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

Find it on Amazon!
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.
“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.


Friday, May 25, 2018

Review: The Apollo Illusion by Shari Lopatin

About the Book

Published by BookBooks Publishing on May 19, 2018

Find it on Amazon!

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.

* 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

Find it on Amazon!
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


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

About the Book

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

Find it on Amazon!

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 Published on May 16, 2017

Find it on Amazon!

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

Find it on Amazon!
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!


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope (Review)

About the Book

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope
Published by St. Martin's Press on May 1, 2018

Find it on Amazon!

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

GoodReads Description

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers.

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive--an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack's mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamari is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it's people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda's Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

My Thoughts

I absolutely LOVED this book! What a fantastical world!  It had been such a long time since I was properly swept away into another world and this Penelope's work was marvelous!

In all of my reviews, I try hard to think of both good and bad parts of the book.  I have given up trying to find something I disliked about this book because I simply can't do it.  Honestly, I finished this book a few days ago and I'm still wracking my brain.  So, I quit. I give up.  I LOVED THIS BOOK! I can't wait to read it again.  

Penelope creates several beautiful characters.  Of these, my favorite was definitely Jasminda.  I'm a sucker for a strong female lead, and Jasminda does not disappoint.  She is ready and able to take charge to protect herself and her land.  She does what she needs to in order to save her family's land.  Perhaps the most important thing about her is the lesson she teaches young girls.  There is love in her life, but her love is not her life.  There is SOOOOOO much more to her than just trying to find a husband and have a family.  She is a strong, independent, black woman.  She knows it and she owns it!

In addition to beautiful character development, Penelope accomplishes some INCREDIBLE world building.  It is so easy to picture every setting.  She gives just the right amount of detail. The places that should be explained in more detail-are.  The places that are minimally experienced are minimally explained.  I loved that she used her world building skills to add to the story rather than to take away from the integrity of the plot.  Too many authors over explain the setting because they feel like they have to, Penelope understands that sometimes less is more.

Diversity, tolerance, and acceptance are very important themes in this novel.  It is impossible to turn a page without seeing evidence of these three popping up.  I honestly can't think of a more important topic for today's readers to see.  Too often, harsh comments are made about people who are different from us or who see things differently.  These differences should be celebrated, not attacked.  I am so glad that Penelope took the time to embrace and celebrate them.

I absolutely adored this book.  If you like fantasy, romance, and stunning writing, this is the book for you!

My Rating