Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Book Blitz and Giveaway! I'm Not Afraid of Wolves by Erin Hayes

I’m Not Afraid of Wolves
Erin Hayes
(The Cotton Candy Quintet #4)
Publication date: September 22nd 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Christine would do anything to get away from it all.
After escaping an abusive marriage and heading up a group of brand new performers, she’s tired and in need of a vacation. So when her sister Sara wants her to go camping out in the mountains of Georgia with the girls, she packs her bags for some rest and relaxation. Not even meeting a gorgeous park ranger like Colton Donnelly is going to distract her.
Except Sara didn’t tell her the real reason for the trip: she’s running away from a terrible secret. One that puts all of their lives in danger.
Now the vacation that Christine so desperately needed is ruined, but that’s the least of her worries. She has to use her wits and skills to save them all. Because she soon finds out that werewolves are very real. And they’ll stop at nothing to get their claws into her sister.
When the sliding door locked, I turned my gaze onto Sara and watched her, waiting for her to bring up her story. I wanted her to be the one who talked first, if only because I didn’t want to prod her too much if she was traumatized by whatever this was.
But if she was going to try to weasel her way out of talking to me, she had another thing coming.
“Wow,” she murmured softly. “Look at that full moon.”
I picked up a note of fear in her voice. “Yeah,” I said cautiously. “It’s beautiful.”
“I used to think so.” Sara turned around and looked back at me. Her eyes were wide with fright and the rigidity told me something else was going on with her.
Finally, my patience snapped.
“Sara, what’s wrong?”
“You won’t believe me,” she repeated, using the same phrase she used when we were putting food away.
I crossed my arms. “I think you’ll be surprised.”
Sara’s jaw worked. “I think I’m going to need more wine for this.”
I held up my glass. “Just drink mine.” Don’t think I’m letting you back in the kitchen that easily. She’d run away and hide and hoped I’d forget about it. She wanted to talk about it, but she was too afraid to.
She took my glass and downed the rest of it in one chug. I raised my eyebrows in surprise.
“Okay,” she said, as if warming herself up for our talk. “Okay.”
“It will be all right,” I told her.
“No, it won’t.” Tears started filling her eyes. “Christine, do you believe in werewolves?”
Beautiful young bride walking on the field of flowers

Author Bio:
Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books.
She works as an advertising copywriter by day, and she's a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author by night. She has lived in New Zealand, Hawaii, Texas, Alabama, and now San Francisco with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.
You can reach her at and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ARC Review of Funeral Games by Colin Heintze

Title: Funeral Games
Author: Colin Heintze
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: September 26, 2016
Genre: Paranormal/Supernatural, Historical, Mystery
Rating: 5/5 "Loved it!"

I received an eARC from the publisher in return for an honest and unbiased review.

Description from GoodReads
Ingerval is the Country of the Dead. Despised by the wider world, blighted by history, since the beginning of time it has honored one law: the Dead rule, and the Living submit. No one remembers why Ingerval nobles return as ghosts after their deaths. To enjoy a brief life of pleasure and plenty, followed by an eternity of reigning from beyond the grave, is the fate of all Ingerval lords. All but one. 

As the youngest son of the King's third wife, Syphax never thought he would amount to anything. He is content to live out a contemplative life free from the scourges of power and politics that infatuate his peers. But, after answering a summons to the Palace – a sprawling, ever-expanding repository for Ingerval's ghosts – he finds himself at the heart of a dynastic struggle centuries in the making.

Funerals are happy occasions in Ingerval, and the King is planning for his to be the most decadent in the country's long memory. He does not know that, unlike every lord before him, he will not return to rule alongside his ancestors. He will die the true death, sparking a succession crisis that throws the noble families into chaos. Amidst the violence and intrigue, Syphax alone asks, "What really happened to the King?" The deeper Syphax digs, the more he realizes these events are connected to others dating back to the founding of his father's dynasty. 

Let the games begin.

My Thoughts
Wow.  Just, wow.  I am so glad that I found Colin Heintze!  This will definitely not be the last of his books that I read.  Now for the ever daunting task of  deciding where to begin this review.

Well, the best place to start tends to be the beginning. So, let's start there.  How often is it that readers lament the moments when their favorite characters die?  And Heintze either ignores that fact or chooses to make a mockery of it by throwing us into a funeral at the very beginning.  We don't even know the characters yet and they are already dying on us!  And then coming back!  I was stunned by this quick turn of events.  Heintze seems to do this in order to acclimate us to the Ingerval view of deaths and funerals.  That way, we are beyond stunned when King Heron does not return.  Rather than being upset that a beloved character died, we feel Syphax's pain when his father's funeral goes wrong.

Let's take a second to just think about Prince Syphax.  He knows that he really doesn't have much to look forward to.  He knows that he isn't going to be king and he knows that he has spent most of his life just living for physical enjoyment.  However, he grows so much as the plot plays out.  From being a hedonistic individual to caring about what happens to his kingdom, the clans, and a variety of individuals.  My favorite example of this is the way that he cares for and repays his debts to Aunt Milda and the baby.  I cried as soon as that baby was quiet.

There was only one thing that I truly disliked about this novel.  The fact that Syphax finds no romance with the woman he loves.  I definitely understand why Heintze wrote this the way he did.  It demonstrates just how far Syphax has come since the beginning of this novel.  However, I think I would have preferred it if Heintze killed a favorite character than put me through the final scene between Fina and Syphax.  You'll have to read, and cry over it, yourself.

I definitely encourage you to give this book a chance!  You can buy it on Amazon.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Read it Here and Take it Home! An Excerpt from Fractal by Rachel J. Mannino and Giveaway!

Title: Fractal
Author: Rachel J. Mannino
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance


Anna keeps to herself in rural North Carolina, raising her younger brother and never dreaming she might not be human. A ship descends from the sky and the handsome alien, Varick, proclaims that she is the long-lost ruler of his planet, forced to flee from their world by an experiment gone wrong. Determined to discover her heritage, she journeys with Varick to their abandoned planet. Along the way, Varick strengthens her belief in herself as she struggles to be the leader her people need. Anna discovers that as soon as they return, the Council will force her to marry a man she’s never met, even while her heart is drawn towards Varick. A romance between the Vadana and her Protector is forbidden above all, and can only end in Varick’s death. A prophet warns Anna and Varick that they can heal their solar system, but they can’t let anything stand in their way. Their growing love for each other will either save their world, or bring about destruction.

Book Excerpt
Anna grabbed Brendan from behind, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. As she caught her breath, she peered up at the ship. The air smelled like soda, lots of sticky sweet soda. Stairs and ladders traced the entire length of the tube, spiraling down to the base. The lights were no longer visible, since they formed the base resting on the grass. Markings engraved the metal from base to tip. There were no flags, no words of any language she knew.

“Wow,” exclaimed someone from behind her. It jarred her from staring at the rocket. The townspeople around her were pulling out their cell phones, taking pictures and recording videos.

“Come on.” Anna twisted Brendan’s collar in her hands, and he looked her in the eye. “Let’s go.”

He gestured to the ship. “No, but—”

“Let’s go.”

The corners of Brendan’s mouth and eyes turned down. Anna didn’t care; she had t
o get him
away from whatever just landed in town. Brendan took one long look at the rocket. She took his hand and pulled him through the crowd. They strode about fifteen or twenty feet before the scraping of metal-on-metal screeched. They stumbled, covering their ears. Though she wanted to get Brendan a safe distance away, her curiosity overcame her, and they swerved around.

A metal plank slid from the rocket toward the ground. Once it extended, a light flashed at the point where the plank met the rocket. Part of the wall disappeared, revealing a gaping, octagonal hole lined with neon-blue lights, giving her a glimpse inside a smooth metal hallway.

Some of the crowd backed away, each of them stepping back up Main Street a few paces. “It’s a space ship.” Brendan cried out. “We’re going to meet aliens. Real aliens.”

“Shut up. You’ll scare everyone. We have no idea...” Anna’s admonition died on her lips 
Men emerged from the doorway. Human men, or at least they looked like humans. Anna
sucked in a breath as she gripped Brendan’s hand. The men paraded two by two in unison. They wore red shirts and pants, with gold breastplates that came down to their waists. Gold and silver, rectangular shields rested at their sides. The Roman legion was paying them a visit. She blinked but the odd vision stayed the same.

This couldn’t be a hoax—it was far too elaborate—but she wouldn’t admit this was an alien spaceship, even to herself. She didn’t have a single logical, coherent explanation to grasp onto. Adrenaline sped through her veins, sending her into near panic. It didn’t matter what this was or wasn’t to her as long as she kept Brendan safe.

“It’s an army.” Brendan clutched at her hand.

She pushed him behind her, ready to run at the first sign of trouble. Every muscle tensed, waiting.
The two columns of soldiers stopped after about two dozen men exited the plank. All at once, the two lines shifted to face each other, forming a pathway lined with soldiers.

At the top of the plank, a lone soldier appeared. He surveyed the town, squinting in the early light of dawn. Tall and muscular, he filled the doorway with his frame. His sandy-brown hair, cropped short, accentuated his square jaw. He wore the same body armor as the others, yet a red sash across his front extended into a short red cape behind him that snapped in the breeze. Theman’s eyes settled on the crowd of onlookers before he walked down the metal plank.

Anna couldn’t tear her eyes away from the scene. Still, she pushed Brendan up the street toward the house. A streak of movement caught her attention, and she jumped. She almost yelped, but the blur that ran up to her came into focus

“What’d I miss? What’s happening?” Hannah skidded to a halt beside them.

“Shhhhh,” Anna continue
d to push them all back.“They’re aliens,” Brendan whispered.

Anna squeezed his hand in warning. Hannah’s eyebrows lifted and light danced in her eyes. She
swung toward the rocket and the strange soldiers. She bounced on the balls of her feet, as if Christmas had come early. It was the most exciting thing to happen in Sparta since the founding of the town.
When the last solider reached the others, they raised their arms in a strange salute and he strutted straight through their ranks. He stood in front of the waiting crowd. He studied every face. The townsmen stared at him, stepping backward up the street again, away from the gleaming invaders.

“Greetings. My name is Varick. I am searching for the one you call Anna Cora.” He rested his hands on his hips.

Anna froze and then shook her head. She couldn’t have heard that right. Her heart tumbled over itself. She feared she would faint before she got Brendan into the house when the tingling at the top of her head blurred her vision.

“Can you tell me where to find Anna Cora?” Varick asked the crowd.

 Everyone in the town turned in her direction. Her breathing became heavy. His gaze followed their line of sight and met her eyes. She thrust Brendan’s hand toward Hannah. She didn’t know why this stranger was looking for her, but if she could distract him, it would buy Brendan and Hannah a few minutes to run. She stepped away from her brother and best friend, raised her chin, her eyes wide and unblinking.

“I am Anna Cora.” She sounded far bolder than she felt. A flash of pride tightened her chest.

Varick smiled at her. He motioned to the soldiers behind him, and they rotated in unison once again. He marched toward her, his soldiers in his wake. Anna willed herself to stand perfectly still, desperate not to shrink from this man. Stopping less than a foot from her, his smile broadened into a grin, and a small measure of her fear dissipated.

“Your Majesty, I am your new Protector. I have come to take you home.” He knelt before her on both knees, his palms upturned and resting on his legs. The soldiers followed suit. 

She didn't know whether to laugh or run, so she did neither. She eyed Hannah, who had pulled Brendan off to the side of the street. Hannah shrugged.

$50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

                                                      About the Author
Rachel Mannino is a passionate writer who creates characters and settings that allow readers to explore power dynamics in relationships, the empowerment of women, and the ethical and moral dilemmas love can create in our lives. Rachel also uses her writing skills to raise thousands of dollars for entities that enrich our lives and create community change around the world. She has worked for the Peace Corps; the Humanities Council of Washington, DC; Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; and the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events in Boston, MA. Her first novel, Love or Justice, was published by Limitless Press in November 2015. Her second novel, Fractal, will be published by eTreasures publishing in September of 2016. Rachel has a BA in theatre studies and writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College, and she has used it every day since graduation. She lives with her husband, author Christopher Mannino (; their son, Gavin; and their adorable dog and cat in College Park, Maryland.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Love Letters to the World

Title: Love Letters to the World
Author: Meia Geddes
Publishing Company: Poetose Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2016
Rating: 4/5 "Liked It"

NetGalley Description
This is an exercise in love, an attempt at developing taste, a test of how sweet a word can be, an ode to moments. This is a manifestation of slowness and quiet and sunshine, early mornings and late evenings, glad memories and slender times. This is yearning and giving, an extended meditation on letters, what they can and cannot do for one's being. LOVE LETTERS TO THE WORLD — a series of 120 lyrical prose poems — addresses the world as body, concept, stranger. Unabashedly lyrical, epistolary, and plotless, this hybrid collection may appeal to those who are fans of Kahlil Gibran, Rabindranath Tagore, and Mary Ruefle. It is a quiet celebration and exploration of life, love, language, and one's place in the world.

What I Liked
I loved that this collection of poetry was so meditative!  Geddes definitely knows how to lull a reader into a mental state that is calm enough to contemplate her poetry, but not so calm that one falls asleep.  Geddes then uses that beautiful state of mental bliss to encourage her audience to try to truly understand the physical and spiritual implications of her poetry.  I loved this because there was a surface level, then a bottom of the iceberg, then a bottom of the ocean to each of her poems.  I absolutely had to be in the mental state that Geddes put me in to be able to understand each of these three parts.  And, let me tell you, she never failed to put me into that mental state.

I also loved the way that each of the letters was written!  Each poem was so natural sounding that the words rolled off of the tongue without any of the forced strangeness that results from the work of other modern day poets.

What I Disliked
Although the poetry was very beautiful, I wish that there would have been a plot.  I would have liked to know what was going on to inspire Geddes to write each of the poems.  It's not as though she sat down and looked at a calendar and decided to write about a subject based on the day.  Why does it matter that a little girl hugs her?  Why is she writing about pregnant bellies all of a sudden?  I believe that Geddes should have allowed her audience to get to know her through her poetry.

I also disliked the repetitive nature of the letters.  Yes, these are all letters. Yes, that's important to your book.  No, you do not have to use the same greeting and salutation for each letter.  After a while, that begins to detract from the book.

Final Thoughts
This may be a book that requires some knowledge of the discussed pieces.  For example, the parts involving pregnancy did not affect me as much as they would have if I were a mother.  I would like to go back and see how these poems change their meaning for me as I change and grow.

If this book was a tea, it would be jasmine.  It is calming, but filled with complex undertones.

About the Author (from NetGalley)
Meia Geddes was born in China, raised in Sacramento, and lives in Boston. She graduated from Brown University and has been the recipient of a Fulbright grant, and is currently completing her master's in library and information science, folding paper cranes for her small business Make-A-Crane, and working as an assistant at MIT Sloan School of Management. Her novella, THE LITTLE QUEEN, is forthcoming in 2017. She can be found @meiageddes or

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Surrendered by Case Maynard

The Surrendered
Case Maynard
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.
Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.
Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Click the video to listen to Case Maynard read the first chapter!

A sinking feeling washes over me. “We’re going to Meadowood.”
He responds without opening his eyes, “I want answers.”
I start to argue that this will be a fool’s errand, but in truth, I want the same answers he does. “Do you think the man who rescued Oliver was with the Southies?”
“I don’t know who else it could’ve been.” He sits up and stretches. “It must’ve been them, and I want to know why they changed the plan without informing us. The Master and his Regulators got to the rooftop very quickly after I fired that shot. I have to wonder if someone told them we were there.”
“You think the Southies took Oliver to get the combination and then set the Regulators on us? Why would they do that?”
He rubs his face. “It doesn’t make any sense. But something’s not adding up.”
I ponder this, thinking about my brother’s strange plea. “I know you think I’m insane, but I can’t help but feel like Oliver knew someone was going to take him; I swear it felt like he was speaking to me when he said not to interfere. But that doesn’t make any sense, either. He’s been behind the fence for years.”
Cason yawns and tries to shake off the effects of the Papaver. “I don’t think you’re crazy; his message did seem odd for someone who was about to hang for a crime he didn’t commit. I don’t know, but hopefully he’ll be at Meadowood and you can ask him yourself.”
My mood elevates as I realize I may only be hours away from a reunion with my brother. The pain in my arm forgotten, I try to concentrate only on this knowledge, confident we’ll have our answers soon enough. “I didn’t get a chance to thank you for earlier. You could’ve just turned me over to the Master and walked away, but you didn’t. I’m grateful for that.”
I feel a little embarrassed as soon as the words leave my mouth. Normally I’m not one to share my feelings, but the Papaver Flower makes me breathless and lightheaded and loosens my tongue.
He reaches for me, careful not to jostle my splinted wrist, and pulls my face to his. “I’m probably going to ruin that sentiment by telling you the Master would never have let me go anyway, but know this—” he runs the pad of his thumb along my lower lip and meets my eyes “—if everyone else in the entire world leaves you to fend for yourself, if your father, your mother, your brother disappoint you, if God himself decides you aren’t worthy . . . you’ll still be able to count on me. I’ve got your back, Vera.”

Author Bio:
With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Cover Reveal! The Reaping by Shirley Anne Edwards

The Reaping
Shirley Anne Edwards
Publication date: October 23rd 2016
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
The quaint village where Adela Jane lives is surrounded by fear. At night, a centuries old green mist covers the land and controls the animals within the forest. Lately, Adela feels someone or something is following her every move. Unbeknownst to her, the mist waits for the perfect moment to make her his. Adela feels trapped by her small town life and burdened by her love she keeps hidden for her best friend’s older brother, Nathan Alexander. But all that changes on her eighteenth birthday when Nathan admits his love and desire to marry her. Adela’s joy is cut short when the mist kidnaps her and takes her to his secret underground lair. Her nightmare has only just begun when the mist makes Adela his bride.
What of the Jabberwocky fell in love with Alice from Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking Glass? That’s the question tackled in The Reaping. A Young Adult with an atmospheric Gothic feel, and elements from such classic novels, as Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera and John Fowles’                                                                             The Collector.

Author Bio:
Shirley Anne Edwards is a Northeast girl who first found her love for books when she read Nancy Drew’s The Secret of the Old Clock Tower at thirteen. Shirley found her love for writing at a very young age, and since then has let her imagination run wild by creating quirky characters and vast worlds in her head.
Shirley lives in New Jersey and works in the entertainment industry in New York City.
In the immortal words of Mark Twain: “Life is short, Break the Rules. Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret ANYTHING That makes you smile.”


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday 9.21.2016

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme brought to you by Breaking the Spine.

Hello everyone!  I hope you have all been enjoying the blitzes and cover reveals over the last two weeks.  Please let me know if there are any you are more interested in!  I try very hard to make sure that the blitzes I take on are in line with my Reviewing Policy.  I have been sharing more of them than usual lately, but it is my goal to post at least once every day.  If those posts can help authors, more power to those posts!

This week, I want to talk about Gilded Cage by Vic James which will be released on February 14, 2017.

NetGalley Description
For readers of Victoria Aveyard and Kiera Cass comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule—and commoners are doomed to serve.


Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years.

But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty—but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

Why I'm Waiting for it
1. I'm excited to see a book that I can't predict the ending of!  These ideas are so foreign that I'm drooling!  

2. These characters are described very well.  Will they be characterized as well in the novel as they are in the description?  I'm dying to know!

3. I seriously need to know what Abi chooses.  What is she going to value more, love or liberty?  I know I would go for liberty, but I can't speak for her!

What do you think?  Will Abi follow her heart or her freedom?  What are you waiting for this Wednesday?  Let me know in a comment below!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

ARC Review! Naming the Stars by Susan Koefod

Title: Naming the Stars
Author: Susan Koefod
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: September 5, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Teens, YA
Rating: 4/5 "I liked it"

I received an eARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

GoodReads Description
16-year-old Mary-Louise comes home from swimming lessons one day to find she is absent from family photographs, her bedroom has turned into a linen closet, and all of her possessions have disappeared. More troubling, her family goes on as if she never existed. The only person in town who can actually see her is a boy she calls Fish, a YMCA swimming instructor, but Fish is hiding from a troubled past and the person he sees is entirely different from who she thought she was.

The girl he sees is entirely different from the insecure, unattractive girl Mary-Louise thinks of herself. The teens discover the photo of a spirited, beautiful young woman photographed many years before—Pearl—who exactly resembles the girl Fish sees. The truth about Pearl’s identity is the key to discovering why Mary-Louise has disappeared and why Fish left home, but his fears of being discovered are preventing him from helping Mary-Louise, after all, no one can see or hear her.

This coming-of-age story explores the important and often fragile connection between the roles we play in others’ lives—as siblings, children, friends, and partners—and the unique identity we must find in ourselves.

My Thoughts
I have really been putting off writing my review of this novel. I honestly don't know where to begin. There are SOOO many people posting very positive reviews, and I'm just sitting here wondering why they are doing that.  Do they see something that I don't?  Yes, there are parts of this novel that are really good.  Koefod does an excellent job of describing the world that she wants her audience to see and she does an even better job of using leitmotif to drive her bildungsroman to a strong conclusion.  On the other hand, she does her audience the terrible disservice of adding so many interesting details and plot twists yet never following up on these!  ACK ACK ACK!  You're killing me, Koefod!

As you know, I hate being super negative.  I just feel obliged to be critical and honest.  If I said that every novel I have ever read was the best novel ever, it wouldn't be a compliment to anyone. So, let's start with the positives.  Previously, I mentioned that Koefod expertly describes the world that her characters live in.  I had no trouble picturing the $9.99 curtains in the home or the ivory dress that Mary-Louise wears.  I love how realistic this made the story!  

Koefod also refers back to the ideas of astronomy, cosmology, and water fairly often.  At first, I could not figure out why this was such a big thing.  I mean, I'm reading your book for the story, lady, not for a science lesson!  But as the story progressed, her reasons for doing so began to click.  This was how she intended to drive home the coming-of-age theme that she meant for this story to be about.  After all, this was not a novel about Mary-Louise Moura and Fish, it was about self-acceptance and identity.  Mary-Louise and Fish just happened to be in it.

Now for the more critical aspects.  Koefod opened her novel to several opportunities.  Mary-Louise looks like Pearl to fish.  Mary-Louise magically knows how to dance when she wears Pearl's dress.  Fish is the only one who can see her.  And yet none of these are expanded upon.  This novel would have had to have been longer in order to accommodate these ideas, but Koefod has a writing style that I would have loved to continue reading in exchange for further development!  She had so many fantastical and whimsical options wide open, but she chose none of them!  How could she do that to us!

I was also pretty sad that she set up a romance, but it never went anywhere.  It would have been so natural for those two characters to be in a more romantic situation.  Why not go with it?  Why rush through it?

Honestly, this review has been the most difficult for me to write so far.  I like the idea.  I liked the story.  I absolutely devoured it.  But, it felt like it was rushed and went no where artistically.  UGH.  Give this one a try, guys.  I want to know your thoughts!  What is it about this book that I seem to be missing!  You can buy it right here.

About the Author from GoodReads
A native Minnesotan, Susan Koefod spent much of her girlhood taking long bicycle rides and walks through hilly Dakota County and along the beautiful Mississippi River valley that shapes the state's southeastern border. Such excursions typically filled her imagination with poetry and story ideas. In fact, she invariably thought of herself in the third person, and she fictionalized herself in her early stories, but she relegated herself to the background as she could always invent more interesting characters to play the starring roles.

Susan Koefod is an award-winning novelist. Her Arvo Thorson mystery series was praised by Library Journal as “a smashing debut with astute observations and gorgeous prose.” She has also widely published prose and poetry, including placing short stories in national magazines and anthologies. NAMING THE STARS (Curiosity Quills Press, September 2016) is her young adult debut.

She is a recent recipient of a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers, administered by the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Five $25,000 awards are presented annually to accomplished Minnesota writers and spoken word artists. She holds an M.F.A. in writing from Hamline University, and lives with her family in West St. Paul, Minnesota.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cover Reveal! Cherished by Christina Bauer

Christina Bauer
Publication date: May 30th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
For Elea, there’s never been a better time to turn away from witch life. The Tsar is in exile. The Vicomte is dead. And Rowan? Falling for him only broke her heart. Instead of casting spells, Elea spends her days running Braddock Farm and enjoying the flirtations of the very handsome and non-magical Philippe. Everything is going perfectly, except for one problem.
Someone’s trying to kill her.
Shujaa is a Changed One, a Creation Caster mage whose mutated form makes him invincible in battle. Now that the Tsar and Vicomte are gone, Shujaa wants to rise and rule. To do so, he must eliminate all those powerful enough to oppose him, and Elea is top on his list. Anyone who offers her aid quickly ends up dead.
In the end, there’s only one person who can keep Elea safe while helping her defeat Shujaa: Rowan. Like it or not, Elea must team up with her old love. With Philippe along for the ride, Elea plans to team with Rowan without losing her heart this time. But that’s when all her plans fall apart…
Previous books in the series:
29547423 29541045

Author Bio:
Christina graduated from Syracuse University's Newhouse School with BA's in English as well as Television, Radio, and Film Production. Her day job is in marketing for companies like Microsoft, Cisco, and Zerto. Back in the go-go 90′s, she founded her own software start-up, Mindful Technologies. Christina believes that, upon close examination of Tolkien's text, it's entirely possible that the Balrog was wearing fuzzy bunny slippers.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Book Blitz and Giveaway! Soul Finder by Jacinta Maree

Soul Finder
Jacinta Maree
(The Immortal Gene, #2)
Publication date: September 16th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult, Supernatural
Since being discovered as Soulless, Nadia has become a target for both terrorist groups and government corporations. Now, her only hope for survival rests in the hands of the man sent out to kill her: Diesel, the Mad Dog terrorist.
Diesel is determined to free himself of the never ending curse of reincarnation and the haunting memories that plague his mind. But when his search leads him to Nadia, a greater desire stills him from taking her life.
Unable to see into Diesel’s cracking mind, Nadia instead puts her faith into his strength, fueled by eleven generations of unmatched rage and insanity. Their tight-rope relationship balances the two between life and death, love and rage, trust and betrayal.
Tension pulls at the hems of their dangerous companionship, and as time runs out all madmen must eventually make their choice.
Book two of the thrilling Immortal Gene series dives deeper into the danger of trusting your heart over your head.
Sequel to:
Diesel slowly stood. “I have been thinking a lot lately. About how delicate this situation is. I have had many experiences in hostage situations. But you are different. Difficult.” He stepped around the table. I shuffled back. His voice dropped and curled with a gentle accent that didn’t suit his pitch. A Russian accent, spoken through an English voice. Krane. He jabbed at his own temple with the gun. “You’ve done something to me. You’ve planted this desire in my head. Something I need to stamp out.” His eyes shot down and his eyebrows twitched, pinched by a thought.
“I need you to stay with me, Nadia. I have sacrificed so much for you. Don’t you get it? You and me, we are more than life. We are more than this. Without you I will crumple into ruins.” The earnestly behind his words shuddered his breath. Weakened his body. I blinked at the poetry of it. At first I thought I was the wax, bending and breaking within Diesel’s presence, but it turned out I was the flame. I was destroying him.
“You forget.” I turned the gun against my own head. “I know your weakness too.”

Author Bio:
Born in Melbourne Australia, Jacinta Maree considers herself a chocoholic with an obsession with dragons, video gaming and Japan. She writes a variety of genres including YA paranormal, steampunk, horror, new adult, dystopian and fantasy. Winner of 2014 Horror of the year and bestselling author, Jacinta writes to bring enjoyment to others while fulfilling her own need to explore the weird and the impossible.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Review of Maplecroft by Cherie Priest

Title: Maplecroft (The Borden Dispatches #1)
Author: Cherie Priest
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication Date: 2014
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Paranormal (YA)
Rating: 4/5 "I liked it"

I purchased this book from a library book sale.  I was not asked to write the following review.  Penguin Group and Cherie Priest did not request the following review.

Description from GoodReads
Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one....

The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.

But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.

This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.

My Thoughts
When I started this book, I was absolutely intrigued!  It was terrifying!  I was shivering! I did not want to put it down....and then I continued reading.  This book was chock full of terror and excitement.  It had wonderfully described characters.  What happened in the middle?  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

First, the good.  I love the way that Priest describes her characters.  Nance is the lady that you love to hate.  Lizzie is the heroine that you want to see succeed.  Emma is the realist that you hate to love, but do anyway.  I fell so magically in love with each of these characters.  I especially loved that Priest made sure that they were not simply talking heads.  She takes the time to describe all of the most minute movements and details so that her audience feels as though they are watching the scene unfold.  

It is this same attention to detail that allows Priest to fill her book with action.  Each battle, argument, and romance filled scene has enough detail to make it feel like you are there!  It is wonderful!  

Finally, I liked Priest's idea to write this as a collection of journals from several speakers.  This allows the audience to feel the fear, anxiety, and insanity as it grows in each of the characters.

Now, the bad.  Although the characters are described well, there was little room for them to grow.  Lizzie stays Lizzie.  Emma stays Emma.  Owen is Owen.  Wolf is Wolf.  The end.  This form of literary flat-line does not do anything to impress me.  I want to see the impression that the events in the novel leave on the characters' lives.

Next, I absolutely abhorred the lack of explanation.  The entire time, the group has one foe.  It is a Problem.  It never has any name.  It is simply the Problem.  We also know that Wolf is a bit sketchy, he is working for some agency that he refuses to name.  Ever.  We NEVER find out.  WHY?  Tell me why, Priest?  Why are you torturing me?  I told you that I like your characters and yet you refuse to let me know everything about them?  What are you hiding?

Lastly, Priest could have used the journal format more effectively.  Her use of this format was rather confusing as I had to get into the persona of each character as it changed.  Often, this happened in the middle of the scene and forced me to switch POV in not so pleasant places.

I REALLY wanted to love this book.  Unfortunately, I found it less than polished and in need of stronger reasoning.

Have you read Maplecroft?  What are your thoughts?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Book Blitz and Giveaway! Terra Nova by Christine Hart

Terra Nova
Christine Hart
(The Variant Conspiracy Trilogy, #3)
Publication date: September 28th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Science Fiction
The end of the humanity and an unrecognizable future Earth are now days away. After their first glimpse of the Terra Nova virus, Irina and her variant friends know their former employer’s plans are almost at hand. Their failed attempt to publicize Ivan and Innoviro Industries’ horrific activities has left them utterly reliant on their own wits and weapons.
After surviving a catastrophic earthquake in San Francisco and destroying a secret viral testing facility, Irina’s crew has traveled by a variant portal to London. On the other side of the world, they begin tracking when and where Terra Nova will be unleashed on the world. They know stopping Terra Nova is only the beginning of unraveling Ivan’s plans to reinvent the planet, but if they can’t stop this virus, there will be no one left to save.
Faith appeared with four glowing green drinks in a cup holder tray. Clear plastic cups, lids, and straws let the liquid inside glow through. It looked like something that would spawn ninja turtles. “These are the Incinerator’s own toxic spills. They’re just vodka and sprite with a capful of that crap they put in glow sticks. Did you know you can drink that shit?”
Jonah reluctantly took a plastic cup. “Are you sure we should drink it?”
“It’s not going to kill us. No more so than the alcohol.” Ilya picked up a cup and took a long generous pull on his straw.
I took an experimental sip. It tasted like vodka and sprite. There was a mildly synthetic aftertaste, but nothing toxic. I took another, much larger sip. There it was – the warmth I’d been craving since my shower. I might stand a chance of sleeping tonight after all.
Jonah followed my lead and took a slurp on his straw, pausing to let the liquid do its work. He looked at me with a devilish grin and grabbed my hand, pulling me off to the dance floor. His touch radiated energy into me, right through my skin waking up every cell in my body.
He leaned down and kissed me, running his hands through my hair. His powerful grip felt restrained, as though his mind fought to control his body. The intensity surpassed our first night together. After we had spent so long mocked by his unstable mutation, first hurting me and then nearly killing him, we were both finally stronger than ever.
“I can’t help myself. I need to touch you. I don’t ever want to let you go. We’re going to make up for some lost time tonight.” His lips brushed my ear as he spoke. His fingers traced the line of my neck and it sent shivers down my spine. So much for sleep!

Author Bio:
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write from my suburban Burnaby home staring at North Vancouver’s iconic Coast Mountains. I love writing about places and spaces with rich history and visually fascinating elements as a backdrop for the surreal and spectacular.
In addition to my undergraduate degree in writing and literature, my background also includes corporate communications and design. I am a current member of the Federation of BC Writers and SF Canada.
When not writing, I have a habit of breaking stuff and making stuff – in that order – under the guise of my Etsy alter-ego Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my husband, baby daughter and preschool son.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Blitz and Giveaway! Avenging Fate by Jennifer Derrick

Avenging Fate
Jennifer Derrick
(Threads of the Moirae #2)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: September 12th 2016
Genres: Mythology, Romance, Young Adult
Still reeling after killing the man she loved, Atropos turns her attention to the twin tasks of avenging his death and freeing humanity from the deadly grip of the Keres. When she sets out on a murderous mission to retrieve her shears, her only aide is her temperamental ex-boyfriend, Ares. He is fickle at best, traitorous at worst, and assistance from him may be worse than none at all.
Along the way, she allies with a group of powerful supernaturals and learns that the crimes of the gods are more twisted and far-reaching than she realized. What begins as a quest for vengeance becomes a journey through betrayal, loss, love, and hope. It ignites a war that will pit Atropos against the gods in a battle for the freedom of humanity.
Avenging Fate is the second book in The Threads of Moirae Series by Jennifer Derrick.
Grab book 1 – Broken Fate – for FREE!
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo
When we reach Alex’s house, I’m not surprised to see that it’s been vandalized. With no residents to defend it, it was easy pickings. The front door’s been kicked in and the frame is splintered so it won’t close properly. A couple of the windows are broken, too. Once we’re inside, I’m relieved to see that most of the damage is limited to the kitchen. Whoever came here was looking for food and not much else. The presence of a rotting, stinking corpse on the kitchen floor probably made them hurry up and get out.
I leave Ares and Elaina to gather up any dog food and supplies they can find as I make my way down the hall to Alex’s room. Stopping in the doorframe, I grip it hard to keep myself upright. The memories and the grief come fast and hard, threatening to overwhelm me. The hospital bed is still in the room, as is most of the medical equipment that kept him alive those last few days. No one’s made the bed, so the sheets are still rumpled from Alex’s body.
The IV still hangs on the pole next to the bed, and the oxygen tank is on the floor under the bed. The needle and tubing for the IV and the cannula for the oxygen rest on the mattress where I dropped them the night I took Alex away from here to die in peace. The book we were reading together lies facedown on the mattress, open to the page where we left off. Everything is frozen in time, except the most important part. Alex is gone and he isn’t coming back.
Alex’s bookcases still droop alarmingly, although they aren’t as orderly as they once were. It appears the looters rifled through them, probably looking for stray cash tucked in the pages of the books. I force myself to cross the room and scan the shelves for anything that might indicate where Emily has gone. I also check the desk, but find nothing in either place.
I cross to the bed and can’t help myself. Picking up the pillow, I hug it to my chest, burying my nose in it. I catch the last whiff of Alex’s shampoo, the same fruity-spicy scent he always used. I’m aware this isn’t good for me and it’s not helping us with our mission, so I reluctantly put it down. But I can’t resist one other thing. Grabbing the book, I fold down the corner of the page we were on and tuck it in my waistband next to the gun. It’s sentimental and dumb, but I want to remember our reading time.
When I turn to leave, Ares is standing in the doorframe, watching me with an expression that is both pitying and concerned. I can stand the latter, but I don’t need his pity.
“Don’t say anything,” I warn as I push past him and head down the hall toward Emily’s room.
“I just came to see if you’re okay. I figured this would be hard for you.”
“Just getting up in the morning is hard for me, but I do it,” I say. “I’ll be okay.”

Author Bio:
Jennifer is a freelance writer and novelist. As a freelancer, she writes everything from technical manuals to articles on personal finance and European-style board games. Her interest in storytelling began when she was six and her parents gave her a typewriter for Christmas and agreed to pay her $.01 per page for any stories she churned out. Such a loose payment system naturally led to a lot of story padding. Broken Fate, her first novel, earned her $2.80 from her parents.
Jennifer lives in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading, trawling the shelves at the library, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with her dog. You can visit her at her official


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday 9.14.2016

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started on the blog, Breaking the Spine.  It is meant to bring attention to the books that we are drooling over but are not yet able to read.

This Wednesday, allow me to introduce you to Nine Candles of Deepest Black by Matthew Cox.

Description from Curiosity Quills
She saw it coming. She knew it would happen―but no one believed her.

Almost a year after tragedy shattered her family, sixteen-year-old Paige Thomas can’t break free from her guilt. Her mother ignores her, doting on her annoying little sister, while her father is a barely-functioning shell. He hopes a move to the quiet little town of Shadesboro, PA will help them heal, but Paige doesn’t believe in happiness anymore.

On her first day at school, a chance encounter with a bullied eighth grader reawakens a gift Paige had forgotten, and ingratiates her into a pack of local outcasts. For weeks, they’ve been trying to cast a ritual to fulfill their innermost desires, but all they’ve done is waste time. After witnessing Paige touch the Ouija board and trigger a paranormal event, the girls are convinced another try with their new fifth member will finally work.

Once the darkness is unleashed, it’s not long before they learn it will give them exactly what they asked for―whether they want it or not.

Why I'm Looking Forward to it
1.) I love stories that take unexpected twists and turns.  The final sentence of the description above signals that this book is going to be chock full of them!  How will things turn out?

2.) I love this cover!  I know that sounds super tacky, but how could I not want that cover on my shelf?

3.)  I like that the author has decided to take a dark twist with a character who has already started down a dark path.  Will she continue on her path into darkness or will she head to a brighter future?  I seriously need to know!

What are you looking forward to this Wednesday? Would you be interested in reading Nine Candles of Deepest Black?  Leave an answer in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cover Reveal! Dawn of the Vie (Immortal Aliens #1)

Today, I am pleased to bring you the cover reveal of Dawn of the Vie by Laura Diamond.  Though I've never read anything by her before, I am excited to read this one!

Dawn of the Vie
Laura Diamond
(Immortal Aliens, #1)
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: October 3rd 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Since their Arrival less than 30 years ago, immortal Vie rule the planet like the super-predators they are. Enslaved humans are their servants…their entertainment…and their food. Anemies—humans with various types of anemia—are simply exterminated. Their nutritionally deficient blood is useless to the Vie.
Or so it’s thought…
Alex, an Elite Vie, is a bit of a Renaissance Alien. Part scientist, part Raid Specialist, part drug addict, he knows Anemie blood is valuable. Rather than blindly carrying out his boss’s kill order, he convinces some colleagues to spare a few Anemies, not only for study, but also to reserve a secret stock.
The more Anemie blood Alex drinks, the more he slips into delusion, and the more his double life threatens to crumble. But quitting Anemie blood is not an option. Every Anemie has their own personal flavor. Each gives a unique high.
When Alex takes a hit of Justin’s blood, his hallucinations bleed into reality…
Anemie Justin knows his little sister, Sammie, and he are living past their expiration dates. It becomes a guarantee when they’re bitten by a Vie named Alex during a raid. (The bite is fatal, thanks to a toxin carried in Vie saliva.) Alex adds insult to injury by promising Justin a second chance—an antidote in exchange for agreeing to be a lab rat.
And a mule…of his own blood.
When Justin says no, Alex takes off with Sammie.
All Justin has to do is find them, beat Alex, and cure himself and Sammie. All he has is a stake and serious lack of self-preservation.
No problem.
Alex wants Justin’s blood.
Justin wants his sister back.

Author Bio:
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist currently specializing in emergency psychiatry. She is also an author of all things young adult—both contemporary and paranormal. An avid fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and anything magical, she thrives on quirk, her lucid dreams, and coffee. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found sniffing books and drinking a latte at the bookstore or at home pondering renovations on her 225 year old fixer upper, all while obeying her feline overlords, of course.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday Statements

Hello all!

I miss you guys!  I feel like my blog has been nothing but book blitzes, giveaways, and cover reveals.  This was partially because I wanted to keep the content going during my first week back to classes and partially because I'm a slow reader during the school year.

So far, the new year is off to a great start.  I was surprised to hear that several of the students that I had last year were very excited to have me again this year.  I'm so happy that they are happy to have me!

Right now, I am halfway through Maplecroft by Cherie Priest, so expect that review to be up soon.  I have two ARCs that I'm hoping to finish by September 20, so keep an eye out for those as well.  This week, there will be more book blitzes and such.  I am really excited for the upcoming events.  These books look so good!  I can't wait to see them on my shelves, or my kindle.

What's new in your life? Have you been doing anything new?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Cover Reveal! Blood of Stars and Gods by Melissa A. Petreshock

Blood Of Stars And Gods
Melissa Petreshock
(Stars and Souls #2)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: October 4th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Forever does not go on unchanged.
Caitriona Hayden’s destiny as the Dracopraesi dragon’s North Star is no clearer to her than it was weeks ago. However, Cait’s eternal future seems a minor concern while the vengeful elves continue taunting the dragons, now using violence against the human population in their desire for war.
Battles of war aren’t the only ones fought.
King Corrin struggles to make peace with his coming end, and as his family bonds heal, stronger relationships and alliances form among Cait and her dragons. Theo may have won her heart, but Oliver fills a void long left by the passing of her uncle, and each dragon is a part of Cait’s family.
But a darkness bleeds through to change their world.
When faced with decisions of life and death, Cait, Theo, and demigod Dante must choose unpredictable paths, chance outcomes of eternal consequences, and make dubious promises. As Cait displays unexpected abilities, complications arise, more details of her destiny are revealed, and she discovers the inherent risks of fearing change.
Every era has a beginning and an end. There are things in the world no one is meant to stop.
BLOOD OF STARS AND GODS is book two in the exciting Stars and Souls trilogy, sequel to Amazon #1 Contemporary Fantasy: FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS!
Sequel to:

Author Bio:
Romance author Melissa A. Petreshock lives in the Greater Atlanta area, writing whatever strikes her fancy and subsisting on unnatural doses of coffee, sarcasm, and music. Spending most of her time weaving reality and imagination into fantastical romantic tales, Mel often loses track of reality and is admittedly more than a tad eccentric.
Look for future works in the Stars and Souls Trilogy as well as additional projects of contemporary romance and whatever else the muse sends Mel's way..