Friday, June 8, 2018

Review- Moira Ashe: Enemy Within

About the Book

Published on March 28, 2018 by Brendon Bertram

GoodReads Description

A blood moon is rising above Abalon. Werewolves, once heard of only in whispers around the borderlands, have been spotted in villages and towns mere miles from the capital, and the king is worried - worried enough to send Lincoln Clarke to find help.

But hunters this far from Abalon aren't exactly keen. Lincoln's gone through half a dozen leads before he finds Moira Ashe lurking in the corner of a tavern, her dark eyes glinting in the candlelight. It takes a bag of gold for Moira to agree even to tell Lincoln what she knows, and more still for her to allow him along on a hunt.

But what should have been a simple job turns out to be anything but. With a suspect Moira can't pin down and a string of bodies piling up in the beast's wake, Lincoln finds himself doubting Moira's skill. And with time running out and the full moon approaching, failure is not an option.

But Moira has her own secrets to protect, and the beast she and Lincoln are hunting may not be the biggest threat after all...

My Thoughts

This is the fourth time I have tried to start this review. Why is it so difficult to write?  Bertram definitely had no problem writing his book!  Because of the brevity of the book, this will be a relatively short review.

I fell in love with Moira immediately!  What a spunky little lady!  I loved that she had so much depth to her and that she was not afraid of doing what needed to be done even in difficult situations.

Lincoln was another wonderful character!  What a dork!  I loved laughing at his internal monologues as he worked through his relationship with Moira.  However, I found him to be a bit unrealistically dopey at times. I had expected him to be a bit more aware of his surroundings and to not be as foiled by Moira as he was.

My least favorite thing about this book was definitely how short it was.  I would have loved to see the world building develop and truly branch out.  As it was, getting to know what was expected from each of the lands felt a bit forced.  I would have loved to get to know some of the minor characters a lot better, but that simply was not an option with such a short story.

Overall, Bertram writes a captivating piece with plenty of attention stealing moments.  If you are looking for a book that gets straight to the nitty gritty part of the story, this is the book for you.

My Rating




Book Blitz: Relegation by Karri Thompson


Relegation
Karri Thompson
(The Van Winkle Project #3)
Published by: Entangled: Teen
Publication date: June 4th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
The end is near—and I’m fated to save humanity.
I’m feared, yet revered. The presidents are leery of me, but I’ve read the files. And I know the truth—at least, I think I do. And I’m the one who is going to tell the clones. They deserve to know.
Michael and I have been forced to fight, to kill. We’ll do anything to keep our daughters safe and free. But we can’t do it alone. There’s a rumor about a secret society eager for battle… and we’re going to find them. Help them end the government’s corruption.
It’s my duty, my calling as the first mother of the new world I want to create.
This started with me, and that’s where it’s going to end.
EXCERPT:
“What’s going on?” Michael asked. I thought it was Michael. No, maybe it was Travel. Everything spun, my head stretching and coming back as if I’d rocketed down an elevator shaft.
Hands caught me under my arms. Whose hands? I didn’t know. My feet hit the floor, but my knees buckled, and as I was lifted again, I opened my eyes and caught a blur of the room—wood paneling, a pedestal holding a vase of red flowers, and an oriental carpet under my feet.
What was wrong with me? My heartbeat thumped in my ears, the muscles in my legs refused to respond to my mental commands, and my skin hurt as tiny dots of pain erupted from my bones and spread to the surface of my limbs.
“They need to be separated,” a male shouted.
They? Who was they?
His words were sharp and desperate, bordering on panic. The grip under my arms shifted to my waist and my upper body. Limp and trembling with each beat of my heart, I fell against the person holding me. It was Michael. I recognized his spicy cologne and the width of his shoulders against mine.
“Michael, don’t you see what’s happening?” It was Travel. Now I recognized his voice, too, a voice marked with the same cast of anxiety in
Michael’s.
“Travel,” I tried to say. Or maybe I did say it. Had my lips even moved? A numbing heat whipped up my spine and spread through my shoulders and neck. My chin dropped to my chest, and the fuzzy red, white, and green colors I’d seen were replaced with the grey blur of my prison uniform.
“Take her away—now!” Michael shouted, his words seeping deep into my ear where the sounds writhed and burned, the sensation spreading to my forehead.
With each exhale, my hot breath pooled against my chest, stoking my lightheadedness.
“Get her out of here,” Michael said again. “Hurry!”
Her? Who? Me? VW2? Where was my daughter? Michael’s arms were empty, and my own still hung loosely at my sides and hit dumbly against my body when he shifted me closer to him.
“That’s his niece. You just can’t…” Whose voice was that? It was a presidential voice with its commanding yet concerned tone. It had to be Dabner. I wasn’t his niece. I wasn’t anybody’s niece in this century. Who was he talking about?


Author Bio:
Growing up in San Diego, California, Karri Thompson spent much of her years at the beach, reading novels, tanning, and listening to music. At SDSU, she earned a BA in English, MA in education, and her teaching credential. As a wife, mother, and high-school English teacher, she began writing novels, giving all of the compelling plots and unique characters in her head a home. Victorian literature rocks her socks, and when she’s not writing, jogging, going to concerts, or watching her son play football, she’s reading Dickens.

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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Book Blitz: Spectacle by S. J. Pierce


Spectacle
S.J. Pierce
Publication date: June 4th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Avatar meets Gladiator in this spellbinding Young Adult, Science-Fiction seriesby bestselling author S.J. Pierce.
Two hundred years after the Great Disaster, the day earthquakes ravaged Earth’s landscapes, humanity has finally regrouped and is working toward a better future. But in New America – one of three remaining landmasses – overpopulation makes a better future seem bleaker by the year.
Mira (Mirabella) Foster and her parents are citizens of New America, and with the threat of starvation and disease looming on the horizon, a discovery threatens to push everyone to the brink of chaos:blue markings develop on people’s skin. Markings that allow them to camouflage,but also make them feared, and eventually, targets of violence.
Mira’s dad is one of them.
Spectacle, Part One is the beginning of a three-part series. Suitable for ages fourteen and up.
On sale for 99¢ for a limited time!
Spectacle has made it to my TOP TEN LIST OF DYSTOPIAN BOOKS to read. ★★★★★
This book is totally ADDICTIVE, FAST-PACED and SUSPENSEFUL, with great lead characters and complex world building. ★★★★★
HUNGER GAMES meets AVATAR in this spellbinding Young Adult, Science-Fiction series by bestselling author S.J. Pierce.
EXCERPT:
When Luxxe and I make it into the crowd, they part for us, their cheers and attentions trained on him – the camp’s hunting trainer and star of our monthly hunting expeditions. In other words, their well-respected (and sometimes feared) hero. I’ve seen him hunt enough to know why too. He’s precise and brutal. No holds barred. It’s safe to say he’s the best one here, and I have to admit, though anything violent makes my stomach turn (even for the purpose of food), to see him in his element is like witnessing the athleticism of an Olympian god. This is what he was made for – to kill.
His arm slips from my shoulder as he turns to hug his best friend and training assistant, Cole – another mountain of a teenage boy. He wears his dreads shorter, and his eyes are the color of liquid metal. His markings have harsh angles like bolts of lightning and cover his arms and half his torso. They’ve multiplied since I last saw him.
The cheers around us ebb as they wait for Luxxe to finish his greetings and lead us into the forest; this is the part where I have to fend for myself. Then we’ll part ways into smaller groups and kill whatever we can carry. Our group is usually me, Luxxe, Taylor, and Cole.
While I stand with my hands clasped and looking at the ground, the lonely snowflake in a frenzied bed of coal, I feel some of their eyes on me but pretend not to notice. I know they wonder about me – the blonde, pale girl with no markings who hardly ever comes around; the girl Luxxe is close with even though he has a very committed girlfriend, not that it’s any of their business; the daughter of the former head liaison who met with the President all those years ago. Though most believe my dad is innocent, I think some blame him for starting the war that placed us here, though they don’t say it. At least not to me. I’ve overheard rumblings in the market a time or two about how he went ‘mad’ or ‘rogue’ and secretly planned to take the President out but was taken out instead. And it might be my imagination, but I feel their resentment when they look at me, still fresh after all this time. Like I was somehow in on whatever they assume he did.
Oh, well. Screw them. He was innocent.


Author Bio:
Multiple Award Nominated and Bestselling Author Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare time to writing Paranormal, Sci-fi, and Contemporary Romance novels.
Please visit www.sjpiercebooks.com and sign up for her mailing list or subscribe to her blog if you'd like to hear when new books come out!

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Monday, June 4, 2018

Cover Reveal: Second Star by J. M. Sullivan


Second Star
J.M. Sullivan
Published by: Bleeding Ink Publishing
Publication date: March 5th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Peter Pan has never been one to follow the rules. Abandoned as a child, he was adopted by the renowned Captain Hooke to join the crew of the starship Jolly Roger. But when Peter finds out that the elegant Captain is not as upstanding as everyone believes, he has no choice but to sabotage the ship, alienating him from the crew, the fleet, and the only family he’s ever known.
Wendy Darling has worked her entire life to rise through the ranks of the prestigious Londonierre Brigade. Now as a Captain, she has everything she’s always wanted, including a ship and crew of her own. But when the Brigade receives a strange transmission from the legendary James Hooke, lost a hundred years earlier in uncharted space and presumed dead, Wendy is willing to risk it all to rescue her hero from the planet known only as Neverland.
But there is more to Neverland than meets the eye, and more to Hooke than what was written in history books. When Wendy crash lands on the ominous planet, she quickly discovers Neverland’s dark secret; a malevolent being known as The Shadow that’s looking for a host body to escape its eternal prison. To fulfill her mission, Wendy must decide whether to trust the dashing Hooke or the mysterious Fleet mechanic who goes by the name of Pan–and she has to decide quickly…
Before the darkness consumes them all.


Author Bio:
An avid reader and hopeless fangirl, J.M. Sullivan shamelessly fantasized that this was, in fact, her AUROR bio, but has since determined AUTHOR bio to be the next best thing. An almost Arizona native, she was raised in Phoenix, but when asked, she will tell you her formative years were really spent in the land of make-believe, where she passed countless hours with her favorite characters in their own worlds, Wonderland included.
Eventually, society informed her that she had to grow up, so she experimented in retail, music, and business careers before realizing her passion for kids. She now works in Abu Dhabi as a middle school science teacher who fosters a love of science, literature, and learning in her students.
Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. When she isn’t busy writing or caught in a daydream, she spends her time at home with her husband, their two cats, three kids, and a whole lot of madness. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Review: The Helm of Darkness by A. P. Mobley

About the Book

Published by Sea of Ink Press on June 3, 2018

GoodReads Description

Andy and Zoey are two normal teenagers living in the modern day—that is, until they’re knocked unconscious in a freak storm sweeping the United States. 

When they wake up, the world they know has been tossed away. Their city is in ruins, strange creatures walk the earth, and worst of all, everyone is gone. They stumble across Diana and Spencer, two kids around their age who possess incredible magical abilities, and who claim to be the demigod children of Greek gods. Not only that, they also claim the year is 500 AS, five hundred years after the gods conjured a massive storm that destroyed most of humanity and helped them take the world as their own once again.

Andy and Zoey are soon handed an impossible task: To save humanity. To lead a war on the gods.

They’ll have to battle monsters, death, and their own inner demons to survive and to protect the people they love.

What readers are saying:

"A fast-paced, easy read that I feel the target audience will have no problem sitting down and digging into. They'll become engulfed in this post-apocalyptic fantasy world." ~Josh O.

"A fantastic and unpredictable read that pulls you into the land of the Greek. Readers relate and truly recognize themselves within the pages. The biggest struggle was putting it down and leaving the story unfinished." ~Kaylee K.

"A.P. Mobley's characters are extraordinary, yet relatable. The burdens that each of them carry will keep you turning the pages to find out if they can overcome them. She describes nightmarish monsters throughout, and Hades as a place scarier than hell. If you are not familiar with Greek mythology before reading this book, you will be obsessed with it after you are done." ~Shanele W.

My Thoughts

I was absolutely in love with this book from the first page.  Not only does Mobley know how to craft a story to keep her readers engaged, she is more than willing to help her readers learn.  After reading more of the book, I was surprised by how fast-paced her plot was.  Typically, I prefer if the plot slows down just a little more than what Mobley presented, but her target audience isn't 25 year old English teachers.  Her target audience is the kids I teach and they would be absolutely in love with this book.  I want to do something a little different for this book.  Allow me to tell you why this is an absolutely necessary addition to any English teacher's classroom library.

First, Mobley made d*** sure to include a good amount of wonderful information on the Greek gods and goddesses. I would LOVE to get my hands on some classroom copies of this book to introduce my seventh and eighth grade students to the Greek pantheon.  They would be enthralled by the story and forget that they were learning World Literature at the same time. Not only would this benefit them in their current stage of school, but in eleventh grade when I teach World Literature!  This book is a wonderful way to present students with ideas from other cultures and broaden their horizons.

Second, Mobley is seriously talented in the ways of character creation.  OMG!!!  So many of my students would fall madly in love with the characters because they are so stinking easy to relate to!  I love that Andy gives the boys an example of someone their age who isn't afraid to love their family or to show their feelings.  He isn't a super macho guy and I don't think that there should be as much pressure on today's boys to be unrealistically macho either.  Andy is physically strong, but his real importance lays in the strength of his emotions.  Additionally, Zoey is a wonderful role model for girls who deal with rumors and bullying.  She knows the truth.  Even though she hates the rumors that circulate, she plans to build herself up and create a good future for herself that takes her far away from the nasty, sheepish girls that she has been surrounded by.

Finally, this book is engaging!  It is too easy for English teachers to force kids to read books that engage us, but not them.  We are engaged by different things because we're older and we've had Byron, Wordsworth, and Spenser shoved down our throats.  These kids will get there, but they need books like The Helm of Darkness to open the doors for them and to bring them from "reading is boring" to "reading is fun!"  They need these fast-paced adventures to bring them into the reading life.

Overall, I truly enjoyed this novel.  I think it would really appeal to fans of Jessica Therrien and Rick Riordan.

My Rating


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Promo Post: Darkness is Coming by Charles W. Jones


Darkness is Coming
by Charles W. Jones
Genre: Horror

When Jess buys the house on Scarlet Lane, she quickly learns there’s more inside the house than the walls. A strange clicking fills the house at night, terrifying her children, ghosts reveal themselves, and she discovers a dark entity frightened a young girl, causing her to fall down the stairs to her death.


After Mason is released from prison, he is lucky to find a job and a place to live in his hometown. When he meets Jess, he discovers she bought his childhood home on Scarlet Lane, but he doesn’t know anything about the dark things that reside there, and has been sent on a mission by his employer to find something, though he isn’t given any details of what he’s looking for.

Only a few know what happened in the old mining at the base of the mountain when the beast made itself known over two hundred years ago. Throughout the years it toys with the residents, possessing them, tormenting them, killing them. An unexpected hero tells Jess and Mason the town’s history, and about the beast trapped in the house on Scarlet Lane, sharing the plan to end its reign of terror before it takes more lives.






Charles W. Jones grew up in the small town Shoshoni, WY, and he managed to break free from its grasp with his soul intact. Growing up in a small town scared him to death most of the time. It's very dark at night - really dark. To top it off, it is full of ghosts; well, that's what Charles thought when he was kid. Turns out it was just the constant wind blowing dirt and tumbleweeds. Two of Charles' novels are set in Shoshoni, Dreamwalker: The Second Plain and HOME A Novel.


There isn't a part of the horror genre Charles doesn't like. He likes it creepy, filled with suspense, or even brutal with intense torture scenes. His favorite horror movies have always been the slasher movies; give him the gore. Clive Barker is Charles' greatest influence, but is also inspired by Lewis Carroll, Stephen King, and Frank Beddor. Real life is a large contributor to his writing, where he finds beauty in the most unexpected places.

Music has always been a great contributor to Charles' life, by means of not only entertainment, but personal soundtrack. When he writes, he listens to different types of music to set the mood of the scene he is writing. Eurythmics will always be at the top of his playlist, but many other bands and genres occupy his mind.




Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!




Friday, June 1, 2018

Why I Can't Wait to Finish Reading Silver Hollow


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Silver Hollow
(Borderlands Saga #1)
By Jennifer Silverwood
Urban Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 429 pages
May 31st 2018 by SilverWoodSketches

"I shouldn't have to tell you this isn't a fairy story..."

After her parents' car crash ten years before, Amie Wentworth trusts books more than people. She may be a writer, but she believes in reality over fiction. She ignores the unexplained mysteries surrounding her, never mind the dreams of a past life, or the fact she can fry technology with a touch. Not even a timely invitation from her long-lost uncle in England gives Amie incentive for anything other than ire.

Until she is stabbed in an alley and brought back to life by a handsome stranger. Soon Amie is dragged into the very sort of tale she is used to selling. To make matters worse, the man who saved her life keeps turning up and her would-be-murderer is still at large.

After crossing the Atlantic to her father’s homeland, she discovers a world beyond imagining. Silver Hollow is a place of ancient traditions and supernatural dangers, where everything is the opposite of what it seems and few escape sane. Faced with an impossible choice, Amie is forced to confront a deadly family legacy while remembering a life she soon wishes to forget.

**Previously published in 2012. This NEW EDITION has been FULLY REVISED AND EXPANDED. The original novel is now no longer available.**




GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboSmashwords





Why I Can't Wait to Finish It


Normally, when you sign up to review a book as part of a tour people expect you to do that *insert feigned shock and awe here* Unfortunately, my life has been far too insane for me to do that this time around. I did, however, get a chance to start this book and I can tell you that I have not wanted to put it down since I started it. In fact, it has been soooo wonderful that I would feel like I'm doing Silverwood a HUGE disservice by not telling you exactly how captivating these first pages have been. Here are my top three reasons.

1. Silverwood knows how to use her words and isn't afraid to do so! There is a plethora of captivating similes and metaphors. She doesn't only present her audience with a beautiful story, she tells it masterfully.

2. Amie is a wonderfully written character. She seems to go against the grain, yet everything she does is for a perfectly practical reason. Seriously, though, who wears BRIGHT YELLOW to a funeral? Amie. And with good reason.

3. The sense of suspense and mystery are so flipping overwhelming. I HAVE to know how this ends. I honestly don't think I'll feel complete until I know. Silverwood's story definitely weaves its way into the reader's brain and has every intention of staying there until completed. Say goodbye to sleep.

Despite the insanity that life has been, a more complete review of this novel will be on the blog later this month.


About the Author


Jennifer Silverwood was raised deep in the heart of Texas and has been spinning yarns a mile high since childhood. In her spare time she reads and writes and tries to sustain her wanderlust, whether it’s the Carpathian Mountains in Transylvania, the highlands of Ecuador or a road trip to the next town. Always on the lookout for her next adventure, in print or reality, she dreams of one day proving to the masses that everything really is better in Texas. She is the author of two series—Heaven's Edge and Wylder Tales—and the stand-alone titles Stay and Silver Hollow.




PRIZE PACK #1: 1 winner will receive new Silver Hollow swag, themed bookmarks, stickers, bookish themed tote, and B&N Illustrated Hardcover Editions of Grimm's Fairy Tales and The Story of King Arthur & His Knights (US only)
PRIZE PACK #2: 1 winner will receive signed swag (mainly Silver Hollow and Wylder Tales), ebooks of the Wylder Tales Collection, and a free voucher for Bound Beauty to be published later in 2018 (open internationally)
ENDS: June 6th

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Book Blitz: Moonlight and Midtown by Christina Bauer


Moonlight And Midtown
Christina Bauer
(Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #1.5)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: May 27th 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
After battling werewolves and evil aunties, Bryar Rose is ready to enjoy her new life. No more crazy aunties. Her curse is toast. And Bry’s new man, Knox, is literally a dream come true. Best of all, Bry will soon attend a regular high school. Forget those sketchy tutors! To get ready, Bry is dedicating the rest of her summer to some serious back-to-school shopping with her best friend, Elle. It’s a blast, except for one thing:
Mysterious strangers are following Bry across Manhattan.
All these stalkers have oddly familiar scents and an uncanny ability to slip into the shadows whenever Bry tries to confront them. Even worse, their presence is making Knox act crazy with a capital C.
But Bry’s having none of it. Enough of her life has already been ruined by secrets. With Elle’s help, Bry plans to confront these strangers, find out what they want, and send them packing. Trouble is, the truth about their identity won’t be so easy to manage, especially when Bry finds out how these stalkers could change her future with Knox…and not for the better.
***An interim novella between WOLVES AND ROSES and SHIFTERS AND GLYPHS***
About The Series
The Fairy Tales of the Magicorum series includes WOLVES AND ROSES (Book 1), MOONLIGHT AND MIDTOWN (Novella 1.5) and SHIFTERS AND GLYPHS (Book 2, Fall 2018). Eight full novels are planned in total.
EXCERPT:
“That’s why packs have Alphas,” says Knox. “You need to set her loose, and then, let her attack me.”
Every inch of my body goes on alert. “Attack you? Why?”
“Your wolf has been through a lot. Ritual fighting is how wolves work out their place in the pack. Your wolf needs a firm hand.”
I stare at my palm. “Firm hand?”
“I’m not talking about physical power here. I’m talking magic. My power is Alpha energy, but you’ve got your own magic. Once I subdue your wolf, I think you’ll get the idea.”
My head feels woozy. “Ritual combat? Really?”
“Yes. Release your wolf and attack me. Now.”
I hug my elbows. “I’m not sure. If I’m patient, my inner wolf might just calm down on her own.”
“That’s not how wolves work, even when they aren’t of the magical variety. And a werewolf? Our animals are far more intense. I’m your Alpha, and if I let this go on for one more minute, I’m putting you at risk.”
Something in his tone sets my nerves on edge. “Meaning?”
“Your wolf will go feral. When it happens, it’s fast and intense. Your wolf will take over and you’ll disappear.”
I suck in a shaky breath. “She wouldn’t.”
My wolf’s voice sounds in my head. “We will run! I demand we shift NOW!
That manic tone to her voice is now higher than ever before. Every inch of my body trembles with the urge to shift. I reply to my wolf in my mind.
Didn’t you hear what Knox said?” Normally, my wolf can’t help but listen in on most of my conversations. “Our mate thinks you’re going feral.
Mate?” The manic tone to her voice hikes up an octave. “We have no mate. All we have is the need to run.
A chill runs up my spine. “You don’t remember our mate?
No mate! Run, now!
My blood chills. No matter what happens, my wolf always knows her mate. In fact, my usual complaint is that she won’t shut up about him.
This is really happening. My wolf is going feral.
All of a sudden, it’s like I can’t pull in enough air. “You’re right. My inner wolf is losing her mind.”
“Hey, I won’t let that happen.” Knox rests his hands on my shoulders. “Breathe, Bry.”
It takes serious concentration, but I slow my racing pulse a little. “Okay.”
“Now, you need to set your wolf loose and trust me. Can you do that, yeah?”
“I can try.”
“Good.” Knox pulls off his dress shirt over his head and tosses it aside. “Set her loose.”
Normally, the urge to shift is a constant tug of war between me and my wolf. Most times, all it takes is for me to stop fighting the urge to shift. After that, I turn furry. So that’s what I do now—I drop my guard and let my wolf take over.


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. The first three books in the series are now available as audiobooks 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.

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Review: The Apollo Illusion by Shari Lopatin

About the Book

Published by BookBooks Publishing on May 19, 2018

I received an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

GoodReads Description

** Nothing is ever what it seems. ** The year is 2150, and bullied nineteen-year-old Flora can no longer ignore the burning curiosity to learn what’s behind the towering Wall surrounding her home state of Apollo. Citizens still read books, discuss philosophy, and send text messages, but questioning The Other Side is forbidden.

When Flora’s naïveté accidentally reveals a dark secret about Apollo, she’s forced into an isolated web of truth, lies, and survival. Fearing for her life, she leaves behind a clue for her childhood friend, Andrew, placing her last hope in their special bond.

THE APOLLO ILLUSION is a story for the hackers, the techies, the seekers, and the rebels of the world.

SPECS:
* Audience: young adults and millennials
* Genres: dystopian suspense, science fiction, speculative fiction, YA
* Rating: PG-13 for some sexuality and occasional language

My Thoughts

Normally, I think dystopian novels are OK.  I think they have an interesting premise, but I find that most authors overdo the concept.  This makes it excessively difficult for me to buy into the world that they're selling.  Then comes Shari Lopatin with one of the best books I've been asked to review in my last two years of blogging.  I'm so flipping in love with this book that I was begging it not to end.  When it did end, as all good things must sadly do, I stared at my Kindle with an absolutely blank face hoping that my Kindle had simply put the About the Author page in the document too early as some kind of sick joke.  Unfortunately, I was only kidding myself.

I talk about characters in all of my reviews, so let's start there.  Lopatin has dominated the world of character creation.  These kids may be teenagers, but they are so stinking realistic that I forgot that I was reading fiction for a little while.  I could definitely see any of the students that I teach doing all of the things that Andrew, Flora, Don, and even Sophie do.  This was awesome from a general reader's point of view, but to a teacher that's a dang magic trick.  If I can see my kids in those parts so easily, they would see themselves in those roles.  If they do that, they would be more likely to give Lopatin's message some real thought.

My favorite character of the bunch was definitely Don.  I LOVED HIM.  Lopatin, if you're reading this I'm mad and you know why.  *Insert angry tears of rage and pain here*  He was an absolute enigma at the beginning and once he makes more sense to the readers, there will be an absolute soft spot in your heart for this little guy.  Andrew, however, was a close second.  He's your everyday, run-of-the-mill, doofy teenaged dude but he grows and becomes SO MUCH MORE!    It is beautiful to watch the romance unfold between him and Flora.  It is very organic and feels as obvious as the romance between Ron and Hermione.  Please for the love of all things wonderful, allow me to live in my fantasy world where these two grow up, get married, and have a child.  I hope they name their son Jaron after their friend from The Other Side.

Lopatin has a very important message in this novel. In fact, it was so terrifyingly real that I almost couldn't finish the book because I was spooked.  Lopatin introduces a world in which people have become so dependent upon electronics that they can't think for themselves.  YIKES!  That sounds a little too real.  I am terrified of this message because I see so many of my kids who need calculators or other electronic assistance for things that we were forced to use our brains for (I'm 25 and I teach high school.  It's not like I'm ancient!).  The teacher in me loves it.  I want to give a copy of this book to every single one of my students so that we can have the important discussion that would result from the theme of this novel.  Students need this to be pointed out to them.  Some of them couldn't care less.  Others might be as spooked as I was.

If you like The 100, George Orwell, or any sci-fi and dystopian novels, please read this book.  YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT.  And, if you don't like it.  I'll read it again and enjoy it in your place.

My Rating



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Promo Post: The Aviary by Emily Shore


The Aviary
Emily Shore
(The Aviary Series, #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: March 5th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
I am nobody’s Swan.
Beauty is now a corporate commodity, bought and sold on city streets and displayed in elite Museums.
Sixteen-year-old Serenity has spent her entire life in hiding, to keep safe from this decadent world. Overnight, her parents disappear, and Serenity is kidnapped, sold at auction, and thrust into the Aviary—an illustrious Museum where girls are displayed as living art by day and at night, cater to the lascivious whims of men who bid on their exhibits. Serenity has much to learn about this enthralling but competitive world where girls go by names like Raven and Nightingale and will stop at nothing to become top Bird.
The enigmatic and deadly Aviary Director, Luc, soon idolizes Serenity’s purity and aims to turn her into his grandest exhibit of all time—The Swan. In no time, she becomes the most coveted exhibit in the Aviary’s history.
Soon, Serenity learns that Luc holds the key to finding, and freeing, her parents. To save them, she must learn to play the Swan to perfection to win Luc’s heart, earn his trust, and save her parents. She doesn’t count on the fact that she’ll develop feelings for Luc in the process. Now, she’ll have to face an impossible decision: escape The Aviary and lose her only chance at finding her parents; or become Luc’s Swan for good, and lose her identity forever.


Author Bio:
Emily Shore is a MN author with a B.A. in Creative Writing from Metro State University and was a grand prize winner of #PitchtoPublication, which led her to working with professionals in the publishing industry. Her anti-trafficking books Ruby in the Rough and Ruby in the Ruins are her first indie-published books with proceeds benefiting trafficking rescue organizations: Breaking Free and Women at Risk, International. This summer she will be debuting her first contemporary novel as well as re-releasing her paranormal series in the fall: Roseblood
Emily lives in Saint Paul with her husband and two little girls. In her free time, she enjoys connecting with rescue organizations and survivors of sex-trafficking, hearing their stories, and injecting their truths into her books for youth. She loves motivational speaking on the issue of sex-trafficking and is lining up more schools and libraries for the fall and winter, campaigning against sex-trafficking, baking, acrylic painting, interior decorating, and spending time with all the little girls in her life.
To learn more about Emily's work and the anti-trafficking movement, see her Facebook page where she regularly blogs: www.facebook.com/authoremilyshore and sign up for her newsletter through the Contact Me on her website: www.emilybethshore.com

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

About the Book

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 1, 2018

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

GoodReads Description

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.

My Thoughts

A retelling of a classic or a fairy tale?  I am THERE!  Hand it over NOW!  Although I haven't read Jane Eyre, I was excited to read this book. I try to find these retellings as a way to begin bridging the gap between student interests and abilities and the classic novels themselves.  I wanted to see if this novel would be of interest to a wide variety of my students.  I was not disappointed.

Donne expertly crafts modern pop culture, literary references,  humor, and excellent world building into a novel that would easily keep the attention of many young ladies.  I wish that there had been a bit more in it for the gentlemen, but I understand that would have been difficult to do because of the nature of the original story.  Most teenage boys don't want to read romantic novels, but that's not Donne's fault.  

I absolutely adored Donne's world-building abilities.  Creating a world off of Earth where nothing is the same as it is in reality is no easy feat.  To fabricate a world so completely and with so few gaps in planning is impressive.  You rock, Alexa Donne!  However, there were a few parts that I struggled with.  Of these, the biggest problem I had was with the growth of food.  How did ships that had never grown food in the past suddenly have all of the supplies and all of the room necessary to do so?  It seems that other important jobs that ship did would have to be moved off ship or at least out of the way to do so.  Wouldn't this have caused other problems for the crew?

The characters were so well done that, just like real people, there were times that you loved and hated all of them for their actions.  For a while, Hugo was my absolute favorite character and Stella was only OK.  Then, his cowardice showed and her steadfast devotion to her morals led her through a number of difficult decisions.  It was truly enlightening to read the thought process of a character who was so willing to stand strong and uphold morals that weren't very popular.  I think that this will both appeal to and have a positive impact on many of Donne's teenage readers.  On a more personal note, it was strange to read about a ten year old Jessa that I actually related to rather well.  It's the first time that I've ever come across a character with my name which made this an even more meaningful experience.

I would be absolutely remiss in my duties as a reviewer if I didn't take a moment to talk about the romance between Hugo and Stella.  I won't say too much so that I don't spoil anything.  BUT WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT????  This relationship seemed to fall together too quickly with no real development between the characters before their engagement.  This 'puppy love' was completely unrealistic and very hastily thrown together.  Before writing my review, I gave a lot of thought to whether or not this was simply because of the way that things went in Jane Eyre.  I definitely see that side, and see it in other novels written around the same time as Jane Eyre, but I think that Donne could have handled this romance better for modern girls.  If she can create a whole world in space and a leading female who can think for herself, I wish she would have turned that same character into an example of a healthily developed relationship.  This is probably just the teacher in me talking, but I hate seeing my students think that they have to rush into any relationship just to matter.  Although this isn't how Donne presents Stella, I would have liked to see a better option presented to her readers.

Overall, I truly enjoyed this book.  It was an absolute joy to read and I would recommend it to fans of science fiction and classic novels alike.

My Rating



Monday, May 14, 2018

Gwendy's Button Box (Review)

About the Book

Published by  Cemetery Dance Publications on May 16, 2017

GoodReads Description


The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told... until now.

There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.

At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.

One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: "Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me."

On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat...

Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December. This book will be a Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive with no other editions currently planned anywhere in the world!

My Thoughts

Please, let me tell you all about my friend Al.  We've been good friends for less than a year, but we're so similar it's spooky!  We are yet to find more than a few things that we don't have in common.  Therefore, when she mentioned that she'd read this book and liked it, I knew I had to pick it up as well.  And, as usual, she did not steer me wrong.  But we both think King is a ruttin' genius so that may have had something to do with it.

King chose to go with a very conversational tone in this novella, which I think was a very wise choice.  It draws you in and brings you into the mind of Gwendy at each different age as she grows older.  Not only does this make her a very well-built and multi-dimensional character, it leaves the reader room for surprise as the story progresses.

Unlike many of King's other books, there is not much to be afraid of.  There is DEFINITE suspense that kept me white knuckled and on the edge of my seat.  I absolutely HAD to know what was going to happen next. There were parts that made me want to cry and scream and throw things at Stephen King, which I guess is only a testament to his amazing skills.

As with many books, there's always that one thing that you think could have been done better.  In Gwendy's Button Box, that one thing was Mr. Farris.  Who the heck is he? Why does his hat fly?  Does he shrink down to an inch tall and fly around in his hat?  How old is he?  I'm dying to know all of these things!   Grrr.  King just leaves me wondering this time.

Overall, I loved this book. I will be rereading it when I'm looking for a short novella that I know will keep me entertained.

My Rating



Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Gorgeous Cover! The Revolution of Jack Frost


The Revolution of Jack Frost
K.M. Robinson
Published by: Bleeding Ink Publishing
Publication date: November 6th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Fairy Tales, Retelling, Young Adult
No one inside the snow globe knows that Morozoko Industries is controlling their weather, testing them to form a stronger race that can survive the fall out from the bombs being dropped in the outside world—all they know is that they must survive the harsh Winter that lasts a month and use the few days of Spring, Summer, and Fall to gather enough supplies to survive.
When the seasons start shifting, Genesis and her boyfriend, Jack, know something is going on. As their team begins to find technology that they don’t have access to inside their snow globe of a world, it begins to look more and more like one of their own is working against them.
Genesis soon discovers Morozoko Industries is to blame, but when a foreign enemy tries to destroy their weather program to make sure their destructive life-altering bombs succeed in destroying the outside world, their only chance is to shut down the machine that is spinning out of control and save the lives of everyone inside the bunker–at any cost.
The World Portal for The Revolution of Jack Frost has just been opened up on www.kmrobinsonbooks.com with behind-the-scenes info, exclusive looks at characters, there will be interactive choose-your-own-adventure games, facebook filters and frames, videos, artwork, and more coming soon, and the information is changing every few days, so if you want to catch it all, you have to keep checking back for all the exclusives. There may even be bonus scenes and other freebies on the site as well!


Author Bio:
K.M. Robinson is a best selling storyteller who creates new worlds both in her writing and in her fine arts conceptual photography. She is a marketing, branding and social media strategy educator who is recognized at first sight by her very long hair. She is a creative who focuses on photography, videography, couture dress making, and writing to express the stories she needs to tell. She almost always has a camera within reach.
Get free excerpts of her books at excerpt.kmrobinsonbooks.com and check out her website www.kmrobinsonbooks.com
Connect with her on social media at @kmrobinsonbooks on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. You can view videos and live replays on Youtube too!

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