Thursday, August 30, 2018

Cover Reveal: Xavier by Christina Bauer

Christina Bauer
(Angelbound Worlds, #1)
Published by: Monster House Books
Publication date: February 25th 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

Find it on Amazon!
“Anyone into fantasy and other worldly experiences would enjoy these books. I am officially addicted!” – Rachely, Goodreads
I am the archangel Xavier,
General of the Angelic Army.
My life began at the dawn of time,
And in all the long eons since
I have only known war, never love.
Until HER.

Enter the Angelbound Worlds, a new series of novellas that take place within different areas and eras of the after-realms (Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, the Dark Lands, and Antrum). Don’t miss Book 1 in the Angelbound Worlds series, in which the archangel Xavier shares how he finally fell in love.
Suggested to read after Angelbound Origins Book 1.
“SUCH interesting stories!! I love the characters, the plot, the writing style. Unique, beautiful, not sappy with the romance, but steamy enough to keep my interest. DEFINITELY recommend!” – Keri, Goodreads

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.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Cover Reveal: The Wolf of the Baskervilles by Majanka Verstraete

The Wolf of the Baskervilles
Majanka Verstraete
(The Adventures of Marisol Holmes, #3)
Publication date: June 25th 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Find it on Amazon!
Who is Marisol Holmes?
She’s a teenager.
Jaguar shifter.
And don’t forget, she’s also the descendant of the great Sherlock Holmes.
Our heroine had been in some pretty tight spots before, but now? She’s about to face her biggest challenge yet: a powerful shifter with a taste for blood. No one has faced down the deadly wolf of the Baskervilles and lived to tell the tale.
Even so, Marisol Holmes plans to do just that.

Author Bio:
Author Majanka Verstraete has written more than twenty unique works of fiction. A native of Belgium, Majanka’s novels explore the true nature of monsters: the good, the bad, and just about every species in between. Her young adult books include the acclaimed Mirrorland (YA Dark Fantasy) and Angel of Death (YA Paranormal) series of novels. At MHB, Majanka is currently developing a new YA shifter series with a fresh take on fierce female detectives called THE ADVENTURES OF MARISOL HOLMES.
When she’s not writing, Majanka is probably playing World of Warcraft or catching up with the dozens of TV series she’s addicted to.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review: Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

About the Book

Published by HarperTeen on June 6, 2017

Find it on Amazon!

Neither the author nor the publisher solicited this review.  These are my honest and unbiased opinions.

GoodReads Description

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

My Thoughts

The moment I saw this book's GORGEOUS cover, I knew I had to read it.  I simply had to know what this was all about!  After reading the synopsis, I was even more certain that this book was right up my alley.  This was a wonderful introduction to Charbonneau's work!

What I Loved

  • Charbonneau writes in a very descriptive style that truly draws the reader into her words.  I especially appreciate this as a teacher because I know that a copy of this book in my classroom is sure to draw in reluctant readers and to keep their attention.  I was impressed by her choice to include sex and violence without overdoing either.  It is obvious what is happening during these scenes, but they are written in a clean and tasteful way.
  • Many times, I was certain I knew what was going to happen next. And then it didn't.  Something WAY better happened instead.  This only added to the fast pace of the plot and made sure that around each corner there was something for the reader to look for and be excited for.  The intrigue and suspense that Charbonneau creates is truly magical.
  • By far, my favorite character was Princess Carys.  I admire her steadfast bravery as she guards her family and her people.  She truly goes through an awakening not only of herself and her duty, but of what it truly means to be loyal.  In each moment that she held to her morals and her loyalty to her brother even as it was tested, I admired this strength and considered how hard that would be for a young woman to do.  I think that Princess Carys needs to go down in the literary bad***es of literature with Hermione and Katniss!

What I Wasn't A Huge Fan Of

  • Andreus.  What a piece of trash!  His character did nothing but infuriate me as he left his morals far behind him in his desperate grasp for power.  The things that he put his sister through even as she held fast to their long history of camaraderie and loyalty is truly appalling.
  • Additionally, Andreus' relationship with Imogen seems a bit forced.  It showed just how power hungry the two of them are, quite like the MacBeths.  This relationship was based on deceit and immorality despite their supposed feelings of love and loyalty to each other.
  • The most troubling thing for me, however, was the lack of concrete world building.  I know that there are these monster things but I don't know why they're so cranky. Heck, I can't even pronounce their name correctly.  Why are they so afraid of the orb?  There were so many issues with the world building that I spent a frustrating time flipping through the book to find clues as to why things mattered.  This definitely interrupted the book's flow and readability.


I truly enjoyed the quick pace of this book and the intrigue that came with it.  I believe that Charbonneau paid excellent attention to the affects that power can have on morality and on immorality.  She makes an excellent case for the ways that power can change an individual.  I would love to read this book with a class of seventh or eighth graders.  It would give me a wonderful opportunity to talk about plot, characterization, theme, setting, and many other literary elements.  

My Rating

Monday, August 20, 2018

Guest Post: The Process of Writing with A. M. Bochnak

The Process of Writing

I’m often asked about my writing process and for advice on how others should approach writing a novel. I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but it’s surprisingly a hard question. When you break down writing a novel into its simplest form, it seems so easy. You start with the basic three act structure and identify all the key plot components that need to be considered to tell an engaging story and you start writing. Sounds simple enough. Wrong.

Here’s the thing. No two people approach writing the same way. And no two people are inspired to write via the same techniques. Some people are plotters (that’s me, every detail must be planned out from beginning to end before I write a single word) and some people are pantsers (those who fly by the seat of their pants and don’t plan anything out). Personally, I have no idea how the pantsers do it, but that approach works very well for so many.

Beyond plotting, there’s the process of just sitting down to write. Sometimes I can sit down and simply brain dump. This is a process by which I don’t let myself think too much about the words I’m putting down on paper, but rather let information dump onto the page without a care in the world about the prose. Sometimes this works really well for me when I’m struggling with where to the take the characters or how to get them to the next major plot point.

As I’ve grown as a writer, I’m finding that I’m leaning on this technique a lot less than I used to. In large part, because the amount of rewriting required is significant. Yes, you read that correctly, rewriting. Writing the first draft of your first book doesn’t even scratch the surface of the amount of writing still required to make the book great.

It took me almost three years to plan, plot, organize, write, rewrite, rewrite again (and again), and edit my debut novel, Fortitude Rising. I rewrote this book so many times, I lost count of my revisions. Not everybody takes this long or goes through so many revisions to get to the final product, but for me it was very laborious and on occasion, painful. At times, I thought it would never be finished. No matter the frustration or mistakes I made, I continued and worked hard to get it right.

People are surprised to hear my writing experience with my first book and often ask me why I did it if it was so painful. All I can say is I loved every minute of it, even all the frustration and pain it caused me. There is a skillful art to writing. It’s not something you’re born great at, and you must work at it every day. Yes, it comes easier to some than others, but everyone who wants to be a good writer and write books that others will enjoy and read for years to come, must be willing to work harder than you’ve ever work before.

The good news is, it gets easier. I started writing the second book in this series, In the Wake of Rebellion, long before Fortitude Rising was published. The third book in this series is plotted and ready to write as soon as I am finished with book two. All you have to do is finish one book, that’s the hard part. The others will come and be easier than the first. The most important thing to remember through this process is to have fun. This is your imagination at it’s best and nothing should stop you from starting.

Author Bio:

A.M. Bochnak is a dreamer. With her head in the clouds or her eyes turned to the stars, she spends countless hours imagining new adventures and far off worlds for which to travel. When she isn’t dreaming, she writes science fiction and fantasy with her focus on epic fantasies, apocalyptic and dystopian fiction. Fortitude Rising, a sci-fi dystopian fantasy, is her first published novel. She is an American author, born and raised in southern Ohio and now lives in Gainesville, Florida.

Debut Novel: Fortitude Rising, Volume One of the Magical Bond Series

Ebony Hunter has spent her entire life isolated on an island institution run by her father, Dr. Daniel Hunter. When Connor Vance and his group of outsiders are brought to the institution, they cause her to question everything her father has ever told her about the world. But who’s telling her the truth? Her father or the outsiders?

Just when she starts to open up to Connor Vance, he admits that he and his companions are on a mission to kill her and her life-long friends. Connor’s mission to kill her is halted when he realizes Ebony is a pawn, albeit a powerful pawn, in her father’s game. They must join forces and work together if they ever hope to escape the clutches of the true enemy, Dr. Hunter and Vivian Way, a political reformist.

To find the truth, and hopefully earn her freedom, Ebony must overcome her fears and embrace her magical powers. Her life depends on the trust of people she hardly knows as the battle for control of her powerful magic escalates between her and her father.

Through her journey of self-discovery, she finds friendship, love, and a strength she never knew she possessed. Everyone around her is taking sides in the struggle for power, and the lives of everyone she cares about are on the line as the tension rises in this sci-fi dystopian fantasy. Available on Amazon:

Friday, August 17, 2018

Book Blitz: Broken Arrow by Azaria M. J. Durant

Broken Arrow
Azaria M.J. Durant
(Darkened Destiny Saga #1)
Publication date: July 29th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Find it on Amazon!
An ancient power long kept dormant stirs in the shadows once more as one boy embarks on a quest to earn his freedom and the freedom of his world!
Magic has turned to myth, the Vaelhyreans of old to legend, and the power wielded by the ancients has long been forgotten. However, with Ealdred, a mere half-breed slave boy, myth becomes real, the forgotten remembered, and the power of legend is reborn within him.
Ealdred is merged into a world of mystery, brimming with deceit, where the remaining Vaelhyreans are in a desperate fight for their very survival. When Ealdred is kidnapped by the power-mongering dark lord Zeldek himself, he must make a choice; to commit his newfound magic to Zeldek’s service or die. But when he meets Bellator, clever yet treacherous servant of Zeldek, an alternative is presented to him: to escape from Zeldek’s stronghold and embark on a quest to find a cursed arrow and free the Vaelhyreans from the spell that keeps their powers at bay.
Yet how can he survive in a world where magic is illegal, half-breeds are hated, and the four countries are on the brink of war?
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“That time is already upon us,” the Master stated, rising to his feet. “Many nights now, my gaze has been turned to the stars. The constellations Heroi and Retsu are aligning for the first time in two and a half millennia. Prophecies connote these coming years as the last of mankind. This is the opportunity I have been waiting for. I must not fail!”
His eyes glowed with the passion his words expressed, and murmurs of agreement echoed through the room.
“Our toils have been rewarding and our preparation has been long,” the Master went on. “Yet we must not deceive ourselves into thinking that our position is secure.”
The murmurs fell to silence. The Master had never spoken so freely of such things before. The most this council had ever discussed were the brief updates concerning the progress of each respective country and its assets. There was the occasional new order from The Master, but such a thing was rare, and was always followed by a long, tedious discussion concerning the politics of the task, and thus was never interesting.
“It has been predicted that there is one who has the potential to stand in my way; one who may have the power to end my supreme rule before it has begun.”
“My lord, who could possess the power to rival you?” Valamette asked, bewildered.
The Master lifted his gaze to glare at Valamette from beneath the shadow of his hood. “You of all people should know.”
Understanding dawned on Valamette. He nodded slowly. Bellator glimpsed the other figures, looking to find a shred of understanding among them. But they too turned to look at Valamette, hoping to glean what they could from his bearing.
“The boy, my lord?” he asked.
“Yes,” the Master replied. “The boy.”
Bellator was intrigued. When had a boy ever entered their conversation?
“But my lord, how could he be a problem? Didn’t we do away with him as an infant? How is it possible that he still draws breath?”
“Does it matter how?” the Master snapped. “What matters is that he lives and that he will pose a threat if we aren’t careful to hone his abilities to our favour.”
“I can do it.” Valamette took a breath. “I can kill him, if you wish it. I will not fail you.”
“No!” The Master’s fist slammed on the altar. “If I wanted him dead, I would have let him die! I wouldn’t have kept him safe all this time.”

Author Bio:
Azaria M. J. Durant is a young, passionate writer of fantasy with plans to branch out into sci-fi and dystopian. She enjoys writing stories with action, adventure, unexpected plot twists, and fleshed out characters that challenge gender roles and expectations.
Azaria lives in Atlantic Canada with her family, cats, and dogs, and her big dreams to travel the world. In the moments when she isn’t writing, she is sketching concept art for her stories, participating in community theatre, or curled up with a good book and a bag of mint chocolates.


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Review: Tales Untold by Kevin Focke

About the Book

Published on October 19, 2017 by The Despised Profiteering Posterity Publishing House

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

GoodReads Description

Before his untimely death in 1967, Focke lived in poverty and poetry; he struggled to make ends meet and spent his days mulling over melancholies.

This omnibus combines Focke’s magnum opus The Reflection Collection, Seasons Of Love, The Zoobadoo Zoo, and other never-before-seen tales from the Short-Lived King of Short Stories.

My Thoughts

This is such a hard book to review. There are definitely things that I LOVED and things that I really couldn't stand. 

Things I Liked

  • Focke has a wonderful imagination and terrific command of the English language.  He is unafraid of being a little bit out there.  For this reason, his work reminded me of Douglas Adams.  It was definitely entertaining.
  • Focke chooses to write from a variety of points of view.  This shows his ability to adapt to a wide range of speakers and showcases his talent as an author.
  • The art work is absolutely stunning!  I would love to put these illustrations on my walls.

Things I Didn't Like As Much

  • There was no cohesive story line. It was one constant jump from story to story to story for all of the 67 pages.  It left no room for me to care about any of the presented characters. I didn't like leaving this book with a big "so what?"
  • I spent more time interacting with the art than I did with the words.  To me, that was more meaningful.

Unfortunately, I felt like this book was a miss for Kevin Focke. However, his willingness to step out of his comfort zone and his wonderful use of adjectives inspire me to give his writing a second chance should I find another of his books.

My Rating

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Review: Urban Heroes by T. J. Lockwood

About the Book

Published on June 14, 2018 by Mecha Panda Publishing.

Find it on Amazon!

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

GoodReads Description


The creation of the twelve skyward cities did more for mankind than the renaissance of old. With them came a new species created to serve the ideals of the future. To Calista Ridley, an android is an android, just like heroes are little more than fairy tales. She knows the world is far from perfect, and that human nature is not something to be proud of. But she also sees the storm forming on the horizon. As a pilot of Voltza, her past decisions are set to shape the future in a way no one could have predicted. The lines between man and machine are blurring at a rapid pace. Innovation never comes without a price.

My Thoughts

Urban Heroes was my introduction to Lockwood's series.  At first, I didn't realize it was part of a series.  I was pretty upset that there weren't more details about certain aspects and I felt like I was just thrown into something that I could never figure out.  I almost decided not to review it.  Thanks to GoodReads, I realized that this is the second in the series.  Once I saw that, I was able to appreciate the book for the wonderful thing that it truly is.  For the second in a series, it does a pretty good job as a standalone novel!

I absolutely loved Calista.  It was so good to see a female MC that thought for herself and was willing to do whatever it took to get through.  This included pain, anger, and betrayal.  She took all of these in stride and just kept on keepin' on.  Despite her "survivor" attitude, she had a soft side to her as well.  She could have easily walked away from the friends she makes along the way, but she is dedicated to the ones she loves.

Lockwood brings some wonderful points to the minds of her readers.  With all of our technological advances, where will we stop?  With drones on the battlefield, the idea of androids similar to those in the story are not that far off.  Will we begin to play god?

Now that I know this was the second in the series, I will have to make time to read the first. I feel like a little back story could go a long way with this piece!

My Rating