing had ever happened between us, that we hadn’t spent the two most wonderful nights of my life in each other’s arms. I could pretend that I hadn’t suffered a broken heart because I’d thought we’d had something special between us. Yeah, I could do that. Absolutely.

Peggy Martinez is a full time Author who has over a dozen published works, including the Time Warper Series, the State of Decay Trilogy, the Contradiction Series, the Reapers Grimm Series, her middle grade Super Zero Series, and various novellas and serials.

When not writing, Peggy can be found homeschooling her teen son and four daughters. You may also find her packaging hundreds of boxes for her monthly box subscription business she founded just for readers! (Lit-Cube) She could also be spotted reading, making soap, dabbling in aromatherapy, watching gangster movies, prepping for the zombie apocalypse, or downing insane amounts of Twizzlers and Kazoozles. Oh yeah… and day dreaming about owning a small homestead or taking a dream vacation to Greece, Scotland, & Ireland. She could totally be doing that.

WEBSITE   AMAZON PAGE  FACEBOOK   TWITTER    GOODREADS

Written On My Heart by Cole Gibson

Written on my Heart

by Cole Gibsen

Release Date: 07/28/15

Entangled Embrace

New Adult

It's been six months since Ashlyn Daniels was kicked out of her home. Six months since she stood up to her abusive stepfather and got a busted rib—and seeing all her things set ablaze in a backyard bonfire—for her trouble.

Never going back. She doesn't need trouble...especially if trouble is tattoo artist Lane Garrett, who's six-feet-plus of tattooed hotness and a complete ass.

Lane has spent the last decade fighting to support his family. To protect them. There's no room for romance, even with a fragile (yet amusingly feisty) stunner...even if she somehow manages to invade his world and his heart.

But while some secrets are as visible as ink on the skin, others must remain hidden at all costs...

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Ashlyn was the last person to think she could find love. Her sorted past checkered with years of verbal and emotional abuse had shattered her perception of emotions to the point where all she was familiar with was fear. Every decision she made and every action she committed stemmed from her deep seated terror. With no discernable way to identify how she felt, finding her footing all on her own was much more than a simple challenge. Even though she had physically escaped the snare of her step father, emotionally it was as if she had never left.  So when Lane, a hunky tattoo artist, begins to make his way past all of her insecurities, it not only confuses her, but challenges everything she ever believed herself to be worth of.

Lane had never had an easy life. He always had to work incredibly hard for all that he earned and always owned up to his mistakes. He did not hide from his past, but neither did he broadcast it. Even though all his choices were made out of good intentions, his path had become increasingly lonely. Having vowed to protect his loved ones and the life he had established, he constantly found himself holding outsiders much farther away than arms-length. But when he meets Ash, his carefully placed walls begin to crumble at an alarming rate, and without his permission. Soon he is faced with a decision that he never thought he would have to make: his heart, or his walls.

Cole Gibson does a great job of telling a realistic love story while still giving romance readers those sweet, picture perfect moments we all hope will appear in our own lives. She has created a world that is very easy to insert yourself into, yet you soon find that you don’t want to leave. The plot is always moving forward. Nowhere are there any lagging scenes or unnecessary moments. Each word serves a purpose to the story as a while, which is very refreshing.

Gibson’s characters are well fashioned in their creation and incredibly relevant. Every action and word spoken from each one spoke directly of their composition which was found secure. Ashlyn’s insecurities make her relatable, but not pathetic. There were moments when I wished she would pull herself together more but upon further contemplation it would not have been sincere if she had. Her reactions were normal responses to abnormal circumstances. Lane is also a very well thought-out character. His protective nature was very endearing while his hesitancy was understandable. While I would have liked for him to have been more upfront with Ashlyn, I could see why he wasn’t. In the end, these two characters drove the story in an appealing way. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my favorite character, Em. Although she was a supporting character, her demeanor and comedic relief were vital to the plot. The story would not have been the same without her and she quickly found her way into my heart.

The only thing I did not care for in the story and really did not understand was the dominance Lane exacted in his intimate moments with Ash. Knowing that she was abused, I feel like this was a short sighted and selfish manner in which he chose to interact with her. One does not trust another when treated in the same manner as the untrustworthy. It sometimes felt that she went along with these scenarios out of fear or accepted them because force was all she had ever known. This made the story significantly less enjoyable. Had these encounters been handled with gentleness and care, the story would have been much more cohesive.

Overall, I give Written On My Heart 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the pace of the story and the composition of its characters. However I could not get past some of the inconsistencies they possessed. Gibson has an excellent acumen for storytelling and the way she weaves her tale is very appealing. I would very much be interested in reading her future works and would recommend this read to others.   

The Beginning Of Never by O.E. Boroni

The Beginning of Never by O.E. Boroni

Published: April 20, 2015

Publisher: Waves Corporation

Pages: 326 

When Lenora Baker and Nathan Roqué run into each other in their boarding school courtyard, they have no idea that they are about to begin a journey that will take them the rest of their lives to recover from. Both scarred from parents who were once in love but ended up destroying each other, they are sworn off the possibility that there can truly exist a love that will never end. 

But when with each other they find a passion so strong that it heals as powerfully as it burns, a love that will run out is no longer an option for them. Together, they discover just how far they are willing to go to preserve what they know they will only find once in their lifetime. 

This is the start of their journey, and here you will come to realize, that falling in love is only the first part of the story...

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The last thing Lenora Baker was looking for was love. Wracked with anger, confusion and guilt toward her mother’s abrupt passing, it is all she can do just to keep herself together and out of trouble. But soon it becomes apparent that no matter how hard she tries to hide and how aloof she appears to be, both love and trouble are headed her way, and his name was Nathan Roqué.

The story follows these two characters as they try to navigate their own lives while testing the possibility of living life in tandem. This is not your typical love story full of flowery words and happy endings, but rather a stark depiction of how love can really unfold. Wrapped in tragedy, insecurities, and uncertainty, Nora and Nathan try their best to give of themselves and be what the other needed, yet they always came up short. This story was advertised as a sweet love story, and on that basis I was left wanting.

I found it incredibly difficult to like these characters. While I empathized with Nora and her frustration with suffering a sudden loss which drove her into the arms of anyone that offered anything remotely resembling acceptance, I wished that she would have wanted more for herself. I was heartened when she had moments of standing up for herself, but just as quickly I found her reverting back to chasing a boy whom she knew nothing of and treated her poorly simply because he was attractive and the object of everyone’s affection.

As much as I wanted to like Nathan, as a whole I wanted more from him. I tried to harken him to Mr. Darcy or Beast from Beauty and the Beast, but I couldn’t get past the fact that he knowingly hurt Nora without first explaining his reasoning.

I did however appreciate the truthfulness to the story and enjoyed the story itself. It was an easy read and the arch flowed nicely. It was something I was able to read without effort, and sometimes that is nice. What has piqued my interest is the premise surrounding the second installment of the series. I feel as a whole body of work, this will be much more comprehensible than simply this half of the story along. It feels like I am reviewing only half of the story and am left without vital information to give any marks in one direction or the other.

Having said this, I give this 3 out of 5 stars. The story feels incomplete, because in essence it is. I hope to read the second book of this series so that I can make a solid verdict. The premise shows incredible promise, and I suspect the body of work as a whole will be something very special.   

So Shall I Reap by Kathy-Lynn Cross Book Review and Promo Post

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Title:  So Shall I Reap
Series:  The Unseen Series
Author:  Kathy-Lynn Cross
Published:  June 30th, 2015  
Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing
Genre:  YA Paranormal
Content Warning:  Violence and adult language
Synopsis:  There is no protection from the Unseen.
Las Vegas, Nevada can’t contain Alexcia Crystalline Stasis, who is living the ideal teenager’s dream as the school’s elite socialite. That is, until a fatal car accident changes everything. Now Alexcia’s emotions are on the verge of combusting. As if mourning the loss of her boyfriend isn’t enough, she is also dealing with extreme night terrors that leave her wondering if she just might need to be fitted for a straightjacket.
Tevin isn’t your normal daemon. He’s the leader of his clan, and he also happens to be a very active Grim Reaper. He never wanted to be charged with babysitting the one girl who can sway Creation’s Balance. Tevin has known and kept Alexcia safe most of her life. Now that he has to become even more personally involved in her protection, Tevin finds himself having a hard time separating his sworn duty and pure curiosity. What does make Alexcia tick?
Will Tevin be able to keep Alexcia safe from the Unseen? And will Alexcia’s emotions eventually help Tevin attempt to understand what being human is all about? Or will the entities and assassins’ of the Unseen get what they want … her dead.
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Excerpt from So Shall I Reap by Kathy-Lynn Cross:
Flames and darkness served as a reminder of the future we faced. Resting both forearms around my middle and feeling defeated, I shuddered. Filling in my view with his unreadable stare, he then glanced away briefly and whispered, “I wonder if a soulless creature is worthy to be bound by a heart, tied to a soul? Yet, as you stand there looking at me, I continue seeing the eyes of the child I once knew. Do you still want to offer me your soul?”
Without hesitation, sorrow for him exploded inside my chest. Thin lines of ink trailed down his cheeks, and I reached up to caress this face while pulling him closer for a chance to kiss his lips. Even for a moment, to give him a taste of my soul.
How did I know him?
I hadn’t grasped the words he spoke, let alone the feelings I had for him. Without conscious control over my voice, it answered him for me, “I canonly choose what is right and pure. This is my only function. My heart is all the power I can give you right now.” I was unsure what I meant, but he smiled at me. The creatures formed a tighter circle around us and their wings appeared to be dripping hot silver acid that melted into what looked like cloaks made of the same black mist rising from the ground. Without notice, I found myself wrapped within two massive wings.
His wings sizzled as he pulled me into his icy embrace, leaning in to whisper against the inner part of my ear, “They say love knows no bounds. Death only has one boundary, and you cross over it when your heart stops. But written on the Unseen scrolls, it states this one emotion will last even after the breath ceases.”
With his trail of words still lingering against the inside curvature of my ear, my composure disappeared. The blankets were wrapped tight around me like a cocoon. If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn it had snowed in the room overnight. Shadows were thick and barricaded the bedroom and closet doors. No escape from the nightly terrors. Rubbing the grit from each lash, I unwrapped from the cocoon of covers, followed by flopping one leg at a time to the floor. My mind was clouded in the thick fog making it difficult to push off the bed. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever been so weak and chilled from sweating. An overwhelming need washed over me to open the drapes and cleanse the bedroom from the unknown with the glow from the streetlights. His presence remained in the room with me. Turning slowly from the window, it felt as if I were wearing lead shoes. Pushing their weight toward the mirror, I was horrified at the face gaping back at me. I leaned closer to try and comprehend what the glass was telling me. Two small, dried streams of red gleamed onmy cheeks. I was frozen in a nonexistent moment of time. My breath caught as I gasped… and woke up.
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About the Author:
Born in Pomona, California, Kathy-Lynn Cross lived there for twelve years until her family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada—where she resides still to this day. Inspired by the backdrop of Sin City, Kathy-Lynn took her English professor’s advice and wrote about the hometown that she knew.
Kathy-Lynn wasn’t always a writer. In 2008, when her niece was hospitalized, Kathy-Lynn decided to do something special for her so she wrote a short tale for her to read. After devouring it in a single day, her niece and the nurses in the pediatrics wing quickly asked her, “What’s next?”
That was when a new chapter in her life opened up, and Kathy-Lynn realized that she wanted to become a Storyweaver.
Kathy-Lynn loves the color red and obsessively uses it in everything, including her bottle-blonde hair accented by red highlights. She has a knack for baking and cake decorating—that is, when her fingers are not busy writingmayhem. When recharging, you could find her curled up with a cup of coffee and a good book or spending time with her hubby of nineteen years, two kids, four cats, and the family dog.
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Clean Teen Publishing Links:
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • A bookmark swag pack, winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook, and a $15 Amazon gift card.
Giveaway is International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Death is a volatile entity. We all like to ignore its impending presence until that one moment arrives when death is all that’s left. For humans, or vessels as they are referred to on the other side, death is but an instant. It is not a state of being, but rather a transitional second, which takes the soul from one form to the next. For Ashens, or Grim Reapers however, death is not only their lives but their livelihood.

Tevin is an Ashen. As a member of the House of Space his only purpose in his immortal existence is to harvest the souls of each human vessel as their time comes so that their soul can be returned to the River Styx.  This is done so that the Creator can sustain the cycle of life, humanity, and the rejuvenation of every soul. The House of Space is but one of three houses, all of which play their part in the balance of the universe. So when Tevin is sent to harvest a soul in Nevada, he has no reason to think it to be any different than any other harvest.  However, in but a few short moments, everything Tevin ever knew about himself and his place within the realms is challenged by the existence of one vessel. One soul. The soul of Alexcia Crystalline Stasis.  

Alexcia has always been special. Her parents have always told her how unique and valued she is, but she believed this to only be the sentiments of two very loving and doting parents. Yet she soon discovers that her true nature exceeds everything she ever thought possible of herself and challenges everything she ever believed. Alexcia is a Child of Balance, born of Angel, Daemon, and Human decent. With this birthright comes a great deal of supernatural abilities, but brings about an even greater deal of clout. Soon, each of the houses in service to the River Styx will compete for her soul, and Tevin, who once believed himself to be just another Ashen, is swept up in her journey, leaving them to traverse each conflict in tandem.

Kathy-Lynn Cross has absolutely outdone herself with this book. After the first few pages, I found myself transported to a masterfully structured universe which houses some of my new favorite characters. Her vocabulary in this work is impeccable, and the skill with which she describes even the smallest of details really brings each moment to life with palpable reality. I could see every fixture and noticed every shade in the spectrum Lynn described as she painted her stunning world for the reader to enjoy. The precise way that she kept with the theme of death in the character’s demeanor and colloquial slang was the greatest thread which bound the story together in uniqueness. The characters were each well-developed and showed tremendous growth in their own journeys, a journey I felt that I experienced right beside them.

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. This was such a charming and inventive read and I cannot wait for the next book to be released. Cross is most certainly an author to watch, as I believe there is only greatness in store for her and her phenomenal work.   

Connected By Kat Stiles Book Review and Promo Post

Connected: by Kat Stiles

Release Date: 06/03/15

Wild Child Publishing

305 pages

High school is hard enough, Em knows. Her freshman year introduced her to all the cliques, annoying teachers, and tough homework assignments. But discovering you have super powers and not knowing how to control them is a whole new level of complicated.

Thankfully, Em isn't alone. Her best friend Roz starts having unusual dreams that come true, and Tommy, Em's secret crush, can hear the softest whispers in class.

A romance blossoms with Tommy. But just as things are looking up, people start dropping like flies. A telepathic serial killer is on the loose and only Em and her friends have a hope of stopping him.

Or do they? If they don't figure out the killer's identity soon, one of them could be next.

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Three teens, left to their own devices when two things occur that could easily shatter their world. First, they discover that they have other-worldly powers, which would have been enough to change everything on its own. But then they are met with the reality that there is someone out there with less than desirable intentions, and the object of those intentions could very well become one of them if they aren’t careful. Connected explores the ties between friends, lovers, senses and danger within its plot which is the highlight of the work.

Em has always felt that she was different. Compared to her best friend Roz, she feels downright unappealing. Couple that with the fact that she is bullied day in and day out at school she doesn’t really have any reason not to believe these thoughts about herself. When things begin to change however, and it becomes more apparent just how different she really is, Em suddenly is able to find where she belongs. With this distinct brand of originality and power brought on by her new abilities, Em is able to find the confidence that she always deserved. It doesn’t hurt that the heart throb that is Tommy in into her. As the plot progresses and we discover that these three characters, Em, Roz, and Tommy all have abilities, it is heartening to see that they do not have to brave this new world alone. However, chaos ensues when we discover that there is a killer on the loose, and that he is coming for them.

Connected is a cute, light story written by Kat Stiles that I think young teens will enjoy. The vocabulary and writing style is very geared toward the pre-teen early teenager crowd. I am not sure whether this was done on purpose or if it was just how the story unfolded for Stiles, but either way this is how I would market the book in order to land in the right audience. I am an avid reader of YA, however I normally enjoy the YA variety that can translate over into adult themes as well. This is not a book that I could relate to much, as Connected seemed to connect more with a specific time period in one’s life as opposed to an ideal that everyone could relate to. As I read it, I felt that I was too old to really appreciate it, and I found that unfortunate. I think books should be able to transcend age and speak to everyone. However, I do have younger siblings in my life, and I would be very interested to hear their take on the book. This is something that I think my pre-teen sister would enjoy, so if you are looking for a good, clean tween read, I think that this would be a great pick. The characters are well thought out and the story is very cute and captivating.

Overall, I would give Connected 3 out of 5 stars. I think that had the book been stated as more of a tween novel, I would have known more of what to expect. The vocabulary was not thought provoking nor was I really enthralled by any one aspect of the book. I will however be passing along this book to my sister, as I believe that she would really enjoy it. I am interested to see what she has to think and I would be interested in writing a separate review in her words pending her completion of the book. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Kat Stiles is a super hero geek at heart. She grew up watching Spiderman, X-men and Superfriends cartoons, and she loved the idea of having super powers. The superhero movies that came out delighted her; even the bad ones were still so much fun. And she remembers wishing the series, “Heroes” would go on forever. With Connected, she tried to keep the abilities as organic as possible – something just a little beyond what a normal human can do. She’s met some pretty incredible people in her life, and her experiences greatly influenced the writing of Connected.

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Wicked Luck by Shannon L. Maynard Review and Guest Post

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Title:  Wicked Luck
Series:  Wicked Luck Trilogy #1
Author:  Shannon L. Maynard
Published:   June 23rd, 2015
Publisher:  Crimson Tree Publishing
Genre:  NA Romance
Content Warning:  Violence, Adult Themes
Recommended Age:  14+
Synopsis:  How can Ava Starr’s worst nightmare be Dax Miller’s dream come true?
For the past three years, Dax has been stranded on Lamarai Island with his stepsister and two tribes of cannibals. But now a beautiful girl named Ava has washed up on shore. After secretly reading her journal, he believes she is a perfect match to the girl of his dreams. He’s determined not only to keep her alive, but also to win over her heart by convincing her to forget about her past and the secrets that continue to haunt her.
Ava Starr has always been the epitome of bad luck, but she never imagined she would wake up and find herself on a cannibal-infested island with no memory of how she got there. The last thing she remembers is boarding a plane with her pilot boyfriend, Preston. But now he and his crew are missing, and she must find him before a tribe of hungry cannibals finds him first. But Ava’s troubles have followed her to Lamarai,where once again she’s surrounded by danger and people who want her dead. She finds herself caught in a web of deceit and soon discovers the answers to her mysterious past can be found in the most unlikely of places, and that no one is actually who they seem to be.
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Excerpt for Wicked Luck by Shannon Maynard:
With a satisfied grin, I drop the book in my pocket and step out from behind the tree.
“Well, well, well. What a predicament. Gives new meaning to the phrase ‘sticky situation’ doesn’t it?” My voice startles her and causes a sharp intake of breath as she opens her eyes.
“Dax,” she says with a relieved exhale.
“Hey princess.” I give her my best Cheshire smile. “Looks like your little escape plan didn’t work out so well, huh? Well, I hope you have better luck escaping from that pit of quicksand.”
I turn to walk away.
“Wait! Where are you going?” she asks, and despera­tion oozes from her voice.
I pause to get control of the amusement cracking away at my serious expression before turning around. “I don’t know. I think I’ll head back to the beach and wait for a hot blonde to wash up on shore.” Her mouth falls open right on cue. “Oh, and sorry to break it to ya’, but you didn’t get the part. Since it’s my fantasy, I was looking for someone friendlier, a little more trusting, a little less sassy, and what was the last thing? Oh, yeah. Someone who actually likes me. But don’t feel bad—you nailed the physical profile,” I say with a wink.
“Stop being a jerk and help me,” she says, and then softens her tone. “Please?”
I uncross my arms and rest my hands on my hips. I’m pretty sure she already regrets that last comment, but I can’t stop now. “Look, princess. I’m a lot of things, but a jerk isn’t one of them. And don’t worry; I’m sure someone else will find you soon. A hungry cannibal—or Roxy. And I’m starting to think you and her might make a good team. The pity-party duo. She’s hateful, complains constantly, and she’s also a member of the ‘I hate Dax club’, just like you.”
I turn my back on her again and take a step.
“Wait! I don’t hate you. Please don’t leave me. I’m sorry.”
I’m a sucker for apologies but when I turn to face her, I can’t resist putting one hand behind my ear and tilting my head.
“I’m really sorry,” she says again. “For running away and being so grumpy.” I wait for more, and she grits her teeth. “And for not listening to you.”
This is the part where I know she expects me to jump to her rescue, but I lean against a tree with a cocky grin and pull a banana from my pocket. She stares while I peel it, take a bite, and chew slowly. I’m savoring the fruit but also my triumph in having the upper hand.
“Aren’t you going to help me?” she finally asks with a hint of worry.
“I’m still debating. If I leave you here, at least I’ll know where you are and won’t have to worry about you running off. I could even build a little hut around you and toss you food and water now and then. You’d be a lot less trouble that way.”
“Very funny,” she says, but I think it is and I can’t keep from laughing.
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About the Author:
Shannon L. Maynard lives in Colorado with her five girls where she is a legal assistant by day and an author by night. In between working and writing she can be found driving kids to soccer, folding mountains of pink laundry, or eating herweight in chocolate. Other addictions include shoe shopping, reading YA, and Australian and British accents (which may be partly to blame for her massive crush on Thor). If she had one wish it would be for more hours in the day to spend enjoying all of the above. Okay, everything except the laundry.
Shannon studied art and criminology before getting a license in cosmetology, but eventually wound up an expert daydreamer; a skill that occasionally leads to getting lost while driving, but has been a huge asset to her love for writing. Her debut novel WICKED LUCK is set to release June 2015 and is the first book in the Wicked Luck Trilogy.
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Crimson Tree Publishing Links:
(An adult division of Clean Teen)
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • A bookmark swag pack, winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook, and a $15 Amazon gift card.
Giveaway is International.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Trapped on an island for years could make anyone crazy. Imagine being a young teenage boy, stranded on an island with only your stepsister for semi-normal company. Add in the fact that the island’s inhabitants are widely that of cannibals as well and you have yourself one heck of a nightmare. It is only natural that one would seek the solace of a dream, any dream, in order to survive.

For Dex, this is the best solution to the absolute worst case scenario. Each night for the last 3 years, Dex has lulled himself to sleep in this dungeon of danger with one dream, the dream of the girl who got away. Ava was the girl that had captivated his attention and by extension his heart at the mere age of nine. However he was never able to hold on to her and their brief encounter was all he had left of her. That is until an interesting twist of fate seems to have possibly delivered some stroke of luck to poor Dex at the moment he had seemingly lost all hope.

In the distance, Dex believes he sees a figure gliding along in the water. After discovering that this was not a figment of his imagination, he is able to rescue the girl who was adrift in the surf, and brings her back to consciousness before any of the more unseemly residents of the island had their chance to get to her. When he is searching her person, and eventually discovers her things along the shore to discover her identity, he is all but floored at his discovery. The girl whom he had just rescued shared the same name with his dream girl. She also had the same features as he imagined she would as a grown up and she is also the same age. Could this be the Ava of his dreams? This story explores these ideas, juxtaposing what is, and what is imagined with great fluidity and dexterity.

This is the first work that I have read by Shannon Maynard and I was immediately intrigued by the premise. I really liked the idea of a love gone by, even at such a young age, and then rediscovered. I am a romantic sap as a reader, so I am instantly drawn in by anything with a romantic thread to it. However I was even more excited by the horrendous circumstances surrounding this thread, which weaved and incomparable tapestry of storytelling that I very much enjoyed. The relationship the Dex yearns for and the relationship that unfolds within the beautifully unrealistic reality of this universe is colored with so many different shades and undertones. Dex covers his true feelings well and with great charisma with his endearing sense of humor and self-confidence. The way he is able to slightly manipulate Ava in her times of frustration are incredibly realistic and humorous. I very much enjoyed his character and the way his demeanor shaped the entire book. Ava is also an interesting character but I was far more captivated by Dex. His character was much more akin to the unique aspects of the book on the whole.  The originality of the work is its greatest strength.

The book itself began at a rather slow pace and I had some difficulty finding motivation to continue on with it, but once I broke past that crest, it was well worth it. Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The plot was well worth the read and I would recommend this book to those who enjoy and adventurous read with a unique plot drive. 

 

~Guest Post~

How does music influence your writing?  This is a tough question.  I don’t listen to music while I

write. I’m easily distracted and I actually write late at night when it’s quiet. If I listened to 

music while writing I might end up with something crazy for a finished project. I’ll blame it on 

the fact that I love to sing when I’m listening to music-in the shower, car, while getting ready, 

or cleaning house. I am great at multitasking but listening to music, singing, AND writing 

would be way too complex for me. I will say that when I’m not jamming out to pop and hip 

hop I like songs with romantic elements, and there have been music videos that have fueled 

my imagination for romantic settings in my book.

Spotlight and Review for Fruit of Misfortune by Nely Cab

 

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 photo Fruit-of-Misfortune-sm.jpg Title:  Fruit of Misfortune
Series: The Creatura Series #2
Author: Nely Cab
Published: June 16th, 2015  
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre:  YAm Paranormal Romance
Recommended Age:  13+
Synopsis:  Isis’ goals for the future included things like attending and graduating college. However, becoming a monster wasn’t part of the plan. Isis and her boyfriend, David, are on the brink of a horrible transformation and they are eager to stop it. Together, they set out on a quest to Greece to find Isis’ biological father—the only person that may be able to help them. Their journey comesto an abrupt stop before it even begins when Isis falls ill, and Eros, David’s best friend, arrives in Athens, unannounced and curious…with a plan of his own.
The hunt for her father leads Isis on the turbulent path of deceit, death, and demons as she anticipates the dawning of the beast that stirs inside her.
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About the Author:
Nely Cab is a Writer of stuff, a Master Coffee Drinker, a Food Maker & Eater, an Imaginary World Conqueror, and an Air Breather. She talks to herself—a lot—in her South Texas home while she plots stories about fantasy worlds and sips coffee from a pitcher. She’s known for cooking far too much food and has a tendency to overdo…well, everything. It is rumored that she is fabulous. Nely Cab is the best-selling author of the Creatura series.
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Clean Teen Publishing Links:

In Nely Cab’s Creatura series, everything you thought you knew about dreams and love will be turned upside down and inside out with the turn of every page.

Fruit of Misfortune is the second book in the Creatura series and picks up immediately after one heck of a cliff hanger, one that, as a reader, took my breath away and left me incredibly grateful that I already had the next installment on hand. Isis has always been in control of her dreams, until one day her dreams reached out and took control of her. We now know that her dream world is a very real place filled with very real people, all of whom have become pivotal to her journey, some more intimately than others. Now that her dreams are her new reality and Isis seems to be heading toward a variation of happily ever after, her nightmares begin to seep in. With nowhere else to go, these terrors begin to soak deep into her ever changing world, infiltrating every facet of her life. What first begins as a slow trickle of misfortune soon blossoms into a growing and living force flooding everything that was, until it is no more.

Until she is no more.

Cab does an impeccable job of weaving multiple realms and realities into one seamless story. Worlds that should not exist in the same plane make perfect sense in the universe she creates, its brilliance begging as to why it has never been done before. The relationships between each of the characters and the ensemble as a whole also hold that same charm. They are all individually strong and independent in their own ways, but as they band together, even in their misfit ways, they create a force that has yet to be seen in full force. Everything is tested; everything is twisted, yet everything is found solid.

The relationships explored in this book especially made my heart do extraordinary things. It was made to stop, flutter and skip a beat all at once. The relationships in Creatura have always been of the complex variety, but in Fruit of Misfortune that complexity is increased ten-fold. I went from love to hate and back again more times that I can count, and as a result developed the most wonderfully confusing and intricate relationships with each one of the characters. It bonded my experiences as a reader to their experiences to the point where I felt it was happening to me, in my world. To me, that is the mark of a great book, one that welcomes you in and invites you to stay.

Fruit of Misfortune and the Creatura series as a whole is without a doubt a five star read. When the last page was turned, I felt that I had lost something much akin to a friend, but gained so much more imagination and insight. This is not only an incredible read, it is an important one. It challenges the reader and moves them in the direction of change. Cab’s message of triumph and perseverance fo not go unnoticed. Through her storytelling, her and her characters usher us out of misfortune and straight into hope.