Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cover Reveal: Colorless by Rita Stradling

Rita Stradling
Publication date: August 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
In Domengrad, there are rules all must live by: Fear the Gods. Worship the Magicians. Forsake the Iconoclasts.
To Annabelle Klein, the rules laid down by the Magicians are the mere ramblings of stuffy old men. As far as she’s concerned, the historic Iconoclasts, heretics who nearly destroyed the Magicians so long ago, are nothing but myth. She has much more important matters to worry about.
Heiress to a manor mortgaged down to its candlesticks and betrothed to her loathsome, lecherous cousin, sixteen-year-old Annabelle doubts the gods could forsake her more.
Then Annabelle is informed of her parents’ sudden and simultaneous deaths, and all of the pigment drips out of her skin and hair, leaving her colorless. Within moments, Annabelle is invisible and forgotten by all who know her.
Living like a wraith in her own home, Annabelle discovers that to regain her color she must solve the mystery behind her parents’ murders and her strange transformation.
Meanwhile, hundreds of the Magicians’ monks, with their all-black eyes and conjoined minds, have usurped control of Annabelle’s family manor. An Iconoclast is rumored to be about—a person who they claim goes unseen, unheard, and lost to memory, yet is the greatest threat to all of Domengrad. For the first time in a hundred years, the monks plan to unleash the dire wolves of old.
Their only target: Annabelle.

Author Bio:
Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.
Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.
She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.


Friday, April 28, 2017

Book Blitz: The Devil's Whisper

The Devil’s Whisper
T.H. Moore
Publication date: May 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Suspense
Take a moment and imagine your history books devoid of war. Envision entire civilizations absent of heinous crimes against humanity. A planet spared from the plagues of slavery, cultural genocides, and the colonization of indigenous nations by foreigners. Would you dare make the choices necessary to maintain this Utopia in which universal peace existed? Could you ignore the Devil whispering in your ear, luring you away from a world in which loving your fellow man was the expectation, not the exception?
In a state of reverie, an impractical idea of world peace has given birth to a culture in which the human race has chosen to live free of violent criminals. Instead, criminals have been systematically exiled to the lone prison city, Katingal, constructed in a far corner of Earth. Sentenced for the remainder of their natural lives, the wicked pit themselves against their soulless brethren. Exposure, disease, and starvation claim their victims daily. Those who survive nature’s wrath negotiate the perils of the prison city through murder and cannibalism. All the while, this inimitable death sentence satisfies civilization’s aim to punish the world’s irretrievable outcasts.
Charles “Yäbälay” Gravo is the criminal mastermind behind the world’s largest human trafficking network. As a prime most-wanted fugitive, he sets into motion events that will forever alter the realities of both civilization’s Utopia and Katingal’s Hell.
Though Charles felt relieved to have discovered Kristoff’s lair, he could see that the savage was surrounded by his men. Nevertheless, Charles surged ahead, his heart racing in tempo with his legs as he moved closer to his objective.
As Charles drew near, a commotion broke out on the balcony. The group of men were drinking, dancing, and fighting as if the balcony were a mosh pit. One reveler grabbed another, while a third man struck the unfortunate chap with a pipe. He buckled, and with one swift movement, the two men flung their victim from the balcony. His limp body fell twenty floors to the hard pavement below. Charles heard the thump when it hit, and the cheers from a group of men who had been waiting for it on the street.
“The king is offering sacrifices tonight,” one maniac on the balcony cheered, hooting down at the dead man sprawled on the pavement.
Charles quickened his pace, staying close to the edges of the road. He ducked into a nearby building and crouched down in a dark corner, using his hands to gather a pile of dirt. He took a mouthful of the water from his satchel and pushed it around his mouth to alleviate his thirst before releasing a thin, controlled stream onto the dirt pile. After mixing the water and dirt into a dark paste, he covered his pale face until all that remained visible were his green eyes.
As he continued his trek toward the epicenter of the city, Charles heard the faint symphony of suffering. Angry yells of men coming from the east and bloodcurdling screams of women pierced the night to the west. Moments later, he slid past a band of filthy men vying for ownership of a corpse like a pack of wolves.
Another ruckus was followed by another violent assault. Just like the one before him, the beaten man was thrown from the balcony. He screamed the entire way down while the maniacs rejoiced from above. Scavengers sprinted past Charles to the man’s broken body and started ripping him apart.
Kristoff’s acolytes leaned over the balcony railing and waved their arms in the air, chanting, “Kris-toff! Kris-toff! Kris-toff! The king of K-City!”
Charles was fifty yards from the barbed wire courtyard that secured the front entrance to the Apex building. Another scream of fear, followed by another thud, a pitched body, and the scurry of the scavengers. This time, Charles was close enough to hear bones snapping against the pavement. He took cover to avoid the scavengers, and waited while they butchered the latest sacrifice with their homemade weapons.
Charles darted along the side of the building until he spotted four men guarding the back doorway.
“Four offerings so far tonight,” one of the guards warned the other three. “Two more before it’s safe to go back up there.”
“You sound like a woman, Manta,” the smallest guard said.
“Fuck you, Hiro!” He laughed. “You look like a woman. Now give me some pussy, you dwarf!”
“Curse me again and I’ll take your tongue,” Hiro seethed, pulling a short knife from his belt.
The other three guards erupted into laughter. “You call that a knife?” said one. “The only thing that knife is good for is picking your rotting teeth.”

Author Bio:
T.H. Moore is a Southwest Philadelphia native who relocated to Camden, New Jersey at the age of ten. He’s an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Morgan State University. His career as an Information Technology Consultant and Real-Estate investor has afforded him the opportunity to travel to many countries all over the world as well as the majority of the United States. Blending experience with imagination helped formulate the basis of, and inspired him to write his first novel, ‘The End Justifies the Means’.
His second novel, The Devil’s Whisper, is uniquely creative fiction that ventures away from the inspiration of his own life experiences. In The Devil’s Whisper, he dives into a darker set of dual protagonists whose sole objective is to survive the circumstances of the world they live in. T.H. Moore is the proud father of one son, Jason, and currently resides in Virginia, where he is working on the next two installments of The Devil’s Whisper trilogy.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sink Your Teeth Into It! A Review of Vampire Boy by Aric Cushing

Title: Vampire Boy
Author: Aric Cushing
Publisher: Grand & Archer
Publication Date: October 1. 2016
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Middle School

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Description from GoodReads
When Alex Vambarey attends his first year at the Carpathian Academy, he has no idea that there are other creatures besides vampires. He's never met a gargoyle, or a pixie for that matter. Of course he's read about them -- in the Vampedia -- but in real life? No way. But now everyone's trying to figure out the Magus riddle and win the school prize. Even the Brownies are all befuddled!

Well, maybe it's natural. It's his first term, and there are all sorts of things that don't make any sense. Like all the janitors collecting dirt. That's just plain weird. No, there was definitely something bigger going on. Way bigger. And if he was right, the secret was somewhere in the Night Gallery. The secret about Carpathia, and the secret about himself!

My Thoughts
Fans of Harry Potter, BEWARE!  You will probably do the same thing I did with this novel-sit down to read it and not stand up again until you run out of book.  This story absolutely mesmerized me.

Many of the characters are both well-developed and comical.  I especially adored Otis, and believe that many middle school boys will relate to this gargoyle covered in volcano marks who loves to chow down. He definitely had the energy that many of them do.

Additionally, I liked that this book gives students a riddle to think about.  Not only does this encourage critical thinking skills to develop, it encourages them to keep reading.  Therefore, two of the struggles that reading teachers deal with are faced head-on by the book itself.  

Finally, I appreciated Cushing's decision to provide a glossary at the beginning of the novel and a definition of each of the words as they are encountered in the novel.  Middle school students require this repetition and it is apparent that Cushing knows what his audience requires.

Unfortunately, there are a few things that I need to critique.  At one point, for example, a character speaks and is named before ever being introduced.  It felt like I was in a car with Joe, Sally, and Chuck, yet Dave is talking.  Huh?  How does that work?

I also felt that there were a few parts that Cushing should have used more space in the novel to better develop.  This leaves students two choices.  Do they use their imagination to think up those explanations, or do they just ignore it.  In my experience, many will just ignore the parts that aren't spelled out.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading this book.  I would LOVE to share this with my seventh grade class.

My Rating

About the Author
The following was taken from IMDB.

Aric Cushing studied at the American Conservatory Theater and the London Court Theater in England. He grew up in the Northern California Redwoods and divides his time between acting and writing. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association of America and the Co-Founder of The Fear and Fantasy Film Festival.

Vampire Boy has recently won first place for the Readers View Awards.  You can read about that here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Magical Story of The Magician's Workshop: A Review

Title: The Magician's Workshop: Volume 1 (The Magician's Workshop)
Authors: Christopher Hansen and J. R. Fehr
Publisher: Wondertale
Publication Date: January 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Middle School

I received an eARC from the authors in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Description from GoodReads
Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is granted the title of magician and is given fame, power, riches, and glory. This volume of books follows the journey of a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

My Thoughts
Wow!  This was definitely an enchanting tale. But, as usual, I found a few things to praise and a few places to put in my two cents (or two gryns, as in the novel).

First, I fell in love with all of the characters. I thought that although they were very simply developed, they brought a true feeling of life to the story.  Although they didn't have deep-seated secrets, they had youth and vitality. Both of those things will be greatly enjoyed by a middle school audience.

Second, I loved that there was never a dull moment.  The authors worked really hard to bring action and suspense into the novel and their hard work should be praised!  They created characters that their readers will care about, and then put them into high suspense situations...and then promptly changed to a different POV to leave the reader dangling.  Nicely done!

Third, I think it is really important that the authors infused this book with diversity. Each character is proud of who they are and accepting of others, even though they are in different clans or from different regions.  This shows today's middle school audience the proper way to handle such situations.

Unfortunately, there were a couple things that I really think the authors should review.

There were several places where the same names were spelled differently.  While they were typically small changes, those small changes will be enough to confused middle school audiences.  I can think of many of my students who would get so overloaded by the challenge of reading a book and names that don't seem to stay the same that they would just give up.  I would hate to see that happen to this piece.

Additionally, there are many things that the audience is left to question that should really be explained.  What the heck is wrong with Kai?  Why are there different kinds of clans and what does it mean to be a D. Shield or an S. Shield?  Again, these will be stumbling blocks for many middle school readers.  It would be more helpful to the students to have fewer background elements to ponder as they try to work their way through such a complicated plot.  

Overall, I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the second volume.

My Rating

About the Authors

Christopher Hansen
The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday.
“Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all the time and all around us, if you know where to look for them.”
Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris began searching for this magic, prepared to be surprised and amazed by it. And he was: he found Wonder! Now he’s chosen to write stories about it.

J. R. Fehr
When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Cover Reveal: Crowned by Christina Bauer

Christina Bauer
(Beholder, Book 4)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: November 28th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Beauty. Romance. Power. It’s all in the eye of the BEHOLDER.
At last, Elea has found the love of her life. Unfortunately, the evil Tsar Viktor is about to unleash an army of twisted mages bent on killing everyone Elea cares about… including the man who’s stolen her heart.
So what’s a powerful witch to do? Why, organize a league of magical warriors, of course!
Elea recruits and trains a fighting force to take down the Tsar. That’s challenge enough, but on the eve of battle, Elea realizes that her true enemies may be far more powerful than even Viktor: The deities Oni and Yuri could be out to destroy her as well. With major battles brewing on two fronts, Elea’s not sure that she’ll win, but with true love to inspire her, she’s certainly ready to fight.
Previous books in the series:

Author Bio:
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. It is now available as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter:


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Remnants by Carolyn Arnold

Title: Remnants (Brandon Fisher FBI Series #6)
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc.
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, FBI, Procedural
GoodReads Description
All that remains are whispers of the past…

I received an eARC of the novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the deceased, building a profile of this serial killer is more challenging than usual. How are these targets being selected? Why are their limbs being severed and their bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this person to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

My Thoughts
There is nothing worse than not starting a series with the first book.  Nothing.  Not even watching your OTP split up is worse than the pain of starting a series with any other book than the first.  I am always wary when publishers tell me that I can read their books as a standalone.  To be honest, it was for that reason that I was not expecting to enjoy Remnants as much as I could have.  I was pretty happy to be wrong.  This is definitely a standalone novel, even though it is the sixth installment in the series!

I LOVED Brandon Fisher!  He is definitely a character that warmed my heart and opened my eyes a bit to more of humanity.  As a female, it's pretty easy to think of love and loneliness through "female" eyes.  It was very refreshing to see these topics written about in such a strong way from the male perspective.  Not only did I watch the amazingly well-written development of Brandon Fisher, but of the rest of his team.  Arnold's use of character development definitely helped her to grow this novel from only a procedural book to a true journey filled with real people.

I also loved that her mystery was not easy to solve.  Sometimes, books can be far too predictable.  I spent the entire flipping book thinking, "Oh!  It has to be this guy!"  But then it wasn't.  So I'd find another character.  "It's him this time!  I'm right!  I have to be"  And, I wasn't.  There was no way I could have seen that conclusion.  But, when I thought back to the plot and all of the descriptions, it made total sense.  I love that Arnold made the intelligent effort to put herself into the minds of her audience to best lead them astray.

I am having a hard time critiquing this novel.  I WILL be reading the entire series (in order, of course) and I WILL make sure that I have a copy of each.  Brandon Fisher is the Bones of the average man, or woman, and I look forward to enjoying the entirety of his saga.

My Rating

About the Author

Carolyn Arnold is the international bestselling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.
Carolyn was born in a small town, but that never kept her from dreaming big. On par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives outside Toronto with her husband and beagle. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

                                                    For more information and a FREE book offer, visit her website:

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Top Ten Fandoms I'm Proud to Be Part Of!

We all have our favorite books, shows, and movies that we look forward to going home to at the end of a long day.  Let me share mine with you!  These are in no particular order.

1. Neil Gaiman
As I said last week, he is my favorite author.  After a long day, it feels amazing to go home and curl up in a ball with any one of his novels.  Lately, my adoration has even changed to watching his videos and old speeches while I get my work done.  Just one more way to support amazing talent.

2. Firefly
Joss Whedon is another amazing man.  One of his most underrated yet most wonderful shows is Firefly. I can always look forward to this show dealing with a  wide variety of unusual and well-developed characters.  The language used, a combination of Chinese and English, never ceases to amaze me.  It always helps to look forward to some Kaylee.  She makes everything better!

3. The Mortal Instruments
I abso-fricking-lutely devoured these books.  I could not put them down. I fell in love with every single one of these characters and cried every single time any one of them died.  It may sound dramatic, but I could not get enough of the romance between characters!  And, it was wonderful that the jokes were carried between books.  I was excited to see this continuation.

4. Harry Potter
10 POINTS TO RAVENCLAW!  Hell yeah!  Ravenclaw forever, my friends!  Harry Potter was where I truly began to feel myself becoming an avid reader.  I fell in love with the characters and, where other people just saw a story, I learned about friendship, courage, and strength.

5. Nightmare Before Christmas
Is it a Christmas movie?  Is it a Halloween movie?  Who cares?!  Jack and Sally have always been two of my dearest loves.  I think that this movie provides a wonderful lesson about loving yourself and accepting who you are.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
You want it, Buffy has it!  Again, Joss Whedon provides us with a wonderful cast and relatable situations.  In addition to the monsters and chaos, that is.

7. How I Met Your Mother
Even though I came into watching this show late, this show was my drug.  It is the only show that I have ever been able to successfully binge watch!

8. M. Night Shyamalan
Despite most people's assertions that this amazing man's movies are terrifying, I absolutely love them!  He never fails to deliver the surprise endings or important messages that I seek!

9. Gilmore Girls
Guilty pleasures-everyone has them!  I love the connection between Rory and Lorelai because it is so much like the relationship I have with my mom.  She is definitely one of my best friends.

10. iZombie
While others obsess over The Walking Dead, which I don't understand, I will happily sit and watch my iZombie.  I love the character development in this show as well as the twists, changes, and cliffhangers.  I will never be happy to see this show come to a close.

Let's Chat!
What fandoms are you a part of?  Do you obsess over any of the fandoms that I do?  

Shifters and Glyphs Cover Reveal

Shifters & Glyphs
Christina Bauer
(Fairy Tales of the Magicorum, #2)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: October 30th 2018
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
After being raised by the meanest fairies in the history of ever, Bryar Rose is now free to live her own life. For the first time, she’s attending West Lake Prep, a regular high school. Well, mostly regular. Some students are actually hidden members of the Magicorum. In other words, they’re really wizards, fairies, or shifters. Bry doesn’t mind, though. She’s thrilled to enjoy all the new experiences of being around normal kids her age, from locker pranks to lunchtime mystery meat. Everything is going along great, except for one thing.
Bry’s dreams about the pyramids of Egypt have gotten darker and more sinister. Every night, she sees her new man Knox and her best friend Elle in danger.
With no other choice, Bry plans to leave school to explore the pyramids on own. But her new man Knox discovers the scheme and is having none of it. He wants to stay by her side, no matter what. It’s a good thing too, because Bry must solve the mystery of her attraction to the pyramids and soon. Otherwise, it could cost the lives of those she loves most…and that means not only Knox, but also her best friend Elle.

Author Bio:
Christina Bauer knows how to tell stories about kick-ass women. In her best selling Angelbound series, the heroine is a part-demon girl who loves to fight in Purgatory’s Arena and falls in love with a part-angel prince. This young adult best seller has driven more than 500,000 ebook downloads and 9,000 reviews on Goodreads and retailers. It is now available as an audiobook on Audible and iTunes.
Bauer has also told the story of the Women’s March on Washington by leading PR efforts for the Massachusetts Chapter. Her pre-event press release—the only one sent out on a major wire service—resulted in more than 19,000 global impressions and redistribution by over 350 different media entities including the Associated Press. 
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
Be the first to know about new releases from Christina by signing up for her newsletter:


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Cover Reveal! Fate of the Stars

Fate of the Stars
Arwen Paris
Publication date: September 1st 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
When the fate of the world rests upon you…
Allison Delaney wants to spend her senior year healing from the loss of her father, to leave the shadows of his death and her junior year break-down behind. A Labor Day beach party seems like a good place to start…but there’s more danger lurking than anyone could imagine. Death is coming to Earth if the pods of infectious creatures aren’t stopped. But only one human can help…
To live or die is no longer a choice.
Eenoki is a protector of life but must have a sentient host to fight the invasion. A teenage girl would not be the best choice, but out of desperation Eenoki invades Allison’s mind and body, granting her unnatural abilities and strengths – and helping her escape certain death when the first wave of pods land.
As destruction rains down on Earth’s population, Allison realizes to save everyone, she must make the ultimate choice: Reject her human side and bond with Eenoki to become the Earth’s Priestess – or be killed along with the rest of humanity.

Author Bio:
I'm the YA Author of Sci-Fi, Urban Fantasy & Fantasy novels. Fate of the Stars, my debut young adult sci-fi urban fantasy, was the Second Place winner of the 2016 Pages From The Heart Contest.
I'm excited to announce Fate of the Stars will be available on September 1, 2017!
The action packed pages of my novels are filled with characters who are forced to face fears they never expected. I live in Washington state with my amazing husband and five fantastic kids and work full time in sales, writing in all my spare time.